The Hartford Book
Samuel Amadon is the author of Like a Sea, winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize, and The Hartford Book from Cleveland State University Poetry Center. His poems have appeared in A Public Space, American Poetry Review, Boston Review, The New Yorker, Ploughshares, Tin House, and elsewhere. He is the author of four chapbooks, including Each H from Ugly Duckling Presse. He regularly reviews poetry in places such as The Believer, Boston Review, Lana Turner: a journal of poetry and opinion, and Rain Taxi. A poetry editor for Gulf Coast from 2009-2011, he also co-founded the chapbook press Projective Industries. He received his M.F.A. from Columbia University in 2007. While in New York, he curated the Frequency Reading Series in Greenwich Village with Shafer Hall and worked for the Poetry Society of America. Recipient of a fellowship from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, he has been awarded the Carol Houck Smith Scholarship in Poetry from the Bread Loaf Writers Conference and the Lucille Joy Prize in Poetry from Inprint Houston. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Houston, and lives in Columbia, SC, where he is an Assistant Professor at the University of South Carolina.
“These poems are street-smart, buoyantly lyrical, and they possess something beautiful and permanent at their core. Samuel Amadon does for Hartford what Koch, Schuyler and O’ Hara have done for New York City.” –Tracy K. Smith
“Most poetry written in what might be called the vernacular is evidently a stunt, and we soon weary of such prowess. Sam Amadon has no such self-congratulatory purpose; his speech is helplessly frank in its high and low spirits:
My parents thought they’d keep me safe
by sticking me in a private school,
but Hartford works its way in no matter
what you learn & this winter
I’ve come to know the worst people
the city has in it…
The poet is one of them, and suffers as much as any chronicler since Clough for his own pathetic (even ghastly) powers of presence: this is not memoir, it is confession, the speaker is on the rack and only timidly aware of the torture he cannot help wreaking. Our poetry will never be the same now Amadon has spoken, our language can be entirely different. Happily for us.” –Richard Howard
“Mesmerizing as well as desperate, a wild-eyed tour of a lesser hell. Amadon claims these poems are almost entirely true—if so, God help him, the truth has been transformed into poetry. Sam Amadon—even his name (like Jack Kerouac) is a song. Sing it.” –Nick Flynn
Cleveland State University Poetry Center
Amadon, Samuel, "The Hartford Book" (2012). CSU Poetry Center Books. 66.