Robert Vivian

Awst Press just announced my next dervish essay collection will come out in June this year--with pre-orders later this month. They have been simply wonderful to work with, and I am forever grateful.

I'm not certain of much in this life, except that catching a beautiful brown trout in the dead of winter can save your soul. Caught this one in the boat of Donnie Richards, one of the finest young guides anywhere, on the Holy Waters of the AuSable River.

For years I resisted the idea of getting a website: my reluctance stemmed from many factors, too many to list here. But foremost among them was this--why have a website when one feels, as I did, that I hadn't even "discovered" my true voice? And though the question lingers (for me, the notion of voice suggests a fixity, almost an end of growth) after writing dervish essays for the last two years--a kind of mania of writing, a kind of free-wheeling love--I felt a humble need to share, however imperfectly, however clumsily. Thus the birth of this website. And this vast gratitude--to my friends in Turkey, to Rumi, Emily Dickinson, Mandelstam, all the gobsmacked ones. My love for you--my love in you is infinite because it is infinity itself, and nothing I can claim as my own. And yet "thou movest me, thou movest me, thou movest me"--and now I am free.

Basari University, Samsun, Turkey, 2014


"You dare your Yes--and experience a meaning.
You repeat your Yes--and all things acquire a mean-
When everything has a meaning, how can you live any-
thing but a Yes."
Dag Hammarskjold

Robert Vivian was born in Denver, Colorado in 1967 and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. He teaches at Alma College and in the low-residency MFA program at the Vermont College Of Fine Arts. Dozens of his plays have been produced in New York City and elsewhere, and his poems, essays, and stories have appeared in many literary journals including Georgia Review, Harper’s, Ecotone, Creative Nonfiction, and others. He has published four novels—The Tall Grass Trilogy (The Mover Of Bones, Lamb Bright Saviors, and Another Burning Kingdom), Water And Abandon, and two books of meditative essays, Cold Snap As Yearning and The Least Cricket Of Evening. His first book of dervish essays (or prose poems) Mystery My Country will be published in 2016 by Anchor & Plume. He has visited and taught in Turkey several times and has been heavily influenced by the works of Rumi. In the summer he tries to fly fish in northern Michigan every day and when he can’t, he dreams about it anyway.

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collection of dervish essays (a new kind of prose poem)
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Mystery My Country

Cold Snap As Yearning

collection of dervish essays (new kind of prose poem)
co-written with the poet Richard Jackson
Very brief description goes here
In this third and final volume of the trilogy, Vivian weaves the voices of Lem, Jackson, and Lem's estranged wife, Lissa, into an American triptych of longing, remembering, and innocence--of hopes almost fulfilled and inevitably disappointed--as we race to Jackson's reckoning with history that must have its day.
“Robert Vivian’s prose is lyrical and harrowing—harrowing in the Biblical sense.”
“Robert Vivian is one of the finest, most lyrical essayists of his time.”
–Sue William Silverman

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