Svoboda_Big War_Cover_978-1-934695-45-6.jpg

When the Next Big War Blows Down the Valley: Selected and New Poems


Available November 1, 2015

What a cause for celebration: an extended visit to Terese Svoboda’s expansive and piercing vision, in which curiosity collides with critique and sparks wisdom, ignites wonder. The unsettling dynamics of family, the anxieties of global politics, and the surprising encounters with the architecture of everyday life shape “the membrane of lived moments” of this fierce and formidable book.

When the Next Big War Blows Down the Valley may be a place where “every word from everyone hurts,” but take solace, dear reader, Svoboda will turn each ache into an exquisite tune.                                                      —Rigoberto González


Praise for the poetry of Terese Svoboda

Terese Svoboda’s poetry is at once so remarkably precise and utterly strange I find my mind marrying her vision with vertigo and delight. Her Selected and New is not just a treasure trove: it’s a must-have for any serious reader of poetry. Dive in! I’ll be waiting for you in the “Marriage Boat” where Svoboda’s gulls scream, “Flesh! Flesh!”                                                                                                —Cate Marvin


There are writers you would be tempted to read regardless of the setting or the period or the plot or even the genre. … Terese Svoboda is one of those writers.           

                                                                        — Bloomsbury Review

 Language at the edge of utterance, utterly original.           — Eleanor Wilner

 These poems take you on a wild ride, fast and dangerous, but always in control

                                                                        — Tom Lux

 All Aberration ... is refreshingly unfashionable, strikingly written, and suffused with toughness  and integrity.                                         — Robert Levy, Prairie Schooner 

For readers who prefer the chill of a dry martini.   — Library Journal.

Ironical, tough-minded, refusing the “treason” of our sad human trafficking in love.

                                                                        — Carol Muske-Dukes, L.A. Times

Svoboda’s poems are as haunting as they are funny, as pleasurable as they are powerful.                                                                           —Publisher’s Weekly


Poems from When the Next Big War Blows Down the Valley: Selected and New Poems

Fuel Adieu!

Once, living as a seal,

I leapt the margins of waves

into sunsets made green by lichen.


You buy that? The tiny plants,

the angle of the sun, the seal?

Atlantic City tidies itself


into the margins of waves

nobody watches or they’d

miss their dice roll. If you


lichen on Facebook the box

unlichens, living living living

on margins really singular


for the green electricity

that meets its demand, the seal

no-friended on account of


gamboling on lichen — it could be

algae without the fuel —

and myself an impersonator,


a drop of oil in the shape

of the surface gasping

for what I can get,


a sunset, a wave, a lorgnette

to see the cards being dealt.

I can swim into the sunset


anthropomorphized or not,

the margins set regardless

of perspective, the seal


sunk, the lichen changed

into phosphorescence

as if a wave goodbye.


Adieu! the seal says with its tail,

an extension of its waist. The waves

okay that, the sun likes.




Bridge, Mother

Mother burns on the other side of the bridge.

Mother burns the bridge and is safe on the other side.

Mother is not on the bridge when it burns.

When Mother says burn, the bridge burns.

We can’t get to the other side,

the bridge is burning.


Mother is the bridge that we burn.

She is how we get to the other side.

We can’t burn the bridge without her.

Mother burns and we burn, bridge or no bridge.

She is the other side.

Nothing burns the bridge, and then it burns.


All The Livelong Day

                                     The train loses track.

Crime, your sweetheart, makes me

look good anyway. I’m outstretched,


            the girl given. Who tied my bonds?

This is a New Year,

people swig

                        on the sidelines, people

                        turn away.

                                                Gawd, I say.


There’s a couple more like us,

            they come out of my body while

                        I wait, choo-choo,


hugging the course, the bend gravy,

the bed heroic, someone sawing

                                                at the bonds,

            cinders swirling at

            a cow caught on the catcher,

            bearing down.


O fingers, faster.

                                    No one will remember

            my name or yours, only

                                                            the humming, the talk-

            into-the-distance song, and Crime’s,


all the livelong day.

Add To Cart
Svoboda_Big War_Cover_978-1-934695-45-6.jpg