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Gwendolyn Alley is a fourth generation Venturan. She graduated from UC Santa Cruz with degrees in environmental studies, literature/creative writing, and education. There she studied with poets Lucille Clifton and Al Young, plus naturalists Ken Norris and Page Stegner while she wrote a novel about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. Her Masters in English is from the University of Nevada Reno. She wrote her first book, about traveling ladybugs looking for a place to sleep, in Mrs. Young's second grade class at Mound School. Since then, she's moved on to writing about monarch butterflies. 

She publishes her poetry and artwork in ARTLIFE Limited Editions, hosts a spoken word series the second Sunday each month at Zoey's Cafe, reads annually at the Burning Man Festival and the Taos Poetry Festival, and teaches college. "I wondered if I could be the child of Virginia Woolf and Ray Carver," she says. " Now I am akin to Sharon Dubiago and Jack Kerouac, betrothed to Dean Moriarty, on the road to the next hot spring to soak in or tree to climb." 

Gwendolyn's new chapbook, THE ARTLIFE POEMS: Cheaper by the Dozen" collects 37 of her ARTLIFE poems and artwork plus 3 to come. "ARTLIFE Limited Editions" is a handmade monthly periodical and has just completed 22 years of publication. 

ARTLIFE is the longest continually published artist's periodical in the world and is sought, bought, collected and archived throughout the U.S., Europe and Japan.


i see him when he's making bread mostly
he doesn't see me
he is relaxed, focused
elegant in his motions
smooth waltz with the dough

he is young and beautiful
smooth cheeked girl slim 
i imagine him bringing me bread
warm the bread is warm and crunchy and soft
flour dusts his blue jeans and plaid flannel shirt
the scent of warm bread on his breath
in his brown hair

i wouldn't want to wash his clothes
wouldn't want to wash the bread smells from him
he can't smell it any more but i 
would wrap myself in his bread clothes
understand his life
what he does with his days

the baking of bread i understand this i understand
his rhythm his motion
he would have time to think
his feet would be tired his back
i would knead him
smell the bread smells in my hands

a baker's life starts early
he would leave the warm bed for the bakery
through the window he can see the dawn
see the children cross the street to school
see them on saturday play soccer

he would walk home at lunch 
and we would have bread 
with salads with soup in sandwiches
it would be enough his bread
and we would be happy

Gwendolyn Alley

© 2003 Gwendolyn Alley


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