2022 Summer Creative Writing Academy
Featured Visiting Writer
Poet K.E. Ogden
K.E. Ogden is a poet, essayist, book artist and educator. Kirsten grew up in Honolulu, Hawai’i and the SF Bay Area, and she spent almost every summer of her teen and twenty-something years in East Louisiana roaming the backroads with her grandmother. She loves writing on porches and still uses a typewriter for most things. A poet laureate of Gambier, Ohio, she teaches in Gambier each summer with the Kenyon Review Young Writer workshops and is one of the founding bloggers for KRO: Kenyon Review Online. A two-time judge for the Flannery O’Connor short fiction prize, Kirsten is also a former recipient of a Poetry Fellowship to Changsha, China from the CSULA Center for Contemporary Poetry & Poetics and a winner of the 2019 Academy of American Poets Henri Coulette Memorial Award for her poem “My Atoms Come from Those Stars" originally published by Zone 3 Press. Her essays, poetry, interviews and fiction have been published in Brevity, KRO: Kenyon Review Online, Louisiana Literature, Streetlight Magazine, Windhover, andberbo and elsewhere. Her digital quilt piece “My President: A Politics of Hope” was published at UnstitchedStates.com as part of a project curated by writer Gretchen Henderson. Kirsten is a certified Narrative Therapist and chairs the Creative Writing Committee at Pasadena City College. Her debut poetry collection is winner of the 2022 Finishing Line Press New Women's Voices prize and is available now. She believes that writing and poetry have the power to heal and to change the world. To learn more, visit her website at kirstenogden.com
She Brought the Rain
for Katherine Harer
"She Brought the Rain" was first published by Editor Jack Bedell in Louisiana Literature
Words and words again where nothing,
nothing dared break the body of her song.
Purple flowers on fabric
much too rough for a child’s skin,
skin whispering truths,
cream-colored with freckles.
I practice her in the mirror,
do her facial expressions,
mimic her lips,
wish my voice too lingered in dusty,
sunlit, Sunday afternoons.
I try to confuse her words with mine,
to steal letters and sounds from her tongue.
I want her to listen to me
she can see my words,
words that could belong to me
running down the insides of car windows
where footprints of a girl I once knew
hide in the bottom corner of the back
passenger seat window.
I wonder if she did things like I did.
If she is so young as she looks and
talks, as young as she smiles after
drinking warm chocolate from a Styrofoam cup.
I still see a girl with dark hair,
small, thin hands,
wide-mouthed, swimming eyes,
standing in her dress with the purple flowers.
A field of flowers fills
that space behind my eyes and I want to roll
through petals, let them cling to my hair and say
things to her I can’t say.
That she, in her peasant skirts and purple flowers
made me whisper of bodies
and breath in the deepest holes of morning.
Now I long for the pleasure of those first minutes
when I wake from a dream and write down the words,
words in a notebook by my bedside
and I fall into words
and words again,
feel them slip down pipes like summer rain
into a bucket set under the window.