Fixed Star

JackLeg Press September 2022

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“Throughout, the poet seeks the place that’s hers….She is not welcomed by nations with open arms; instead through travel, exile, story, and invention she crafts her own fixed star.” Reviewed by Emily Pérez at RHINO

Advance Praise

In Suzanne Frischkorn’s intoxicating Fixed Star, content and form mirror and echo each other, twin and twine. From the opening line in the first of a sequence of sonnets that generates the book’s architecture, we learn that the subject is separation, from first language, landscape, and heritage, a loss, a violence, a thievery carried by and negotiated within the body, which becomes, itself, a translation. So what, then, can poetry be? In Frischkorn’s hands, it is—well—everything. It is the cry and the answering cry, the body’s disappearance and revolution, history and tangled myth and the site of self-creation, honoring the fragments while languaging them into something greater, more songful than a whole…And then there are the voices she braids into the poems. Transtromer and Plath. Keats and John Cage. Shakespeare and Olga Guillot. They are lyric companions on a perilous road….Fixed Star cannot be reduced to anything but itself. I am in genuine awe.  

Diane Seuss, author of frank: sonnets

Elegant, clear-eyed, and restless, Suzanne Frischkorn’s poems seek and illuminate the frayed hyphens fastening us to family, to the world. Her searching is psychologically rich, transformative: an iridescent interiority spirals outward to touch what sustains it, what divides it. Structurally brilliant, alive with lyrical thinking and observations, Fixed Star is ample proof of Frischkorn’s poetic gifts. In her hands, language is light.

Eduardo C. Corral, author of Guillotine


The opening poem, “Cuban Polymita,” from which the title Fixed Star arises, serves as the scaffolding device for Frischkorn’s manuscript. Like the beautiful painted snails it references, the book, too, is a series of spirals: mainly, a pair of sonnet coronas whose recursive lines twine through the manuscript both framing and bracing it. Navigating splits in language, geography, government, culture, and family—”My father’s from Cuba. I’m American. /He wanted me to learn one language really well”—Frischkorn guides us through poems that are, contrapuntally, both luxuriant and lean. Swirling through this compact, honed manuscript are a series of citations (Shakespeare, John Cage, Muriel Rukeyser, John Keats, Normando Hernández González), and geographies (Cuba, Spain, Florida, Pennsylvania) that create transit across decades and differing terrains. Constellated with Latin jazz, jasper, sea glass, bougainvillea, contradanza, and coral reefs, Fixed Star is a brilliant treatise on violence, division, loss, longing, and the search for song.

Simone Muench, JackLeg Press Poetry Editor