Featured Poet: Elizabeth Knies, Portsmouth
A native of Pennsylvania, Elizabeth Knies first came to New Hampshire in 1965. A master's degree in English Language and Linguistics from UNH (1985) served as a passport for two and a half years of teaching in Kobe, Japan, followed by a year in Missouri and six in Colorado. In 1995, homesick for deciduous trees and old friends, she returned to New Hampshire, and in 1998-1999 earned a master's degree as a teaching fellow in Creative Writing at Boston University. She was appointed Portsmouth Poet Laureate for 2007-2009 and is currently doing her project, "Surprised by Joy." Her books include The New Year and Other Poems and Streets After Rain, both published by Alice James Books; From the Window, Teal Press; and the chapbooks White Peonies and Going and Coming Back from Oyster River Press.
Of her poem Elizabeth writes: "The poem "The Slanted Birch" was written shortly after I moved from Kingston to Portsmouth in September of 2006. I'd had several rough years following the death of my husband in early 2002, and being back in town felt like a fresh start. I took quiet pleasure in looking out of the windows of my apartment at the neutral tones of trees enlivened by a slash of brilliant white."
The Slanted Birch
Happiness is hard to put words to.
From my window I see
a small bit of woods
where tan leaves pool
around the feet of trees.
Across the verticals
of charcoal and brown
a white birch slants—
brilliant against the neutral plane.
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