I'm ecstatic to have my poem "Sunrise, with Motherly Influence" included in the Summer Fiction Issue of Commonweal Magazine. This is my fourth contribution to Commonweal, and it's a special poem to me for a number of reasons.
We drink coffee though it tires us,
we love our partners and in loving
we forget our work. (read poem)
I wrote this poem to my mother, the poetic educator extraordinaire Rebecca Linstrom, while living in Ames, Iowa, in Deb Marquart's really generative poetry workshop in the Iowa State University MFA Program in Creative Writing and Environment. Thanks, Deb, and all my workshop-mates, for creating such a supportive space to try new things and grow in my craft! Thanks especially to my mom, who inspired the poem, as did her relationship with her grandmother, Gladys Torkelson, who was rather famous for her costume jewelry and who bequeathed her bag full of it to my mom when she passed away at the ripe old age of 102. My mom knows this poem well—she teaches poetry to her fourth-grade students in the public schools in South Haven, and over the years she has had me come in to her class and spend an hour reading and talking about poetry with her students. This is one poem that I have often read to them, and recently, going through old thank-you letters from the kids while cleaning, I came upon one that said something to the effect of "That sunrise poem was good too. I think Mrs. Linstrom liked that one."