The Loneliest Whale Blues by Sharon Suzuki-Martinez Winner of the 2021 Washington Prize from The Word Works

Praise for The Loneliest Whale Blues

“I got my wish in the dream world / and this melting world, too,” writes Sharon Suzuki-Martinez in her deeply perceptive new book, which resonates with honed lines and thinking. Moving from Hawaii, to Japan, to Arizona, her poems are both world-weary and enthralled by the world. She doesn’t juxtapose the beautiful and the monstrous—she constellates both into language that’s elegiac and ecstatic. Suzuki-Martinez has written a beautifully connective and consciousness-expanding book.

                —Eduardo Corral, Author of Guillotine and Slow Lightning

Lucky readers will find out the meaning of  the word cherophobia in Sharon Suzuki-Martinez’s The Loneliest Whale Blues, solve the mystery of Loch Ness, learn that someone works in a venom factory, meet the poet’s dream students, and visit a restaurant  for monsters. Congenial, beguiling, believe me when I say that page after page of this book unfolds “into one hundred birds of paradise.”

                            —Ron Koertge, Author of Yellow Moving Van and Vampire Planet

In Sharon Suzuki-Martinez’s abundant, celebratory vision, humor and heart bind the pain of ancestral grief and American politics into an ‘eloquent revolution.’ A vital balm, a swerving flashlight, these poems uncover reasons for wonder even in our complicated Anthropocene. Reading The Loneliest Whale Blues is a moving reminder: ‘hard-earned honey’ is found in the hidden seams.”

                                               —Karen Rigby, Author of Chinoiserie

Sharon Suzuki-Martinez’s The Loneliest Whale Blues sings a spiraling, haunting song of both the perdurability and fragility of historical, biological, and geological cycles with a poetic voice that is by turns tender, whimsical, and urgent. In traditional Japanese haibun alternating with graceful lyrics, Suzuki-Martinez follows the movement of insects, birds, weather, and oceans with a curious and watchful eye—much like that of the whale in her title poem, who watches the solitary path of the sun swimming across long days. These compelling poems track the histories of racism and internment, and serve as harbingers for the unfolding climate crisis. This is a book that celebrates monsters as sacred messengers. This is a book that calls forth the fierce molten lions burning within shy rabbits. This is a book that channels a matrilineage in which “everyone knows / the gods speak only to women.”

                                 —Lee Ann Roripaugh, Author of tsunami vs. the fukushima 50

Available through SPD Signed copies with free shipping are also available. Inquire here.


The Way of All Flux by Sharon Suzuki-Martinez Winner of the 2010 MVP Prize from New Rivers Press

Praise for The Way of All Flux

In a series of funny and intimate poems where unicorns, zombies, In-and-Out Burger, and a character named Oscar the Angry Swan reign supreme, Suzuki-Martinez offers up an enchanting and powerful deliverance. You’ll be at once charmed and delighted in worlds “where sticky rice tastes like a mustache,” and when one hopes for “vengeance against seven singing rocket frogs.” The Way of All Flux is a deeply impressive debut, filled with tropical heart-song and the riotous blends of pancakes, mango, and spam sushi. Reading this collection may feel like a wild and welcome escape, but at its most genuine moments you’ll be astonished by Suzuki-Martinez’ revolutionary generosity and music.

–Aimee Nezhukumatathil, author of Lucky Fish and World of Wonders

“Sharon Suzuki-Martinez writes effervescent poems from the quotidian. There is a syncopated edginess to her lines, a strong and affectionate sense of the absurd, as when a “Parking Lot Man” ruminates upon his lot in more ways than one: “All these cars, all day long: / coming in, going out like the tide.” Or when in “Our Mysterious World”:

Pat and Lee are running together


down an unlit hallway when

they suddenly wonder,


It’s a dark and stormy

gay or straight relationship.

Could be the reason.

These lives are mutable, metamorphic, and the vital humor of this take on change humanizes it for all of us. Like all good poets, Suzuki-Martinez is a seducer in words, saying, “I am nothing / but a lost little duck on fire. / Wondrously, only your attention will save me.” But our attention is repaid, and in the end it is difficult to say who is saving whom. Read this joyful book for the delight in it, and you just might be surprised by its wisdom.

–David Mason, Colorado Poet Laureate and author of The Scarlet Libretto

Nothing so quirky as Suzuki-Martinez poetry: makes my mind tingle and bend in all directions, but especially toward real human connections through little things.  Odd little things. A terrific writer whose books I cannot wait to share.

–Heid E. Erdrich, author of National Monuments and Fishing for Myth

When you’re lucky enough to meet a poet whose exuberant awe and generous spirit can be felt on every page, you have to want to start right away reading everything she writes.  Suzuki-Martinez does this in The Way of All Flux.  The poems are intimate, universal, extravagant, astute, delightful and heart-wrenching.  She’s lending us insight by means of her original mind.  Good company, agile word-work, true in the truest sense, stories, names, places and combinations, sexy and bristling with life.

–Dara Wier, co-founder and co-director of the The Juniper Initiative for Literary Arts and Action; Publisher & Editor, Factory Hollow Press.

Available through New Rivers Press. Limited signed copies with free shipping are also available. Inquire here.


A Glimpse of Birds over O’odham Land by Sharon Suzuki-Martinez 2022 Pushcart nominee

Micro-chap by rinky dink press, 2021.

Available through rinky dink press. Limited signed copies with free shipping are also available. Inquire here.