Alison Luterman | The Sun Magazine #3

Alison Luterman


Alison Luterman lives, works, and coaches other writers from a hundred-year-old house in Oakland, California. For the past few years she’s been learning basic music theory and how to play piano and sing. She’s slowly making progress.

— From April 2024

Rocking Chair

I am nine years old, watching my mother nurse my new baby brother. She is sitting in the old rocker, humming a thin, sweet thread of a song.

January 2012


A kid you teach at juvenile hall tells you his father is on death row.

April 2011

Love Shack

The only room in the house we can heat properly becomes the only room where I’ll let you undress me.

March 2011
The Sun Interview

Written On The Bones

Kim Rosen On Reclaiming The Ancient Power Of Poetry

To me a good poem is like a sacred mind-altering substance: you take it into your system, and it carries you beyond your ordinary ways of understanding. I call the nonconceptual elements of a poem — the rhythm, the sound, the images — the “shamanic anatomy.” Like a shaman’s drum, the beat of a poem can literally entrain the rhythms of your body: your heartbeat, your breath, even your brain waves, altering consciousness. Most poems are working on all these levels at once, not just through the rational mind.

December 2010

What About God

The rabbi is coming to talk about the wedding. We lay out cookies, tamari almonds, stuffed grape leaves, hummus, crackers, and strips of sweet red peppers.

June 2010

Selected Poems

from “An Encounter” | We met naked on the sun deck by the / clothing-optional hot springs, / and I saw the long scar / like a smile across his furred abdomen

January 2010
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Baggage: A Love Story

I have never understood those personal ads that specify the seeker is looking for a person with “no baggage.” What does that mean, exactly? Who hasn’t accumulated regrets and scars — not to mention a storage unit’s worth of junk — by middle age? Show me someone with no baggage, and I’ll show you someone who forgot to pack.

January 2009
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

War Of Words

It’s an evil day when there’s no coffee in the teachers’ lounge at 8 A.M. and it’s so cold outside I could see my breath in the parking lot on the way in. I’m a poetry teacher, and this morning I’ll be visiting two fourth-grade classes. I’ve brought with me a poem called “Sweet like a Crow,” by Michael Ondaatje, author of The English Patient.

April 2008


I’m a liar, / he offered on our first date, / as we trudged hand in hand / through sliding sand on Alameda Beach.

June 2007
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