poem in first Yellow Chair Review anthology





she seeks truth in a boy’s flesh

he has none

nothing promised

nothing given

nothing subtle nor redemptive

a flame between her eyes

fire at the tip of a spotted nose

burning bush splinters and ash

disconsolate night gives birth to fate


ancient house of cactus and brick

she howls there in the shadows

a starved dog on a hot night

dystopia present tense and here to stay

decay accumulates with every breath

nothing borrowed and nothing new

honest blues buried in the back yard

a stone grave

a brass bowl

an angel carved from a dead tree

her self caught in bad retro porn

The Devil in Miss Jones

no satisfaction to be had

grace and wisdom another myth


the only truth found in a drunk tattoo

ugly monkey

frog beauty

frantic ache

sad tequila spit of rain across her face

language no more her gorgeous cloud

no mermaid symphony

no siren song

no wild sweet echoing in the dusk

gentle oasis gone dry too damned fast

his warm flesh now snow cold soon old

a foul shadow left behind to tantalize

time chained and drunk in a pine cave

universe dancing to night’s song




In 2014, Donna Snyder released two books of poetry, Poemas ante el Catafalco: Grief and Renewal (Chimbarazu Press) and I Am South (Virgogray Press). NeoPoiesis Press will publish The Tongue Has Its Secrets in 2016. She coordinates free weekly workshops for the Tumblewords Project, which she founded in 1995.

Order Yellow Chair Review Anthology

Three Questions for Poet Donna Snyder from Miriam’s Well

Thank you, Miriam Sagan, for including this interview of me in your series found at Miriam’s Well.


Miriam's Well: Poetry, Land Art, and Beyond


What is your personal/aesthetic relationship to the poetic line? That is, how do you understand it, use it, etc.

Aside from childhood efforts, I began writing poetry in my early 30s, without any academic training. I was an obsessive lap swimmer, and my line length tended to be similar in length, read aloud as my natural breath. I soon became aware of the use of lines to emphasize specific words and images. Later, my line breaks began to signal both punctuation and continuation. My writing is innately rhythmic, likely influenced by performing my poetry with a band of musicians, artist, and performance poets from the West Texas/Northern Chihuahua/Southern New Mexico border region.

Do you find a relationship between words and writing and the human body? Or between your writing and your body?

The connection between my body and my poetry is multilayered. I tend to write in an uncalculated…

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Allen Parmenter’s review of Poemas ante el Catafalco: Grief and Renewal in Red Fez

Allen Parmenter’s review of Poemas ante el Catafalco:  Grief and Renewal in Red Fez

“One reads of dyings and deaths, and feels all the world’s spoken, sung, and written speech has streamed into Spanglish, in time for Donna Snyder to respond to it all.”

Jillian Parker’s review of Poemas ante el Catafalco: Grief and Renewal in Spectral Lyre


illustration used in Spectral Lyre review

Self Portrait on the Borderline between Mexico and the United States by Frida Kahlo

Fronteriza (a review of Donna Snyder’s upcoming book)

Speak to me in Spanish. I’ll hear all vowels and no consonants. I’ll understand all nouns and no verbs, miss the plot but grasp the emotion.

To read a poem by Donna Snyder is to be transported to a variegated and vivid neighborhood of ideas.

This is a place which could not strictly be located within a geography text, because it has emerged within a community of languages, cultures, flavors, textures and creative expressions that exists along the border-lands between the United States and Mexico, and from the Celtic consciousness of a fiery red-head.

I first became acquainted with the work of Donna Snyder when she was known in online writing circles as “Fronteriza,” which seems a fitting way to describe a poet, advocate, and activist who has extended herself as a bridge between languages, cultures, and genders for many years. Her writing is populated by visionary imagery and thoughts that are bi-cultural at the very least.

Here is Donna in her own voice, in an excerpt from her latest book, Poemas ante el Catafalco: Grief and Renewal:

My two Diegos

There on the shelf beneath the blue glass bottles,
an altar to Santa Frida la dolorisima,
one of my special saints. She has left her mark on me,
imbued me with a certain mexicanidad.
She was rebel and rabble rouser, contraventional,
the surrealist in my woodshed.
Her blood runs in my veins,
her corazón visible and pierced
como San Sebastian, un venado espinado.
Her spirit is in me.

Having had the honor of a familiarity with Donna’s writing for a number of years, I can affirm that this is so. The spirit of Frida Kahlo lives on in the words of a woman who may very well be a living Sybil, while she is also a resident of El Paso, Texas.

In her latest collection, Donna brings us the fruits of a season of great sadness in her own life: she lost her husband, the painter Mario Colin, in 2013.

Hovering over my copy of Poemas ante el Catalfalco, I found myself deeply immersed in her emotional journey, and was struck by the potency of the words with which she mourns her losses, and yet embraces what may come. I provide some quotes below:

To Titian’s Ariadne

My body twists and turns in naked sorrow,
my love gone on his strange and lonesome journey,
without me.


Without purposeful intention

Now memory of red grows like weeds
between every thought. I learn to breathe,
and breathing learns my life.
It’s a vertical exposure
between here and the void.

According to Night Wing Publications,Donna Snyder publishes work in literary journals and anthologies throughout the United States and on-line, and has presented readings in Sitka, Alaska, Boston, New York City, Denver, and throughout New Mexico and Texas. In 2015, NeoPoiesis Press will publish her book, Three Sides of the Same Moon. She is currently working on a poetry collection for Slough Press. VirgoGray Press published her chapbook, I Am South, in 2010, due to be reissued in the coming year. Snyder is co-editor for poetry for Return to Mago, an international webzine. For Unlikely Books, she served as fiction editor of an anthology of international underground literature, Unlikely Stories of the Third Kind and edited I Can Sing Fire, a poetry chapbook by Anne Lombardo Ardolino. Snyder’s work as an activist lawyer advocating on behalf of indigenous people, immigrant workers, and people with disabilities has garnered widespread recognition.

Poemas ante el Catafalco: Grief and Renewal is scheduled to be released on September 18, 2014 by Chimbarazu Press.

Posted by Jillian Parker