Tom Sleigh (/sleɪ/) is an American poet, dramatist, essayist and academic, who lives in New York City. He has published seven books of original poetry, one full-length translation of Euripides' Herakles and a book of essays. At least five of his plays have been produced. He has won numerous awards, including the 2008 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, worth $100,000, an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, The Shelley Award from the Poetry Society of America, and a Guggenheim Foundation grant. He currently serves as director of Hunter College's Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program in Creative Writing. He is the recipient of the Anna-Maria Kellen Prize and Fellow at the ... more »
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Tom Sleigh Poems
I had a blueprint of history in my head —
On the Platform
The omen I didn't know I was waiting for pulled into the station the same instant as the train. It was just a teenage boy busking on the platform,
Across the road from where we nap under a dead elm dazzles the meadow where the partisans strung the traitors up,
The Animals In The Zoo Don't Seem Worrie...
Looking at the lion behind the plate glass I wasn't sure what I was looking at: a lion, OK, but he seemed to come apart, not literally
Somebody's alone in his head, somebody's a kid, somebody's arm's getting twisted—a sandwich flies apart, tomatoes torn, white bread flung, then smeared with shit
A Wedding at Cana, Lebanon, 2007
He said, "It is terrible what happens." And "So, Mr. Tom, do not forget me"—an old-fashioned ring, pop tunes, salsa! salsa! the techno-version of Beethoven's
The Parallel Cathedral
The cathedral being built around our split level house was so airy, it stretched so high it was like a cloud of granite and marble light the house rose up inside.
Out the barred window sandbags in a sagging wall surround the guard post where a soldier half-hidden by the flag
What came wafting down the ditch by the marsh grass waving
Song That Can Only Be Sung Once
But where, oh where is the holy idiot, truth teller and soothsayer, familiar of spirits, rat eater, unhouseled wanderer
His head rose like a torch in a tomb. Banquet-style, as at a second Symposium, The others lounged on couches or lay knocked out.
Staring up into the tank's belly lit by a bare bulb hanging down off the exhaust, a mechanic's hands are up
Lathe of the ocean. Perpetual Motion machine of the waves. Everything still Being turned and shaped to a shape nobody Foresees: Ten years ago, was it, when we
Comments about Tom Sleigh
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)
I had a blueprint
in my head —
it was a history of the martyrs
of love, the fools
of tyrants, the tyrants
at the fate of their own soldiers —
a sentimental blueprint,
lacking depth —
a ruled axis X and Y
were bearable . . .
then unbearable . . .
In that blueprint, I wanted to speak
in a language
utterly other, in words
how one of Homer's warriors
plunges through breastplate
a spear past
breastbone, the spearpoint searching
through the chest
like a ray of ...