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About this poet

Lance Larsen grew up in Idaho and Colorado. He received a PhD from the University of Houston in 1993.

He is the author of five poetry collections: What the Body Knows (University of Tampa Press, 2018), Genius Loci (University of Tampa Press, 2013); Backyard Alchemy (University of Tampa Press, 2009); In All Their Animal Brilliance (University of Tampa Press, 2005), winner of the Tampa Review Prize for Poetry; and Erasable Walls (New Issues, 1998).

Of his poems, the poet Alberto Ríos writes, “These small, smart treasures dazzle us every time. Deceptively simple observational moments offer themselves up with such inviting clarity that we are, to our benefit, startled by a world turned around in the hand.”

In 2012 Larsen was named to a five-year term as the poet laureate of Utah. He has also received a Pushcart Prize and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, among other grants and awards. He currently serves as the chair of the Department of English at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.


What the Body Knows (University of Tampa Press, 2018)
Genius Loci (University of Tampa Press, 2013)
Backyard Alchemy (University of Tampa Press, 2009)
In All Their Animal Brilliance (University of Tampa Press, 2005)
Erasable Walls (New Issues, 1998)


In Toledo, the Sequestered Brides of Christ

In Toledo, the sequestered brides of Christ make marzipan. And devotees like me buy up the sweets via a three-chambered lazy Susan in an alley. Hear a voice but glimpse not the heavenly hands, an enterprise both savvy and vaguely eucharistic. “To taste the kingdom in a crumb of dough,” I say, a privilege to misquote Blake, even if it’s only to myself. The recipe dates back to the Court of the Caliphs, as alchemic as it is simple. Shouldn’t every traveler make a habit of eating earth, wind, air, and fire? Not to mention almonds, which must equal 50 percent by weight to pass muster with Toledo inspectors. I pay, turn the lazy Susan, and walk away with my own tin of marzipan, the abbess’s unseen blessing dusting each morsel. “Eat and be made whole,” I can almost hear her say. The body of Christ is a fish—delicious. And now a star, like the one that guided wandering kings. And now a sword, two-edged, like matters of belief. And now—forgive me—my Lord is a serpent. Spiraling in on himself like vortex or Milky Way, my faith quickening as God’s scales dissolve on my tongue.

Copyright © 2017 Lance Larsen. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Summer 2017.

Copyright © 2017 Lance Larsen. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Summer 2017.

Lance Larsen

Lance Larsen

Lance Larsen is the author of Genius Loci (University of Tampa Press, 2013).

by this poet


This the neighbor boy’s exact description of heaven. Which he blissfully ad-libbed from the pulpit, like some Shackleton on laudanum describing the white hell in which he was forced to sacrifice his own sled dogs. But laced with tenderness. Take that, Saint John of Patmos, take


For she rides updrafts with scalloped hands, interrogating air.
For in the kingdom of lift, she has few peers. 
For she bullies the hawk and drops stones on a snapping fox.
For her trickster ways coalesce into spirals.
For I pine for a Muse so wild with wind.
For she counts murderous drop-