Terri Kirby Erickson
Terri Kirby Erickson is an educator, speaker, and the author of four collections of poetry, including In the Palms of Angels (Press 53, 2011), winner of three international awards, and A Lake of Light and Clouds (Press 53, 2014). Her book, Telling Tales of Dusk (Press 53, 2009) was #23 on the Poetry Foundation Contemporary Best Seller list in 2010. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac, Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry, 2013 Poet’s Market, Verse Daily,North Carolina Literary Review, JAMA, Asheville Poetry Review, storySouth, The Christian Science Monitor, and many other publications, and has won numerous awards, including a Nautilus Silver Book Award, and the Poetry for Their Freedom Award, sponsored by the A21 Campaign to stop human trafficking. She was chosen as the Leidig Keynote Poet for Emory & Henry College in 2013, a distinguished honor shared over the years by such noted poets as Ted Kooser and Mark Doty. She is a member of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, North Carolina Writers’ Network, North Carolina Writers Conference, and the North Carolina Poetry Society, and teaches poetry workshops in a variety of settings, including universities and high schools. She lives in a small town in North Carolina, USA, with her husband, Leonard.
For more information about Terri Kirby Erickson’s work, please visit www.terrikirbyerickson.com
Poems by Terri Kirby Erickson
(Excerpt, In the Palms of Angels, Press 53)
Draped in towels,
my grandmother sits in a hard-backed
chair, a white bowl
of soapy water on the floor.
She lifts her frail arm, then rests it,
gratefully, in her daughter’s palm.
Gliding a wet
becomes a cloud, and every bruise, a rain-
Pulled like rotten teeth from the open mouths
of mine shafts, massive pyramids of gleaming
coal dot the landscape of Kanawha County.
Coal dust fine and black as pulverized midnight,
covers everything for miles. Rows of ramshackle
to ribbons. But the Kanawha River is long
call to mind a different tune than the dismal dirges
of Black Lung and White Damp. They carry the sound
of children’s laughter through the ground
and into the mines, like light.
(Excerpt, A Lake of Light and Clouds, Press 53)
A woman, newly blind, has watched the light
fade softly, making a sound like rain.
all lost in the swirling
fog. She does not cry. Instead, she places her
as if it is a lover, sleeping with her in the dark.