about Summer Koester

Where I call home: Juneau, Alaska

What I do: I write poetry, stories, and essays, and I’m working on a memoir about my fifteen years living in cultures nothing like my own. I try escape into the wilderness as much as possible, usually with my daughter and son. Sometimes I perform– theater, writing and singing songs on my guitar, and dance.

Successes: My poem Solstice through Aperture place first in this year’s Alaska Statewide Poetry Contest, and my work has appeared or is forthcoming in Motherwell Magazine, Lowestoft Chronicle, Third Wednesday, Hellebore, Front Porch Review, Tidal Echoes, Alaska Women Speak, and a few more. One of my poems was included in the anthology Courageous Women by Ukiyoto Publishing.

My day job: teaching Spanish to middle school students

Educational background: Bachelors of Arts in People and Performing Arts of Latin America and the Caribbean, teaching certificates in California and Alaska, and Masters of Education

Who I am: Sensitive and empathetic, maybe from my years of living abroad, or working with children, or becoming other people on stage.

How I started writing: It began with researching ancient civilizations in my grandfather’s library during the summers, then I would turn my notes into hundred-paged novels. In college my writing evolved into rap lyrics, and later folk songs.

Why I write: When I write poetry, I can capture and experience time more acutely than when I just go through the motions of life. I’m sure people understand what it’s like to go through life not being heard, and with poetry I can speak my mind without interruptions. With poetry I can leave my ego behind and just feel my way around the world a bit. I love how poetry helps us make sense of a nonsensical world.

What inspires me: The wilderness, my son who inspired Solstice through Aperture, my five-year-old daughter who is magical. Indigenous people from around the world, especially the Tlingit, Tsimshian and Haida, the original people of Southeast Alaska. Currently I’m inspired by the poetry of Sandra Cisneros. Also, my husband who is nothing like me, so I write poems to understand him better. Humans are fascinating.