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Perie Longo (June-July)

-Poems by Perie Longo

  Perie Longo (June-July)
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Perie Longo
June-July 2016

Photo by Captured Spirit Photography


Perie Longo sets out to do nothing less than ‘embrace all that is strange’. She is a singer in the Whitmanian mode, a universalist philosophizing, combining personal legend with national history, drawing birds and trees and rivers, family and students, childhood braveries and adult woes, into a variegated, ongoing flow…The sheer vitality of existence, in tragic and celebratory uses, serves as Perie Longo’s subject matter, but it is voice and words that console, center, and dazzle both poet and reader.

                                                Barry Spacks, Santa Barbara’s First Poet Laureate (2005-07)


         Born in Cincinnati Ohio, raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and daughter of a poet-writing Zoologist father, when Perie moved with her family from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara in 1969, one of the first places she visited with her step-children was the Museum of Natural History. Those visits continued at least monthly with her own children, Dana and Cecily with whom she shared her love of the natural world. When her daughter was two years old, one day she insisted on going to the “Hastamoo Histamoo”, which we call the museum to this day, to see all the “futtering fwock of birds way up high.” I can’t wait to play a part in transcribing the beauty, peace, history of our area, and fascination of the exhibits into poetry for the Centennial celebration.   


         Perie Longo, Poet Laureate of Santa Barbara (2007-09) has authored four books of poetry, Milking the Earth, The Privacy of Wind, With Nothing behind but Sky: a journey through grief, and Baggage Claim. Her poems have been published in numerous literary journals and anthologies including Askew, Atlanta Review, Breathe: 101 Contemporary Odes, California Quarterly, Connecticut Review, International Poetry Review, Nimrod, The Paterson Literary Review, Poet Lore, Prairie Schooner, Passager, Quercus Review, Rattle, Solo, and Wisconsin Review. Her dedication poem for the Douglas Family Preserve in Santa Barbara is carved in stone on the property. As poetry chair for the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, she is dedicated to furthering peace worldwide through the writing of poetry. In 2005 she was invited to the University of Kuwait to speak on “Poetry as a Pathway to Peace.” She has been featured on the Charles Osgood radio show as well as The Huffington Post for her work as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Registered Poetry Therapist.


         Her teaching career includes University of California Los Angeles, Antioch University in Santa Barbara, Brooks Institute, Santa Barbara City College and currently the Arts and Healing program at UC Los Angeles. She has been a poet-in residence at many local schools through California-Poets-in-the-Schools and teaches poetry privately as well as being on the literary staff of the national Santa Barbara Writers’ Conference for many years  Each summer she leads a two day poetry seminar in Santa Barbara.


         Active in the National Association for Poetry Therapy for several years, she has served as Executive Director and President, as well as a long-time mentor/supervisor for certification in this field. In 1998 she received their “Outstanding Achievement Award.” In 1999 she was the keynote speaker for their annual conference, giving a talk titled “Gathered Around the Heart of the Fire” and in 2004 she was given the “Distinguished Service Award.” She has published several articles on the effectiveness of Poetry Therapy in The Journal of Poetry Therapy and The Therapist. In 2012, she received the Woman of Achievement Award from the Santa Barbara Chapter of Women in Communication. Her greatest pleasure is helping others discover their poetic voices and is frequently asked to present workshops nationally as well as locally.


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