Anne-Marie Oomen | Anne-Marie Oomen
ANNE-MARIE OOMEN, Award-winning Michigan author, writer, poet, Interlochen Arts Academy, Writing Workshops, Poet in Residence, Writer in Residence, Writing Residence
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Words that Matter #2: Stepping Back into March by John Lewis

I urgently turn the page of March (book two) by the late congressman John Lewis (with co-writer Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell). I’ve come to the pages that depict the explosion of the Freedom Riders bus in 1961. I’m trying to escape the burning bus with them. I’m absorbing their faces as I “read” the panels, and I tear up for their terror and...

Pandemic Poems for Us All #7: Faults

Found Poem asking this: if we are truly quieter, what do we hear? Based on notes taken from an article by Robin George Andrews in the New York Times Faults the anthropogenic hiss of us has for years masked words made by our tectonic plates  the planet’s shifting terrains now in our collective wills not just the neighbors but the millions who have hunkered down seismometers hear and record a lexicon of earth clearer in this...

Pandemic Poems for Us All #6

Super moon. Today, wifi went down a dozen times, a file wouldn't load, and I burned the cookies. This poem addresses all that. Full Moon PoemThe moon, full; Internet, down,some glitch with centurytel.com, some glitch with the century too—coronas in cahoots, and panic attacksand then we’re crawling out of cubicles,free of monitors and Zoom,and all those uploaded articles,and while the servers spin their rainbow...

Pandemic Poem for Us All, #5: Something Rising

Now, even ordinary walks seem heightened, and what is a simple experience watching cranes becomes metaphorical for what must happen as we go through this. Anyway, that's what I hope. Pandemic: Something RisingWalking the old road again,I heard them, chortling high as they flew, that chuckle that sounds like family gossip though of course it’s not. They appeared below rain-stained clouds, a dozen...

Pandemic Poems for Us All #4

This goes back a month. I thought this poem-thing was sortof depressing but now, with everything that's happened since, I'm not so sure. Week One: Pandemic Since the first day, I’ve walked the road devoid of snow, past the open meadow, grim with dun grasses, and there, near an open stretch by the pines, a flock of robins, twelve or so, looking thin, foraging for grubs in fallow sod.  Next day,...

Pandemic Poems for Us All #3

Poems written in the moment, spurred by the immediacy of pandemic, and not much revised. Is it literature? Not yet! Well, maybe a couple of lines, but still, meant to be shared because what else can we do to compete with isolation? Vaccine Once decided, and without any idea of cost, we figured out first how we’d break the sod, to dig that dead orchard’s turf. We figured it would...

Pandemic Poems for Us All #2: Proximity

As promised, another poem-thing. That's what poet William Stafford called his drafts. Again--not deeply revised, no great intent, but springing from the moment. I have the hope, perhaps false, that these poems will all have a short life, that we'll get past this threat, so not need them, and therefore they should not rest long--as I prefer for poems. So here,...

50th Anniversary of The Lottery (the draft, not the short story!)

Fifty years ago this evening, December 1, 1969, I sat in a student lounge at Grand Valley State University and was witness to the draft lottery for young men who would be sent to fight in the Vietnam war. It was a harrowing experience and I'll never forget it--I understood many would not return....

Lake Love Letters Project

Dear Friend, I love our waters: lakes, rivers, wetlands, little sinking ponds, remote swamps. If it’s wet, I’ll probably like it. And of course, I’m worried about all of them, as I know many of you are. I often wonder what I can do. I’m not a scientist, politician, lawyer, not even a very good journalist. I often feel inadequate, a “fish out of water” when...

Launch Fun: Notes on Small Scale Book Launches

Recently, a former student from the Solstice MFA program where I teach, Jenifer DeBellis, wrote me that her first book, Blood Sisters, had been accepted. She was excited but uncertain how to shepherd it into the future with that “human touch.” Then a similar question from T.J. Harrison on the acceptance of her book, The Fruit of Love and Grief.  Both of these women had worked hard, weathered rejection, triumphed over...