Laura Kasischke, author of The Infinitesimals

OPEN WIDE, THE EYE is a collection of stunningly original, precise, and exquisite poems. Nusbaum’s eye for the telling detail is as sharp as her ear for the music of the language, and these poems track the inner life as carefully and movingly as they track the sensory experience of this world. This is real poetry, speaking as poignantly to the heart as to the intellect.


William Heyen, author of “Shoah Train,” National Book Award Finalist

Reading this collection, I arrived to where the poet asks, “on moonless nights, what guides/A mother’s lips to find the fontanel?” And it was at this moment that I realized what power it was—mother/muse/emanating spirit—that received these poems and in turn gave them to us. “Scalded by the beauty” of the places and times of her life within timeless Time from childhood to widowhood (such beautiful elegies here), Susan Nusbaum, even as she asks “Where will we turn next to find true love?” has created here the evidential answer itself, musical songs that are able to open wide our eyes.


Joan Murray, author of “Swimming for the Ark”

Susan Nusbaum’s generous new book, Open Wide, the Eye springs from an artist’s impulse to capture the pulsing beauty of the world. Intelligent, empathetic, and widely-traveled, Nusbaum is gifted with a broad yet probing vision and an ear for precision. Her poetic landscapes (as well as seascapes, skyscapes, and cityscapes) can be literally dazzling. Yet she’s also impressive at conjuring sound and physical sensation, especially in poems that focus on music, or on the longing that comes with loss. Elsewhere, in narratives, she deals with human suffering and childhood nostalgia, but it’s the best of her painterly, contemplative poems that leave the reader stunned.