Shann Palmer

Shann Palmer
Shann Palmer

The new year has begun without poet and friend Shann Palmer. She passed away just before Christmas. Her short stature belied her larger-than-life personality(ies) and her significance to the writing community was testified by the overflowing number of mourners at her memorial service. The church was at capacity, so additional space was made in the next building, connected via webcam.

Many who knew Shann have said that she was the reason that they began (or returned to) writing, particularly poetry. She gave her all to the craft and to the James River Writers organization. She was goofy and wise, making you laugh and think twice at the same time. I cannot imagine she ever shied from anything.

In that spirit, I will attempt a poem right now:


Your fingers pop off into five homunculi
Squirming away, shaking in doubt
We will not write that!
They will see us,
Notice we are naked.
Our ugly thoughts, our uncouth ideas,
Our abrading hearts.
You say, safe does not sell
Pedestrian does not walk
Smooth does not linger
Come together!
Passion, doubt, ache, love, grief
Grasp the pen
And write.

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