A Mind Like This


A Mind Like This

Susan Blackwell Ramsey

The Raz/Shumaker Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry Series

112 pages


September 2012


$17.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
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September 2012


$17.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry, Susan Blackwell Ramsey’s A Mind Like This is a work of humor and wit, unexpectedly delightful and full of surprises as it reflects on the oddness of everyday life, the natural world, literary history, popular culture, and more. Everything is fair game for Ramsey, who finds poetry in love and sickness and life, of course, but also in knitting and unreliable bladders and the peculiar name of Kalamazoo. Neruda makes an appearance, as do Eric Clapton and Brahms, Leonard and Virginia Woolf, and Jimmy Stewart.
Whether observing the pickled heads of Peter the Great’s offenders, wondering “How to Seduce Henry David Thoreau,” becoming the insecure voice of Kalamazoo, or puzzling over the intricacies of the  mind that blocks a dear friend’s birthday while preserving the name of Emily Dickinson’s dog in perpetuity, Ramsey’s collection is wise and funny, allusive and deeply felt.

Author Bio

Susan Blackwell Ramsey is an instructor at Kalamazoo Institute of Art. She won the Marjorie J. Wilson Award from Margie: The Journal for American Poetry and her poem “Pickled Heads, St. Petersburg” was chosen for the 2009 edition of Best American Poetry.


“Susan Blackwell Ramsey, a poet of unending curiosity, gives us ample evidence here of what the mind can find when it goes looking for what it does not yet see. Her poems have a way of making the world feel just discovered, and convey a sense of attachment to people that is expansive and invigorating. This is a fine book by a wonderful poet.”—Bob Hicok, author of Words for Empty and Words for Full

“Susan Blackwell Ramsey—a poet who sees, remembers, and sorts it all out. Check out ‘Our Third Wedding Reception This Year,’ a sonnet with meter and rhyme all in place, but so conversational that formalities slip away and the story itself unfolds as though the teller were sitting across from us at the window.”—Conrad Hilberry, author of After-Music

“Rife with humor and grace. . . . A Mind Like This showcases a supremely supple and cultivated imagination that unbolts yards and yards of elegant and ardent poems. But the real thrill? Her dazzling wit that lights the whole collection aflame.”—Aimee Nezhukumatathil, author of Lucky Fish

"A Mind Like This covers so much ground with such unbridled enthusiasm at the joy of language and the mysteries of mind that only poetry can attempt to illuminate that, fifty-four poems later, the reader will be on the lookout for Ramsey's next book, and possibly scouring literary magazines for a more immediate fix."—Daniel Coffey, ForeWord

Table of Contents

Source Acknowledgments

A Mind Like This
Pickled Heads: St. Petersburg
Louise Erdrich Learning Ojibiwemowin
Tell Me If You've Heard This One
Kalamazoo Decides She Likes Her Name
"And All Trades, Their Gear And Tackle And Trim"
Peripheral: Emerson, 1847
Knitting Lace
The Duc de Saint-Simon Buys Lady Murasaki a Drink
January, Tulips
Gaudeamus, Full Band Version
A Mind Like This
The Comfort of Pickup Trucks
Why I Hate Storytellers
Aftereffects of Bell's Palsy
Ode to My Bladder
Outside Interests
Learning Curves
Mount St. Helen's, May 18, 1980
Sexing the Alligator
The Sword
Mariah Educates the Sensitive
Crocheting Chaos
Children in Church
The Kalamazoo Mastodon
I'm in Love with Leonard Woolf
In Order to Swallow, a Frog Has to Close Its Eyes
Neruda in Kalamazoo
Deadheading with Kellee
Valentine's Day in Kalamazoo
Taking Jimmy Stewart to Bed
The Year Hits Perimenopause
Sow's Ear
Lilium Orientale
How to Seduce Henry David Thoreau
To a Picky Eater at Love's Table
Letter to Matt on the Opening Day of Deer Season
Sexing the Alligator
The Genome for Luck
Lidian Emerson Watches Her House Burn, Concord, July 23, 1872
Pattern and Ground
Consider Hairs
Emerson's Eyes
The Only Other Female in the House
Egg Tempera Painting, Koo Schadler, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
The Tuesday Before Our Friday Visit
Meeting Edward Lear in Heaven
Elegy from Halfway Up the Drive
Our Third Wedding Reception This Year Hits Its Stride
Pattern and Ground
Washing My Husband's Kilt Hose: A 32-Bar Reel

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