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Francine Sterle—What Thread?

About the Book: 

What Thread? invites readers to participate in the shared experience of loss—the destabilization when grief overwhelms us, the struggle to express the inexpressible, and the labyrinthine journey we all take as we stumble toward acceptance. From the labyrinths of ancient times to the kōans of Buddhist practice to the northern landscape in which poet Francine Sterle lives, these dazzling poems move back and forth from private elegy toward quest and question, offering breadth and resonance to a journey no one is spared. Throughout, Sterle reminds us of the need to challenge our own perceptions and embrace a new approach in order to move forward toward an emotional resurrection.

What Thread? is the Winner of the David Martinson—Meadowhawk Prize

About the Author: 

A native of Minnesota, Francine Sterle holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in poetry from Warren Wilson College and is author of Nude in Winter, Every Bird is One Bird, and The White Bridge. Her poems have appeared in such journals as Ploughshares and Poetry International and have been anthologized in many collections. Her awards include ten Pushcart Prize nominations, a Los Angeles Times Book of the Year nomination, a Loft-McKnight Foundation Award, a Jerome Travel and Study Grant, a Lake Superior Contemporary Writers Award, and Fellowship Grants and Career Opportunity Grants from both the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council and the Minnesota State Arts Board.

Praise for What Thread?

“Francine Sterle’s passionate poems answer, in the luminous lines of her sentient language, the question of her title: what thread will trace a path through the dark, bewildering labyrinth of grief. She is that rare poet with direct access to the echoing, intricate landscapes of the psyche’s deep interior, an immersion that leads her, together with invoking the sages of the East, to emerge, ‘after all of this,’ into an enlightened space, open in every direction.”—Eleanor Wilner

"What terrifically subtle, nuanced and elegant poems these are. And they are brave—they address the big subjects, and risk sentimentality without slipping into it. I am completely taken with the poems in—Jane Mead

"Francine Sterle's poems are beautiful and wise, lightly hermetic, recalling Dickinson's in their lack of detailed narrative and Merwin's in their classical and Eastern influences. The sequences are impressive—they keep going deeper and deeper while diction remains spare yet eloquent. Terrific." —Michael Waters

“The idea of loss threads throughout the book, and Sterle’s use of fragments allows her to create poems that are compelling in their shape as well as their content. Some poems fall down the page like a waterfall, while others are cleaved by white space. These formal interventions force the reader to slow down and contemplate, much like a student puzzling over a kōan.”— Elizabeth Hoover, Minneapolis Star Tribune