LeRoy N. Sorenson
Author & Poet
SHIPS MARCH 5, 2021
"These poems made of hard prairie light keep faith with the past by refusing to look away. In spare, lean lyrics, Sorenson’s work scours the meat plants, rotgut bars and railroad yards of small Dakota towns. Fearless, precise, missing nothing, Mr. Sorenson insists on saying what happened, however difficult that might be. In looking so clearly at ourselves, Railman’s Son illuminates the lives we lead, which in itself is a kind of revelation."
– Mark Conway author of
rivers of the driftless region, Dreaming Man, Face Down
and two other collections.
LeRoy Sorenson began writing when he was a teenager: essays, commentary pieces, short stories and poetry. He has worked as a child psychologist, political organizer and financial analyst. He was one of four poetry participants in the 2009—2010 Loft Mentor Series and graduated from the Loft’s Foreword program in December 2014.
Mr. Sorenson published his poetry collection, Forty Miles North of Nowhere, with Main Street Rag.
Finishing Line Press will publish his chapbook Railman’s Son, in March 2021. He won The Tishman Review 2019 Edna St. Vincent Millay Prize for Poetry. He was also a finalist in Naugatuck River Review’s annual poetry contest and a semifinalist in the Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry’s Pablo Neruda Prize in Poetry. His work has appeared or will appear in The American Journal of Poetry, the Atlanta Review, The Cider Press Review, Crab Orchard Review, Comstock Review, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review and other journals. He lives in St. Paul, MN with his wife who is a novelist.
In the Press
In LeRoy Sorenson’s poems we find
a protagonist who confronts, in a truly remarkable way, the people and communities of the American Prairie;
this is a protagonist who, having “escaped” the small towns he writes about, refuses to abandon them. And what more can we ask for? These are poems about family, religion (or lack of it), slaughterhouses, addiction, violence, difficult love, history and the enduring human desire for connection and tenderness against the odds.
– Jude Nutter, author of
I Wish I Had a Heart Like Yours, Walt Whitman, Dead Reckoning, and two other collections.
LeRoy Sorenson's gritty, visceral poems in Railman's Son are deeply informed by the wounding of class. In this, Sorenson is brother to poets like Philip Levine and James Wright, daring to break the silence on an "ism" kept by many otherwise progressive peers. Rarely in recent poetry do we encounter so many vivid details of the traditional working class life. "There is nothing so pure as work," Sorenson says without apparent irony, yet work is also what chews up and spits out so many lives. Thus this book becomes a kind of ambivalent elegy to an older way of being in the world. In harnessing such tensions, Sorenson frighteningly reads "the shorthand of American rage," of which we should all take heed.
– Thomas R. Smith, author of
Storm Island and several other collections