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:

Friday, April 27, 2012

Ruth Stone (1915-2011)

I learned only this morning, in Copper Canyon's spring catalogue, that poet Ruth Stone died on November 19, 2011. I have been a huge fan of Stone's work from the time I first read -- and memorized -- one of her poems in a little anthology I found when my husband and I were unpacking boxes in our first house. I own all of her recent books, and often feel as though she is providing guidance for me about how to be a wife and mother, and how to love a flawed and miraculous world. Here's both CC's note, in memoriam, and a poem:

Ruth Stone was born on June 8, 1915 and died on November 19, 2011. She wrote and published in relative obscurity, with limited financial resources but a wealth of dertermination and independence. She was a universe unto herself, whose magnetism and charm were undeniable.


In August we carried the old horsehair mattress
To the back porch
And slept with our children in a row.
The wind came up the mountain into the orchard
Telling me something;
Saying something was urgent.
I was happy.
The green apples fell on the sloping roof
And rattled down.
The wind was shaking me all night long;
Shaking me in my sleep
Like a definition of love,
Saying, this is the moment,
Here, now.

-Ruth Stone

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

"All the Green Day"

Open the link and scroll down to April 12 to hear my friend Jennifer Beebe read her poem "All the Green Day," originally published in the now defunct Cranky Literary Journal.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

"No seed ever sees the flower." -Zen saying

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

Olivia's Write Up...

In our college paper, The Clipper, Olivia Houseman did a lovely job writing about my poetry prize -- so I wanted to share it with you:

Varied Thrush


Our aged, half-feral cat has left a varied thrush
on the front steps,

a rare bird, head and breast
daubed with orange.

In the mulched flowerbeds under the windows,
a scatter of feathers.

Like a detective, I can trace the moment of terror,
how it hit the window,

stunning itself, making an easy mark.
Later, the cat

meows at the back door to be let in,
patient as death

and less blind than I’ve believed her.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


If someone had told me in 1990 when The Coyotes and My Mom was published, that it would be 22 years before I had another book, would I have persevered?

At the end of the quarter, I sometimes ask my Creative Nonfiction students to write an Acknowledgments page for their book. They laugh, or roll their eyes. "What book?" Then they plunge in. We have a lot of fun reading them aloud.

Now that I'm for real getting to write an Acknowlegments page for a book, I'm finding the task a little daunting. Sitting in my friend Janet's living room Monday night, as she paged through the manuscript (yet again), I thought of all the people I could say thank you to. There are those current friends and colleagues, people at the college, people who meet with me at my friend Carolynne's dining room table. There are students. There are people like Therese and Carla and Karen and Priscilla and Paul and Glenda. And my husband and daughters! Oh, and the Writing Lab! (Huge!) And my friends Madelon and Darby who allowed me to crash their writing group for an entire spring quarter when I was on leave from teaching. And Anna! And Deborah! There are all those amazing journals and editors who have published my poems and believed in me.

Back in the living room, Janet turned the page. She woke me from my reverie and read a poem out loud. I don't know whose names I'll actually list, but hers will have to be foremost.

I think it was Reinhold Niebuhr who said that when you can't think of what to pray, "Thank you" is a good start. So, if you've been with me on this journey, if you've been one of those people who kept believing in me even when my faith wavered, thank you.

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Review Review

The Review Review this month features Calyx, Winter 2012, and (thus) my poem, "The Apple Orchard":

The first poem in this issue is the winner of the 2011 Lois Cranston Memorial Poetry Prize: “The Apple Orchard” by Bethany Reid. The award-winning poem compares an orchard to a whorehouse, evoking such female-centric images as, “the trees/frowsy and bedraggled/in nightgowns and slippers,/hair tangled, lipstick askew,/straps slipping from their shoulders.” Reid’s poem makes quiet assertions about nature’s give and take within the larger context of women’s sexuality, providing the perfect opening for this high-tension issue.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Brian Kiteley's 3 a.m. Epiphany

I have been reading Brian Kiteley's book, The 3 a.m. Epiphany, and found this:

"The original meaning of exercise, from the Latin, was to drive out of an enclosure (you can see and smell the horses here; the Latin verbs we still use like this one and educate are often simple farming terms turning into abstract philosophical ideas). Drive your ideas out of enclosures, into the open." (006)

Kiteley's method is to teach by driving students through exercises, and then letting them learn from the exercises. He advises that we avoid writing stories while writing the exercises, and seems to mean that the exercises will tug us off balance, and when we are off-balance, our best stories will surprise us.

Several years ago, inspired by I forget what exactly, I decided that I needed to reclaim the power of the horse. I bought some horse prints and a set of horse bookends -- a second set, as I have a beautiful marble pair that my cousin Mary gave me when I graduated from high school. I wrote poems about the horses of my childhood, I started an autobiographical novel about being a horse-crazy girl. I bought a horse mug. I borrowed my friend's Tao of Equus books and never gave them back (though I haven't forgotten they are hers). I bought a new copy of the My Friend Flicka trilogy. I took my daughters for horseback riding lessons. I did everything but actually ride a horse.

Riding a horse is on this year's to-do list. Until I wrote this post, I didn't realize I was avoiding it. I think there's a story there.

Monday, April 2, 2012

What Flood Does


Flood overturns the order
of pond and stream, insists
on an ardor of rushing water,

of tree limbs and mud and
small, swirling eddies. Flood
doesn't respect a fence, turns out

the field's pockets, scours
the mint and nettle
from creekbanks.

Cause and recourse, flood pulls down
the sapling and great maple
together, no respecter

of persons. Flood loves
a bridge, loves to caress with its tongue
those high, amorous thighs.