Acclaimed poet Tony Hoagland says that “Dana Roeser’s lanky poems are neck-deep in life, and relentlessly intent on learning the truth. She has her own charming and muscular prosody; she tells lively, moving stories; but it is the determined persistence of their very human speaker which drives the poems.” Rodney Jones, recent winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Prize, says that her “overarching theme is individual, feminist, contemporary: how does a woman know herself apart from convention and duty?” Dana Roeser delivers to us a world filled with cars breaking down, young children throwing up, a mother dying, women in their underwire bras getting struck by lightning—all the usual, casual, catastrophic events of our lives folded together with other foreign objects into a child’s crazy King Cake.
Dana Roeser is the author of three books of poetry: Beautiful Motion (2004) and In the Truth Room (2008), both winners of the Samuel French Morse Prize, and The Theme of Tonight’s Party Has Been Changed, winner of the Juniper Prize and forthcoming from University of Massachusetts Press in March 2014. To purchase Beautiful Motion or In the Truth Room, click the links at the bottom of this page.
She has been the recipient of an NEA fellowship, the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award, and the Jenny McKean Moore Writer-in-Washington Fellowship. Her poems have appeared in The Iowa Review, Harvard Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Antioch Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Laurel Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Massachusetts Review, Prairie Schooner, Southern Review, Northwest Review, POOL, Shenandoah, Sou’wester, and other journals, as well as on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily.
Roeser has received fellowships for residencies at Yaddo, Ragdale, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Le Moulin à Nef (VCCA France), St. James Cavalier Centre for Creativity (Valletta, Malta) (VCCA International Exchange), and Mary Anderson Center for the Arts.
In the Truth Room
“Dana Roeser’s second collection, In the Truth Room, is a face-to-face with those propulsive forces that shape contemporary life: the push and pull of a difficult marriage, raising children, the deaths of parents and friends. An eye for poignant detail and a gift for seeing the metaphorical possibilities of the everyday characterize Roeser’s best work. Throughout In the Truth Room, the reader feels the pressure of autobiography, the poet’s lived experience, conveyed by a persona who is at once familiar and fresh.”
MacDonald, Catherine. “Making a Map of the River, by Thorpe Moeckel, and In the Truth Room, by Dana Roeser.” Blackbird 8:1 (Spring 2009). www.blackbird.vcu.edu
Winner of the 2008 Morse Poetry Prize
“These poems are ultimately triumphant in the face of loss, rejecting expected pity and bitterness in favor of a languishing in everyday details. As an alternative to narrative and logic, these poems are your childhood friends who have linked arms and make a joint effort to walk side-by-side, thoughtless of anything that might prevent their journey and thus, triumphant over any obstacle. The only possible threat to their success is a thoughtless reader. Like all associative poems, diligence is required; after all these are not your associations but those of another you are following. But your diligence will be rewarded handsomely; Roeser’s slippery slope line breaks, as well as the frequent joy and celebration in these lines, will make you glad you came along.”
Winner of the 2004 Samuel French Morse Poetry Prize