Paperback. Pebblebrook Press (2015).
"The artful manipulation of language is difficult enough for poets who have all 26 letters of the alphabet at their disposal, but here Mark Zimmermann has risen to that challenge under severe self-imposed restrictions. The poems are called "lipograms"—dramatic monologues that feature historical personae or literary characters speaking for themselves, but with a major difference: they are limited to the letters that occur in their own names. Among them: Walt Disney ("I see an island, Eden walled. . ."), Grigory Rasputin ("Staring into Tsarina's angst, I intuit signs. . . "), even Ted Kaczynski ("I can't stand it. A dazed intensity kicks in. . ."). Much like the old-time magicians who could extricate themselves from locked barrels, Zimmermann's speakers manage, remarkably, to escape their impediments and speak, convincingly and eloquently, from their souls."
–Marilyn L. Taylor
Wisconsin Poet Laureate 2009-2010
About the Author
Mark Zimmermann is a Wisconsin native and has degrees in English from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Between 1990 and 2004, he lived in Japan, the Netherlands, Hungary, and Poland, where he worked as a university instructor and freelance journalist/editor. He attributes a good part of his attraction to the lipogram’s linguistic constraints to his previous familiarity with somewhat similar limitations that he experienced as a second and third language user during those years abroad. Since his return to the United States, he has taught humanities and writing courses at the Milwaukee School of Engineering where he received the Johnson Controls Award for Teaching Excellence in 2013. He is also a member of the Hartford Avenue Poets and represents the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets on the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission. His poetry has appeared in numerous journals and in the anthology Masquerades and Misdemeanors (Pebblebrook Press, 2013). Zimmermann lives in Milwaukee with his wife and two cats.