Typus Orbis Universalis

Typus Orbis Universalis

Welcome

I’m a writer, editor, and teacher, and I enjoy connecting with readers and other writers. On November 1, 2017, I was commissioned Alabama's Poet Laureate, for a four-year term. I grew up in Arkansas and have lived for many years in Alabama, although I’ve also lived abroad, in England and Romania, and have traveled extensively in Ireland and Greece. I’ve written two collections of poems, "Little Wanderer" (2016) a collection of road and travel poems, and "Bottle Tree" (2010), which focuses on my experiences as a southern woman. I’ve also written "Tell the World You’re a Wildflower," a collection of loosely interwoven short stories in the voices of southern women and girls. I love to put together collections as well, and I edited "Working the Dirt: An Anthology of Southern Poets," and co-edited, with Wendy Reed, "All Out of Faith: Southern Women on Spirituality," and "Circling Faith: Southern Women on Spirituality," as well as "Belles’ Letters II: Contemporary Fiction by Alabama Women," co-edited with Don Noble. I’m currently working on a memoir-influenced book about Scott and Zelda biographer Sara Mayfield as well as a new collection of short stories.

Blog Posts

Below you'll find occasional blog posts, as the spirit moves me.

Blog Archive

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

One of my favorite mis-hearings is "partial post"

For about a year and a half now, I’ve been—off and on—working on a blog post about the April 27, 2011 tornado that hit Tuscaloosa. The writing includes such things as volunteering, survivor guilt, Christian music over the p.a. system at my local Winn Dixie, why I decided to join the local Unitarian-Universalist congregation, third-person versus first-person narration, shock and whether you know when you’re in it, civic responsibility, dogs, my inability to operate a chainsaw, and where I belong. It has finally dawned on me (I am a slow learner) that I may have an essay, a meditation, a series of journal entries, or an open letter to the universe, but it is not a blog post if it takes you a year and a half to write it.


So, in the spirit of working with what I have as I have it, here’s a short poem that has some of what the essay-thing might eventually find its way to in prose:


After the Tornado

I would have passed her by
in the grocery store
without a second glance,
and she me.

The round blonde,
the skinny black girl,
two worlds,
worlds apart.

But standing in line
to volunteer
after the bad storm,
we spoke.

She was six months sober;
I knew her mother’s thrift store
down on Crescent Ridge,
now destroyed.

Leaving, she grabbed my hand:
“I love you!”
And, not thinking first,
I said, “I love you, too.”



                                    (Drawing by Josephine Anderson)

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