Ellaraine Lockie

Ellaraine Lockie

Ellaraine Lockie lives in the San Francisco Bay area.  She writes poetry, nonfiction books and essays and has authored seven collections of poetry and two nonfiction books with a third forthcoming in 2011.

She has received eleven nominations for the Pushcart Prize, a fellowship from Summer Literary Seminars in Kenya and poetry residencies at Centrum in Port Townsend, WA, and the Mabel Dodge Luhan House in Taos, New Mexico.

Her poems and essays are widely published in journals and anthologies, including the Georgetown Review, The Eleventh Muse, New Plains Review, Prism Review, SLAB, the Mississippi Review, Mudfish, Homestead Review, Quiddity, Quercus, The Meadow, Thin Air and The Frogmore Papers.  She has received the Elizabeth R. Curry Prize from the University of Slippery Rock, the Lois Beebe Hayna Award from The Eleventh Muse, the One Page Poem Prize from the Missouri Writers' Guild, the Writecorner Press Poetry Award, the Skysaje Poetry Prize and the Dean Wagner Poetry Prize from the St. Louis Writers Guild, in addition to several hundred additional awards.

Lockie reads her work at poetry events and on radio shows nationwide.  She is a frequent judge of poetry contests and teaches workshops on both poetry and handmade papermaking for schools, libraries and special interest groups.

Blue Ribbons at the County Fair

(PWJ Publishing)

order here

A 63-page chapbook collection of first place prize-winning contest poems from PWJ Publishing that received a "Best Individual Collection" listing from Purple Patch in England. See reviews.

Sample poem -- Kay Snow Award from Williamette Writers


The jaw drops
after his last breath
The nurse says hold it shut
so it doesn't freeze fallen

And the eyes she says
Finger force them closed
Easier on the relatives
A living look
As though he's resting
in his beloved rose garden

We wrestle with the ring
Second-skin stuck on finger
Already curled in death claw
Rock hard but glass fragile
I wonder if it breaks
would blood still spurt
Not so nice for the relatives

We wash private parts
with warm water
Why warm I wonder
on a cold cadaver

The relatives won't know
And they won't see
the stiffened organ
Old age flaccidity
dilated in death
I wonder do I hold
that down too

The nurse says maybe
he's too lifelike now
But not alive enough
for the daughter
Who stares out the window
At the rose garden


Stroking David's Leg

(order here)

A chapbook collection of 36 poems inspired by the author's international travel.

Sample poem

An Act of Kindness

She is one of the women
who travels daily from her township
Singing in the back of a pick-up truck
with a chorus of others
Come to clean the rooms
in my B & B bordering Kruger Park

She sees me walking a path
parallel to the Crocodile River
I see her running toward me
Watch her fall to her knees before me
Close the lowest five button holes
that fashion the front of my
ankle-length straight skirt

She says something in Swati
Looks up at me as a lilac-blue blossom
drops from a jacaranda tree
And under the kindness of shade
she pats my calves

I can't interpret the words
but I can read her body language
There my dear
I've closed the open invitation
The accident that wrote itself
across your womanhood
I know this because here
no woman would walk
aware of bare thighs winking
between the weave of khaki

I help her up
Hold her hardened hands
Thank her by returning
the sunshine of her smile
And waddle like a knobbellied duck
back to my room where I segregate
the unbefitting skirt to a suitcase

Love in the Time of Electrons

(order here)

A chapbook collection of 18 poems about modern love via electronics, a finalist in the 2009 Pudding House Chapbook Competition.

Sample poem

Keeping It Alive

That animal with ravenous appetite
conceived in chemistry
So elusive we've never seen it
Just felt its hunger growl
Claws digging into bare thighs
Teeth pulling fleas from each other's past
Eventually and invariably grows old

Lies down in a field
as fervent as the slow swell of grass
Its spirit sleeps on the comfort of security
More earthly parts run wild in the bush
Chase anything that knows how to turn
words or hips into Cupid's arrows
that ricochet wounds into partners

The pattern is always the same
whether it's electrons that once flew back
and forth like balls snapped off a racket
But now drop out of the sky
in the circadian rhythm of a dairy
Or the calloused hands of a spouse rubbed smooth
by robot stroke of the same body
Looking for illicit hard labor to work a libido numb

Oh to be an African lion, its corporeal cousin
and to hear only the voice of instinct
That tyrant who intimidates the intellect
and senses with ultimatum
Simple words for survival uttered through
guttural sounds that drip saliva, semen and blood
Democracy of mind never exists here
No language for relationship or complexity
No deaths except as ultimate decomposition of cells
A simple process of separation

Finishing Lines


(Snark Publishing, 2005)

A 47-page collection of poems that examines endings of relationships, people, animals, cycles of life, the material things we acquire, and places, such as garage sales, backyards, museums, highways, hospitals, rest homes, wars, concentration camps, western prairies and New England in autumn.  See review quotes on Review page.

First edition is sold out.  Order second editions here:
Snark Publishing
637 W Hwy 50 #119
O'Fallon IL 62269
or here

Sample poem:

The Whipping Woman

The woman I hire to daughter my mother
makes bi-weekly visits to the dementia ward
Lies down beside the near-still waters

Accepts the mouth kisses wet with drool
From where gravelly words
dribble down washed-out gullies

Like a whipping boy she bears the brunt
of each face-to-face flagellation
that my rawhide flesh refuses

And for twenty dollars an hour I purchase
like the contraposition of a professional mourner
Substitution for services I can't supply

Crossing the Center Line


(Sweet Annie & Sweet Pea Review, 2002)

A 59-page chapbook collection about women's midlife years, Sweet Annie and Sweet Pea Press. See review quotes on Review page.

Out of print but can be ordered as a rare and collectible book at Alibris Rare and Collectible Books or at Between the Covers Rare Books

Sample poem:

Autumn's End

Green alters to Grand Canyon colors
in age-old October chemistry
of New England leaves
Chameleon change of life
Like the midway metamorphosis
en route to old age Where verdant clarity of youth
and variegated complexity
of early adulthood
Climax in full spectrum
of peak performance

I see me and a multitude
of menopausal sisters
Our hormones sucked out
by nature's straw
Chlorophyll leeched from our leaves
Leaving ruby orange amber splendor
that has been there all along

Some of us still gripping
boughs for security
Grasping bygone shades of green
that shift to bouts of blue
Indigo depressions that clash
with earth-tone beauty
And become brittle with fear
of forthcoming winter

Others of us float gracefully
to the ground grandmothering
into sunset colors
Or cluster in commiserating piles
Watching the balance of us
blow carefree in new-found freedoms
on fall's final breezes
Gilded in sunlit brilliance
of acceptance
We blaze into the inevitability
of autumn's end

Coloring Outside the Lines

(The Plowman, 2002)

A 44-page chapbook collection about illicit love, The Plowman, 2002. See review quotes on Review page.

Out of print but can be ordered as a rare and collectible book at Alibris Rare and Collectible Books or at Between the Covers Rare Books

Sample poem:


She's nude in the kitchen
Her solution to icing-spattered silk
When he walks through her
to grab a beer

Ghosts of an earlier time
when he'd do a double take
Drink the beer later

Lukewarm then
like their worn-out bodies
She craves that kind of power
Ability to flick a switch
and generate instant thermal energy
Spontaneous combustion

Until she became everyday invisible
Familiarity-fostered immunity
injected over years of routine
Dangerous as the disease
it was meant to prevent

An extramarital epidemic
as oblivious to him
as her immaculate clothes

The Paper Maker

(Collins & Brown, 2001)

Create beautiful paper in your own kitchen using the leftovers from fruit and vegetables. Simple to understand, easy to implement, and environmentally friendly.

The Gourmet Paper Maker

(Creative Publishing International, 2001)

A revolutionary yet simple technique for creating handmade papers made from inedible parts of fruits and vegetable fibers using common kitchen equipment.  Beautifully illustrated in color throughout.

Published under various titles in six countries.

Remaindered in the U. S. but can be ordered for $20, including postage, through the author.

Midlife Muse

Menopause is finally off the list of words whispered by our mothers.  The former tabooed time of life is encapsulated in this 20-page chapbook collection of poems.  Winner of the 2000 Poetry Forum Press Award.

Out of print.

Sample poem:


Exhilarating energy
Incredible calm
Belly laughs: July Fourth
Foreign for four
menopausal years

Now come in short bursts
Long enough to nerve-
twitch me active
After hibernation
in my selfish eggshell

I hatch slowly
Each day cracking
lost wonders
Ice cream and oatmeal
for breakfast
English for Chinese neighbors
Lunch with an editor
An afternoon rest home visit
A cat-in-heat night

Hello sunshine!
I'm 54 years old
at Disneyland
With the rest of my life
to take rides
I follow famous sisters
through Tomorrow Land

At 60 Colette opened
a beauty salon in Paris
Jackie O became a book editor
Margaret Meade said
The most creative force in the
world is a menopausal woman
with zest

You haven't seen anything yet
Margaret Meade

All Because of a Button

Folklore, Fact, and Fiction
illustrated by Heather Lockie

(St Johann Press, 2000)

An anecdotal 203-page hardback illustrated book reflecting the author's nine years of button research.  Would you suspect that buttons have been made out of blood, insects, gold-filled teeth, milk, beer or tigers' toes?  Or that buttons can be miniature works of art?  These are but a few of the fascinating facts and anecdotes about buttons, button people and button collecting that Ellaraine Lockie presents.  Stunning hand-drawn illustrations throughout by Heather Lockie.

Poetry Broadsides, Etc.

Mod Gods and Luggage Straps

A 13 x 19 inch art broadside released in a limited edition of 100 by BrickBat Revue in 2008.  Handmade paper by the poet using sisal and abaca and colored with a natural dye made from sunflower plants, Why sunflowers?  Because the poems were inspired by Italy, and sunflowers blanket the landscape in Tuscany at certain times of the year. Order here.

Bear's Paw Poems

A Shirt Pocket Book (one long page of poems folded into shirt-pocket size and illustrated as a book) of poems inspired by the poet's home state of Montana.

First edition sold out.  Order second edition copies for $1.00 from J. Glenn Evens, Shirt Pocket Books, 1100 University St. #17A, Seattle WA 98101


(Tiny books)

"Poets at Any Price" and "London Lodging"
Single-poem booklets, approximately 1 ½ inches x 1 ½ inches.  Distributed free by 24th Street Irregular Press, 1008 25th Street, Sacramento CA 95816


A long folded page of poems.  Order for $1 from Alpha Beat Press, 31 New Hope PA 18938

Creative Wedding Keepsakes

by Donna Keeler

Leisure Arts (May 2002)

A fourth of this hands-on craft book is authored by Ellaraine Lockie in a section of how to incorporate items from weddings and wedding-related events into handmade papers using leftover invitations, programs, menus, flowers, foliage, glitter, confetti, wraping paper, ribbon, lace, tulle and components of table centerpieces, favors and more.  Beautifully illustrated.




Blue Ribbons at the County Fair

Ellaraine is a true independent, unfazed by literary convention...She is one of the best, & Blue Ribbons at the County Fair is essential Lockie, worth twice the price.
-- Eric Greinke, Presa

Blue Ribbons at the County Fair is a fiercely beautiful and quietly angry collection rendered in language that is as rocky as the Montana landscape. It is highly recommended not only to those with an interest in contemporary women writers, but for readers who love the American West and are eager to read more from its talented, but often underrepresented, authors.
-- JoSelle Vanderhooft, The Pedestal Magazine

Her poems speak of times that have changed, relationships that have been lost, memories that have been tenaciously hoarded. These memories are like flowers pressed between the pages of a book; they are the book lyrically and exquisitely written -- a celebration of many years, many blue ribbons won at the county fair.
-- David Fraser, Ascent Aspirations

Lockie is a true poetic artist, painting the canvas with knowing words that have lived these honest, simple moments. . . Lockie's Blue Ribbons at the County Fair is chock full of smartly written, honest, and interesting poems.
-- Up the Staircase

Ms. Lockie has a sure, calm voice as she plumbs the mysteries of emotion and meaning arising in the course of everyday life and moments. . . All the stages of a person's life are here, recounted with care and humor. . .  And she's not kidding:  each of the 34 poems won a first-place prize somewhere (as well as being previously published one to eleven times).
-- Phil Wagner, The Iconoclast


Finishing Lines

The final line on Finishing Lines is that it s a thoroughly first rate, valuable piece of work.
-- Robert K. Johnson, Ibbetson Street

Finishing Lines by Ellaraine Lockie is an honest and compelling account of the end of the line . . . evocative, honest, and she doesn't pull her punches.  Lockie gives you the whole deal, warts and all.
-- Doug Holder, Ibbetson Press

Lockie's fourth book of poetry, Finishing Lines, reflects her refined grasp of language and form.
-- Charles Ries, Word Riot

Easy to be enthralled by this collection. Right away you feel as if you have stepped into the ring for a heavyweight prize fight as the powerful images contact you with the force of an uppercut...reading this collection is like going on a pubcrawl with an old friend. Some of the poems you quaff down like a pint of Guinness between dart games. Others you slowly cherish like the sip of a fine old single malt whiskey. But always you know that your friend is beside you to say the words that will be unarguable and rather comforting. The sequence of poems is well edited so that the themes and images take you through a process which ends optimistically. It is a wild ride, full of chuckles, tears and  a'has.
-- Tom Conroy, League of Laboring Poets


Crossing the Center Line

This is an excellent book of poetry...If you want an insight into the feminine mind, then there is no better place to start than here.
-- Amanda Morgan, Splizz 43, Wales

Collection crammed full of long, muscular poems -- unfailingly terse, disarmingly simple...and a good deal of expertise in her racing, crafted free-verse.
-- Anne MacLeod, Poetry Salzburg Review (Austria)

...thirty-four well-crafted and passionately eloquent poems.
-- Joseph Verrilli, Joe's Ragtime Review

Ellaraine Lockie is one of the rare poets who entertain as well as touch the reader...Observant wit, pain and total honesty are constant ingredients in Lockie's poems...It is impossible not to finish reading any poem by Ellaraine Lockie...a strong voice for women in a sea of male poetry.
-- Janet Kenny, Numbat Poetry Journal, Australia

This poet finds inspiration in all occurrences, events and sights, where others might be bored or lost; not she! ... (she) showcases her unique approach to words, making our ordinary language into something special.
-- Linda Hutton, Women in the Arts

For those of you expecting an image of a quiet, matronly woman rocking her way into that "good night," well look again.  The poems in this chap have a few bones to pick, and they go right down to the marrow.
-- Doug Holder, Ibbetson Street Press


Coloring Outside the Lines

...I've never been more forthrightly and devastatingly hit right between the eyes...Lots of sex here and Lockie's great at bringing it alive for you...nobody can do passionate encounters and exits better than Lockie.
-- Hugh Fox, Ibbetson St. Press

Collection crammed full of long, muscular poems -- unfailingly terse, disarmingly simple...and a good deal of expertise in her racing, crafted free-verse.
-- Anne MacLeod,  Poetry Salzburg Review (Austria)

Ellaraine Lockie is one of the rare poets who entertain as well as touch the reader...Observant wit, pain and total honesty are constant ingredients in Lockie's poems...It is impossible not to finish reading any poem by Ellaraine Lockie...a strong voice for women in a sea of male poetry.
-- Janet Kenny, Numbat Poetry Journal (Australia)

'Poetry is a counterfeit creation. . .'
Indeed this series of poems may be made up of  '...things that are not,' but, for sure, the 'things' are admirably employed...A proof that these poems are something more than the usual overly emotional style that often characterizes this genre.
-- Jones Av (Canada)

Coloring Outside the Lines is almost in the Erica Jong class, and one to keep.  How she got Plowman, a Ministry for Christ publisher, to publish her "Still wet with love sweat" poems, I don't know.
-- Giovanni Malito, Brobingnagian Times, (Ireland)

Be sure to catch this distinctive collection for its fierce examinations of womanhood and lust...
-- LB Sedlacek,  The Poetry Market Ezine

Maturity, mixed with some bittersweet memories of how things should have been, treated humorously...It's those ending lines that make the corners of a mouth turn upward.
-- Milton Kerr, Love's Chance

Such is the magic of Ellaraine Lockie's writing.  It is never disappointing.  The surprises just keep on coming.
-- Joseph Verrilli,  Shoes

Her words bring devastating clarity.  Ms. Lockie's words will move and shake you.
-- Lou Hertz, Nanny Fanny


Midlife Muse

Well-known prizewinning poet Ellaraine Lockie pulls no punches, relying on direct, adjective-free language that speaks to every reader, male or female.
-- Linda Hutton, Women in the Arts

Ms. Ellaraine Lockie certainly has a way with words; she is one of the most phonetically-convincing poets whose work it has been my pleasure to read.
-- Joseph Verilli, Joe's Ragtime Review

While not necessarily being a humorist, Ellaraine Lockie displays the fact that intelligence and light heartedness, within a link, make great survivor tools.
-- Milton Kerr, Love's Chance Magazine

Lockie's well constructed ponderings and observations are not unlike the onset of clarity that come to us all, as we move inch by inch into a more mature (and sometimes wiser) reality.
-- Liz Zorn, Mind's Eye Newsletter

These poems are very vivid and arresting descriptions...They are stories of lust, change and discomfort, but more, they are poems of fear, emptiness, loneliness, confusion, determination, vigor, bravery and love.
-- Johnathan Penton, Unlikely Stores:  A Collection of Literary Art

An unique book of poems. . . entertaining, humorous but have many deep and sobering messages and thoughts.  I truly enjoyed reading this book.  Well done!
-- Noel Henry, The Plowman Press