Sandra McPherson

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Sandra Jean McPherson (born August 2, 1943) is an American poet.

Born in San Jose, California, McPherson received her B.A. at San José State University, and studied at the University of Washington, with Elizabeth Bishop and David Wagoner. She considers her "literary mothers" to be Elizabeth Bishop, Carolyn Kizer, and Adrienne Rich.

She has taught at the Iowa Writer's Workshop, the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, Haystack Portland State University, University of California at Berkeley Spring 1981 or 1982 as Roberta Holloway Visiting Lecturer, and the Art of the Wild Conference. She is a Professor Emerita at the University of California at Davis.[1] Having been a featured poet on the poetry circuits of Ohio, Kentucky, and Connecticut, she has also read in most states: Washington D.C., Louisiana, Georgia, Indiana, Utah, Texas, Iowa, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Florida, Delaware, Virginia, Arkansas, Alabama, and California.

Her father, Walt McPherson, was head basketball coach at San Jose State and commissioner of the West Coast Athletic Conference.[2][3]


Ploughshares[dead link][edit]


  • Elegies for the Hot Season, Indiana University Press (Bloomington), 1970
  • Radiation, Ecco Press (New York City), 1973.
  • The Year of Our Birth, Ecco Press, 1978.
  • Sensing, Meadow Press (San Francisco), 1980.
  • Patron Happiness, Ecco Press, 1983.
  • Pheasant Flower, Owl Creek Press (Missoula, MT), 1985.
  • Floralia, illustrations by Claire Van Vliet, Janus Press (Portland, OR), 1985.
  • Responsibility for Blue, Trilobite Press (Denton, TX), 1985.
  • At the Grave of Hazel Hall, Ives Street Press (Sweden, ME), 1988.
  • Streamers, Ecco Press, 1988.
  • Designating Duet, Janus Press (West Burke, VT), 1989.
  • The God of Indeterminacy, University of Illinois Press, 1993.
  • Edge Effect: Trails and Portrayals, University Press of New England (Hanover, NH), 1996.
  • The Spaces between Birds: Mother/Daughter Poems, 1967–1995, University Press of New England, 1996.
  • Beauty in Use, Janus Press, 1997.
  • "A Visit to Civilization", Wesleyan, 2002.
  • "Handmade Definition of Obscurity", Janus, 2005 (a broadside).
  • "Expectation Days", Illinois, 2007.
  • "Certain Uncollected Poems", Ostrakon, 2012.
  • "Outline Scribe", Ostrakon, 2015.
  • "The Danger Is", Salmon Poetry Press, 2018


  • Journey from Essex: Poems for John Clare, Graywolf Press (Port Townsend, WA), 1981.
  • The Pushcart Prize XIV: Best of the Small Presses, 1989-90, (with Bill Henderson and Laura Jensen), Pushcart Press (Wainscott, NY), 1989.
  • "Swan Scythe Press", (Davis, CA), founder and editor, 1999-2011.
  • Poetry Editor, California Quarterly (1985-7).
  • Poetry Editor, The Iowa Review (mid-1970s - 1980).
  • Poetry Editor, Antioch Review (early 1980s).


  • Ingram Merrill Foundation grants
  • National Endowment of the Arts fellowships
  • Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship
  • American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters award


  1. ^ Biography, UC Davis
  2. ^ "Walter McPherson". San Jose Mercury News. January 17, 2013. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  3. ^ Jessop, Annet (2002), Cucinella, Catherine (ed.), "Sandra McPherson (1943- )", Contemporary American Women Poets: An A-to-Z Guide, Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, p. 233, ISBN 0313317836


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