Western Solstice

by Leonore Wilson

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“Shimmering up and down the original Tree, nature, Western Solstice is a gnosis that explores intense sensual vividness, being, and the flesh through the terrestrial details of a large and generous human empathy. Political, fierce, and tender, Leonore Wilson’s poems take ‘cadence inside herself,’ and ‘anti-matter and matter flagellating, palpitating’ into mysteries of life and death, female presence, the planet, gender, and music. Her process is transformative; the reader’s experience is deliciousness, Gaia, sweet substance, ’Eden to the wasp, shelter and elixir’: like eating ‘Billy Holliday’s limbering voice’; like ’consummating fallen darkness and diffused and fascinating’; or, like ‘being fed clear to the core, and distance bent backwards’—chords of an embodying, gorgeous, and intimate art.”

—‘Annah Sobelman, author of In the Bee Latitudes and The Tulip Sacrament

“Leonore Wilson’s Western Solstice contains poems that spring whole and marvelous, shimmering from the earth. Born from a profound, wide-ranging, original and feminine mind, they bewitch the reader with a lush, passionate voice that is ‘all impulse of towards’ and a tensile form that is as breathtaking as its content. This book is a true treasure.”

—Cathy Colman, author of Borrowed Dress and Beauty’s Tattoo

“Milk of cathedrals, Edens of wasps—Leonore Wilson’s poems, set in the ‘lovely California golden-boast of stubbornness’ that she knows so well and loves so much, chart the wanderings of forests, the thought-dreams of snakes, the bright and difficult births of souls and poems and gorgeous worldly heavens. These are wise, intricate and beautiful poems. Read them and become more human.”

—Joe Ahearn, James Michener Fellow and editor of Bat Terrier

“Jane Kenyon talked about how the best poetry seems to ‘body forth’ from the poet, and Western Solstice demonstrates this premise. Leonore Wilson’s poems are meditative and deeply felt, but they reach outward rather than inward. These poems sing themselves from body and soul into the world. I have long admired Wilson`s poetry. I find her work to be transcendent, and I am glad for this book with its authentic thought and language that is radiant, redeemable and true.”

—Gary Short, Stegner Fellow and author of 10 Poems and 13 Horses, Flying Over Sonny Liston, and Theory of Twilight

Leonore Wilson

Leonore Wilson


Leonore Wilson has taught at various universities and colleges in the San Francisco Bay Area. She continues to live on her family cattle ranch in Napa, California. She has won fellowships to the University of Utah and Villa Montalvo Center for the Arts. Her work has been in such magazines as Quarterly West, Madison Review, Third Coast, Poets Against the War, Nimble Spirit, and Trivia: Voices of Feminism. She is the author of Western Solstice. She is the mother of three sons.