Book News & Cover Reveal

I’m so excited to announce that my new collection

When All Else Fails

is available for pre-sale from The Poetry Box:

When All Else Fails

Here’s what the collection is about:

Open-hearted and unwavering, Lana Hechtman Ayer’s poems of vivid imagery navigate the reader through a lifetime—a rocky childhood, self-discoveries as a young woman, the many losses of adulthood, then finally learning to anchor one’s existence to beauty. These poems explore growing up with an abusive mother, attentive grandmothers, and a distant but caring father. The poet also examines the ethos of the times, bullying, and the ordeals of being female in a male-dominant culture. Giving voice to a connection with nature, the arts, creativity, and loving relationships, the collection is filled with uplifting insights. Ultimately, When All Else Fails celebrates the restorative power of poetry itself.

Here’s a poem from the collection, that previously appeared in Cirque.

The Loveliest

The milk of moonlight spills silently across the night yard. A slight rustling in the underbrush. Being awake at such blue hours, my thoughts grow vibrant as counterpoint to lightlessness. The air is cool and crisp, scented with leaf mold and fallen pine needles, the mulled wine of many seasons living in one place. I keep the porch light off, allow my eyes to adjust to night sky. Stars silver and red, coral and gold twinkle against the many-fathomed sea of space above. Even overnight clouds glow as if lit from within. As a child, I lay on the lounge chair so many restless summer twilights, seeking rare meteor streaks, and secretly aching for the spaceship to come fetch me back to my true home planet, where sunshine was a myth, or at the very least, shunned. Sixty insomniac years on Earth, and I’m finally fully acclimated to a middle-of-the-night life, mostly with ice cream cones and old black and white Capra comedies. Yesterday, I walked in 3 AM rain with my little shadow-colored dog, she a sniffing machine, me a wet sled being dragged along. Dry cemetery hours, I’m often melancholy for the pitter pat on the roof, the sight of drops rippling wide arcs across oil-dark pooling puddles. This overnight, I woke after only an hour’s rest, got dressed, and took myself outside for yet another meditative tour of nighttide. There’s peace in the rhythmic twitter of insects, plaintive wisdom in the stark cries of nocturnal birds and beasts. Should you care to come visit me soon, I’d be happy to share with you the loveliest of un-sleeps.

2023: The year of new poetry

I am overwhelmed with delight to announce I have 2 new poetry collections coming out this year. This is beyond a dream come true. I am so grateful to the presses. Cover reveals soon!!!

When All Else Fails is coming this spring from The Poetry Box edited by Shawn Aveningo-Sanders.

Here are some quotes:

Lana Hechtman Ayers takes the raw material of extreme childhood poverty and abuse and turns it into one arresting poem after another. Even more remarkable is that the poet emerges from this crucible not just alive but fully alive, willing to embrace everything, knowing that she’s here “to touch / the blank page with reverent ink…”

—John Brehm, author of No Day at the Beach and The Dharma of Poetry

“Lana Hechtman Ayers’ unflinchingly honest and sensual poetry traces her journey from a difficult childhood in Queens spent in ‘the dark house of my mother’s anger’ where the poet grew ‘scrupulous as an owl’, to a wildly luxuriant maturity in the Pacific Northwest where she revels in intimacy with sky and water, trees, birds, and a loving partner…”

—Alison Luterman, author of In the Time of the Great Fires

“…These poems sing with joy and reverence for a world ‘hard as agate but twice as beautiful.’ Ayers’ work speaks to us in a vividly rich lyric voice ‘born to be the sky’s reporter, mood ring for the rain.’”

—Paulann Petersen, Oregon Poet Laureate Emerita

Cover image for Overtures: Chagall Vue de la fenêtre à Zaolchie, près de Vitebsk, 1915

Overtures is coming this summer from Kelsay Books.

Here are some quotes:

“…these poems have arisen like miracles of what the book calls “today’s grace”—something elusive in life, but indelible in poems. This is a book co-authored by many poets, their visions woven here anew…and by the sea, varieties of shore light opening and winking into shadow as the sky changes…”

—Kim Stafford, author of Singer Come from Afar

“Lana Hechtman Ayers’ Overtures is capacious and lyrical, a compendium of poems that showcase her imagination and her empathy, her attention to the small miracles of daily life, the passage of time, the natural world, as well as to the disorientation bred of our disconnection from the real, the ancient, the sacred. It includes fables and fairytales and homages to other poets, from Pablo Neruda to Wallace Stevens to Mary Oliver… ”

— Cecilia Woloch, author of Tsigan

Prompt Me! New monthly blog feature.

I hope you’ll help me write new poems every month by posting a poetry prompt in the comments section of my blog.

The first week of the month, I’ll choose one of your wonderful prompts, write a new poem and post it, offering a special thank you to the person who provided the inspiration.

So let’s get started right now–Prompt Me! by posting your poetry prompt in the comments.

Thank you for participating.

What I’m reading — December 2019

Or rather, what I am re-reading:

Travellin’ Shoes by V. M. Burns

in preparation for the 2nd book in the RJ Franklin Mystery Series which is available now!

Motherless Child by V.M. Burns

Love the main character, an honorable police detective in a small Indiana town. Also, love Mama B, his surrogate mother who has a giant heart, cooks enough food for the entire neighborhood, and possesses no filter whatsoever. 


An Open Letter to Amazon KDP Regarding Paperbacks

An Open Letter to KDP,

Amazon began as a bookseller, first and foremost. A purveyor of books. Then CreateSpace made it possible to publish professional-standard books affordably as an author. I have been a faithful customer since the beginning of Amazon. Both companies packed and shipped books beautifully and cared about the product they delivered.

CreateSpace is no more, and we are being forced to use Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) for paperbacks. KDP is shipping paperback books carelessly and thoughtlessly. All of the individual author copies arrive damaged, having been loosely plopped into an envelope and sent through the mail. No pride in product or care for the authors, or the very books that were the company’s humble beginning.

This is a true letdown and downgrade of a product I have always admired, supported, and endorsed on Social Media and to other writers and publishing professionals.

I truly hope KDP will consider a company-wide policy change in the care you take shipping KDP paperback books.

Otherwise, I will have to take my business elsewhere, and heartily endorse that other authors, small presses, and industry professionals do the same.


Lana Hechtman Ayers, author and small press publisher