It’s time for a new installment of Lyric Essentials, and for this round, we’re excited to welcome Erika Moss Gordon to the series. Here, Erika talks about her admiration for Rosemerry Trommer as both a friend and a writer and discusses how Trommer’s work invites the reader in to see the beauty in the “everyday treasures” that her poetry illuminates. Thanks for reading!
Riley Steiner: I really enjoy that both of the poems you chose involve the speaker addressing their own self — in one poem, a younger version of that self, and in the other, the personification of their physical body. I think it’s so interesting to see the speaker’s view from farther away, what they say to their own self when they’re a bit removed. What do you admire about these poems that made you choose them for your reading?
Erika Moss Gordon: Rosemerry’s expression of the vulnerable human experience is an invitation to be a part of her own emerging story. Her poetry moves gracefully between the divine and the mundane, and reminds us daily that the two are inextricably intertwined — or better yet, that they are the same thing. It was difficult to pick just two of her poems, but I picked these recent pieces because of how personal they are, and how much I can relate to both — as a woman and as a mother. It all goes so fast, doesn’t it? And how rich it all is. And heartbreaking. And beautiful.
Erika Moss Gordon reads “A Woman Addresses Her Body” by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer
Erika Moss Gordon reads “Time Bend” by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer
RS: What do you like about Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer’s work? How did you first discover her poems?
EMG: I met Rosemerry almost fifteen years ago in a prenatal yoga class (which is another reason I wanted to share specifically one of her pieces about parenting). We were both pregnant with our first-borns (who are about to turn fifteen in September. Yikes!). Rosemerry has written a poem a day since 2005 — a poem every day for over fourteen years! What a gift, and a beautiful practice that I truly believe will go down in history. And when you read her work you’ll see … it’s absolutely wonderful stuff. She really does find a poem inside every rotation — and the gems she continues to unearth will knock your socks off. And it reminds the rest of us that our lives are full of everyday treasures, too.
RS: Has her work influenced your own in any way?
EMG: Her work has influenced me so much. I also write about the everyday, and Rosemerry has been such an inspiration as time marches on and as the layers shed and shed, or as her website reveals … as the veils fall and fall. She has been a mentor both in writing as well as in the spoken word. She is also an enormously gifted performer. Watching her is watching a master. She taught me about what it means to bring words to life — about the shared experience, and about how much more juicy it suddenly becomes when we invite others in. There is a generosity in her art, and this spirit of collaboration lifts everyone around her up.
RS: On a related note, what are you currently working on?
EMG: I have been fortunate to stumble upon a collection of my father’s journals from the 1970’s, and I am currently in the process of transcribing them. I was very close to my dad who passed away seven years ago, and he was a tremendous writer. In all honesty, I’m not sure how this is all going to look. Even putting it into words is a little frightening. But my fantasy is that I will still get to work on an intimate writing project with him after all this time.
Erika Moss Gordon lives in Ridgway, Colorado, with her two children, where she writes poetry, works for a film festival, and teaches yoga. Erika’s writing has appeared in Mountain Gazette Magazine, Fungi Magazine, Telluride Watch, Telluride Magazine, Telluride Inside and Out, Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, Salmonberry Arts, and 99 Poems for the 99 Percent, a collection of poetry. Her most recent book, Phases, was winner of the Fledge Chapbook Award, published by Middle Creek Publishing in 2016. Her first chapbook, Of Eyes and Iris, was published in 2013 (Liquid Light Press).
Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer “never fails to bring sensual joy and rich music,” says
Utah’s poet laureate emeritus David Lee. She was Colorado’s Western Slope Poet Laureate (2015-17) and served two terms as San Miguel County’s first poet laureate (2006-2010). She has authored and edited thirteen books, including Naked for Tea, Even Now: Poems & Drawings, and Holding Three Things at Once (finalist for the Colorado Book Award). She’s widely anthologized, including in An Elevated View: Colorado Writers on Writing, Poems of Awakening, and Poetry of Presence. Her work has appeared on A Prairie Home Companion, in O Magazine, on back alley fences, on rocks she leaves around town, and in dozens of literary journals including Rattle, Clover, and Spectrum. Her poetry was chosen for the 2016 Shared Visions project, in which composer Paul Fowler arranged “Yet Another Layer” for the Ars Nova Singers.
She’s taught and performed poetry for Think 360, Craig Hospital, Hospice, 12-Step programs, meditation retreats, Ah Haa School for the Arts, Weehawken Arts, Camp Coca Cola, SpiritFest, Business & Professional Women, Wellspring of Imagination, and for hundreds of libraries, colleges, festivals, schools, and groups. She directed the Telluride Writers Guild for ten years and now co-hosts the Talking Gourds Poetry Club. She has thrice won Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, the Fischer Prize, twice won the Writer’s Studio Literary Contest, won the Dwell Press Solstice Prize, was a finalist for Dogwood’s Poetry Prize, and has been nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize. She curates “Heard of Poets,” an interactive poetry map of Western Colorado poets, and speaks about poetry and creativity for TEDx. Since 1999, she’s performed with Telluride’s seven-woman a cappella group, Heartbeat, and since 2006, she’s written a poem a day. Her MA is in English Language & Linguistics.
Riley Steiner is a recent graduate of Miami University, where she studied Creative Writing and Media & Culture. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, she enjoys baking, cheering for the Green Bay Packers, and spending way too much money at Half Price Books. Her creative work has recently appeared in the Oakland Arts Review and Collision.