Snowy Owls, Egrets and Unexpected Graces

by Gwendolyn Morgan

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Snowy Owls, Egrets and Unexpected Graces is a portal to an interior landscape that mirrors the natural world – the majesty of western red cedar and snowy owls, the murmurations of songbirds and the incantations of astral showers. The poet simultaneously reflects on the suffering of those living with cancer and chronic illness as well as the on-going habitat destruction amidst climate change, and the violence of war and poverty. This book invokes hope and gratitude in the midst of sorrow and grief, an invitation to take a breath in the midst of the turning of the wheel of the year, to pause and recalibrate to the music of the cosmos.


Praise for Snowy Owls, Egrets and Unexpected Graces

“This is a book of magic spells, calling on birds, acts of art, blessings, and humble ritual to turn a time of illness to a quest for awareness. Small changes work the mysteries: not ‘shadow of death’ but ‘death of shadow.’ Not first-person predictable, but third-person intimate, a voice filled with surprises inhabiting daily life, life ritual, spoken scripture, ‘the painful juxtaposition of various needs’ converging polarities toward a hawk’s whole vision, a thrush’s solo song. The multiple realms of the awakened mind here (in titles like ‘Sturgeon, Osprey, Gemini New Moon’) give this writer and her readers a place to stand in a complex world, a place to understand, a place to heal, connect, be whole.”

—Kim Stafford, author of Wind on the Waves: Stories of the Oregon Coast

“Gwendolyn Morgan has graced us with a new collection of poems that entreat us to lean into the world, into the vital conversation that awaits all who pay attention. She extends a thread of intimate observations through these poems, inviting us to remember the real world of nuthatches, chickadees, black-tail deer and mergansers. Woven into this vivid landscape, Gwendolyn extends her tender touch to the sorrows and suffering of modernity – cancer, capitalism, greed, violence, suicide – all seen through the heart of compassion and transmuted by the alchemy of her eloquence. We are awakened and healed through her generous offerings.”

—Francis Weller, author of The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief

“Gwendolyn Morgan swept me away in the grace and the magnificence of her writing and her impassioned words. She evokes power and beauty into every aspect of nature and life – both the light and the shadow. Snowy Owls, Egrets, and Unexpected Graces is divinely inspired!”

—Sandra Ingerman, author of Soul Retrieval and Walking in Light

“How do I express the deftness with which Gwendolyn holds the reader – even the most broken of us – in a sacred web of healing? Her splendid sensitivity to the heart of the wild, and the heart of the wounded, come together in a volume of poetry that takes us back to the place where we are forever whole.”

—Joan Borysenko, author of Minding the Body, Mending the Mind

“Gwendolyn talks to birds. They talk back.

The birds write. Calligraphy tracks on the sand.

Gwendolyn takes care of her people.

The fog settles into the chest cavities of those around us.

Gwendolyn reads the mystics. Cares for the sick.

Comforts the dying.

Spend some time with her.

She runs silent, runs deep.”

—Michael Lerner, author of Choices in Healing

Gwendolyn Morgan

Gwendolyn Morgan


GWENDOLYN MORGAN learned the names of birds and wildflowers and inherited paint brushes and boxes from her grandmothers. With an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Goddard College, and an M.Div. from San Francisco Theological Seminary and the Graduate Theological Union, she has been a recipient of artist and writing residencies at Artsmith, Caldera, Into the Depths of Winter, and Soapstone. Crow Feathers, Red Ochre, Green Tea, her first book of poems, was a winner of the Wild Earth Poetry Prize, Hiraeth Press. Her poems have appeared in: Calyx, Dakotah, Kalliope, Kinesis, Mudfish, Tributaries: A Journal of Nature Writing, Written River as well as The Cancer Poetry Project 2, and other anthologies, blogs and literary journals. Snowy Owls, Egrets and Unexpected Graces is a Nautilus Gold Winner in Poetry and a Foreward Indies Book of the Year Finalist in the Nature Category. Gwendolyn and Judy A. Rose, her spouse, share their Salmon Creek home and creekside walks with Naomi, a rescued Cardigan Corgi & Chesapeake Retriever mix.