samuel ace



photo credit: Dov Zeller

Samuel Ace is a trans/genderqueer poet and sound artist. He is the author of several books, including the newly reissued Meet Me ThereNormal Sex and Home in three days. Don’t wash. (Belladonna*) and Stealth with poet Maureen Seaton (Chax Press). He is the recipient of the Astraea Lesbian Writer Award and the Firecracker Alternative Book Award in Poetry, as well as a two-time finalist for both the Lambda Literary Award and the National Poetry Series. Recent work can be found in Poetry, PEN America, Best American Experimental Poetry, and many other journals and anthologies. He lives in Tucson, AZ and western MA where he teaches writing at Mount Holyoke College.

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Praise for Our Weather Our Sea

Sam Ace’s fourth collection reads, brilliantly, as a new and selected–even though these poems are fresh and just-here. This is because the book travels through so much of what we love about Ace’s work: an intergenerational and sexually fluid map fashioned by a transgressive tenderness that seems to always-be-heading-somewhere. In this way, these poems are culminations towards a queer futurity. “I beg you to stay unformed,” Ace writes, with what is now his classic voice, both a determined command and compassioned plea. For Ace, whose work and presence now spans decades of activism, lives and genders, this collection honors them all as a site of inquiry, community and, ultimately, celebration in the face of uncertainty. Bravo, maestro. Thank you, brother.       –Ocean Vuong, author of Night Sky with Exit Wounds

The cadences are quiet, pretty, and insistent. The sounds are like mesquite leaves, repetitive

and delicate

celebratory. The book is celebratory.

This book is very beautiful.

Wrap-around line that can shade into prose and makes a true cognitive bend the line break is there because it’s not a “long line” being used but a wrap-around. Clausal, acknowledging Stein, in an overall similitude of texture the book is grand and as if from a different dimension or planet. You don’t recognize everything there, but you know how to be there.  –Alice Notley, author of most recently, Certain Magical Acts

The poems in Samuel Ace’s Our Weather Our Sea orbit many great bewilderments—embodiment, desire, time, loss—but at the center of this expansive solar system of wonder is a presiding fascination with sound and language itself. Ace writes, “I want to forget / how to put words together,” and then he begins to offer some alternatives to the traditional order—words repel words across the page, sounds come together in dazzling, sensual new arrays to accommodate his commanding and unprecedented experience. The effect is astonishing. “The meanings change then change again,” he writes. In these poems, Ace has pulled our language, his aperture, wide enough to fit the whole scene.      –Kaveh Akbar, author of Calling a Wolf a Wolf

In ‘Our Weather Our Sea,’ Samuel Ace is onto something startlingly new, “growling and minty.” In deconstructed epistolary forms, song cycles, and serial prose sequences, “arenas so soft,” Ace makes his way via word-images, painterly phrases which are part visual, part linguistic, “the middle roads of half-mooned cherries.” These poems cultivate an air of liminality or mystery which accrues as the musical composition unfolds. The changing lyrical self-knowledge in process, “threads of you a farm of threads,” confronts us with experiences rendered strange but close-up, “Headlights / breathing / down my / neck some / big clothing,” or revealed as intimate because of their linguistic oddity, “sticky with coasts.” Ace’s pan-gender prepositions play the heroes in this story, connecting different domains of experience, inverting meanings, recontextualizing, turning poignant, or partying on the head of a pin. In this “infinite slide through the river of identitude,” gender is a bridge, and love is a preposition.  –Trace Peterson, author of Since I Moved In and co-editor, with TC Tolbert, of Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics


Other Recent Work by Samuel Ace

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Chax Press, 2011                      Belladonna, 2019