Sarah Reads

With an Academy of American Poets Prize and a Nebraska Book Award for her first full-length collection Cradling Monsoons, Sarah has garnered a wide audience for her work. An Editorial Board member for Spark Wheel Press and a co-editor of the award-winning, The Untidy Season An Anthology of Nebraska Women Poets, she has been published in journals such as South Dakota Review, Ruminate, Cimarron Review, Chicago Quarterly, and anthologies in which she’s had the pleasure of seeing her work alongside Poet Laureates Billy Collins and Ted Kooser. A working writer for close to 17 years, Sarah’s taught and read in colleges, universities, libraries, coffee houses, galleries, lockdown facilities, and assisted living facilities across the Midwest, the Southwest, and beyond. In addition, she’s worked on a large number of public art projects (most recently, Conversations on a Bus) and partnered with a public non-profit cultural organization, KANEKO, to create feedback, a one-of-a-kind reading series that invites established and emerging writers to read from works in progress and get feedback on those new works.

artist’s statement

I write poetry that explores, challenges, and exalts the different, often conflicting, roles contemporary women embody. My poetry is shaped and influenced by my experiences as an artist, wife, and mother. The title of my first full-length poetry collection, Cradling Monsoons, captures the beautiful mess that most of my days feel/look like as I work to cultivate my relationship with my family while also cultivating my relationship with my art.

My poems grapple with issues of gender, sexuality, and power, and my latest project is no exception; my newer work explores the complexities of the mother-daughter relationship, retelling the story of Persephone’s abduction through the voices of Demeter, Persephone, and a Greek Chorus, re-imagined as a group of mothers.

Watching my two small daughters slowly become young women informs much of my work, as does my husband’s previous job with a video crew that covered national news in the Midwest. His work gave me insight into cases of abduction, rape, and murder, and his close-proximity to these horrors coupled with my own experiences as a mother of girls, forced me to continually consider all the ways our girls collectively disappear or are taken from us, literally and figuratively.

Although I received my undergraduate degree from an established university, it was the informal education I gained through attending poetry readings at coffeehouses, bars, and libraries on Albuquerque’s city streets that fueled my desire to become a vital part of that writing community. Having found my way to poetry through the spoken word community, I have always considered collaboration and community to be an integral part of my creative identity.

selected publications

Poetry featured on Albuquerque’s Metro buses as part of Magnifico’s Tumblewords Project; 2000.

Spoken word CD, Girl Bones, 2000.

Freedom to Speak, 2002.

The Great American Road Show, 2002.

Spoken Word CD, My Dress Hangs Here, 2002.

From the Page to the Stage and Back Again, 2003.

West Virginia Standardized Test for Tenth Graders, 2003.

Harwood Review, 2004.

Slamma Lamma Ding Dong, an Anthology of Nebraska’s Slam Poets, 2005.

Sarah Records TransplantThe Omaha World Herald, 2005.

“Benchmarks,” an Omaha public art project, 2005.

Spoken word CD, Transplant, 2005.

The Spoken Word Revolution Redux, 2007.

SCW Women Artists Date book and Calendar, 2007.

Indifeed, 2008.

A Bigger Boat: The Unlikely Success of Albuquerque’s Poetry Slam Scene, 2008.

Nebraska Presence, An Anthology of Nebraska Writer’s, 2008.

Sow’s Ear Review, 2009.

Plainsongs, 2009.

Chicago Quarterly Review, 2009.

The Cimarron Review, 2009.

Poetryspeaks.com; February, 2010.

Critical Paper: What Moves Us, 2010. Advisor: Jim Peterson.

Creative Thesis: Cradling Monsoons, 2010. Advisor: William Trowbridge.

“Genealogy.” The South Dakota Review. Winter (2012).

“God as DJ” and “After: A Post-9-11 All-American Love Poem.” Ruminate. Winter (2013).

“Persephone, Stumbling into The Light,” “Persephone Writes Her Mother,” “Persephone Resists.” burntdistrict. Winter (2014).

“Epithalamium (Persephone’s Song for the Bride To Be),” “Persephone’s Guilt,” “Persephone Tries to Grasp Autumn,” and “Persephone, Watching the Spring Storm Roll in.” Sugar House Review. Spring/Summer (2015).

“Persephone’s Thirst” and “Demeter Writes Hades.” The Briar Cliff Review. Spring (2105).