On Speaking Terms

Connie Wanek

Connie Wanek’s third book of poems, On Speaking Terms, is amusing, tender, and surprising. A former librarian in Duluth, Minnesota, Wanek’s poems emerge from everyday objects—Scrabble, garlic, lipstick, hawkweed—and the landscapes, waterscapes, and severe winters of the upper Midwest. Lit by startling metaphors, Wanek’s work has been justly compared to Wisława Szymborska’s for its wry wit and spare “Eastern European” sensibility. This collection was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award and recently received the Northeast Minnesota Book Award. 

ISBN: 9781556592942

Format: Paperback

About the Author

Connie Wanek was born in Wisconsin, raised in New Mexico, and lived for over a quarter century in Duluth, MN. Wanek’s poems have appeared in Poetry, The Atlantic Monthly, Virginia Quarterly Review, Great River Review, Poetry East, Water-Stone Review, and many other publications. In 2006, US Poet Laureate Ted Kooser named her a Witter Bynner Fellow of the Library of Congress. She served as a co-editor, with Joyce Sutphen and Thom Tammaro, of the comprehensive anthology To Sing Along the …

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“Connie Wanek has a lot to say. She 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

On Speaking Terms—incomparably lovely, wholly original and moving poems—opens a door to all of us, onto a magical world we only vaguely sense lies there behind the familiar and ordinary world we see before us every day.” —Ted Kooser

“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

“Unassuming and careful almost to a fault… Nobody will call Wanek overly difficult. The most attentive readers will call her wise.” —New York Times Sunday Book Review

“Connie Wanek is a poet who reminds me how voice comes from a lifetime commitment to seeing things and believing in them.” —Ray Gonzalez

“Connie Wanek… is superb, mature [and] a master of mood and language.” —St. Paul Pioneer Press

“No poet I know, with the exception of Jane Kenyon, is as able to discover the magic and depth in ordinary, day-to-day life and to artfully render that vision for the reader.” —Louis Jenkins

“Wanek’s best poems seem to fall effortlessly into place, like a snowdrift.” —Library Journal