first kiss – enjoy the audio

Do you remember your first kiss? Mine happened (first time for both of us) in the back seat of a Dodge on an Iowa gravel road while two of his buddies egged him on from the front seat. It was what passed for a wild night in the 1950s. They were driving way too fast, spitting gravel, taking hills up the center of the road, on our way home from a dance class in town. Somebody had taken pity on us country bumpkins or just couldn’t stand to watch us bumbling around in the gym at sock hops and arranged a few classes for us high school freshmen in the basement of a ranch house in Clinton. Poets will write about anything, so when I was writing Black Dirt Days: Poems as Memoir, this prose poem popped out. The names have been changed to protect the guilty. How about it? Do you remember your first kiss?

Enjoy the audio.

Happy writing!
Nan Lundeen

with gratitude, my life in a few pages

The book's cover. Photo by Ron DeKett, design by Kristin Toney.
The book’s cover. Photo by Ron DeKett, design by Kristin Toney.

I am so very grateful to my loving family and dear friends who made possible the publication of my new book, Black Dirt Days: Poems as Memoir. It will be available on Amazon any day now, and we’re planning a party in August to celebrate its release. Thirty-seven narrative poems on seventy-two pages tell the story of life on a 160-acre farm in Iowa during the 1950s, when farmers rotated crops and milked cows by hand, neighbors helped neighbors, and church and school were an integral part of family life.

I greatly appreciate the friends and colleagues who wrote blurbs for the back cover, especially because they said nice things! Here are samples:

“Nan Lundeen poetically works the past in her collection, Black Dirt Days, Poems As Memoir. With her ear to the ground, she tills the soil of her familial lineage. She wields her lyric voice like a useful farm tool and the reader benefits from her creative laboring. In these poems, she harvests the stories of the land and the people that she came from and both will forever live in her well-worked lines.” – Glenis Redmond, Teaching Artist & Poet.

Black Dirt Days celebrates farm and family, childhood and church, and ultimately even ‘good death.’ In these honest, forthright poems full of Iowa light, Nan Lundeen offers praise for the place ‘where [her] soul planted itself/and refused to move/although [her] body did.'” – Gil Allen, Bennette E. Geer Professor of Literature, Furman University, Winner of the Robert Penn Warren Prize in Poetry.

“Nan’s works are warm, engaging, understandable, and down-to-earth, full of concrete images and enticing language.” – Jenny Munro, Freelance Writer.

Black Dirt Days puts me right back into the farm kitchen, the church, and the neighborhood among loving sometimes judgmental people.” – Jeanne Hansen, Author, Iowa Resident.

Please visit to hear me read “The Oracle,” a poem from the new collection.

Nan Lundeen