I’ve been a lucky person in that I’ve found myself unable to keep from not making money all my adult life –- hence I’ve been able to write, garden, travel, translate, and continue my childhood habit of escaping into the woods at every opportunity. After tuning pianos all over the country: Virginia, South Carolina, New Mexico, and Oregon I wrote a book on the philosophy of piano tuning The Seventh Dragon: The Riddle of Equal Temperament, which won the 1986 Western States Book Award for creative nonfiction. The second edition was published in 2005. In 2008 I published a travel essay book Ikaria: A Love Odyssey on a Greek Island (Pearn & Associates, Boulder, CO), and a poetry chapbook The Middle Window (Traprock Books, Eugene, OR). I earned an MFA in poetry from Pacific Lutheran University’s Rainier Writing Workshop in 2008, and I’m a founding member of Airlie Press.
Anita just completed a third collection of essays, which includes a selection of her best broadcasts about piano tuning from NPR’s Performance Today, a fantasy novel that takes place on the island of Ikaria, and she is putting the final touches on a chapbook of poems.
Anita Sullivan’s Garden of Beasts is lyric, intelligent, flamboyant, and wonderfully well-made. Best of all, it contains a rare kind of intuitive courage. Sentences are “cracked open” to reveal “an adoration of mountains/at dusk,” a performance of a Saint-Saens composition transports us to “the beginning of the world, before glass.” In a time when so many books are satisfied with describing a world, Garden of Beasts works to transport us to one we couldn’t otherwise have known.
Anita Sullivan’s poems are not message so much as music. She magically reveals “How recklessly we live here in western Oregon/amid dark hills that move like mastodons/. . .loping beside the highway with mist astride their backs.” The poet sometimes puzzles, sometimes challenges, and always rewards the reader with striking, original imagery and glimpses into the mysterious reality of the other.
As Anita Sullivan’s lines sing, we awaken to our own shape-shifting, our own evolving, our own stretch towards mysterious chords. At home in her garden or on a Greek isle, this poet knows that “every house is an entire world,” and that the quotidian, revealed in all its power, offers the fertility of many worlds. . . .Composed of crows, of Bach, of loam and seed and sky, Sullivan’s poems create in us “secret noises we’ve never heard.
Anita’s book is available at: