Mouth Quill—Poems with Ancestral Roots

The Poetry Box, a small independent publisher in Portland, Oregon, has done a beautiful job with my debut chapbook of poetry, ready now for pre-order here from my page on

CoverFront-MouthQuill
Mouth Quill: Poems with Ancestral Roots book cover, published by The Poetry Box

their website. Please visit to see a description and early reviews.

. . . a haunting intertwining of world history and family history.    ~ April Ossmann

The cover is a stunning photo of Estonian forest and sea by Michael Huang. I am so grateful for his gift to me for this collection.

The print edition is slated for September 30, 2020. At that point, you can also order the book from Amazon or from your favorite bookstores.

The term “mouth quill” (suude sulg) comes from ancient Estonian runic song and is seen as a singer’s magical tool. In a lovely verse known as The Village Tells Me, the singer says she has left home enchanting charms—her mouth quill and her tongue click—(keeleklõks). She bids her brothers to ride home with silver beaded horses to bring them to her so she can sing like birds.

When I was a young student, just starting college, I traveled to Finland to study and listen to rich Estonian field recordings of such music. In these last years, I feel so lucky to have been able to access notated music and even listen to oral history recordings on amazing online runic songs databases in Estonia. As I explored an arc of identity, many of these old songs inspired imagery and language in my poems, as did nature and historic events, both distant and more recent.