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Clangings is a book-length sequence of poems comprising a single dramatic monologue. The speaker manifests the thought disorder known as “clang associations”–mental connections made between dissociated ideas through rhymes, puns, neologisms, and other non-linear speech, occurring frequently in schizophrenia and mania. This dramatic premise, coupled with strict form–each poem composed in five rhyming quatrains–develops a character who articulates, through and against language, a pressing need for coherence and stability.  Other Clangings can be read in Crazyhorse, No. 80; Denver Quarterly, Vol 46, No. 2; Field, No. 84; The Journal, Spring/Summer, 2011, Little Star, No. 3., and Sugar House Review, No. 3.

Steven Cramer’s Clangings may well be the most disturbing book of verse ever written! Binding the warp of psychotic blurts into a poetic weft is one way to make all of language unbearably strange. But the poems here disturb and illuminate—that’s the magic.

Jean McGarry, author of Dream Date and A Bad and Stupid Girl

The speaker’s ‘relationship’ with his mental creation is so effective that it forces the reader into both empathy and identification:  the speaker’s feelings are not unlike what our own might be about someone ‘real.’


Steven Cramer, in his fifth collection of poems, employs an innovative strategy, opening himself to the space outside of language by pushing up against its limitations. Clangings is a restless, ambitious enterprise.

Poets’ Quarterly

…combinations that make our hearts beat faster, our synapses glow.

New Pages

…one of our favorite poetry books of 2012.


This is a fantastic read and an enormous gift for anyone who appreciates good poetry.

Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene Blog

Listening to Steven Cramer read from his book, Clangings, was like no other poetry reading in PoemCity.  It was imperative to have his poetry read aloud: the enunciation, alliteration, homonyms, fast-talking, disconnected ideas – was a different experience than reading the poems on a page. We like to offer unique aspects of poetry and Steven Cramer’s presentation fits that bill. I think his poetry is brilliant.

Rachel Senechal, Program and Development Director, Kellogg Hubbard Library

Watch Clangings Book Trailer

Clangings cover artist: Johann Fournier