Forthcoming: Tom o’ Vietnam

On November 10, 2017, New Rivers Press will publish 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. Preorder the book (for a special preorder discount) here.

"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.

Opening the Doors of Poetry:
a Weeklong Generative Workshop

August 7 – 11, 2017
Location: Montpelier, Vermont at Baron Wormser’s house

Over the course of decades I have taught many dozens of workshops and have developed a sense, both practical and intuitive, about the value of using prompts as a springboard into writing. The notion is Buddhist and reminiscent of koans: be in the moment and respond to what occurs in the moment. There is nothing to plan and very definitely nothing to worry about. Each participant starts afresh with each piece of writing in search of new ways through the thicket of the self and welter of the world.

See the flyer for more details.

Being with Poets: Czeslaw Milosz

with Betsy Sholl
September 30 – October 1, 2017,  9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Location: 13 Loomis Street, Montpelier, VT 05602

$360 (lunch included each day)
Limited to six participants: first come, first served
To register, contact:

A recent piece in the NY Times argued for the continuing relevance of Czeslaw Milosz. Indeed, Milosz's insistence on the integrity of writing and the writer have enormous relevance in a time that routinely sees the traducing of language and mocking of truth-telling. We will focus our two days of discussion on The Witness of Poetry, a crucial text in Milosz's canon, and on a number of his poems. These days will be an opportunity to discuss at length a hugely important poet and writer and offer each participant a chance to see how Milosz matters on both a personal and societal level. Quiet time will be allowed during the course of the two days for writing of whatever sort the participant wishes to do. These days are bound to precipitate much reflection and imagination.

Essay and Memoir: Conversation and Practice--George Orwell

with Kim Dana Kupperman
October 7-8, 2017,  9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Greenwich Village, New York

Limited to six participants: first come, first served
To register, contact:

In a time of public lies, boasts, misinformation, and propaganda, many readers and writers have rallied, for good reason, to the standard of George Orwell, a writer who stood for lucidity, personal honesty, a passion for truth, and an unwavering commitment to the integrity of language. This generative workshop will focus on four of Orwell's essays. We will discuss each essay and then use the essay as a springboard for participants to do their own writing.

See the flyer for more details.

A Writing House

Offerings for 2017 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

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.

Impenitent Notes coverImpenitent Notes is Baron Wormser’s ninth book of poetry. From the CavanKerry press release: “Wormser writes of darker themes—a mother dying of cancer, the bilking of Americans by the gurus of Wall Street, torture in Latin America, the faceless life of prostitutes, the anger and despair of the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq—but even in the most solemn of moments, he never fails to identify the absurdity, the fundamental quirk that accentuates our universal human imperfections.” Read the full press release.

Read the review in the Bangor Daily News.

Read the review on ForeWord Reviews.

See more available titles.

© Baron Wormser