Eulogy for F.D. Reeve

”Admiral Peary’s Island–I could see it in the distance, appearing and disappearing amidst the swells of Casco Bay.” Read More

The Exile of Not Exactly

From Palm Beach Effect: Reflections on Michael Hofmann. CB Editions (2013). 152-161.

ralph james savarese

Michael had come to give a reading at the small Iowa college where I teach – it was as much an excuse to see me, his former student, as it was a chance to sell copies of his latest book. He was shocked, I think, by just how isolated the college is. Halfway between Des Moines, the capital, and Iowa City, where the University of … Read More

Myself on High

From Ploughshares 38.2-3 (2012). 137-140.


She had just won a major literary prize. She was slim, blond, and preposterously attractive. I was slim, blond, and preposterously awkward. Somehow I’d gotten into her poetry writing class as a first-semester freshman. I’d submitted a sonnet about a monk so consumed with sexual longing that he couldn’t pray. The monk was me, and the poem, of course, was awful. But because I seemed to know something about formal poetry and … Read More

River of Words, Raft of Our Conjoined Neurologies

From Fourth Genre, Vol. 14, No. 1, Spring 2012.

In the eighth grade, my son, DJ, who is autistic and who uses a text-to-voice synthesizer to communicate, became so distraught while learning about Harriet Tubman and a little Polish boy whom the Germans murdered that he couldn’t continue reading. His breathing was heavy; his eyes had glazed over. His heart pounded in the narrow cage of his chest. In response to his ninth-grade English teacher’s question, “What are your strengths … Read More

The Dark Night of Synecdoche

From Segue (Fall 2009, No. 8):

I: Diaphragms

She discovered it in my brother’s dresser, stuffed beneath the tube socks, only partially concealed. She’d been putting laundry away, lost as usual in the etherized loneliness of housework, when the saucer appeared, darting between the cumulus socks and stratocumulus underpants. “It’s here to take me away,” she cried, “a UFO!” Or so I imagine, the pathos of the incident pushing back, these many yearls later, against the comedy.

And take … Read More

The Lobes of Autobiography: Poetry and Autism

From Stone Canoe: A Journal of Arts and Ideas from Upstate New York (Spring 2008, No. 2):

1. “Sad Dear Saved Me”

“Hours of light like heat hibernate/great icebergs hear the cries of hurt.” So, my son, adopted at the age of six from foster care, began a poem entitled, “Alaska.” Written on a communcation device in the fifth grade, it establishes a number of exquisite analogies–between light and bears and calving icebergs and “hurt” people. By “hurt” people he … Read More

Severe and Profound

From New England Review, Vol. 24, No. 1, Winter 2003.

With great difficulty Ellie pulled DJ uphill. At six, her birth-brother, whom she hadn’t seen in nearly three years, understood rollerblading to be a matter exclusively of somebody else’s exertion. While you labored, he’d stand with his legs a bit too close together, his chest a bit too rigidly upright, and his eyes more than a bit too captivated by whatever birds were darting overhead or leaves were rustling in … Read More

“Piecing Together What History Has Broken to Bits”: Air Flight Florida 90 and the PATCO Disaster

From American Disasters, Edited by Steven Biel:

History, wrote the German-Jewish critic Walter Benjamin in 1940 is “one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage.” Inspired by Benjamin’s hope of jolting history out of its catastrophic standstill, Ralph James Savarese seeks the uptopian possibilities in the 1982 Air Florida crash in Washington, D.C.—in the heroism of the mysterious “man in the water” who came to the rescue of his fellow passengers and the convict-con artist who posed as a … Read More