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Cover design by Claudia Carlson

The Empty Notebook began its life as a very literal metaphor for a few weeks of what I thought was writer’s block, but was really the struggle of an eccentric persona to take over my working life. It won. And for the next three years everything I wrote came to me in the voice of the Empty Notebook, who, as the notebook began to fill itself, became rather opinionated, changed gender, alternately acted as bully and victim, had many bizarre adventures in exotic locales and developed a somewhat politically-incorrect attitude. It then began to steal the voices and forms of other poets and tried to immortalize itself in various poetry reviews. It is now thrilled to collect itself in one slim volume.

About the Author

Susan Thomas has published stories, poems and translations in many journals and anthologies. She has won first prize from Spoon River Review and New York Stories, as well as the Iowa Poetry Award from Iowa Review, the Ann Stanford Prize from University of Southern California, and the 2010 MR Prize from the Mississippi Review. Red Hen Press published her collection, State of Blessed Gluttony, (2004), which won their Benjamin Saltman Prize and Last Voyage (2010), a collection of Giovanni Pascoli’s selected poems, co-translated with Deborah Brown and Richard Jackson. She also has two chapbooks, The Hand Waves Goodbye (Main Street Rag, 2002) and Voice of the Empty Notebook (Finishing Line Press, 2007). New work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Mississippi Review, Ellipsis, CUTTHROAT, and Cerise (Paris). She lives in Marshfield, Vermont and New York City with her husband, writer Peter Sills.

Susan’s website


“Giacomo Leopardi, the great Italian poet, once wrote that great works of art, ‘even when they give a perfect likeness of the nullity of things, always serve as a consolation, rekindling enthusiasm.’ That is precisely what Susan Thomas’ incredibly original Empty Notebook poems do. By turns ironic, tragic, comic and filled with the paradoxical gusto of pathos, Thomas’ poems show us a way to start for nothing and claim everything. This is a major work in the tradition of Popa and Zbigniew Herbert whose landscape is the imagined world that mirrors, and, more, ironically completes our own.”

—Richard Jackson. author of Heartwolf and Alive All Day