For me, a poem is rarely born in the germ of an idea; rather, it is discovered in the process of writing. The words come first to teach me what the poem is going to be about. It is almost like I want to eavesdrop, to overhear what I feel wants or needs to be said, rather than think and force the poetry into conscious, linear thought too soon.

So beginnings in raw language then sculpted to be the found story is the way I most often begin to work. I am interested in multiple levels of revelation and insight, amplitude and range, mystery and explication. I like layering the sonic and the formal along the vertical and horizontal axes—phrase, line, stanza, section, page.My writing shapes idea and image into language and form, a journey to my river of truth. When I write—poetry or prose—I meander through a world of objects and memory. Sometimes it feels like I’m taking dictation from voices in my head.

I'm madly in love with words.

I write about journeys and seeking, serendipity and mistake, exile and home, abandonment and connection. I write about feeling like an observer, an outsider, out-of-synch with the mainstream world. I write in search of what I know but keep forgetting. I ask questions fully aware there are no answers. I write about getting lost and finding my way.

I like to play with words: their sounds and shapes, their look on a page, the musicality of letter and syllable, phrase and line. To juxtapose what I’ve felt, witnessed, and lived alongside the unrelated and unexpected. I like when I’m taken by surprise and forced to reflect on meaning. In my writing, I have found less is often more; I tend to favor the “one truer thing.”

I am drawn to narrative that celebrates life and lives, appreciate poetry that puts a moment into sharper relief and somehow elevates the humble, the seemingly mundane, and enchants it. I would like to have my own work inhabit both the personal and the universal, the secular and the sacred.


My first poetry chapbook, The Hours of Us, was published by Finishing Line Press of Georgetown, Kentucky in December 2007. A second chapbook, Eternity a Coal's Throw, was published by Burning River Press of Cleveland, Ohio in November 2012.

In June 2015, my full-length poetry collection, Every Door Recklessly Ajar, was published by Cayuga Lake Books in Ithaca, New York. Anchor and Plume Press of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, published my long poem, Great Hunger, in March 2016.

I tend to be a reclusive, introverted poet more often than not. That said, since 2009, I have been in an amazing monthly poetry critique group with a gaggle of amazing, talented, wonderful writers in Portland, Oregon and that has kept me not only writing but sane. I have done numerous readings and events between then and the present as well. Of particular interest to me: In August 2016, I participated in the Tupelo 30/30 Project, writing a poem a day as a fundraiser for Tupelo Press. April 2020 will find me as a featured reader at the Inland Poetry Prowl in Ellensburg, Washington.





Stream of Consciousness


Academy of American Poets


Chicago Manual of Style


Mountain Writers

Paris Review Interviews

PEN American Writers

Poetry Daily

Poetry Foundation

Poets & Writers

Portland Arts & Lectures

Powells Books

The Root

US Slave Blog

The Writer’s Almanac

Writers on the Net


Web site design: Cynthia Frazier-Rogers



pene-mail Nancy Flynn