The Household Gods, Cleveland State University Press

Image: Cleveland State University Press

Praise for The Household Gods 

“Dan Bourne’s poems begin in place–southern Illinois farmland, to be precise–and with discoveries made there they branch out into ways of human vulnerability found anywhere. They are alert to the fragile borders between the rational and the irrational, between the order of an open mind and the disorder of a closed one. They pick up ‘the splinter of metaphor’ with exactness. The ‘cost of the image’ is sometimes high, but then so are the stakes. These are generous, unflinching poems.”

–Roger Mitchell

“In this powerful and arresting collection, Daniel Bourne explores, among other things, the dailiness of violence–the sow who eats her own young, the cousin whose hands are severed in a farm accident, the neighbor blinded by wood alcohol, a pond’s demise, a father’s cancer, the small and large deaths. And he finds in these meditations on mortality cause to embrace the consolations of memory and the transforming power of the imagination. With compassionate intelligence, wit and whimsy, Bourne celebrates the ‘dark festivities’ in his richly textured and memorable first book.”

–Ron Wallace

Order The Household Gods here.

Where No One Spoke the Language, Custom Words Press


Where No One Spoke the Language is a book that is weighty with the world. Traveling the landscapes of Poland and elsewhere, Daniel Bourne confronts history on a human scale, reminding us that the surest shield against the world’s dehumanizing terrors is humanity itself, counted one by one.

Praise for Where No One Spoke the Language 

Where No One Spoke the Language is a journey, a passion, a trial, a return to the scenes of a crime whose complexity is such that the judge, the jury, and the witnesses seem to keep changing roles just to keep up. Many of us know this story from a distance; Daniel Bourne knows it close up. We follow his faithful eye, the eye of an advocate for clarity, for seeing and hearing, and bringing to our hearts those human moments that allow us to continue caring.”

–Gary Gildner

“I admire the sustained ethical grace of these poems and the way the indignities committed against the places they describe–largely in Poland (the poisoning and polluting of the landscape, political violence, and despotism)–are not commented on so much as revealed in the concrete details of the poems’ worlds. The poet’s acknowledgements of the sweetness and humanity that can exist amid suffering is part of what makes this book so compelling.”

–Lynne McMahon

“What Daniel Bourne has done here is something I haven’t heard done yet–Charles Simic’s surreal mode grounded, but with Simic’s knowledge of Eastern Europe. Remarkable and relentless, Where No One Spoke the Language achieves a voice of exile deeper than any I’ve heard from an American Poet since The Waste Land, but I am comforted that Bourne knows, and is among us. And as for the snob who sniffs ‘oh–a political poem’ the poet says, ‘I’m sure some dawn his body / will be discovered lying face down / in a spreading pool of aesthetics. …'”

–William Heyen

“The pressure of political and social reality has honed these poems to a keen poignancy over the period of their telling–the years just before and after the end of the Cold War in Poland, the late satellite state and newly post-Soviet nation. Where No One Spoke the Language maps an endurance of suffering on a national scale, as analogous palimpsest to the personal dissolutions of which Daniel Bourne is sympathetic witness and participant. Living, writing, and translating in this pressurized central European cultural milieu, the poet evokes its current gritty poverty and industrial pollution, but also the unexpected moments of beauty and humanity that spring forth unbidden from the detritus. In these compassionate poems, Daniel Bourne speaks, across borders of linguistic and national difference, a profoundly human language for us all.”

–Carolyne Wright

Order Where No One Spoke the Language  here.

On The Crossroads of Asia and Europe, Salmon Run Press


On the Crossroads of Asia and Europe collects the poetry and satirical prose of Polish writer Tomasz Jastrun, winner of the 1983 “S Prize” from Underground Solidarity for his poetry during Poland’s martial law period in the early 1980’s.

Praise for On the Crossroads of Asia and Europe 

“A friend and fellow writer, speaking in reference to contemporary poetry, remarked to me not long ago that the true poets are not those in search of something to write about, but those whose subjects have discovered them. I find this confirmed in reading the poems of Tomasz Jastrun.”

–John Haines

“Here at last we have a generous selection of Tomasz Jastrun’s poems and prose chronicling the disintegration of Poland, and celebrating the unlikely survival of the human spirit. We have Daniel Bourne to thank for guiding these poems into English.”

–John Witte, Editor, Northwest Review 

“These translations–and the story they tell–moved me. Bourne’s English versions of Jastrun’s poems and prose are necessary–and brave–and if they fail to carry out the traveler whole, as all translations must fail, they bring forth nonetheless the precious message of the heart.”

–Gary Gildner, Author of The Warsaw Sparks 

“Deep gratitude to Daniel Bourne and Salmon Run Press for making available in English the profoundly moving voice of Polish writer, Tomasz Jastrun. This is crucial, empowering work.”

–Naomi Shihab Nye

Order On The Crossroads of Asia and Europe here.

Boys Who Go Aloft, Sparrow Press


Out of print.