Station Zed

Station Zed
Tom Sleigh

“Here is a witnessing self full of shock, full of outrage, but also full of the wonder and eloquence driving profound poetry. Sleigh’s protean style has, over the years, held itself to ever higher ambitions, a creative restlessness combining scholarship and fierce wit in poems, essays and apt translations, along with signature skeptical music.”Los Angeles Times

“[Sleigh] is a different kind of war reporter.”The Brooklyn Paper

About the Book

“What delights me most is seeing a poet of [Sleigh's] accomplishments and his large and well-earned reputation . . . pushing into greatness.”—Philip Levine, Ploughshares

The AK wants to tell a different truth—

a truth ungarbled that is so obvious

no one could possibly mistake its meaning.


If you look down the cyclops-eye of the barrel

what you’ll see is a boy with trousers

rolled above his ankles.


You’ll see a mouth of bone moving in syllables

that have the rapid-fire clarity

of a weapon that can fire 600 rounds a minute.


—from “Oracle”
Station Zed is the terminal outpost beyond which is the unknown. It is also poet Tom Sleigh’s finest work. In this latest collection, Sleigh carries into these poems his experiences as a journalist on tours of Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq, and Libya. But these are also dispatches from places of grief, history, and poetic traditions as varied as Scottish ballads and the journeys of Basho.
Praise for Tom Sleigh:
“Tom Sleigh’s poetry is hard-earned and well founded. I greatly admire the way it refuses to cut emotional corners and yet achieves a sense of lyric absolution.”—Seamus Heaney
“Sleigh has been publishing formidable poetry for almost thirty years, and among American poets of his generation there is no one better.”—David Wojahn, Tikkun
“An indispensable contemporary American poet.”—The Boston Globe

Additional Reviews

“[A] strong collection focused on mortality. . . . Driven, muscular poems that wrestle with violence, love, and the hybrid self.”Library Journal, starred review

“Time and time again, [Sleigh’s] forms and their exquisitely minted imagery exit together, they vanish into darkness hand-in-hand at the perfect moment… There is a free-and-loose capaciousness to this new work that feels fresh and true… Tom Sleigh is a poet, a real one.”—The Poetry Review

“Tom Sleigh is a poet, a real one, and he deserves a bigger readership.”—The Poetry Review

“[Station Zed] is a collection both sharply edged and necessary. Sleigh has infused his elegant style with raw urgency and narratives of human encounter attuned to our global moment.”Consequence

“Sleigh seamlessly and imaginatively weaves together history, mythology, and autobiography to form a collection that feels personal and prophetic. . . . Sleigh never fails to produce beautiful lines . . . . Narrative and wandering, Sleigh’s poems welcome readers ready to venture into the unknown.”Publishers Weekly

“Tom Sleigh lures readers beyond familiar borders so deftly that most won’t recall how they entered various conflicts or major war zones. Instead, fans will notice Sleigh’s ability to craft compelling narratives with his pied-piper voice. . . . Gritty and challenging.”The Washington Post

“An existential meditation. . . . Sonically, [Sleigh] amplifies the language of the everyday with startling turns of consonance and rhyme.”American Poets

“In his ninth book of poems, Sleigh’s poetry is more chiseled and solid, yet also possesses emotional depth and lyrical freedom. . . . Sleigh has created a worldly collection, richly thematic and strikingly precise in word and thought.”Booklist