Hamline News

Su Smallen’s Double Book Launch



Join Hamline MFA ’03 alum, Su Smallen, in celebrating the release of two new books of poetry: Kinds of Snow and You This Close.

Kinds of Snow by Su Smallen
Published by Green Writers Press
Release: October 28, 2016
Poetry, 80 pages

Order the book: Available for pre-order at amazon.comin print October 7.
Any indie bookstore will be able to order the book from their distributors.

Nature provides the lexicon of Kinds of Snow. The poems negotiate many kinds of loss, metaphorically represented as kinds of snow. Classifications of snow, such as prisms, cups, columns, dendrites, and scrolls, mark places among the poems as when, in a weaving, the warp becomes visible. The title poem frames presence, meaning, memory, and erasure. Several of the poems are contained in panels like Rauschenberg’s White Paintings. As the poem “Glacier” reflects, the arc of the book is lyrical rather than narrative, “from point A to point A, no point at all.” The poem “The Last of” placed second for the Joy Harjo Poetry Award judged by Dorianne Laux. Three of the poems have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize; ten have been anthologized.  

You This Close by Su Smallen
Published by Red Dragonfly Press
Release: July 2016
Poetry, 110 pages
Order the book from the press 

You This Close is a rippling work encompassing love and water, longing and the natural world. Su Smallen wrote these poems during a residency with the St. Croix Watershed Research Station, where she learned about aquifers and diatoms from the scientists there, kindred in their curiosity about the elegant ways nature works. With imagery from the river and its creatures, the poems of You This Close are linked together with the last line of one becoming the first line of the next, making a structure that matches a kind of diatom chain. The poems are also about hope for love, addressing a beloved not yet met.


Language direct, unvarnished, luminous—a kind of gratitude shot through the work for the beauty of the place…. Su Smallen’s new poems (in Kinds of Snow), a lexicon of snow, sing with notes of grief, sorrow, joy and resilience, pondering that great Midwestern element…. I am grateful for what this talented poet brings forward: pressing with renewed trust her words onto the pages the way you step—well, through snow.
—Spencer Reece, author of The Clerk’s Tale and Road to Emmaus

(In Kinds of Snow) Smallen writes with resonant clarity…. work that beautifully marries attention and evanescence.
—Alison Hawthorne Deming, author of Genus Loci and Zoologies 

Nature inspires art with its beauty, and science with its mechanism. In You This Close, Su Smallen travels the secluded footbridge between art and science by exploring the beauty of nature’s workings as a mirror of our personal relations.
–James Almendinger, Senior Scientist, St. Croix Watershed Research Station 

To read through You This Close is to come upon a beautiful loneliness that sees “a blade of grass or a lone leaf / Touched, set to secret ringing.” Su Smallen has mastered the language of suggestion, intricately weaving endings with beginnings, longing with resonance as she proceeds with “wild caution.” This is an intimate and lovely book; it winds and unwinds itself in the reader’s heart long after it charms the ear.
–Joyce Sutphen, Minnesota Poet Laureate, Modern Love and Other Myths  


Oct 21. Reading with Elizabeth di Grazia, 7 pm
Klas Center, Hamline University, St. Paul.
Su will be reading from Kinds of Snow and Elizabeth will be reading from House of Fire.

Oct 24. Su Smallen’s Double Book Launch, 7 pm
The Republic (on seven corners), Minneapolis. 

Celebrate the publication of two books by Su Smallen: Kinds of Snow and You This Close
Doors open at 7, reading at 7:30.
Food and drink to buy off the menu. Live music by The House of Hello.

Both books will be for sale at the reading.

Nov 12. Chapter2Books Meet and Greet, 1-3 pm, Hastings.

Dec 8. Reading at Subtext Books, 7 pm.
With Margaret Hasse, Athena Kildegaard, and Tim Nolan.  


Su Smallen is the author of six collections of poetry. Her first collection, Weight of Light, was nominated for the Pushcart Press Editor’s Book Award, and Buddha, Proof was a Minnesota Book Award Finalist. Su was awarded the Jane Kenyon Poetry Prize, fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center and the Jerome Foundation/Tofte Lake Center, and a residency with the St. Croix Watershed Research Station. With Laurel Poetry Collective, she published books and broadsides for ten years. Su was a professional choreographer and dancer, and her poetry has served as scores for dance and film, including Miracle of the Spring. She works as a production editor with the science publisher Annual Reviews and in private practice with writers in many disciplines.

Like Su's facebook author page: @susmallenauthor
Visit the author at her site: susmallen.com