“I attempt to carve out a sparse place for desire,” Sally Van Doren writes in her inventive Promise. And she does. Desire is there for us in her book as a line through time, cutting through the daily into sharp vision. “I ration my pleasures/so as not to contaminate the grey clouds heading/your way.” And it is through Van Doren’s careful rationing that she enacts how erotic the daily is and how dailiness infiltrates everything, even the erotic. Van Doren invites us: “Rest your head in my maelstrom.” After resting my head in Promise, I look out again, more alert and ready for the day than ever. - Jennifer Kronovet

“These poems glance and shimmer with light, energy and humor. Van Doren’s work is quick and intelligent, and it illuminates our lives, even those tiny corners (the inside of the closet) where no-one looks. Brava”- Roxana Robinson

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“In her second collection of poetry, Van Doren lets readers peek under the covers, behind the curtain, and into those secret places all of us protect with closed mouths and veiled eyes.  She leads readers in one direction, only to pop up where you least expect her, and she plumbs the depths of love and death in lyrical language that seduces and beguiles.”

Andover magazine

“Sally Van Doren never for a moment takes her eye off language…She possesses a quirky domestic landscape, poetic matters strewn everywhere among life’s neatness…We’re left fascinated by the inventive varieties of life’s words.” - Al Filreis

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Sex At Noon Taxes

“Sally Van Doren works wondrous changes on the sonnet form, dividing the mandatory fourteen lines in diverse ways, demonstrating in the process how much life and variety remain in this most venerable of verse structures.  The subjects she explores are not only the time-tested ones (love, sex marriage, nostalgia, etc.) but also something hard-to-define that includes them all…[A] smart, crafty collection.”  - David Lehman

“The vocabulary fizzes off the page, creating her highly original humor: tart, dry, knowing, and fresh all at once.”  - August Kleinzahler

“Inventive, playful, painterly, each of Sally Van Doren’s poems…changes not only what we see of life, but how we see it.”  - Molly Peacock

“Her poems surprise us with unexpected metaphors and splashes of the surreal, and they inevitably question how words respond to pictures or pictures respond to words as she makes her fine-tuned word-pictures.”  - Richard Newman

“Through soaring atmospherics and the grit and grift of a life, her work is both disturbing and consoling—-the rarest and finest of combinations.”  - Robert Nazarene

“Van Doren’s poetry is direct and moves at an easy gait that suddenly breaks into an astonishingly ambitious gallop toward revelation.”  - St. Louis Beacon

“Van Doren’s work here is athletic in its use of language, passionate in its use of imagery, and sensitive to the nuances of human experience.”  - Associated Content

Purchase at, LSU Press