Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Amy Newman  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Poetry

Audience: Adult;


-- Twitter --
-- Website --
-- Amy Newman on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Newman is a professor at Northern Illinois University.

Biographical and Professional Information

Amy Newman is an English Literature Professor at Northern Illinois University and holds a Ph.D. in English Literature and Language from Ohio University. She has published more than 200 poems. Her poems have appeared in ''The Ohio Review'', ''Colorado Review'', ''Denver Quarterly'', ''The Gettysburg Review'', ''Haydens Ferry Review'', ''Willow Springs'', ''Indiana Review'', ''The Carolina Quarterly'', ''The Connecticut Poetry Review'', among others. She is also the editor of ''Ancora Imparo'', an online journal that explores the artist as scholar and the artistic process as ongoing enlightenment.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Dear Editor: Poems (Karen & Michael Braziller Books)
ISBN: 0892553871

Persea. 2011

Each prose poem in this extraordinary volume is an impassioned letter to a nameless editor from a poet seeking publication for her collection about chess, sainthood, and the poet's lonely childhood. Taken individually, the poems display a dazzling originality

together, they form an exquisite exploration of memory and longing.

Publishers Weekly:
In her fourth collection, Newman mines the awkwardness of composing cover letters for submitting creative writing for publication and the inevitable anxiety of the wait that follows, weaving them into ruminations on youth, memory, and religious belief that double as commentary on poetry and process. Almost every poem takes the form of a letter to an anonymous, perhaps godly, editor, describing her "manuscript," X=Pawn Capture, purportedly a "lyrical study of chess" and its effect on her family. The letters quickly digress into recollections of how the speaker's grandparents, who raised her, evaded their own emotional responsibilities--grandfather through chess and grandmother through devotion to Catholic martyrs--interspersed with scenes from a socially stunted adolescence. Beauty, time, and displacement of desire are recurrent themes, buoyed by playful and baroque descriptions reminiscent of Lisa Robertson: "Because it is not our privilege to understand the world, which is shown to us in such irritating dimensions and swatches, like the scratchy tweeds I would have preferred to the wrinkled handkerchiefs of my upbringing." The epistolary form retains its ability to surprise, perhaps because it feels like Newman's speaker is in a trance from which she suddenly snaps to, realizing that she is in the midst of composition. This is a complex, nuanced, and stimulating work.

Newman's prose poems--a series of letters to an editor regarding a book manuscript--at first glance seem a little too precious. But she quickly defies that expectation with this haunting and evocative collection, her fourth. The title of the manuscript, described as a "lyrical study of chess," X = Pawn Capture, seems to pose the question, What does this symbol mean? With this query at the very heart of the book, Newman goes on to ask, How can the imagery and tropes of saints, chess, and letters to the editor accurately, or at the very least adequately, capture the essence of an experience? Like the poet's letters, this question goes unanswered, and Newman is left trying to ritualistically fill in the gaps with as many explanations and metaphors as possible. At the same time, she acknowledges that the most poetic part of poetry is the space between metaphors and images. And it is in those gaps that the reader finds enough hints to discern the shadowy beauty and pain just barely out of reach. A surprising and delightful collection. -- Sarah Hunter

Fall (Wesleyan Poetry Series)
ISBN: 0819567086

Wesleyan. 2004

This new book by award-winning author Amy Newman explores as its formal structure the 72 definitions for the word “fall.” These lovely, accessible poems span a narrative drama—from the creation of the world and the subsequent exile of its first inhabitants, through the downward movement of the human body in its surrender to illness and the world's gravitational pull, to the beauty in the descent of spent foliage in autumn.

Each definition of “fall” engenders its own poem, and the definitions serve as poem titles. Section one explores the theological sense of The Fall, and section two focuses on the present world, addressing how the blemish of that Fall—real or imagined, religious or cultural—exists in us as homesickness, physical illness, and domestic and spiritual dissolution. The third section attends to the very gesture of defining, of finding ways to name and live in a world where both the landscape and the language are vividly alive yet saturated with memory and loss.

Camera Lyrica
ISBN: 1882295242

Alice James Books. 1999

Camera Lyrica navigates the intersection between realism and naturalism, locating moment by moment--the only way it can--the artful, necessary, and always mysterious transformation that occurs between the perceiver and perceived. Amy Newman's subjects range from Audubon's drive for precision, Michelangelo's unfinished Piet, Darwin and forty-year old Barbie, to a meditation on the diversity of Type itself. With grace and dexterity, her intelligent eye dips into Catholic Mysteries, and the quiet but momentous domesticity of a backyard quince tree. Hers is a language both lush and spare, as she filters it and the world through a lucid imagination, transforming both into something beautiful, challenging, and wholly new.

Order, or Disorder (Csu Poetry Series, 48)
ISBN: 1880834170

Cleveland State University Poetry Center. 1996

"This is poetry of the first order, the work of an original, resourceful writer. The poems are passionate, they are intelligent, they are beautiful, marked equally by their haunting music and their sensuous, loss-touched images. Her language caresses and celebrates the coutours and textures of the world as body, even as it reveals an unshakable longing for something beyond it. " -- Wayne Dodd


-- ''Order, or Disorder'', Cleveland State University Poetry Center Prize in 1995 -- Fellowships in Poetry from the Ohio and Illinois Arts Councils