Lyn Lifshin

Lyn Lifshin

Lyn Lifshin has written more than 125 books and edited 4 anthologies of women writers. Her poems have appeared in most poetry and literary magazines in the U.S.A. and her work has been included in virtually every major anthology of recent writing by women. Her poem “No More Apologizing” has been called “among the most impressive documents of the women’s poetry movement” by Alicia Ostriker.

Lyn has given numerous readings across the U.S.A. and also taught poetry and prose writing for many years at universities, colleges and high schools, and has been Poet in Residence at the University of Rochester, Antioch and Colorado Mountain College.

Winner of numerous awards including the Jack Kerouac Award for her book Kiss The Skin Off. Lyn is also the subject of the documentary film Lyn Lifshin: Not Made of Glass. She has been praised by Robert Frost, Ken Kesey and Richard Eberhart, and Ed Sanders has seen her as “a modern Emily Dickinson.”

Lyn Lifshin’s prizewinning book (Paterson Poetry Award) Before It’s Light was published 1999 – 2000 by Black Sparrow Press, following their publication of Cold Comfort in 1997. Texas Review Press published her prize winning book of poems about the famous, short lived beautiful race horse, Ruffian in 2006: The Licorice Daughter: My Year With Ruffian. Another Woman who Looks Like Me was published by Black Sparrow-David Godine in October 2006.

Other books: A New Film about a Woman in Love with the Dead, Marilyn Monroe, When a Cat Dies, Another Woman’s Story, Barbie Poems, The Daughter I Don’t Have, What Matters Most, Blue Tattoo, Mirrors, August Wind, Novemberly, 92 Rapple Drive, Desire, All The Poets Who Have Touched Me, Living and Dead: All True, Especially the Lies and Tsunami. Other writings include a book about the courageous and riveting race horse, Barbaro: Beyond Brokenness from Texas Review Press, Nutley Pond from Goose River Press, Lost in the Fog from Finishing Line Press, Persephone from Red Hen, For the Roses poems after Joni Mitchell from March Street Press, Hotel Hitchcock from Danse Macabre and A Girl Goes into the Woods from NYQ books.

For interviews, photographs, more bio material, reviews, prose, samples of work and more, please visit her web site:


the mad girl dreams bracelets made
of jade and gold, of stops on the
Silk Road. She dreams amulets
of amethyst, of Chinese silk, jade,
lacquered paper, gun powder
and porcelain. The stories she’s
heard lull her into dreams of
travelling between east and west,
a film, a tsunami of religions, cultures,
Persians connecting with Syrians
who connected with the Greeks and
Jews supply to the Romans. At
each state, the transaction values rose.
Silk cloth in Rome was valued at
300 silver denarius which was
a Roman’s soldier’s entire year’s
salary and in the year 405 AD
Aleric the Goth, in exchange for
gold, pepper and silver and 4000
pounds of Chinese silk spared the
sacking of Rome


the early morning call to prayer.
White birds still fly thru the
spire of Hagia Sophia Ice
blue water birds. Jet-lagged,
the world transformed as
coming out of anesthesia.
Scent of flowers I’d never
smelled before, this sweet


overflowing still, women
in full burkas, women in
mini skirts and halters.
White birds fly thru the
spires of Hagia Sophia.
A woman with an
infant sits on the broken
sidewalk begging, her
hands bony as the baby’s
legs. Wrinkled and gray. Teen
agers skate thru rubble.
Rose incense fills the
air. Stars blur in the lights
of the Blue Mosque.
The language I don’t speak
is mysterious as the
shades of blue tile,
more blue than
there are words for


there must have been
birds singing, awnings
opening over fruits
I didn’t know the
names of. The
Mediterranean a
thin blue line. I’d
rather sit under a
palm tree and let this
sea I may never
see again, not be
herded from churches
to open houses
to the monument
of Columbus
facing the wrong
way even with a guide
more mysterious
than the Gaudi
turrets, more magical
than what I can
only make
matter in poems

For other contributions by Lyn Lifshin, please follow the links below:

Poetry in this post: © Lyn Lifshin
Published with the permission of Lyn Lifshin