Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

Little Savage

by Emily Fragos

“This is not an adjunct poetry collection, but a magically essential one. . . . Fragos uses metaphors to cast spells.” –Benjamin Ivy, American Book Review

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 80
  • Publication Date March 19, 2004
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-4065-4
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $13.00

About The Book

A fiercely talented debut from a writer who represents the best American poetry has to offer.

With Little Savage, Emily Fragos delivers a magnificent collection in the American tradition of Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop. With clean, strongly wrought lines she builds poems that are elegant and powerful.

Marie Ponsot calls the collection ‘remarkable.” What separates Fragos from her contemporaries is her amazing ability to empathize with the characters she creates–the misfits, the artists, the children kept in a fifteenth-century school, the composer going mad. She convincingly becomes a young girl in the Venetian conservatory for the abandoned: ‘sofia del violino. Once I saw myself / in a clear puddle of rain / water. My teeth are very crooked, I / know. We are none of us / startled by the other. We are all / the same. To Heaven.” These moments ache with honesty, and humility, and make us wish that every sentiment expressed by Fragos could be true.

Deceptively simple poems written by an unostentatiously skilled poet, Little Savage is permeated with a reverence for nature, music, myth, and dance–a veritable treasure trove of compassion and grace.


“This is not an adjunct poetry collection, but a magically essential one. . . . Fragos uses metaphors to cast spells.” –Benjamin Ivy, American Book Review

“Fragos’s confidently voiced poems exhibit a delicate, mature mastery of language. . . . Her sense of rhythm and pacing are impeccable, and she moves through time with poise and assurance. . . . Fragos takes pains to treat each of her fragile subjects with dignity, compassion, and a grave attentiveness. The poems in Little Savage are so smooth and radiant with thought that one gets the sense that they were tumbled around in the mind of the poet until completely polished.” –Kathleen Rooney, Boston Review

“Like Rilke, Emily Fragos exults in her discovered awareness. She imbues . . . all of us with the consciousness that there are no single souls: we are not alone.” –Richard Howard

“Fragos is a thin-skinned, tough-minded poet of this world. Her sensual sensibility is unrestrained by conventional perceptual grids. Her verbal acts are informed by a music like a second language: with a player’s skill at an instrument, a composer’s concentrating election of notes and echoes, a listener’s joy in attention. Her remarkable poems take us by surprise.” –Marie Ponsot

“All first books are an occasion–first book: first world. But Emily Fragos’s first collection exceeds the mere event. These are the poems of a full-grown prodigy, spirit-haunted and profound. One reads this work to fathom the truth of the most unaffected clarities of the human condition, elegant, mere, savage in its simplicity. Little Savage attains the grace of accuracy, and brilliantly.” –Lucie Brock-Broido

“Imaginations of disaster never lack an audience, a fact known to prophets of the Second Coming, Hollywood, and artists such as Bosch, Milton, Goya, Coleridge, Rimbaud, Bacon, and Plath. Fragos exhibits some of the same strengths as these, in poems that echo our era’s derangement and savagery. She even dares, through her ironic title, to claim that quality as though it belonged to her, an act of ingratitude ‘sharper than a serpent’s tooth” toward her own gifts and humane character. Perhaps she is suggesting that extreme problems demand extreme solutions–that, until public self-judgment and self-correction match hers, cruelty and violence won’t find their remedy.” –Alfred Corn


The Path

There is so little to go on: a pale
trembling hand as I stand over you,
my finger tracing the words on the page,
a foreign language you are learning
for a journey without me. You will do
fine, I say. You will wrap your tongue
around these sounds and be understood,
be given what you desire: a loaf of bread,
change for your money, an antique doll
with violent eyes. Paintings are hanging
on walls, behind glass, waiting for you
to admire them. Their plaintive beauty
will move through you and you will walk
back to your hotel through the park
I know well. I spent years there walking
its bridle path, a gray cat in my arms,
moving toward you, blind, in another life.

©2004 by Emily Fragos. Reprinted with permission from Grove Atlantic, Inc. All rights reserved.