Tom Sleigh

b. 1953
Tom Sleigh

Tom Sleigh is the author of more than half a dozen volumes of poetry. Space Walk (2007) won the 2008 Kingsley Tufts Award and earned Sleigh considerable critical acclaim. Referring to this collection, poet Philip Levine noted, “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.”

Sleigh has also received the Shelley Award from the Poetry Society of America, an Individual Writer’s Award from the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund, a Guggenheim grant, two National Endowment for the Arts grants, and an Academy Award from the Academy of American Poets.

In discussing his influences, Sleigh lists “Browning for his technique; Wallace Stevens for a certain quality of gravitas, what Keats feels near his death, when he said he was living a sort of posthumous existence; Philip Larkin for his sense of extremity; Pound for his fluidity of conception and hardness of execution; Baudelaire for his music and intense scrutiny and affection for street life; and Bishop and Lowell for their immersion in the physical world.”

As a dramatist, Sleigh has written several critically acclaimed plays, a multimedia opera, and a full-length translation of Euripides’ Herakles (2001). His prose collection Interview with a Ghost (2006) includes both literary and personal essays.

Sleigh has taught at Dartmouth College, the University of Iowa, UC Berkeley, Johns Hopkins University, New York University, and Hunter College.

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    Tom Sleigh reads his poems "Fable" and "Space Station."

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POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

LIFE SPAN 1953–

Tom Sleigh

Biography

Tom Sleigh is the author of more than half a dozen volumes of poetry. Space Walk (2007) won the 2008 Kingsley Tufts Award and earned Sleigh considerable critical acclaim. Referring to this collection, poet Philip Levine noted, “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 . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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