John High

Photo Credit: Guo Feng

Books

New Poetry
“Sometimes questions are answers and answers are questions in these dialogic verses. Death, love, history, sorrow, language, joy and prayer are subjects masterfully interwoven in John High’s bardic and ecstatic lines. ‘you are everything you are not’ is an exquisite sequence. In the words of the poet: ‘The story never leaves you.’” —Uche Nduka
Poetry
"Imagine a novel whose setting is dark and indeterminate, whose nameless characters are shadowy, and whose circular plot unfolds timelessly -- and you will be imagining John High's 'a book of unknowing.' These powerful poems, whose language rushes past in a torrent of disorienting yet evocative images and sounds, will pull you out of this world and into another, that matters a great deal more, where all that you think you know becomes doubtful." —Norman Fischer
"...High turns elegy to discovery while retaining the truth of sadness, and matches brevity with a generosity that not only grasps, but also loves, the human condition." —Cole Swensen
About John High's Prose
“Soaked in night visions and pierced through by jagged memory, John High's work tells that peculiarly American story in which, as Faulkner once said, 'The past isn't forgotten, it isn't even the past.’ John High's Virginia backwaters call to mind the feral, hallucinogenic American landscapes of Cormac McCarthy's Child of God, as well as Faulkner's Sanctuary…” —Albert Mobilio
“In what is best described as a book length prose poem, he [John High] attempts to uncover the un-narrative that lies beneath all tales of loss and redemption. In this tale set in Russia, he moves unhesitatingly across centuries, fusing the spiritual travails of the Middle Ages with the economic woes of post-Soviet life. This self-reflexive tour de force reminds us that high art need not be free of religious and political ideation. His prose gives the lie to the distinctions between poetry and fiction; its intricately gnomic language suggests the eternal and the apocalyptic almost offhandedly, without resorting to elaborate stagecraft. High conjures dreamscapes which retain the bracing tactility of the real...—The Village Voice Literary Supplement
Poetry Translation

Biography

A recipient of four Fulbright Fellowships, John High has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (fiction and translation), the Witter Bynner Foundation, and Arts International. He is a former member of the Moscow Club Poetry and a founding editor of Five Fingers Review. Poet, translator, Zen monk—he has written ten books, including the novel, The Desire Notebooks. vanishing acts is the fourth volume in the interconnected series of poetry collections following here, a book of unknowing, and you are everything you are not. His translations of contemporary Russian poetry include books by Nina Iskrenko, Ivan Zhdanov, and Aleksei Parshchikov; he is the chief editor for Crossing Centuries—The New Generation in Russian Poetry. His translations of Osip Mandelstam have appeared in The Nation, Fulcrum, Denver Quarterly, Pen America, Ugly Duckling Presse, and Poetry. Recent readings include Istanbul, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Paris, Hangzhou, Venice, and New York. Recent work has appeared in Verse, New American Writing, The Brooklyn Rail, Ugly Duckling Presse (6×6), Brooklyn Paramount, Poems by Sunday, Visceral Brooklyn, Conjunctions, Poetry Northwest, and Paris Lit Up. Poems from this four-book series have been translated into French and Russian for the Paris Ivy Series and The St. Petersburg literary journal, Kreshchatik. He has taught creative writing and literature in Moscow, Istanbul, Hangzhou, and San Francisco, and currently directs the MFA Creative Writing Program at LIU Brooklyn.