Seattle-based Writer, Author, Poet, Writing Teacher

Priscilla Long

University of New Mexico Press, 2015.

Samuel Green, Inaugural Poet Laureate of Washington state, says of Crossing Over:

“In bridge-engineering lingo,” the note to one of these poems tells us,  “the ‘dead load’ is the weight of the bridge itself. The ‘live load’ is the weight of traffic crossing the bridge,” and this is a poet obsessed with bridges and crossings, as the title of the collection implies: chaos to order; grief to acceptance; solitude to connection; confusion to understanding; life to death; past to present; dark to light—themes as old as poetry. Quoting Wilder, she says, “the bridge is love.” Perhaps. But love as a noun is just the ‘dead load.’ It’s love supported by the imagination that becomes the ‘live load’ here, fully aware that the… Continue reading

This review of The Beauty of the Husband: A Fictional Essay in 29 Tangos by Anne Carson appeared in The Women’s Review of Books, Vol. 19, No. 1 (October 2001).

Anne Carson’s seventh book, The Beauty of the Husband: A Fictional Essay in 29 Tangos is a poem about an erotic relationship that proceeds from adolescent fixation to post-divorce continuing fixation. Carson is a classical scholar as well as a poet, and her intense and synthesizing erudition, here brought to bear on the subject of desire, is partly what makes her such a thrilling read. She moves easily from Duchamp to Degas to Demeter, the mythical mother who, like the mother here, is dead set against her daughter’s disastrous fling with Hades. In… Continue reading

This review of Working the Garden: American Writers and the Industrialization of Agriculture by William Conlogue appeared in Technology and Culture Vo. 44, No. 2 (2003), 421-422.

During the past century, American food production has undergone a radical transformation as the family farm has given way to industrial agriculture – to farm as factory.  Working in the Garden walks the reader through the transformation – and its technological, social, philosophical, and ecological effects — by comparing historical actualities with visions of industrial agriculture in novels such as Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath and Jane Smiley’s A Thousand Acres.  William Conlogue argues that our national literature has both envisioned industrial agriculture and provided metaphorical hand grenades in battles and social upheavals accompanying its ascendancy.

Conlogue is no Luddite, but… Continue reading

This review of The Lives of the Saints by Suzanne Paola appeared in The Women’s Review of Books Vol. 20, No. 12  (September 2003), 11.

Suzanne Paola’s grim, visionary third book of poems speaks in multiple voices about morality, faith, nature, human nature, and science in the age of the Human Genome Project. The characters (these are mostly persona poems) range from the medieval anorexic St. Catherine of Siena to Patient No. 6, victim of the 1940s Human Radiation Experiment in which scientists at the University of Rochester injected uranium into human subjects to investigate the results. In The Lives of the Saints, sacrifice is what binds the medieval world of the old saints to the Atomic Age. Images flash strobe-like from religious to scientific, from “Jerome/turning restlessly on… Continue reading

“Mrs. Morrissey” appeared in The Raven Chronicles, Vol. 11, No. 1 (2004 ), 62-64.

Rosalie Morrissey had never robbed anyone before.  Oh, as a girl in the 1930s she’d snitched Padraic’s marbles, one at a time, and kept a nice stash.  And once, she and Paddy had pilfered quarters from their father’s change purse.  They’d run down 40th Street with their loot and bought Blue Bunny Ice Cream Sandwiches from the Durn Good Grocer.  Her old friend Mary Rothstein, who’d died of breast cancer last year, shoplifted all her life and boasted about it to anyone.  Mary had purloined her entire wardrobe, gaudy and mismatched as it was.  She used to laugh and say she never understood why anyone would pay for… Continue reading

By Priscilla Long

“Living for Robert” appeared in The Chaffin Journal (2008), 145-156.

In this house, books are everywhere. Books are stacked on the floor, stacked on the couch, stacked on the captain’s desk Robert purchased at such expense. Derrida, Adorno, Lukacs, Lacan, etcetera. Piles and towers of books list toward the front window as if they were longing for a peek at those big old sycamore trees out on Woodlawn Street. Half these books are overdue. I don’t blame my husband. Robert can’t work unless surrounded by books. Not only his own books, but just many other books checked out of the library, 486 books to be exact. I plan to return and renew them today, each and every one, despite the recent events. Why shouldn’t I, since this… Continue reading

By Priscilla Long

This story appeared in Dalhousie Review Vol. 89, No, 3 (January 2009).

A man and a woman stand ten feet apart, looking at each other. They stand in the shadow of the north approach of the Aurora Bridge, within the weed-and-dogpoop yard of a bungalow clad in asphalt tile. This is in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle. The man holds three dogs on a three-dog leash. These are an Australian Shepherd, a black standard poodle, and a big mongrel with overtones of German shepherd and lab. The man looks like he belongs to the dogs, which he does, and he looks like he’s about fifty years old, which he is. The woman, who is actually older than she looks, leans on an aluminum tripod cane. She stands… Continue reading

By Priscilla Long

“I have never seen anything quite like Priscilla Long’s book…. It presents a true alternative for the advanced writer.” —Maya Sonenberg

Wallingford Press. Pub Date July 1, 2010;  ISBN: 978-0-9842421-o-8; $18.95

The Writer’s Portable Mentor is available from the usual online venues and can also be obtained in a very timely manner from The Elliott Bay Book Co.’s fast and efficient mailorder service

Accolades and Reviews
A well-organized and immensely helpful guide for writers at all levels to jump-start their creativity, refine their work, and approach the realm of virtuosos.” — Shelf Awareness

The Writer’s Portable Mentor should be required reading for any working writer.” —Scott Driscoll, award-winning Seattle journalist.

“I think The Writer’s Portable Mentor is the best writing instruction I have used,… Continue reading

By Priscilla Long

“An intense and accomplished social history.” —Christopher Hitchens, New York Newsday

Paragon Press, Hardcover, 1989; paperback, 1991, ISBN 1-55778-465-5.

Accolades and Reviews

“A captivating account of one of the most dramatic and influential periods in the industrial history of the U.S. Highly recommended.” —Choice

“The style is brisk and appealing…a wonderfully human story….One of those rare works that asks and answers important questions about who we are as creatures of our invention and as a nation, and how we got to this point.” —Barbara Kingsolver, Women’s Review of Books

“Reads almost like a novel at times.”—Pennsylvania Magazine

“Both scholarly and unusually well-written, the story moves along at a good pace while not compromising the standards of acute historical analysis.”—E. P. Thompson, author of The Making… Continue reading