Lyn Lifshin

Lyn Lifshin

Lyn Lifshin has written more than 120 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 and Persephone from Red Hen.

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


It’s not true, he never chose women.
I ought to know. It was Grenada and
the sun falling behind the Alhambra was
flaming lava. I could say I was
too but some things should be left unsaid.
But I remember his fingers on the buttons
at the back of my neck, my skin burned
as he fumbled with rhinestone and pearls.
I want you breathed into my neck though
perhaps he was whispering Green,
green I want you green
. How little he
needed to impress me with his poems.
One English term paper with them and I
was naked, taken. It wouldn’t matter if
he had a pot belly or stank of garlic.
My jeans were a puddle around my
knees. I was the gored bull, hypnotized
by moves I’d only imagined but never
believed would enter me. There’s
more you might coax me to say but
for now, it’s enough I can still smell the
green wind, that 5 o’clock in the afternoon
that would never be another time


all I wanted was
to be back in my
mother’s arms.
Then, the under
ground lured. I
remember what
I wore each time.
If I could have
brought my own
cat to your bleached
room. I wasn’t
convinced you
needed a way out
of the maze,
that I couldn’t
help your
fantasy. Mid
night jazz, wind
of your blue
eyes blowing
the surface away,
leaving what was
untouched, icy
as if I needed
your coldness
to remember I
was alive


the metro slicing thru roots
and leaves, I could be
Persephone, slamming
thru blackness, the lover’s
lips a magnet all the
metal in her hips is
sucked toward. I could
be hurtling thru
strangers, my mother,
Demeter, an ache that’s
part of my own, leaving
what held me, torn
as my clothes would be
by over-eager fingers.
I can’t stay with either.
My mother is sobbing in
the roses, in the weeds,
intent on still having
me, even tearing
chunks of myself from
myself, yelling at
my husband, reminding
him who had me first
until I feel like meat
starved dogs fight over

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

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