I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.

—Vincent van Gogh


About Lana

Cat mama, dog mama, sky-watcher, recovering coffee-addict, former New Yorker Lana Hechtman Ayers writes in a room over the garage.

Architect of the "severed sonnet" form, her poems appear in such places as Rattle, The London Reader, Peregrine, The MacGuffin, and Verse Daily. Author of eight full-length poetry collections, the most recent are: When All Else Fails (May 2023) and Overtures (September 2023). The Autobiography of Rain is forthcoming from Fernwood Press, September 2024. She’s also published Time Flash: Another Me, a romantic time travel novel. A sequel is in the works.

Lana leads generative writing workshops in the Amherst method, helps poets assemble their own collections, facilitates a Zoom Poetry Book Club, and manages three poetry presses: Concrete Wolf, MoonPath Press, and World Enough Writers.

She spends entirely too many hours watching British crime dramas and solving cryptograms with her spouse in Newport, Oregon, a town famous for its barking sea lions. Her favorite color is the swirl of van Gogh’s The Starry Night.

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Selected Works
When All Else Fails
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Cover art: Rites of Memory by Deborah DeWit, oil on wood,
24” x 30”, 2021 http://DeborahDewit.com
Open-hearted and unwavering, these 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. Poems that give voice to connection with nature, with the arts, with creativity, and with loving relationships provide uplifting insights. Ultimately, When All Else Fails celebrates the restorative power of poetry itself.
All Childhood Summers Blend into One
Bubbie Zelda’s bungalow
in Rock Hill, NY
where the long dry grass
of its own light,
was a kingdom
of throaty bristling life—
frogs I chased
through muddy bogs,
crickets’ black harps rarely seen,
grasshoppers that often
landed on my knees,
and too many kinds
of flies, mosquitoes, bees.

Where has that girl gone,
who could spend hours
without need
of a single word?
Is she here now
only in the gleaming
whites spaces between
the squished bug marks
letters make on a page?
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Cover art: Vue de la fenêtre à Zaolchie, près de Vitebsk by Marc Chagall, 1915, gouache and oil on cardboard glued on canvas
The poems in Overtures explore engagement with others, with ourselves, and with the natural world, and convey the overtures we make toward love, peace, and beauty.
Artist Studio, Condemned
I want to own the ocean, carry it inside me, soul of persistence, engine of timelessness. Instead, I walk around, grief swirling through my veins. Cut me and I bleed gray. No, you say, impossible but fields of mustard inhabit the past. Somewhere there’s a library from which all anatomy books have been stolen. This year the lavender lost its scent and its way. The serenity of salmon is the same river of their birth as their death. My neighbor is building a new porch. Perhaps she’ll raise a swing to watch sunsets, like the satisfaction of the second hand on a clock that never stops circling. My father was partial to tapioca pudding with, he requested, enough whipped cream heaped on top to tickle the clouds. How can anyone define happiness better than that?
Autobiography of Rain
Coming from Fernwood Press September 2024
Cover art: Reunion,
by Andrea Kowch,
acrylic on canvas,
36” x 36”
The poems in this collections explore the healing powers of art and nature in a world that is as ripe with beauty as it is rife with grief.
Immovable Clouds
Outside, snow falls like a dream
of snow falling,
coastal weather inscrutable
as my black cat curled
beside the woodstove.

Girls in sweeping hoop skirts
twirl vivid oil-paper umbrellas,
stroll the April parade—
Japanese lanterns aglow
against slow, gray sky.

One ruby Fuji apple dropped
by an onlooker rolls in the gutter—
a spark shorn of its wick.
Halts at a storm drain.
No one dashes to reclaim it.

It’s late afternoon
in the twenty-first century.
Silence is an attitude of shadow.
I turn from the drafty window,
my green tea still steaming.

Clouds swirl within
the bone-white cup,
whirling eddies,
snow drifts in pale spring light.
My life is far from over.