Portals: My Newest Book!

portals cover

An amazing thing happened.

Last fall I sent a pile of newer poems to Middle Creek Press, hoping I might salvage something out of what little I wrote during our ongoing pandemic misery. Turns out that collection, titled Portals, won the 2020 Halcyon Poetry Prize. Wild, right?

What an honor to have Middle Creek publisher David Anthony Martin select my manuscript. This collection is packed with poems about sycamore leaves, gut bacteria, quicksand, protests, yeast, talking peonies, insects, inflation, and consequential strangers. Here’s a sample: 

portals open like hands

People seem to think a writer writes in isolation, pulled only by some invisible drive to assemble words into form. For years I felt that isolation acutely. Heck, I didn’t even admit I was writing and publishing poems until my first collection, Tending, was accepted by a small poetry press. All that time the work of other poets pulled me onward. Their poems nourished me and helped me recognize poetry is in us all.

When the publisher of my first collection told me to solicit blurbs by reaching out to poets I admired, the task seemed unimaginable. Approach a busy stranger, someone I’d deeply respected from a distance, then ask for a favor? A distinctly time-consuming favor? I was appalled. Maybe my book could be published with a blank back cover. Maybe I could pretend the blankness was some kind of artistic choice. Turns out that wasn’t necessary. Every poet I contacted was gracious, even the poets who turned me down. Their kindness introduced me to the kindness of the writing community. (There are unkind pockets too, but I’m too small potatoes to be affected.)

My next collection, Blackbird, continued to teach me just how beautiful the writing community can be. Writers go out of their way to amplify the work of other writers. They mentor, they share, they podcast, they teach.  Many dedicate their time to make literary journals, literary organizations, and literary events possible.

I am the recipient of these kindnesses and more. I am endlessly grateful for Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer’s bountiful forward and for generous blurbs by James Crews, Donna Hilbert, and Phyllis Cole-Dai. Many thanks to Middle Creek publisher David Anthony Martin; it is a delight to work with a press dedicated to growing a “mycelial network of artists and readers.” Thank you to the poetry editors who published many of these poems in print and online journals. Much appreciation to the poets from our 811s poetry critique group who helped reshape these poems: Laurie Kincer, Diane Kendig, Roberta Jupin, Geoff Polk, and Richard Ferris. Appreciation to my longstanding writers’ group: Connie Gunn, Sarah Vradenburg, and Margaret Swift.  Endless thanks to poetry readers who share my work – you truly light the way for every poet. Most of all, thank you to my family who have held it all together during these surreal and humbling times.

Portals is now available from the publisher. You can also request it at your local library, favorite indie bookstore, or indie-bookstore based Bookshop.org. And you can also get it via Amazon

37 thoughts on “Portals: My Newest Book!

  1. I am always nonplussed when I see my name included among the poet-luminaries. Thank you for including me in your ongoing and beautiful quest for the right word, the right moment, the right life.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations! So wonderful to have an award arrive as a surprise, through the back door portal! Your writing lights me up and I am excited and pleased for you that new readers will get to meet you. Yay You!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so happy for you! Validation for the hours spend wringing the exact words out of your brain, for the doubt and hope doing battle, for the time spent plunging down rabbit holes only to realise they don’t head the right way. Every good word written about your work is richly deserved, and every lesser word…. well, what do they know?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a marvelous cover is it from you? Will definitely get copies for my sister and niece who I’ve introduced you to via Blackbird. We feel you are an amazing poet Laura.

    I meant to write after your piece on Forgetting Books We’ve Read that I so enjoyed and also shared. It was the poem at the end Forgetfulness and what came next. I heard it on NPR after an interview with James Patterson who started with “don’t ask me any questions about the books I written” . But that poem I wanted to hear again so I looked it up and read more Billy Collins which threw open the door to the poetry adventure for me. That’s was 2016….the year I met Julie and Teri. Was invited to the poetry group, took a class, wrote poems and now have a stack of books of poetry I read from every Saturday morning.

    Such a wonderful adventure……

    Hope you were able to get your Sunday family dinners going again. We did miss you. Take care and be well, kathykelly

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t remember how I got to your site, but wow. Yes, I’m a new ‘follower’.
    The journey story of this new collection of poetry is such a perfect melding of our times, you as an (he)artist poet working through it and producing a body of work that connects to many.
    This is on my wish/gift list for sure.
    All the best.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laura, thank you for commenting. It gave me the opportunity to zip over to your site. I completely resonate with your hope of “continuing the Family Legacy of tables filled with food, drink and passionate discourse…” That’s what we do here too — a commitment to weekly Family Sundays with a laden table, lively conversation, laughter, outdoor adventures, picture books, and hugs. I also appreciate your poetry, crafts, and family-infused blog. Glad to make your acquaintance!

      Liked by 1 person

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