Ad Astra Project
#13  03-17 -08


Ad Astra


this Page For
Your Collection
(PDF Document)

Patricia Traxler
#13  03-17 -08




Patricia Traxler (1944 -   )

Writing is Patricia Traxler’s life. Besides being a fine, fine poet herself, she has developed writing programs for the hearing-impaired, for seniors, for victims of domestic violence, and for mental health and stroke patients. And she founded and runs the Salina poetry reading series. To all of these tasks, she brings the skills of a well -schooled, sophisticated versifier. She studied with Nobel winner Seamus Heaney, and she has national book publications. However, in an interview, Traxler avers that her “most important and rewarding work” is with disenfranchised populations. She grew up in San Diego, and since the late 1970s, she has lived in her grandparents’ house in Salina.


Reading Traxler’s work is like having intimate conversations with a narrator much like herself. She draws on her own Irish Catholic–and also Native—background, as well as her perspective as a woman. Her poems are spare stories that emphasize emotional impact. On occasion, she animates poems with the drama of romantic relationships. In “Why She Waits,” the sky and the earth are husband and wife. Their tension arises from anticipation. Despite the “plain and fa ithful” landscape of late winter, even the drab and common starlings understand that renewal is about to occur. The “nightly” return of sky to earth is not a vivid kindling of male and female, but rather a routine of their relationship. Amidst this humdrum scene, however, a larger drama will unfold as snow melts into soil, and a new season is about to begin. The poem answers the title’s question about the “wife’s” patience.



Another night: late winter falling

on the prairie like a nightly husband

no longer impassioned but knowing his rights

and duties

The snow no longer quite conceals

what for months has gone

unnoticed: the land, plain

and faithful beneath it

holding out

for something no one can describe, something

the starlings whisper about, evenings

in the melting snow, something

they look for

in the cold winter grass.


Education: Patricia Traxler attended schools in California. She completed studies for the BA from San Diego State University. She studied at Radcliffe College as a Bunting post-doctoral fellow.


Career: Traxler’s books include: Blood Calendar (Morrow 1975); The Glass Woman (Hanging Loose 1983); Forbidden Words (University of Missouri 1994); and the novel Blood (St. Martin’s Press, 2001/02). She has been poet-in-residence at the Thurber House (Ohio), Hugo poet at the University of Montana, and a Kansas Arts Commission Fellow.




© 2008 Denise Low, AAPP13. © 1983. Patricia Traxler, “Why She Waits ,” Hanging Loose Press. @ 2008 Patricia Traxler, photograph.

Kansas Poet Laureate - Ad Astra Poetry Project