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Poems by Stuart Friebert

“How direct and fierce Stuart Friebert’s poems are. His collection Floating Heart draws from the reservoir of memory re-lived and re-suffered. Unsparing and searching, shining with lucidity, attentive to both the anguish of history and the intimacies of singular lives, these extraordinary poems are pinpoint precise. They let us know that some wounds do not close but remain open as proof of how fully alive we must be for the sake of what matters most. How clear-headed these poems are in their authority. They remind us of the dignity that inheres in telling the truth.”—LEE UPTON, Author of Undid in the Land of Undone and The Tao of Humiliation

“Stuart Friebert’s poems are not afraid to risk the prosaic; just when the reader may think they settle into narrative familiarity, they take sudden, unanticipated turns. Dreamlike shifts occur, and unconscious insights surface, often disruptively. Marked by bleak humor and imaginative audacity, the poems mirror our least understood and darkest possibilities in ways that surprise, delight, and perturb. The range of subjects and tones is remarkable, as is the willingness to let the subject shape the poem and take both poet and reader to unexpected places.—DAVID YOUNG, Author of Field of Light and Shadow: Selected and New Poems

“Part fable, more than a dash of grit, always sane and wryly out there, these poems astonish, refiguring world and its grief in exact startling ways. I admit it: I love this work, thinking how those ‘little xxxes’ at the end of letters really are ‘curiously still,’ how ‘it-bits of blackness … learn to be lightning,’ how childhood never stops, how we age and die and keep. Somewhere in this book, Voltaire is screaming. Then there’s Kafka on a train in Prague who ‘smiles. He doesn’t seem to give a damn.’ But haunted as he is, Friebert does and does, unto pleasure and rare surprise.”—MARIANNE BORUCH, Author of Cadaver, Speak

Born in Wisconsin, STUART FRIEBERT spent an undergraduate year in Germany as one of the first U.S. exchange students after WWII, after which he finished a B.A. at Wisconsin State College/Milwaukee and took an M.A. and a Ph.D. at U. Wisconsin/Madison in German Language & Literature. He began teaching at Mt. Holyoke College, then at Harvard, and finally settled at Oberlin College, where he taught German and founded and directed Oberlin’s Creative Writing Program until retiring in 1997. Along the way, he co-founded Field Magazine, the Field Translation Series, and Oberlin College Press.
Friebert has published a­ dozen books of poems (including volumes in German), ten volumes of translations, anthologies, and more recently prose (stories, memoir pieces, and critical essays). He has held an N.E.A. Fellowship in poetry and received numerous awards for poems and translations, including the Four Way Book Award for Funeral Pie.


The Cross and the Kiss.pdf     Floating Heart.pdf     Quarter Horse Curse.pdf     On Love.pdf

April 7, 2014 A Word’s Worth Review: “This collection features poems of probity and liveliness that pay attention to the familiar and ordinary and will startle readers with their fierceness. The poems are rendered with the exactness of memory, dark humor, and a particular aptness when Friebert describes the changeability of ‘the floating heart.’” Read the Full Review.


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July 24, 2015 Ohioana Book Award Winner:
The Ohioana Library Association selected Floating Heart as the best book of poetry in Ohio. Established in 1942, the annual award honors Ohio authors. Awards will be presented at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus on October 9, 2015.

First and Last Words (2017)

Memoir & Stories:

6"x9" paperback

250 pages



Between Question & Answer (2018)

Selected Poems of Ute von Funcke, Translated by Stuart Friebert

6"x9" paperback

152 pages



Scant Hours (2018)

Selected Poems of Elisabeth Schmeidel, Translated by Stuart Friebert

6"x9" paperback

106 pages



A Double Life In Poems & Translation (2019):

6"x9" paperback

170 pages