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 Please scroll down to links for samples of my writing. You may also hear me read my work and find recorded zoom readings at www.elizabeth-herron.com

What does living bravely look like in a time of radical climate change, war, inflation – flood and famine, and violence that invades our churches, our schools, our local grocery and even our neighbor's house?  In fact it takes courage just to read the news. It takes courage to accept the contradictions in our lives – that I am safe while others are living through war. That I have food while others are starving. It takes courage to admit a mistake or to apologize and sometimes just to tell the truth. It takes courage to look into our own hearts and confront our fears, failures, losses, and loneliness.
Wherever we notice our fear or hesitancy, there's an opportunity to be brave. Courage should be celebrated for its most humble moments, which usually remain invisible, to its grand inspirations in someone like Volodomyr Zalensky or Cassidy Hutchison.
It takes courage to meet our own suffering, and courage is centered in the heart. To look at what is held there begins a process of change; and to share what is held there makes us vulnerable. When we are brave enough not only to look but to creatively share what we find, it becomes a form of spiritual practice, a practice that nurtures compassion.
Whether it's a private moment from one's own life or an homage to an inspirational other – when we share such poems and make time for conversation about them, we learn things about ourselves and each other that cannot help but deepen our understanding and respect and bring us all closer. By directing us to the question of how to live bravely in this time and place, the Being Brave Poetry Project evokes the compassion and the imagination we need to navigate the future as individuals and in community.
Aldo Leopold, father of the modern environmental writing, famously observed we take care of what we feel affection for, and Toni Morrison says that "Beauty makes the unbearable bearable." My own poetry is always an effort to find the beauty that compels affection, even when the subject is otherwise unbearable. We want our hearts awakened, and poetry is about the heart. In the Being Brave Poetry Project, we hear the heart speak.
As Poet Laureate I offer workshops to foster the writing of being brave poems where people who may never have written a poem before can find words for what being brave means in their lives. The workshops include conversation about what our poems tell us of what it means to live courageously. Along with each workshop a reading can be arranged.
Being Brave Poetry workshops and readings will be held in a variety of community spaces from churches to libraries to community centers and coffee houses – and house concerts --wherever I am invited, I will come. I hope one way or another all of you [inaugural audience] will be participants. So I ask that you connect with me about where you think such events might be welcome, especially if you can offer a direct contact. Email me at socopoetlaureate@gmail.com
Workshops are for 5 to 25 people and are usually three hours long. They include: (1) an introduction by Elizabeth Herron with samples of being brave poems,
(2) a time for writing,
(3) a time for sharing, followed by
(4) conversation facilitated by Elizabeth, centered on what we've learned by listening to our hearts and to each other.  [articulating our values, what it means to live courageously]
If asked, Elizabeth will give a poetry reading associated with the workshop, either the evening following the workshop, or another day close to the day of the workshop.

BIO - I was born in the Illinois, grew up in Hawaii, and moved to Northern California for college where I have remained ever since. My artistic work includes collaboration with other poets, musicians and visual artists for performances and print projects. I write essays as well as poetry, and my work appears in literary journals and magazines including Reflections, West Marin Review, Free State Review, Silk Road, Orion, Parabola, Ions, Comstock Review, Eco-Citizen and Jung Journal.


On the Commons and Center for Humans and Nature also publish my writing, and it has been anthologized in Know Me Here and Fire and Rain: Eco-Poetry of California; Face to Face: Women Writers on Faith, Mysticism and Awakening; and is included in the Save the Redwoods centennial, The Once and Future Forest (Heyday Books, 2019). The new collection from University of Chicago Press What Kind of Ancestor Do You Want To Be? is now available and includes my work along with that of writers Robin Wall Kimmerer, Wendell Berry, Katherine Kasouf Cummings, Jaamal May, and other powerful voices of our time.





forthcoming from Fernwood Press in 2022, a collection of poems focused on the crisis of a warming world.

INSISTENT GRACE - poetry, Fernwood Press 

DESIRE BEING FULL OF DISTANCES - poetry, Calliopea Press
WHILE THE DISTANCE WIDENS - short fiction, Floating Island Press
THE STONES THE DARK EARTH - poetry chapbook, Harlequin Ink
REPORT - poetry chapbook, dPress
LANGUAGE FOR THE WILD - poetry chapbook, Quicksilver Mine Co. Gallery

DARK SEASON -poetry chapbook, Quicksilver Mine Co. Gallery


These books may be ordered from me through the contact link on Say Hello Here or from the publisher. I would be happy to hear from you.




I have taught writing courses ranging from poetry to essay and fiction writing at Sonoma State University, where I also taught Contemplative Practices & Creative Process; Dreams & Creative Process; and Expressive Arts.


My environmental concerns led me to develop and teach the University's first inter-disciplinary GE ecology course, Ecological Identity.


For ten years I taught in the School of Expressive Arts, where I represented the dual disciplines of dance and creative writing. I've also taught workshops in the relationship between text and the body.




I have been fortunate to do a significant amount of collaborative work, including two projects with sculptor Bruce Johnson: his Poetry House, for which I wrote the book-length poem, The Poet's House, and the haiku text for his three Doyle Library oak sculptures. I have written text for both dance and vocal performances, and my "Salmon Chant" has been performed numerous times with dance and musical accompaniment. Both the "Salmon Chant" and my text for the dance, Water, were performed at the International Society for Ecological Restoration annual meeting in San Francisco.



Four-times Pushcart Prize in Poetry nominee

NEA /Community Foundation Grants to Individual Artists
The Foundation for Deep Ecology
PEN Radio Fiction Project
San Francisco Small Press Traffic Award for Poetry
The Mesa Refuge for Writers, Point Reyes, California
The Damian Foundation
Sonoma County Arts Award for Poetry
Shortlisted or long-listed for the following prizes:

     Comstock Annual Poetry Award

     Frontier Industry Prize in Poetry
     Anhinga Robert Dana Prize in Poetry

     Negative Capability Fiction Award

     James Hearst Prize for Fiction

     Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction
Poets & Writers Readings & Workshops grants




Poets Editors & Novelists (PEN)
International League of Conservation Writers, Fellow
Academy of American Poets
Authors Guild

Poets & Writers

Writers Without Borders

Society for Conservation Biology
Association for Psychological Science

Sonoma State University, Faculty Emerita


Founding board member of the Climate Protection Campaign (now Climate Center).




I was born in Chicago where my mother was attending art school and my father in business after graduating from Northwestern. Family upheaval meant moving around for several years before resettling in Hawaii where most of my family remains today. I attended the University of Hawaii and after moving to San Francisco earned my Masters at San Francisco State University. Subsequently I studied biopoetics, focusing on empathy and the origin of aesthetic behavior, and received my PhD in Psychology from the University for Integrative Learning, a distance learning program founded by graduates of the Harvard School of Education. Sadly UIL did not survive the subsequent online learning revolution.


My job history includes working the night-shift in a pineapple cannery, selling watches in the Fine Jewelry section of a department store, briefly serving as a Faculty Assistant and later Programs Center Advisor at San Francisco State before moving north to teach at the sister campus of Sonoma State University.


Comstock Review

Free State Review



West Marin Review
Chagrin River Review
North American Review


(click on titles to read more)

Dark Season

A group of poems published to accompany a collaborative performance focused on the confusion and suffering of war.

The Poet's House

Written for sculptor Bruce Johnson's major work, Poetry House, The Poet's House is a book-length poem in four sections that refused to be turned to type and is thus handwritten in its final form. A boxed copy of the poem lives inside Poetry House, while the original is housed at Doyle Library in Santa Rosa, California.

Aesthetica Arts & Culture

2013 Creative Writing Award winner

Feeling, Art and Sustainable Civil Society

What is the connection between a developed feeling and the role of art in the articulation of values? I argue that a sustainable civil society depends upon our capacity to see ourselves as interdependent in a nonhierarchical web of living systems...


Parabola Magazine, Fall 2005

What do we mean by the words spirit and soul? How do we acknowledge and honor the soul and spirit of another being? Where do we find it? What does it take to cultivate our capacity to perceive the soul of the world? These are some of the questions I explore in this article for Parabola's issue on "Body and Soul.'

"Except By Light"

How do we learn to listen to our own soul's call? How do we find the eternal within the transient? This article explores these questions and argues that attending to the embodied world we strengthen its "light."