Florence Miller







Writing Room 


Come to my room

in the cellar

where I lie

under a bare bulb

and Paul Klee’s eye






Poems rise from the stove

then freeze like Steinberg conversation


I stand on the black kitchen chair

poems are floating across the ceiling


you say don’t force them

they’ll come down


play Bach for half an hour

run around the room


but the poems have gone




Invocation to the Muse




flame the needle


suck the spindle



          the tables


soak the darning

          egg in rum


come words come




How to Write a Poem




listen to water

let sky be your mirror


tell lies




Green Music


Bring pink cushions

elephants are playing violins

on fire escapes


Green music

like Chagall’s brides





After Akhmatova


At night I await her arrival

And life hangs by a hair.

What are youth, honor, freedom

          to the one who holds the flute

          in her hand?

Now she flings down her veil

          staring at me

I say to her « Did you dictate to Dante

          those stories of Hell? »

She answers « I did »











Short bio:


Florence Miller, born in Newark, New Jersey, taught English and creative writing in Oakland, California and advised the award-winning literary magazine, Flamingo. The Emmy award winning documentary, Can You Hear Me, by Allen Willis was based on her students’ poems. She is the author of Upriver: New and Selected Poems and, with Alexis Rotella, co-author of a renga trilogy. She is also co-author of My Dreaming Waking Life and co-editor of the peace anthologies, Dreaming of Wings and State of Peace: The Women Speak.  Awards include Editor’s Choice, the Paterson Literary Review Allen Ginsberg Poetry Contest, and Poets’ Dinner. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee.

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