Cover for Sonnets to the Humans
  • Series: Sawtooth 2012
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-934103-36-4
  • ISBN-10: 1-934103-36-5
  • Pages: 72
  • Size: 6 x 8 x .3125 in
  • Price: $18.00

Sonnets to the Humans

T. Zachary Cotler

Winner of the 2012 Sawtooth Poetry Prize

The first of a projected trilogy of seven-crown sequences—an extended exploration centered by an understanding that the absence of the supernatural is more haunting than belief in the supernatural ever was.

“This is a wizard’s handiwork. . . . Sonnets to the Humans stands as one unstoppered bottle for a host of genii, lightning-Nimrods, angel-demons, Ænglisch as demotic, ash as egg.  It’s a brilliant, intimate, intricate, careening, calibrating, strangely moving collection of 49 poems—pieces introduced and linked by patches of the prose narration of ‘a fictional poet, who lived in the 21st century’ and bore the name of Vishvamitra. . . .  Thus we embark, in part, on an old story—but one re-generated here in ways unheralded, unheard-of.  It becomes a futuristic lover’s lyrical lament and a recapitulation (or enactment) of the Babel tale; (even thus largely to restrict its scope can only be reductive:  it’s a book with a very long half-life).” —Heather McHugh, judge of the 2012 Sawtooth Poetry Prize

from Sonnets to the Humans


A woman told a man,

I make a word if one is missing.

Wynnsent is nostalgia for what is occurring.

He said, Will I be in it with you?

Sandjanoranza is nostalgia for

what has not yet occurred.

He said, When have I been in it

with you? His questions made her sad

and turned her face away and down as

if to sleep in sand;

emergent pharaoh, as

her face took on

the briefest image of

a gold death mask.


Copyright © 2013 by T. Zachary Cotler

T. Zachary Cotler author photo

Theodore Zachary Cotler is also the author of House with a Dark Sky Roof (Salt, 2011). His awards include the Amy Clampitt Fellowship from the Clampitt estate and the Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. He’s a founding editor of The Winter Anthology.