Metro Rhythm is pleased to announce that we will be hosting poet and story-writer Eleanor Lerman at our reading series this October.

Lerman is the author of five books of poetry, most recently The Sensual World Re-Emerges (Sarabande, 2010) and Our Post-Soviet History Unfolds (2005), the latter of which received the Lenore Marshall Award from the Academy of American Poets for the year’s most outstanding book of poetry.  She is also the author of The Blonde on the Train and Other Stories, published by Mayapple Press in 2009, and recently completed a novel, Janet Planet, based on the life of Carlos Castaneda.

About herself, Lerman writes:

“My first book of poetry, Armed Love, was published when I was 21.  It was nominated for a National Book Award, but when it was reviewed in The New York Times, it was called “X-Rated.”  You have to remember that was 30 years ago, and young women weren’t supposed to write books about sex, drugs and rock and roll, which was the subject of the poems in that volume.  I spent a brief time as a minor cultural icon that year, which I was not prepared for.”

It would be another twenty-five years until Lerman was approached by Sarah Gorham, president of Sarabande Books and long-time admirer of Lerman’s work.  Gorham asked if Lerman might have a book for Sarabande, and the press subsequently published The Mystery of Meteors, Lerman’s third book, in 2001.

Of Lerman’s work, Tony Hoagland states, “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.”

Lerman is a lifelong New Yorker, and lives in Long Beach, Long Island.

You can read more about Lerman, as well as some of her poetry, at the Academy of American Poets website.

Visit Lerman’s website at

Read some of Lerman’s work below.

That Sure is My Little Dog

Yes, indeed, that is my house that I am carrying around

on my back like a bullet-proof shell and yes, that sure is

my little dog walking a hard road in hard boots. And

just wait until you see my girl, chomping on the chains

of fate with her mouth full of jagged steel. She’s damn

ready and so am I. What else did you expect from the

brainiacs of my generation? The survivors, the nonbelievers,

the oddball-outs with the Cuban Missile Crisis still

sizzling in our blood? Don’t tell me that you bought

our act, just because our worried parents (and believe me,

we’re nothing like them) taught us how to dress for work

and to speak as if we cared about our education. And

I guess the music fooled you: you thought we’d keep

the party going even to the edge of the abyss. Well,

too bad. It’s all yours now. Good luck on the ramparts.

What you want to watch for is when the sky shakes

itself free of kites and flies away. Have a nice day.

(from Our Post-Soviet History Unfolds)

The Sensual World Re-Emerges

You are on the subway, going uptown

This is the same train that your father rode,

the same city where your grandfather

made wigs in a windowless basement,

in a year so far gone it has faded into nothing

All day, you have been annoyed by

incidental problems and you are still

solving them in your mind as you drowse

In other words, you have gone over

You are not drowsing. You are asleep

But I don’t blame you. So am I

When you reach your stop, you change

for another train that takes you out

to the dark suburbs, where you must

walk along a dark road. Just before

you reach the lighted street that leads

to home, from within a stand of trees

the sensual world re-emerges, in all its

naked, jackal-headed beauty, holding

the moon in its outstretched hand

But you aren’t afraid: the sensual world

is an old friend. Or is it?  Lately,

you have been forgetting things

and you aren’t really sure

And so it stalks away, angry not

to have been embraced, leaving you

on your own, with one foot

on the shining path and

one foot closer to the pit

Call me. I have left my number

everywhere. I want to know

how this story turns out

(from The Sensual World Re-Emerges)

“That Sure is My Little Dog.” From Our Post-Soviet History Unfolds by Eleanor Lerman, published by Sarabande Books. Copyright © 2005. Used with permission.  All rights reserved.

“The Sensual World Re-Emerges.” From The Sensual World Re-Emerges by Eleanor Lerman, published by Sarabande Books. Copyright © 2010. Used with permission. All rights reserved.