The Tree of Life, Kalaloch (Olympic rain forest) WA, from a suite of photographs of the American west by Jennifer Pratt-Walter

Poets of the Western States



“With Open Eyes”: On the Poetry of Andrea Carter Brown

Educated at New York University, the Sorbonne, and City College, poet Andrea Carter Brown has received awards from the Poetry Society of America, the Writer’s Voice, and The MacGuffin, among others. In 2004, she was awarded the River Styx Poetry Prize for her crown of sonnets, entitled “September 12,” and in 2011, the James Dickey Prize for Poetry from Five Points Literary Journal. Among her other honors are fellowships from Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, Ragdale, and VCCA. Most recently, she has twice been a Fellow at le Moulin à Nef in Auvillar, France. Carter Brown is the Series Editor for The Washington Prize at The Word Works.

I have been a fan of Carter Brown’s chiseled, elegant, and engaged poetry for over two decades, which I discovered sometime after 9/11. I put it that way because we met around a coincidence burned into our memories. I’d been visiting a cousin who worked two blocks away from the Twin Towers, and left for upstate on September 10, 2001. Carter Brown, however, lived a few blocks from the Towers, and here is a brief excerpt of her account of that day, drawn from her recent collection, September 12:

The phone rings. My sister in North Carolina. Are you OK? Sure. Pause. Why? On “Good Morning America” I just saw a plane fly into the World Trade Center. Didn’t you hear anything? I walk to the far end of the living room. The North Tower is so close, I must raise the sash and stick my head out to see the top. Dark rivers of smoke pour through windows licked by flames; a thick gray tornado’s snout rises from the roof. That tower will fall. I couldn’t be more sure. I have to flee.
(“September 12”)

The narrative is spare, understated, until we get to the tower of smoke (“a thick gray tornado’s snout”), punctuated by dialogue. Few lyric frills, since the facts alone suffice to make the point: But for her sister’s anxious call, Carter Brown might have died there. Instead, she lived to chronicle the harrowing tale of life-altering survival. We didn’t meet until she had moved to Los Angeles to start a new life, and she’d drafted what became her searing collection, September 12 (2022), which I read in its earliest iteration. If Carter Brown had fought as Ulysses in the Trojan War, she would have been arriving in Ithaca as she finished this magnum opus. Yes, it took her twenty years to finish her poetic response to what was a national but also deeply personal tragedy. Sometimes, as in cases such as Carter Brown’s, it will take an artist a long time to emerge from the silence shock catalyzes, and to formalize such traumatic experience into art.

In her poetry, which includes the earlier collections, The Disheveled Bed (2006) and Domestic Karma (2018), Carter Brown ranges deftly across poetic genres, for her training was with such consummate formalists as William Matthews and Marilyn Hacker. As Brooks Haxton notes of Carter Brown’s truth-telling capacity and keen powers of attentiveness—both on full display in the two riveting poems included in this feature—her poems “come alive with all the pleasure and pain of living with eyes open.” Note the controlled magic of “To a Corning Ware Casserole (. . .),” to give a brief example. Somehow, seamlessly, we begin with the homely Pyrex casserole dish, dance through WWII, observe napalm bombs dropped on civilians during the Vietnam War, and surge into the close with 9/11! Notice whether you take a breath while you read that poem (I sure didn’t!). Carter Brown writes taut, sonically intricate, and necessary poetry of exquisite observation, profound conscience, and humane intelligence whose “insistent song” stays with readers long after the book has been finished. I hope you’ll get to know her poetry by acquiring her latest collection, September 12, but for now, please savor the magnificent Western States Feature that Andrea Carter Brown has curated for our summer issue of Persimmon Tree.



The Gifts of Age and Nature

What is a Western woman poet? A Western woman poet over 60?

I have been thinking about these questions ever since I moved to Los Angeles twenty years ago in the wake of 9/11. Having become a poet in New York City, for quite a while after moving here I felt out of place creatively. It took me a long time to find other poets with whom I was comfortable. Meanwhile, I, too, changed and came to appreciate the ways in which this place, or rather these vast and varied places, fuel our writing and set it apart.

For we write about our natural world constantly. Even when we are writing about other places. Its distinctive beauties. Its enormous challenges. To hike in the desert or mountains is to be reminded with every step that we could die at any moment. To stare up at the incredibly wide sky—day or night—is to feel part of a much larger universe than the world we know. To see a mountain lion on a cliff face or a desert tortoise laying eggs behind a brittlebush in glorious yellow bloom, to walk a beach laden with sand dollars some New Year’s Eve, give us glimpses of the animal world we share. Add to that life-threatening earthquakes or volcanos, alternating cycles of flood and drought, the ensuing fires that punctuate our lives and with which we learn to live: all these provide the bedrock for our poems.

Age brings focus. Not only the wisdom of a long and full life, but the imperative to have our say while we still can. We write about aging and loss, of course, of ourselves and others, but we also explore the past. Personal, familial, collective. The interconnectedness of past and present, of here and there; the continuum over all life—animal, plant, mineral. We imagine the future, one without us.

The rich and varied landscapes of these submissions have given me a sense of the wider creative community to which I now belong. I thank all the “Western Women Poets over 60” who gave me a window into their lives, their art. I so wish I could have included many, many more. I thank Kristyn Snedden for helping me read over 500 poems. I thank Persimmon Tree for giving us a home. But most of all, I thank the writers of these poems, whose courage and wisdom will inspire me as long as I live.

Andrea Carter Brown
Los Angeles
May 22, 2024



Redwoods, Morro Bay CA, from a suite of photographs of the American west by Jennifer Pratt-Walter



Pillar of Smoke/Pillar of Fire

such a short path
I thought it would be longer
I thought I would be dead
before we reached the end
but here we are
in the Promised Land of broken promises
limping across a bridge of ivory
made from the spines
of all the animals
who have ever gone extinct
the green hills lie behind us
the drowned cities
that once were our joy
quiver beneath saltwater and despair
ice is not even memory
and the forests
sleep in charred tangles
like petrified jackstraws
in front of us lies a desert
that goes on forever
its wind dries our breath
its dust fills our mouths
its sand burns our feet like hot charcoal
there is no peace here
no water
no manna
no golden calves
no books made of honey
to sweeten our tongues
no commandments carved in stone
no gods waiting to save us
from ourselves





Oracle at Delphi

The virgin priestesses kept getting raped by the pilgrims
so later the job was filled by noblewomen of a certain age, prescient
& unfuckable, high on volcanic fumes
or maybe something in the water, but anyway
given to confusing interpretations of the word of Apollo because
who knew what went on inside the head of a god.
Inscrutability is ninety percent of divinity
or maybe it’s more like the entire burrito of mystery meat
from that taqueria I suspected of conducting ritual animal sacrifice
out back where something was constantly burning & smelled bad.
Religion smells bad almost everywhere though originally
it might have been okay until the priests got hold of it.
A lot of goats died at Delphi. Historically, a lot of gods died
or got rebranded, then Jesus showed up & went viral & now
some people believe in trees, some in one-eyed demons, some
in nuclear superiority. The future is anyone’s guess. O
ancient Pythias, Vedic astrologers, gifted psychics available online 24/7,
what does this hexagram on my forehead portend? Where
can I afford to live unmolested by rent raises, extreme weather events,
strangers at the door at 3 am asking for someone named Veronica?
For here there is no Veronica. Only me & my ineluctable shadow
holding aloft its Magic 8 Ball, searching for the weak wi-fi signal. In Delphi
the annoying tour guide, a proud Athenian, expressed her scorn for all
things not Greek as she led our group sweating up Parnassus in the sun.
She believed in her troubled country. Coming back down
we heard singing I might describe as angelic, if I believed in anything
as whack as angels. It was an old man in shredded trousers & a mariner’s cap
with a face like a half-smashed tomato. He was playing a tzouras,
a small, six-stringed, plaintive instrument, & was soon harassed
from the roadside by three cops on motorcycles.  Who can tell
his fate? Wherever he is, may he be adored
by the flowers at his bare & dirty feet.






If our ashes are to be mingled
As you say you want,
Someone will have to mingle them
For us, since we’ll both be dead.
And, before then, one of us
Will have to abide, ashen and alone,
Stored, say, in a shoebox,
Until we both are dead.
It’s true, we haven’t yet bought
Side-by-side burial plots
Like twin beds pushed together
To rest in when we’re dead,
But even should marriage last
Till death do us part,
Isn’t death meant to part us,
Whether one or both is dead?
And even if a compound
Of our carbonized bones
Is stirred and tossed together,
We’ll still, my love, be dead.



Zigzag, Cape Lookout, OR, from a suite of photographs of the American west by Jennifer Pratt-Walter



The Interval

—on CA Hwy 50, after the Caldor Fire
Driving through death
into a still-green valley, I pass
a weathered shack:
Little Norway,
a business of sorts, long closed. On the porch
in a tangle
of antique sleds
and wooden skis, a drunken sign points up, says
Coming soon!
the words framed
by hand-drawn mountains, snowcapped, jagged,
eroded. Little
Norway. Why
call a place by the name of a faraway one, as if
what is here
is not itself?
Beyond the untouched valley in the burn-scar
visible from space,
a chimney, tin
twisted at its foot, stands in a forest of blackened spikes.
So much creation
animals, houses, habits of life—it’s hard to imagine
any living soul
wanting to return.
But the workers in orange are here with heavy machines,
cutting and piling
the black trunks
into pyramids of thirty-foot logs that, from this distance,
resemble stacks
of firewood, ready
for burning on a bitter-cold, bluish Scandinavian night,
when darkness rules
the daytime hours
and snow settles like ash. Perfectly stacked
ricks of wood,
but on a grand scale.
Which describes this scar I drive through, ruination
on a grand scale,
made sensible, if at all,
by leftover notions, patches of green: of elsewhere,
coming soon.





How to begin

With ruin, with a blooded dome, a basalt lion
beloved of Ishtar left shattered in the shards
of forgotten cities and dead cities, with
stone villages empty now, cats left behind,
Byzantine doorways still standing – once
known as crème de la crème, as heart
of the almond, as hidden pearl; how to
take in the bodies—a woman, a man,
a mother, a father, their thirst – ‘please,
moisten my lips’ – this hunger the wounded
carry for the mercy of water; how to go on
with bombs falling, brimstone raining, shapes
of the world changed by fire, pillars brought
down, rebar orphaned by human hands –
can hands still heal – with little kids freezing
to death in Idlib, bleeding out in Rafah,
in Syria in February, in August, infested
in spring in Gaza, in the red lakes of autumn,
the hospital in ruins—a child is born.






On the phone this morning
my brother used words no longer
strange to him, most of them
with Latin designations
for body parts, serums, elixirs
he must take to fight
the cancer. Older sister,
I had been the only one
in the room when he uttered
his first real word, pointing
through the picture window
of our childhood living room.
“Bird,” he said, “Bird! Bird!”
in a voice I had never heard
from him, who till then had spoken
in that language of transition
between mimicking a sound
and understanding what it means.
I knelt beside him so I might see
which bird, wanting to teach him
to differentiate mourning dove
from woodpecker. But the sky
beyond the pane was clear,
the branches of the ancient
cherry tree vacant and still.
I don’t know what I said—
too many years have passed.
But why didn’t I just praise him?
“I wish they had never given me
the diagnosis,” he says now.
“I’d rather just die. I hate
all this knowing



Tides, Morro Bay, CA, from a suite of photographs of the American west by Jennifer Pratt-Walter




I string aprons on the windows for curtains.
I try to breathe normally.
I try to breathe normally, but the air’s
too thin.  I never saw your body.
I never saw the body you left,
small as a bird in a cat’s paws.
Bird small as a leaf fallen on the grass.
I see no children that belong to me.
Whatever children belonged to me,
my body’s a reservoir, evaporating.
The reservoir of my body evaporates.
Possums snuffle in the yard at dusk.
Shapes move through the night yard.
I string aprons on the windows for curtains.






after Questionnaire, by Jane Hirshfield
I’m uneasy being tapped by queries from
people who don’t know me but are paid
to collect feedback from all strata, including
my increasingly unpredictable cohort of Boomers—
who care what I think only in black & white,
nothing nuanced, nothing shocking/discerning/
goofy between the lines they’ve been fed
to feed me. On a scale of one to ten, please rate
our product/service/your overall experience;
what score would you assign our cleanliness/
courtesy/wait times; this call may be monitored;
how likely are you to recommend…?
My demographic lies in blurred regions beyond
algorithms, beyond boxes easy to check
and forget, a watercolor wash of provocations.
Our five cats (all ex-strays in blended tabby hues)
appear to love us, but we can’t really know
and anyway, each one is unlike any other in the whole
world of doted-on felines, and I’m fine with the conundrum
this presents—and there’s a raccoon, or maybe
generations of them, living somewhere under our portico
and sometimes one slips in through the cat door
to scour their bowl to a shine and wash its paws
in their water, and sometimes we humanely trap one
and free it up the canyon, and maybe it comes back
or there’s another that knows to use the cat door
instead of going for the food in the trap because
they’re incredibly smart (unlike skunks, which we
also trap humanely)—or maybe there are thirty
raccoons living here, and we’ve only trapped twenty—
we have learned to approach the trap and indoor bowl
each morning in a spirit of curiosity, bemusement,
I could even say eagerness—and isn’t this what
keeps us alive to the world and ourselves in its/our
minutiae, when statistically we’re gridlocked
in a commercial culture that would dumb us down?






I didn’t like glads
until I saw these spears
split all along their shafts
with madcap bids
for love.
A pink flower
at the base of one–
while six pink tips
like lipstick tubes
or a dog’s sex
slide open above.
Gladiolas—why not?



Sun, wind, shadow, Oceano, CA, from a suite of photographs of the American west by Jennifer Pratt-Walter




Just another winter day, snowflakes
swarming from the north
yet, too, a threshold
over which I carry
Or a tunnel, perhaps, of unknown
distance, lit by a fog-gray dome
with no end in sight.
I imagine
a star-spattered darkness.
a bower. Why not? Gleaming
leafy green, expansive and fragrant
in which I rest, listening
to birdsong and bee hum
inhale incense of hyacinth and cedar.
Exhale sunlight. Diamonds. Honey.





Crossing the Line

Cross an l and you get a t.
Cross an o and you get ø,
a mid-front vowel
that comes after z in Danish
or you get Ø, zero, zip, naught.
Cross the line anywhere
and you’ll see what you get.
Cross the red line in a white
neighborhood and you get
a chronic chill.
Cross the starting line early
and you get disqualified.
Cross the finish line early
and there’s sorrow
in your wake.
Cross a forward slash
with a back slash
and you get an x
maybe in a box
for a yes or a no
for a diagnosis
of a condition that you
may or may not have.
These little marks,
so small,
so consequential.






I have my own room since we moved.
A bed. A desk. A dresser. A door, closed.
Refuge, though his radio
seeps through the wall, the pierce
of a trumpet or a drum startling.
His brain scan shows grey spots
like patches of fog, neurons dying,
tangles of tau proteins forming.
It’s getting worse: shoe comes out as shirt
before a stream of curses explode.
Sometimes I am less than sympathetic,
tired of his anger.
Just tired.
Only the beginning.



Sand sculpting, Cape Lookout, OR, from a suite of photographs of the American west by Jennifer Pratt-Walter



The Humility Block

I have never believed in any gods yet even now
I sew a humility block into each quilt. Even now
knowing this is just another debunked quilt myth—
an intentional mistake to appease the gods—even now
the idea of rankling the deities and the myth of Arachne
haunts me, says do it do it do it especially now
after the hobo spider fell from above onto my chest.
I can still see its stunned, long brown limbs even now
clasped to the pill of my sweater. Threading
a between needle, needle of the tiniest eye, even now
knowing what I know, taking stitches out of order, denying
the truth as I add a square of the wrong color, even now.





Oh please, Niobe. Come on, Sisyphus.

And, of course, you, Arachne, what
were you thinking? Did you really believe
yourself a better weaver than a goddess?
My grandma could crochet a nice doily
but felt no need to challenge Athena
to a weave-off. You and your Colophon
purple thread. And then you punish yourself?
Was boasting necessary, Niobe – those 14
children of yours, shot with the arrows
of Artemis and Apollo after you made
their mother cry, implying her a slacker?
Sisyphus, you cheated Thanatos twice –
what, the third time’s the charm? That ridiculous
boulder ploy – a child could see that coming.
Excessive pride begets tragic flaw –
you can read that headline a mile away.
You know these shame cultures – the gods
love nothing more than their honor
and Zeus did not give you free will
so stop pretending to make up your mind –
angry as they get, it was all pre-planned
so run along to your fate, and thank you
for stories and metaphors and names –
we would not survive without them
in these liquid nights with rare glimpses
of the order we cannot help but crave.






They’re fire fighters, newly shorn and shaggy,
lounging, strolling, dithering, chewing,
like the Saturday shoppers at Costco
jostling, grazing on free samples.
Let loose in this combustible canyon,
one-third rock, one-third dust, one-third
flammable scrub. The job—to chew, to swallow,
to digest the implausible green blades,
to tame the sage, oil-bearing,
camphor-loaded, incendiary. The sound at first
a distant descant, as if the mountains themselves
are humming, improvising a scat imitation
of wind. Up the trail, they begin to distinguish themselves—
a bit whiter, a bit more mobile—from the rocks,
from the hillocks of scrub, bleating
with particular voices. Voices. The one-note contralto,
the insistent tenor, the nursery rhyme vibrato.
Almost human, like parade watchers
scolding the waving politician, beckoning Miss Nevada,
or staring, demanding of the newly arrived
What are you doing here?



Autumn leaf star, Vancouver, WA, from from a suite of photographs of the American west by Jennifer Pratt-Walter



Wandering the Lost Coast

        for Zazu, Happy, and Bill
My shoulders and knees moan like Pacific fog
eating sand and me as I shift my pack
crammed with dry socks, an extra sweater,
dog snacks, dried cherries, almonds
and cheese I’ll unwrap further down the beach.
Mid-May and the only tracks
are herring gulls, sandpipers, and the one aging black bear
who must like to stand surf-side scanning
for rainbows spewed from humpbacks
migrating north to the Bering Sea.
                  Zazu is a gold fur streak
dashing in and out of surf, leaping
atop waterlogged driftwood, black lips
a constant smile sniffing the old trunks of cedar,
red madrone, empty abalone shells
the color of magpie tails
back at our mountain home.
Zazu’s hike is delight expanding a constellation
of amazed discovery.
She never worries about climate change,
mass bleaching of coral reefs, the steep
decline of warbler populations
or the daily grind of congressional lies
hiding the sins of vast corporate profits.
This is the hike we never made the last time
we drove the coast north of Mendocino
where we came eye to eye with one right whale
as we clambered separately down the headlands
clinging to salt-slick rock like lime-colored anemones, sea
snails and limpkins in tiny tide pools
washed by the huge glass crash of waves
that could have easily drowned our dreams.
Hiking through fog turns us to ghosts, happy
in this afterlife where there is no loss
of species, no premature deaths of friends
or family, no arthritic bone on bone, no
threat of genocide, just the immense suck
and sigh of clean tides lifting sea scoters, loons,
sea otters and bright blue harlequin ducks,
an unending expanse of sand ahead of us
booming with bear tracks and the barks of sea lions
where we are never lost,
where we learn finally to breathe.





To a Corning Ware Casserole on Its Diamond Anniversary

Scherben machen Glück.
Shards [of glass] bring luck.
   —German proverb quoted at a NYC wedding


Shallow, eight inches square, the right size
for two. Tempered with Pyrex, warrantied
never to break, it seemed a good omen
for a new marriage. This single piece survived
that first marriage, endured decades into a second,
moved nine times, once cross-country. It’s been
burned, repeatedly, gone straight from stovetop
to oven to freezer and back without a crack.
This from the same company that invented
napalm. Think of the parents who lived through
World War II giving Corning Ware wedding gifts
to baby boomer sons and daughters who marched
every spring on Washington to protest the war
in Viet Nam. We are at war again. Have been
these last twenty years, dropping “smart” bombs
from drones that kill and maim, just like napalm.
Looking at this relic I remember the kitchen
where I learned to cook, the years of protests.
How, by chance, I was in Paris when the peace
accords were finally signed. We live in a time
of anniversaries—the end of WWI, D-Day,
the liberation of Paris, the Berlin Wall going up,
coming down. The 20th anniversary of 9/11,
the 21st. We live in a time of flags at half-mast.
Nowhere is safe. Or comes without grief. If only
we would not crack, chip, or break. Guaranteed.





After the Pineapple Express

The rains came. The roof leaked. The ceiling dripped.
Walls ran. A bookcase, soaked. The books, dried out,
disintegrate on touch. A favorite dictionary into the trash.
Fingers poke through honeycombed studs; wood crumbles
into dust. Workers open the room to the sky, rebuild it
from scratch. Months later, one last item on the punch list.
To lay the new carpet, everything must be emptied out.
Inside a mildewed garment bag, my father’s Army jacket.
I finger the fabric, the raised stars on the brass buttons.
The scratchy wool, Field Green, is brown. No moth holes.
No Bronze Star or Purple Heart. A single bar pin
for the European Theater. Mobile anti-aircraft artillery
insignia and stripes sewn on crookedly by hand.
Cotton lining more soft than any today. No sweat stains.
No stains at all. Yet this jacket saw action in the Battle
of the Bulge, and into Germany. How did it survive
in this state? Dad penned his name and serial number
twice in indelible ink inside the collar in the precise
teacher’s hand that changed only when his eyesight
failed. In a city he never visited, in a home he never
saw, I lay the jacket carefully in a new garment bag.
Rustling. Inside the left breast pocket, a folded square
of yellowed onion skin. His final discharge orders:
November 3, 1945, the day he last wore this jacket.
Four years later I would be born on that date. In my
hands I hold the man he was, a soldier who survived
world war, not yet a father, not yet the father I knew,
a man who wore this jacket and preserved it for his
namesake daughter to find when she least expects it,
to surprise her with comfort when she needs it most.


September 12
by Andrea Carter Brown
  On 9/11, Andrea Carter Brown was a resident of downtown Manhattan living just a block from the World Trade Center. September 12 chronicles her up close and all too personal experience of the attack, but, even more, the continuing horror and eventual healing of the months and years afterward. September 12 won the 2022 IPPY Silver Medal in Poetry, the James Dickey Prize from Five Points, the River Styx International Poetry Prize, the Puddinghouse Press Chapbook Competition, The MacGuffin National Poet Hunt, and is cited in the Library of Congress Online Research Guide to the Poetry of 9/11. “A more haunting memorial to 9/11 than this book will be hard to find. Reading September 12 is a wrenching but restorative experience you won't soon forget".  — Martha Collins, poet, author of Casualty Reports and Blue Front "... detail by detail, we watch the process of innocence captured by absolutely unpredicted trauma, and how the experience lives on and on, through shock and terror, through the kindness of strangers, through the heart of a beloved, through grief and elegy, through normality that will never again be normal."  — Alicia Ostriker, New York State Poet Laureate "This brave book documents great loss, but also hard-won psychic resilience in poems of astonishing beauty and wisdom. September 12 is necessary poetry." — Cynthia Hogue, Poetry Editor, Persimmon Tree
Available from Amazon and Word Works.



Kim Addonizio is the author of over a dozen books of prose and poetry. Exit Opera is forthcoming from Norton in September. Addonizio’s work has been honored with fellowships from the NEA and Guggenheim Foundation, and her collection Tell Me was a finalist for the National Book Award.  She lives in Oakland CA and teaches poetry workshops on Zoom. For more information, see https://www.kimaddonizio.com/.
Critic David Woo says that Rae Armantrout’s recent book Finalists (Wesleyan 2022) “emanates the radiant astonishment of living thought.”  Her 2018 book, Wobble, was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her book Versed won the Pulitzer Prize in 2010. Armantrout is the current judge of the Yale Younger Poets Prize. A new book, Go Figure, will appear from Wesleyan in September 2024.
Andrea Carter Brown's most recent poetry collection, September 12, was awarded the 2022 Silver Medal in Poetry from the Independent Publishers Association. Her previous collections include The Disheveled Bed, Domestic Karma and Brook & Rainbow. Recipient of many awards, her poems have been read on NPR and PBS, and are cited in the Library of Congress Online Guide to the Poetry of 9/11. Since 2017 she has been Series Editor of the Word Works Washington Prize. An avid birder, she lives in Los Angeles where she grows lemons, limes, oranges, and tangerines in her backyard. For more information, visit her website: https://www.andreacarterbrown.com/.

Carol V. Davis is the author of Below Zero (2023), and three other collections. Her poetry has been read on National Public Radio, the Library of Congress, and Radio Russia. Twice a Fulbright scholar in Russia, she teaches at Santa Monica College and Antioch University, Los Angeles.
Marsha de la O is an award-winning poet whose latest book is just out from the University of Pittsburgh Press. In her new book, Creature, embodiment is always on the verge of transformation.  The poems find connection with other life forms: hawks, hummingbirds, pelicans, lizards, horses, squid.  Expanses open; words become proximate to mystery.  This is a project on moving into otherness.
Ann Dixon’s poems have appeared in Cirque JournalAlaska Magazine, the anthology Crosscurrents North, and Last Stanza Poetry Journal, among others. The author of nine books for youth, she gardens, drives a volunteer bookmobile, and brakes for moose in Homer, Alaska. Visit her occasional blog at kidlitnorth.blogspot.com.
Alice Hardesty has an eclectic approach to writing, with publications in Oregon Humanities, Technology Review, and Portland’s Street Roots. She writes about music for Oregon ArtsWatch. Her poetry has appeared in Fireweed, West Wind Review, and VoiceCatcher, among other journals. Visit her website: www.bachopress.com.
Jane Hilberry teaches Creativity at Colorado College.  She thrives on bringing out her students’ creativity, as well as doing her own work with poetry and painting.  She’s published two books with Red Hen Press, Body Painting and Still the Animals Enter. Her poems have appeared in The Sun, Denver Quarterly, Queer Nature, and many other places.  She’s lived in Colorado Springs since 1988.
Andrea Hollander’s sixth full-length poetry collection is And Now, Nowhere But Here (Terrapin Books, 2023). Her work is published widely, including a feature in The New York Times Magazine. Her many honors include two Pushcart Prizes (poetry and literary nonfiction) and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Mary Mackey is the author of The Jaguars That Prowl Our Dreams: New and Selected Poems 1974 to 2018, winner of the 2019 Eric Hoffer Award for the Best Book Published by a Small Press and a CIIS Women's Spirituality Book Award; and The Village of Bones: Sabalah's Tale, a novel about prehistoric Europe; plus seven other collections of poetry and 13 other novels. Her latest book, Creativity: Where Poems Begin is a nonfiction look at the origins of inspiration. More information at https://marymackey.com/
Carol Moldaw’s seventh book of poetry, Go Figure, will be published by Four Way Books in September 2024. Her work has been published widely in journals, including American Poetry Review, Georgia Review, The New York Review of Books, Poetry, and Virginia Quarterly. She lives in Santa Fe and teaches privately.
Kathy Nelson, recipient of the James Dickey Prize, MFA graduate of the Warren Wilson Program for Writers, and Nevada Arts Council Fellow, is the author of The Ledger of Mistakes. Her work appears in About PlaceFive PointsNew Ohio Review, Pedestal Magazine, Tar River PoetryValparaiso Poetry Review, and Verse Daily.
Patty Seyburn has published five collections of poems, most recently Threshold Delivery (Finishing Line Press, 2019). She has a Ph.D. from University of Houston, an MFA from UC-Irvine, and an MS and BS from Northwestern University. She is a proud professor at California State University, Long Beach.
Alice Templeton’s poems have appeared in Bellingham ReviewCalyxNimrodNorth American Review, and elsewhere. Her poetry collections include The Infinite Field (Sixteen Rivers Press, 2024) and Archaeology (Finishing Line Press, winner of the 2008 New Women's Voices Chapbook Prize). She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Leslie Ullman is the author of six poetry collections with a seventh, Unruly Tree, due from University of New Mexico Press in the fall of 2024. She has also published a hybrid book of craft essays and writing exercises titled Library of Small Happiness. Awards include the Yale Younger Poets Prize, the Iowa Poetry Prize, a New Mexico/Arizona Book award, and two NEA fellowships. She taught for 27 years in the Creative Writing Program at University of Texas-El Paso and remains on the faculty of the low residency MFA Program at Vermont College of the Fine Arts, where she has taught since its inception in 1981. She has lived in Taos, New Mexico for the past 19 years. More info can be found on her website: www.leslieullman.com.

Pam Uschuk has howled out eight books of poems, including Crazy Love, winner of a 2010 American Book Award, and Refugee, from Red Hen Press (2022), named one of the 14 best books of poems by Orion Magazine and one of Kirkus Review’s favorite books of 2023. Translated into more than a dozen languages, her awards include Best of the Web, the Struga International Poetry Prize, Dorothy Daniels Writing Award from the National League of American PEN Women, and prizes from Ascent and Amnesty International.  Editor-In-Chief of CUTTHROAT, A JOURNAL OF THE ARTS, and Black Earth Institute Board Member and Senior Fellow, Uschuk lives in Bayfield CO and Tucson AZ.  She is putting finishing touches on a new manuscript of poems, Field Guide to Migratory Words and a multi-genre memoir, Hope’s Crazed Angels: An Odyssey Through the Whispering Disease.

Cindy Veach is the author of Her Kind (CavanKerry Press), an Eric Hoffer Montaigne Medal finalist; and Gloved Against Blood, a Paterson Poetry Prize finalist and Massachusetts Center for the Book ‘Must Read.’ Recipient of the Philip Booth Prize and Samuel Allen Washington Prize, she is poetry co-editor of MER.

Jennifer Pratt-Walter is a musician, poet, hobby photographer and proud Crone, age 64. She writes that she loves to explore the wonders of small or overlooked daily miracles. Jennifer uses she/her as pronouns.

Andrea Carter Brown served as Guest Editor for this issue’s collection of poetry by older women living in the western United States. Her most recent poetry collection, September 12, was awarded the 2022 Silver Medal in Poetry from the Independent Publishers Association. Her previous collections include The Disheveled Bed, Domestic Karma and Brook & Rainbow. Recipient of many awards, her poems have been read on NPR and PBS, and are cited in the Library of Congress Online Guide to the Poetry of 9/11. Since 2017 she has been Series Editor of the Word Works Washington Prize. An avid birder, she lives in Los Angeles where she grows lemons, limes, oranges, and tangerines in her backyard. For more information, visit her website: https://www.andreacarterbrown.com/.

Cynthia Hogue is the Poetry Editor of Persimmon Tree. Her tenth book of collected poetry, instead, it is dark, was published by Red Hen Press in June of 2023. Her other collections include Revenance, listed as one of the 2014 “Standout” books by the Academy of American Poets, and In June the Labyrinth (2017). Her third book-length translation (with Sylvain Gallais) is Nicole Brossard’s Distantly (Omnidawn 2022). Her Covid chapbook is entitled Contain (Tram Editions 2022). Among her honors are a Fulbright Fellowship to Iceland, two NEA Fellowships, and the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets (2013). She served as Guest Editor for Poem-a-Day for September (2022), sponsored by the Academy of American Poets. Hogue was the inaugural Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Chair in Modern and Contemporary Poetry at Arizona State University. She lives in Tucson.

Kristy Snedden volunteered to assist Andrea Carter Brown in reading the submissions to this issue’s poetry section. Kristy is a trauma psychotherapist and poet. She has expertise in working with trauma, attachment, and creativity. She developed and runs Brainspotting Through the Poet’s Eye groups to support and deepen healing. Her poetry appears or is forthcoming in a variety of national and international journals and anthologies, most recently storySouth, CV2, Door is a Jar and Snapdragon. Among other honors, she is a Pushcart Prize nominee and a 2023 recipient of the Small Orange Press Emerging Woman Poet prize. She also serves as the Book Review Editor of Anti-Heroin Chic. When not working or writing, she can be found hiking or hanging out with her husband listening to their dogs tell tall tales. You can find some of her poetry on Instagram @ kristy_snedden_poetry.

One Comment

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *