Ed Zahniser
Scarith, 2016
80 Pages
ISBN 978-0-9966484-4-8 Paperback

For BULK ORDERS, order directly from New Academia Publishing.

About the Author

Ed Zahniser was a founding editor of Some Of Us Press, a former poetry editor of Wilderness and Artz and Kulchur, and is poetry editor of the Good News Paper. His poetry includes four previous books, five chapbooks, a Pushcart Prize nomination, and recording for Grace Cavalieri’s “The Poet and the Poem” series at the Library of Congress. He writes a column for Fluent, blogs for Adirondack Almanack, and prognosticates for WV Observer.

A Vietnam-era veteran, Ed Zahniser edited newspapers here and in South Korea. As senior writer and editor of the National Park Service Publications Group, he was awarded the U.S. Department of the Interior Distinguished Service Medal. He lectures widely on wilderness preservation and federal public lands topics. Bill McKibben has described Ed Zahniser as “…a freelance theologian telling more truth than all of the TV preachers and all of the TV pitchmen put together.”

About the book

Energetic, often wildly humorous, and self-critical, Ed Zahniser’s poems tackle the scary work of hashing out inner conundrums and revising habituated but unhelpful self-talk. Humor and pathos share the stage. These poems speak to people working—whether alone, with a friend, counselor or therapist, or in a group setting—to reorient their personal and interpersonal compasses. The highs and lows of emotion, thought, frustration, resolution, and humor between these covers will jumpstart both the general reader and the professional reader.

These poems often rhyme in varied schemes with varied metrical patterns. Their language ricochets between the literary and formal and the casual and colloquial. This collection springs from long attention to a range of American poets, from Ezra Pound, confessional poets, New York School poets, and contemporaries such as the late Frank Stanford, Olena Kalytiak Davis, Matthew Rohrer, Lucia Perillo, Dean Young, Maureen Seaton, and Barbara Hamby.

Beyond American and British traditions, this book manifests roots in contrarian poetry of ancient China and ecstatic religious poetry of medieval Persia and India. It springs from long attention to a range of American poets, from Ezra Pound, the confessional poets, and New York School poets, through contemporaries.


“Ed Zahniser’s ‘self-help rope’ is actually a lifeline to us readers, making us feel more vital with every page. No one encapsulates the American. Experience like Zahniser. His lines are transactional, pulling us into his personal dynamic—this time it’s our obsession with therapy. We see ourselves in his poems, with good humor, because loneliness and intimacy belong to all. The throughline is how we manage to go on; the process is musicality and heightened language. These measures, along with a folksy wisdom make this book a SMASH Hit collection of poems. He is our Mark Twain.”

Grace Cavalieri, “The Poet and the Poem from the Library of Congress”

“Whoever said that poetry was emotion recollected in tranquility didn’t know Ed Zahniser’s riotous wit, unholy humor, or unflinching images! Zahniser exposes the twisted turns of denial and dead ends of addictive religion in a suspenseful journey that is powerful and freeing.”

Patricia A. Donohoe, author/editor, The Printer’s Kiss: The Life and Letters of a Civil War Newspaper Man and His Family

“Reading Ed Zahniser’s poetry is like getting to take a long, lazy walk with Carl Jung. You can relish the delicious multi-layered symbolism of dreams and romp through the dense, sometimes dark forest of archetypes.”

Evie Lotze, psychodrama counselor and author, Work Culture Transformation

“I break out in applause!”

Annie Dillard, Pulitzer Prize-winning author—Holy the Firm, The Maytrees, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek—and poet—Tickets for a Prayer Wheel