Archives for posts with tag: women writers

Poem by Gaia Holmes 

“There are plenty more
fish in the sea,”
he tells you with conviction
knowing, as he does,
the whole spectrum
of glitter, silver fin and gill.
He knows fish
that would shock
with their electric,
sheepish fish that graze
on plankton, sea furze
and the moss
that clads shipwrecks.
He knows fish
that you can trust
for their regularity,
fish that get high
on the lights
of midnight trawlers,
fish that freeze
by the clank and hum
of ocean liners.
He knows fish
that fall in love
with pebbles,
fish that get giddy
when wind
fingers the waves.
He knows fish
that would gracefully
take your hook
into their mouths
without wincing.

“Fish” and two other poems by Gaia Holmes appear in the  Silver Birch Press Silver Anthology, available at

Illustration: Drylcon Graphics

teenagers down the shore
by win harms

memories of the ocean
sweet spring sweat trickles down my forehead
the sand stings my legs, as a crosswind
creeps up from behind
the salty sea is cold, numbing my bare feet
i hear my friends giggling ahead
and i laugh for no reason at all
you look at me and smile that secret smile
and for one moment we are alone in this
i can’t remember the taste of you
but i know i’ll understand you again
i get higher with the thoughts of days to come
we are sleepy with excitement
last night is so incredibly far away
we were older then, parading like sophisticates
we are young again, spinning in the sun
the past doesn’t matter and
the skeletons don’t feel like dancing
i am mapping out my life
and i want to see you there
with your eyes sparkling like the sea
we walk the boardwalk with the wind in our hair
creating everlasting impressions in time

Photo: “Summer Down the Shore” by funflash, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. (16×20 metallic prints available at

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: win harms is a poet living in France with her professor husband. She hails from the state of the cowboy poetry contest, but she has lived pretty much everywhere, including many psych wards, and considers herself a survivor of the struggle. The chaos has ceased and now she spends her time doing needlepoint and laundry, but longs to share her words with the world. As of last year, she left her roaring twenties, and is now feeling fecund and free. “Teenagers Down the Shore” and other poetry by win harms appears in the Silver Birch Press Summer Anthology, available at

by Grace Schulman

Squinting through eye-slits in our balaclavas,   
we lurch across Washington Square Park   
hunched against the wind, two hooded figures   
caught in the monochrome, carrying sacks
of fruit, as we’ve done for years. The frosted, starch-
stiff sycamores make a lean Christmas tree
seem to bulk larger, tilted under the arch
and still lit in three colors. Once in January,
we found a feather here and stuffed the quill   
in twigs to recall that jay. The musical fountain   
is here, its water gone, a limestone circle
now. Though rap succeeds the bluegrass strains
we’ve played in it, new praise evokes old sounds.   
White branches mimic visions of past storms;
some say they’ve heard ghosts moan above this ground,   
once a potter’s field. No two stones are the same,
of course: the drums, the tawny pears we hold,   
are old masks for new things. Still, in a world   
where fretted houses with façades are leveled   
for condominiums, not much has altered
here. At least it’s faithful to imagined
views. And, after all, we know the sycamore
will screen the sky in a receding wind.
Now, trekking home through grit that’s mounting higher,
faces upturned to test the whirling snow,
in new masks, we whistle to make breath-clouds form   
and disappear, and form again, and O,   
my love, there’s sun in the crook of your arm.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Grace Schulman is the author many acclaimed books of poetry, including Days of Wonder: New and Selected Poems (where “Crossing the Square” appears), a Library Journal Best Book of the Year. For her poetry she has received a Guggenheim fellowship, the Aiken-Taylor Award, the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award, New York University’s Distinguished Alumni Award, and three Pushcart prizes. Schulman is a distinguished professor of English at Baruch College, CUNY. She is a former director of the Poetry Center (1978-1984) and a former poetry editor of The Nation (1971-2006).

Photo: “Washington Square Park” (New York City, 1/26/2011) by Helen Jones Florio, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” VIRGINIA WOOLF


Adapted from Novelist/essayist Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) and husband Leonard bought their house in Sussex, U.K.,  in 1919. Two years later, Woolf had a small writing room in the garden constructed out of a wooden toolshed below a loft. She wrote there in the summers, and liked it very much, though it was not ideal for concentration. She was always being distracted — by Leonard sorting the apples over her head in the loft, or the church bells at the bottom of the garden, or the noise of the children in the school next door, or the dog sitting next to her and scratching itself and leaving paw marks on her manuscript pages. In winter, it was often so cold and damp that she couldn’t hold her pen and had to retreat indoors. She wrote there with a board on her lap. In this writer’s lodge, Woolf wrote parts of all her major novels from Mrs Dalloway to Between the Acts, many essays and reviews, and many letters. 


April 13, 2013 marked the 104th anniversary of the birth of author and photographer Eudora Welty who lived a long and productive life, passing away in 2001 at age 92. Welty spent most of her years in her native Jackson, Mississippi, where she wrote novels and short stories in the bedroom of her family home.


According to the Eudora Welty House website, her writing routine was to start early and write as long as she could, pausing briefly at noon for a light lunch. She viewed writing as joyful work and summer was her favorite time to write — because the neighborhood was especially quiet, with people staying indoors to avoid the Mississippi heat. Her home is a National Historic Landmark and open to the public as a museum.

Eudora Welty was also a gifted photographer — find out more in this Smithsonian article — and one of the most decorated of American authors. Her awards and honors include the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (The Optimist’s Daughter, 1973), the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1980), the National Book Award (Collected Works of Eudora Welty, 1983), numerous O.Henry Awards for her short stories, the National Medal of Arts (1986), designation as Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur by the government of France, and many other forms of recognition for her gifts as an author.

Find her most renowned novel, The Optimist’s Daughter, at

Poem by Mary Oliver

Did you too see it, drifting, all night, on the black river?
Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air –
An armful of white blossoms,
A perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned
into the bondage of its wings; a snowbank, a bank of lilies,
Biting the air with its black beak?
Did you hear it, fluting and whistling
A shrill dark music – like the rain pelting the trees – like a waterfall
Knifing down the black ledges?
And did you see it, finally, just under the clouds –
A white cross Streaming across the sky, its feet
Like black leaves, its wings Like the stretching light of the river?
And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?


My life was an arc between darkness and irradiated clarity, an unpredictable and brutal journey. I felt as if I were a stranger to this earth. No, not merely this collection of angles, streets and alleys named Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles. I was estranged not from a particular season or region, a climate or a barrio, but from the planet itself. I stood motionless on my front lawn, humbled by sun, wind or fog, a passing sparrow. I heard the sighs of trees in their inviolate dominion where the sky is pearl, glazed, a mesa of puffy clouds tracked by wild gulls that could if they chose, shriek your name and the hour and latitude of your birth. I thought all women lived like this, in a torment of concurrencies.”

KATE BRAVERMAN, Palm Latitudes

Painting: ”En Vakker Dag” (“A Beautiful Day”) by Isblahblah, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

by Joan Jobe Smith

In sixth grade when my little girlfriends all began
en masse to unfurl plump blossoming pink into
woman cake and I stayed 4-foot-2, weighed 48
pounds and liked to play baseball instead of kiss
boys, the girls teased me that I was a midget or
maybe even a hermaphrodite so playing short stop
was the right place for me shortstopped like I was
in time as I ran in and out of inner and outer field
catching pop flies, shortstopping line drives and
swinging around to tag the runner stealing third base.
Then at home on weekends while my workaholic
father fixed stuff in his garage, I’d sneak to watch the
Pacific Coast League on tv: the Los Angeles Angels,
the Hollywood Stars, learned how to kick my feet
into the dust at home plate, wipe some dust on my
bat and swing wide and swift like Steve Bilko who
was Southern California’s answer to Babe Ruth and
I taught myself to spit like Steve Bilko, make it flip
in the air before it hit the dirt and when my team won
I put my fingers in my mouth and whistled so loud it
made church bells ring in the next town. It was good
to keep my mind off all that troubling hermaphrodite
stuff with all my short stopping during that short
stopping of time when the moon and stars didn’t yet
know my name or where to find me to turn me into a
woman and later it all paid off when I was a cocktail
waitress all grown up in a swanky hotel and met Joe
DiMaggio and asked while I served him a Cappuccino
Whatever happened to Steve Bilko? and Joe DiMaggio
asked me while eyeing my cleavage and fishnet stockings:
YOU know who Steve Bilko is? Yes, I growled like a
tough sixth grade boy who plays shortstop: Steve Bilko
taught me how to spit that day when the score was 1-0
in the bottom of the 9th and Steve Bilko hit a grand slam.
I don’t know for sure if Steve Bilko ever did that but it
made Joe DiMaggio laugh and give me his autograph.

by Marianne Moore

…Writing is exciting
and baseball is like writing.
You can never tell with either
how it will go
or what you will do; 
generating excitement –
a fever in the victim –
pitcher, catcher, fielder, batter.
Victim in what category?
Owlman watching from the press box?
To whom does it apply
Who is excited? Might it be I?

Photo: Poet Marianne Moore (1887-1972) throwing out the first pitch of the NY Yankees’ 1968 season.

Poem by Amy Lowell

Greatly shining,
The Autumn moon floats in the thin sky;
And the fish-ponds shake their backs and flash their dragon scales
As she passes over them.

“Wind and Silver” and other poetry by Amy Lowell appears in the Silver Birch Press Silver Anthology, a 240-page collection of poetry and prose from over 60 authors past and present — available at

Photo: Joel Bramley, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED