sam sax is the author of the poetry collections bury it (Wesleyan University Press, 2018), winner of the James Laughlin Award, and madness (Penguin, 2017), winner of the National Poetry Series, selected by Terrance Hayes, and four chapbooks. He earned a BA from Oberlin College and an MFA in poetry from the University of Texas at Austin. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Lambda Literary, and the MacDowell Colony.
sax is a two-time Bay Area Grand Slam Champion, and winner of the Gulf Coast Prize, the Iowa Review Award, and the American Literary Award. His poems have appeared in BuzzFeed, the New York Times, Poetry magazine, Tin House, and other journals. sax serves as poetry editor of BOAAT Press. In 2018, sax was awarded a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. He is currently a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University.
“The best poems sizzle with an urgent darkness. This is a young poet to watch.”
“In sam sax’s STRAIGHT the wound and the salve seem to disguise themselves as one another—as the sweet high, as the lovely low, as the addiction to power and the relief of being nothing. sax stripped me to my cells, to my neurological need to be seen and the fear that I am. Bare and bright, these forms resist formulas, these pauses are syntax and synapse, these griefs are the new mouths that sing the snake back in. These poems are the prescription for the animal in us, and for what’s in us that is unshaken by chemistry—for the god in us, or what god put there by wafer, by word, by flesh, by chemical flame.”
“The poems here in STRAIGHT are like a legion of pickpockets, hustlers after all our secrets, but their collective con is a con done out of a love of the world—all of it. All these ways of insisting we face even what we think we hate. Everything sax and his poems steals from you with this book, you never needed—it was only in the way.”