Danusha Laméris is an American poet, raised in Northern California, born to a Dutch father and Barbadian mother. Her first book, The Moons of August (Autumn House, 2014), was chosen by Naomi Shihab Nye as the winner of the Autumn House Press Poetry Prize and was a finalist for the Milt Kessler Award. Her most recent collection, Bonfire Opera, (University of Pittsburgh Press, Pitt Poetry Series, 2020), recently won the 2021 Northern California Book Award in Poetry and was a finalist for the 2021 Paterson Poetry Award. Some of her work has been published in The Best American Poetry, The New York Times, The American Poetry Review, The Gettysburg Review, Prairie Schooner, Ploughshares, and Orion. The recipient of the 2020 Lucille Clifton Legacy Award, Danusha has taught poetry independently since 2006. She founded The Hive Poetry Collective, a radio show, podcast and event hub in Santa Cruz, CA, where she was the 2018-2020 Poet Laureate. She is currently at work on a collection of nature essays.
Thoughts on Workshop: We are gathered here because we love poems and poetry. And that matters. It matters that we truly love what language can do, and love transmitting it to others.
Poetry is about taking in the world, the whole experience of being human, and distilling that experience down to something that can be taken in and re-experienced by another person.
Craft-wise, we grow from reading great poems—and also from taking risks. Which means we need an environment of support and encouragement. It’s vulnerable to take risks.
Every poet can learn to write stronger poems. It’s about craft, and dedication. Not just some amorphous and innate thing like talent.