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Poets on the Road

Published by City Point Press
Distributed by Simon & Schuster



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About The Book

Calling to mind Basho¯’s late life journeys through the backcountry of Japan, two women poets in a well-worn Honda hit the road for a legendary pilgrimage in a far-flung (pre-pandemic) landscape of American poetry.

Although a road trip across North American calls to mind Jack Kerouac’s youthful meanderings of self-discovery, this reading tour was more in the manner of Basho¯’s late life journeys through the backcountry of Japan. . . . The road trip was in a sense a pilgrimage of reengagement with their calling as poets, and a chance to reacquaint with like-minded friends, old and new, in a far-flung landscape of American poetry.

Venues would include upscale bookstores, coffee houses, museums, legendary used bookstores, botanical gardens, university classrooms, art centers, and artist coops—in short, a unique sampling of poetry environments tracing an arc across the Southern States, the Southwest, and up the West Coast before hooking back to the Rockies.

Framed as a personal challenge, the poets hit the road much in the manner of itinerant preachers and musicians, lodging at discount motels, funky hostels, Airbnbs, and with friends along the way. Adding a social media touch, Maureen and Barbara created a blog of their tour so that friends, family, hosts, and fellow poets might also share in their adventure.

­—from the Introduction by Pat Nolan


One Eye Open & Driving

One eye open, the other still sleeping

yoga between beds, reach up, wake up

curtains drawn, passersby pass by

sky blue and wide, Texas style

pumping gas, a cow braying in a trailer

miles and miles of wind mills

a dry treeless main street town

Post Texas library with no bathrooms

love of the word, pee in McDonalds

no such thing as decaf, a donut

from Donut Depot for Maureen,

all of a sudden Lubbock &

a scruffy guy with a cigarette

dangling lays down his bike

and snaps us beside Buddy Holly’s

glasses, sun in my eyes, hello

from Cricket Street to Broadway,

urban coffee decaf and Turmeric Latte,

then off we go tracing the wires,

along US 84W, listening to Arthur Blythe

remembering entering Alvin’s Finer

under Blythe sound with Allen

& with Detroit friends, flat flat

land in 4 directions, finally hot,

in the Times read out loud

about prisoners in Brooklyn,

without heat, zero degrees, banging

on the walls & we’re 26 miles to Clovis

and Mexican food at Leal’s,

just a hop skip & jump to our beds


About The Authors

Maureen Owen currently lives in Denver, Colorado. She was the editor and publisher of Telephone Magazine and Telephone Books and is the author of twelve books of poetry, most recently, let the heart hold down the breakage or the caregiver’s log and Edges of Water. Her book AE (Amelia Earhart) received the Before Columbus American Book Award. She has published extensively in literary magazines and zines. An instructor of numerous workshops and classes in poetry and book production, her awards include a Poetry Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She has taught at Naropa University’s MFA Creative Writing Program, and was Program Coordinator at the Poetry Project in New York.


Barbara is a poet and a fiction writer. She was born in Detroit and now lives in Brooklyn. Barbara’s most recent book is Ferne, a Detroit Story, a hybrid biography of her mother. She has published eight collections of poetry and four novels. She is also the editor of The Selected Prose of Bobbie Louise Hawkins (BV), Looking Up Harryette Mullen (Belladonna Series), the editor/writer of Prompt Book: Experiments for Writing Poetry and Fiction (SD, 2021), and was editor and publisher of the poetry/art journal, Long News: In the Short Century (1990-1995). She has taught for MFA programs at Naropa University (2006-2014) and Long Island University where she is Professor Emerita.

Her most recent book, Ferne, a Detroit Story was selected by as a Michigan Notable Book of 2023 by the Library of Michigan. 

Product Details

  • Publisher: City Point Press (June 6, 2023)
  • Length: 176 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781947951709

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