Pam O'Brien began writing poetry while at Allegheny College. She has worked in government planning, grantwriting, advertising/public relations, and publishing in addition to teaching college English and elementary school Spanish. O'Brien holds a Visiting Lectureship at the University of Pittsburgh where she serves as the Associate Director of Public and Professional Writing and teaches a variety of composition courses. Her first chapbook, Kaleidoscopes, was published in 1999. She is a member of the Squirrel Hill Poetry Workshop.
From the book:
THE LITTLE MERMAID
My eyes extend beyond the farthest bloom of the waves;
I lose and find myself in the long water…
On your sixteenth birthday
you swim to the surface for a day
and finally see the strange creatures
of your grandmother's stories.
The ones who walk.
And you want legs, too.
You want to live in the palace,
escape the danger of being submerged
or of drowning in that long water.
So you strike a deal with the sea witch.
She takes your voice and delivers the handsome prince.
And now you are like them,
except for the long silence
that follows you everywhere.
Prufrock claimed he heard the mermaids
singing each to each. But you,
now beyond that farthest bloom of the waves,
you must learn to sing to your prince
from the other side of words.
Paper Dancing is a 32 page hand-sewn chapbook.
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