& poems from the midst of life
“The haiku-like spareness of Nan Socolow’s style evokes vivid imagery, fulfilling to perfection Wordsworth’s poetic ideal of ’emotion recollected in tranquility.'”
Thus does Sarah-Ann Smith, author of Trang Sen: A Novel of Vietnam, describe Nan Socolow’s writing.
Born in New York City, where she grew up in an apartment overlooking the storied square of Gramercy Park, Nan Socolow first studied poetry at Connecticut College with William Meredith, later the U.S. Poet Laureate and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. At Princeton University, where she was the first Administrator of Rockefeller College, she studied advanced poetry with Theodore (“Ted”) Weiss, founder and publisher of Quarterly Review of Literature. In France, at the Sorbonne and Musée d’art Moderne, she studied contemporary French Literature and Art.
In addition to serving as Director of Development at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., in the 1970s, Nan worked in the White House office of Rosalynn Carter helping plan for the events celebrating the 1979 Arab-Israeli Peace Treaty.
She later worked for the U.S. State Department and United States Information Agency, where, as a Language Services Officer, she accompanied foreign leaders on Fulbright Grants as they traveled throughout the U.S. in their fields of expertise and interest.
In 1988, Nan moved to Cayman Brac, one of the three Cayman Islands of the British West Indies, where she worked as a condominium manager, hotel administrator, and real estate agent while also pursuing writing, gardening, cooking, and life as an expat in a paradaisal place—in Hurricane Alley. Her beachfront home was destroyed by hurricanes Ivan (2004) and Paloma (2008) and she rebuilt the house twice. After 26 years she returned to the United States, settling into her current home in West Palm Beach, Florida, where she enjoys living “in interesting times.”
Among those who have read and praised Invasive Procedures is Kathrin Perutz, author of Beyond the Looking Glass: America’s Beauty Culture, and many other books. “Nan Socolow gives us poems that are short and pert, sweet and sour as if laced with passion fruit. She pounces upon certain moments, capturing them in her net when no one else is looking as Nabokov captured his butterflies.”
Joan Konner, Dean Emerita of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, writes, “Nan Socolow reaches out to touch places we don’t see and yet recognize, and in her simple words, teaches us to pay attention.”
And in the words of Jackson R. Breyer, Professor Emeritus of English at U. of Maryland, Socolow “deals often movingly, but just as frequently humorously, with the many fluctuations, the joys and sorrows, of romance, courtship, marriage, and separation,” sharing her “wry, sophisticated, and acute understanding of the … world.”