Rival GardensPaperback, 204 pages University of Nebraska Press (February, 2016) ISBN-978-0-8032-6964-4
"Connie Wanek's beautiful poems travel effortlessly among our various realms-the
human, the natural, and the cosmic, inhabited by gods who may have some
resemblance to ourselves. The light is wonderfully clear in these accounts, as is the
darkness, each one illuminating the other."
- Charles Baxter, author of There's Something I Want You to Do, The Feast of Love, and many other books.
"Connie Wanek is one of the best poets of our time, and this new book, Rival Gardens,
certainly demonstrates that. These selections . . . are works of wit and subtlety, of
clarity, great generosity, and precise vision, and make this book a treasure to read again
- Louis Jenkins, author of Before You Know It, Nice Fish, and many other books.
"In Wanek's earth-proud, glorious work, all elements are in communication: a chimney
offers 'a plume of smoke hand-feeding the wind,' a radish 'bites you back,' and a
moose's 'grave eyes' are 'reminiscent somehow of Abe Lincoln.' The first time I found
her poems I phoned them to friends before making it past the library stairs. Rival
Gardens offers a thrilling gift to anyone who loves metaphors, human beings,
compassion, and the revelation of sly observation - I'm sending out a cosmic call: these
lyric narratives bring you life through a consciousness you wish you had
- Jessica Greenbaum, editor of Upstreet and author of The Two Yvonnes and other books.
BonfirePaperback, 96 pages New Rivers Press; 1st edition (June 1, 1997) ISBN-10: 0898231787 ISBN-13: 978-0898231786
"Wanek's poems have a clarity and sureness that give the reader a feeling
of joy, the joy of a shared experience and insight, the joy that comes in
the recognition of a truth, a rightness...Her poems take the moment, turn
it upside down, open it, examine it. They give us a view from the dragonfly's
eye. They show us the beauty, the humor, the danger we might have missed."
- Louis Jenkins
"Wanek is superb, mature, a master of mood and language."
- Bart Sutter
Hartley FieldPaperback, 80 pages Holy Cow! Press (September 1, 2002) ISBN-10: 0930100999 ISBN-13: 978-0930100995
"Wanek notices everything, from a look that passes over her daughter's
three-year-old face to the way a nail stands waiting for the hammer to descend...
she seems to be the best possible combination of an Elizabeth Bishop and a Marianne Moore."
- Joyce Sutphen
"Wanek is from Wisconsin, but her sensibility often seems Eastern European or Scandinavian.
Like Szymborska, Wanek likes to end poems with poised yet cutting observations or
intimations of dread that can turn ordinary activities into existential dilemmas."
- David Orr
On Speaking TermsPaperback, 80 pages Copper Canyon Press (January 15, 2010) ISBN-10: 1556592949 ISBN-13: 978-1556592942
"Wanek is a natural. Her carefully crafted poems have a delicious artlessness about them,
even as they take us in and lift our neck hairs with the unexpected aptness of her metaphors."
- Maxine Kumin
"Connie Wanek...speaks in a calm, sober voice to those who can hear. Her images are often gorgeous.
She uses our and we beautifully, and we do feel that we, the readers, are a part of her family."
- Robert Bly
Summer CarsPaperback, 64 pages Will o' the Wisp Books (January, 2014) ISBN: 978-0-9793128-6-1
Summer Cars is a collection of ten stories, each of which revolves around a car that materializes up north as winter and its hardships give way to spring. It's finally safe, when the salt is off the road, to take a vehicle that matters out for a spin.
"These cars, and the people who care for them, are so telling, and the stories are narrated
with such calm, lyrical efficiency, that I was completely immersed in their world."
- Charles Baxter
"Each story begins in white heat and keeps going, with wit, grief,
tenderness, and irascibility, too. Life isn't fair, never was, never will be.
But oh, how we love our cars, our roads, and the old tools left in the
- Patricia Kirkpatrick
To Sing Along The WayPaperback, 245 pages New Rivers Press (October 1, 2006) ISBN-10: 0898232325 ISBN-13: 978-0898232325
The first historical and contemporary anthology of Minnesota women poets, this anthology is edited by three prize-winning poets. Poems included range from the earliest poetry in Minnesota-oral song-poems of Ojibwe women-through the sounds and rhythms of early-twentieth-century formalism and contemporary free verse.
Arranged chronologically, these disparate poems are connected by the common thread of universal themes and reflect Minnesota's diversity of women's voices. Among the more than one hundred contributors are Harriet Bishop, Candace Black, Frances Densmore, Elaine Goodale Eastman, Mary Eastman, Louise Erdrich, Diane Glancy, and Patricia Hampl. Contributors' biographies and suggestions for further reading are included.