Samuel Ace has published widely in periodicals and journals, including Ploughshares, Eoagh, Nimrod, The Prose Poem, an International Journal, and the Kenyon Review. He is the author of two collections of poetry: Normal Sex (Firebrand Books) and Home in three days. Don't wash. (Hard Press). He is a two-time finalist for a Lambda Literary Award in Poetry, a recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts grant, winner of the Astraea Lesbian Writer's Fund Prize in Poetry, The Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction and the Firecracker Alternative Book Award in poetry. He currently lives in Tucson, AZ and Truth or Consequences, NM.
I think Samuel Ace is one of the most original, smart, and vital queer poets writing today. I’ve known Sam and have been reading his work for over 10 years now—I remember his readings of “how to be a boy in domremy” and video performances of “home in three days, don’t wash” from that time in Tucson vividly--but in recent years I’ve been honored to get to know him better and to call him a close and rare friend. Thinking about Sam’s work over time, there has been an ongoing interest in leaps between perceptions, and the relationship between these leaps and the act of listing. We might place such activities under a heading like “non-sequitor,” but Sam’s writing isn’t nearly so predictable. We might mention his fascination with the way “schizophrenic” language connects different insights together through seemingly nonsensical parallelism or skewed juxtaposition, and how this makes a kind of sense to the sympathetic listener, but that doesn’t entirely explain what’s so exciting about his work either. We might observe his attempts to articulate in language queer, liminal, confounding, sometimes even portentious bodily experiences for which we don’t have an easy linguistic shorthand. Yet it seems to me that the way Sam’s work evades such quick summations is central to the kind of radical work it does. And in Stealth, his collaboration with Maureen Seaton just published by Chax Press, all of these issues get multiplied into the interstitial space between two people, two voices sometimes trading off, sometimes running parallel, sometimes splicing together different realities as a kind of playful gesture. Under (and between) these playful exchanges, we can hear a range of emotions at work which inform Stealth’s complex and sometimes confounding Rube Goldberg economy of vessels and tropes: sadness, bemusement, anger, exasperation, yearning, ambivalence, and love. Please welcome Samuel Ace to the Zinc Bar Reading series.