LAUREL BLOSSOM’s book-length narrative prose poem, Degrees of Latitude, was published by Four Way Books in November, 2007; it tells the geography of a woman's life from Pole to Pole. As part of her research, Blossom visited both the North Pole and the South Pole, the experiences of a lifetime!
Her most recent book of lyric poetry is Wednesday: New and Selected Poems, Ridgeway Press, 2004. Earlier books include The Papers Said (Greenhouse Review Press, 1993), What’s Wrong (Cobham & Hatherton Press, 1987), and a chapbook, Any Minute (Greenhouse Review Press, 1979). An earlier long poem, the mock epic “Easy Come/Easy Go,” was published in American Poetry Review in summer, 1976. Her work has appeared in a number of anthologies, including 180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Every Day, edited by Billy Collins (Random House, 2005), and in national and international journals including Poetry, Pequod, The Paris Review, Pleiades, xconnect, The Carolina Quarterly, Deadsnake Apotheosis, Many Mountains Moving, Seneca Review, things, and Harper’s,among others, and online at friggmagazine.com, BigCityLit.com, and elsewhere. Her poetry has been nominated for both the Pushcart Prize and the Elliston Prize.
A lifelong swimmer, Blossom is the editor of Splash! Great Writing About Swimming (Ecco Press, 1996) and Many Lights in Many Windows: Twenty Years of Great Fiction and Poetry from The Writers Community (Milkweed Editions, 1997), marking the twentieth anniversary of the founding of The Writers Community, an esteemed workshop and residency program for poets and fiction writers Blossom started with fellow-poet Helen Chasin in 1977. The Writers Community continues as a master class offering at many YMCAs around the country as part of the YMCA National Writer's Voice.
Blossom's earliest poetic influence was A.A. Milne, whose poems in When We Were Very Young and Now We are Six made a permanent impression on her mind. She wanted to be able to do what those poems did, to make people sad, to make people laugh. As a teenager, she discovered the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay, whose mix of self-pity and toughness mirrored her own. Her poetry has never outgrown these influences, though they have been modified by reading the Romantics (especially Shelley), Emily Dickinson, Dylan Thomas, Gerard Manley Hopkins, John Berryman, Muriel Rukeyser, and contemporaries Carolyn Forché, Louise Gluck, Jorie Graham, Thomas Lux, Gary Young, and Sharon Olds, in particular.