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SHJ Issue 18
Spring 2018

Dear Shakespeare

by Rosa Lane

Your Twelfth Night saved my life retold from Bandello’s tale. Almost
four centuries later, I survived the wreck, swam ashore. Wild
sea bending I clung to a timber of light. I was somewhere
near fifteen, transitioning to twin: first, disguised as water
shaped by unrelenting land, eddying & blinking a set of stars
in April. & second, found by my father, your Captain (thank you
for him). He spotted me wandering an arc of sand
in a small native inlet when he filled my young mother
with salt & her hair glittered with those same blinking stars
the same ones that make me each April. I was born Cesario,
& Olivia, in my case, a butcher’s daughter
(and thank you also for her). In secret, she made me out
in boy’s clothing when I haply became my disguise
just as you wagered. Her mouth a bell, her tongue sliding
a groove of snow, my body sounding its casted die, the die I first lived.


—Honorable Mention, the Steve Kowit Poetry Prize 2017; first published in the San Diego Poetry Annual 2017-18 (Garden Oak Press, February 2018) and appears here with permissions from the publisher and the poet


SHJ Issue 18
Spring 2018

Rosa Lane

is a poet, architect, and author of three poetry collections: Chouteau’s Chalk, winner of the 2017 Georgia Poetry Prize and forthcoming in February 2019 from the University of Georgia Press; Tiller North (Sixteen Rivers Press, 2016), winner of the 2017 National Indie Excellence Award and the Sixteen Rivers 2014 Manuscript Competition; and Roots and Reckonings, a chapbook (Granite Press, East, 1980). Her work was recently named as a finalist for the 2017 Joy Harjo Poetry Award and as a finalist for the 2018 Edna St. Vincent Millay Prize.

Her poems are forthcoming or have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Cutthroat, Folio, New South, Nimrod, Ploughshares, Poetry Now, RHINO Poetry, Slippery Elm, Sugar House Review, The Briar Cliff Review, Tishman Review, Verse Daily, and elsewhere.

In addition to an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College (1982), Lane earned a Masters degree (1989) and a PhD (2006) in sustainable architecture from UC Berkeley. She has participated as guest poet at Leslie University and Ashland University MFA Creative Writing Programs, and has taught at Berkeley City College, UC Berkeley, and Southeast University (Nanjing, China).

A native of coastal Maine, with familial and ancestral roots steeped in lobster fishing, Lane works as an architect and divides her time between coastal Maine and the San Francisco Bay Area, where she lives with her wife.

Author’s website:

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury