Because Why

Poetry by Sarah Fox

April 1, 2006 • 6 x 9 • 126 pages • 978-1-56689-186-8

Immersed in botanical insight, Fox’s experimentations with language and life illuminate this accomplished debut.

Immersed in botanical insight, these poems embark upon an archetypal journey of introspection and awakening, transforming language in a show of poetic alchemy. Separating spirituality from dogma, and fusing contemporary and archaic traditions, Sarah Fox explores the nature of creation, healing, and human connection, illuminating both rituals of community and communication in her accomplished debut.

About the Author

Sarah Fox lives in Northeast Minneapolis where she co-imagines the Center for Visionary Poetics and also serves as a doula. She has taught poetry and creative writing at the University of Minnesota, the Perpich Center for Arts Education Arts High School, and to diverse populations in a variety of venues via the Loft, COMPAS, the Minnesota State Arts Board, and other community organizations throughout Minnesota for over 15 years. Coffee House Press published her book, Because Why, in 2006. She contributes posts on feminism, mysticism, astrology, and poetics to the multi-author arts and culture blog Montevidayo, and has won grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bush Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Academy of American Poets, and the Graduate Research Partnership Program at the University of Minnesota. Recent work appears in Conduit,  Action, Yes, We Are So Happy To Know Something, Poetry City USA Vol 2, Spout, ElevenEleven, Rain Taxi, LUNGFULL!, and others. She performs poetry rituals and other acts of intersubjective communion in public and private spaces whenever she can.

Thanks to a 2013 ADA Access Improvement Grant administered by VSA Minnesota for the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, this title is also formatted for screen readers which make text accessible to the blind and visually impaired. To purchase this title for use with a screen reader please call (612) 338-0125 or email us at info@coffeehousepress.org.


“Fox’s Because Why rearranges syntax in a fluid landscape in which a horse can become a cactus and a teenager a tree. The experience is a lot like wandering through a hedge maze that is at the same time a tightrope stretched over a large canyon, a travelogue and the dark side of the moon.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune

“These are not narrative poems with easy-to-grasp ‘aha’ moments, and yet, they are exquisite renderings in ink that will leave you thinking. . . . [Fox’s] work has a deeply personal vein running through it that clearly draws on her experience as a woman, a mother and a doula.” —Madison Capital Times

“An engaging collection of evocative and original poetry. . . . Because Why showcases the focus and brilliance of Fox’s wordsmithing imageries.” —Midwest Book Review

“Sarah Fox has found a way to make poetry both experimental and accessible. Her poems are strange but strike a deep chord. They are playful and dark, thought-provoking and silly. . . . A wonderful read for both the well-versed poet and a general audience.” —Altar Magazine

“In equal measures absurd, existential, and just plain exhilarating, Because Why eloquently expresses the strange times in which we live, without resorting to the erudite, self-conscious tricks that have come to be the hallmark of so much postmodern poetry.” —mnartists.org

“Visually as well as verbally exciting.” —Jacket

“This edgy, energetic, and irreverent first collection introduces a poet we’ll hear from again.” —Library Journal

“Part joy, part mandate, part irreverence and all poetry . . . Fox’s poems continually press out into the margins of consciousness and understanding.” —Xantippe

“Sarah Fox has given us a gift—each poem in this thrilling collection inhabits a quotidian mystery, yet always tugs at the limits of knowing, pushing into dreamscape, into realms of the unconscious. Art, science, pop culture, religion, motherhood, loverhood—all are gathered here in the necessary service of dumbstruck awe. Read the whole book, then read it again.” —Nick Flynn

“Sarah Fox has found a way to create spaces where different sensibilities—lyric, narrative, surreal—can coexist and change, one into another. This fullness of range allows moments of complete surprise when Fox shifts from one tone to another. Because Why is an accretion of motions, of touchings upon words, into a primarily aural sense of the relationship between idea and feeling.” —Bob Hicok

“Here we have strange combinations, surreal deliveries, and reliable musical syntax. This is how the theory of relativity begins to manifest itself in the poetry of our time. Words are almost only sounds, pressed forward by an anxiety of objectless activity. ‘Days are short here, nights / shorter. We sleep / like blind sailors in bed // that deliver us secretly home.’ In this new poetry we can begin to trace the way our thinking behaves. Everything that is, now is not. Why not? Because.” —Fanny Howe

“Sarah Fox’s poems buzz with energy and imagination. Sometimes it’s a slideshow at ten frames per second; sometimes it’s an alchemical crock-pot simmering with the indignation of witness. Sometimes it’s a dive through the possibilities of a holographic syntax.” —Dale Pendell