Readings: Bridgewater Fest Poet Lesley Wheeler

Over the next week I’ll be posting information on the poets who will be reading from their work at the Bridgewater International Poetry Festival, Jan 15th-18th. 

Lesley Wheeler will be reading her poetry on  Friday, January 16th, at 3:30pm.


Lesley Wheeler is a poet and professor born in New York, raised in New Jersey, and residing in Virginia since 1994. Her books include the poetry collections The Receptionist and Other Tales, Heterotopia (winner of the Barrow Street Press Poetry Prize), and Heathen as well as two scholarly studies and the co-edited anthology Letters to the World: Poems from the Wom-po Listserv. Her next poetry collection, Radioland, is forthcoming in September. Now the Henry S. Fox Professor of English at Washington and Lee University, Wheeler has held fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation (New Zealand), the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Virginia Commission for the Arts. In 2011 she received an Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia. Recent poems and essays have appeared in Poetry, The Gettysburg Review, and the Tahoma Literary Review. Find more information and her poetry blog at


Côte Sauvage

Although the borderland is stony
and slicked by vivid seaweed,
the old man walks again without a cane—
his silhouette disrupts the glare.
No use shouting. Parents and children
never hear each other. Or
they pick up the faintest
impatient huff. Blackout
yields to voice as randomly
as suns broadcast their flares.

This terrain’s all surf and precipice.
Mirror pools bristle with mussels.
Generations break into foam around
boulders. Ahead, an absolute Atlantic.

But a limestone cliff at our backs
reflects the roar, as if we stand
within a shell whose whorls affirm
each listener’s inner ocean. Touch
the wall and feel a bass-line throb.

And there’s my son, leaning into
this green noise. Locked mollusk.
My daughter’s magnetic waves assail me.
Gods and fathers rarely signal,
but rock vibrates
sympathetically. What else
could it say? Echo
a kind of love, of

from Turbine:

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