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The Emma Press


Dear Friend(s)

Dear Friend(s)


Dear Friend(s) is the debut pamphlet of poems by Jeffery Sugarman.

“(other truths)


I wanted you, that’s it, not all of it,

but true. Your bright torso; your

muscled thighs. What you wanted,

what you did with others’ bodies, what

they did with you, only others know.

So, yes, lies.”

Page count: 30

Publication Date: 11th April 2019

Paperback ISBN: 9781912915187

Jeffery Sugarman

Jeffery Sugarman is an American-born poet living in London. He grew up in 1960s Florida when the state was still relatively untrammelled, a bit exotic – swampy, bursting with coconut palms, peacocks and mermaids; shaded by live oaks, draped with grey moss. He has written in various forms all his life: first, architecture and design criticism; then in planning and urban design over a 20-plus years career in New York City, where he lived, and began writing poetry, from the mid-1990s. He moved to London in 2009 with his English husband, and lives on Islington’s ‘west-side’.


The poems in Dear Friend(s) explore the webs of experience that connect parents, extended families and friends, moulding us from our earliest days. In his debut pamphlet, Sugarman examines love, desire and friendship in many guises and locations. The long title poem is an elegy to a specific Dear Friend, dead from AIDS in its earliest years.

‘Poems of exceptional grace and wild sincerity.’ – Fiona Sampson

‘This is a heart-warming pamphlet filled with poems that ring with honesty, pain and love and are a gentle reminder of the importance of our child-self coexisting within our adult life.’ – Alchemy Spoon

Dear Friend(s) takes on poetry’s big subjects: sex, love and death, with an explosive panache. Formally and linguistically daring, these poems range from elegies written in the shadow of AIDS to tender love lyrics that offer both hope and healing. A gloriously original contribution to the growing canon of queer poetry.’ – Jacqueline Saphra

‘Balancing survivor’s guilt with Whitmanesque strains of wonder, Dear Friend(s) is that rare thing—an elegy which engages with the potential failure of the elegy but ultimately goes on to revivify it; to ‘bring dead things to straining throats’. From the fireflies with their ‘savage air’, to the young man’s beard, ‘a biologically dead thing… marveled at’, to the spring lambs, ‘shreds of wool on wire barbs’, Sugarman’s is a poetic landscape of loss cut through with intense heat and longing.’ – Richard Scott

Watch Jeffery Sugarman read from Dear Friend(s) for the Cambridge Writing Retreat:

Additional information

Dimensions 12.9 × 19.8 cm

Print, eBook

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