November 19-25, 2012: Taylor Graham and Amber Hollinger

Taylor Graham and Amber Hollinger

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Taylor Graham

Bio (auto)

Taylor Graham (Placerville, CA) is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in the Sierra Nevada. Her poems have appeared in American Literary Review, The Iowa Review, The New York Quarterly, Poetry International, Southern Humanities Review, and elsewhere. She’s included in the anthologies Villanelles (Everyman’s Library, 2012) and California Poetry: From the Gold Rush to the Present (Santa Clara University, 2004). Her book The Downstairs Dance Floor was awarded the Robert Philips Poetry Chapbook Prize, and she’s a finalist in Poets & Writers’ California Writers Exchange. Her latest book – Walking with Elihu: poems on Elihu Burritt, the Learned Blacksmith – is available on Amazon. Her work-in-progress is a collection of dog poems – her SAR dogs over the past 40 years, and her challenging puppy-in-training, Loki.

The following work is Copyright © 2012, and owned by Taylor Graham and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

In the Rough

The other pups sold for eight hundred,
a thousand. She was bought,
brought back. Too bright, too hard.

A diamond?
We got her for a prayer,

now we’re paying.
Choke-chains and pinch-collars. “No!”
She pulls me

out the door, over the hill – look,
it’s morning!

Dawn gleams gold-amber
in a pup’s thousand-carat eye.
Here’s purple thistle

for absolutely free,
an emerald dragonfly.


We Named Her Loki

And that means mischief.
Loki, Norse trickster god, shape-shifter.

It takes active verbs
just to name this sable bitch-puppy,

earthquake inside our walls.
Teeth and bark.

Loki –
never low-key –

but finally asleep
after a morning’s mayhem

she twitches in puppy-dreams, chasing
rabbits, giants, mythic monsters,

or just keeping time
to her fierce heart-drummer.

Amber Hollinger

Bio (auto)

I love to weave stories, and I hope to contribute something good to the world by sharing my work. I am a wandering writer and (displaced?) dreamer who, after a five-year writing hiatus, returned to creating poetry and short stories following the loss of a full time job last Spring. I have a Masters in International Relations – not writing – from the University of Sussex. I recently completed, and have been submitting for publication, my first book of poetry (S)urge. I am now working to complete two poetry chapbooks. I happily teach dance, edit/proofread for pay, tutor students of all ages, and am searching for a new awesome full time job.

The following work is Copyright © 2012, and owned by Amber Hollinger and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Damn you, November

Damn you,

For taking her.
My love. My friend.
My silver moon.

She was all I knew of feeling,
Felt of kneeling,
And I held her
Like darkness clings to truth.

Your chill sank in with the night air.
It shrouded us unlucky –
Prayers swallowed our solace –
And the world was too much for her.

She shook with blue fever
And I
Shivered in turn.
Sea storm nightmares.

Damn you, November.
You fiend. You folly.
You shadowed ice-beast.

Damn you for taking her –
My mind.