The poems in Portals seek new connections between our inner and outer worlds. This vibrant collection is packed with poems about wild places, ancestors, quicksand, the microbiome, protests, yeast, consequential strangers, and the fierce persistence of hope.
As soon as I finished the last poem in Laura Grace Weldon’s gorgeous new collection, Portals, I already knew I’d have to read it through again. For several years now, I’ve shared her poems in the workshops I teach, and after I read each of them aloud, we all sigh, astounded by their beauty and truth. As one of her always-tender poems rightly points out, love is indeed the most important word in this book—love not just of our family members, friends, and neighbors, but also of the dips, depressions, and rough patches in all our lives at this species moment. Weldon’s work reminds us that every particle of our being is “entangled with every other particle,” as we humans learn and grow, “still inventing language, still trying to evolve.” ~James Crews, Editor of How to Love the World: Poems of Gratitude & Hope
When I see Laura Grace Weldon’s name on a poem or essay, I stop leafing or scrolling to read. And, in reading feel a renewed sense of wonder at the resilience of the human spirit in the difficult world. Weldon is a poet deeply connected to life in all its forms, who finds luminescence in the tiniest specks of the quotidian scene, from a fly drowning in her coffee to the microbial magic in dirt beneath her feet. In deep love for her family, and for the human family beyond her own, her voice rises in healing grace. From the benedictory poem, “You Don’t Know Me, But”: Wherever you are now, I wish you well. Cast light around you/ each night before sleep. ~Donna Hilbert, Gravity: New & Selected Poems
It is no small thing to write the poems that bring us back to “the ground we are.” And yet, in Portals, Laura does it again and again, page after page. What a generous offering to the world. I take each of these offerings personally—not as roadmaps, per se, but as mirrors, as guides, as gifts. As she writes in “Open like Hands,” “What might a poem do for you?” Read Portals. I’m guessing you’ll be so grateful to find in these pages the answer to that question. ~Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, author of Hush and Naked for Tea
“What might a /poem do /for you?” Weldon asks, amidst the pandemic. The answer, as revealed by this marvelous collection, is everything our spirits need. We sink into the magic of low spots. We count Mississippis through our fears. We are kneaded until we rise again. Most of all, we learn to spell love with our lives. ~Phyllis Cole-Dai, Co-editor, Poetry of Presence
Published by Middle Creek Press. Order HERE.
Wonders are found in topics rarely addressed by poets: cow pastures, dictionaries, to-do lists, and astrophysics. Beauty is unearthed in what one reviewer calls “sacraments of the ordinary.”
I admire and learn from Laura Grace Weldon’s writing. Her poems blossom from an inherent curiosity and grow strong under her compassionate treatment of the subject matter. Such fresh images and heartfelt insights move me to be a better writer. ~Susan F. Glassmeyer, author of Invisible Fish and 2018 Ohio Poet of the Year
These poems touch me so deeply because they bring me home to the marvelous sacraments of the ordinary: a coyote howl at midnight, a bean in its fuzzy pod, water in a forest stream that “moves in patterns more ancient than philosophy.” When I take a few moments to read a Laura Grace Weldon poem, the sun comes out in my heart, and I know that the earth, for all its pain, is bathed in goodness. ~Alfred K. LaMotte, author of Wounded Bud and Savor Eternity One Moment at a Time
Laura Grace Weldon invites us to engage our third eye, to truly examine “light in a window/ laundry flapping defiantly on the line.” Her words so intimate and lush, she guides us to spaces we pass by, take for granted, overlook in our super-charged lives. Without reprimand or judgment, Laura Grace ever so deftly reveals the secret: “it’s a matter of walking/ inside to out with someone capable of truly seeing… wakening skin and gut, summoning/ the long kinship we share with everything.” ~Kari Gunter-Seymour, author of Serving and Ohio Poet Laureate
On each surface our fingerprints linger.
They are too light to pack
too heavy to carry.
These lines from Laura Grace Weldon’s “Moving Day” remind us that the miraculous, the heartbreaking, the beautiful are always right in front of us, disguised as the daily messiness of our lives. I finished Blackbird and took a long winter walk through the park, seeing the world with fresher, keener eyes, and a feeling of gratitude. ~George Bilgere, author of Blood Pages, Imperial, and The White Museum
Informed by quietly ordinary days, these poems look into the nature of things with questions that circle the stars.
“Laura Grace Weldon employs radical empathy to enter into the hidden lives of rutabaga, cows, the neighborhood bully, and the beating heart of life itself. Playful, curious, sensual, she aims to open the reader’s eyes and heart.” ~Alison Luterman, author of See How We Almost Fly and The Largest Possible Life.
“Laura Grace Weldon’s poems remind us that our world’s necessary brushes between nature and technology, human and animal, are not necessarily ones of friction. Instead, Weldon sees these moments as truly wondrous ones, available to us not only on the farm, but also in the back pocket of a window washer, swinging among the skyscrapers.” ~Brad Ricca, author of American Mastodon and Super Boys.
“Memory, faith, and the natural world as both witness to the cycle of human life and healer to a questioning heart are at the core of this lovely and lyrical collection of poems. The weather changes, people come and go from cities and towns, babies are born, grow up and depart from their parents’ arms, but still, the countryside and its rituals sustain the people and creatures who know how to read the signs of the seasons. In these pages, Laura Grace Weldon shares those signs with us; her poems are the fruit of a wonderful harvest.” ~Eleanor Lerman, author of The Sensual World Re-emerges: Poems and Mystery of Meteors.
“Laura Grace Weldon’s poems are concrete, allusive, and rich.” ~Diane Kendig, author of The Places We Find Ourselves.
Published by Aldrich Press. Order HERE.
Free Range Learning
Free Range Learning describes an important individual and cultural shift in education that’s already well underway. It advocates for the child’s right to learn naturally and demonstrates how to enfold this approach into daily life. It incorporates ancient knowledge as well as current research, highlighting wisdom shared by over 100 families from around the world.
In this useful book readers will discover a wealth of inspiring ideas for connecting with nature, reinvigorating their communities, and sustaining the love of learning. If you need one volume about educating the whole child, Free Range Learning is that book.
“If we want to live in a more peaceful, democratic and humane world we need to re-think our child rearing practices–this book provides the groundwork and inspiration for this type of revolution. If you love children and humanity this book is a must read.”
~Carlo Ricci, Ph.D editor, The Journal of Unschooling and Alternative Learning Professor of Education, Graduate Studies Nipissing University
“Laura Weldon draws on the experiences of diverse homeschoolers and her own insightful observations to show why learning rooted in the family and community makes so much sense. She demonstrates that when young people are allowed to learn freely and naturally, they gain extraordinary competence, self-confidence, maturity and wisdom. Free Range Learning will encourage anyone considering homeschooling, and will explain to anyone else why so many families are making this choice.”
~Ron Miller, Ph.D, editor, Education Revolution Magazine
“My heart began to sing after reading the first paragraph of this book. I became thrilled and hopeful as I kept reading. Thrilled that the author so beautifully captures the essence of how children learn and hopeful that more parents will have the opportunity to understand and respect how exciting learning can be for children.
This book should be read by every parent, teacher, and school administrator as the beginning of education reform that includes respect for the learning process of every child.
Therapists might be out of a job if every child could experience an environment where different strengths are understood and respected and failure is never an issue. Homeschooling parents who have any doubts will be filled with confidence and encouragement.
This book is about much more than homeschooling. It incorporates beautiful philosophies such as slowing down, kindness, empathy, cooperation, the dangers of materialism, creating a heart-centered lifestyle, and much more. It is also filled with valuable resources for homeschooling parents. It is a beautiful read.”
~Jane Nelsen, author of Positive Discipline and Raising Self-Reliant Children in a Self-Indulgent World
“A book of many voices. A swelling chorus of the real life experiences of parents and children, buttressed with science, that powers a fresh, but ancient, way of looking at how children learn. Laura Weldon shares her view of the rich experiences of children learning in a free range setting. A resource for parents; an inspiration for all of us.”
~Robert Wolff, author of Original Wisdom: Stories of an Ancient Way of Knowing
“It has always been so simple and Laura Weldon keeps it that way. The emerging new paradigm in child development confirms it: organic experience and children themselves are their own best teachers. I can’t imagine why anyone would consider sending their kids to school after reading such a well-researched and convincing book.”
~Chris Mercogliano, author of In Defense of Childhood: Protecting Kids’ Inner Wildness and Teaching the Restless
“Children love to learn – and they’re good at it. That’s not a new idea, but it’s a critically important concept which has been stifled and twisted and denied for far too long. Thankfully, it’s also a frequent thread and the binding glue of Laura Weldon’s wonderfully affirming book, Free Range Learning. Through homeschooling her children and working as an effective homeschool advocate for many years, Laura Weldon developed an understanding of, and an appreciation for, an elementary wisdom which our society forgot somewhere along the way: Children can be trusted to learn. In this book, she joyfully shares that wisdom.”
~Helen Hegener, publisher, Home Education Magazine
“Free Range Learning offers a wide-reaching resource for any parent who cares about augmenting their child’s learning – whether home-schooling or not.”
~Homa Sabet Tavangar, author of Growing Up Global