Steady by Anne Whitehouse


The poems in Steady are narratives, persona poems and portraits, and lyrics. In writing them, I have tried to hold steady, so steadiness might connect them like a bridge. Steadiness is a quality most appreciated in old age when it becomes more elusive. My narrative poems about Frida Kahlo, Leonora Carrington, Lee Miller, Iris Origo, Ruth Asawa, and Imogen Cunningham are the result of years of engagement with their lives and their works. The separate events of “An Art Story” coalesced into a narrative with overlapping voices. Ideas may come from my own backyard or half a world away; from snatches of stories recounted, read, or observed; people known or glimpsed in passing; events of the past resurfacing into the present. I continue to find inspiration in cycles of the seasons; the lives of plants and animals; our beloved, fragile earth. The arrow of time moves in one direction. Poetry finds in the music of words and shaded meanings a space for contemplation, with windows and mirrors looking outward and inward, inviting us back. —Anne Whitehouse


  • Kind: Perfectbound
  • Pages: 206
  • Language: English
  • Date Published: June, 2023
  • ISBN 978-1-953252-83-8


The generosity and thoughtfulness with which Whitehouse represents both of these incredible women and their art shows that not only is she an admirer of their work, but that her own writing could belong to the same era-defying worlds that Miller and Carrington found themselves to be a part of….It is as though Whitehouse has stepped into her own occult to channel both these women and tell their stories. —Laura Salvatore

“If form and language are metered, the intensity is not. It’s precisely this mature passion that ignites Whitehouse’s work, echoing a lifetime of experience and observation…Now, more than ever, we need poetry for strength and solace. Whitehouse’s contemplative talismans transport the reader to a place where, hopefully, ‘Your mistakes will force you/beyond imagination/to something new.’” —Ilka Scobie

“It takes a lifetime to write such poems.” —Hilary Sideris



In my day, women had their sphere,
and men had theirs. I became an observer,
concealing myself behind public duties.
Some people mocked me for my devotion
to wildflowers. Let her occupy herself,
they said, with a cause of little importance,
leaving us free for matters of consequence.

There is a damaged place in each of us.
With me, Lyndon never had to be ashamed
of the gawky farm boy yoked to poverty
as a result of his father’s foolish dreams.

I come from a long line of women
who learned to look the other way.
They lived with what they couldn’t change.
It didn’t mean they liked it. I knew
he’d never risk his career to leave me.
He was a disappointing husband,
but I would never leave him.

There’s a reason I love wildflowers.
They’re not glamorous or flashy.
They have a modest prettiness
that’s worth a second look.
The seeds may lie dormant for years,
settled or buried, blown by the wind,
but one day they will take hold and bloom.
Then they will be everywhere.


Anne WhitehouseSteady is Anne Whitehouse’s fourth poetry collection published by Dos Madres Press, following The Refrain (2012), Meteor Shower (2016), and Outside from the Inside (2020).

Her other poetry collections are Blessings and Curses (Poetic Matrix Press, 2009) and The Surveyor’s Hand (Compton Press, 1981); three chapbooks from Ethel Zine and Micro Press: Frida (2023), Escaping Lee Miller (2021) and Surrealist Muse (2020), and two from Finishing Line Press: One Sunday Morning (2011) and Bear in Mind (2010). She is the author of a novel, Fall Love, available in Spanish translation as Amigos y amantes, as well as short stories, essays, feature articles, and reviews. Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, she divides her time between New York City and Columbia County, New York.

Additional information

Weight 13.5 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × .5 in