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Bicycle Lotus

December 9, 2015


“Backer is within and without tradition, conversing with William Carlos Williams, Coyote, and prison inmates, and saying nothing that all of them can’t understand.” Eric Paul Shaffer, author of Lahaina Noon


There are no observers in the food chain. Like it or not, we’re in nature and nature is in us. So, what do we do about that? In this hybrid collection of poetry and short essays presented as a chronological narrative, Sara Backer explores the choices we make to embrace and reject the wild world. Backer shows us this is not easy, and when insight arrives, awareness becomes a demanding and never-ending job. If you pay close attention, though, the rewards are spectacular.


This chapbook won the 2015 Turtle Island Poetry Award. According to Turtle Island editor Jared Smith, “This is what a chapbook should be all about—a precise and mind expanding voyage into a state of mind that could not be entered into through a longer work—and yet contains more than any work of similar size possibly could.”



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Sara Backer

Sara Backer has lived in Costa Rica, Japan, and both coasts of the United States. She earned an M.A. in English from the University of California at Davis and an M.F.A. in Poetry from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has published a novel, American Fuji (Penguin Putnam), and two poetry chapbooks: Bicycle Lotus (Left Fork) which won the Turtle Island Poetry Award, and Scavenger Hunt (dancing girl press). Her writing has been honored with fellowships from the Djerassi and Norton Island artist residency programs. She lives in the woods of the Merrimack River watershed, teaches at UMass Lowell, and leads reading groups at a men’s prison. Her website is sarabacker.com.