Biography of Tom Sleigh
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 American Academy in Berlin for Fall 2011.
Tom Sleigh was born in Mount Pleasant, Texas, where he lived until the age of five, when he moved to Utah. He lived in Utah until seventh grade, when he moved to California. He attended the California Institute of the Arts, Evergreen State College, and the Writing Seminars Johns Hopkins University for two years, where he graduated with an MA. In his mid-twenties he moved to Massachusetts, to work at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. He began teaching at Dartmouth College in 1986 and later taught at New York University, the University of Iowa, UC-Berkeley and Johns Hopkins University. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, and serves as director of the Hunter College Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing, where he also teaches poetry writing.
Tom Sleigh Poems
My mother and I and the dog were floating Weightless in the kitchen. Silverware Hovered above the table. Napkins drifted
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.
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
I had a blueprint of history in my head —
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
But where, oh where is the holy idiot, truth teller and soothsayer, familiar of spirits, rat eater, unhouseled wanderer
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
Across the road from where we nap under a dead elm dazzles the meadow where the partisans strung the traitors up,
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
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.
What she is waiting for never arrives or arrives so slowly she can't see it: Like the river bluing silver
My mother and I and the dog were floating
Weightless in the kitchen. Silverware
Hovered above the table. Napkins drifted
Just below the ceiling. The dead who had been crushed
By gravity were free to move about the room,
To take their place at supper, lift a fork, knife, spoon—
A spoon, knife, fork that, outside this moment's weightlessness,
Would have been immovable as mountains.