Nancy Austin

Address: 10929 S Fork Road, Hazelhurst, WI 54531

Austin finds poetry’s company to be a knowing nod on a rainy day, and tries to read often, especially the little-known poets whose gems are sprinkled throughout the small presses. She values glimpses of other’s states of being, and is drawn to poems that shed light on what’s seldom spoken, spin meaning into the mundane, pull humor from a hat, or lend the ah-ha of insight. She sometimes reads just for the comfort of knowing there are others out there with similar questions/concerns.  She is a co-VP of the Northwest Region of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets (WFOP).

Austin strives to weave stories of self and others into poems she hopes will connect to those who share experiences, and especially those who don’t.  Austin’s work has appeared in journals such as Adanna, Ariel, Gyroscope Review, Midwestern Gothic, Portage Magazine, Verse Wisconsin, The Wisconsin Poets Calendars, Zingara Poetry Review. She has collections titled Remnants of Warmth (Aldrich Press/Kelsay Books, 2016), and The Turn of the Tiller; the Spill of the Wind (Kelsay Books, forthcoming in 2019).

Remnants of Warmth (Aldrich Press), available at, or send check ($15, includes postage) to Nancy Austin at the address listed above.


The Land I Live In

I live in the land of signs, white wooden arrows
nailed to trees, with painted remnants of Smith
or Schumacher, Loon’s Nest or Bear’s Den,
pointing haphazardly down lanes
where creatures peer from the fringe of forests.

I live in the land of 50’s vintage mom and pop resorts,
museums of memories, each on its own lake next to
another lake, and another, where beached boats nod
a welcome as tires crunch red granite drives
lined with swimsuits that summon from clotheslines. 

I live in the land I’ve waited decades to call home,
where we off- loaded boats on legions of lakes
any warm weekend we could get away to navigate
shorelines, sit on sandbars knees- to- chin,
or tube through tannin- stained waves.

I live in the land where windows frame artwork,
“seasonals” escape cities, residents rally through
winter, grandkids gallop up driveways all smiles
and hugs, I live in the land where pitch of night
renders stargazers giddy and poets prolific. 

Published in Remnants of Warmth (Aldrich Press, 2016)

Where I Dwell

I dwell in Possibility —
A fairer house than Prose —
— Emily Dickinson

The heirloom tomatoes that wound around
the treetop balcony rail
away from pests winged and hoofed
were religiously fertilized,
grew globular, green, and meaty—
but not until October.

And so the vines, short on sun, 
drained of form, drained of color—
grew wary of Frost.
Experts enjoined me to toss them,    
grow cabbage, grow carrots—
there are no tomatoes in these woods

Too many for my narrow hands, 
I gather into my work apron
each unseasoned satin orb,
place some in a bag to ripen,
and for the rest—Possibility—
green tomato curry, green tomato cake, 
fried green tomatoes.

Published in Portage Magazine, 2018 Edition