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Original Flamboyance

poems by Anita Sullivan

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The poems in Original Flamboyance start with a baseline assumption that flamboyance is a healthy response to well being. It occurs when strong feelings of delight or determination-in-adversity surge through the body of a living creature, who may begin to act out this set of feelings. It is usually a temporary condition, mildly comical, and offers a complex set of counter-balancing emotions when someone is in a position of trying to keep raw happiness from tumbling into chaos. In these highly original poems, birds, rats, squirrels, lions, horses, trees, spoons, waterfalls, wrecked cars, particle physics, scary dreams, and death itself all contain hidden reservoirs of flamboyance that humans might tap into if they would but recognize the codes that the poems supply. Even a single word can help you to discover—or intensify—your own original flamboyance as you break into an unauthorized giggle or mistake a bird's tummy for a map of the world.

POETRY / General

ISBN: 978-1-956056-48-8 (print; softcover; perfect bound)

LCCN: 2022947289

Released October 2022

100 pages

Author Biography

Anita Sullivan is a poet, essayist, and novelist who lives in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. She has previously published four essay collections, a novel, two poetry chapbooks, and a full-length poetry collection. She was a founding member of the poetry publishing collective in Portland, Oregon, called Airlie Press. Her first collection of essays The Seventh Dragon: The Riddle of Equal Temperament, won the Western States Book Award for creative nonfiction, and a second essay collection, The Rhythm Of It: Poetry’s Hidden Dance (Shanti Arts, 2019) was a finalist for the Montaigne Medal in conjunction with the Eric Hoffer Book Award.


“Oh, these poems. They push at the membrane of mortality. Close at hand I feel the uncertain certainty of life’s inevitable shift to something else. But these poems question the absolute dichotomy of ‘alive’ and ‘dead.’ Here, the daily ‘Inanimate’ world is porous, resonating, alive in unexpected ways, so that along with the poet, ‘I feel fresh amazement in the where of things.’ Beyond our usual definitions of what is and isn’t, there are tiny shifts of tone, glances of light and shadow, glimpses that suggest ‘more’ and ‘other.’ Poems teeter between possibilities. Sometimes these possibilities are choices. Sometimes they coexist. What seems and what actually happens, what we are and what we might be: states of being shift and overlap. They whisper to each other. What is consciousness? And when one mind grows still? What then? In answer, Anita Sullivan opens the windows and doors. ‘I jump into the hinge of light,’ she says. ‘Whatever beauty I have left to lavish / there is a peculiar mystery it may serve.’ Here in these poems are beauty and mystery, sounding each other.”
Kelly Terwilliger, author of Riddle, Fish Hook, Thorn, Key

“Peopled with birds and flowers, food, clouds, boulders, and pianos; by turns whimsical and yearning, defiant and tender, dreamlike and conversational; the meditative, questing, deeply engaging poems in Anita Sullivan's most recent collection, Original Flamboyance, testify to multiple ways of listening, of seeing, of intuiting, of granting agency and sentience to the physical world around us, of breakthrough, nourishing insights into memories of people and places, mindful that somewhere, the future is ‘blowing its inaudible horn.’
Ingrid Wendt, poet, Oregon Book Award winner, author of Evensong

“‘I know a map when I see one,’ writes Anita Sullivan in her fine new collection, Original Flamboyance. She does indeed, and guides us through a world more full of wonders than we knew, traversing landscapes as varied as the bear-haunted forests of Oregon and the intricate innards of a grand piano. These poems will open your eyes to new vistas and new possibilities.
Pepper Trail, author of Cascade-Siskiyou: Poems, finalist for the Oregon Book Award

Articles and Reviews


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