Steven Cramer is the author of four previous poetry collections: The Eye that Desires to Look Upward (1987), The World Book (1992), Dialogue for the Left and Right Hand (1997), and Goodbye to the Orchard (Sarabande, 2004), which won the 2005 Sheila Motton Prize from the New England Poetry Club and was a 2005 Honor Book in Poetry by the Massachusetts Center for the Book. Recipient of fellowships from the Massachusetts Artists Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, he currently directs the Low-Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing at Lesley University in Cambridge. (Author photo by Anna Asquith)
"'Clangings' are specialized modes of speech schizophrenics and manics use to express themselves, and identify themselves, and communicate, so desperately and wittily and forlornly and with such resourceful energy. That's wonderfully registered here. But one gets to feel, reading it, that these diagnostically defined ways of using language are only extreme cases of how we all use language. Steven Cramer handles and contends with and profits from that extremely difficult, intensely compressed, stanzaic form, over and over, inventive all the way, hilarious a lot of the time, and scared, scary, distanced and objective, and very moving. Clangings is a wild ride."
"Humane from its aching heart to its flummoxed nether regions, whipsmart, formally acute but unfussy, and entertaining as all hell—Steven Cramer's new book shreds our airwaves with an inventiveness that is rare. Rare, as in once-in-a-lifetime-if-you're-lucky rare. It balances perfectly on the knife-edge of improvisation and necessity. Clangings is magnificent."