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 hosted the Studio Series, a monthly poetry reading and open mic for seven years at Ross Island Café/Stonehenge Studio in Southwest Portland, and currently serves on the board of Tavern Books.
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. WordTech Communications’ Turning Point Press published her first full-length poetry book, Everywhere I find Myself, in 2017.
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 Peregrine Series, the FoPo Series, Conversations with Writers, Free Range Poetry, the Press Club, Annie Bloom’s Books, Lan Su Chinese Garden and Mother Foucault’s Bookshop.
She has also read at the Book Bin in Salem, Grass Roots Books in Corvallis, at the River Road Series in Eugene and at Bloomsbury Books in Ashland.
In Washington State, she’s read in Vancouver at Barnes and Noble and at Ghost Town Poetry; in Olympia at Orca Books; in Tacoma at King’s Books; and in Seattle at 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, Tiger’s Eye, San Diego Poetry Annual, VoiceCatcher, Colere, Cirque 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.