Alison Townsend

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Alison Townsend (born Pennsburg, Pennsylvania) is an American poet.


She grew up in New York. She teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Her work has appeared in Calyx,[1] Clackamas Literary Review,[2] Fourth Genre, New Letters, The North American Review, and The Southern Review.

She is married and lives outside Madison, Wisconsin.[3][4]




  • Persephone in America. Southern Illinois University Press. 2009. ISBN 978-0-809328-96-3.
  • The Blue Dress: Poems. White Pine. 2003. ISBN 978-1-893996-61-8.
  • What The Body Knows. Parallel Press. 2002. ISBN 978-1-893311-25-1.
  • And Still The Music. Flume Press. ISBN 978-1-886226-12-8.(Flume Press chapbook prize winner, 2007).


  • Pamela Gemin, Paula Sergi, eds. (1999). Boomer girls: poems by women from the baby boom generation. University of Iowa Press. ISBN 978-0-87745-687-2.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)
  • Pamela Gemin, ed. (2003). Are You Experienced?: Baby Boom Poets at Midlife. University of Iowa Press. ISBN 978-0-87745-850-0.
  • Billy Collins, David Lehman, eds. (2006). The best American poetry, 2006. Scribner Poetry. ISBN 978-0-7432-5759-6.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)



The dilemma with this book is that every time I start to read it, I find myself putting it down to write—my own memories surfacing, requiring the light of paper to see. C.K. Williams says of memory in his poem “Lessons” from The Singing, “How even know in truth how much / of mind should be memory, no less / what portion of self should be others / rather than self?” Are our own truths, our own selves defined by our memories?[6]

Persephone in America (Southern Illinois University Press) is the latest book of poetry from Alison Townsend. It follows 2003’s The Blue Dress (White Pine) with more strong work that delves into the stressful state of womanhood and femininity in the United States today. It is beautiful poetry, but it is not a pleasant picture.[7]


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