Dirt, Root, Silk, by Susan Azar Porterfield

Dirt, Root, Silk

Dirt, Root, Silk


Poetry by
Susan Azar Porterfield.
Winner of the 2015 Cider Press Review Editors’ Prize Book Award.

ISBN: 978-1-930781-22-1
Binding: Tradepaper
Pub date: August 20, 2016


Poetry by Susan Azar Porterfield.
Winner of the 2015 Cider Press Review Editors’ Prize Book Award.

Advance praise for Dirt, Root, Silk:

“The poems in Susan Azar Porterfield’s Dirt, Root, Silk dig deeply and with precision into the hidden layers of human relationships.  Whether the geography is her own mind and body, her back yard, the endless cornfields of the Midwest, or the world at large, the poems are a discovery both the strengths and fragility of the human condition.”

—James Ballowe, Distinguished Professor of English
Emeritus, Bradley University, author and editor.

“In Dirt, Root, Silk, poems create enchanted spaces rich in memory and imagination. Susan Azar Porterfield’s keen eye approaches reality slantwise, capturing details under a magnifying lens, and endowing domestic scenes with universal dimension. A subtle complexity of emotion arises from the convergence of multiple planes of consciousness, artfully opening doors to deeper meanings. These poems are multifaceted gems calling to be revisited with renewed pleasure and awe.”

—Hedy Habra, author of Tea in Heliopolis and
Under Brushstrokes

“In these satisfyingly unpredictable and inviting poems, Susan Azar Porterfield writes to unmask complexities, all the while acknowledging that her task is itself complex: ‘this way of seeing / is also road / as well as door that leads / to another door or another way / of seeing.’ It’s as though the world were filled with oxymoronic truths that are at once both terrifying and magnificent. And isn’t it? Nothing is not in transition, these poems say in myriad ways—what closes does not fully close, and even absence has presence. The riches in Dirt, Root, Silk are manifold.”

—Andrea Hollander

Enjoy the book’s title poem:

Dirt, Root, Silk

words meant to save the body
may they bring me precipices.
—(Z. Herbert)

Bring me to the brink of a cornfield
whose door assumes hand and knee,
and now you long for the lesser
and beetle world.

The microscope pins a point to jump.

We relearn again again
what rows of grain intimate,
how slight the real, dirt, root, silk.

Examine layer by layer the fibrous leaf
for the core. Tumble in.


About the Author

Susan Azar Porterfield is the author of Kibbe (Mayapple Press) and a chapbook, Beirut Redux (Finishingline). She is the editor of Zen, Poetry, the Art of Lucien Stryk (Ohio UP) and has written on Stryk for Poets & Writers as well as AWP’s The Writer’s Chronicle. She has received an Illinois Arts Council Award for Poetry and is the Associate Poetry Editor of Fifthwednesday Journal. She is a Professor of English at Rockford University.


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