Robin Chapman I Lenore Coberly I Alice D’Alessio I Bruce Dethlefsen I CX Dillhunt I Cheney Duesler I Victoria Ford I Iefke Goldberger I Nancy Jacobsen I Arthur Madson I Frances May I
Jeri McCormick I Richard Merelman I Franco Pagnucci I Fran Rall I Eve Robillard I Richard Roe I Lynn Patrick Smith I
Sandy Stark I Jim Stevens I Richard Swanson I Karen Updike I Wendy Vardaman I Yvonne Yahnke I Anthology
Robin Chapman, Emerita Professor and one of Wisconsin’s well-known, highly productive poets, has published many books with a variety of presses and won several awards for her work, including two Posner Poetry Book Awards and the Cider Press Review Editor’s Book Award. She has co-edited two major anthologies and she serves as an editor of Fireweed Press, which published her first chapbook and her first full-length book, Learning to Talk.
Learning to Talk
Distance, Rate, Time
Lenore Coberly, a native of West Virginia, has lived in Wisconsin since the ‘60s and contributed greatly to Wisconsin’s writing life, largely as a teacher of creative writing. She co-authored of two writing texts, taught many years in local senior centers, and was founder of the Elderhostel writing program at Green Lake. She published Belonging, a book of poems, with Fireweed Press, and more recently, the Handywoman Stories and Sarah’s Girls: A Chronicle of Big Ugly Creek, published by Ohio University Press.
For I Am Mountainborn
Alice D’Alessio, author of Fireweed’s Walking the Tracks, has won several writing awards, most notably, the Posner Prize, from the Council for Wisconsin Writers, for A Blessing of Trees, and the first place publishing prize from Earth’s Daughters for Days We Are Given. In addition, her Conversations With Thoreau was published by the University of Wisconsin’s Parallel Press.
Walking the Tracks
Bruce Dethlefsen, Wisconsin’s current poet laureate, has published Breather with Fireweed Press, and has collections with other small presses, as well. His latest book, Unexpected Shiny Things, appears with Cowfeather Press. A retired teacher and librarian, Dethlefsen travels extensively in his job as laureate, but keeps up with his writing by pouring out first drafts for later revision sessions. Critic Sarah Busse has said that he writes “sophisticated poems in a way that remains accessible to the general reader.”
CX Dillhunt grew up in a large family in DePere, Wisconsin, and attended Sacred Heart Seminary in Oneida. Before retirement, he worked for the University of Wisconsin as a director of computing. Of Dillhunt’s work in Girl Saints, the esteemed poet Ron Wallace writes, “These graceful and good-humored poems convey an indomitable sensibility of celebration and praise.” Critic Margaret Benbow says, “Dillhunt names the world with the power of a young Adam.”
Using her maiden name, Cheney, Jean Duesler wrote short stories, a novel (in progress), and plays. Her stories appeared in magazines such as Nimrod, and her plays were presented through radio dramas and stage readings. Several of them were prize-winners. The Other Side presents a well-chosen selection, representative of her work. Jean worked in Madison, Wisconsin as a nurse and nursing instructor until her retirement, when she gave more time to writing the stories that “strike deep and ... look suffering in the face,” according to fiction writer Margaret Benbow. Jean lived her last years in Connecticut with her family. She died in 2009.
The Other Side
Victoria Ford, a former resident of Madison, Wisconsin, currently lives in Seattle, where she continues to write and participate in local writing activities. Her first book, Following the Swan, was published by Fireweed Press in 1988. Ford launched the ongoing winter festival of invitational poetry readings in downtown Madison, which has continued for more than two decades. Her recent work appears with Rose Alley Press in Seattle.
Following the Swan
Iefke Goldberger was born in Spain of Dutch parents and came to Madison, Wisconsin, from Holland via California. She grew up in The Hague and Amsterdam, where she spent the bitter years of World War II, working in the resistance movement. Those years imprinted her writing life and led to many poems about war. Goldberger, now deceased, wrote several books, including Triangles, published by Fireweed Press.
"Nancy Jacobsen has the brain of an entrepreneur. Whether she undertakes running a business enterprise or writing a poem, she has both humor and wisdom at her command. I first knew her as a poet and than a business woman and, in my role as president of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, when we began publishing Wisconsin Poets Calendar, I asked her to be not only a contributor to the anthology but its business manager as well—a very lucky choice in both cases. This collection will enrich the reading of anyone who loves poetry."
— Lenore McComas Coberly, Author of stories and poems, including For I Am Mountainborn
Night Leaves Its Door Open
ISBN: 1-878660-32-2, 978-1-878660-32-9
Arthur Madson, born in 1925 and reared on an Iowa farm, left farming for the academic life, yet his farming childhood stayed present in his writing. His fellow poets saw him as quick-witted, wry and unmatched in his nuanced portrayal of fellow humans. A veteran of World War II, Arthur earned his Ph.D. at the University of Oklahoma and taught English for 36 years, mainly at UW-Whitewater. He lived until 2008. His poems appeared in many magazines and four books, two of the books with Fireweed. Poet Margaret Benbow writes that Art Madson “shows us the bold, rich welter of his life experiences in terms so honest, so fearless, that the years have caused no loss of color at all.”
Out of the Welter
Coming up Sequined
Frances May, memorable as a vivid personality as well as a fine poet and playwright, lived and worked in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, until death in her mid 80s. Her first book, Night Letters, was published in 1971 by the renowned Stanton & Lee press, founded by August Derleth. Subsequent books include The Summer I Was a Horse and Tell Me About the People. May’s book with Fireweed, The Poets’ Cat, is replete with examples of her extraordinary wit and insight.
The Poets’ Cat
Jeri McCormick, founder of Fireweed Press and long-time teacher of creative writing in senior centers and the Elderhostel program, co-edited two texts on writing with Haworth Press. She co-edited Love Over Sixty, an anthology of women’s poems, and her work appears in the Book of Irish American Poetry, Eighteenth Century to Present (Notre Dame Press). Her chapbook, The Sun Rides in Your Ribcage, was Fireweed’s first publication, and her book, When It Came Time, was published by Salmon Poetry in Ireland. Her latest book, Marrowbone of Memory: Ireland's Great Famine, was also published by Salmon Poetry (2012).
The Sun Rides in Your Ribcage
Richard Merelman, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the UW-Madison, holds a Ph.D. from Yale University, and taught at Wesleyan (Connecticut), UCLA, U. of Maryland, and U. of Essex (England), in addition to UW. He is the author of several books and many articles on culture and politics in Western democracies. His poetry has appeared in a number of literary journals, and he has won awards from the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters, the 2011 Helen Schaible International Shakespearean/Petrachan Sonnet Contest, and the Milwaukee Art Museum poetry contest.
The Imaginary Baritone
Franco Pagnucci was born in a village in northern Italy and grew up near Chicago. He arrived in Wisconsin in the 1960s to teach English at UW-Platteville, and has recently retired in northern Wisconsin. He has published several books with Bur Oak Press, as well as the anthology New Roads, Old Towns with Roundtree. Out Harmsen’s Way is his book with Fireweed Press. Pagnucci’s work appeared in the 1999 Best American Poetry series by Scribner Paperback Poetry.
Out Harmsen’s Way
Fran Rall, born in the lumber town of Klamath Falls, Oregon, has lived in Wisconsin since the early ‘60s and traveled the world. She is well known in poetic circles for organizing the annual state-wide Invitational Poetry Marathon at Olbrich Gardens in Madison for twenty years.
The Unspoken Word
Eve Robillard, a retired librarian, holds degrees from UW-Green Bay and UW-Madison. A native of Wisconsin, she lives in Madison, where she writes for children, as well as adults, and illustrates her children’s work with water color paintings. She is frequent visitor to Paris, where she renews her artist’s spirit. Her poems have been published by Parallel Press as well as Fireweed.
Everything Happens Twice
Richard Roe, present at the founding of Fireweed Press, has remained a valuable mainstay in its operations, serving as author, editor, emcee, and tireless promoter of the press’s work. He has published two books with the press, What Will You Find at the Edge of the World? and Bringer of Songs. Roe holds degrees in Economics and History, and worked in Wisconsin state government before retirement. Critic Ellen Kort has described Roe’s work as displaying a sly wit, a love of language, and an unflinching approach to craftsmanship.
Bringer of Songs
What Will You Find at the Edge of the World?
Lynn Patrick Smith, a singer/songwriter as well as poet, has published two books with Fireweed Press. He lives in Madison and is a member of the Mind’s Eye Radio Collective. Through Mind’s Eye, his work airs through the radio station WORT locally, and by satellite and shortwave further afield. Producer Kelly J. Warren says Smith “makes aware the nuances and simplicities of everydayness.” Critic Richard Roe sees Smith’s work as social commentary with a “droll wit at work.”
These Little Scenes
Sandy Stark grew up in a traveling family, but has lived in Madison, Wisconsin since 1969. Recently retired, she writes, tends prairies and rain gardens, birds, walks extensively and gets to know her neighbors. Her poems have appeared in Wisconsin and Texas poets’ calendars, Verse Wisconsin, and Wisconsin Academy Review. Counting on Birds is Sandy’s first published book. The book is about birds, but, as CX Dillhunt says in his blurb, the poems are about much more. They’re about our lives together and they’re written with joy and humor. The Midwest Book Review assesses these poems as thoughtful and devoted, solidly recommended.
Counting on Birds
Jim Stevens, of Seneca and German ancestry, was born in Milwaukee and lived for many years in Madison where he worked as a writer, editor and teacher. He now lives in Indian Country of northern Wisconsin, where he was editor of Yukhika-latuhse (She tells us stories) and conducted Native writing workshops through the Oneida Nation Arts Program.
The Book of Big Dog Town: Poems and Stories from Aztalan and Around
Richard Swanson, retired from teaching English at Madison Area Technical College, has published two novels, as well as two books of poems. His first poetry collection, Men in the Nude in Socks, was awarded the 2007 Posner prize by the Council for Wisconsin Writers. Poet Sue DeKelver writes that Swanson has a “quippy, quirky command of language that’s both entertaining and enviable.” His Not Quite Eden carries on with his distinctive brand of humor and makes use of poetic forms, including a pantoum (“Journey”). His book, Slow and Other Poems, extends his range with narrative poems, some about historical figures; with other new poems, he draws on stand-up comedy techniques.
Slow and Other Poems
Not Quite Eden
Men in the Nude in Socks
Karen Updike, a Madison, Wisconsin poet, taught high school English and creative writing to older adults before her retirement. She is the author of Sonja, poems about her deceased sister, and two texts on writing, both published by Haworth Press. Karen has published two collections of poems with Fireweed. Her chapbook, Off Riding, focused on her life as a horse woman, and her book, This Holding On, This Letting Go, turns more directly to the subjects of art, language, and relationships. Wisconsin critic Henry C. Timm admires the way Karen displays “her gift as an alchemist, turning the most common elements into gold,” showing how to hold and let go at the same time.
This Holding On, This Letting Go
Wendy Vardaman, a graduate of Cornell and the University of Pennsylvania who holds degrees in engineering and English , lives and writes in Madison, Wisconsin. She works for a children’s theater company and co-edits Verse Wisconsin, a magazine produced online and in print. Her first book of poems, Obstructed View, was published by Fireweed Press in 2009. Vardaman writes book reviews and interviews, as well as poetry.
Yvonne Yahnke has published two books with Fireweed Press—Dream Connection and, more recently, All the Colors of the World. Yahnke was born in Minnesota, raised in Chicago, and has been a long time resident of Wisconsin. She is a widow with two sons and six grandchildren. Ellen Kort, a former poet laureate of Wisconsin, praises Yahnke’s writing for its undercurrents of rich texture, and for its spontaneity and sense of wonder.
All the Colors of the World
The Dream Connection
This collection, waiting for poems, is compiled from the works of a dozen round robin participants. It contains poems by Wisconsin women who passed poems for critique through the mail in order to refine each other’s drafts. The results became the finished poems that appear in the book. The robins represented are: Lenore Coberly, Helen Fahrbach, Mardi Fries, Nancy Jacobsen, Jeri McCormick, Marion Brimm Rewey, Betsy Strand, Loretta Strehlow, Karen Updike, Viola Wendt, and Dorothy Westring.
waiting for poems