Fall 2010, Volume 9

Poetry by Stephanie Mendel

The Importance of Ordinary

Iceland poppies share the breakfast table
with orange slices, oatmeal, coffee mugs,
a letter from Prague. Our son wants us to send
peanut butter, Hershey bars.

Tonight I’ll run the dishwasher,
stack paper for recycling, check the stove. 
I’ll put today’s clothes down the chute,
turn off the printer.

We’ll make love; it will be tender. I know
what eases your back pain, you know how much
weight my knees will bear.


BIO: Stephanie Mendel taught poetry in her home for eight years and served on the board of the Marin Poetry Center, where she is now an advisor. A member of David St. John's poetry master classes for ten years, she also studied at Napa and other workshops with Stephen Dunn, Yusef Komunyakaa, Bob Hass, Jane Hirshfield, Mark Doty, Jack Gilbert, Li-Young Lee and Gerald Stern, among other poets. She received her B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh.

Poet Dorianne Laux (Facts About the Moon) wrote of Stephanie's book, March, Before Spring, now in its third printing, "All art is a tract against death, a reminder that life is brief, fragile, unrepeatable. These artful poems are Stephanie Mendel's tract for the living-praise pieces, prayers of witness and remembrance, quiet, brave, and heartbreakingly real."

Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Cream City Review, Folio, Harvard Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, The MacGuffin, ONTHEBUS, Poet Lore, Rattle, Runes, Saturday Evening Post, The Southern California Review, and other journals and anthologies. She also received an Anna Davidson Rosenberg Award.