judith strasser photoJudith Strasser
recently retired as a senior producer and interviewer for TO THE BEST OF OUR KNOWLEDGE, a nationally-distributed public radio program. Her poems and essays have appeared in Poetry, The Kenyon Review, Nimrod, Prairie Schooner, Witness and other literary magazines and anthologies. Judith has conducted poetry writing and audio workshops in Wisconsin schools; at Valley Ridge Art Studio and The Clearing, adult education centers; and at Mexican Bob’s Poetry Camp (part of the Taos Poetry Circus) in New Mexico. She has been awarded writing residencies at Fundacíon Valparaiso (Spain), Hawthornden Castle (Scotland), The Helene Wurlitzer Foundation (New Mexico), Vermont Studio Center, The Ucross Foundation (Wyoming), and Norcroft (Minnesota). In the summer of 1998, she was Artist-in-Residence at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. She has received awards for radio production and for poetry from the Wisconsin Arts Board, and published a chapbook, Poems for the Parks, under a grant from the Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission.
Her chapbook, Sand Island Succession:  Poems of the Apostles, is available for $10 from Parallel Press http://parallelpress.library.wisc.edu or directly from the author.  Her memoir, Black Eye:  Escaping a Marriage, Writing a Life, is scheduled for publication by Terrace Books/University of Wisconsin Press in the spring of 2004. For more information about Judith, check out her website at http://www.judithstrasser.com.

Apostle Islands Jitters

It's the caffeine that has me tossing
and turning, traipsing back and forth
all night along the muddy trail, pulling
the garden cart to the cabin, mosquito netting
draped over the bill of my cap
to keep it out of my eyes; and wondering
how many long-sleeved shirts I can pack
to protect my arms (I have a work shirt,
but maybe I should stop at the mall
unless it's cool enough in June for cotton
turtlenecks); stuffing a ream of paper
and volumes of Proust into canvas sacks;
hefting the Smith-Corona my ex-husband
took to college in 1955; thinking of food
that will keep (coffee, of course, but
how many nights can I eat ramen for supper
before I turn into a noodle, contract scurvy,
or decide I'd rather starve?); and all the while
I'm thinking, will the lake warm up
just enough for quick dips to wash off the DEET
every day or two, because there's no plumbing,
not to mention no people most of the time,
just the two-way radio I find on the screened-in porch
on which I hear the poems I promised to write
if they would only grant me three weeks
on this island paradise.

from Sand Island Succession: Poems of the Apostles
( available from Parallel Press,