Titles Alpha by Author

Family Portrait: American Prose Poetry 1900-1950, Robert Alexander, ed., 2012

The House of Your Dream, Robert Alexander & Dennis Maloney, eds., 2008

Nothing to Declare,, Robert Alexander Eric Braun, & Debra Marquart, eds., 2015

Traffic, Jack Anderson, 1998

Reaching Out to the World, Robert Bly, 2009

Pretty, Kim Chinquee, 2010

All of Us, Elisabeth Frost, 2011

Magdalena, Maureen Gibbon, 2007

To Some Women I Have Know, Re'Lynn Hansen, 2015

Your Sun, Manny, Marie Harris, 1999

The Rusted City, Rochelle Hurt, 2014

Angles of Approach, Holly Iglesias, 2010

Light From An Eclipse, Nancy Lagomarsino, 2005

Moments Without Names, Morton Marcus, 2002

Whatever Shines, Kathleen McGookey, 2001

Northern Latitudes, Lawrence Millman, 2000

A Handbook for Writers, Vern Rutsala, 2004

The Angel of Duluth, Madelon Sprengnether, 2006

Bright Advent, Robert Strong, 2017

The Blue Dress, Alison Townsend, 2003

Postage Due, Julie Marie Wade, 2013

The Marie Alexander Poetry Series

The Blue Dress

by Alison Townsend

Pages: 144
ISBN (Trade paper):

Read an excerpt
(pdf file)

• Purchase from
White Pine Press:

In this quiet, clear-eyed collection, Townsend meditates on loss—childhood bereavement, depression, divorce—to arrive at the realization that it is through loss that we come to possess some of life's most profound gifts.

About the Author

Alison Townsend is the author of two books of poetry, Persephone in America, which won the Crab Orchard Open Poetry Competition (Southern Illinois University Press, 2009), and The Blue Dress (White Pine Press, 2003; second edition, 2008), which received an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Wisconsin Library Association. She also has two limited edition chapbooks, And Still the Music (Flume Press prize winner, 2007), and What the Body Knows (Parallel Press, 2002). Her poetry and creative nonfiction appear widely, in journals such as Crab Orchard Review, Margie, Rattle, Arts & Letters, Fourth Genre and Southern Review. She has won many awards, including a Pushcart Prize, publication in Best American Poetry, airing on Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac and literary fellowships from the Wisconsin Arts Board and the Virginia Center for the Arts, among others. She teaches English, creative writing and women's studies at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. A walker, hiker, and gardener, she lives with her husband on four acres of prairie and oak savanna in the farm country outside Madison. She is currently working on two projects, This is the Scent of Always, a memoir in the form of interrelated personal essays, and Mapping Home Ground, a collection of lyric essays meditating on place and the role that the natural world plays in our lives, our memories, and our imaginations.


"This is an utterly beautiful book. I donít know how to say it better than that. Townsend takes the memories of her life—losses, victories, the treasures and the thrownaway—and renders them into unforgettable and lasting art."
—Vince Gotera, North American Review

"The Blue Dress, is a quietly ambitious collection of verse and prose that, through a series of declarative gestures, sculpts the distant and not so distant past into a delicate though decidedly unsentimental shape. One of Townsend's strengths as a storyteller is her ability to dramatize the depths of honest feeling while entirely avoiding sentimental or melodramatic methods of manipulation. The poems in The Blue Dress demonstrate her unwavering dedication to the vast field of ordinary moments that constitute the emotional landscape of our lives."
—Tony Leuzzi, Double Room

"The Blue Dress is filled with a capacious, multi-faceted, and above all, physical knowledge. That the life of the body is both our vulnerability and
—Jane Hirshfield

"The project of Alison Townsend's poetry is to chart a course through the deepest of losses—to attempt some safe passage through a lifetime's erasures. Intimate, warm, and observant, this book involves us in the inscription of a life."
—Mark Doty

"Alison Townsend's articulation of sorrows has always cast an aura, of beauty, and deepest, truest instruction. I've always, instinctively, moved toward it, have always missed it when it was absent. Delicate pieces of memory, mood, and self—self examining itself—of hope and despair, of crystalline light shining through "grief solid as a rock," the seemingly unsayable grief of a mother's death... in The Blue Dress, Alison Townsend says it."
—Sharon Doubiago

 www.mariealexanderseries.com  .  mariealexandereditor@gmail.com