Old Growth

The clump of river birches went
suddenly of old age after
a lifetime of resisting
leaf blight, scale, and sawfly.

Next the hostas, bereft
of shade, suffered scorched,
leaves wan and drooping
like liver-spotted hands.

No choice but dig those
old friends out, move on and
make new plans, thumb
through the catalogs for

full-sun possibilities--ageratum,
yarrow, bee-balm, try this,
try that and guess which ones
might thrive. Prune back, it's check and

counter-check: no blossom comes
without a bill for payment due:
coreopsis, snow-in-summer,
maybe astilbe, maybe Russian sage.

You never know. That's pretty much the underlying theme of "Brightness Falls." We often think of the unexpected things that "fall" into our lives as not good--shadows fall, darkness falls. But what falls can also be something wonderful, as in my own life.

Click here to read reviews and excerpts from Brightness Falls.

I think of my book, Container Gardening, as a collection of poems about about what is perishable, what endures, and what makes us who we are. After my first book, Afterwords, which dealt very specifically with loss, these speak of how we pick up the pieces and go on to create the private and public worlds we inhabit

Click here to read reviews and excerpts from Container Gardening.

My book, Afterwords, is a collection of poems about loss and the journey back. The writer Ken Foster has said there may be just one universal story: somebody lost something. Afterwords, too, tells a story of loss, but these poems are reminders that the "afterwords" can also speak of surviving with what remains.

Click here to read reviews and excerpts from Afterwords.

CenterPiece is a one-person play I have written and that I perform. It looks at the patchwork of life experiences we all share, from assimilating out family legends to learning about love and loss to finding our own voices and moving into the center of our lives. Click here for more info.


lost language


figure and ground


Container Gardening

Distant Relation


See on www.ellensteinbaum.com

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©2004 Ellen Steinbaum

My photo on the home page is by Peter Urban.
My author photo is by James Dalsimer.
The book trailer video is by A. Dalsimer.
The cover of Afterwords was designed by Kate Misail.
The painting on the cover of Afterwords is by Eric Sealine.
The painting on the cover of Container Gardening is by Faith Hochberg.
The photo on the cover of Brightness Falls is by Lora Brody.

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