Video: Tom o'Vietnam Reading

Watch Baron read an excerpt from Tom o'Vietnam at a reading in Hallowell, Maine (December 2017).

Forthcoming: Legends of the Slow Explosion

In April 2018, Baron's book Legends of the Slow Explosion will be available through Tupelo Press. Click here for more information. It is available to preorder on Amazon.

Videos: "Smoking in Midtown" and "The Tape"

Listen to Baron's poems "Smoking in Midtown" and "The Tape" in a spoken word/sound context

Tom o’ Vietnam now available

Elegant Grieving: A Review of Tom O’ Vietnam by Baron Wormser in Solstice Literary Magazine

Baron Wormser’s fifteenth book, a novel entitled Tom o’ Vietnam that traces the travels of a Vietnam vet in the fall of 1982. Tom o’Vietnam is a very American road novel but also a disquisition about and investigation of Shakespeare’s King Lear. Like Tom o’ Bedlam, Tom is hiding out, “impersonating a person,” as he puts it. Tom o’ Vietnam blends poetry, history and dark wit as it bears witness to the depths of eloquence and grief, anger and endurance. Books can be ordered through your local bookseller, New Rivers Press, Amazon, and Small Press Distribution.

Tom o'Vietnam Readings

January 30, Bear Pond Books, 7 p.m. Montpelier, Vermont

"Baron Wormser has done something important with Tom o' Vietnam in the way that he has identified and precisely embraced a stunningly particular historical moment we casually refer to as "Viet Nam," as if the name was not a country but a dark shroud of moral collapse that hangs over us still. More remarkably, he has constructed this narrative from the point of view of a combat soldier, fighting in the American War in Viet Nam. Somehow there is a deep legitimacy to this soldier's story because Wormser has been excruciatingly precise in his consideration and use of details—what Hemingway called "getting the words right." Built into Tom o' Vietnam's narrative is a clever, bright and engaging analysis of King Lear that parallels the primary narrative in richly imaginative ways.Inventive, immodestly challenging more than a few literary fictive conventions, and sometimes even beautifully written, Tom o 'Vietnam is, at the same time, in a class by itself and resonant of great works about Viet Nam that have come before."
—Bruce Weigl, author of Song of Napalm: Poems and The Circle of Hanh: A Memoir

"On Contingency"

Click here to read Baron's talk "On Contingency," given at the Interlochen Writers Conference in June of 2017.

A Writing House

Offerings for 2018 are now online. Events include discussion groups that focus on a particular poet or writer, revision workshops, and generative workshops where people write new work. Join Baron at his home in Montpelier (and elsewhere) for writing study. Recent workshops have focused on James Baldwin, Emily Dickinson, Dante, Jane Kenyon, and Plath/Shakespeare. Baron has taught some of these solo and some with other poets and writers such as Jeanne Marie Beaumont, Betsy Sholl, Nadell Fishman, and Kim Kupperman.

Books Available Now

tom“In Tom o’Vietnam, Baron Wormser has created a stunning literary mash-up of a soldier’s fractured survival co-mingled with Shakespeare’s King Lear. This commanding narrative explores the pilgrimage of a young veteran who roams America as if it will lead him to King Lear’s plains of Dover. Mired in ‘the poetry of incomprehension,’ Tom wanders in a helix spun with the intricacies of words and the spaces between them, grappling with the tragedy of Lear to find his way. I was thoroughly engaged in this richly layered story and was equally rewarded to witness a tenderness of love that underscores Tom’s odyssey, and the surprise of my own emotions overcome with a rare kind of love for this character and this book.”
—Eugenia Kim, author of The Calligrapher’s Daugher

Unidentified Sighing Objects
cover From the CavanKerry press release: “In his tenth collection of poems, Unidentified Sighing Objects, Baron Wormser continues a poetic journey begun more than three decades ago—a journey that has traversed the quotidian and the unexpected with equal measures of insight, emotion, and lyric grace.” Read the full press release.

Praise for USO from Richard Hoffman, author of Love and Fury : These are contemplative poems, but their occasions are the events, objects, people of our actual lives, so that Wormser’s odes and meditations serve as profound commentary on the past half century. His poems embody a kind of deep happiness that has nothing to do with contentedness; in fact, this hard-won and carefully maintained equanimity gives Wormser a vantage from which to assail hurtful absurdities and inveigh against injustice. Nobody’s fool, Wormser veils his metaphysics, but he keeps faith with his vision that there is, in fact, somewhere “The music you can’t hear but must be there.”

Praise for USO from Howard Norman, author of Next Life Might Be Kinder : This is a stunning collection. Baron Wormser is a truly inimitable poet, one in whom the tersely lyrical image-maker and the critical human intelligence, capable of elevating a quotidian moment to a level of almost theological regard, are utterly woven as one. Like what was said of Sinatra and Bessie Smith and Chet Baker, it’s as if Wormser is speaking intimately to each of us individually. Mysterious and suggestive, quite capable of crankily humorous philosophical locutions, he reminds us of no one else composing poetry today. Sure, Baron Wormser might write “Life’s a beautiful meaningless gift,” and yet I think that Unidentified Sighing Objects is a gift both beautiful and profound, whose poems are in turn self-concealing and wrenchingly transparent, and every page, in equal measure, is Buddhist-of-the-moment and timeless. Turn to the poem, “Ode to Speech” and you will know what I mean.

Teach Us That Peace cover“Baron Wormser’s first novel, Teach Us That Peace, opens a door on a dramatic American moment when a vision of racial harmony began to be more than a dream. From the summer of 1962, when the powers in Albany, Georgia, stymie Martin Luther King Jr. and aerial photographs first reveal missiles in Cuba, to the March on Washington in August, 1963, Susan and Arthur Mermelstein, mother and son, high school English teacher and high school student, journey from sheltered innocence through the contradictions and complexities of race, politics, and history.” Read the full press release.

Read the review on Dawn Potter’s blog.

See more available titles.

© Baron Wormser