About Elizabeth Bodien

Elizabeth Bodien

Elizabeth Bodien, Kempton, Pennsylvania, USA, lives in the Ontelaunee River watershed near Hawk Mountain.

Her degrees, undergraduate and graduate, are in cultural anthropology, consciousness studies, religion, and poetry from the University of California (Berkeley), John F. Kennedy University, the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, and Western Colorado State University, USA.

She has worked as a teacher of English in Japan, organic farmer in the coastal mountains of Oregon, certified childbirth instructor in West Africa, calligrapher, graphic designer, and certified Montessori teacher.

No longer teaching at Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, she has entered the world of poetry, rediscovering its music and mysteries.

Her poems have appeared in red lights, The Litchfield Review, Fledgling Rag, The Fourth River, Frogpond, Mad Poets Review, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Cimarron Review, qarrtsiluni, U.S.1 Worksheets, Parabola, and in Across the Long Bridge: An Anthology of Award Winning Poems, among other publications in the United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland, and India. She is working on a book of translations, a libretto, and a collection of her trance writings.

New Work

Book Enpapers

Blood, Metal, Fiber, Rock

Aldrich Press (2018)

"If you are one who seeks from poetry the comfort of companionship with someone else who looks for peace and sees none but looks again, who says “old as I am and still without answers,” who speaks in language sacred and elemental as Blood, Metal, Fiber, Rock; poems, whose poems are like prayer, immune to the fashions of the day, like those you loved, when young—poetry with rhyme, written to be read aloud and had by heart, full of foreboding but also “full of forgiveness, and the scent of blood orange.” If so, then, with Elizabeth Bodien, “…take a deep breath, say yes, step in.” "
-- Eleanor Wilner

Available from:

Sample Poems

Of Gods

Which god would take us under watchful care
if we petitioned so in gentle prayer?
Who makes the river sing so bright at dawn
and hum at dusk an elemental prayer?
What goddess draped in blue diaphanous gown
enchants the moon with sentimental prayer?
My child at bedside whispers simple words,
her artless wish a monumental prayer.
If gods abound, too many to pay heed,
are we amiss with detrimental prayer?
And I, as some have asked before,
ask, What if all is accidental prayer?

Published previously in Contemporary Ghazals

Moody Window

Windows are moody.
Don’t ask. They just are.
Protective as overcoats.
Inviting as playgrounds.
Opaque as death.

Last night he left me.
I heard their voices, then slam
of car doors. Our window
went cloudy, refused to allow me
to see who she was.

I tried not to cry,
said I didn’t care.
The window cleared up.
More stars than ever,
the night called for a walk.

When I returned tired,
tears dry on my cheek,
I climbed under covers.
The window went cryptic.
And I slept like a prayer.

Published previously in US 1 Worksheets

Other Publications


Garden Shed

for B.

At day’s end,
I come home
to find in the garden
a poem of wood.

A phrase slopes
down the roof line
singing the cadence
of late afternoon shade.

A stanza of structure,
the shed stands sturdy,
corners at square
snapped tight as nouns.

Window vowels open
wide under eaves.
From outside to inside
syntax breezes between.

Wood on wood, light on light,
doors open to hallowed space.
Your hands have moved
to make it so.

Published in The Litchfield Review Winter 2006 and in Plumb Lines (Plan B Press 2008)

Listening To The Loom

The warp, a blizzard of winter white gauze, threaded through heddles, silver trees in a forest, travels towards her, humming heavy of snow.

She presses the pedals, opens a space, throws the shuttle down through the shed, into the whispers between warp and weft

into the gap between treble and bass, strains of what she wants not to remember, what the weaving may let her forget.

The rhythm takes over, she sinks in deep, swaying smooth with each line she throws, blue songs of sorrow weaving into the white

the homespun growing with lengthening night. Drawn to the fugue, a dusky night moth disappears with the music into patterns of cloth.

Lumbering loom and sleepy weaver slow the weaving, end the whirr. But who keeps singing and weaving her?

Published in Mad Poets Review Fall 2010 and in Endpapers (Finishing Line Press 2011)


"Code-Switching a Poem" You Are Here: The Journal of Creative Geography -- The Translation Issue December 2015 youareheregeography.files.wordpress.com/2015/12/you-are-here-issue-xviii1.pdf (scroll down to page 12)

"Mary Oliver's Nature" Book review of Blue Horses Whale Road Review December 2015 www.whaleroadreview.com/mary-oliver/

"Shapes of Violence" Book review of Quan Barry's loose strife Glint Literary Journal Fall 2015 https://glintjournal.wordpress.com/issue-6-fall-2015/reviews-issue-6/loose-strike-by-quan-barry-reviewed-by-elizabeth-bodien-issue-6/

"Starting Fresh into Poetry: A Plan for a Late Career" Writing After Retirement: Tips from Successful Retired Writers Edited by Carol Smallwood and Christine Redman-Waldeyer (Rowman and Littlefield 2014)

"A Whole Month of ‘Best Words, Best Order’" Lehigh Valley Arts Council Blog April 2013

"Dear Czeslaw Milosz" (an article) Schuylkill Valley Journal Fall 2012

"Down to Earth with Tanka" (a guest blog) on Murder Your Darlings (with C.L.Bledsoe) March 8, 2012 clbledsoe.blogspot.com/2012/03/down-to-earth-with-tanka-guest-blog-by.html