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Anna Lena Phillips Bell

Anna Lena Phillips Bell is the author of Ornament (University of North Texas Press, 2017), winner of the Vassar Miller Poetry Prize. The recipient of a North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship in literature, she teaches at University of North Carolina—Wilmington, where she is the editor of Ecotone and Lookout Books. She lives near the Cape Fear river.

By This Poet


Songs of the Garden

What’s wrong, 
handsome small farmer?
Heron stopping, 
pony stopping—


Healthy, educated maiden,
she would serve you a rough half-bushel—
cockle soup, a brew,
the water in which the puddings had been cooked


Remember, pilgrim: not the clothes, the road.

Pass between two hills’ breadth.

Put wind into the wish.


Mischance fall upon them who avoid the conflict:
the fork of their breeches
tied in a bundle


Manage cheerfully, 
two by two: 
cock and gander, 
dove and dragon.


Defied book-knowledge—
Taught the garden—


A compact: 
first, housewifely tasks; then,
much ale.