Lola Haskins Introduction
by John Guzlowski, Poetry Editor

There are people who have been reading Lola Haskins for years... I envy them.

I first met Ms. Haskins’ poetry last spring at the Snake Nation Literary Festival in Valdosta, Georgia. She was one of about a dozen writers scheduled to read there, and when she stood up to read I didn’t know what to expect. I had been hearing an extraordinary gathering of poets and fiction writers and non-fiction writers read all morning long, and I was sure that she would be very good, but when she delivered her first poem I knew that she was like no one else there.

The great poets have an unblinking intensity that you can feel when they read aloud. For me, this feeling isn’t that different from the one you feel when someone at the center of your life tells you the most important thing they will ever tell you at a time when you most need to hear that thing.

I’ve been going to poetry readings since 1966 and I’ve heard many fine poets. But I haven’t heard this often. I’ve heard it in Donald Hall and Allen Ginsberg and Rodney Jones and Brigit Kelly; and in Valdosta, at the Snake Nation Festival, I heard it in Lola Haskins.

Right after she finished her reading that day, I bought Desire Lines, her collection of new and selected poems, and read it in the following days; and these poems confirmed what I had heard and felt at her reading. She’s a poet whose creativity, energy, and wisdom will touch you deeply.

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