Sunflower Brother


Sunflower Brother


Sam Witt



Sam Witt was born in Wimbledon, England and lived there until the age of seven, at which time his family moved to America, where they lived in North Carolina and then Virginia. After graduation from the University of Virginia and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Witt lived and worked as a freelance journalist in San Francisco for several years, publishing in such magazines asComputerworld, the San Francisco Chronicle, Salon and Wired. His first book of poetry, Everlasting Quail, won the Katherine Nason Bakeless First Book Prize in 2000, sponsored by Bread Loaf.Everlasting Quail was published by UPNE the following year, and he received a Fulbright Fellowship to live and write in Saint Petersburg, Russia for a year. Witt has taught at the University of Iowa, Harvard University, the University of Missouri Kansas-City, Whitman College, and other institutions. He currently teaches creative writing and expository writing at Framingham State University.

Sunflower Brother pairs a pastoral setting with images of fire, explosion, irradiation, and burning; both sets of images are equal parts creation and destruction. Witt’s voice always feels fresh from and flushed with loss and his elegies—poems written for the dead—not only acknowledge death and limitation but try to reinvest the mourning self with life. The result can be both beautiful and direct, whether the poet addresses a deceased relative, or speaks more generally to what he perceives as our decaying world. Often it sounds more like Witt’s been reading Keats than anything from his own century.” –Katie Peterson

“Sam Witt confesses, ‘The truth is, // I love the world. / Sometimes part of me even loves / what we’ve done to it.’ Witt loves our world hard, and what he does for it is to fashion a language, sad and bitter but tough and full of sunflowers, that shows us a way to love it, too. This is poetry for strong readers.” –Robert E. McDonough

“Sam Witt’s poems are rhapsody and ‘crisp singing’ both. The best are purest poetry—mixing beauty, the reaches of language, and an imagination equally made up of body and grace. He speaks in all our tones. His equivalences are fresh and reveal an involved, likable world.” –Carol Frost

More Information:

Sam Witt Website


From the Fishouse


Boston Review



Publication Date



Cleveland State University Poetry Center





Sunflower Brother