An Imperfect Roundness was born from the urging of fellow writers and friends who saw value in my work. Without their nudges, this collection wouldn’t exist. I mention this because getting published isn’t easy. Especially when one’s professional life is non-adjacent to the publishing world. Fortunately, the Mormon literary community has been very supportive and I’m indebted to every journal, magazine, and blog that has welcomed my writing—now, including BCC Press. 

I’ve spent more than thirty years working as a nurse in various settings including clinical management, behavioral medicine, homecare, epidemiology, nephrology, cardiology, oncology and case management. Throughout those years, I’ve written. Mostly poetry. I didn’t begin writing with the intention to publish, but somewhere along the line I realized something was gestating, shifting inside. I was growing a body of work. Mary Oliver explains what may have been happening:

“I believe poetry—it is convivial and kind of, I mean, it’s very old. It’s very sacred. It’s very—wishes for a community. … That’s why, when you write a poem, you write it for anybody and everybody.” 

Mary Oliver
Unboxing my first author copies.

I didn’t know it, but I was writing not only for myself, but for anybody and everybody.

I’ve been deeply touched by responses from readers who find themselves in the pages of this book. Even more touched to discover interpretations stretching and moving beyond my own design. This is perhaps among the most delightful results of publishing creative writing or sharing any art for that matter: deeper and broader connections with others through shared and expanding perspectives.

My faith tradition offers a sublime lens through which to view life: we are all part of a community, the human family. This idea is not unique to Christianity, but it has been particularly meaningful as I’ve cared for my patients: a woman who unbandages her chest for the first time in her home after her mastectomy and asks me to be with her when she faces the mirror; a gentleman whose wound is as big as my fist. I pack it with wet gauze. I can see his heart pulsing behind a thin layer of tissue deep inside the wound. Ultimately, he doesn’t survive; a neighbor’s child who impaled his hand on a pair of scissors. I offer comfort and first aid; a family gathers to plan their mother’s hospice care and I am asked to assist. Through innumerable interactions like these, I’ve been invited to witness and share in intimate grief, loss, wounding, and healing. Additionally, my own painful upbringing, coupled with an early fascination with written language, and a life-long devotion to nature and the earth made poetic observation and expression feel necessary. Sometimes there is no other way to say what one needs to say. 

Many poems in the book are autobiographical, some are not. Most were composed during stolen moments between feeding babies, attending soccer games, managing single-parenthood and maintaining a career. Several poems began as a few words scrawled on soiled napkins in restaurants. Sometimes I used clean napkins. Others were originally transcribed on paper plates or grocery receipts and later revised if I was careful enough to save them. (Somewhere in a landfill glorious poetic masterpieces are now decomposing. And surely not just mine.) The advent of the smartphone was a godsend for people like me. 

More recently, I’ve had swaths of time to write, made possible by an empty nest and an unexpected midlife marriage to a beloved, long-lost friend. This brought a second income allowing me to reduce my professional work hours. Longer writing time can help generate longer poems. Yet, the shorter pieces in this collection are among my favorites and reflect a personal belief in a relationship between truth and brevity. A short poem is a deep dive with a small splash. Spend a little time with them and let me know what you think.

From their varied origins, the verses in this book emerged as devotions to God, the earth, and to my sisters and brothers on the planet. An Imperfect Roundness is a small token of my enormous gratitude for the devastating and stunning gift of incarnation. Every moment a miracle. Every wound an opportunity to understand and care for each other better.


Bookmark 2″ x 6″

Postscript: While editing An Imperfect Roundness I made line drawings as meditations on individual poems and on the book’s themes. Each drawing was created with one continuous line, without lifting the pen from the page. The drawing embossed on the bookmark is among my favorites.

If you’d like a bookmark to accompany your copy of An Imperfect Roundness, please contact me. I’ll send you your own fine letterpress bookmark. Printed by my friends at Tryst Press.