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Alison Hawthorne Deming

1946- , Hartford , CT , United States
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Alison Hawthorne Deming
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Poet and essayist Alison Hawthorne Deming was born in Connecticut in 1946 and received an MFA from Vermont College University. She is the author of Stairway to Heaven (Penguin, 2016), Rope (Penguin, 2009); Genius Loci (2005); The Monarchs: A Poem Sequence (Louisiana State University Press, 1997); and Science and Other Poems (1994), which was selected by Gerald Stern to receive the 1993 Walt Whitman Award.

Deming's honors include the Pushcart Prize for nonfiction, the Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University, and two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships. She edited Poetry of the American West: A Columbia Anthology (1996) and has published several books of prose, Writing the Sacred into Real (Milkweed Editions, 2001), The Edges of the Civilized World: A Journey in Nature and Culture (1998), and Temporary Homelands (1994), a collection of nature essays.

Director of the University of Arizona Poetry Center from 1990 until 2000, she is currently Associate Professor in Creative Writing at the University of Arizona and lives in Tucson.

by this poet


The queen grows fat beneath my house
while drones infest the walls

reconnaissance to feed her glut,
wood ripped from studs and joists.

I’ll pay to drill the slab and ruin
her pestilential nest. How to find 

the song in this day’s summons? 
I’ve been

My friend a writer and scientist
has retreated to a monastery
where he has submitted himself
out of exhaustion to not knowing.
He’s been thinking about
the incarnation a.k.a. Big Bang
after hearing a monk’s teaching
that crucifixion was not the hard part
for Christ.


Some did not want to alter the design
when the failure message
said massive problem with oxygen.
Some wanted to live full tilt with risk.

By then we were too weak for daily chores:
feeding chickens, hoeing yams,
calibrating pH this and N2 that . . .
felt like halfway summiting