Linda Dove holds a Ph.D. in Renaissance literature and most recently taught at Yavapai College in Arizona where she directed the creative writing program.  She is the author of In Defense of Objects (Bear Star Press, winner of the Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Award, 2009) and O Dear Deer, (Squall Publishing, winner of the Eudaimonia Poetry Review Chapbook Prize, 2011). Poems have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and were a finalist for the Robert H. Winner Award from the Poetry Society of America. She lives in Pasadena, California, with her daughter and two Jack Russell terriers.



What a lot of talk that was.  What the trail said, what the woods said, what the water said, what the branches (naked in their reach) said, what the hunter could have chosen not to say but did, what each season said in some other room (dormant and otherwise clothed), what the sky said twice.  It would be a trick to think any of us said it all in the end, though we watched the show unfold from the edge and though our private room had windows, which means an expansive view.  Of course, we can’t forget the deer in the photo, tattoos curled like leafy tendrils along her neck.  There we are, back to branches.  The way they refuse to let go of our bodies, the way they refuse to let our bodies not go.

from O Dear Deer, ( Squall Publishing, 2011)


St. Nicholas of Tolentino Confronts His Moral Ambivalence in the Buffet Line

I grow weary seeing the vegetables,
boiled and cut, mashed, rubbed in oil

to within an inch of their pretty skins.
I have loved each one of them. Roots

hanging down into dirt as if the ground
held an eave of icicles. I tremble

at their dark reach. The carrot’s orange
oblivion, the hoops of lavender around

the turnip head. Or the shiny froth of kale,
the way a cabbage cups its holy center.

I am not removed from their fanciful
life. I shuffle my tray along the line,

scooping warmed-over sides
onto my plate. I think of the garden,

the hot pink weight of a beet in hand.
I do not understand how this hunger

can be so easy. How I can suffer the leeks
to be sliced and scalded. How I do not

wither at the sight of the cucumber,
peeled back to its wet interior.

We settle our needs at our peril. I find
myself blaming the soul for language


In Defense of Objects  (I)

An object…makes infinity private.
                                —Joseph Brodsky, Water

Unlikely winters: San Francisco and its trolley
car stuck in snow, Bangkok blizzard white.

Flakes shake to life, bright and insular.  Cities
fade in the blur of a handmade storm. 

Despite the dizzying effects, the eye rests
there, at home in beauty’s small arcade. 

No sirens sound, no police sew their yellow
threads to streets.  The past collects

on souvenirs, turning kitsch to treasure. 
When the Wedgwood knife falls

to the floor, shards of blue shed like tears. 
Yet the eye is safe here, in pieces.

The Christmas ball shatters to an inner life
of mirrors.  It’s what confounds the mendicant: 

the object’s pull, the need for pockets to keep
stuff in.  What amounts to wonder lurks in things,

whole or broken, near, as distant as the gray
gargoyle where the eye’s balloon comes to rest. 

Rusted keys, horseshoe, rust itself, color of burnt
sienna.  The word itself:  burnt sienna.

Petals pool beneath a tree.  In morning light,
the snow globe glows like a translucent papoose.

from In Defense of Objects ( Bear Star Press, 2009)



Linda Dove at Moonday Poetry East



2013 Linda Dove

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