Somebody's alone in his head, somebody's a kid, somebody's arm's getting twisted—a sandwich flies apart, tomatoes torn, white bread flung, then smeared with shit and handed back to eat—I dog dare you, I double dog dare you... Somebody's watching little shit friends watch little shit him climb to the
Tom Sleigh was born in Mount Pleasant, Texas. He attended the California Institute of the Arts and Evergreen State College, and earned an MA from Johns Hopkins University. Sleigh is the author of several books of poetry; his most recent collections include Army Cats (Graywolf Press, 2011), winner of the John Updike Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and Space Walk (Houghton Mifflin, 2007), winner of the Kingsley Tufts Award. His latest book, Station Zed, was published by Graywolf Press in 2015. He has also published a translation of Euripides's Herakles and a book of essays, Interview With a Ghost (Graywolf Press, 2006).
Widely anthologized, his poems and prose have appeared in The New Yorker, Virginia Quarterly Review, Poetry, American Poetry Review, Yale Review, Threepenny, The Village Voice, and other literary magazines, as well as The Best of the Best American Poetry (Scribner, 2013), The Best American Poetry, The Best American Travel Writing, and The Pushcart Anthology.
About Sleigh's work, the poet Philip Levine wrote in Ploughshares: "Sleigh's reviewers use words such as 'adept,' 'elegant,' and 'classical.' Reading his new book, I find all those terms beside the point, even though not one is inaccurate. I am struck by the human dramas that are enacted in these poems, the deep encounters that often shatter the participants and occasionally restore them. What delights me most is seeing a poet of his accomplishments and his large and well-earned reputation suddenly veer into a new arena of both our daily and our mythical lives. For the writer, such daring may be its own reward; for the reader, it is thrilling to overhear a writer pushing into greatness."
Seamus Heaney has said of Sleigh’s poems: "Tom Sleigh’s poetry is hard-earned and well founded. I great admire the way it refuses to cut emotional corners and yet achieves a sense of lyric absolution."
Sleigh has received the Shelley Prize from the Poetry Society of America, an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, an Individual Writer's Award from the Lila Wallace/Reader's Digest Fund, and fellowships from the American Academy in Berlin, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts, among many others. He is a Distinguished Professor in the MFA program at Hunter College and lives in Brooklyn.
A Selected Bibliography
Station Zed (Graywolf Press, 2015)
Army Cats (Graywolf Press, 2011)
Space Walk (Houghton Mifflin, 2007)
Far Side of the Earth (Houghton Mifflin, 2003)
The Dreamhouse (University of Chicago Press, 1999)
The Chain (University of Chicago Press, 1996)
Waking (University of Chicago Press, 1990)
After One (Houghton Mifflin, 1983)
Interview With a Ghost (Graywolf Press, 2006)
Herakles by Euripides (Oxford University Press, 2000)