Poet Laureate 2023

Jenny Burkholder is a writer and teacher who lives and works in Elkins Park. Her poetry chapbook, Repaired, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2016. Her poems have been published in Snapdragon: A Journal of Art & HealingNorth American Review, and The Maine Review, among others. Her creative nonfiction has been published in Epiphany, The Healing Muse, and So to Speak. Her awards include an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, the Glimmer Train October Poetry Open award, and a finalist for The James Hearst Poetry Prize. She teaches and practices yoga at Blue Banyan Yoga Studio & School in Philadelphia. You can read her poems, creative nonfiction, and blog at overexpressed.net


As Marianne Moore asserts in her poem, To a Snail: “If ‘compression is the first grace of style,’/ you have it.” These pages transform thinking into feeling with extraordinary dexterity—and though they do so with the precision and voice of a doctor, their acts of inquiry are hardly clinical, rather highly emotionally charged in wanting to know. In this collection, I found thoughts being cherished without sentimentality, and poems sincerely aspirational in the word’s most root sense: to breathe. Alert and irreducible, these poems move as realized glimpses into the way we each struggle to stitch together our days, our ideas, and our hopes. They have a pulse, and demand that the reader detects it. “These songs ignite my rusty gears, my potholed bones./ I crack and swell with you when I move.”

Gilad Jaffe

2021 Celebrity Judge