“A fabulous fabulist.” —Publisher's Weekly
“For readers who prefer the chill of a dry martini.” —Library Journal
“There are writers you would be tempted to read regardless of the setting or the period or the plot or even the genre...Terese Svoboda is one of those writers.” —Bloomsbury Review
Poetry, fiction, memoir—each genre infiltrates the other as boundaries elegantly dissolve in Terese Svoboda's writing. How does she do it? The riches of language lure the reader to the denouement of the prose sentence, with the cadence and sound of poetry stripped bare enough to hear the voice clearly in charge of the story. In poetry, Svoboda walks out to the edge where language is made then her prose mines what is found. Few balance so thoughtfully. Poets quail at the narrative structure of a long work and resort to transparency; prose writers forsake language for character and plot. Svoboda's work presents a unique opportunity for readers to enjoy both in abundance.
A dazzling master of craft with a body of work that includes five books of poetry, six novels, a memoir, a book of translation and over a hundred published short stories, Terese Svoboda's subject is human suffering. Called "disturbing, edgy and provocative" by Book Magazine, her work is often the surreal poetry of a nightmare yet is written with such wit, verve and passion that she can address the direst subjects. "Terese Svoboda has such range—of subject, of emotion (from whimsical play to chillingly dead serious), that these poems take you on a wild ride, fast and dangerous, but always in control. This is a goddamn terrific book!", writes Thomas Lux about Weapons Grade (2009). She recently wrote two novels, Pirate Talk or Mermelade (Dzanc Books, 2010) and Bohemian Girl (Bison Books, 2011).
The 2007 Graywolf Nonfiction Prize-winning memoir, Black Glasses Like Clark Kent—about her uncle who served as a military policeman in occupied Japan carried a secret until his suicide after the revelations of Abu Ghraib—was called "Astounding!" by the New York Post and was selected "Best of Asia 2008" by the Japan Times. Her work has been chosen for the Writer's Choice column in the New York Times Book Review, an National Endowment for the Humanities grant in translation, and an O. Henry Award.
Cannibal, her first novel, won the Bobst Prize and the Great Lakes Colleges Association first fiction prize. Vogue called Cannibal "a woman's Heart of Darkness" and it was also chosen as one of the ten best books of the year by Spin. Her second novel, A Drink Called Paradise, one of Voice Literary Supplement's ten best reads of the summer, was partially based on her experience living in the Cook Islands. Booklist called it "a stunning novel, frighteningly mysterious and complex." The New York Times called Trailer Girl and Other Stories, "a book of genuine grace and beauty."
She has taught at Davidson, Bennington, William and Mary, Williams College, San Francisco State, the New School, University of Miami, University of Hawaii, Columbia's School of the Arts graduate program, and Sarah Lawrence.
In addition, Svoboda acted as producer for the Columbia Translation Series and the Voices and Visions series. She has produced poetry videos and documentaries that have aired on PBS, internationally, and have been screened at the Museum of Modern Art and the Getty. She curated "Between Word and Image" for the Museum of Modern Art. Her libretto for WET, a chamber opera for Death and five voices, premiered at Disney's RedCat performance space in L.A. in 2005. Winner of a PEN/Columbia Fellowship, she spent a year in the south Sudan with the Nuer, translating and filming which led her to co-found the NY Anthropological Film Center, later the Margaret Mead Film Festival.
She also writes proposals for innovative applications of new technology and lives in New York City with her husband and two sons.
Terese Svobada's chapbook, Dogs are Not Cats, is available from MadHat Press.