With calm abandon, Rob Schlegel stands among the genderless trees to shake notions of masculinity and fatherhood. Schlegel incorporates the visionary into everyday life, inhabiting patterns of relation that do not rely on easy categories. Working from the premise that poetry is indistinguishable from the life of the poet, Schlegel considers how his relationship to the creative process is forever changed when he becomes something new to someone else. “The meaning I’m trying to protect is,” Schlegel writes, “the heart is neither boy, nor girl.” In the Tree Where the Double Sex Sleeps is a tender search for the mother in the father, the poet in the parent, the forest in the human.
“This slim volume covers remarkable emotional terrain with perceptive insight into fatherhood and the inner workings of a poet’s associative thought process. It is rich and complex but utterly accessible, with lyrical lines that beg to be read aloud.”—Publishers Weekly starred review
“Schlegel’s poems, as tightly constructed as they are, have an openness about them that allows readers to imagine what identity could mean on a personal level, and how poetry, as a meditative and artful activity, can enact possibilities for transcendence.”—The Literary Review
“Rob Schlegel’s In the Tree Where the Double Sex Sleeps is dominated by three of the most remarkable long poems I’ve read in years, but it is especially ‘Novella’ that has grabbed me and won’t let me go. Schlegel writes with the easy lyric mastery he has demonstrated in each of his previous books. In the Tree Where the Double Sex Sleeps quietly elicits a great clamor of feeling.”—Shane McCrae, author and National Book Award finalist, In the Language of My Captor
“Precise and nuanced, this lyric journey is at once fable, field guide, confession, and thrilling meditative adventure. I know of no poet quite so gifted as Rob Schlegel at chronicling the way ‘impulse turns over [the] mind.’”—Mary Szybist, author and National Book Award winner, Incarnadine
“Rob Schlegel has a voice you’d follow into the dark woods, knowing full well it’s hard, awful, daily, plain, living truth you’re running toward. The speaker in this book is a heartbreaker of a storyteller—a synesthesiac of mixed feelings, bad news, and wordsmithery. I feel known, caught out, believed in, vulnerable, when I read this book.”—Brenda Shaughnessy, judge, Iowa Poetry Prize