To see the announcement for my poetry book, Sparrow, selected by poet Dorianne Laux for the Kenneth and Geraldine Gell Poetry Prize at Writers & Books, go to

You can find a review by Kathleen Kirk at EIL:

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Your Mythic Journey

Monday morning I found this quotation taped to my office door (thanks, Louise).

"When we tell our stories to one another, we, at one and the same time, find the meaning of our lives and are healed from our isolation and loneliness. Strange as it may seem, self-knowledge begins with self-revelation. We don't know who we are until we hear ourselves speaking the drama of our lives to someone we trust to listen with an open mind and heart."

Valley-Fox in Your Mythic Journey

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"My faith in the firmness of time slips away gradually. I begin to believe that chronological time is an illusion and that some other principle organizes experience." Frank Conroy, Stop-Time

image from

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


She puts us into groups of three
and writes WHEN FEEL NEED
on the whiteboard. We're to practice saying
"when you...I feel...I need..." so the first of us
rehearses an upcoming conflict
with an ex-husband and another
a confrontation she expects to have
with her coworker, while I
try to rewrite a bad script played out
only last night with my daughter.
But it turns out all three of us in our small group
are moms and we talk about that
and what we really want to say
to our teenagers ends with I need you
to be small again so that I can buckle you
into your stroller and take a walk
to clear my head.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Morning Pages

Since December 29, I've gone back to writing morning pages, under the direction of writing guru Julie Cameron. Three pages every day. (And why does my notebook have such big pages, anyway?)
It's a habit I'd gotten away from, with the excuse that my daughters don't go to bed early any more, and neither do I, making it harder to get up early and write. But somehow, the morning pages habit is carrying me along -- I'm stunned by how freeing this is and how much I have to say. Why did I ever stop?

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Every year my friend Carla invites me to contribute a poem to her Lenten Reflections chapbook, distributed at St. James Presbyterian church. Here's a version of what I sent her last year. Working on it this morning, I thought about adding "what do we bless," to the curse question. But doesn't "to bless" come from the same root as "to wound"? I'll have to do some research...sounds like another poem waiting to be written.


“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored?” – Matthew 5:13

Salt seasons, salt preserves,
looked at through a microscope,
salt blossoms into crystals, gem-like profusions.
Salt stings a wound, though blood itself is salty.
Lot's Wife was turned into salt for looking over her shoulder
at the home she had to leave behind.
“He has a salty tongue,” we say of someone who curses.
Of course the sea is salty. Of course tears are salty.

What do we look back at with longing?
What do we spice up?
What do we curse?
What wounds have we reopened?
When have we tasted blood?
What do we weep for?
What might we preserve?