New and Selected Poems: Part 2: The Wheel Project by Liza Sisk
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"Liza Sisk has taken a deep and inquisitive look at her life and turned that journey into well-crafted poems that invite the reader to take the journey with her. It’s a journey that involves love, loss, struggle, grief and, ultimately, redemption. Equally at ease with free verse and form, Liza Sisk allows us to look through the kaleidoscope of her life. Infused with lyric intensity, these poems become our stories too, as in the title poem, which discovers a form of prayer: 'Amazed and comforted by the universe, / I now trust my wheel to turn…” But she doesn't stop there, admitting in another poem, 'Yesterday I took all risks in stride. / I bet on hands that couldn't win…' So, come, hitch a ride on these poems and discover your own journey within one poet’s carefully crafted work."
—Pat Riviere-Seel, instructor at UNC/Asheville, Great Smokies Writing Program; author of The Serial Killer’s Daughter, 2009 Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry
"I neither know nor care whether the poems in The Wheel Project are good or bad. I am dead certain they are not indifferent. Liza Sisk seems to have flung herself at poetry the way she has flung herself at life. Or maybe it's the other way round and life and poetry came at her full throttle and she dealt with them on her own terms. Whatever the process, the result is a sharply original vision, a clear-eyed honesty, and a jagged and—yes—'quirky' music. Here is a reading experience as fresh as spring water—with crawfish in it."
—Fred Chappell, Former Poet Laureate of North Carolina and longtime UNC/Greensboro professor
Liza Sisk (nee Audrey Elise Strabel) didn't start school until 4th grade and then got a zero on her first test in arithmetic, but she rallied to graduate Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in mathematics from U.B. (now SUNY/Buffalo). Similarly, when she started college and got a C on her first theme, she switched majors from math to English, securing an M.A. in English from U.B., before continuing for her Ph.D. in English at U.Wisc. Her explanation for switching was a lack of culture.
After teaching math at SUNY/Buffalo and English at U.Wisc., instead of pursuing an academic career, she chose to work as a communicator in industry, progressing from technical writing at Sylvania to marketing communications at Westinghouse to Communications Manager at General Electric. There she wrote speeches for a Corporate Director and had her own slick in-house magazine on robots. She also worked at Merck as Training Specialist and Turner Power Corp. as Director of Communication and Administration.
Liza took time out during these years to form her own consulting company ComSci Associates: Communications, Training and Productivity, where clients included Westinghouse, Merck, the American Chemical Society, Turner Power, NASA and Carnegie Mellon University. She also taught English at Old Dominion, Farleigh Dickenson and Christopher Newport. After a late retirement, she went back to her first love—poetry and is now adding poetry writing to her list of careers. She has one daughter Maia, who appears in a couple of her poems, and one grandson Noah, who is almost four years old at this writing. She hopes that he will one day enjoy reading her poems.