Poet and Traveler

The Davids Inside David

The Davids Inside David




Available in print and Kindle formats from Terrapin Books or from Amazon!

Garrison Keillor reads two of my poems on The Writer’s Almanac (May, 19): “Ambition” and “My First Face!”

Sarah Wetzel’s vulnerable and intimate lyrical gestures inhabit the delicate space between this world and the world to come, between one century, one moment, and the next. Their verbs gather ghostly bodies in Rome and Tuscany, in Georgia and New York; every object they encounter becomes a sacred door. This is a memoir of a woman who moves through art as through the world, who moves through the world as through an ever changeful museum of art. She demonstrates again and again that we are never alone, even after deaths and divorce, even before the mirror of our most radiantly broken self. — Marcela Sulak, Decency

Like the many Davids who comprise the One, within every poem in Sarah Wetzel's new collection we find fractals of little truths, each urging us back to a central impression, a sense of things having passed, a sense that they are still here with us, and that we must hold this knowing in a negative capability without relying on reason or logic, accusation or forgetting. Smaller things comprise the large, Christ's skin glowing "like the inside of a goblet," but there are large things, too, to be found in the small, as the speaker passes through each sacred portal, each poem a holy door. This voice claims to want nothing from the poem but to have the whole world rush forth with each rendering, and in many of these pieces that's what happens, as in the title piece, as well as in the gorgeous "The Marble Fawn and Other Anecdotes of Excess," "Transition," and "La Porta Sacra." This is a masterful book, a beautiful book, written by a poet who has found her subject in the ruins and the artifacts of an eternal city, and who has made that city her own. — David Keplinger, Another City (Milkweed, 2018)

Here’s what reviewers had to say about The Davids Inside David

This is Sarah Wetzel's third book of poems. Many of them were written in Rome, a city where she teaches. There, art is described through the eyes of an American transplanted in a foreign city, and infused with strangeness and familiarity.... Rome itself surrounds the speaker with a living, breathing backdrop of Cathedrals and Piazzas, ruins and open gates. It is not so much a city, as a presence, a series of sacred doors where "Everything pours forth. / The fountain its meaning. Paintings / their history. Books, their words and white / spaces.".... Like the great artists she admires, Wetzel is continually painting and pretending, observing and imagining, traveling through time and space. In Rome and in the world at large, whether it is famous works or popular culture, she asks of the art she encounters: Are you a doorway or a mirror? With the poems in this collection, she shows us they can be both.

Atticus Review, May 13, 2019

“I caught a glimpse of something else” in Volterra’s 16th century painting of David.

“I caught a glimpse of something else” in Volterra’s 16th century painting of David.

“The Davids Inside David, Sarah Wetzel’s new book of poems, invites readers to explore fundamental questions about life and death, meaning, sin and faith, loss and love, friendship and family, the self, perceived boundaries between oneself and others, and art. It is a kind of pilgrimage in which the author continually probes the surface of memories, decisions, the contemporary world, artworks, and received wisdom, always digging deeper to reveal and to understand. Though the means are richly lyric, the ends are philosophical, by turns ontological, epistemological, aesthetic, and ethical.”

Rhino Reviews, June, 2019