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ISBN: 978-1-62557-973-7
Categories Poetry


Publication Date: April 2017


Suture is a triumph. Here, two powerful and idiosyncratic poetic forces unite to create something utterly unique: a rare and pulsating lyrical conversation. With vibrating sonnets that shape shift and sounds that knock the sleeping bones awake, these poems allow us to understand we are all stitched to one another through language.

-Ada Limón

The endurance of the sonnet sequence over the centuries is in no small measure due to a paradox: it is a form that revels both in its fluidity and in its structural exactitude. The sonnet sequence is also apt to engage us because it is typically an expression of solitary yearning, just like the blues. Petrarch longs for his unattainable Laura; Son House laments his dead beloved. In Suture, Simone Muench and Dean Rader turn this latter convention of the sonnet sequence on its head, transforming a mode that seems predicated on an essential loneliness into a collaborative effort, one that is rambunctious, wry, companionable, jittery; and, above all, emotionally capacious. Muench and Rader write with an elegant but mysterious synchronicity-like octet and sextet.

-David Wojahn

You can spend too much time, while reading collaborations, trying to figure out who wrote what, or worse-you can’t help but see it, through the seams and stitchery. But these poems are smooth as can be. Muench and Rader, collaborating not just together but with the first lines of other poets, have created or found (who cares?) a beautifully singular voice that pushes back gently every time you pause to wonder “How was this made?” Very quickly you stop asking and find yourself halfway through this excellent book.

-Matthew Rohrer

This witty, ingenious book of sonnets casts the shadow of affection and the light of collaboration on a hallowed traditional form. There is a great deal to enjoy and even more to learn from the way Simone Muench and Dean Rader come sideways at the sonnet, using improvisation, found lines and sheer invention. They put old lines into conversation with new ones, and fresh approaches at angles to conventional usage. The result is subversion, disruption and delight.

-Eavan Boland

About the Authors

Simone Muench

Simone Muench is the author of several books including Lampblack & Ash (Kathryn A. Morton Prize for Poetry and NYT Editor’s Choice; Sarabande, 2005), Orange Crush (2010 Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Poetry; Sarabande, 2010), and Wolf Centos (Sarabande, 2014). Her chapbook Trace won the Black River Chapbook Competition (Black Lawrence, 2014), and her collection, Suture, is a book of sonnets written with Dean Rader (Black Lawrence, 2017). She also co-edited the anthology They Said: A Multi-Genre Anthology of Contemporary Collaborative Writing (Black Lawrence, 2018). Some of her honors include an NEA Poetry Fellowship, several Illinois Arts Council fellowships, the Marianne Moore Prize for Poetry, and residency fellowships to Yaddo, Artsmith, VCCA, and VSC.

In 2014, she was awarded the Meier Foundation for the Arts Award that recognizes artists for innovation, achievements, and community contributions; and, in 2023, she received the Lewis University Career Scholarship Award granted “to a faculty member for their lifetime achievement in scholarly activity.” She received her PhD from the University of Illinois and is a professor of English at Lewis University where she teaches creative writing and film studies. Currently, she serves as faculty advisor for Jet Fuel Review, as poetry editor for JackLeg Press, as a senior poetry editor for Tupelo Quarterly, and creator of the HB Sunday Reading Series.

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© Lisa Beth Anderson

Dean Rader

Dean Rader’s Works & Days, won the 2010 T. S. Eliot Prize, and Landscape Portrait Figure Form (2014) was a Barnes & Noble Review Best Poetry Book of the Year. He is the editor of 99 Poems for the 99 Percent: An Anthology of Poetry and the winner of the 2015 George Bogin Award from the Poetry Society of America. A new collection, Self-Portrait as Wikipedia Entry (2017) appeared from Copper Canyon. Rader writes and reviews regularly for The San Francisco Chronicle, The Rumpus, The Huffington Post, Ploughshares and The Kenyon Review. He is a professor at The University of San Francisco, where, in 2011, he won the University’s distinguished research award. Poems co-written with Simone Munech from Suture (Black Lawrence Press, 2017) have appeared or will appear in American Poetry Review, Blackbird, Zyzzyva, Handsome, The Economy, Columbia Poetry Review, New American Writing, DMQ, Dusie, and many others and have been nominated for Pushcart and Best of the Net Awards.

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