I've been writing poetry since I was a teenager, and won the Bucknell poetry prize in college. My first book Crossing Cowee Mountain, was published by my friend Thomas Rain Crowe—poet, editor, environmental writer and activist) Thomas Rain Crowe at New Native Press.

book cover Crossing Cowee Mountain is a collection of poems meditating on the turn of the millennia, family, spirit, and nature. I wrote these in my head as I drove back and forth to work from my home in Franklin, N.C., to Cherokee N.C., on the Qualla Boundary, home of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

Crossing Cowee Mountain

Poplars bloom green flame
kindled by sunrise.

Cowee Mountain,
Spring of ninety-nine.

In the valley
people plant apocalyptic gardens,
minds racing
like hamsters in a cage—
What next what next what next.

On Cowee Mountain
the poplars know
What next:
leaf, bud, flower, and seed.

The sunlight knows:
spring, summer, fall, winter, spring.

And all we can do is:
and praise,
crossing Cowee Mountain


book cover Voices from the American Landscape This year, I'm fortunate to be part of a chapbook of poetry about the Smoky Mountains, featuring Thomas Rain Crowe and Brent Martin. This is part of a series on different regions of the country, published by Voices from the American Landscape. You can become a subscriber and receive a copy by going to: http://www.voicesfromtheamericanland.org/

The Blue Tailed Skink
--For all the salamanders of the Great Smoky Mountains

Quick as a wink
the blue tailed skink
Appears on my garden wall.

"Catch the first one of spring
and kiss his head.
You'll have good luck!"
The old ones said.

Quick as a wink
the blue tailed skink
disappears from my garden wall.

Come near my dear,
The truth to hear:
I didn't want to kiss him at all.