A poetic partnership: Rustling Wrens & Solid Ground

Rustling Wrens front cover

When you purchase Rustling Wrens by Denise Calvetti Michaels on Amazon.com, a portion of the proceeds will support Solid Ground. (Cover art, “Bloom V” by Christy Michaels Tremblay)

Poet Denise Calvetti Michaels is a teacher, a mother and a former children’s human services provider. While she has previously published many pieces in a variety of journals and publications, her first book of poetry has just hit the shelves: Rustling Wrens, published by Cave Moon Press. Her rich poetry depicts family life and the human condition through the vivid imagery of nature and the environment.

A published book is an enormous accomplishment in itself, but Denise has even greater aspirations for Rustling Wrens: She hopes to turn it into a vehicle to build community, inspire others to take the risk to put words on paper as a healing form of expression, and also help support Solid Ground’s work. To this end, a portion of all proceeds from her book sales will go to Solid Ground, and she plans to encourage her readers to donate to Solid Ground above and beyond the list price. (To support Solid Ground by purchasing Rustling Wrens, please visit Amazon.com.)

Denise connected with Solid Ground first as a supporter of our Statewide Poverty Action Network’s advocacy work – which builds grassroots power to end causes of poverty and create opportunities for everyone to prosper – and she felt a connection with the shared mission to address racism and other oppressions that are root causes of poverty. But Solid Ground’s direct services resonate with her previous work with families with children at various stages of homelessness. She says, “It really exposed me to the complexity for families; I realized from my experience how the important thing is to really create a community net.”

She chose Solid Ground for this creative partnership because, “I think this is where I need to be. I’m at a point in my life where it really matters to me if I feel an organization has certain pieces in place. Addressing racism, addressing inequities – that’s what’s really important.” Additionally, her publisher, Cave Moon Press, has the unique mission “to bridge global and local issues through the literary arts.” Denise says, “To feel that a book that you publish is not just about the writer – but also it’s about engagement with the community – just really made sense to me.”

Denise also received a 4Culture 2012 Artist Grant, which will enable her to provide poetry readings and writing workshops at local libraries, community centers and classrooms over the next 18 months. As part of this process, she eventually hopes to provide workshops for the Solid Ground community, including families who access our services. “Working with Solid Ground is an opportunity to come back and say, ‘This book that is a lot about family – and that I will be using to offer workshops for families – will also benefit Solid Ground.”

Denise is just now beginning to schedule readings and arrange workshops around King County. For books purchased directly from Denise at a reading or event, she plans to encourage buyers to make a donation to Solid Ground above and beyond the book price.

Tonight, Friday, September 7th, 5:30-8:30 pm, she’ll read samples of her poems along with other writers and artists sharing their work at the Artist Trust event: A Celebration of Washington Artists Reception at the Washington Convention Center (800 Convention Place, Seattle, 98101-3550).

For updates on her schedule, visit her blog, Rustling Wrens, poems by Denise Calvetti Michaels – or stay in touch with Solid Ground via Facebook and Twitter.

To purchase Rustling Wrens, please visit Amazon.com and a portion of the proceeds will go to Solid Ground. We are thrilled that Denise and Cave Moon Press have chosen Solid Ground for this unique partnership.


Luminous, delicate, sensual, mournful – Denise Calvetti Michaels’ first collection of poems transports us into the land of memory, juxtaposing Mediterranean and Southwestern geographers, with detours to other sites, from post-Katrina New Orleans to war-torn Iraq and Viet Nam. And while some of these locations remain mere ghost-like names of the places where loved ones have gone, the voice of the poet, lulling and relentless, roots them in the terrain of a past that must be recalled again and again. There is a dream-like, hypnotic quality to these poems, and the reader willingly surrenders.”

—EDVIDGE GIUNTA, author of Writing with an Accent
Contemporary Italian American Women Authors

One Response

  1. […] 2011, CMP published Denise Calvetti Michaels’ Rustling Wrens, and she chose to donate a portion of sales proceeds to Solid Ground and also spread the word about Solid Ground during her readings. Similarly, when poet Esther […]

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