ISBN: 9781955239332
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Categories Nomadic, Poetry

Winter Work

Publication Date: November 2022


In June of 2023, Black Lawrence Press welcomed numerous existing and forthcoming Nomadic Press titles to our catalogue. Winter Work was originally published by Nomadic.

Stephen Meadows’ Winter Work is a collection that resounds with intense observations of place. Each poem is a clean and reverent gesture of understanding–natural elements, the damage we inflict upon the land, our history. With brevity and precision, he takes readers on a journey of illness, grief, love, and quiet joy. Memories make story and Meadows makes the geography of feeling a map of locations we want to explore.


Winter Work by Stephen Meadows is a collection of poetry as much as it is a songbook of melodies and prayers to the natural world. An homage to the wind that carries us through experience and emotion, his poems carry his reader through acacias in full bloom, a yard full of bones, a firmament of losses. With visceral details of the elements, he elicits feelings of joy, comfort, and sadness, with encounters of love, romance, death, climate change, and the suffering of Native peoples. A reader may find themselves in meditation with this collection, among the pines, wind, and oaks.
Georgina Marie, Poet Laureate of Lake County

These poems offer clear, clean witnessing of our beautiful, aching world. Here “in the shadow of the tower” of the California Missions, with death as ongoing companion, Meadows brings us into deep sensory presence, filling us with reverence for each living moment, with grief for each precious, passing being.
Kitty Costello, author of Upon Waking and cofounder of the Tall Mountain Circle

There is maturity in these poems. Sit down with him in a wild place and listen. He knows.
Lance Henson, author of Cheyenne Dog Soldier

Stephen Meadow’s latest collection of poems is just that, poems. His work escapes categorization other than that of poetry. You hear the poems from the page; you smell the flowers, wooded places, meadows, and the ancestors he speaks of. You feel the river flow. The poems touch a place where poetry arrives in both strength and beauty. — Linda Noel, Poet Laureate of Ukiah Emerita

Winter Work is the play of a soaring brilliance proving through poetry that all phenomena exist at a crossroads, all spirits are both loved and unnamed. In these poems are some of the greatest feats of wisdom I have ever read. In this book, life is the galaxy of brief settings, and none of its shapes go uninvestigated. And your imagination is left to cherish all of the food of rebellion littered about the very room you sit and read this work in.
Tongo Eisen-Martin, 8th Poet Laureate of San Francisco

Out of desolation, Stephen Meadows re-centers us on the “bright edge of worlds.” These new poems are a necessary witnessing to the kinds of grief that stalk our continent. Stark lines like “The wind is a butcher / carving up the mesquite,” craft images of genocide, the aftermath of war in veterans’ lives, poverty, despair. Yet without these haunting shadows, the fires of creation could not flare up and burn themselves into our retinas, leaving “a new mark”—an intricate weaving that makes Winter Work a blazing ember of hope in my cupped hands.
Deborah A. Miranda, author of Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir and Altar for Broken Things

About the Author

Stephen Meadows

Stephen Meadows is a Californian poet with roots in both the Ohlone and the pioneer soil of his home state. He was born and raised on the Monterey Bay of Central California and received his secondary education at U.C. Santa Barbara, U.C. Santa Cruz where he earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree and went on to earn a Master's Degree at San Francisco State University.  Stephen has published poems in anthologies and collections nationwide; The Sounds of Rattles and Clappers from the University of Arizona Press, The Dirt is Red Here from Heyday Books and his first book also from Heyday Releasing the Days. Stephen is included in; Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California from Scarlet Tanager Books edited by Lucille Lang Day and Ruth Nolan and Red Indian Road West also from the same press. In addition, his poems can be found on the spoken word CD Red Smoke Dawn Wind with background music by David Blonski as well as appearing on the CD from Mignon Geli entitled Under a Buffalo Sun.  Since the early 1990’s Stephen’s poem For the Living can be found on a bronze plaque along the Embarcadero on San Francisco’s waterfront along with other famous poets of the Bay Area and beyond.  On Indigenous Peoples Day 2019, to celebrate the Alcatraz Canoe Journey at Aquatic Park in San Francisco, Stephen was given the honor of reading his most requested poem In the Water Over Stones.  In addition to writing poetry, Stephen has dedicated over 30 years to public radio as a programmer of folk music from America, Canada, Ireland and the British Isles. His voice has been heard over the airwaves from radio stations in the Monterey Bay Area to the Sierra Nevada Foothills and beyond through the worldwide web.  Stephen has done all kinds of work to support his family and himself from digging ditches to roasting coffee (Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Company’s Steve’s Smooth French) to 20 plus years as an educator and mentor in the public schools where he found immense pleasure working with children of all ages as a public school aide. One of his greatest joys is reconnecting with former students who are always delighted to see him and share stories of their lives in progress.  As a descendant of native peoples who built the Carmel Mission, gold rush families who settled in the gold country of the foothills and a farm family in Carmel Valley, Stephen’s poems are steeped in the indelible aura of California.  His poems are concise elemental visions that capture the essential truths of his life and the beauty of the natural world around us.

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