Author Statement: Animals, horses, dogs, cats, and visiting wildlife are the gifts that bring me great joy, and so they appear in my poetry. Even rats and skunks are worthy of my poetry. As for humans, I focus on the downtrodden, and those living in slums and hollows---not to forget those living in our iron cities, our prisons. I mourn the deteriorating condition of the planet. I mock those who have elitism and greed at the center of their lives. I also poke fun at myself especially my struggles with aging. In terms of style, I try to balance the trend toward narrative with my love for the early imagists.
“These poems have the look of made and remade, buffed and polished things, brought into their current being as acts of love and scrutiny. Good to be alive to this work in words, committing poetry as it ought to be committed — a matter of essence and consequence.” — Thomas Lynch, author of The Depositions and Bone Rosary
“A rich bestiary animates the poems in THE DARK SAFEKEEPING. Elegantly observant of the natural world (as gardener, horsewoman, admirer or rescuer of all manner of wildlife), Gloria Nixon-John makes us acutely aware of the "sacrifice…shared survival" this world exacts from us. Prison cats, butterflies, the bullfrog in a letter from a prisoner, as well as her beloved horses take center stage alongside family and friends in precise, clear-eyed poems that mark life’s passages. Friends die, teeth and hips go bad; nevertheless Nixon-John, to paraphrase Sophia Loren, "has a fountain of youth in her mind". From "a girl who longed for breasts like Mary Berghope’s" to a grandmother who ponders how she might help her granddaughter "take this sun-drenched sanctuary" (ie, her garden) "into her old age", she charts her journey with compassion and frequent humor in order to, as she muses over a snapping turtle, "add levity to the peril we face together". — Terry Bohnhorst Blackhawk, author of One Less River
“Gloria Nixon-John is one of Metro Detroit finest writers. Her new book of poems, THE DARK SAFEKEEPING, demonstrates her ability to examine a wide variety of topics, from prisoners’ reports to her Michigan garden and farm; from Italy & Michelangelo to Sledders Inn, with a quick stop at a convenience store during the pandemic. I enjoyed the many roads this poet has traveled, and I feel great joy having taken the literary journey with her. The warmth in these wonderful poems, crafted from life experiences that touch and connect to a universal sensibility, can only come from THE DARK SAFEKEEPING of everydayness.” — M. L. Liebler, poet, Director, Detroit Writers’ Guild
Gloria Nixon-John earned an M.A. in Communication, Rhetoric, and Journalism from Wayne State University and a Ph.D. in English from Michigan State University. Gloria's novel The Killing Jar is based on the story of one of the youngest Americans to have served on death row. Her memoir, Learning from Lady Chatterley is written in narrative verse and set in Detroit. Breath me a Sky, a chapbook of her poems was published by the Moonstone Arts Center of Philadelphia. She has also published essays in pedagogical texts for teachers and essays and poems about gardening and horses. She is a Teacher Consultant for the Red Cedar Writing Project (MSU). She is currently working on a fantasy novel, as well as a sequel to her memoir. Gloria resides in Oxford, Michigan with her horses, dogs, cats, abundant wildlife, and her husband, Michael.