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Winner 2020 Halcyon Poetry Award


The poems in Portals seek new connections between our inner and outer worlds. This vibrant collection is packed with poems about wild places, ancestors, quicksand, the microbiome, protests, yeast, consequential strangers, and the fierce persistence of hope.

As soon as I finished the last poem in Laura Grace Weldon’s gorgeous new collection, Portals, I already knew I’d have to read it through again. For several years now, I’ve shared her poems in the workshops I teach, and after I read each of them aloud, we all sigh, astounded by their beauty and truth. As one of her always-tender poems rightly points out, love is indeed the most important word in this book—love not just of our family members, friends, and neighbors, but also of the dips, depressions, and rough patches in all our lives at this species moment. Weldon’s work reminds us that every particle of our being is “entangled with every other particle,” as we humans learn and grow, “still inventing language, still trying to evolve.” 

          —James Crews, Editor of How to Love the World: Poems of Gratitude & Hope

When I see Laura Grace Weldon’s name on a poem or essay, I stop leafing or scrolling to read. And, in reading feel a renewed sense of wonder at the resilience of the human spirit in the difficult world. Weldon is a poet deeply connected to life in all its forms, who finds luminescence in the tiniest specks of the quotidian scene, from a fly drowning in her coffee to the microbial magic in dirt beneath her feet. In deep love for her family, and for the human family beyond her own, her voice rises in healing grace. From the benedictory poem, “You Don’t Know Me, But”: Wherever you are now, I wish you well. Cast light around you/ each night before sleep."      

          —Donna Hilbert, Gravity: New & Selected Poems

It is no small thing to write the poems that bring us back to “the ground we are.” And yet, in Portals, Laura does it again and again, page after page. What a generous offering to the world. I take each of these offerings personally—not as roadmaps, per se, but as mirrors, as guides, as gifts. As she writes in “Open like Hands,” “What might a poem do for you?” Read Portals. I’m guessing you’ll be so grateful to find in these pages the answer to that question.

          —Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, author of Hush and Naked for Tea

What might a /poem do /for you?” Weldon asks, amidst the pandemic. The answer, as revealed by this marvelous collection, is everything our spirits need. We sink into the magic of low spots. We count Mississippis through our fears. We are kneaded until we rise again. Most of all, we learn to spell love with our lives.

           —Phyllis Cole-Dai, Co-editor, Poetry of Presence


  • Laura Grace Weldon (she/her) works as an editor and leads creative writing workshops. She’s published the poetry collections Blackbird (Grayson Books, 2019) and Tending (Aldrich Press, 2013) as well as a handbook of alternative education titled Free Range Learning (Hohm Press, 2010). She was named Ohio Poet of the Year in 2019. Her background includes teaching nonviolence, creating collaborative poetry with nursing home residents, facilitating support groups for abuse survivors, and writing sardonic greeting cards. She lives on a small Ohio homestead and regularly maxes out her library card. Connect with her at: 

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