$14.00 paper | 69 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-930974-29-6
Publication Date: April 2003
Buy: Amazon | B&N | IndieBound
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“Elaine Sexton knows how to raise autobiography to the level of true poetry, and this knack has much to do with her use of surprise. Just when we think we know where one of her poems is going, we step into air. Sleuth leads us carefully into her life through a series of bracing verbal delights.”
—Billy Collins

“Elaine Sexton’s poetry is furious and unstoppable — and it is all the more so because it insinuates itself into our consciousness with such love and exquisite tenderness. Underneath that tenderness, though, is a relentless will to forego the inessential, to take the measure of the real, to uncover the secret and silent engines of our human grief. It’s hard to know what to praise more in these poems: their beautiful surfaces or their depths, which verge, in poem after poem, on the oceanic. This is a book of great valor and awareness.”
—Vijay Seshadri

“When I first saw Elaine Sexton’s poems, I was impressed by their bright intelligence, their fierce gaze and crisp language. Now I see she was always the Sleuth intent on knowing the mysteries — and it’s that hard bright gaze that redeems the ordinary sorrow in this book and celebrates, without sentimentality, the restorative love here too.”
—Marie Howe

“‘Could I get more specific?’ Elaine Sexton asks rhetorically in a poem about her mother selling the World Book door-to-door. The charm of this first book is indeed its specificity. Poem after poem unfolds with crisp detail and subtle metaphors that take us by surprise. ‘Nothing,’ she writes, ‘is safe from poetry,’ and with a sure hand she proves it.”
—Maxine Kumin

“Together, Sleuth’s two major perspectives — memory and discovery — mark an identity in flux, still defining itself, still developing. Sexton has a talent for capturing the mechanics of self-exploration. Though intensely personal, she never slips into sentimental introspection, thanks in part to a detached, forensic mood, and to a detective’s eye for the all-revealing detail that might otherwise have gone unnoticed.”
—Luke Gerwe, New Letters

Sleuth, Elaine Sexton’s first collection, is on of those wonderful books that keeps calling you back and offering new surprises and pleasures.”
—Diane Lockward, Marlboro Review

Elaine Sexton


Elaine Sexton is the author of Sleuth and Causeway, both from New Issues. Her poems, reviews, essays, and art criticism have appeared in American Poetry Review, ARTnews, Art New England, Prairie Schooner, Poetry, River Styx, New Letters, theWriter’s Chronicle (AWP), and numerous other journals. She teaches a poetry workshop at the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College, works in magazine publishing, and lives in New York City.