Life in Suspension

Extraordinary, magical, and poignant.                                                                                —Guy Sangster-Adams, The Cultural Pick

Life in Suspension is a terrific and singular achievement.  Very few poets I know could accomplish anything like it, let alone with such grace and clarity.                 —Stephen Yenser, winner of the Walt Whitman Award and the Ingram Merrill Foundation Award in Poetry

These poems compile to form the chronicle of a traveler, without fixed language, without fixed nationality or profession, moving physically from Bar Harbor to Chalkidiki (it’s Greece), and emotionally from the calm of floating alone on a lake to the inner hurricane of watching a loved one slip from this world to the next. En route, there are these poetic hesitations, the vibrancy of life trapped in amber.”                                                                                         —J.C. HallmanThe Brooklyn Rail  

Life in Suspension is a love song, a hymn to goodness and beauty.
La Vie Suspendue est un chant d’amour, un hymne à la bonté et à la beauté.               Gabriel Arnou-Laujeac, La Cause Littéraire

This is a collection of poetry to be savored slowly and enjoyed again and again.      Readers’ Favorite                                                                                                                                                                     

Shortlisted for the 2016 Julie Suk Award (best poetry collection from an independent press). Winner of the Pinnacle Book Award for Best Bilingual Poetry Book  and the Readers’ Favorite Award in Poetry

Life in Suspension:
La Vie Suspendue

(Salmon Poetry, 2016)

Foreword by Richard Wilbur

A bilingual collection in English and French

In this bilingual edition of her poems Hélène Cardona is our contemporary ecstatic, time-traveler, and shape-shifter. Behind the dreamlike atmosphere of her poems lies a fierce will to discover beauty, to resurrect ancient enchantments, and to defend enigmas of the spirit.  ‘I like transforming into an animal, / devouring who I was,’ she writes. Her luminous poems celebrate the imagination’s power to dignify and exalt our highest yearnings.

Lee Upton, winner of a Pushcart Prize, the National Poetry Series Award, and two awards from the Poetry Society of America

Cardona distills minutes and crystallizes images… This is poetry with layers of complexity made of lace — a magic carpet ride, not like anything else around.

—Grace Cavalieri, The Washington Independent Review of Books

Cardona creates semantic nuances that light up in multiple directions, while her writing pays close heed to the base level of syntax, rhythm, line and sentence. A tender, pensile world that merits repeated line by line explorations.                                                                                            —Anthony DiMatteo, The Los Angeles Review

Life in Suspension is a testament to Cardona’s unique ability to make words sing on the page. A literary architect, Cardona pushes the exploration of many of her poems to the brink of possibility. Life in Suspension is poetic elegance personified, stylistic flawlessness and depth of thought that belongs on the bookshelf of any poetry lover.

The US Review of Books

You listen to the silence
drawn on the ashes of ancient sacrifices. 

—Low Altitude

Praise for Life in Suspension

Dappled with transparent imagery, like the Mediterranean sunlight she grew up with, Hélène Cardona’s poems offer a vivid self-portrait as scholar, seer and muse.  

—John Ashbery, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, Griffin International Poetry Prize, MacArthur”Genius” Grant, and a National Humanities Medal

Hélène Cardona keenly understands poetry’s insistence that we slow down, downshifting into a more measured and conscious pace. Her powerful poems are written line by certain line, which is how her readers gratefully experience them.

—Billy Collins, former U.S. Poet Laureate

Hélène Cardona tells us that the poems of Life in Suspension were first conceived in English, then rendered into French. Yet for such a many-languaged mind as hers, the translations must have been there from the beginning. It seems, in any case, that each poem fully exists in two tongues at once, and this adds to the book’s great charm and visionary quality.

—Richard Wilbur, two-time Pulitzer Prize Winner

Hélène Cardona’s poems explore the roiling mysteries on the indistinct borderlines of spiritual landscapes, natural elements, and singular private visions. Surprising, upsetting and, ultimately, uplifting.

—Lawrence Kasdan, Oscar nominated director and screenwriter, Star Wars, The Big Chill, Grand Canyon

Life in Suspension is a terrific and singular achievement.  Very few poets I know could accomplish anything like it, let alone with such grace and clarity.

—Stephen Yenser, winner of the Walt Whitman Award and the Ingram Merrill Foundation Award in Poetry

Un recueil émouvant, original, sensible. Travail d’orfèvre auquel on ajouterait sans hésiter le mot beau ! J’ai particulièrement apprécié “Ouranoupolis Pantoum.”

Costa-Gavras, Oscar winning writer and director, Missing, Z, Music Box

A tour de force of language and phonetics; a deeply felt and deeply spiritual collection which explores the universal human experience from a very personal point of view. This is intimate poetry, and yet it transcends the mundane through its lyricism and its glory in language. Hélène Cardona’s pen moves from the human to the divine and back in a single sentence, and the result is uplifting and magical.

—Joanne Harris, best-selling author of Chocolat 

The poems are wonderful and in so many ways continue the vision and conversation of my favorite poet, the DH Lawrence of BIRDS, BEASTS & FLOWERS.

—Donald Revell, winner of the National Poetry Series and the Lenore Marshall Award

These spare, open-hearted poems reveal Hélène Cardona’s astonished universe and give us a ‘glimpse into a world full of light’.

—Dorianne Lauxauthor of The Book of Men, winner of The Paterson Prize, and Facts About the Moon, winner of The Oregon Book Award

Hélène Cardona is a woman of many languages. You will hear the tones of an elegy, a prayer, and most of all, the fairy-tale. I was moved by these pieces. As Hélène shows us, together with Hafiz, “this place where you are right now, God circled on a map for you.”

Ilya Kaminsky, winner of the Whiting Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Metcalf Award, and a Ruth Lilly Fellowship

Poems that explore whole worlds – embracing and beautiful.

Olympia Dukakis, Oscar winner

Hélène Cardona’s poems sing to the spirit of things and to the things of Spirit. Each delicious word and sentence is worth savoring, and makes a feast for the soul. A compelling read. I could not put it down!

Alberto Villoldo, best-selling author of Shaman, Healer, Sage and One Spirit Medicine

On the wall of time to come
      a window appears.
I open it, let angels in. 


Reviews of Life in Suspension

Hélène Cardona’s luminous bi-lingual collection of poetry by Tulika Bahadur in On Art and Aesthhetics

Review by Anthony DiMatteo in The Los Angeles Review

Celebrating American She-Poets: Hélène Cardona by Jamie Dedes in The Poet by Day

A Poet is a Mood by J.C. Hallman in The Brooklyn Rail

Life in Suspension by Guy Sangster-Adams in The Cultural Pick

August 2016 Exemplars by Grace Cavalieri in The Washington Independent Review of Books

Life in Suspension recommended review by Mihir Shah in The US Review of Books

“Illumine la vie aux confins de l’esprit” – Voyage of Death and Transmutation with Hélène Cardona’s Life in Suspension/La Vie Suspendue by Richard Jarrette in Santa Barbara’s Voice Magazine

Review by Ron Starbuck in Saint Julian Press

Editor’s Pick by Matt Sutherland in Foreword Reviews

A Lyrical Search by Hugh Hazelton

La Vie Suspendue aux lèvres de l’invisible by Gabriel Arnou-Laujeac in La Cause Littéraire

Life in Suspension 5 Star review by Jack Magnus in Readers’ Favorite