Poet, editor and educator Lois Roma-Deeley has been selected as the city’s next poet laureate. She is the founding director of the Women Writers Workshop at Arizona State University, currently serves as associate editor of Presence, an international poetry journal, and is an emeritus professor at Paradise Valley Community College.
As Scottsdale’s poet laureate, she will serve as an ambassador of Scottsdale’s vibrant literary culture and will enhance the profile of poetry, poets and literary arts to the entire community through workshops, performances and advocacy.
Roma-Deeley was selected following a competitive process and review by a committee that included Scottsdale’s poet laureate emeritus and staff from Scottsdale Arts, Scottsdale Community College, Scottsdale Public Library and the city’s Office of Diversity & Inclusion.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in creative writing from Arizona State University and earned a doctorate in interdisciplinary studies with a primary emphasis in poetry from The Union Institute and University in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Roma-Deeley is the author of four books of poetry: “The Short List of Certainties,” “High Notes,” “northSight,” and “Rules of Hunger” and has published work in several literary journals and anthologies.
"I am pleased to have Lois Roma-Deeley as Scottsdale’s next great poetic voice,” said Mayor David D. Ortega. "Her work will enhance the profile of poetry, poets, and literary arts throughout Scottsdale -- especially for those with less access or exposure to poetry.”
Roma-Deeley began her appointment on Aug. 6, taking over from Scottsdale’s first poet laureate, Bob Frost (2010-2021). She will serve her term until Dec. 24, 2024. Her selection comes with a $1,500 annual honorarium.
Two poems by Scottsdale Poet Laureate Lois Roma-Deeley:
The Short List of Certainties
Let us remember the taste of salt on the tongue. The way snakes move through the open reaches of Iron Mountain. Can’t you picture the young mother standing in the doorway of a house made sad by too much sadness, not enough work? And when you are offered the smell of creosote after a rain, the whir of strange voices on this city street, a pearl moon—do not calculate the cost. Let us at last—or at least—bless the empty desert as if it were a blank page. Then, having courage, let us write a word or phrase on the short list of certainties something that sounds very much like praise.
first published in Bellingham Review
Once on A-Pond
is what I thought the teacher had said.
When she spoke, I didn’t hear
but saw it: the circle of blue ice and
an angel skating backward.
Eye half open against the cold;
snow falling on both wings.
The angel’s long coat, pure wool.
And inside the rabbit muff,
five fingers close around one hand.
Later when I was older and less deaf, I’d know
God put spaces between words so we can find ourselves
less alone, to make it so
we can breathe in and breathe out
the distance between us
and the unknown.
But now the angel is humming a song I’ve never heard.
The pond is surrounded by snow banks
behind which a dozen cherubs hide.
In a moment they will fly
into a frozen sky that has no sun or moon.
At last the angel leans, hard, on the outer blade,
cutting deeper into thick ice: two rings, intertwined.
Once. Upon. A. Time.
published in northSight