Tag Archives: poetry


Annalise shared this poem with Maggie not long before she died, and whenever I feel overwhelmed or sad I bring it somewhere awesome outside in nature and read it to the sky. (also, note my cat nails, which also bring great peace and happiness)


Last month I participated in a poetry slam at Bona Fide Books, for the opening of Benjamin Arnold’s exhibit “Breathing Rusted Rivets.” Us volunteer poets had to get up before an audience and judging panel, spouting out poems we created from words pulled from a hat in mere minutes.

Here are the words and the poems I created from them. Vernon Lee, whose back is pictured in the photo at left, crushed the competition to take first, but I ended up landing second place, just a point or two above two other fierce poets, Heather Kenison (pictured at right) and Janet Smith (pictured at left).


(An ode to Erin Bechtol, Bona Fide’s editorial assistant who is leaving later this month for Seoul, Korea)

Seoul, Soul

Erin’s moving to Seoul,

the goddess of book fairs,

the queen of the Bona Fide knoll,

the heart, the

soul, soul,

Erin’s leaving for Seoul

for a canoli with kimchi,

for an adventure, for a new way to roll

with soul, soul,

Erin’s really leaving for Seoul

Erin, we’ll miss your soul!


(My rendition on this word is inspired by someone once telling me that pollen in the air was like watching flower sex. I might work on this poem to convey that more, but here it is as written/performed.)

Spring opens up her dewey arms

petals say yes to the light

my nostrils tingle

a stinging tear in my eye


The air’s thick with…



When my pen’s lazy

it snuggles with my knuckle.

Right on in there

between the bony joints

like a slothful cigarette

biding its time for the burn.

Oh how I try to coerce it

into that prolific

threesome with the thumb,

but it just wants to snuggle,

with the knuckle.

I never thought I’d say this, but I’m a poet laureate. Of Wildflour Baking Company in Squaw Valley. Oh yes, it’s quite the honor, and I have the credentials to prove it (photo evidence above). Not sure what sorts of poems I’ll be required to write for the bakery, but I’m happy to do so! I won the Wildflour Favorite (adult) category in their annual Valentine’s poetry competition—not the grand prize (of a full season’s cookie pass), but somehow they deemed me worthy of poet laureate status.

Without further ado, I present to you my winning poem:

It’s here! Love it when a book I work on is finally set in print. This particular one holds a special place among my bookshelf’s spines as it’s the first poetry collection I’ve edited. Such an honor to work on, and I look forward to exploring more poetry editing again soon. Buy Mud Cakes through Bona Fide Books, and support a genuine heart-fed press!

Here are just a few of Mud Cakes‘ early praises:

“In richly detailed poem-stories about a small-town Ohio childhood, Jason Schossler enacts the vertigo of individual experience inside collective memory: Star Wars games, car parts, Anglophilia among the Cocoa Puffs, a mother’s mouth ‘forming the zeros of loss,’ a neighbor whose ‘eyes shone like glass bottles out of the sea’ in his fervor for Jesus. Mud Cakes is alert and detail-rich, charming and estranging in just the right proportion. Reading it, we learn more about what it means to grow up American.”
— Daisy Fried, author of She Didn’t Mean to Do it 

“In these wildly populated poems, Schossler announces himself a master of narrative collage.”
— Daniel Tobin, Guggenheim fellow and author of The Narrow


[fishing illustration by StudioTuesday]

In my DiStill Life column in Moonshine Ink this month (on stands Friday), I write about Tangled Roots Writing workshops, and the art of writing. I was so inspired by Karen Terrey’s workshops that I’m going to spend the next 6 weeks further exploring creative writing with her Monday night series. Will be fun to further hone my craft!

If you read my column and came here to see my poem from our “exploring a subject” prompts, here it is:

It happens in the blink of his fish eye
One second he’s swimming
The next he’s adrift,
On a silent invisible string
Leading to a frantic finale
Of weathered hand,
A different set of beady eyes,
Doling out a fate that’s unfair either way.