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, February 28, 2011

A Is for Apple

I'm sitting in my green chair
and holding my notebook in my hands,
and then I'm standing on the other side
of the orchard fence, near the pond.
I'm fifteen years old.
I'm training my horse to ground-tie
but he picks it up so easily I suspect
he's been taught this trick before.
And then I'm back in the green chair,
remembering reading somewhere how we don't learn anything,
how all we can do is be reminded
of what we already know.
And then, because my horse thinks I have forgotten the lesson,
he walks away from me.
He is nosing the grass for fallen apples.
I sit in my green chair and think
about what I know beyond knowing.

The smell of apples ripening in the sun.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms or like books written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them....Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer." --Rainer Maria Rilke

image from

Friday, February 18, 2011

Anais Nin

"We tell stories not to say what we can all say, but to say what we are unable to say."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Will You Kiss Me One Last Time?

I've posted this before, but wanted to again. It was written by my friend Paul Marshall.


Will you kiss me one last time?
Will you kiss me one last time?
Tit for Tat
my Mother tells my Alzheimers addled Father.
Filled with despair,
his sloth like, sad-eyed,
slow moving response hangs red in the air.

Looking at his little rocking chair
the boy says,
"I want to make a sail boat. Where is the axe?"

I'm going to paint it pink and name it chartreuse.

"Of course I would say good bye to you before I leave,"
his wife said.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


I have been reading Mary Oliver's Thirst, and, as always happens when I read her, my own poems seem under her spell. Here's today's:

I have been neglecting my work.
I have picked up too many dirty towels
and washed too many loads of laundry,
rinsed too many glasses
when I should have been staring into space
or at a white moth on the window ledge or at stars.
I took my daughters to the mall
and out for tacos, and it isn't that taste and color won't do,
only that I should have taken them to the ocean
and walked barefoot with them in the sand.
I have been grading papers
and posting lessons about apostrophes
when I should have given my students
blank notebooks and set them, too,
loose in the world to look,
to see how the snow geese cross so high in the white sky.
I have neglected my work,
working too hard to be good,
when my job, always, has been to be wild.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Some Mornings

Some mornings, writing the date
at the top of the page
I feel as though I am pinning myself
not only to the day
but to my whole life
the way a woman pins a dress pattern
to a length of cloth.
The way the sleeve fits
along the fold, how the hem
runs to this end, the delicate neckline
to the other, that's how I fit
into my life, its material chosen for me
long before I first lay down against it,
long before I allowed the first pin to be fixed.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Diana Raab

I just stumbled across Diana Raab's essay, "Writing: A Sweet Release," in Superstition Review Spring 2010. It's about her breast cancer surgery, and writing. And it is so wonderful I simply have to share it with you.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

To a Friend Who Has Announced His Retirement

Am I hearing strains of an orchestra playing "Abide with Me"?
Why is the floor tilting?
Is that you, waving cheerfully from a lifeboat?