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Refusing Despair: Selected Poems and Journal Writings

Teresa Anderson

Teresa Anderson died January 9, 2006, after waging a decade-long battle against cancer. She continued to write, travel, and record her works with the help of her husband, Michael Smith, until near the end of her life. Friends and supporters resolved to see these works into print.

Terri's first book of poems, Speaking in Sign, was published by West End Press in 1978. Her lyrical voice, gentle manner, political awareness, and physical grace came together in the strength and uncommon wisdom of her poems, winning her a place in the Midwestern and Southwestern poetry scene of the late seventies. She continued writing poetry over the next decade, producing a second manuscript, Fertile Are these Bones.

After her cancer diagnosis in 1995, Terri's subject matter expanded from the land and people she loved to include her own fight with the disease. Her poems took on a new dignity and clarity as a result, as in the closing lines of "Refusing Despair," written in the hospital at Binghamton, New York, in June 2005.

But winter will come
with its implacable force
withering our fields
and we will not survive
but, oh, have we not savored
the places where under snow
we touched the sleeping roots of joy?


"This is a powerful, poignant, inspiring work that deserves widespread recognition....a celebration of life and the never ending determination to fight back by a most courageous woman and poet with an abundance of soul and character. This one will speak to your eye, your ear, and most assuredly your heart."


The Oklahoma Observer

Published By West End Press and Street Sweeper Press

5.5 x 8.5 in. 128 pages 6 halftones