Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Susanna Lang  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Poetry

Born: 1956 in New York City, NY

Sites:


Illinois Connection

Lang moved to Chicago after graduating from college in 1977, and has lived there ever since. She has taught in the Chicago Public Schools since 1992.

Biographical and Professional Information

Susanna Lang’s most recent collection of poems, ''Travel Notes from the River Styx'', was released in June 2017 by Terrapin Books. Other collections include ''Tracing the Lines'' (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2013) and ''Even Now'' (The Backwaters Press, 2008) as well as a chapbook, ''Two by Two'' (Finishing Line Press, 2011). A two-time Hambidge fellow and a recipient of the Emerging Writers Fellowship from the Bethesda Writer’s Center, she has published original poems and translations from the French in such journals as ''Little Star'', ''Prairie Schooner'', ''december'', ''Blue Lyra Review'', ''Prime Number Magazine'' and ''Verse Daily''. Her translations of poetry by Yves Bonnefoy include ''Words in Stone'' and ''The Origin of Language''. Among her current projects is ''Self-Portraits'', a chapbook collection of ekphrastic poems focused on women across the arts.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Even Now
ISBN: 0981693601

The Backwaters Press. 2008

Remarkable first book by a seasoned Chicago poet.

Tracing the Lines
ISBN: 0983530467

Brick Road Poetry Press. 2013

What an astonishing book. Do not miss this. So much calls out to Susanna Lang, "from the back door, from the place they found on the map" - from the richest recesses and most heartbreaking locales on earth, from careful daily attention, deftly woven melodies of knowing and needing to know - you can't read these poems without becoming part of larger history, deeper community, instantly. See "Sunday, the Windows Open." See "Rice." See "Ghazal." These poems, huge in their urgency, massive in their tender care and embrace—elements intertwined as the braided loaves in "Bread." This book deserves a bow. Naomi Shihab Nye, author of You and Yours, Fuel and Words Under the Words These are the poems of someone for whom history almost always takes the form of biography, whether in the life of an ancestor or of a contemporary, whether on the streets of her beloved Chicago or those of Baghdad. For Susanna Lang, history is so intimate that every life touches our own, if we pay attention—even that of a five thousand year old woman who ate, “the same fruit / I eat every morning.” Because these poems are rendered with such honesty and compassion, we are invited not only to savor life but to revere it. With remarkable artistry, Lang reminds us that while we may not always wish it, we belong to each other. J. Stephen Rhodes, author of The Time I Didn't Know What to Do Next Susanna Lang’s gracefully deceptive homages to rivers of ancestry and tomorrow weave complex, multi-layered narratives seamlessly, quietly. All threads quilted into dense sonic blankets rich in song and elegy. The quiet surprise, the solo dance all humans share, blurring lines of memory. Gwendolyn Brooks strove to find “the extraordinary in the ordinary.” Lang mines the personal and historical geographies of a global citizenry, our collective missteps and buried laughter. Lang observes the tenuous ritual of living and our struggle to make sense of it, somehow. These are the incessant muted pleas of hope in endless wartime, whether the enemy is nature, ideology or self. This is a sensuous, effervescent collection. Quraysh Ali Lansana, author of mystic turf and Our Difficult Sunlight: A Guide to Poetry, Literacy, & Social Justice in Classroom & Community

Travel Notes from the River Styx
ISBN: 0998215902

Terrapin Books. 2017

In the earnest and beautiful Travel Notes from the River Styx, Susanna Lang peers into the tiny mirrors of a river's current, the mirror her father cannot see himself in, the rearview mirror in which she spies sandhill cranes on an afternoon drive as she interrogates the natural and, at times, unnatural world. The result is a collection of double images: the moon a "copper coin with the sheen worn off," "the flag [that] slips down the pole," the country where her grandmother was born once called Russia, now Ukraine. As clear in its language as it is rich in argument, there's something for everyone in Travel Notes, for travelers are exactly what this poet proclaims we are. It's impossible to read this collection without wondering what doubles wait/lurk/reside beneath the skin of our bodies and of our world.

--Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum


Awards

-- *Illinois Arts Council, ''poem: "Gould's Art of the Fugue"''

-- *Honorable Mention, Jane's Stories Project, ''poem: "Last Days"''

-- *Inkwell Poetry Competition, ''poem: "Condemned"''

-- *Pushcart Prize nomination, ''poem: "My Mother's Names for Me"''

-- *Emerging Writer's Fellowship from the Writer's Center (Bethesda, MD), ''selection of poems''

-- *2015 and 2010: Awarded residencies at The Hambidge Center, Georgia

-- *2015: “Distilled” and “Cooling Off in the Pavilion of Being Stripped Naked” nominated for a Pushcart Prize

-- *2015: Prime Number Magazine, First Prize for Poetry, for “Romance"

-- *2014: Prize for Longish Poem from Blue Lyra Review, for “The Long Way Back.”

-- *2012: Consequence Prize for “Ephemeral.”