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Lois Parker Edstrom

Lois Parker Edstrom

Lois's Web Site:

The Language of Tides

Lois Parker Edstrom, a retired nurse, is the author of two chapbooks and six full length collections of poetry: What Brings Us to Water, Poetica Publishing Award, 2010; What’s to be Done with Beauty, Creative Justice Press Award, 2012; Night Beyond Black, MoonPath Press, 2016; Glint, MoonPath Press, 2019; Road Signs and Hobo Marks, Cyberwit, 2020; The Lesson of Plums, MoonPath Press, 2020; Almanac of Quiet Days, Cyberwit, 2021; and The Language of Tides, MoonPath Press, 2022.

She has received two Hackney National Literary Awards, the Outrider Press Grand Prize, the Westmoreland Award, and the Benefactor’s Award from Whidbey Island Writer’s Association. Her poems have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies, been read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac, and featured in Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry.

Edstrom’s career in nursing and her poetic passion coalesced when her poetry appeared in Poems in the Waiting Room, a publication furnished to hospitals and doctors’ offices in New Zealand. Her poetry has been translated into Braille, and adapted to dance by the Bellingham Repertory Dance Company. The natural beauty of Whidbey Island, where she lives with her husband, inspires much of her work.

The Language of Tides: $24.00

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Review of The Language of Tides in Quill & Parchment's New Book Review.

Poem from
The Language of Tides


You could say it’s an ordinary morning,
except it isn’t. The sky opens like a hymnal
and summer sun streams into our tiny town,
blessing the cove and burnishing the shops
that perch on the bluff.

This sleepy town awakens to the light,
stretches its arms, ready to welcome
early risers. A shopkeeper adjusts
the sign on the bookstore. Folks
find an outdoor table at the coffee shop,
greet friends that gather there each morning.
I stop at the bakery: molasses oat bread,
warm and fragrant, placed into my hands.

Years ago, tall ships sailed into our cove,
exchanging goods and stories of distant places.
Historic homes still line the hillside.
You can almost hear the voices of early settlers
and sea captains falling in love with the island.

Nearing home, fog spreads a froth
of white lace in the inlet and skims
my skin with freshness. From a neighbor’s
roadside stand, I raise a lavish bouquet
of sweet peas to my face, breathe in
all the sweetness of this not quite
ordinary morning.

The Language of Tides

The Lesson of Plums: $16.00

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Read a review of The Lesson of Plums in Our Coast Magazine.

Read a review of The Lesson of Plums in Quill & Parchment.

Poem from
The Lesson of Plums

The Quiet Core of Chaos

We live amid chaos whether we recognize
it or not. I choose to live on an island
away from the blare and glare of the city

yet our island emerged from a violent birth,
rising from the depths of the sea, its craggy
face presenting a few miles distant from its

mainland mother. Volcanic eruptions
scattered agates along the shore,
a sudden disruptive upheaval.

The revelations of wind, the epiphany
of stars burning from the inside, blinking
their ancient stories into the shifting air.

Truth is always a bit odd. How meaning
may be found in the midst of chaos if
we listen, open ourselves to the risk

of what we might find inside. And isn’t this
what art is all about?

The Lesson of Plums

Glint: $16.00

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"Wolf Moon" from Glint was featured on Verse Daily

"Wolf Moon" from Glint was also featured on Quill and Parchment, along with two poems not in the book: "Winter Art" and "Apples of Winter"

"Changing Times" from Glint was featured on Your Daily Poem

Poem from Glint

Changing Times

Some days speak a language of contentment,
words of abundance, a song that pulses
in rhythm with my heart.

This summer morning, I need nothing more
than to walk to the market in sunlight, linger
near the peaches, nectarines, corn, baby lettuces,
arugula, and tomatoes mounded in outdoor bins.

The earnest young man arranging the fruit smiles,
as if the day is a gift wrapped in pleasure
and he the grateful recipient. I choose purple plums,
add a baguette, a sausage, a wedge of brie,
and chocolate for the picnic basket.

In the checkout line the woman behind me watches
as I write a check and I smile when I hear her say,
How quaint.


Night Beyond Black: $15.00

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Listen to Garrison Keillor read "Almanac," "Obervations of an OB/GYN Nurse," and "Choices We Make When We Are Too Young To Make Them" from Night Beyond Black on The Writer's Almanac.

"Doing Dishes" from Night Beyond Black was featured on Ted Kooser's American Life in Poetry.

Poem from Night Beyond Black


I travel east into the Cascades
to a small town my parents
came to as newlyweds,
follow double yellow lines,
the road too treacherous for passing,
search for a small cabin
where I was conceived. More gold
than yellow, the center lines
mimic the hue of autumn tamarack
released of its evergreen pretensions.
The tamaracks flare
above a scud of clouds
draped over the valley,
toward snow-topped peaks.
Carried out of these mountains
curled like a leaf
in my mother’s womb
I unfurled in a different place.
Return is like seeing the negative
from a long time ago,
a bright image that remains
for an instant
after you close your eyes.

Other Poems Online

Night Beyond Black