the Homelessness of Self

ISBN 978-0-9725384-1-1
About 96 pages, 6" x 9",
perfect bound paperback.
Price: $16
Arctos Press




the Homelessness of Self

the Homelessness of Self



as dusty scales on butterfly wings
refuse to stick in a spider's web

as egrets sprout fans of nuptial
plumes for the nesting season

as shadowy heartbeats alert
a shark to the presence of fish

so I in some alternate universe
will forever be curious yet true

Poem by Susan Terris from "the Homelessness of Self."


Moonraker reef, salt-glazed lips,
And sea pearls wash ashore.

Weave pearls and eel grass, hear wind-
Whine. Shape-shift in an ocean cave.

Where waters were wine-stained and
Enchanted, Odysseus changed skin.

But this is globed glass — circle of myth
Where sand and stars intermingle.

Sometimes a man can't bear the sky,
So struggle. What's left won't be saved.

Treasure isn't free, and pearls will reel,
Abrade, return to grains of sand.

Poem by Susan Terris from "the Homelessness of Self."


Susan Terris teases out the terror of the everyday, the elegies for all our lost selves. And yet, in their immense range and variety, their wildness and dangerousness, these poems are finally suffused with poignancy and compassion. Susan Terris is a true original, a remarkable, remarkable poet.
– Ronald Wallace

As the whorls of a fingerprint mark a singular identity, so with the poems of Susan Terris, whose twisting, whirling lines trace the dissolving trail of a restless self, obsessed, unmoored, "lines of uncertainty arrowing off in all directions." Hers is a stinging insight, a high energy, diamond-hard compression; a mind unsatisfied, meteoric, myth-seeking, voicing our contemporary "age of un-innocence," unable to believe in what it needs.
– Eleanor Wilner

"Sometimes safety is unbearable," declares one of these sharp, and sharpened, poems — it's a theme that informs the whole collection, as its many voices, all equally sure, equally exacting and precise, take stock of the real situation of the women Terris sees around her. In her intimate social examination, Terris also does something entirely new with the confessional poem, opening it to previously unexplored territory with her vivid, idiosyncratic language and hauntingly honest imagery. The whole is eye-opening and refreshingly frank.
– Cole Swensen