Contributor Spotlight: Susan Lynch

Susan Lynch’s poetry – “Walking Distance,” “Fallow,” and “The View from Nowhere ” – appeared in Issue 11 and can be read here.

Tell us a little about “The View from Nowhere.”

I live in nature and watch seasonal shifts, large and small. I lived in Oregon where an elk herd would suddenly appear in the pasture out my window, and disappear just as magically into the woods. They had their elk babies in the tall grass, and I’d find the beds in my wanderings through shoulder-high lupines. I like to live on the edge of wildness and watch the coming and going. Clouds, animals, birds, stars, leaves. It’s all grist for my liminal mill.

What was the most difficult part of “Walking Distance?”

Walking Distance was written while I lived in a Jacobean manor, Water Eaton, by the river Cherwell and was studying Yeats at Oxford. I’d walk the fields a lot, and the poem is a distillation of that. My programme director had asked if I wanted to house-sit, and commented that her house was ‘walking distance’ to the museums. That gave me my title. Not difficult at all. I didn’t want to stay in town after my weekly rounds in the fabulous libraries, colleges, and museums. I was already walking distance from ‘a masterpiece of wrens’. Revisions, nudgings, took many passes. The syllabic accent on wingèd came right away, for cadence, but taking away extraneous words and things is always the lion’s share of process for me. I love the power of the unsaid. The language of Oxfordshire is different than that of Oregon, or Vashon Island where I live now.

Recommend a book for us which was published within the last decade.

Geoffrey Hill, Broken Hierarchies: Poems 1952-2012. Oxford University Press, 2014. I am currently imploring the patron saints and demi-gods of poetry to coax a copy my way.

If you could have a drink with any living author, who would it be? Why?

Too many! Head swimming! Luckily, I get to do that with Cal Kinnear, author of, among others, The Great Wheel: Zero the Un-naming here on Vashon. We ramble from raven talk to the secret life of moss to cool words from Finnegan’s Wake to Heraclitus and Aristotle to the event horizons of black holes.

What are you working on now? What’s next?

I have a poetry collection, Into the All Empty, for which I’m trying to find a publisher. I sometimes teach poetics and creative writing to cool charter school kids, or to private groups of fine artists working with words, here on Vashon Island. I’m writing a new collection of poems, called Nothing Doing. I’ve also written two children’s books which are seeking homes, with a third, about a bear swimming to the island who meets an orca midway, and they talk about people, in process. Because bears actually do swim over to this island, and orcas do swim down the passage. So it was a no-brainer they’d have a chat about being perceived as scary while becoming more rare.


Our thanks to Susan for taking the time to answer a few questions and share her work. Read “Walking Distance,” “Fallow,” and “The View from Nowhere ” here:



Susan Lynch graduated from Reed College with a creative poetry thesis, “Ethics for Invisible Worlds”, and spent a year abroad at Oxford University reading English while traipsing the footpaths and living in a Jacobean manor. Poems from her MFA poetry collection, “Into the All Empty” have appeared in Bombay Gin, the Oxford Poetry Society’s journal, Ash, the neo:anthology, and elsewhere. She lives on Vashon Island, Washington, where she teaches poetry and poetics, and is a shaman-poet.