Steven Riel

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How to Dream

"…he can balance pathos and wit and make it seem easy (it's not), and he can invent … this poet has a gift for metaphor which shines in comparison with the flat unimaginative approach of much current verse… How to Dream is an estimable debut."
     James Cory, The James White Review

"With tenderness, humor, and intelligence, these poems illuminate what it means to grow up gay in an 'ordinary town' in America and what it means to be gay, to be intimate in a world where the 'young sicken & fall before the old.' Steven Riel deftly confronts the truth without losing sight of the joy and possibilities - how to love, and how to dream."
     Carol Potter, poet and author of Before We Were Born

The Spirit Can Crest

"If Steven Riel were a window dresser instead of a poet his carefully placed objects in elegant proximities - as the words in the lines of these poems - would render tableaux with wry and tender precision so as to stir your spirit and stretch your heart."
     Franklin Abbott, author of Mortal Love and editor of Boyhood, Growing Up Male

"He should have either caved in or lashed out. I mean, what else do you do when society says you can’t be who you are. Not just once, but twice. Because you are Franco-American. Because you’re gay. But Steven Riel rejected the obvious choices. Instead, he decided to explore, examine, exist. In the process, he grew stronger and more comfortable in all of his identities. Not just Franco and gay, but in all of the plural ways that link us all together, in spite of the singularities. And somewhere along the way, he decided to take us along. Readers who, like me, discover the beautifully written—often breath-taking poems in this volume will most enthusiastically applaud that decision."
     Gregoire Chabot, playwright


Interviewed by Mass Poetry, March 2015New

Interviewed by Extract(s), June 16, 2014

Interviewed by Franklin Abbott in RFD, issue 159 (spring 2014), p. 53-55

Listen to an interview recorded on October 2003 on GenderTalk

Articles about Steven Riel

The Big Picture - Ken Gewertz - Harvard Gazette, November 2005

Critical discussions of Steven Riel's poetry

Cynthia Lees, "Identity and the Ethnic Self in Contemporary Franco-American Poetry," Quebec Studies, v. 57 (spring/summer 2014)

Jean Morisset, "Une vie en translation, ou, Le vertige et la gloire d'être Franco," in Vision et visages de la Franco-Amérique (Sillery: Septentrion, 2001).

Juliana Frost, The People of Survivance: Franco-Americans in New England (M.A. thesis, Southern Connecticut State University, 1992).

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Last updated: March 15, 2015