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Stellasue’s Bio


Stellasue Lee‘s fourth volume of work, firecracker RED, a full length manuscript, is an entrant for the Pulitzer Prize. This moving collection details the journey from a place that is broken beyond repair to a world where there is hope, light, and love. These poems are both moving and compassionate. They create a bridge between life and death we all will cross. Firecracker Red is a powerful collection of poems set squarely in the earth teaching us how to persevere.

—Vivian Shipley, Editor of the Connecticut Review

In firecracker RED, Stellasue Lee gives us powerful, exuberant poems, full of grief and love that draws us into her world. There is nothing hidden here; nothing false or pretentious. What we have in this book is intensely lyrical poems that teach us what it means to be human and how to survive. I love this book and I know you will, too.

—Maria Mazziotti Gillan, Winner, American book

Award, 2008 for All That Lies Between Us.

In this her fifth book, Stellasue Lee meditates on landscapes and new roads taken, love, family, loss and dislocation in a beloved natural world of stars, oaks, fog, mud-spattered earth evoked in sensual, lyrical and alternately down-home poems. Her voice is vital and resonates with insights of a life richly observed. Praises!

—Colette Inez

There is a gentle, sensual quality to the poetry of Stellasue Lee, glazed over dark, hard experiences. I first read her some fifteen years ago while sitting in my car, and the connection I felt was so intimate that when my woman returned from shopping; I tucked the book out of sight, as if I’d been unfaithful. That same power runs through the poems in firecracker RED.

—John Bennett, Novelist

Her thrid volume, Crossing The Double Yellow Line also received this honor as an entrant for the Pulitzer Prize in poetry. The title came from a line in a poem that wasn’t used in the book, but was a poem included in her first body of work, After I Fall. Reviewers have written “…this line was very telling about her background. ‘…sometimes, usually when the moon is high and darkness holds no promise,/ I think about accidents. Not the kind my father had/ where, drunk as a hoot owl, he crossed over some double yellow line….’”

Her work is intensely personal. “Reading a poem by Stellasue Lee is like a spiritual meditation on what it means to be human in this world of joy and disappointment.” (M.L. Liebler, Writer’s Voice Project of Detroit.)

Diane Wakoski said of Lee’s work “She has written powerful poems of healing and forgiveness. She is a poet of deep insight and compassion.”

“The compressed poems in Crossing The Double Yellow Line take us to a sense of place, to loved ones by way of sharp turns and hair-pin curves. I believe and trust the voices captured in these poems that drive us toward the vortex of what matters.” (Yusef Komunyakaa).

Raised in California by alcoholic parents, much of her poetry expresses great loss but is painfully beautiful in its verse surrounding issues of death, loneliness, and the consuming feeling of abandonment. She is quite frank, yet, her poetry is not judgmental. She simply tells the story without anger or recrimination. Her later work is about love; living a life in love and loving.

Publication credits include numerous literary journals, most recently an anthology After Shocks, which brings together 115 poets from 15 nations. It is a brilliant collection of messages dealing with recovery delivered through the language of poetry: Grief, War, Exile, Abuse, Divorce, Addiction, Injury, Illness, Bigotry, Loss of Innocence. Margie, Strong Medicine In American Journals Of Poetry. It has been written that the work that appears in this journal has an astonishing variety of styles and theme. Within the past year, Lee’s work can be found published in the Paterson Literary Review, Connecticut Review, and Quercus Review. Her work has also been translated into German.

Among her other published volumes of work: After I Fall, a collection of four Los Angeles poets, Over To You, an exchange of poems with David Widup, and 13 Los Angeles Poets, the ONTHEBUS Poets Series Number One. ( Bombshelter Press.)

As the editor of the leading literary journal in the English language, RATTLE, Lee was intensely productive, both as the editor, and in her personal work. She also teaches privately, working via the internet with students living throughout the United States. She travels a lot teaching workshops and giving university readings wherever she goes.

For her storytelling in the Los Angeles public libraries, she was recognized by the Board of Library Commissioners and Mayor Tom Bradley. Dr. Lee is a member of Pen Center USA, California Writers’ Club and she was awarded special recognition for excellence by WPFW-FM’s The Poet and the Poem.

Now Editor Emeritus at RATTLE, a literary journal, she previously served on the editorial board at Curbstone Press. She received her Ph.D. from Honolulu University. She lives in East Nashville, TN with her husband artist Eric L Hansen and their two cats, Caylie and Tennyson. Stellasue was born in the year of the dragon.