"Jeanine Stevens's poems drop the reader right into the space she creates with sound and texture. Jeanine's poems are smart, full, and precise. I chose "Moonshadow" for Yoga Stanza. More of her poems can be found at Innisfree, Tipton, and other journals. Jeanine's most recent collection is Sailing on Milkweed (Cherry Grove)." -- Alexa Mergen
Carol Lee Sanchez was a poet, a teacher and activist. You will generally find her work in bookstores under Native American poetry, but stylistically she could best be described as a surrealist. She used to run the poetry readings at the Coffee Galleria in North Beach, San Francisco, and was the first person to put many of the old Beats on stage to read. She was my mentor and my hero, and when I miss her too badly I pull out one of her books and read and find her there.
Carol Lee was Laguna, among other things, and was raised in Laguna territory, with all of those stories and languages and world views. Sanchez was never afraid of complexity and embraced all of her background, all of her languages, and all of her inspirations in a way that I try to bring into my work as well. She found herself in California where she led the Pegasus Project out of San Francisco State University, and into being a more fully formed program called California Poets in the Schools, which puts working poets into classrooms. Her writing, in which she tells her own stories, is available from Taurean Horn Press. Her other work moves forward in every student and mentee she worked with in her long and fruitful career.
-- Kim Shuck
Cathy Barber, WTR poet of the week, recommends work by Molly Spencer, whose recent poetry focuses on the narrative of a gold rush bride.
Barber writes: Molly Spencer's poetry is complex and honest, and her blog is funny and informative. She lives in the San Francisco Bay area, and her recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal, Cave Wall, Linebreak, and Heron Tree. Work from her chapbook of persona poems The Mail Order Bride Learns to Tie Knots is currently circulating. She blogs about poetry, the writing life, and parenthood at The Stanza and is a teacher-in-training for California Poets in the Schools.
"The first year,
we were like paper,
tearable yet unwritten."
This week WTR recommends Turn by Wendy Chin-Tanner, published by Sibling Rivalry Press. Chin-Tanner's poems of girlhood, marriage, mothering, and overcoming are face-slappingly fresh. You can find a couple of her poems at Melusine and order Turn at Sibling Rivalry Press.
Poet of the week, Lizz Huerta, writes: "The poet I admire is Cynthia Dewi Oka. Her first poetry collection, Nomad of Salt and Hard Water came out in 2012. I met Cynthia in 2009 at the VONA workshop for writers of color. As soon as I heard her read a couple of her poems I knew I wanted to read more. Her work is an incredible dance between ferocity and vulnerability. She writes these beautiful pieces wrought with personal narrative, mythology and politics. There is a musicality to her work that is dizzying at times, and I find myself re-reading certain lines just for the sound of them. She is a important voice, one that sings, moves, transforms."