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Sandra Anfang is a California poet, teacher, and artist. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals including Rattle, The New Verse News, The MacGuffin, and Spillway. She’s won many awards, most recently in the Ina Coolbrith Circle Poetry Contest, The Soul-Making Keats Contest, and the Poets’ Dinner Contest. One of her haiku took second place in the San Francisco International Haiku Contest. Her poetry collections include Looking Glass Heart (Finishing Line Press, 2016), Road Worrier (Finishing Line Press, 2018), and Xylem Highway (Main Street Rag, 2019). Kelsay Books has just released her new chapbook, Finishing School (2023). She’s been nominated for a Best Short Fictions award, Best of the Net, and a Pushcart Prize, as well as for aa AWP-sponsored 2023 George Garrett Award for outstanding community services in literature. Anfang is founder and host of the monthly series, Rivertown Poets (established 2013), and a poetry teacher in the schools. In addition, she produces a radio program devoted to poetry on KPCA.FM and hosts a YouTube channel called Rivertown Poets.

Sample Poems and Poetry Collections

Small Gods


While filling the seeder I thought I spied 

the god of Juncos hiding 

in the canthus of my eye.

He winked, made the thumbs-up sign

and disappeared in a copse of maple fire.


The god of Cabbage Moths

tatted a message in pidgin Braille.

I read it through the eyelet of Sandrina leaves.

My life grew huge as the Super Moon’s face

though my verdant supper turned to lace.


I keep my own small gods for times

when fog surrounds my heart or brain

and words die birthing on my tongue.

They comfort me in simple ways

as I weave the fabric of my days.


There's nothing wrong with modest gods

I trust them more than bloated fools

who say, "obey me" from on high

then kick you, broken, from the womb.

I keep my own small gods close by

believe me, they'll believe in you.


© Sandra Anfang 2018

Gary Snyder Will Die Someday


Gary Snyder will die someday

and the world will be a poorer place.

As a tremulous teenager

standing on the precipice of my life,

I smelled danger in every direction.

From him I learned how to ford the riprap 

on the roof of my mouth.

Cold Mountain bore its way under my skin

anesthetized my pain.

Everywhere I wandered--

the American's North Fork 

Yuba's sanded boulders

Yosemite's emerald pools-- 

I heard him whistling through a deer bone

whittled in elegance,

scissored legs a blur of flight

in the rear-view mirror of my mind.

Turkeys gabble in the background,

feathers explode like buckshot.

His spoor is everywhere:

tucked in Redwood's knotholes

etched in Lichen's green mandala

muffling Manzanita's murmur.

The breath of rain-doused charcoal

from an abandoned fire

whispers his name

up on Humbug Mountain.

 © Sandra Anfang 

  (from Xylem Highway, 2019, and published        in the Marin Poetry Center Anthology)

If you Want to Watch the Perseids

If you want to watch the Perseids
you have to understand the power of night
to ice your bones inside the thin fleece jacket.

If you want to watch the Perseids
you have to find a quiet road away from street lamps 
and the moon’s cheesecake grin.

If you want to watch the Perseids
you have to hoard patience like four-leaf clovers
and swallow words you want to speak.

If you want to watch the Perseids
you have to sprawl across the hood of your car
and cock you head at an impossible angle.

If you want to watch the Perseids
you have to soft-focus your eyes
‘til they sweep the village of sky.

If you want to watch the Perseids
you must be willing to be distracted
by the courtship of Great-Horned Owls.

If you want to watch the Perseids
you must risk disappointment
and count your gratitude one star at a time.

© Sandra Anfang 2017


Stuttered Abecedarian on the Death of Poets

            --for Q.R. Hand, Al Young, Diane di Prima, Lawrence Ferlinghetti,                         and Richard Sanderell


Another day, another poet 

Bites the dust. They fall like 

Card houses, the density of bone

Drowned by

Eddies of collective keening.

Far down the block, a 

Girl screams into a paper sack

Her cries stuttered 

In the chaos of an army copter.

Juries parse the price of prisons while

Kinsmen jam around oil drums 

Lighting sticks of solidarity.

My mind is knackered by the

News. Who coined this oxymoron? 

On every corner, police

On every corner, police

On every corner, police 

Pummeling a brother for unlicensed 

Questions. Poets uncork a jug of

Rage. There’s nothing here but deja vu.

Same old

Same old

Same old. Hands up, you’re dead.

Thunder clouds swallow cities’ souls. 

Under blue banners, whitewashed waste.

Vestigial suns force themselves to shine.

What have we wrought? 

What have we wrought?

What have we wrought? 

X marks the spot. Memory tries, fails to snuff itself.

Youth roam the streets, searching for erased fathers.

Zap. Another poet bites the dust. Dust testifies.

@ Sandra Anfang 2021 - Published in The Freedom of New Beginnings                                                            Anthology, edited by Phyllis Meshulam

Poetry   Collections


Looking Glass HeartFinishing Line Press, 2016


Road Worrier: Poems of the Inner and Outer Landscape, Finishing Line Press, 2018

CD: Poetry + Jazz: A Magical Marriage



Music publisher and electric bass player Chuck Sher has produced a beautiful compilation of poetry, spoken word, and jazz accompaniment. 

I am honored to have one of my poems included.

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