Laurie Byro has been facilitating “Circle of Voices” poetry discussion in New Jersey libraries for over 17 years.
She is published widely in University presses in the United States and is included in an anthology St. Peter’s B List (Ave Maria Press, 2014). Laurie has garnered more IBPC awards (InterBoard Poetry Community) than any other poet, stopping at 50 in 2017. She began competing in 2002 and was named “Poet of the Decade” for work produced between 2000-2010.
She had two books of poetry published in 2015: Luna (Aldrich Press) and Gertrude Stein’s Salon and Other Legends (Blue Horse Press). A chapbook was published in 2016, Wonder (Little Lantern Press) out of Wales.
She received a 2016 New Jersey Poet’s Prize for the first poem in the Stein collection and will receive a NJ Poetry Prize for a poem in her forthcoming collection: “The Bloomsberries and Other Curiosities” by Kelsay Books.
Laurie was a travel agent for 24 years, a librarian for 14 years. She has traveled widely, most recently Italy and Greece, and has used these explorations in order to write her “Salon” poems having visited most of the places these events took place.
She refers to her Salon poems as “historical poetry.” Laurie is currently Poet in Residence at the West Milford Township Library, where “Circle of Voices” continues to meet. She is very proud to say her artist husband Michael Byro has created all the paintings that grace these covers.
The Luna moth dies because it has no mouth, she learns this
the summer her mother dies of the cancer. It starts out
like a quickening, an easy pregnancy her mother tells her,
a fluttering, like wings. Her mother says that New Year’s moths
have invaded her mouth, have crawled down to her stomach,
their wings furiously weaving her ribs. It is not unpleasant she says,
it can’t be dangerous. Afterward, she appears as mossy
slices of apple on two wings, how perfect it is that she follows
her daughter everywhere, her heart beating all that summer.
Her breath is as unnoticed as a morning breeze, she is fragile
as a vine climbing to reach the moon, she is a stem set loose
by the sky. The Luna moth alights the daughter’s left hip and stays,
its antennae searching the warmth of her skin. The mother fans
her like a leftover Queen, reverent of her hips, the bottom
she used to diaper. She reads that butterflies are a sign from the fallen.
Her friends say a butterfly could have been a warrior or soldier.
This moth is close enough to believe in. Later, she is astonished
to discover it has no mouth and will die from not eating. There
are no trembling lips, no parched mouth to take in its last truth.
In the end, there is no proof that her daughter will walk away
from her, shining as brightly as an opalescence, a crescent of light.