“These are wry, always engaging, and quietly compassionate poems which ground themselves in the essential surreality of American life –– its eerily pristine suburban lawns, its disheveled rites of passage, its ‘UFOologists’ and wacky roadside attractions. It’s a landscape we may all know, but Sorby’s flair and command of particulars make us see it anew––and in all of its bittersweet complexity. Sorby is a sly and graceful poet, and Distance Learning is a book of unusual promise.”
“Esbjerg harbor barges, Prince DK tobacco, orris root, oil of lemon, Topsy the Coney Island elephant electrocuted in 1903, ash cakes, barnacle knuckles, Corey’s Slug and Snail Death –– Angela Sorby’s poetry loves a feel of dense pungent facticity and finds anxiety there in the way Robert Lowell’s poetry does.”
“Angela Sorby is, in many respects, like a Sufi dancer who stops just long enough to send back news from her brilliant spiralings into the heart of things. Where you start in a Sorby poem is not where you end up, though everything connects. It’s as if you’ve been shown how to reconcile San Francisco with Boston by unexpected meditations on a Midwestern prairie. You can get here from there but when you arrive, everything is changed.”
—from the foreword by Mekeel McBride
Angela Sorby is associate professor of English at Marquette University. She is author of two books, Distance Learning andSchoolroom Poets: Childhood, Performance, and the Place of American Poetry.