Lois Roma-Deeley

Poet. Editor. Educator.

Praise for The Short List of Certainties

It’s been a long time since a collection has so affected me. Whether she is writing of our twisted relational lives (see for instance the heartbreaking “In the Middle of the Morning a Wish Rises”), of her own seemingly innate sense that something’s wrong, Roma-Deeley writes with that curious blend of authority and self-doubt that marks our best poets. Ultimately, and reassuringly, she finds the affirmation that sustains her through it all; as her title poem urges, “having courage, let us write a word or phrase on the short list of certainties something that sounds very much like praise.” Which is just what she does in this tour de force.
~Sydney Lea, author of twelve collections of poetry, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, former Vermont Poet Laureate.


The Big Dipper points somewhere/​I just might have to go writes poet Lois Roma-Deeley, early in her new collection of poems, and not only the narrator, but all readers are, quite suddenly, on their way to many somewheres, many geographies and states of mind and heart. Certainties in this book: there’s a price we pay for being alive, for staying awake, for noticing pain and suffering and damage wherever we might find it. Certainties in this book: we must pay attention to key relationships, we must judge ourselves as ruthlessly as we judge others. Certainties in this book: beauty matters, love matters, sisters matter, paying attention to the world, its tragedies and kindnesses, matters. Read The Short List of Certainties and consider the riches these poems have to offer.
~Deborah Keenan, author of eleven collections of poetry, and from tiger to prayer, a collection of writing ideas from broadcraft press.

In her award-winning new book, Lois Roma-Deeley brings us to the threshold of difficult questions: what can we do in a world that seems increasingly bereft, in a world where supplication does not seem to bring relief or grace? The poems in The Short List of Certainties do not promise glib or easy answers. What they do is take readers deep into a necessary interior journey— one which requires the attention of all the senses as well as the willingness to enter the country of vulnerability. Here we are asked to let go of rigid notions of what it means to be human. We are invited to “[walk as if] into the wind, uphill, without a map.” In these honest poems, poetry can be seen to “[work] without pity,/​ peeling back the thin skin/​of …tender flesh,/​ cracking the bone, pounding the breast.” But for all that, the poet never once leaves us. She accompanies us every step of the way, reassuring us that this work of deep questing is the only way back to insight and understanding—thereby affirming that “the human heart is plain but it is not simple.” ~ Luisa A. Igloria, author of Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser (2014 May Swenson Prize)


Praise for Lois Roma-Deeley

It’s been a long time since a collection has so affected me. Whether she is writing of our twisted relational lives ...of her own seemingly innate sense that something’s wrong, Roma-Deeley writes with that curious blend of authority and self-doubt that marks our best poets. Ultimately, and reassuringly, she finds the affirmation that sustains her through it all; as her title poem urges, “having courage, let us write a word or phrase on the short list of certainties something that sounds very much like praise.” Which is just what she does in this tour de force. ~Sydney Lea, author of twelve collections of poetry, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, former Vermont Poet Laureate.
"It's taut, tough, in your face and orchestrates like a mad symphony of howls and laughters and blues, blues, blues, that burn to read. It's clean, crisp, starlight fire, that'll lead you back to your life purpose and make you rethink and reshape your view of life." --Jimmy Santiago Baca
"These poems are tough, brave, but also hold an almost physical balance against human suffering."--Norman Dubie
"That is the trouble with American poets these days --they have forgotten how to entertain the reader. The result is that almost no one reads poetry these days because it isn't fun any more. That's why running across someone like Lois Roma-Deeley is so satisfying."--Lewis Turco, Hollins Critic

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