Norwalk’s poet laureate, Laurel S. Peterson is an English professor who writes alternatively in assorted venues and forms, ranging from poetry, academic critique and history, branching out last year into mystery fiction with Shadow Notes (Barking Rain Press, 2016). PA members and area poets will recall she co-organized the popular Writers Resist reading held last month at Norwalk Community College.
This Tuesday she will be reading from Do You Expect Your Art to Answer? (FutureCycle Press, 2017), an ekphrastic collection (inspired by a visit to the Whitney Biennial in New York), which embodies a comparable eclecticism delivered via “sledgehammer poems wrapped in velvet… of confession and affirmation."
The following piece, which originally ran in Gin Bender Poetry Review in 2006, lives up to Dan Masterson's quote with its carefully-chosen language, metaphoric subjectivity, contrasted with a "we've-all-been-there" visceralism that lingers in the mind:
What We Are
irresistible until you taste blood,
and even then,
one last pull and the last
translucent slip is free.
The blood rises, nerve endings
tickling the air like
More and more, this is how I feel
All that's dead we're peeling back,
the layers of ex-husband,
ex-wife, parents,the word "sheep" or "click"
or "pie", perhaps--that brings
another word cracked
like a leather belt,
like a branch in a blizzard.
We try, but the
n we pull back,
let the scar form, that
toughened bit of leather
that next time will take a knife,
more than plucking at least.
Besides placing her work in numerous literary journals, Lauren has also served as editor of Inkwell and managed a local history column with Gannett Suburban Newspapers. In 2006, she was a finalist for the John Ciardi Prize in Poetry for her manuscript Mud Never Forgets.
Her first chapbook, That’s the Way the Music Sounds (Finishing Line Press) appeared in 2008, followed by Talking to the Mirror (The Last Automat Press, 2010). She also co-edited a collection of essays on the state of women’s justice in patriarchal society across language, religion, war, sex trafficking, and medicine titled (Re)Interpretations: The Shapes of Justice in Women’s Experience (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009).
Laurel and her husband live in Connecticut and Vermont. An avid Tweeter (@laurelwriter49), she also posts on Facebook; find out more at her website, LaurelPeterson.com.