Author Archives: Anita Sullivan

Born under the sign of Libra, Anita Sullivan cheerfully admits to a life governed by issues of balance and harmony. This likely led to her 25-year career as a piano tuner, as well as her love of birds (Libra is an air sign), and love of gardening, music, and fine literature (beauty). She spent years trying to decide if she was a piano tuner who wrote poetry, or a poet who tuned pianos. She traveled a lot without giving way to a strong urge to become a nomad; taught without becoming a teacher; danced without becoming a dancer; and fell totally in love with the high desert country of the Southwest, and then never managed to stay there. However, Sullivan did firmly settle the writing question—yes, it turns out she is a writer, but not fixed upon any one category. She has published four essay collections, a novel, two chapbooks and one full-length book of poetry, and many short pieces in journals. Most recently, her essay collection The Rhythm Of It: Poetry’s Hidden Dance, indulges her instinct to regard contemporary free-verse poetry as being built upon natural proportional rhythm patterns exhibited in music and geography, and therefore quite ancient and disciplined—not particularly “free” at all. This book is a finalist for the Montaigne Medal from the Eric Hoffer Book Award. More about her books can be found on her website: The poet-piano-tuner-etc. also maintains an occasional blog, “The Poet’s Petard,” which may be accessed here here.

The Poet’s Petard # 1

“I began collecting bits and pieces of other people’s writings at an early age. I still have some of these yellowed pieces of paper with my original savings. Eventually, I got officious about it and began to type them up and paste them into a loose-leaf notebook. In earlier centuries, they used to call these […]

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Frog Dish

“Like an ancient map, its spirit roads in the visible realm can, effectively, never be found. A dish, about the size to fill two slightly cupped hands. Narrow, vaguely circular, disappearing from not only view but from longing itself, into the pinkish shadows beyond the treehouse, a kind of context it carries as an outer […]

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The Winter Gardener

“Thus it was I found myself recently on my hands and knees in full sunlight confronting the usual collection of weeds, many of which were already producing lovely tiny white, pink, or purple flowers. I will spare you the list. As I was filling my bucket, I became vaguely aware that even in weeding there […]

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Why We Should Not Go Extinct

“The sky is always dark blue, trending towards lavender/when I remember and say—we should not go extinct,/and each time this knowledge arrives/like a silent taxi headlamp in the rain./This evening it comes in a black and white video/of Grigory Sokolov playing a Bach Partita.”—Anita Sullivan On the Other Hand By Anita Sullivan EUGENE Oregon—(Weekly Hubris)—February […]

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Analogue: When Myth & Reality Really Do Conflate

“But such hasty assumptions would ruin an ancient double-monster analogy/of particularly delicate dreadfulness, the current manifestation of which/ we recognize to be—just lately—infiltrating this and/ other trainyards each night/but do not call out its common name while we endure through sleep.”—Anita Sullivan On the Other Hand By Anita Sullivan EUGENE Oregon—(Weekly Hubris)—1 December 2020— “Analogue: […]

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What Does It Mean to be Alive?

“We don’t understand this virus from the inside out. We don’t even know in what sense it is ‘alive.’ It seems not to have any means or purpose other than simply to continue. This reminds us of the story of the Welsh cauldron, into which dead soldiers could be tossed, where they would seethe and […]

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Letter from Eugene, Oregon

“How could this precarious situation come to pass? That instead of climate change we humans might instead be finished off a bit sooner by a simple attack of a highly infectious disease we failed to prepare ourselves for. But we don’t see it that way yet because even here in Oregon, which has a fairly […]

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My Mother Did Not Teach Me to Knit

“For me, it just takes a little Bach in the early evening, well played. For one thing, it’s so wonderful to listen to something unabashedly complex again, after being clubbed on the head with the daily twigs and sodden noodles of mildly ugly, innocently simple stupidity. Here is the work of a fellow human being […]

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Why Paint the Pot?

“I’m not really talking about painting at all, I’m talking about sketching. I don’t even own any paint except for a couple of cans stored in the garage and last opened five years ago to cover the walls in my bedroom. But I find myself thinking like a painter; I am seeing and feeling the […]

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The Silence of It

“Let’s imagine that silence roams our world and sometimes inhabits a segment of space/time, effectively blotting out any sound that was there previously. And as an analogy, poetry roams our world as an innately wordless being, which sometimes inhabits a group of words, effectively banishing any prior ‘narrative’ meaning and instead infusing the words with […]

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