Sheryl St. Germain’s poetry books include Going Home (Perivale), The Mask of Medusa (Cross Cultural Communications), (chapbooks) Making Bread at Midnight, (Slough Press) How Heavy the Breath of God, The Journals of Scheherazade (University of North Texas Press), and Let it Be a Dark Roux: New and Selected Poems (Autumn House Press). She has also published a chapbook of translations of the Cajun poet Jean Arceneaux, Je Suis Cadien (Cross Cultural Communications).
She has published two memoirs, Swamp Songs: the Making of an Unruly Woman (University of Utah Press), and Navigating Disaster: Sixteen Essays of Love and a Poem of Despair (Louisiana Literature Press). She co-edited, with Margaret Whitford, Between Song and Story: Essays for the 21st Century (Autumn House Press). With Sarah Shotland she co-edited Words Without Walls: Writers on Addiction, Violence and Incarceration, (Trinity University Press), 2015.
Autumn House Press published a new poetry collection, The Small Door of Your Death, in Spring 2018.
A native of New Orleans, Sheryl has taught creative writing at The University of Texas at Dallas, The University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Knox College, and Iowa State University. Her work has received several awards, including two NEA Fellowships, an NEH Fellowship, the Dobie-Paisano Fellowship, the Ki Davis Award from the Aspen Writers Foundation, and the William Faulkner Award for the personal essay.
She directs the MFA program in Creative Writing at Chatham University where she also teaches poetry and creative nonfiction.
Going Home (Perivale Press, 1989). Poetry.
The Mask of Medusa (Cross Cultural Press, 1987). Poetry.
Blurbs, Press & Reviews
In Sheryl St. Germain’s new collection [The Small Door of Your Death], we find ourselves enthralled by one woman’s attempt to look straight into the eyes of Loss without blinking—to speak, without stuttering, grief’s true name—a name none of us wants to know, though we always listen for its inevitable approach. St. Germain’s work teaches us how to talk back, how to talk through the intimate agonies that, in many ways, define what it means to be human now. Muriel Rukeyser said poetry cannot save us but it is the kind of thing that could. I think this book is proof of that.
These poems chronicle the passage of a mother and her son into the abyss of drugs, sorrow, confusion, hope, despair, and love. The mother’s voice struggles to bear witness, to be present, forgoing excuses while trying to answer why, the question that rings a million times in mothers’ hearts throughout the world, to forever cycle and orbit into every cell of the compassionate and caring heart. This collection gives us answers in gray, neither black nor white, but as they must be in our human experience, gray as the dawn that precedes the rising sun.
—Jimmy Santiago Baca
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