Helen Wickes

Helen Wickes

Helen Wickes was raised on a horse farm in southeastern Pennsylvania and attended Vassar College. She lives in Oakland, California, has a Ph.D. in psychology, and worked for many years as a psychotherapist. In 2002, she received an M.F.A. from the Bennington Writing Seminars. Her first book of poems, In Search of Landscape, was published in 2007 by Sixteen Rivers Press. Her second poetry collection, Dowser’s Apprentice, was published by Glass Lyre Press in 2014, as was her third book of poems, Moon Over Zabriskie. Her fourth collection, World as You Left It, will be published by Sixteen Rivers in 2015.

World as You Left It

“Such good poems in Helen Wickes’ new collection, poems about memory and loss that skillfully combine the startling poetic image (“off we’d go // into the cold air’s bright teeth”) and exuberant colloquial language (“everyone knows I don’t like dogs—/ the smell, the noise, and the drool”). At the heart of World as You Left It are the poems centering on the poet’s late father — both hilarious (as in “Loot,” about his old address book with its delicious list of big blonds and “sweet patooties”) and mysterious, as touching as they are enlivening.” —Lloyd Schwartz
In World as You Left It, Helen Wickes asks us, “Didn’t you / ever have a need so sharp that if you tasted the edge of it, / your tongue might bleed?” her voice crackling with intimacy, intelligence. She needs these words, these pages that bring back the farm fields where she grew up, the horses and dogs, birds shot and roasted, sweet cherries, roadside corn. She needs to remember the deaths, most keen her father’s. And she needs, above all, to tell us the life, ours too, as it burns past, and we catch it in piercing details: “One crow, then another, / calls out, and the three of us stop to listen.” —Richard Silberg

Read poems from World as You Left It by Helen Wickes.

In Search of Landscape

“Like a month’s worth of hikes through buzzing meadows and mulchy woods, these poems soothe and awaken us. A solitary, attuned, painterly mind roams inner and outer landscapes, probes, explores, jokes, tries personas on for size, bears witness. Joy and wit, the curious and contemplative abound. And the mind to which we have privileged access here does justice to the worthiest of missions: ‘to praise / everything before it ends.’ ” —Amy Gerstler, author of Ghost Girl

Read poems from In Search of Landscape by Helen Wickes.

Published by Glass Lyre Press

  • Moon Over Zabriskie “As a title, Moon Over Zabriskie immediately invokes the theme of place, of landscape. And perhaps also a kind of mirroring, because Zabriskie is itself a kind of moonscape. This deeply sensitive, beautifully written book locates us in the grandeur of the American landscape, which functions as a kind of mirror, because this is not a book about the outside, but about the inside. Landscape is not a sole subject, or a limitation; we have Caravaggio and Chekhov, and the book’s relentless focus is the self: the writer’s self, the reader’s self. What we have is life: family and flowers, rivers and deserts, paintings and songs. Everyone wants solace for their marrow-deep grief, and here we’ll find it.” —Edward Smallfield, author of Equinox and co-founder of Apogee Press.
  • Dowser’s Apprentice “Hurry up and break / into life” the poems say. They steady themselves in the sky (“It’s a night of fat, bright planets”), look up to the sun and stars (“The Milky Way above us – / that’s our shadow river”), and move across the land, from rural California to the “undulant, green Pyrenees,” to make a cosmology that we can all share. —Joyce Jenkins, editor of Poetry Flash

Other poems by Helen Wickes

Helen’s poems “Homage to My Old Pal, Her Last Year” and “Sense of Smell” are in the Spring 2017 issue of Glassworks (please navigate to pages 5-6).

Helen’s poems “January Dazzle” and “April, Mid” appear in Issue 16 of Vending Machine Press.

Five poems from World as You Left It were recently published, in translation, in the Italian online literary journal La Macchina Sognante (TheDream Machine)in January 2016.  They were translated by the publisher, Pina Piccolo. The original English follows the Italian versions.

How to Purchase Tulips in March” and “The Cook, Her Knife, Her Pear” were published in the December 2015 issue of Diverse Voices Quarterly.

Helen’s poem, “In This Afterlife,” was featured in Poetry Daily, on April 17, 2015.

Helen’s poem, “Secret Lives of Trees,” was featured in Sweet: A Literary Confection, Issue 7.2.

Helen’s poem,”Borrego Journal, Sunday” was featured in the Sakura Review.

Helen’s poem, ” The Dolls” was featured in the August 2014 issue of  Blue Lake Review.

Helen’s poem, “Shame,” was featured in Midway, Volume 8, #2.

Helen’s poem, “I’d Have Liked Some Dinner,” is featured in Serving House Journal, Issue 9.

In the April, 2014 edition of Sagarana, read “Caravaggio’s Burial of Saint Lucy,” translated into Italian by Pina Piccolo. English version follows. The poem is from Moon Over Zabriskie.

Helen has three poems, “Harrow,”Still Life on the Road to Los Ojos,” and “The Vagrant Spirit,” published in the Spring 2014 edition of the Citron Review.

Helen has two poems, “Strategies in Pink,” and “Medicine Chest,”  published in Pirene’s Fountain.”Strategies in Pink,” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Helen’s poem, “Still Life With Sand in a Picture Locket,” was published in December 2013 volume of The Dos Passos Review.

Sagarana, the Italian journal of prose and poetry, recently featured Helen’s poem “Still Life With A Halter In Its Hand,” in Italian, with the English original. To read her work on Sagarana, please click on poesia, and find Helen Wickes’ name.

Helen has four poems (“Occultation,” “Another Saturday Night,” “Solstice Freeze,” and “Watershed”) in Tower Journal, Spring/Summer 2013.

Read Helen’s poems “Reminders to My Biographers” and “Shame” in Crack the Spine, issue sixty-eight.

Helen has four poems in the Fall 2012 issue of Minetta Review: “The Heart Waking Up Braids Her Hair,” p. 27; “Frost, then Ice,” p. 46; “Sense of Direction,” p. 60; and “Driving West after Sunset,” p. 74.

Helen’s poem “Driving West After Sunset” can be found at Summerset Review in the fall 2012 issue.

Helen’s poems “Frost, Then Ice” and “Sense of Direction” appeared in the August 2012 edition of Splash of Red.

Helen’s poem “The Dowser’s Apprentice” can be read online in the August 2012 Agni.

Helen’s poem “Roofers” appeared in the July 2012 edition of PANK.

Helen’s poem “The Heart Waking Up Braids Her Hair” appeared in the summer 2012 Corium.

Three of Helen’s poems have been published in the Summer 2012 edition of Mary.

Helen’s poem “What Is Implanted In The Body” can be read in the April 2012 issue of decomP magazineE.

Read five of Helen’s poems at FRIGG Magazine, issue 35, winter 2012, www.friggmagazine.com.

Helen’s poem “A Moon Rock of Your Own” is available at Forge, issue 5.3.

“Crossing the Whole Country” is on TriQuarterly Online, issue 121, Winter/Spring 2012.

Helen’s poem “Single Thread” was the featured poem on Poetry Daily for December 12, 2011 (www.poetrydaily.org)

Two of Helen’s poems appeared in the online version of Amarillo Bay literary magazine, “Earning My Keep,” and “An Intelligent Design.”

Links to Helen’s poems in the following online journals can be found here: Barnstorm Journal, Verdad Magazine, Softblow, Eclectica, Coe Review, SLAB, Folly Magazine, Griffin, The Journal, and Sanskrit.

An interview with Helen appears in The Collagist, the blog published by Dzanc Books.

Helen is featured in the online journal Softblow for the month of November, 2010.

Helen is a featured poet at the website From the Fishouse where five of her poems and a short interview can be both heard and read.

Helen’s AGNI Online poem “The World As You Left It” was chosen for The Best of the Web 2009 (Dzanc Books).

Read about Helen and Nina Lindsay in the April 20, 2007 issue of the Contra Costa Times.

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