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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

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  

Hélène Cardona’s poems in Life in Suspension / La Vie Suspendue reflect a linguistic spiritual transcendence that is illuminated on every page.                                                                                                                                                                    Alison WilliamsPoetry International 

Cardona’s best work, every piece fluid and quick, yet determined to probe the aching absence and locate the reassurance that remains. Language is a major ingredient of her alchemy for immortality.

          —John Domini, The Enchanting Verses Literary Review

So luminous and fanciful that you can stumble around for hours within it, lose track of time almost, and fall out the other end feeling lighter and like you just traveled to another time and place… Read this book if you want to experience straightforward beauty.                                                                                                                                —Elizabeth Cohen, At the Inkwell

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                                                                                                                                                    

Winner of the 2020 Independent Press Award, 2020 NYC Big Book Award, 2017 Best Book Award in Poetry, 2017 International Book Award in Poetry, Pinnacle Book Award for Best Bilingual Poetry Book, and the Readers’ Favorite Award in Poetry. Finalist 2018 Eric Hoffer Book Award, 2016 Lascaux Prize in Collected Poetry, the Julie Suk Award.

Life in Suspension:
La Vie Suspendue

(Salmon Poetry, 2016)

Foreword by Richard Wilbur

A bilingual collection in English & 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

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

One of the most remarkable things about this remarkable book is its utter strangeness…. Not the confessional “I,” not the “I” of personal expression, not even, finally, the mythic “I,” but an explosive secular mysticism is what this book is after. At times it leaves us—deliberately—almost breathless, no longer quite “alive” but not dead either: la vie suspendue.

                                                   —Jack Foley, Caveat Lector

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

Fervent, feverish, musical, the poems often take on a visionary, almost hallucinatory quality. This is not a collection for the metaphorically faint-hearted. This poet defies conventional physics to travel through and manipulate time and place.                                                                                                                                                   —Candace Pearson, Spillway 26 

A life lived in complete awe.                                                                                         —Antonio D’Alfonso, The Pacific Rim Review of Books 

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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

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

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

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

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

Hélène Cardona has delivered to us a book in which she celebrates the magic of parallel worlds. Two languages, two persons, one testimony. Not so much a disclosure of truth, as much as the revelation of doubt. What sways above the emptiness is a life lived in complete awe. Cardona balances over a cosmos of fragments. The sparkling, the reflections do not throw back a perfect mirror image. Lives are shared, not possessed. The result is a song for the acceptance of doubleness, pluralism. Hélène Cardona provides synthesis for what is inevitably separated.

               Antonio D’Alfonso, The Pacific Rim Review of Books

Traces of melancholy, flashes of resilience and above all, an abundance of wonder – at things both quotidian and cosmic, past and present – shine through Life in Suspension.  A magical collection of poetry that will enrich the reader. Profound in thought, assured in tone, it artfully makes references to several great minds of the East and the West – Rumi and Hafiz, E. E. Cummings and Carl Sagan.

                                      Tulika Bahadur, On Art and Aesthetics

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


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 

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

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

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

Poems that explore whole worlds – embracing and beautiful.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Olympia Dukakis

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                                      

New from Salmon Poetry, this bilingual edition of poetry in English and French has already drawn much praise from the literary world. Cardona joins the chorus of multilingual and multinational poets in challenging the notion that living “between” languages means living within a dilemma. Cardona instead embraces the fullness and complexity of language, place, and the self.                                                                                                                                                                                                       Anomalous Press

The poems which move me most twist time and like the best esquisses and in a few lines tell a story.  Read Hélène Cardona’s “In Search of Benevolent Immortality”.  Mysterious but also so familiar, especially to anyone who has crossed borders.

                                                —Mia Funk, The Creative Process

Des poèmes comme des incantations séductrices pour fusionner entre réel et irréel.                                                                                                                                                                         —Ghislaine Léjard, Le Capital des Mots


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


Reviews of Life in Suspension

Review by Hiranya Mukherjee inThe Antonym

Review by Elizabeth Cohen in At the Inkewell 

Review by Jack Foley in Caveat Lector

Review by Alison Williams in Poetry International

Review by Antonio D’Alfonso in The Pacific Rim Review of Books

Risk & Alchemy: Life in Suspension by Hélène Cardona by John Domini in The Enchanting Verses Literary Review

Review by Anomaly in Books To Watch Out For 2017

Review by Elvis Alves in the Compulsive Reader

                                          Lost Addresses, Found Poems: Collections by Diann Blakely and Hélène Cardona                                                              by Paul Wilner in ZYZZYVA Literary Magazine

Life in Suspension / La Vie Suspendue by Ghislaine Lejard in Le Capital des Mots

Hélène Cardona : Musica Eterna by Dana Shismanian in Francopolis

Review by Anthony DiMatteo in The Los Angeles Review

Hélène Cardona’s Luminous Bi-lingual Collection of Poetry by Tulika Bahadur in On Art and Aesthetics

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 by Karli Cude in Typographical Era

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


     La passion reste en suspens dans le monde, prête à traverser les gens qui veulent bien se laisser traverser par elle.      Marguerite Duras

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