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:

Monday, August 30, 2010

In Memoriam

Ivan King, 1927-2010

Mornings my father rose early,
stood at the kitchen window
sipping yesterday's cold tea.

It mattered to him to live frugally.
Each day was precious and he wrote
the list of how to spend it

in his head: to stake the beans,
cut thistle and tansy in the far field,
call the butcher to get that old cow.

My father didn't much use
the word "love," too expensive
a sentiment. But as he stood in the barn loft

and tossed hay to his cattle
he thought of the pastor offering communion.
And if it is his body that is broken now

I recite his life under my breath,
savoring all of it, body and blood,
that lig in religion like that in ligament,

joining all of the parts together.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Postcard Poem (8.15.10)

Driving through the dusk to my childhood home
I feel as though I could drop the "home." I'm driving
through the dusk to my childhood.
The past thirty years blink closed--
I'm twenty-one again, single, childless,
lonely. My childhood, too, is small,
a matyroushka doll
nested inside other dolls. The crescent moon
hangs orange and huge over the horizon.
Venus--an entire planet--is only one steady speck
of light. The moon is an eyelid.
Behind it, that's me, dreaming
that I'm driving through the dusk to my childhood.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Writer's Portable Mentor

I'm pleased to recommend this excellent book of writing instruction by my friend the Seattle teacher and writer Priscilla Long.

For more information, go to


Once again, it's August and that means it's Poetry Postcard month. Here's one from my first week. I wrote it under the thrall of Mary Oliver's "The Messenger."

Maple leaves wrinkle in a breeze.
A bank of St. John's Wort.
Unmown grass. Dandelions
and plantain. My work today
is the same work as yesterday:
to love this corner of the world
I'm sprung up in, accidental
and purposeful as a weed.

Monday, August 2, 2010


This is for Pearl. I found it in Laraine Herring's The Writing Warrior --

If you're really listening, if you're awake to the
poignant beauty of the world, your heart breaks regularly.
In fact, your heart is made to break;
its purpose is to burst open again and again
so that it can hold ever-more wonders.

--Andrew Harvey