Breaking Newton’s Laws, by Teresa Sutton

Breaking Newton’s Laws, by Teresa Sutton


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Breaking Newton’s Laws, by Teresa Sutton is the Winner of the 2017 Encircle Publications’ Annual Chapbook Contest

Praise for Breaking Newton’s Laws:

In these luminous poems, Teresa Sutton brings us as close as anyone could to the interior landscape of those suffering from dementia: “He sails away on the Santa Maria bound again/for the Korean War and heads off to the dinner table/where he pours himself a glass of water full of ash.” Using myth, metaphor, and carefully chosen imagery, the poet rises to the challenge of creating language for what can be known only through empathy and imagination, but the delicacy of these po-ems never disguises the grief and loss of this experience, as in these lines from “The Moment Before“: “Soon you will be rain streaming from me,/a dogged echoing of bird calls,/ a twinkle of bravery,/an ex-plorer we dread to go after. —Kathleen Aguero, author of After That

In this, her stunning third collection of poetry, Teresa Sutton explores the haunting question—what is left when the mind fails? Her unset-tling poems translate the language of dementia by upending theories of time and space. A dying father, whose “lungs fill with honeybees,” swims toward dislocated shorelines, fighting “the kind of sleep that falls in giant flakes.” Sutton’s poems vibrate with enigmatic revela-tion—“It is terrible to survive loss/more terrible to survive love.” When the mind fails, what’s left? For Sutton, a ceaseless, dazzling orbit.—Nancy K. Pearson, author of The Whole by Contemplation of a Single Bone, Fordham University Press (Poets Out Loud Prize), and Two Minutes of Light, Winner of the L.L Winship/PEN New England Award


Teresa Sutton lives in Poughkeepsie, New York, and has taught high school English for twenty-seven years, and she also taught at Marist College for ten years. Her first chapbook, They’re Gone, was published by Finishing Line Press (2012). Her second chapbook, Ossory Wolves, was published by Dancing Girl Press (2016); it was a finalist in the 2014 Bright Hill Press’ Poetry Chapbook Competition. The Poet’s Billow recognized her  work as a finalist in the 2015 Pangaea Prize and a semi-finalist in the 2014 Atlantis Award. The CulturalCenter of Cape Cod recognized her work as a finalist in their 2014 National Poetry Competition. Her poems appear in a number of literary journals including Fourteen Hills, Solstice, and Stone Canoe. She earned her BA in English from SUNY Albany, has an MA in literature from Western Connecticut State University, and an MS in education from SUNY New Paltz. She earned her MFA from Solstice Creative Writing Program at Pine Manor College. Sutton was nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize in poetry.

Sample of Teresa Sutton’s poetry

Dad Waits all Year for Christmas to Come

Winter solstice starts the hum in his body. Light shifts
in his eyes, yarn unravels down to memories―muzzy,
unfocused. Vegetables soften in stock. Dad blends
yesterday and today into a thick puree. He forgets to take
his medicine and to meet his brother at the usual spot
Christmas, he heads home early.
Mother’s ghost comes, he confides; her mouth
moves. He can’t discover what she’s trying to say.
The sound is muted; the button, depressed
on the remote. His memory of this confession gone,
a snowman’s melted face, green grass, frozen and brown.
The call is loud―rumbling of night stars, dripping of icicles
on empty nights. We let him leave. He prefers the company
of the dead and a plow cannot till a winter’s field.
The noise of the dead doesn’t make him
swat at his ears; he turns his hearing aids up.
He moves from window to window, draws the shades.
He searches the house for that fuzzy spot of light
from where she will step out and come to him like time.


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