Ellen Bass

Forthcoming April 2020

Indigo, the newest collection by Ellen Bass, merges elegy and praise poem in an exploration of life’s complexities. Whether her subject is oysters, high heels, a pork chop, a beloved dog, or a wife’s return to health, Bass pulls us in with exquisite immediacy. Her lush and precisely observed descriptions allow us to feel the sheer primal pleasure of being alive in our own “succulent skin,” the pleasure of the gifts of hunger, desire, touch. In this book, joy meets regret, devotion meets dependence, and most importantly, the poet so in love with life and living begins to look for the point where the price of aging overwhelms the rewards of staying alive. Bass is relentless in her advocacy for the little pleasures all around her. Her gaze is both expansive and hyper-focused, celebrating (and eulogizing) each gift as it is given and taken, while also taking stock of the larger arc. She draws the lines between generations, both remembering her parents’ lives and deaths and watching her own children grow into the space that she will leave behind. Indigo shows us the beauty of this cycle, while also documenting the deeply human urge to resist change and hang on to the life we have, even as it attempts to slip away.

Listen to Ellen Bass read the titular poem from Indigo (recorded by Jim Helman for Voetica by David Juda):


Paperback: $18.00 list price

IndieBound Amazon

ISBN: 9781556595752

Format: Paperback

About the Author

Ellen Bass’s newest book, Indigo, is forthcoming in early 2020. Among her previous books are Like a Beggar (2014) which was a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize, the Publishing Triangle Award, the Milt Kessler Poetry Award, the Lambda Literary Award, and the Northern California Book Award, The Human Line (2007), and Mules of Love (2002), which won the Lambda Literary Award. She co-edited the first major anthology of women’s poetry, No More Masks! (1973). Among her other honors are …

Read more


“What I love most about this book is its subtleties, the ways it plants in any reader the need to turn the page, to know more even if it means more heartbreak. You [will] hold in your hands the work of a sorceress at the height of her powers.” —Jericho Brown, author of The Tradition

“A bold and passionate new collection… Intimacy is rarely conveyed as gracefully as in Bass’s lustrous poems.” —Booklist