Our interview with Alice D’Alessio barely scratched the surface of her varied, creative life. Here’s some more of what we learned about her background and poetic activities.
Following graduation from Allegheny College (BA in English), she worked for Esquire Magazine in NYC; married and spent the next fifteen or so years raising 3 boys, going to baseball and basketball games and moving with her husband as he completed medical training: NYC, Madison, WI, Kansas City, Chicago and Madison again. Divorced and remarried.
She worked as an editor/marketer/publicist for various non-profits: University, Public TV, and eventually a job as Corporate Communications Director for a large architectural firm (advertising, publicity, newsletter, etc.) for 11 years. Spent last years till retirement as editor to the Dean of Letters and Scienceat the UW Madison.
She always thought of herself as a writer - writing great novels, etc. but somehow not doing it. Then she discovered herself writing poetry about 30 years ago and after taking a class from Ron Wallace at the UW, and taking her first week at the Clearing with Norb Blei, became hooked. Their encouragement was critical; then came the first publications. From about 2000 on, I’ve had a steady if small number of publications in little magazines - Avocet, Albatross, Aurorean (she apparently started with the “A’s “) - plus Wisconsin Academy Journal, Fox Cry Review, the Kerf, Common Ground Review, After Hours, Earth’s Daughters, Free Verse. She also has poems in a number of anthologies - including Ralph Murre’s Bar Code, and A Slender Thread.
She was writing a lot of nature poems, so Norb suggested that she do a book of tree poems, which he published at Cross Roads Press (A Blessing of Trees) and it turned out to be a winner - of the Posner Prize (Council for Wisconsin Writers) for best book of poetry published in 2004; following that Earth’s Daughters awarded her chapbook Days We are Given a first place in their 2009 chapbook contest. In 2012, the University of Wisconsin Press published Conversations With Thoreau. She’s currently working on a new book which she spent a week working on at the Clearing.
She claims that if she weren’t technically challenged, she’d get a lot more poetry written, as she spends a lot of time fighting with computers and is bad at submitting, and almost useless on social media.
She writes both narrative and lyric poems on a wide range of topics. Lots of family poems, many nature poems, a large group of what she calls “apocalyptic” poems of doom and gloom as well as a bit of the more light-hearted.
To hear the episode that features Alice as well as poems from Ted Kooser and James Laughlin, click here.