Welcome to Love of Place. Most of my work celebrates our connection to the natural world.

Most recently, my Knocking on Heaven's Door is the winner in the category of science fiction in the 2016 New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards and in the category of fiction in the 2016 Arizona Authors Association Awards. A number of reviewers have been enthusiastic, including the website Geeks of Doom, which makes me smile. Not many people know me as a geek of doom! But I am happy to embrace the complexity of my personality.

I'm also so pleased that Diary of a Citizen Scientist: Chasing Tiger Beetles and Other New Ways of Engaging the World has been awarded the 2016 John Burroughs Medal for Distinguished Nature Writing, as well as the 2014 WILLA Award for Creative Nonfiction from Women Writing the West.

My historical fantasy Teresa of the New World won the 2015 Arizona Authors Association Award for best Children's Literature and was a finalist for the New Mexico/Arizona Book Award for Children's Literature, the WILLA Award for Children's Literature, and the May Sarton Award for Children's Literature.

These are nice landmarks in a writer's life. I would be writing regardless--but, still, whew. It's good to have some encouragement.

Feel free to contact me at http://www.sharmanaptrussell.com or through my author Facebook page, Sharman Apt Russell.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Four poems by Laurie Blauner

Episodic Days in the Desert

I tried to unravel the beauty. Walking backwards,
my preoccupied hair under a fat hat. Afternoons,

your laughing mismanaged me. I was resigned
to the scuttling, blinking yellow and red, sand-

colored boredom for miles, the creeping and the crawling.
Yours, not the animals. My happiness was short of breath.

I mistook everything for you, the time between night
and day, a fistful of hair, the scorpion.

I meant to undo my speech. A rock smiled. You
grew empty while light wanted everything.

Your damp fingers scared me;
silent conversations. In the sky I saw

clouds explode as if we were back
in the city confessing to machines.

We exchanged bodies that couldn't save us.
Time boasted and water emptied

our perspectives. We were listening to
a bright blackness I'd call a blue.

I dream of who you used to be,
apologizing for the inconvenience.

Momentary Distractions of the Immense Kind

I get directions for a pretty, little landscape
but I'm so confused that I keep repeating myself,
my movement a migration of possibility.

A glimpse of: what for? A glimpse of:
it once began. The stories between buildings,
the sky whispers about people

who aren't what they used to be. I'm prescribed
night & food. But what does it really matter?
The savory shadows are for the willing.

I sit back in my tiny chair, waiting for my breath
to break. My blood races around to find you
& is thwarted. It's not that I've fallen

& can't get back up, but it's something
like that. Outside I notice the trees' utterances,
which are voices making a decision &

an undertow of wind, the wreckage of desire.
A cloud that couldn't be anything
but a cloud. & I feel knots through my skin

like the anatomy of a leaf. It could happen
to anyone, the earth moving one way, the sky
another and I've forgotten where I was going.

A Prayer & Something to Go with It

Deceive me with dialogue between a bird
& a branch that won't cooperate.

My body wants more, an apparatus it can
call its own. To fly, at least to climb

up the tree trunk that counts the stars overhead
backwards & forwards each night. A clarity.

I don't know if life will let me decide
this or that & I have misplaced

my weightlessness, that is, the state where I grow
smaller until no one notices me.

I make enough mistakes that hardly recognize me.
I avoid the moon with its enormous punctuation

marks. How can I answer when I don't understand
the question? I was outside, counting clouds,

which have fallen onto hard times. When they complain,
I hate the way they sound. All I know is

that I interrupt myself, returning to the same place,
a bird pleading for more sky. I hold onto broken objects,

my landscape filled with enough darkness to fix
anything. And how can I ask for more than that?

In the Distance, How Can I Tell?

I tell the insolent road that we only just met.
Stars reach through the eyebrows of trees, stare,
turn back. It’s the age of the self, they say, laughing,
and we’ve made a mistake. I turn back, make more
leaves, yell things no one needs to know. The
fences, cars, houses don’t want to stop, mumble their
little epilogues. There’s too much radio music and
oncoming archipelagos of light. Moonlight peels it all
away. Underneath, the forlorn and neglected stagger.
I pull into a field, grow quiet, think how roots
run wild, and grass blades can’t stay still. Just
like children. And who isn’t an astronomer of their
own desire? Sky explains how it would go about
changing everything.

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