Barbara Crooker


My mother's silver sifter:
turn the handle,
start the tumbler:

a spill of pollen. And
an anachronism in the age
of take-out and name brands

labeled homemade.
Who now cuts lard
into flour and salt with the blade

of a pastry knife? Hard
to believe in the crimp
between thumb and fore-

finger, fluting the rim.
Who kneads bread dough
then waits for yeast to begin

its miracle, growing
to double in size?
Who rescues potatoes,

carrots, onions, sighing
in the crisper, turns them into
soup or stew? Praise

those who turn scraps to new
quilts, hook wool into rugs,
crochet unraveled blue

yarn into blankets that hug
the bony shoulders of the homeless,
the discarded, the sidewalk's dregs.

Weight Training

and how can you train
the body to be the body?
Carrie Addington, "Waist Training"

How can I train this aging
body, with its baggage, the freight
load of dinners in France, plates
gleaming with sauce and cream, sauté
pans sizzling, a glass of rosé
at the start of the meal that's raised
to the setting sun. Breakfast: an array
of croissants in a basket, display
of confitures, especially les fraises
des bois, wild strawberries. I'm sedentary:
at my keyboard writing essays
or reading a roman à clef
cushioned in a chair. The days
when I ran before dawn, gone. Praise
be to my left knee; the right one says
"mercy" going down stairs. The pain in places
I never knew existed. Ahead, there's a station
and I'm slowly chugging towards it. No weight
training at the gym or miles on the exercycle can stay
this decline. In the passenger car, a conductor sways,
pushing his clicker, punching tickets: sprays
of confetti, little o's litter the aisles, ricochet.


Ogham was a medieval alphabet for writing short messages and transcriptions, often written on wood. Each of the letters stands for a native Irish plant or tree.

Q is for apple, greeny of leaf

B is for birch tree, white in relief

L is for rowan, favored by thrushes

H is for hawthorn, planted by houses

M is for bramble, covered in thorns

D is for oak and its many acorns

G is for ivy, forever green

N is for ash, seeds of winged keys

Z is for blackthorn, its harvest of sloes

T is for holly, found in hedgerows

C is for hazel, its lambs tail catkins

S is for willow that sways in the wind

F is for fern that grows in deep woods

R is for elder, whose berries are food

I is for yew, hard wood that endures

O is for hillsides covered in furze

U is for heath, that bees mine for honey

Ng is for broom, that blooms where it's sunny

E is for aspen, that quakes in the breeze

A is for pine, with needles for leaves


Barbara Crooker is a poetry editor for Italian-Americana, and author of nine full-length books of poetry, with Some Glad Morning coming out in the Pitt Poetry Series in 2019. Her awards include the WB Yeats Society of New York Award, the Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Award, and three Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships. Her work appears in a variety of literary journals and anthologies, including The Valparaiso Poetry Review, The Chariton Poetry Review, Green Mountains Review, Tar River Poetry Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal, The Hollins Critic, The Denver Quarterly, Smartish Pace, Gargoyle, Christianity and Literature, The American Poetry Journal, Dogwood, Zone 3, Passages North, Nimrod, Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania, The Bedford Introduction to Literature, Nasty Women: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse, and has been read on the ABC, the BBC, The Writer's Almanac, and featured on Ted Kooser's American Life in Poetry.


Barbara Crooker
Alexandra Donovan
Jehanne Dubrow
Kathleen Goldbach
Colleen S. Harris
Brittany Hill
Katherine Hoerth
Lynne Knight
Jean L. Kreiling
Angie Macri
Carolyn Martin
Kathleen McClung (Featured Poet)
Mary Mercier
Ann Michael
Leslie Schultz
Myrna Stone
Jean Syed
Ann Christine Tabaka
Sally Thomas
Doris Watts
Joyce Wilson
Marly Youmans


The most recent addition to The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline is Phillis Wheatley by Kathryn Voorhees.

Kathleen McClung is the recipient of the 2019 Mezzo Cammin Scholarship to the Poetry by the Sea conference.

Megan Marlatt:Looking like large puppet heads, it was "anima", the root of "animation", that led me to the making of the big heads, (or "capgrossos" as they are called in Catalonia where I learned the craft.) Anima is the soul or what breathes life into a being and to animate an inanimate object, an artist must insert a little soul into it. However to bring attention to what is invisible, (the soul), I chose to mold its opposite in solid form: the persona, the ego, the big head, the mask. Nearly every culture across the globe has masks. They allow performers to climb into the skin of another being and witness the other's world from behind their eyes. While doing so, the mask erases all clues of the performer's age, gender, species or race. In this regard, I find them to be the most transformative and empathic of all human artifacts.

32 Poems
The Academy of American Poets
The Atlantic
The Christian Science Monitor
The Cortland Review
Favorite Poem Project
The Frost Place
The Iowa Review
Light Quarterly
Modern American Poetry
The Poem Tree
Poetry Daily
Poetry Society of America
Poets House
Raintown Review
String Poet
Valparaiso Poetry Review
Verse Daily
Women's Poetry Listserv
The Yale Review

Bread Loaf
Poetry by the Sea


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