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Deborah Fass’s long residencies in both Japan and California have honed her gift for the precise, imagistic evocation of place. Where the Current Catches everywhere reminds us that, as the tea master Rikyu instructs, “White space is where wisdom resides.” This is a lovely debut collection; so much attentiveness, so much life, is in these quiet poems.


       --Ann Fisher-Wirth

          Author of Mississippi and Dream Cabinet;

          Coeditor of The Ecopoetry Anthology



These poems, spare and bright as a spring garden, evoke a strongly felt sense of intimacy with the natural world. Moving between the two homes of the poet, one in Japan and the other the Pacific Northwest, the collection weaves a complex sense of place.  These poems honor what is humble and genuine in nature, and remind us of the power of plain-spoken metaphor: “Hope,” Fass writes, “is dormant like black sage, / deep like the oak’s taproot.”  Just like these poems.


       --Sheryl St. Germain

          Author of The Small Door of Your Death;

          Let it be a Dark Roux:  New and Selected Poems


Selected Poems

"Ring Mountain" in Plant-Human Quarterly

“[So easy to miss—]” in Best of the Haiku Challenge (March 2021),


"Leap Day" in Heron Tree

 “Winghold” in  Coal Hill Review

“The Owl Light” in A Journal of the Built + Natural Environments

“Sharing National Geographic with a Stranger’s Child in the Waiting Room”

in Canary: A Literary Journal of the Environmental Crisis

“Look for Me” in Lime Hawk 

"Landmarks" in The Fourth River: Tributaries

“Drought” and “Still Life” in The Clearing



Deborah Fass has won the 2017 Island Verse Poetry Prize from Island Verse Editions and the Laurie Mansell Reich/Academy of American Poets Prize from Chatham University. Her poetry chapbook, Where the Current Catches, was released in 2018. Her work appears in journals and anthologies including, Heron Tree, Coal Hill Review, Plant-Human QuarterlyNew Directions, Kudzu House Quarterly, The Fourth River: Tributaries, Lime Hawk, and Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California (Scarlet Tanager Books) and has been featured on National Public Radio. She has been shortlisted in contests including the New Rivers Press Many Voices Project, the Frost Place Chapbook Competition, the Center for Book Arts Poetry Chapbook Program, and the poetry contest.

Deborah holds an M.F.A. degree in Creative Writing from Chatham University; an M.A. degree in English/Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from San Francisco State University; and a B.A. degree from the Poetics Program, New College of California (San Francisco). Between degrees, she studied Japanese Language and Literature at San Francisco State and was awarded a postgraduate Japanese Ministry of Education Research Fellowship (Japanese Literature). She lived in Japan for many years and now lives and teaches in the San Francisco Bay Area.

News & Events

April 12, 2021: “Reclamation” is featured in the review of ERASE THE PATRIARCHY: AN ANTHOLOGY OF ERASURE POETRY published in Porter House Review by Vanessa Couto Johnson, lecturer at Texas State University. Read the review here.


April 2021: [So easy to miss—] is named Runner Up / Honorable Mention in the Tricycle Best of the Haiku Challenge for March 2021.


Sept. 2020: Winghold (Full-length manuscript) named a finalist for the Red Mountain Discovery Award, Red Mountain Press.


August 23, 2020: “Leap Day” is included in Heron Tree Seven, edited by Chris Campolo and Rebecca Resinski, available here.


August 10, 2020: “Reclamation” is included in the anthology ERASE THE PATRIARCHY: AN ANTHOLOGY OF ERASURE POETRY, edited by Isobel O’Hare (University of Hell Press), available here.


Readings to celebrate the release of Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California:

     2018 Watershed Festival, Civic Center Park, Berkeley, CA, Sat., October 13, 2018.

     Earth Day Poetry Reading, West Valley College, Saratoga, CA, Mon., April 22, 2018, 1-3 PM.

​Oct. 1, 2018: “From the Freeway” is included in the anthology Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California, edited by Lucille Lang Day and Ruth Nolan (Scarlet Tanager Books), available here.

Nov 1, 2017: “The Owl Light" (poem series) is named one of four finalists in the poetry contest.

August 2017: Where the Current Catches (chapbook) is awarded the Island Verse Poetry Prize from Island Verse Editions.

June 2015: Where the Current Catches (full-length manuscript) is named a finalist for the New Rivers Press Many Voices Project.

April 16, 2015: "Weeding” is presented by Stacy Pendergrast on Poetry Minute, KUAF, an NPR affiliate in Fayetteville, AR.  Listen here.

April 2015: Porch Spiders is named a semi-finalist in the 2015 Frost Place Chapbook Competition sponsored by Bull City Press. 

March 2014: “Raccoon Road” is awarded the Laurie Mansell Reich/Academy of American Poets Prize from Chatham University.

News and Events


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