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In Conversation with Sara R. Burnett: Seed Celestial

a woman holding a sign


Poems reflecting on contemporary political issues, mythological origins, and the capacity for hope in the face of uncertain futures.


The author will stay to sign books after the reading and Q&A session.


This collection weaves together themes of motherhood, immigration, social transformation, and interrogation. Throughout Seed Celestial, Sara R. Burnett writes haunting reflections on origins—of myth and memory, language and country, earth and mothers—as she looks to an uncertain future.

Bringing together contemporary issues of climate change, gun violence, and feminism while working from her own experience of raising a young daughter, she writes, “You were inside my body / while I was outside; / outside was everything else.” Burnett vividly renders her own origin story as an immigrant’s daughter using the myths of Demeter and Persephone. This book is a love letter to the earth the way only a mother can write it: appreciating all its faults while seeing its beauty. Burnett offers a poetry collection that is tender, and honest, akin to having an intimate conversation with a friend who tells us what we know to be true about ourselves, our twin capacities for love and violence, and what we don’t. She intertwines our violent, complicated world with the uncanny human capacity for hope and describes the awe of a world recreating itself again and again while wondering about all we lose and leave behind, especially for the next generation.

Seed Celestial is the winner of the 2021 Autumn House Press Poetry Prize, selected by Eileen Myles.


Sara R. Burnett is the author of Seed Celestial, winner of the 2021 Autumn House Press Poetry Prize, forthcoming in fall 2022. She is also the author of Mother Tongue, a poetry chapbook (Dancing Girl Press, 2018) and has published poems and essays in Barrow Street, Copper Nickel, Matter, PANK, and elsewhere. A finalist for the 2019 Enoch Pratt Free Library poetry award and a recipient of scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, she holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland, and a MA in English Literature from the University of Vermont. Sara worked for several years as a public high school English teacher in both Washington, DC, and Vermont and as an educator and curriculum developer at a non-profit immigration organization working in and with schools. In addition to writing poetry and essays, she also writes picture books. She lives in Maryland with her husband and children. For more info, check out her website: