Slim Blue Universe – Eleanor Lerman

Slim Blue Universe – Eleanor Lerman

Poetry. Paper, Perfect Bound. 68 pages
2024, ISBN: 978-1-982781-17-9 $20.95 + S&H

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Slim Blue Universe is the seventh collection of poetry from acclaimed author Eleanor Lerman. Her work speaks to us in different voices—the Woodstock generation grown older, social activists still raging at the powers that be, lovers remembering days of paradise, and lonely dreamers still dreaming of better days to come—that weave together both the joys of life and its many afflictions. The poems in this collection ache with longing for what has been lost along the journey through a life shaped by the volatile middle years of the 20th century and with a yearning to look beyond the human horizon to whatever mysterious pathways may lie just up ahead. As poet Kevin Patrick Sullivan has noted, Lerman’s work is a guidebook for learning to understand “[W]here we have been, how it has been along the way and where we might be going. There is joy in the recognition and yet something unnerving. Whether dealing with the large truths of this life or the small daily occurrences these poems remind us of our human ambiguity—we are all over the place; life is hard; life is good; life is what life does, moment by moment and that is the challenge she presents us: to string the good moments together, breath after breath, now and forever.”

Praise for Eleanor Lerman’s work:
Eleanor Lerman’s poems have sociological savvy, philosophical rue, historical recognition, and vernacular resilience. They sing a song that is bravely gloomy, but they sing it with a fierce and earned dignity. – Tony Hoagland, author of What Narcissism Means to Me (2003), finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, Poetry

Eleanor Lerman is a great poet. Funny, irreverent, and wise. — KGB Bar Online Literary Review

Lerman’s verses occupy a universe both fragile and terrible, the elements of which are both beyond our control and continually at our mercy. Her poetry is frightening and inspiring, and will push readers to the edge of revelation only to make them comforting promises as they teeter at the edge. — Foreword Reviews

[Eleanor Lerman’s] poems have a delightful sense of wondering what is real—if what we see is truly reliable—and questions the durability of relationships and the parts we are assigned. She is at home with the constellations and the classical gods. Time is echoed again and again in her work: the brevity of our lives, the mysterious appearances time marks in our spans, the importance of the sun, moon, dawn, and dusk as rivers run, wheels turn. — Carol Smallwood, poet, author of Water, Earth, Air, Fire, and Picket Fences (Lamar University Press)

I go to Lerman’s work for her signature one-liners, wry humor, and steadfast yearning in a spirit world gone rogue. — Lambda Literary Review

“Lerman’s poems pulsate on the page; she writes in a refreshingly triumphant and celebratory tone while remaining unflinchingly honest… Her descriptions are creative and alive… A heartfelt rallying cry from an acclaimed poet.”Kirkus Reviews

Slim Blue Universe by Eleanor Lerman is selected as Editor’s Choice at New Pages (December 11 2023)

“Slim Blue Universe” by Eleanore Lerman is reviewed by Emma Lee

“Slim Blue Universe” by Eleanore Lerman is reviewed at Bookishly Jewish

“Slim Blue Universe” by Eleanore Lerman is reviewed at Snowflakes Arising

“Slim Blue Universe” by Eleanore Lerman is in the Spotlight at WhatIsThatBookAbout

“Slim Blue Universe” by Eleanore Lerman is reviewed by Fran Lewis at Just Reviews

“Slim Blue Universe” by Eleanore Lerman is the subject of a Q&A at Deborah Kalb Books

“Slim Blue Universe” by Eleanore Lerman is an Editors Pick at New Pages

A Wave Can Be a Particle

Here is the problem: that the life the body
contains may not be the same as the life
that the mind imagines. Indeed, the suspicion grows
as time expands that we are hiding things
from ourselves. Big things, shaped like nebulae
or chandeliers; in other forms, they express velocity.
They are going so fast that we doubt we saw them,
but we did. Before and after we were born, we did.

We do. Which is why the suspicion grows
that laid out on a cold bed in the dying light
may only be the fate of bones. That there is, perhaps,
another example to consider: as a wave can be
a particle and a particle a wave, you need not
chain yourself to the belief that a steady state
is the singularity that holds all value

but may think, instead, of the feeling
that comes over you in the moment before
a weeping ghost appears to you (and only you?)
from the darkness beyond the bedroom door,
or when you approach the threshold that
must be crossed as you go into the woods
and find yourself upon the hidden path that,

rumor has it, leads directly into the void,
but step, instead, into another springtime.
On the flowering lawn, a girl you swear
that you once knew is laughing, and
all around her (but not only her),
the windy sky is full of stars.

About Eleanor Lerman
During a career that now spans over fifty years, Eleanor Lerman has published numerous award-winning collections of poetry, short stories, and novels. One of the youngest people ever to be named a finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry, she also won the inaugural Juniper Prize from the University of Massachusetts Press and the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the American Academy of Poets, among other accolades. In addition, her fiction has been recognized with numerous awards including the John W. Campbell Award for Best Book of Science Fiction and being shortlisted for The Chautauqua Prize. She has also received a Guggenheim Fellowship for poetry as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts for poetry and the New York Foundation for the Arts for fiction. Her most recent work, The Game Café: Stories of New York City in Covid Time (Mayapple Press, December 2022), won the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award and was nominated for the W.S. Porter Prize. www.eleanorlerman.com

More Mayapple Press books by Eleanor Lerman:
The Game Café: Stories of New York City in Covid Time (2022)
Watkins Glen (2021)
The Stargazer’s Embassy (2017)
Strange Life (2014)
Janet Planet (2011)
The Blonde on the Train (2009)