poem index


Amy Gerstler

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Amy Gerstler

Amy Gerstler received her BA in psychology from Pitzer College in 1978 and her MFA in nonfiction from Bennington College in 2000.

Her books of poetry include Scattered at Sea (Penguin, 2015), which was longlisted for the 2015 National Book Award; Dearest Creature (Penguin, 2009); and Medicine (Penguin, 2000), which was finalist for the Phi Beta Kappa Poetry Award.

Gerstler is the author of art reviews, books reviews, fiction, and various journal articles. She also collaborates with visual artists, and her writing has been published in numerous exhibition catalogs.

Gerstler has taught at Antioch University and the University of California at Irvine. She currently teaches in the Bennington Writing Seminars program at Bennington College and at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

Selected Bibliography

Scattered at Sea (Penguin, 2015)
Dearest Creature (Penguin, 2009)
Ghost Girl (Penguin, 2004)
Medicine (Penguin, 2000)
Crown of Weeds (Penguin, 1997)
Nerve Storm (Penguin, 1995)
Bitter Angel (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1990)
The True Bride (Lapis Press, 1986)

by this poet


May I venture to address you, vegetal friend?
A lettuce is no less than me, so I respect you,
though it’s also true I may make a salad of you,
later. That’s how we humans roll. Our species
is blowing it, bigtime, as you no doubt know,
dependent as you are on water and soil
we humans

Tamed by starched collars or looped by the noose,
all hail the stem that holds up the frail cranial buttercup.
The neck throbs with dread of the guillotine's kiss, while
the silly, bracelet-craving wrists chafe in their handcuffs.
Your one and only neck, home to glottis, tonsils,
and many other highly

Through what precinct of life’s forest are you hiking at this                 moment?
Are you kicking up leaf litter or stabbed by brambles?
Of what stuff are you made? Gossamer or chain mail?
Are you, as reputed, marvelously empty? Or invisibly ever-                   present,
even as this