Recently Published by Two Sylvias Press . . .

Advance Praise for All Transparent Things Need Thundershirts . . .

“Dana Roeser’s voice—hilarious, tragic, musical, transcendent—announces itself in the title of this collection, and in every line to follow. This is work that is deceptively skilled, written by a poet with a sure hand, a sense of comic timing as well as of the abrupt, stabbing surprise, with an ear for the music of our language and mastery of her poetry’s artwork—precisely intricate, finely wrought, and so purely achieved that it becomes as transparent as all things magically invisible but vibrantly animate, echoing and mocking and illuminating the transparencies of this collection’s title. To read this poetry is to appreciate not only the talent of this poet, but to feel renewed in one’s faith in poetry itself.”—Laura Kasischke


Also Available . . .

The Theme of Tonight’s Party Has Been Changed.

Winner of the 2014 Juniper Prize for Poetry

“Dana Roeser’s The Theme of Tonight’s Party Has Been Changed is a tour de force, a book of startling, almost dizzying, juxtapositions, wide in scope and deep in feeling. Roeser’s poems remind me a little of A.R. Ammons’s, concerned as they are with mirroring the rapid, unpredictable movement of the mind as it finds similarity in dissimilarity, always the poet’s task. The pleasure in reading these poems may be in the way they both amuse and alarm as they capture the texture and split focus of contemporary experience where two, three, or four things must be held in the mind simultaneously, often at the poet’s peril. I admire the honesty of these poems, their craft, risk-taking, and seriousness. No poet I can think of writes better about the anxiety that fuels modern life.”—Elizabeth Spires

“These poems drew me in, kept me listening, with their sharp incidents, their quick-stitched lines, their methods of connecting disparate memories: they are conversations, remembered monologues, places of ordinary terror—wind farms and sand dunes in middle America, a beach abroad and a Target near home, where ‘a fan, a// hair dryer, an air-conditioner,’ ‘random cheap household/ items’ betoken exceptional sadness. Roeser’s long braids of quips and demotic confessions outline exceptional efforts at being an adult, at trying to be good, along with remarkable figures for them: ‘the/ layer of turbulence/ right after takeoff,’ for example, ‘that made the/ plane feel like a/ pair of metal pancake/ spatulas rubber- banded/ together, flapping/ in a high wind.’ Her paradoxically conversational lines handle extraordinary difficulties—addictions and remedies both false and true, the years-long troubles of a globetrotting daughter. But they can handle the ordinary too: here is your life, they say, cut up and reassembled with such acuity that you can put it together, can handle it, once more.”—Stephen Burt

“What I love about Dana Roeser’s poems is the way they unfold—beginning with the first glimpse; their formal or ‘razored’ look on the page—and how these energetic narratives split into complexities of rhetoric and landscape—fictions full of characters the poet presents in a full-blown orchestration of the self that is anything but ordinary or self-indulgent. Halfway through a typical Roeser poem I find my breathing has been changed—I’m that caught up in the performance and the story. There is a plushly confessional core to the poems, and yet the self-deprecating humor and the velocity—I’d call this Roeser’s Voice—save them from any possibility of bathos. Instead, I end up feeling moved beyond measure by this poet’s spirit, as reflected in the poems, in the face of failures and unrelenting desire. A lyric poet who writes narrative poems, Dana Roeser is a poet who transcends classification.”—David Dodd Lee

“Dana Roeser is an aficionado of fear. Radical anxiety flows into every corner of experience for this poet, and becomes a lifestyle. Desperation is daily. ‘I // wake in the dark / trying to assemble // a lexicon, / to make a coherent // line—in the dark / I scratched // words on top of each / other on a // pad by the bed / “Torture, / torture, torture.” At the time / I thought it // brilliant.’ If you find that passage thrillingly alive and nervy and funny and scary, then Dana Roeser is a poet for you to check out. She’s no smoothie, and no chicken-disjunctivist. She is an existential protester.”—Mark Halliday

“From Mass to twelve-step meetings, voodoo dolls to rosary beads, the poems in Dana Roeser’s The Theme of Tonight’s Party Has Been Changed are concerned finally with ‘the corporeal self’—vulnerable and resilient. Roeser is a poet of fierce intelligence and high creative metabolism, and there is unmistakable urgency in these narratives, the poems’ structures expansive, ‘stealthy, labyrinthine,’ and irresistible.”—Claudia Emerson

Additional Praise for The Theme of Tonight’s Party Has Been Changed . . .

Named by Library Journal as one of “Thirty Amazing Poetry Titles for Spring 2014.” Click here to read the review.

Top 10 Poetry of 2014, Baltimore City Paper

Foreword Reviews 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards Finalist

Purchase The Theme of Tonight’s Party Has Been Changed. >


In the Truth Room. Winner of the 2008 Morse Poetry Prize.

“Wry, thoughtful, brooding, navigating seamlessly between future, present and past, between subjective and outer life, 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. They keep drilling into, pushing and prying, trying to find the deepest chambers of experience, where the mystery dwells. In The Truth Room is a wonderful book by a fully-developed and original poet.”
– Tony Hoagland

“Dana Roeser’s edgy poetic voice strikes me as unlike any other.  This is urgent, vivid, unsettling poetry—one that has no time for anaesthesia or consolation.”
– Susan Wicks

“There is an impressive narrative drive in Roeser’s work, and her keenly observed, intensely given poems, sometimes leavened with humor, show a fine ear for the precise sound of language and an unerring eye for just the right detail to convince us of her truth. Hers is a strong and original voice in contemporary poetry.”
– Colette Inez

“In a time so eager to see wisdom usurped by information, it is especially wonderful to come upon poems whose every occasion shines from within: with mind, with candor and with bright consideration. Dana Roeser is one of our most truly thoughtful poets, and I rejoice in the continuing venture of her work.”
– Donald Revell

Purchase In the Truth Room. >

Review of In the Truth Room. 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


Beautiful Motion. Winner of the 2004 Samuel French Morse Poetry Prize.

“Most of what these poems record is dilemma: intractable, mistakenly-wished-for, overwhelming, unsolaced by the old Romantic verities extracted from nature or self-awareness. … Pricked and pulled by doubt, envy, tenderness, self-critique, grief, and domestic claustrophobia, Roeser’s protagonist, like the sly poet herself, seems to defeat convention by earnest failure at it. Yet these accessible, energetic poems are full of quiet insight, usually presented as minor capitulation, major consequences left understated…. What reaches the reader’s heart—through the ear, as Frost said it would—is tone: varied, candid, pitch-perfect, inscribed by syntax and lineation. In [Roeser’s] rich, undeceived catalogs of the world, we hear ‘one soul … taken by surprise.’ … Its sounds are indelible, and without precedent.”
– From the introduction by Ellen Bryant Voigt

Winner of the 2004 Samuel French Morse Poetry Prize

Purchase Beautiful Motion. >