The Transit of Venus

Author: Susan Firer
Format: Paperback, 102 pages
ISBN: 1-935218-41-7
Published: October, 2016

Buy This Book: Amazon – SPD


Critical Praise for Susan Firer’s The Transit of  Venus

“Though the speaker in these poems walks ‘loud with / ghosts,’ when a cicada lands on her shoulder she leaves it there, a ‘strange-dark-winged-lopsided epaulet.’ This kind of deft transformation of perspective and celebratory instinct is Firer’s great gift. These poems are bright with the light of both loss and love and marvelously attentive to the offerings of the world, noticing both ‘the insistent sounds of pears through plate glass’ and a ‘Burger King crown / blowing down the empty early / morning’s snowy street.’”

—Matthea Harvey

“Susan Firer’s marvelous The Transit of Venus is the record of a mind that’s never still, an amalgam of dazzling connections and allusions, recorded with astonishing authority and poise.  The poems range from the playful to the powerfully sustained, culminating in a long meditation on Caravaggio, ‘Brother Michelangelo,’ but they’re all bound together by and suffused with a vividly present personality. It’s her richest and most accomplished book, which says it all.”

—John Koethe

“We should heed the words of Susan Firer in her new poetry collection The Transit of Venus. Many moving poems recall Firer’s late husband, James Hazard, poet and teacher. The book’s long major poem, ‘Brother Michelangelo,’ is a beauteous and outrageous meditation on the work of Caravaggio.  Firer’s obsessive eye sees landscape and nature as no one else does:  ‘In lake ether the roof / sheds its summer leaves. / . . . Everything melts’—and another: ‘Glistened ice veils / every January’—and another: ‘The interruption of trees, of words, of nuns in Reeboks.’ She keeps fastening Lake Michigan to the page. All these quotes manifest Firer’s transcendentalism.”

—Caroline Knox

“In The Transit of Venus, the poet swoops up embezzled winds, the moon’s gold janglings, Swabians (‘Swabians’?), bedjackets, Moon Pies and crows, and money on a wet black bough. Firer searches her house (and therefore our houses), turning objects up and over, asking questions, insistent in her questions, which, unanswerable, point out how very odd is life in a twenty-first century ‘silly’ Midwestern city. Susan Firer is not timid in writing about the loss of her husband, poet Jim Hazard, in stunning and moving poems at the heart of this book. In spite of grief, this book is full of feast days, including Eid in Istanbul and a rapturous and clear-eyed poem about Caravaggio, and again and again night and day the lake.”

—Martha Bergland