Sleeper / Ioanna Carlsen



poems by

Ioanna Carlsen

~40 pages, $12 (+ shipping)

Release Date: June 3, 2020


Ioanna Carlsen has an MA in Linguistics from the University of Illinois; her poems and stories have appeared Poetry, Agni, Beloit Poetry Review, Alaska Quarterly Review and many other literary magazines She lives in the country outside Santa Fe, New Mexico with her husband, a lawyer who designed their house and gardens, and two dogs. She weaves chair seats and repairs furniture for a living and sells books online. She has two children who live in Santa Fe, Clea, a ceramic sculptress and a son, Tasio, who works on computers. She has recently won the Off the Grid Press Poetry Contest.

Another intriguing collection by Ioanna Carlsen. It should come as no surprise that Carlsen’s first language is Greek. She is a master of the Classics, transferring a deep understanding of myth and producing her own, as in “The body is asleep, light opens the door.” Her poems on the subjects of insomnia, memory, death, and family are strikingly original. “I never understood I married/ distance so I could be close to/ you.” Be prepared to be astonished. ~Mary Morris, author of Enter Water, Swimmer

Longing without End

(John Berger)


When I know sleep is a gamble
and lose it—

or worse, win
but wake in the middle of the night,
dropped out of solid air
onto solid ground,
I long for a dream, the
lake all truth drowns in,
mirror of the world,
galaxies under water,
the milky way we swim,
down, down, down–

I have an attack of longing, a thing that
happens only while you live…

“On these islands,” as Aeschylus said,
“there’s nothing but marble and goats and kings.”
These, the very islands where longing ends.



Autumnal Air


After the bright fruit, the
red berries exposed on the
road of a squirrel turned
inside out into the nether
air of autumn,

sitting beside you facing
the same direction,
holding your hand,
I understand you as a
caged animal excluded
from the subtler air
of freedom by this
particular life.

The air spangles
with individual atoms of dust,
so that I see
closely what is
usually far— this
new distance in

your hand slipping out of
reach, I guess who you are.



I Never Have Time


I never have time for
anyone but you,
for you, I make time out
of nothing.
Whenever I get where you are

you barely turn toward me,
your finger tapping on a table;
you look at me, if you look at
me at all, with a disdain so
familiar it warms me.

My conversations on these
occasions are always only
attempts; I’m never sure what
interests you. It’s as if you were
taking me where we are going for
the first time,

but when we get there
it’s always the same,
it’s always where we’ve
already been,
this place

where you leave
and I stay behind.