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About this poet

Sandra Alcosser was born in Washington, D.C., on February 3, 1944, and she grew up in South Bend, Indiana. She received her B.A. from Purdue University in 1972 and an M.F.A. from the University of Montana in 1982, where she studied with Richard Hugo. She is the author of The Blue Vein (Brighton Press, 2005); A Woman Hit by a Meteor (2001); Except by Nature (Graywolf Press, 1998), which received the Academy's 1998 James Laughlin Award and was selected by Eamon Grennan for the 1997 National Poetry Series; Sleeping Inside the Glacier, a collaboration with artist Michele Burgess (1997); and A Fish to Feed All Hunger (1993), which was selected by James Tate to be the Associated Writing Programs Award Series winner in poetry. Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, The New Yorker, Paris Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, and theYale Review.

Alcosser's honors include a Montana Artist Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, a PEN Syndicated Fiction Award, a Pushcart Prize, a San Diego Artist Fellowship, and a Writer's Voice New Voices of the West Award. Formerly the director of Central Park's Poets-in-the-Park program in New York City, Alcosser started the M.F.A. program in creative writing at San Diego State University. She is currently a professor of poetry, fiction, and feminist poetics at San Diego State University and has taught at the University of Michigan, the University of Montana, and Louisiana State University. Alcosser divides her time between San Diego and Florence, Montana.

Selected Bibliography

Poetry

The Blue Vein (2005)
A Woman Hit by a Meteor (2001)
Glyphs (2001)
Except By Nature (1998)
Sleeping Inside the Glacier (1997)
A Fish to Feed All Hunger (1986)

Michael's Wine

Sandra Alcosser, 1944
Winter again and we want
the same nocturnal rocking,
watching cedar spit
and sketch its leafy flames,
our rooms steamy with garlic
and greasy harvest stew.
Outside frosted windows--
claw marks on yellow pine,

Venus wobbling in the sky,
the whole valley a glare of ice.
We gather in the kitchen
to make jam from damsons
and blue Italian prunes,
last fruit of the orchard,
sweetest after frost, frothy bushels
steeping in flecked enamel pots.

Michael, our neighbor,
decants black cherry wine,
fruit he ground two years ago,
bound with sugar, then racked
and racked again. It's young and dry.
We toast ourselves, our safety,
time the brandied savory
of late November.

I killed a man this day last year,
says Michael, while you were away.
Coming home from town alone,
you know the place in Lolo where the road
curves, where the herd of horses got loose
New Year's Eve, skidded around
white-eyed, cars sliding into them?
Didn't see the man until my windshield broke.

Could have been any one of us.
Twenty-nine years old, half-drunk,
half-frozen. Red and black hunting jacket.
Lucky I was sober. We stand there
plum-stained as Michael's face
fractures into tics and lines.
He strokes his wine red beard.
Michael with no family,

gentle farmer's hands, tilts the bottle,
pours a round, as if to toast.
It was so cold, he says,
that when it was over,
he swirls the distilled cherries
under a green lamp, there was less
blood on the pavement than you see
this moment in my glass.

From Except By Nature published by Graywolf Press, 1998. Copyright © 1998 by Sandra Alcosser. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

From Except By Nature published by Graywolf Press, 1998. Copyright © 1998 by Sandra Alcosser. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Sandra Alcosser

Sandra Alcosser

Sandra Alcosser was born in Washington, D.C., in 1944, and she grew

by this poet

poem

Auntie lies in the rest home with a feeding tube and a bedpan, she weighs nothing, she fidgets and shakes, and all I can see are her knotted hands and the carbon facets of her eyes, she was famous for her pies and her kindness to neighbors, but if it is true that every hat exhibits a drama the psyche wishes it

poem
Friday night I entered a dark corridor
rode to the upper floors with men who filled
the stainless elevator with their smell.

Did you ever make a crystal garden, pour salt
into water, keep pouring until nothing more dissolved?
A landscape will bloom in that saturation.

My daddy's body shop floats to the surface
poem
Some days he'd rub two pegs together
until they made a greasy hum
like rain, the sound of moles
grawing the dirt's grain, the song
soils sing before a quake,
and the red bodies would hang
above the ground in a kind of confusion
or ecstasy. They would writhe.

The farmer showed me
the way worms made love
in