BIO: Alice is a Middleton poet whose poems often reflect the wonder of the natural world, and/or the environmentalist’s vision. Social/political commentary and family/love relationships are also favorite subjects, rendered with a serious or light touch. Her poems have been published in the Wisconsin Academy Review, Earth’s Daughters, North Coast Review, Ariel, Free Press, The Kerf, Fox Cry Review, Verse Wisconsin, and others. They have won awards from The Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets and Wisconsin Regional Writers, and she was a runner-up in the Wisconsin Academy Review Poetry Contest in 2002.

Alice won the Posner Book-Length Poetry Award from the Council for Wisconsin Writers for her book A Blessing of Trees, and in 2006 won first place and publication for her book Days We Are Given from Earth’s Daughters. Her book Conversations With Thoreau was published by UW’s Parallel Press in summer of 2012.

A former editor and communications director, Alice is the co-author of the 2003 biography Uncommon Sense: The Life of Marshall Erdman. She has taught writing for Elderhostel and led workshops at the St. Joseph’s Retreat and The Clearing in Door County.

Conversations With Thoreau, UW’s Parallel Press, 2012.
Days We Are Given, winner of Earth’s Daughters 2008 chapbook contest, 2009. $10.00 includes postage
A Blessing of Trees,
Cross+Roads Press, 2004. $10.00 + postage

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Questions for Henry

My greatest skill has been to want but little.
—H.D.T., from Walden

How little, Henry?
Didn’t you hanker for a haunch
of venison, and a pint
with the local lads? A fierce game
of bowls on the lawn,
pummeling the backs of the winning team?
A ride on that newfangled train,
racing at 30 miles an hour,
with the wind
licking your cheeks, ruffling your whiskers?

Or, how about
a warm and breathing body
next to yours?
Yes, dandelion fluff
is nice enough, in its place.
But does it really set your pulses tingling,
light up the nerve ends, like shorted wires?
Does it answer
that craving for a gentle touch,
the sensuous message human fingers
etch on skin?

—Alice D’Alessio

Walden Pond Restoration

First, they covered the concrete bathhouse
with cedar shingles,
restoring the area to a natural state, they said.
I imagine you perched on a branch, bemused –
your spirit destined to inhabit
whatever woods is left.
Bathhouse? Concrete?

Walden. It’s now synonymous, you know,
with the “quiet life of contemplation”,
as iconic as Shangri-La or Camelot.
We are desperate to make the pilgrimage,
to be infused with your serenity,
but we’re told the parking lot for 350 cars
is often filled by noon; the concrete wall
around the pond is lined three-deep with fishermen,
while nearby stands hawk snacks and souvenirs.

When you wrote, I love my fate
to the very core and rind,
we believed you
and we wanted a bite of that same melon.
Why did we have to consume it, seeds and all,
rip up the vines and poison the garden?

—Alice D’Alessio