my imaginary old man: poems by Ryan Sharp



The poems in my imaginary old man: poems construct a world alive with the ordinary and the mysterious. There is a sustained music to these poems, a music that sings out through an imagined throat, a music that both cracks a bell and is heard as the screech of tires. I like who this imagined man is, and how his idiosyncrasies could belong to any of us. These poems act like a mirror held up to the world asking us to notice what’s real all around and to search for what matters.

–Dorianne Laux, recipient of The Paterson Prize and author of The Book of Men


Ryan Sharp’s propulsive, incantatory lines create something from nothing and then make it sing. my imaginary old man: poems crafts a new world with an embodied father-absence at its center like a protean being. By turns tender and fierce, haunting and mourning, the chapbook explores “the image one / creates to fill the heart shaped hole the fool / gold the shine in the oil slick the sick
/ lion the most cunning the fox.” Like all most deeply imagined things, its hybrid old man lives on even when the poems end. This brilliant meditation on complicated loss and lineage marks Sharp as a voice and mind to watch.

–Sasha West, winner of National Poetry Series and author of Failure and I Bury the Body




my imaginary old man: poems

by Ryan Sharp

$13.99, paper

Ryan Sharp holds an MFA from Pacific University and is currently a PhD candidate in the English Department at the University of Texas at Austin where his research focuses on contemporary Black American persona poetry and the Archive. His poetry and reviews have appeared in several journals including CallalooCopper Nickel, and PANK. He lives with his wife and two children in Austin, TX, where he serves as the editor for Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review and as the Writers’ Studio Coordinator at Huston-Tillotson University.


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