Praise for Nude in Winter
"The poetry of Francine Sterle is as memorable as it is unique, as superbly crafted as it is lyrical. “Nude In Winter” will prove to be a welcome introduction to one of the most distinctive voices in American poetry today. ‘The Uncertainty of the Poet: Giorgio de Chirico”: Near the dark arches of the arcade,/a headless, plaster torso of a woman./By her dimpled hip, two dozen/green and yellow bruised bananas.//Off in the distance,/a train with its ample banner of steam/speeds left into oblivion. Menacing,/monumental shadows master what we see./Wait: the wish of reason is revered./The poet aims her words at what’s unworded,/startled by the horizon’s vaporous wall."
–Margaret Lane, Midwest Book Review
“Intimate, immediate, dappled with knowledge, authoritative of voice and music, what most distinguishes Francine Sterle’s collection of ekphrastic poems is its fierce muscularity, the active originality of these descriptions. The brushwork of mind and tongue is called forward by firmly recognizable paintings and sculptures, but the outcome is something newly made and seen.”
“‘The body is entitled to some lyricism,’ Francine Sterle insists in a series of ekphrastic poems that deepen into ‘sumptuous facades’ so that they might attempt ‘more than learning to see.’ If ‘Ingres believes that the only way to possess a woman / was to paint her,’ Sterle believes that passionate lyric engagement might be a means of possessing these paintings. ‘Touched by the erotic,’ her poems gather into a gallery unlike any other, a museum of Sterle’s own making in which ‘The poet aims her words at what’s unworded’ to cast light upon the divine, sometimes lascivious, and always ‘exquisite curves’ of creation.”
“In these luminous poems, Francine Sterle transforms the act of seeing into a moral and imaginative act, in which she reveals far more than meets the eye. Quiet though they are, they teem with characters, with drama, with the profoundly mysterious connection between artist, subject, time and place. This is a deeply engaging book that I hope will be read not only by poets but by artists–in fact, by anyone interested in the ay the mind finds its expression through the hand.”
“Francine Sterle’s lucid and prismatic book is an art gallery made of words. Nude in Winter exemplifies the way poetry can restore the static image to the realm of time, where it can move and breathe. Sterle’s poems also lead us from what we can see to what cannot be seen, from the tangible world to the inner life. Attuned to both the erotic and the spiritual, this is a beautiful book.”
“Protean, visceral, visionary: Francine Sterle is ‘the poet [who] aims her words at what’s unworded.’ Entering work after work of art, she releases ‘the pressure of concealment’ in what is mute to reveal the ‘determining forces,’ ‘the buried grains of regret,’ ‘the geology of grief.’ Her loving eye embeds itself in the matter it illuminates, unafraid of what it sees, and ‘radiance/breaks through the darkened heart.’”
Praise for Every Bird is One Bird
“Here is a poetry of hope ‘with a bruised hue,’ of grace placed exactly in its right residence, amid the real . . . . Francine Sterle’s language brings forth this carefully observed world with a precise and almost electrical fragrance. Her poems inform, illumine, and sustain this human life we share with the wider life of being.”
“In the inspiriting poetry of Francine Sterle, the natural world––in its abundance and destitution––becomes the habitat of the sentient heart, where ‘self and subject merge.’ Her protean vision goes beyond the usual borders, reaching those transformative headwaters where ‘every bird is one bird’––the very source of song.”
“An abundant and luminous patience informs these poems by one who would ‘wait all day if I must / for the sedge and the spruce and the sage,’ that final, perfect word–sage– intimating wisdom gleaned through nature . . . .”
"The world hurts us, then redeems us, this audacious volume teaches. But we must wait, surrendering to the spiritual truths embedded in Nature which Sterle, as field guide, numbers and enscribes for us. How often I think of Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman reading these finely crafted poems: for Sterle, too, the world is a text where the ordinary is at every moment extraordinary."
Praise for The White Bridge
“Her work glows with a steady pulse and it is that pulse that takes you from the first line and pulls you to the end of the poem…Her love poem "The Hive," a love song thick with honey and bees as metaphors is a small masterpiece…The pace is like a bee nuzzling pollen in the center of rose. . . . Sterle is sexy and wild, intelligent, even wise; she is purposeful and the work is skillfully rendered. The poems resonate.”
––Helen Ruggieri, Small Press Review
“Clarity and economy of image. Fierce intelligence. Diction that flenses the language, strips it of the glitter of ornament and the muddle of unexamined association.”
––J.C. Todd, The Drunken Boat
"Reality arrives synecdochically, in sharply limned phenomena and events that act as object lessons . . . . As poet and observer Sterle makes the poem and remakes the world by apprehending the actuality of both, assured that they both cohere meaningfully even if only by virtue of their particularity, by mere fact that they are real. Her sensible, compactly written lyrics build upon traditions of meditative and investigative poetry ranging from the Koran to Sylvia Plath . . ."
––Catherine Daly, Boston Review