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Poets of the Monterey Bay

cover Walking the Hot Coal of the Heart

Poems by Julia Alter


Praise for Walking the Hot Coal of the Heart:

“If you’ve ever left your heart behind, chances are Julia Alter’s got it in this book of poems.  Alter is the poet for you if you’ve ever forgotten what you live for, what you love.  Her poems capture brief nuance—scent of rose as well as the bold strokes of longing.  The body is wholly alive here.  These poems are lush with the world—‘the magnet in her heart,’ ‘your name spelled out in honey,’ ‘the fist of a tuxedoed stranger,’ and more, so much more spilling, spilling from Julia’s pen into poems that may, in fact, not be made of words but of fire.”
         —Patrice Vecchione, author of Writing and the Spiritual Life: Finding Your Voice By Looking Within.

“ Julia Alter was born with roses rolling off her tongue and perhaps she hid the thorns under her skin.  She was born in hurricane season during the great unleashing of tides and thunder and lightning splitting the trees into splinters.  She was born speaking the language of monsoon and tsunami when the ocean covered the desert and there were strange reptiles who could breathe underwater.  She was born knowing the songs of the horseshoe crab and the armadillo.  She knew what lived in those impenetrable shells.  She put words to the tempests inside our skulls.  She could tell you stories of how the heart went missing and she was a bounty hunter traveling the Sahara and Spain, San Diego to find the red beating muscle in a pawn shop or in a jukejoint somewhere in Texas or on Route 66 or in the gypsy camp by the river in Salamanca. She will tell you this is nothing.  It’s something she does for the fun of it.  She will tell you the only way to walk the highwire is without a net.  She will tell you the names of every color in the universe.  She will tell you the poem that was written on your soul at your birth.  She will spell it out to you in rose petals.”
         —Patti Sirens, author of Antarctica.

“Julia Alter is such a good poet at such a young age.  I can't imagine what her poetry will be like when she's a crone like me—we‘ll have to peel her off of the stars.”
         —Joanna Martin, author of The Meaning of Wings.

Julia Alter wrote her first poem at age eight and has been writing ever since.

Born in Walnut Creek, California, she has been a long-time resident of Santa Cruz, California.  She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Literature/Writing from the University of California at San Diego and studied literature abroad through New York University in Salamanca, Spain.  For several years, Julia has been an attendee and assistant at Patricia Dove Miller’s Joyous Expression writing and meditation retreat at Zen Mountain Center.  Her work is featured on Natalie Goldberg’s CD, “Old Friend from Far Away” and her poetry appears in Blue Moon Review, DMQ Review, La Gazette, Porter Gulch Review, Santa Cruz Sentinel and is forthcoming in Calyx.  Alter received the Muse Award and a Pushcart Prize nomination in 2001 from DMQ Review.  She was honored with the Mary Lonnberg Smith Award three times from Porter Gulch Review and Cabrillo College.   She has worked as a bilingual kindergarten teacher and leader of poetry workshops for both children and adults.  Her current love is singing and she is presently at work on a CD project with songwriter Ron Upton.  She is one of the co-founders of Poetry Santa Cruz.  She welcomes your correspondence at julia_alter@yahoo.com.

Walking the Hot Coal of the Heart by Julia Alter.  February 2004.
84 pages, paperback, $12, ISBN 0-9716373-6-9

Poems by Julia Alter


Copyright 2004