Saturday, April 3, 2010

5 Star Citizen-Poet: Eloise Klein Healy

Eloise Klein Healy gets my first 5 Star rating as a citizen-poet. She has been my boss, my friend, my role model for the last fifteen years, but her work in the writing community goes back further than that. I first met Eloise at AWP in Atlanta in 1996. I was a graduate student presenting on the politics of the graduate MFA workshop. At the end of my presentation a woman in a black leather jacket approached me and gave me her card. "Keep in touch. " Eloise introduced herself and  said she was starting an MFA program. Starting a graduate program? Who did things like that? Who publishes six books of poetry, wins the Grand Prize at the Los Angeles Poetry Festival Competition, teaches in the Women's Building AND starts one of the first low residency MFA programs in the country? One where a translation seminar and internship are mandatory? Four years after I met Eloise in Atlanta we were on a panel together on the Women's Political Lyric in Kansas City and two years later she hired me to teach in her new MFA program. Today, Eloise is involved in two new ventures: Arktoi Books is her imprint at Red Hen Books specializing in the work of lesbian authors. She is also co-founder of ECO-ARTS, an ecotourism arts organization.


These are the days that must happen
to you, Mr. Whitman says.

And the nights passing in succession
like images on film --

old movie star moon
filling up each frame and then going into hiding.

People don't live long enough
to see the end

of their experiments.
At 24 frames a second it's soon over --

fireflies in the meadow,
games of children flickering in the park.

by Eloise Klein Healy, Passing,Red Hen Press, 2002

Over the next few weeks I will be featuring different 5 Star Citizen Poets - Poets who are talented in their own right but go out of their way to create opportunities for others. In honor of National Poetry Month I want to honor the people who extend the poetic community in innovative ways. Poets who understand that the word exists in an interconnected world.


  1. Thank you for introducing this marvelous poet. What a wonderful idea to feature "5 Star Citizen Poets"!

  2. Thanks, Maureen!
    I am happy with the idea of showing off poets who do good deeds for the community and whose altruistic work is rarely noticed. I don't like the dichotomy that one is either a good poet or a good teacher/mentor; many people strive to be both. And thanks for commenting. It makes such a difference to know someone appreciates this. More 5 Star Citizen Poets to come!