Photo of Suzanne Bottelli

Suzanne Bottelli

Suzanne Bottelli’s poems and reviews have appeared in Poetry Northwest, Scoundrel Time, The Collagist, and Prairie Schooner, among others. Her newest chapbook, American Grubble, is available from Ravenna Press’ Triples series. The Feltville Formation, her first chapbook, was with Finishing Line Press. Born and raised in New Jersey, Suzanne is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has received grants and awards from Artist Trust, The Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Seattle Arts Commission, and Can Serrat, outside of Barcelona. She teaches English at Casa Latina in Seattle.

2024 Jack Straw Alumni Poetry Series:

In American Grubble, Suzanne Bottelli addresses remembered landscapes by way of archival research. Out of letters and memoirs from an early 20th century “utopian” community, photographs of post-industrial factory ruins, film clips of aging highways, and staggering examples of environmental devastation, her poems nonetheless confront and interrogate an elegiac impulse.

Letter to the Future
For Allison Hawthorne Deming

A carved-up birch tells us
lovers once embraced here –
the scarred bark the wound
their testament has made.

And young Chris the Eagle Scout
has moved some cannons into place –
the slab they stand on gifted
by the local concrete dealer.

But I am here to notice other markers:
the twin trunks of two blistered beeches
locked in a dance and dying together;
this iridescent oil sheen in a pocket of river mud.

How many browns and greens in the world?

The soft rain coming on makes them shine.
A barbed wire line this tree has grown around
speaks to the bargain we’ve made,
this stubborn ongoing with rust at the heart.

2000 Writers Program