top of page
OPENHOUSE cover.jpg
SSZ cover.jpg

C. J. Sage


"Such carefully packed sound catapults Sage to the head of the wordsmith line. Here are linguistically rich and evenly crafted pieces that feel fully vested..."

from The San Simeon Zebras book review, by Angela Vogel, in The Journal

About Open House:


Open House more resembles a geological event han a housewarming party, but we're all invited. C.J. Sage has flung open the doors and windows to time and the elements, advancing and retreating as they please. Like the undulating waves, Sage's attention moves back and forth...between temporary concerns and permanent conditions....These poems--precise, wise, exquisite--reside among houses overlooking the sea and the surf itself. Sage is a tough-minded poet who neither falls for the beauty of the vista nor faints from its height. Instead, she finds and considers that which is necessary and essential while calmly releasing the rest.
      -William Waltz

“In Open House, C.J. Sage explores the self's most inhabited--and perhaps least inspected--suburbs. These poems, made pliable by their precision, are spatial in scope yet constrained in pitch. The tension of these opposites results in a lyric integrity that is increasingly rare in contemporary poetry....We are in the vicinity of strange neighborhoods and interiority. Everything's adjacent. And the thinnest of wisp think lines separates what is house from what is home. Read this."
     -Jill Alexander Essbaum

The San Simeon Zebras

Like many,
they are out of place:

stolen and content.

So wild in expressing
their reserve, they are wholly

hidden; their hides are more
dizzying than their presence:

dark and lightness,

confused as to the meaning
of their being
here, as they are.

—What an invitation!—
that wire-slatted hillside. —

Largely overwhelming
as the masses

of an outcast, homeless people.

—Lost so completely
everyone is, in passing, interested.


About The San Simeon Zebras:


“With virtuoso craft and a naturalist’s accuracy, CJ Sage reinvents the nature poem for the 21st century.... Inside this wondrous contemporary bestiary Sage investigates the interactions of animals and humans, using her poems for a complex apprehension of our world... Is it possible to resist playing on this poet’s surname? CJ Sage works her words with a zesty ease, offering us both curative herb and wise prophecy”
      -Molly Peacock

“CJ Sage distills the cadences of faith and flourish into a gorgeous bestiary. Donkeys, egrets, zebras, snails, skunks—and more—reside in a beautifully rendered world..."
      -Margot Schilpp

“These poems read like a phantasmagoric zoo—a restless, and relentless, collection of beasts created by sound-play, hallucination, and pleasure. There is a feeling of idée fixe, of obsession, that drives this poet onward to build a linguistic Island of Dr. Moreau where dream and the subconscious are barely contained by the rational impulses of language—to fascinating effect.”
     -Larissa Szporluk

C. J. Sage's poems appear in The Antioch Review, Barrow Street, Black Warrior Review, Boston Review, Conduit, Copper Nickel, The Journal, The Literary Review, North American Review, Orion, Ploughshares, POOL, Prairie Schooner, Shenandoah, The Southeast Review, SubTropics, The Threepenny Review, West Branch, et cetera. Her books include Open House, The San Simeon ZebrasOdyssea, and Field Notes in Contemporary Literature. She is also an essayist and a visual artist.





bottom of page