Spotlight on New Works: It’s a Crooked Road But Not Far To The House of Flowers by Wendy Erd



A lone tree white with blossom

Mountains fall toward blue

Ridges recede into evening sky

Whose sable brush strokes this softly?

I count horizons home

Soon we’ll be gone

The road wet with rain.


Bumthang Valley, Bhutan


These poems crisscross the Pacific: from an elegy for a forest in Alaska to a magical wish for those living on the streets of Saigon. Time lives differently in this work. Poems layer details of the human and natural world with the heart tugging awareness of the ephemeral nature of all things. Within that tender beauty, these poems offer the possibility of transformation. An unfathomable radiance moves through us/ we are more of this world than we know, and less.


“Beautiful, gorgeous book! Wendy Erd’s words have always had spirit-cleansing power. She abides in such intimate relation to everything, spruce trees of Alaska, porcupines, snow, a packet of morning-glory seeds, a Kunming grocery, a long loving relationship, inevitable aging – that her spare phrases and stanzas all feel like deep home. Each day could begin this way / with simple tools. These poems are exquisite compasses to live by.”

—Naomi Shihab Nye, author of Everything Comes Next: Collected & New Poems


“So many moments I had to look away toward the horizon and let a poem settle in my heart.”

—Kim Stafford, author of Singer Come from Afar


It’s a Crooked Road, But Not Far, To the House of Flowers is available to purchase online through The Poetry Box,

At the bottom of the page there’s a link to a sample poem, Advice From an Estuary, and another link where you can listen to Wendy reciting Advice, accompanied by original score by Hal McMillen:


For twenty years Wendy Erd traveled between Alaska and Asia supporting indigenous and seldom heard communities to voice their stories through exhibit and film. Her writing appears on road signs in Alaska’s Copper River watershed and as poetry on an estuary trail in Homer, Alaska. She’s received several statewide literary awards and been published in the Anchorage Daily News, Alaska Quarterly Review, New Rivers Press, Cirque, and anthologized in Out on the Deep Blue: Women, Men and the Ocean They Fish. She coordinated Poems in Place, a project that placed poetry by Alaskan poets on signs in Alaska’s state parks.



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