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:

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Which World Today?

I wake pregnant with possibility.
Which world should I embrace?
One with a wild pond in it,
or the one with the gaudy blossoms of old ladies' gardens?
All-day suckers and whirl-a-gig rides?
I try building a wall of books
to hide behind. The world leans in,
multiple as a kaleidescope,
laughs at me scratching out my plans
with my rusty pen.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Maybe Heaven

I'm standing at the kitchen window when I see something moving beyond the orchard fence. At first I think it's one of Dad's cows, maybe a calf, and then I remember that there are no longer any cows here. Then a deer lifts her head, sniffing the air, and then it springs over the fence into the orchard. I call Mom to the window to watch with me, and a big fawn follows its mother. There's no fruit this year, Mom says. So we haven't seen many deer. The doe stops grazing and looks up, into the kitchen window. Does she see only her reflection, or does she see our faces? She stands a long time and we stand, too. At church this morning, Mom's pastor quoted Paul, that we see through a glass darkly and we can't know what heaven is like. But in these moments, when the last of the day's sun falls over the orchard like beaten gold, when the trees are green, like jasper, under an amethyst sky, I think I know where I am.

Picture to share...

This was posted on Facebook by an old friend, but it is a postcard that I have somewhere in my collection, the railroad trestle over the Chehalis River, just outside Doty, Washington, where I went to church as a child, and close to where I grew up.

Friday, July 22, 2011


"Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewrite in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on." -John Steinbeck

I know, I know, but how do I stop myself??????

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Reading Fool

In addition to trying to carry out a rewrite of my novel, I've been a reading fool this summer. This weekend I reread two short books that I have to recommend to my memoir-writing friends: For You Mom, Finally by Ruth Reichl, and The Memoir Project by Marion Roach Smith. Although The Memoir Project is ostensibly a writing instruction book, it's also a memoir of how one writer's life has evolved.

Like our own.

Monday, July 11, 2011

One Bad Poem (7.8.11)

My older daughters just turned 18, and I have been reflecting on how "wired" they are to their friends and boyfriends. So, here's an attempt from the other day. We were in Leavenworth.

Reassuring Fanny

I have come to the mountains
to read Jane Austen. In the hotel room
my teenaged daughters are Skyping
with their boyfriends. In Mansfield Park,
dear little Fanny is feeling unmarriageable.
I've read Austen before,
Emma three times, so I could reassure
Fanny that the book is young,
that a suitable groom
will surely appear. Or I could tell her
that I don't always like my husband,
that I often wish I could get
disentangled from all bonds.
No matter, as Jane Austen reminds us,
on this plane of existence, relationship
is a big deal. How Jane
found the nerve to remain single,
that's the story I'd like to read.
I look across the parking lot as if
to see her, striding hatless away,
whistling her asymmetrical tune.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Dean Young

"The creation of art, okay, just the attempt at the creation of art, as well as the appreciation of it, is both an enlarging of the world and an expanding of consciousness. To write a poem is to explore the unknown capacities of the mind and the heart; it is emotive, empathetic exercise and, like being struck by lightning, it will probably leave you stunned, singed, but also a bit brighter, and too your odds of begin struck again then go much higher." Dean Young, The Art of Recklessness