Biography of Alison Luterman
Alison Luterman was raised in New England, but moved to Oakland, California in 1990. Since that time she has worked as an HIV counselor, a drug and alcohol counselor, a drama teacher and a freelance reporter and has taught a number of poetry workshops in schools.
As a writer she is known as a poet, essayist, short story writer and playwright. Her pieces have appeared in the publications Poetry East, Poet Lore, Whetstone, Kalliope, Oberon, The Sun, Kshanti, The Brooklyn Review, Poet Lore and Kalliope.
She describes her poetry as "accessible... with a spiritual focus, grounded in the real world of my daily life". Her first book, The Largest Possible Life won the Cleveland State University Poetry Prize 2000 and was published in 2001.
She also says that: "My strength as a writer comes from my willingness to be naked and vulnerable, and to connect my own small set of concerns to the larger questions and concerns of humanity."
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Alison Luterman Poems
Because no one could ever praise me enough, because I don't mean these poems only but the unseen unbelievable effort it takes to live
On Not Flying To Hawaii
I could be the waitress in the airport restaurant full of tired cigarette smoke and unseeing tourists. I could turn into the never-noticed landscape
So many so small go on day and night under your feet you barely notice. A big bang sounds like someone in the upstairs apartment knocking over their refrigerator, and you ask,
Because Even the Word Obstacle is an Obs...
Try to love everything that gets in your way: the Chinese women in flowered bathing caps murmuring together in Mandarin, doing leg exercises in your lane
My love plays piano and his foot hovers above the pedal. Sustain, they call it when the note floats like a basketball player suspended in air, or a question whose purpose is to remain unanswered.
Looking for Work
Consider the pigeons of the city, how in their filthy swoop and dive they fatten on dusty Dorito crumbs; consider their evolution
The afternoon had a flu-like quality, gray and threatening to burst into tears at any moment, but I held it together like a grown-up, taught my classes, smiled at the children. I was in love with one little boy who couldn't write, not one idea in his
Because no one could ever praise me enough,
because I don't mean these poems only
but the unseen
unbelievable effort it takes to live
the life that goes on between them,
I think all the time about invisible work.
About the young mother on Welfare
I interviewed years ago,
who said, "It's hard.