Wanderer at the World's Edge
2021 Blue Light Poetry Prize Finalist
Eugene O'Connor's poetry and translations have appeared in arlington literary journal, The Avocet, Classical Bulletin, Classical Outlook, Common Threads, The Comstock Review, The Columbia Anthology of Gay Literature, Mead, OASIS Journal, Poetry Pacific, Pudding Magazine, Roman Poets of the Early Empire (Penguin), and elsewhere. His two previous chapbooks are Derelict Mansions (2011) and The Same Sea, the Same Gloaming (2018). A native of Buffalo, New York, he holds a BA in Latin from Canisius College, an MA in Comparative Literature from the University of Rochester, and a Ph.D. in Classics from The University of California, Santa Barbara. His English translation, with notes and introduction, of Renaissance humanist Antonio Beccadelli's Hermaphroditus was published by Lexington Books in 2001.
Eugene O'Connor lives with his husband in Columbus, Ohio.
Wanderer at the World's Edge is a probing collection of poems pitch-perfect for this moment in time. Amid pandemic quarantines and social shut-downs O'Connor maps the anatomy of isolation, explores anger, denial, sorrow, and the inevitable soul-searching that accompany such loneliness. Yet often in aloneness one's senses may heighten. A kind of clarity reveals the "truth in dirt." Wonder and delight are ". . . in the arc/ the beauty of a line." O'Connor's elegant meditations strive to find comfort if not always reason in our fortunes and reversals, though we may have to finally ". . . be content. . .to wander at the world's edge." These poems tap into a human experience, shared but strangely separate, and they resonate with insights.
- Connie Willett Everett, editor, publisher of Pudding Magazine, and author of As Good As It Gets Sometimes (Pudding House) and What Keeps Me Awake (Night Ballet Press)
These luminous, musical poems paint vivid self-portraits of a modern poet as Ovid, steeped in loneliness, longing, love, remorse, and a fine attunement to nature's gifts. O'Connor evokes the notion that we're exiles from a home we've yet to know, as we roam interior spheres seeing the world through their scrim, finding solace in beauty despite decay: "Now and forever a wanderer,/let me take pleasure where I can," despite the constant ticking toward mortality, grateful that "No region of night's exile/is without its ecstasy."
- April Ossmann, independent editor and author of Event Boundaries (Four Way Books) and Anxious Music (Four Way Books)