Each Knuckle with Sugar
Sarah Levine’s Each Knuckle with Sugar is a soft yet powerful deep-dive into love and grief told through multiple fascinating perspectives.
"I love this book. [...] Look, some of its tanginess may leap off the page and startle your fingers. Some of its honey may stick to your knuckles. Let it."
— Chen Chen,
author of Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced an Emergency
“I have been reading Sarah Levine's poems for the past decade and in this luminous first collection she fulfills the promise of her earlier work. Each Knuckle with Sugar explores the romantic relationship between Herman and Begonia who meet at his mother's funeral. Each poem in which they inhabit is vivid, lyrical, poignant, often passionate and always intimate. As their relationship matures the metaphoric language is never predictable, a touch eccentric and always blissfully original. Read these poems and I guarantee you will bask in their humanity and, ultimately, be transformed in the mystery of their elegance.”
— Kevin Pilkington,
author of Playing Poker with Tennessee Williams
“Sarah Levine’s award-winning debut collection introduces us to Herman and Begonia, two people who embark on a love affair as they try to find a way out of a landscape stripped bare by loneliness and grief. There is a strangeness, an intensity, a blurring of the real and the surreal that makes this tale of love and loss intimate and authentic. Levine has a strong command of the image, metaphor and simile, that renders these poems vivid and dreamlike. If there is grief, there is also humor: Herman’s lists of questions to ask Begonia on their dates are original, to say the least. As they speak in turn, in their fragmented voices, Herman and Begonia become achingly human, their need for love and their thwarted attempts at salvation all too familiar.”
— Martín Espada, author of Floaters
Cover Artist: Józef Simmler
Cover Designer: Sally Franckowiak & Jerrod Schwarz
Sarah Levine is a Pushcart Prize nominee and author of two chapbooks, Take Me Home, a finalist for the New Women’s Voices Chapbook Competition (Finishing Line Press, 2020) and Her Man (New Megaphone Press, 2014). Her work has appeared in Passages North, Best New Poets anthology, Green Mountains Review, and The Paris American among other publications. She earned her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, MAT from Smith College, and BA from UMASS Amherst Honors College. Levine is a 2023-2024 Teachers for Global Classrooms Fulbright fellow and teaches 7th Grade ELA and 12th Grade AP Literature at Williston Northampton School where she currently holds the Richard C. Gregory Endowed Chair. Each Knuckle with Sugar won the Driftwood Press Open Reading Contest and is her debut collection.