Chad Sweeney

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Chad Sweeney

Publication Date: January 2015
101 Pages
ISBN13:  978-1-934851-60-9
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Chad Sweeney’s fifth book of poems takes a cubist approach to apocalypse—at once cultural, biblical, ecological, and personal—where the death of a father is one form of apocalypse, the disastrous Bush years another, and a summer of homelessness in Chicago yet another—where rapture is individual and relative, where heaven’s unemployment offce “gives out free bourbon,” and the artist is put on trial for an excess of feeling. With a sweeping range of perceptions that includes the “the gold tooth of a prostitute,” “a thread of blood in milk,” “sine and cosine making love,” and a “Museum of No Astonishment,” these poems seek for a new lyric mythology, recast from the ruins of the old, in which we might survive, even thrive, beyond the “shipwreck” of heaven.

About the Author, Chad Sweeney  

Chad Sweeney is the author of five books of poetry: White Martini of the Apocalypse; Parable of Hide and Seek; Arranging the Blaze; Wolf’s Milk; and An Architecture—and two books of translation: The Art of Stepping Through Time: Selected Poems of contemporary Iranian poet, H.E. Sayeh and Pablo Neruda’s final book, Calling on the Destruction of Nixon (forthcoming from Marick). Sweeney’s poems have appeared widely, including in Best American Poetry, The Pushcart Prize Anthology and The Writer’s Almanac. While working with at-risk youth in San Francisco he edited the anthology Days I Moved Through Ordinary Sounds: the Teaching Artists of WritersCorps in Poetry and Prose. Chad Sweeney holds a PhD from Western Michigan University and an MFA from San Francisco State, and he teaches in the MFA program in Creative Writing at California State University San Bernardino where he edits Ghost Town ( and curates the Pacific Review Reading Series. Chad lives in Redlands with his wife, poet Jennifer K. Sweeney, and their two sons.


These poems feel ancient in their visionary strangeness, and altogether new in their startling observations of a world that’s just-born while also going up in flames before this singular poet’s eyes. WHITE MARTINI OF THE APOCALYPSE (“Be honest / would you drink it if you could?”) is one of the most exciting collections to be published in a long time. Frightening, and inspiring, and funny, and outrageous, and original, Chad Sweeney is influenced by all the best of the poets, but his voice is his alone—thrilling in its immediacy and its insistence on music, meaning and imagery, while using poetry like a machete to cut through the rest of human experience and get to center of things. He gets there in poem after poem in this collection, which contains the best work yet of one of our best poets.

— Laura Kasischke  

In [Chad Sweeney’s] universe, other laws of nature prevail. The poet can “remember time / in the future” and, accordingly, lives in a house that hasn’t yet been built. On the other hand, he fears a past that “c-c-cannot change” — it is “like Dante’s descent into syntax, / like vapor over a mine field.” The earth has here become one “enormous piano playing itself,” with “hammers so delicate they can only be seen / by the dying.” Giving evidence of heaven’s shipwreck on earth, Sweeney’s poetry carries great compassion. The dead, including the father who could hear the voices of the wheat, are allowed to be with us. American cities, so well known they are invisible, get a new human identity. I congratulate those who have yet to discover this strong poet.

— Kjell Espmark  






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Sept24The Poets’ Follies Reading Series, sponsored by Marick Press and The Oakland University Writing Center, will feature the poetry of David Young, Todd Swift and Jason Storms at 6:30PM. The reading will be followed by a question and answer session.
Wednesday September 24, 2014
6:30PM, Room 212, Kresge Library at Oakland University
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