Cristina Norcross


Cristina M. R. Norcross is the editor of the online poetry journal, Blue Heron Review (, and the author of 8 poetry collections.  Her latest book is Beauty in the Broken Places (Kelsay Books, 2019).  Other recent collections include Amnesia and Awakenings (Local Gems Press, 2016) and Still Life Stories (Kelsay Books, 2016).  Cristina’s poems have been published, or are forthcoming, in: The Toronto Quarterly, Visual VerseRed CedarThe AvocetYour Daily Poem, Lime Hawk, The Poetry StorehouseRight Hand Pointing, and Pirene’s Fountain, among others.  Her work also appears in numerous print anthologies.  Cristina is the co-founder of Random Acts of Poetry and Art Day (celebrated annually on February 20th).  Find out more about this author at:

Founding Editor, BLUE HERON REVIEW | Image courtesy of Daniel Adams

Founding Editor, BLUE HERON REVIEW | Image courtesy of Daniel Adams

Beauty in Broken Places (2019); Kelsay Books, order here
Unsung Love Songs (2010)
The Red Drum (2013)
The Lava Storyteller (2013)
Still Life Stories (2016)
Awakenings & Amnesia (2016)

Land & Sea: Poetry Inspired by Art (2007), with co-author artist Irene Ruddock

Living Nature's Moments: A Conversation Between Poetry and Photography (2014), with co-author Patricia Bashford

The Lava Storyteller
Island of clay, sand and earth –
liquid lava now silent.
You are the land of trees dripping mangoes
and goats clinging to cliffs.
Bare feet read braille –
ancient explosions –
black crumbs and dust from when earth
was the only inhabitant.
Island of Saba –
the earth speaks of ancestors –
still humming the old stories –
still laughing over a bottle of sweet Malta.
 Published as the title poem of the chapbook, The Lava Storyteller (Red Mare Press, June 2013)
First published in the November 2011 issue of Verse Wisconsin On-line, as a poem and an audio file:


The Red Drum
(Inspired by the writing of Stanley Kunitz)
Your heart – a red drum.
Taut leather bound
to the infinite shape of a circle,
seeks the music of other beating hearts.
Sound changes,
when a strong wind blows,
when the leather is rain-soaked,
when the sun makes the circle
jump into the light.
“I made this,”
says the drum.
Dreams take shape in the air,
with each, bellowing note.
“Now change it by living,”
says the drum’s stick.
Sing a new song.
“Truth –
Of thee I sing.”
Many more layers of change
bring syncopated rhythms,
ballads of longing,
and newly discovered voices.
Your heart is a red drum –
now crimson with passion,
tomorrow the sun makes it pink –
a tender, summer rose.
Sing your transformation to the world.
Beat the drum.
Beat the drum.
Beat the drum.
Published in The Red Drum: Selected and New Poems
(Lone Gull Press, 2013)
Audio file and video remix available at The Poetry Storehouse
“The Red Drum” is now a short film by Marie Craven
on Vimeo:

Age is bending my shape in new directions,
revealing curves I never noticed.
Hiding the elasticity of youth –
gravity assists this shifting of flesh.
Arms made stronger by smaller arms reaching out.
Feet that do not falter –
receiving the blunt responsibility of a fall.
Hawk’s eyes that see clearly in the fog –
a mother’s vision.
Age is also transforming my heart –
steeped in life’s stages –
the off roads of experience.
The spirit spins with greater light,
despite heavier loads.
I bow to the sun at the close of each day –
respecting renewal –
accepting what now bends.
Published in An Ariel Anthology: transformational poetry & art (2015)