Denise Calvetti Michaels - Portrait

Denise Calvetti Michaels

Denise Calvetti Michaels was awarded the Crosscurrents Prize for Poetry by the Washington Community College Humanities Association for her prose poem Notes on New Orleans. Her work is in anthologies such as In Praise of Farmland (Whit Press), Mute Note Earthward (WPA), Between Sleeps (En Theos Press), and Beyond Forgetting (Kent State University Press). Polenta, a memoir, is included in The Milk of Almonds, Italian American Woman on Food and Culture (Feminist Press, 2002).

Denise’s 2024 poems are found in Ovunque Siamo, Paterson Literary Review, and Clamor. North Creek, published by Cave Moon, includes published poetry alongside poems by Joan McBride and Sue Selmer. Denise teaches for Cascadia College and recently completed the MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics from University of Washington, Bothell.

2024 Jack Straw Alumni Poetry Series:

“Collaboration is at the heart of North Creek. These poems speak to the conversation amongst three women poets witnessing their lives with deep loving attention and memory to landscape, history and family lineage. What a gift, as Denise Calvetti Michaels writes, ‘to closely observe ourselves’ and to find connection within the pages of the literary journals Wetland Review, Yours Truly, and Clamor, and the local literary ecosystem.”
—Ching-In Chen

Bare Roots
–February 24th, 2022, Russian invaded Ukraine

Surrogate mothers give birth to sets of fraternal twins on bomb shelter

       House sparrows forage for bread crumbs between broken window

A makeshift table set for four with crocheted cloth is a verb.

       I come here to grieve but I remember tactile things, a scapular when
someone died.

I dig each hole with my hands to create a space to plant bare root trees.

       Grandson Luke scans for a spot to help plant perennials.

When he decides where the sorrel will go I listen to his reasoning.

       Your gentleness helps grow the garden, I say.

I’ll find you a four-leaf, he promises.

       Recurring nightmares of baby buggies abandoned at train stations in

Loss has no roadmap; each bare root an intention I discover planting
ninebark and

       serviceberry.  I situate these steep ledges to sow the edge of darkness.

2010 Writers Program

Sound Clips
  • Denise Calvetti Michaels - Portrait
    Unwrapping Memories – Denise Calvetti Michaels