The Sleeping Mermaid

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Critical acclaim for Rob Couteau's novel, Doctor Pluss:

"Amazingly beautiful, haunting prose. It's a great book."
-- Christopher Sawyer-Lauçanno,

author of:
An Invisible Spectator:
A Biography of Paul Bowles

(Weidenfeld & Nicolson)

The Continual Pilgrimage:
American Writers in Paris

(Grove Press / Bloomsbury)


"Intellectual freshness, richness and potency ...
An impressively creative writer, whom Barney Rosset urged me to review."

-- Jim Feast,

author of Neo Phobe (with Ron Kolm; Autonomedia)
from his
Evergreen Review essay on
Doctor Pluss
and Collected Couteau.

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The Sleeping Mermaid is available in these libraries and bookstores:

- Amazon
- Barnes & Nobles

In New York:
- Barner Books, New Paltz
- Inquiring Minds, New Paltz

A collection of poetry by literary author and fine artist Rob Couteau, The Sleeping Mermaid includes poems about growing up in Brooklyn and living in Paris; poetry based on works of Picasso; and poem portraits of figures such as Brassai and Walt Whitman. Introduction by author Christopher Sawyer-Lauçanno.

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Excerpts from The Sleeping Mermaid:


"Novelist and literary enthusiast Rob Couteau brings readers part of his love with The Sleeping Mermaid, a book of flowing poetry and thought that asks plenty of questions and offers plenty of answers. The Sleeping Mermaid is a poetry collection well worth considering. '... Muse ... She is constant / like a steady stream; / only my cup / may falter.'
Willis M. Buhle, Midwest Book Review, August 2010.

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"In Couteau’s work there is no phoniness, no artifice for the sake of artifice–though in the great French tradition this poet knows so well, there is some art for the sake of art. Couteau does not venture into realms of obscurity where meaning is confined to the interior of a Klein bottle; his poems all have direct force, subjects, even verbs. He is intent on having his readers share in his observations, whether it be his artful retelling and reinterpretations of Native American story and song, or his appraisal of how a woman parades across the avenue. He does not ever sacrifice ordinary sense for an extra-ordinary significance. Instead, he speaks with fervor, with something to say, with something he wants us to hang onto and in the process come to an understanding of why it matters not just to him but should matter to us. [...]

"I think it was William Carlos Williams who said that poetry is belief. Couteau believes in belief, believes that poetic worth is measured in faithfulness to what is, what has been, and what could be. These are his talismans; these are the points where he begins and ends. His poetic excursions take us to many places: to the Paris of Rimbaud and Picasso, to the Native North Americans, to mythology and history and how the woman he is encountering is seducing him as he seduces her (and us), and finally, how alone, the cosmos plays itself out at 3 a.m. when the only lap dog is memory."
-- Christopher Sawyer-Lauçanno, from his Introduction to The Sleeping Mermaid.

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Rob Couteau is a writer and visual artist from Brooklyn. In the mid-1980s he was director of a nonprofit agency that provided advocacy, housing, and counselling for former psychiatric patients, in New York City. He's the author of the novel Doctor Pluss; the literary anthology Collected Couteau, the memoirs Letters from Paris and The Paris Journals, and the poetry collection The Sleeping Mermaid. In 1985 he won the North American Essay Award, a competition open to North American writers and sponsored by the American Humanist Association.

His work as a literary critic, interviewer, and social commentator has been featured in books such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera: A Reader’s Guide, by Thomas Fahy, Conversations with Ray Bradbury, ed. Steven Aggelis, and David Cohen’s Forgotten Millions, a book about the homeless mentally ill.

His poetry, fiction, essays, and interviews have appeared in over thirty-five magazines, newspapers, and literary journals, including The Alembic; Anima; Arete; Bloomsbury Review; Cadillac Cicatrix; Chrysalis; Colere; Confluent Educational Journal; Croton Review; The European; Footwork; The Garden State; The Hawaii Pacific Review; Heavenbone; The Humanist; The Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy; Lapis; Lift Magazine; New Leaves Review; The Paris Voice; Passager; Quantum; Raintaxi; Rockhurst Review; Spring; Venice Magazine; Versitude; West Hills Review; White Pelican Review; Xanadu; and Z Miscellaneous.

After living in Paris for twelve years, he returned to the U.S. in December 2000. He currently resides in upstate New York.



 fine art


| The Sleeping Mermaid | Collected Couteau | Doctor Pluss | The Paris Journals | Letters from Paris |

Updated: 14 Jan. 2013 | Copyright © 2013 by Rob Couteau All rights reserved.