The Flapper Press Poetry Café: The Poetry of Elaine Alarcon-Totten

By Annie Klier Newcomer:



The Flapper Press Café presents the work of poets from around the globe. This week, we feature the poetry of one of my dear friends and classmates, Elaine Alarcon-Totten!


Elaine’s work has appeared in Solo, Orbis, Spillway, The TOPANGA Messenger, The Canyon Chronicle, The Denver Quarterly, Askew, Flapper Press, and Blue Light Press. She has graduate degrees in Creative Writing from the University of Denver. Born in Maryland, raised in Minnesota, educated in Colorado, and escaped to California, Elaine is happy to live by water in a temperate climate with sweet evening winds.


Orbis is a beautiful global publication out of Great Britain.

(Carole Baldock editor—carolebaldock@hotmail.com for submissions)


Elaine's poem ("Letter to Harry Clarke") was selected by the Orbis readers as a co-first-prize winner with another member of our Key West Cigar Poetry Workshop, Brooke Herter James.


AN: Elaine, it has been eighteen months since we first met in Billy Collins' Workshop in Key West. I don't think that I have asked you this before, but what brought you to poetry? Why do you write?


Elaine Alarcon-Totten, poet

E: I’m not sure how it started. I was a liar. When I first learned to write, I read a little story I liked so well in school I copied it out and told my mother that I had written it. "The road unwinds like a spool of thread,” it went. Years later, I really thought I had written it and had it framed. But recently I was thinking about it, how I was too young at the time to be writing figures of speech, so I Googled it and wouldn’t you know—it wasn’t original after all! Then, after reading the Diary of Anne Frank, like a lot of adolescent girls, I started a diary. I began writing poetry at about the same time, silly stuff. I’d hop on my bike and go down to the river at dusk and write some poem. Later, I won a state contest for a