Leah Stenson grew up on Long Island, New York where she completed an M.A. in English Literature at State University of New York at Stony Brook.
She worked as an assistant editor in New York City for Hawthorne Books and School Library Journal, then moved to Tokyo where, after graduating from a special program in the Japanese language, she spent sixteen years teaching English, doing editorial work and raising two daughters.
After moving to Oregon in 1993 she served for a few years as managing director of Oregon Peace Institute while continuing to offer editorial assistance to a Buddhist organization headquartered in Japan.
She currently serves on the boards of Friends of William Stafford and Tavern Books, and she also hosts the Studio Series, a monthly poetry reading and open mic at Ross Island Café/Stonehenge Studio in Southwest Portland,
In addition to poetry, she has published essays, editorials and feature articles for various newspapers and magazines and co-authored a textbook for Japanese students of English. Finishing Line Press published her poetry chapbooks, Heavenly Body in 2011 and The Turquoise Bee and Other Love Poems in 2014.
She served as a regional editor of Alive at the Center: Contemporary Poems from the Pacific Northwest (Ooligan Press, 2013) and co-edited Reverberations from Fukushima: 50 Japanese Poets Speak Out (Inkwater Press, 2014) with Asao Sarukawa Aroldi.
She has hosted Stafford commemorative birthday readings at Lake Oswego and Beaverton Libraries and the Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River and has been a featured reader at numerous poetry readings in the Portland area, among them the Gender Studies Symposium at Lewis and Clark College, Friends of William Stafford readings, the First Wednesday Readings at Blackbird Wine Shop, the Moonstruck and Peregrine Series, Glyph Cafe, Milepost 5, Annie Bloom’s Books, Lan Su Chinese Garden and the Press Club.
In Washington State, she’s read in Vancouver at Barnes and Noble, Cover to Cover books, and Angst Gallery; in Olympia at Orca Books; in Tacoma at King’s Books; and in Seattle at the Greenlake Library.
Leah’s poems have been featured in such publications as the Oregonian, NW Women’s Journal, Oregon Literary Review, Portland Alliance, Thresholds, Verse Weavers, San Diego Poetry Annual, VoiceCatcher, Colere, and Cloudbank.
Although much of her time is spent in Portland and Parkdale, Oregon in the Hood River Valley, she is equally at home in New York and Tokyo.