The Tree of No
by Sandy Florian

Poetry. Latino/Latina Studies.
ISBN: 9780979975523
1 December 2008

“Beastly I fall at Adam under the shade.” Sandy Florian’s second book dilates under Milton’s Forbidden Tree, plumbing God’s unjustifiable ways, and Man’s. In a world made from scratch, eros and artifice, thanatos and theology give off mixed and exquisite signals, here buckled in Florian’s bejeweled and rigorous sentences: “words like chords like emerald snakes, words like lords like humble smoke.” Florian’s intellect blazes in this bold, ambitious work: “I have a war with history.”

“As a reader of the King James Bible and of John Milton’s Paradise Lost, I never anticipated a contemporary author would, by reverse-engineering those works, simultaneously delineate anew their imaginal worlds and break into a realm of imaginative thought so singularly her own. But I had yet to read Sandy Florian’s The Tree of No.”

– Robert Savino Oventile, Jacket

“I asked my self as I read: Is Florian comparing, by way of her work, the tree of “no” to the tree of “life” or the tree of “knowledge”? But then later realized the answer: If knowledge is posited by language, and life can be described, articulated, remembered, created, or recreated by language, then, we must be able to create a fictional world through which we navigate and experience, just as Florian has done here.”

– Kelly Lydick, Gently Read Literature

“The text is dense, animalistic and driven. It is ‘beastly’ and ‘wanton’, enacting a very different conception of humankind’s creation ‘under the tree of no’”

– Ross Brighton, Ignore the Ventriloquists


Sandy Florian was born in New York and raised in Latin America. She is of Colombian and Puerto Rican descent. She holds an MFA from Brown University’s Creative Writing Program in Fiction and her PhD from the University of Denver. At Brown, she was the recipient for the Francis Mason Harris Award for best book-length manuscript written by a woman. She was also the recipient of the New Voices Sudden Fiction Prize in Cambridge.