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Sightseer Cynthia Marie Hoffman

Winner of the 2010 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize in Poetry

The poems in this enchanting debut capture the dubious nature of even the most reverent tourism. From Provincetown to Prague, in cemeteries and abbeys, they address with tongue in cheek the artifacts and denizens of the sacrosanct places they visit, exploring what it means to appreciate the foreign and sacred.

Praise for the book:
Sightseer is that rarity: a first book so mature, so intelligent, so wittily and deftly written that it seems not to be a first book at all, but the offering of a poet who has found her stride, as Cynthia Marie Hoffman certainly has, in a poetry as sparkling, wild, raw, and tender as any I have read in recent years. Her titular subject, tourism, becomes allegorical in her hands, with poems that guide us through many Europes at once: temporal and spatial, architectural, spiritual and political, much as one of Chagall’s floating angels would guide us—mysteriously, playfully, with great compassion and wit. Brava.” —Carolyn Forché

“Cynthia Marie Hoffman writes with passionate lucidity, and the precision of her gaze—the ‘long crystal eye’ of her lyrical camera—sweeping across the grandeur and detritus of the world gives her visions back to us various and new. Sightseer: how right this title is! Hoffman is a seer whose words re-imagine the sights and sites on which she focuses this wondrous travelogue. Hers is a poetic debut to remember.” —Sandra M. Gilbert

“In the opening poem of Sightseer, Cynthia Marie Hoffman declares to a starfish, ‘I am the idiot tourist.’ She is anything but. Hoffman guides us attentively and exuberantly through European churches, hotels, graveyards, reliquaries, parks, castles, and town squares, her voice razor-sharp, funny, and luminously self-aware as she writes of (and to) a Polish synagogue, an Irish priory, and a medieval Russian prince, among others. These poems shimmer and shout, bless and address. Sightseer is an unforgettable, revelatory experience.”
—Erika Meitner

"Hoffman is at home with both the global and the local, literally and figuratively. She can create taut, well-composed images and graceful meditations. She can write about her homeland and her travels with equal flair. Sightseer is a powerful collection of poems that makes a subtle and profound argument about the nature of travel, dislocation, and belonging."
---Ryan Teitman

About the Author:
Cynthia Marie Hoffman has published poems in Best New Poets 2005, Crab Orchard Review, Missouri Review, and elsewhere. She earned her MFA from George Mason University and is a former Diane Middlebrook Fellow at the University of Wisconsin. She lives in Madison.

Original trade paperback / $15.00 (Can 16.50) / ISBN 978-0-89255-368-6 / 80 pages / Poetry

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