“Sacrifices Have to be Human is a gritty, image-rich navigation of love, loss and longing, written by one who knows how to walk in the world with an open, ever-breaking heart. Poems about difficult illnesses and untimely deaths of loved ones are juxtaposed with longings to fill a young street child’s day with simple joys. These poems teem with life and vibrant imagery—poppies that reject the confines of a vase, sensual women looking to moon, wolves, and scorpions for an echo of their own desperations, a bag of oranges left on a railing that serves as symbolic meeting point between tentative giver and lonely receiver. Through her openness to a range of forms, tones, and verbal experimentation, ellen’s poems earn the weight of this book’s startling title, proving that to fully give one’s self again and again is the ultimate expression of humanity, and of poetry.”
—Shirley Graham, author of What Someone Wanted
(Black Moss Press) and Blue Notes (Other Tongue Press)
“In Sacrifices Have To Be Human, the horizontal line of narrative and the vertical line of lyricism crisscross and sparkle. There is light in this book, there is pain. The reader enters, almost as if following a secret path, a universe of acute perception. The language is intelligent, at the same time revealing and contained. This is a courageous book, the poet is vulnerable enough, brave enough, to tell us a story of search, rebellion, surrender, understanding and mystery.”
—Mariano Zaro, author of The House of Mae Rim
(Carayan Press) and Tres Letras (Walrus)
“Sacrifices Have To Be Human is lyrical and intimate, surreal and raw in its truth-telling. ellen is working the depths again in this haunting collection where anything is possible—a hole may swallow a boy who himself swallows death, a woman give birth to ravens, a tree sieve words from air. These poems rise from sleep ‘fragrant with milk and terror,' and from the ache of sacrifice, always human, and human, too, the altars.”
—Marsha de la O, author of Black Hope (New Issues Press)
ellen teaches creative writing for Emeritus College, a division of Santa Monica College. Hundreds of her poems and stories have been published in The Los Angeles Times, Slant, Mudfish, Slipstream, ACM, Coe Review and elsewhere. Her writing awards include prizes from DA Center for the Arts, Blue Unicorn, and Cape Cod Times. She was nominated for Pushcart Prizes in 2008 and 2009. A finalist in the 2006 Spire Poetry Book Award, the 2005 Flume Press Poetry Contest, and the 2004 Pearl Poetry Prize, her work has been included in a number of anthologies. A collection of her poetry along with three others is entitled 4 Los Angeles Poets. Her chapbook Reverse Kiss was editor’s choice and published by Main Street Rag in 2005. Her poetry book, The Gynecic Papers, deals primary with women’s issues. Sleeping Guardian (Finishing Line Press) was published in 2012.
ellen is also an artist and has had her work exhibited in the Weisman Museum of Art and the Ojai Valley Gallery. She is the recipient of two first place awards from the Malibu Art Association. Her art has been published in Red Dance floor, Vernal Calibrations and Isis Rising. She was profiled in The Los Angeles Times as a poet and artist.