A transplanted New Yorker, Judy Kronenfeld first came West for graduate school at Stanford, where she received a Ph.D. in English. She returned to writing poetry—her childhood love—a decade after completing her education.  She is the author of two chapbooks and three books of poetry. Her most recent book of poems is Shimmer (WordTech Editions, 2012). Her previous collection, Light Lowering in Diminished Sevenths (The Litchfield Review Press, 2008), won The Litchfield Review Poetry Book Prize for 2007.  Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Journal, Calyx, Cimarron Review, Natural Bridge, The Pedestal, Poetry International, Spoon River Poetry Review, and The Women’s Review of Books, among other journals, as well as in over a dozen anthologies including Beyond Forgetting: Poetry and Prose about Alzheimer’s Disease (Kent State University Press, 2009); and Love over 60: An Anthology of Women's Poems (Mayapple Press, 2010).  Her more occasional stories, creative nonfiction and reviews have appeared in WomenWriters: A Zine, Literary Mama, Under the Sun, Inlandia: A Literary Journey, Chelsea, and Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, among other places. She is also the author of a critical study, KING LEAR and the Naked Truth (Duke, 1998). She has taught English literature at UC Riverside, UC Irvine and Purdue University, and is now Lecturer Emerita, Dept. of Creative Writing, University of California, Riverside. Judy Kronenfeld is on the Publications Committee of the Inlandia Institute, and an Associate Editor of the online poetry magazine, Poemeleon. She lives in Riverside with her anthropologist husband; they are parents of two and grandparents of four—all on the East coast. 



Your father doesn't have a soft word for me,
 mother says at 85.

And I think how hard
her wedge of words, soldiers all, pressing
their old offensive position,
of how fiercely we want
what we neither give
nor deserve,

of how we might live our whole
lives without it--all fault
of our own--and still desire it, still desire
that sense of the world reining in
its force and its terror, and attending
to us--

            as silk slip of cornstarch studies
            the pads of thumb and forefinger

            as newly velveted water says
            to the entering body,
            you are beautiful, you, you

            as snow pear petals
            raining down
            in a balmy wind
            astonish the cheek,
            saying hush, hush,
            no cause, no cause.

From “Sbimmer”


I saw it, mid-walk with the dog,
towering, spiky-leaved,
and could not think
of its name, a name
even more beautiful
than the tree—and that nothingness
like fog, pressed against
my eyes; a curtain
of thick gray gauze annulled
the dazzling world.
But, over the tip
of my tongue, a tiny, teasing,
invisible angel, emissary of that
glory, wings beating fast
as a hummingbird’s, hovered.

And made me think
made me think
then diverted me with
false aralia, before rewarding me
            sweet gum
but not the name I longed for,
until three long blocks to my
door, when the angel became
an iridescent bird poking
her wand into the burning
roses and the fog
in my mouth melted
like spun sugar

First published in Natural Bridge


The air quivers again
and swoops, scintillates
glinting like flashes
from a spinning
prayer wheel

and the neck stretches up
for the rush in it, the fluster,
the flare—

The wandering mind
hangs its hat on the hushed
notes studding
the telephone wires, settled
like folded black umbrellas

until one, then two, four,
grapple straight up
an air wall—oh grand plans—
and ripple away—

and the gaze ascends, as if
through the crystalline
spheres, to where 
in the high cloudless sky
black specks like bits
of burnt paper—like the remnants
of a life’s complexities swept
from a fire—rise and circle,
calmly weave and float.

First published in Connotation Press


Judy Kronenfeld


Shimmer by Judy Kronenfeld



2012 Judy Kronenfeld

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