Susanna Mishler

susanna2014 Alaska Literary Award

Susanna J. Mishler’s poems have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, The Iowa Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Mid-American Review, Kenyon Review Online, and elsewhere. Her first collection of poems, Termination Dust, was published by Red Hen Press/Boreal Books in 2014.

Susanna holds an MFA in Poetry from The University of Arizona in Tucson, where she served as a poetry editor for Sonora Review. She’s the recipient of a Peter Taylor Fellowship in Poetry from the Kenyon Review Writer’s Workshop, and the Bill Waller Writing Award from the University of Arizona. Susanna also co-directs Synergies, a live reading and performance series in her hometown of Anchorage, Alaska.

Among other things, Susanna has worked as a dockhand, science educator, and sled dog handler. She currently lives in Anchorage, teaches workshops, and earns her living as an electrician.

Afterlife: Ursus arctos

she bares her teeth in recognition.

Her skull halves meet in a suture that flows
like a meandering river, and

she without her skin and you
without yours are red cousins.

If she snaps her jaws, you’re
standing too close;

she’s nearsighted
and may knock you down
for a closer look.

If she claws you open she’s searching
for the forests you swallowed.

Relax.  If you die, then

she’ll cover you with leaves
and protect you.

– Susanna J. Mishler from Termination Dust (Red Hen Press/Boreal Books 2014)