Literary Nonfiction. Memoir. Poetry. "'I did love my father for many years,' Miriam Sagan writes on the first page of BLUEBEARD'S CASTLE, an engaging and probing account of her relationship to her father, a man she calls 'an eccentric misanthrope,' whose 'tantrums were notorious.' Sagan examines her father's impact on her in prose as balanced and amusing as the 'two equal length lists' she made of everything she hated and everything she loved about him, and in lyrical, mystical poems. The 'cache of memory' she draws from includes learning young to converse with a father who disdained small talk in favor of anthropology and Freudian psychology, and the gangsterish family culture centered on the garment business her father inherited and then left in mid-life (and where, as a girl she selected a new coat each season). The sections that consider her own close call with death in her early 20s, from what may have been swine flu, and the fact that her father's intervention probably saved her life, as well as her descriptions of his disintegration the two years before he died, delve deep. If, as Sagan posits, their relationship was a 'koan,' that she could never solve, her depiction of it is nuanced and riveting."—Carol Moldaw
interview @ Miriam's Well
Miriam Sagan is the author of over thirty books of poetry, fiction, and memoir. Her most recent include Start Again (Red Mountain, 2022) and A Hundred Cups of Coffee (Tres Chicas, 2019). She is a two-time winner of the New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards as well as a recipient of the City of Santa Fe Mayor's Award for Excellence in the Arts and a New Mexico Literary Arts Gratitude Award. She has been a writer in residence in four national parks, Yaddo, MacDowell, Gullkistan in Iceland, Kura Studio in Japan, and a dozen more remote and interesting places. She works with text and sculptural installation as part of the creative team Maternal Mitochondria in venues ranging from RV Parks to galleries. She founded and directed the creative writing program at Santa Fe Community College until her retirement. Her poetry was set to music for the Santa Fe Women's Chorus, incised on stoneware for two haiku pathways, and projected as video inside an abandoned building during the pandemic.