Patricia Fargnoli

Patricia Fargnoli published her first book of poetry at the age of 62.

Winter by Patricia Fargnoli-Click to Purchase

When Pulitzer-Prize-winner Mary Oliver chose Patricia Fargnoli’s first book, Necessary Light, as the winner of The May Swenson Book Award, Fargnoli was 62 years old.

“I began writing poems in high school and had a few (terrible ones) published in the school paper,” Pat explained by email from her home in Walpole, New Hampshire. “And I had taken poetry classes a couple of times in my 20’s at high school Adult Ed programs and the Y, but I didn’t become seriously dedicated to learning the craft of poetry and reading and understanding other poets, until I enrolled in a graduate poetry class taught by Brendan Galvin at Central Connecticut State University. I took that class several years running and met a group of women….7 of them…who later formed a poetry workshop and met regularly to critique each other’s work. I was in my late 30’s at the time I think. But it wasn’t until my 40’s that I began to be published in the journals and not until I was 62 that my first book found a home.”

For many years Fargnoli worked as a clinical social worker, but her story proves that it’s never too late to switch career paths. Today, Pat has five published books to her name. She also served as New Hampshire Poet Laureate from 2006-2009 and has had writing residencies at The Macdowell Colony, Dorset Writer’s Colony, and Wellspring House.

I asked Pat if she hat any advice to share with older readers who are trying to launch an arts or writing career later in life. “Dedication to reading many poets, and to learning all you can about the craft of poetry is absolutely necessary. As is Persistence (note the capital P)….in this competitive poetry world, that is much needed. Just keep on writing and revising and learning and sending out work. It is also very helpful to have a poetry community…others who love poetry and who encourage you and support your work (as you do theirs).”

Fargnoli’s newest poetry collection, Winter, was the perfect Sunday Poem choice for this weekend, as we welcome the Winter Solstice and prepare for Christmas. Happy holidays!





Winter Grace


If you have seen the snow
under the lamppost
piled up like a white beaver hat on the picnic table
or somewhere slowly falling
into the brook
to be swallowed by water,
then you have seen beauty
and know it for its transience.
And if you have gone out in the snow
for only the pleasure
of walking barely protected
from the galaxies,
the flakes settling on your parka
like the dust from just-born stars,
the cold waking you
as if from long sleeping,
then you can understand
how, more often than not,
truth is found in silence,
how the natural world comes to you
if you go out to meet it,
its icy ditches filled with dead weeds,
its vacant birdhouses, and dens
full of the sleeping.
But this is the slowed-down season
held fast by darkness
and if no one comes to keep you company
then keep watch over your own solitude.
In that stillness, you will learn