(Finishing Line Press, 2014)


“It’s refreshing to see a woman writing so freely and openly about love and about the physical body during romances. The Turquoise Bee is full of flowers and night-dancing, of time and loss and being enriched by experience. I cherish these poems. Stenson’s eye and concern of the intimate other is to be admired.”

~ Carl Adamshick, 2010 Winner of the Walt Whitman Award and 2012 Winner of the Oregon Book Award


“Leah Stenson’s The Turquoise Bee is an autobiography of love, of individual loves. Fashioned from a sequence of poems, it spans decades and oceans. Here, a reader finds love requited and unrequited, trysts imagined and enacted. In turns lusty and witty and delicate, these poems offer themselves as …fiery fruit/hanging on a stark black branch/…ready for harvest.

~Paulann Petersen, Oregon Poet Laureate


Selected Poems


A flower withers in a month’s time. 
But the turquoise bee doesn’t grieve. 
At the ending of an affair 
I will not grieve either.*
The sixth Dalai Lama,
tantric adept and Bohemian poet
adorned with jewels and blue silk robes
instead of saffron or crimson,
partied till dawn in Lhasa’s brothels
and bars when he wasn’t busy
pollinating some aristocratic beauty.

Renouncing his monastic vows, he
kept only his title as incarnation
of the Bodhisattva of Compassion.

Isn’t love just another stop on the path
to enlightenment?

*From The Turquoise Bee: The Love Songs of the Sixth Dalai Lama by Fields, Cutillo and Oda


More delicious than a kiss,

words which make me

love myself more,

all I really wanted

from you, or any man.

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Leah Stenson