Patricia has spent much of her life as an advocate: for women, for civil rights, for peace, for a healthy environment, for small farms and rural communities, for the arts. Born and raised in Austin, Texas, she moved north years ago with her children. She is a business owner and trail walker, and has been director of several organizations, including women’s centers, community economic development corporations, district congressional offices, and served as an elected county commissioner for four years. In 1985, when she joined Pat Schneider’s Amherst Writers & Artists writing workshop, she found the courage to write for others to read.
Patricia holds an MFA degree in Creative Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and completed her undergraduate degree at Smith College, Phi Beta Kappa, in 1970. She is a founder and past president of Straw Dog Writers Guild, serving writers primarily in western Massachusetts. A grant from the Massachusetts Arts Council, enabled her to help establish a writing program at her local library. Trained to teach English to speakers of other languages (TESOL), Patricia and friends volunteered in the Maya village of Santa Cruz la Laguna on Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, where she led retreats beginning in 2006, at Villa Sumaya Retreat Center.
Her poetry, fiction and feature articles have appeared in a variety of journals & anthologies, including The Los Angeles Times, Hampshire Life, and The Boston Sunday Globe. Her poems have appeared in Upstreet, Sanctuary: Magazine of the Massachusetts Audubon Society, and Crossing Paths: An Anthology of Poems by Women (Mad River Press), among others. Her work has been featured in the Berkshire Review, which nominated her poem, “Two Hundred Wings” for a Pushcart Prize. She was supported by a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council to perform her poems as a benefit for the Miniature Theatre of Chester. She is currently at work on a novel set on a ranch in West Texas in the 1930’s.
Patricia’s papers and books are in the Sophia Smith Archives at Smith College, and in the Special Collections at UMass Amherst. The Smith Alumnae Magazine, Fall 2020, featured a profile of her, written by Tzivia Gover, and found HERE.
We have faced in our various ways the Corona Virus Pandemic, and it has been a period of death, illness, isolation and brokenness for many of us on this planet. And yet, how many times have we shed tears of relief and gratitude to hear orchestras and choirs of voices and instruments played in living rooms and bathrooms and balconies in a multitude of countries raised and ringing with the joy of joining together? And how many times has the courageous work of one person in service to another stood for the millions of acts of love and compassion this pandemic has demanded?
As Robert Emmons wrote, “Faced with demoralization, gratitude has the power to energize. Faced with brokenness, gratitude has the power to heal. Faced with desperation, gratitude has the power to hope.”
What now? From Patchwork Farm to Little Patch!
In September 2020, I sold and moved from my beloved Patchwork Farm Retreat, which I founded on a little mountain in Westhampton, MA over 40 years ago. Since then, I’ve been in my new home in downtown Northampton in Old School Commons where my children went to school ‘lo those many years ago. It’s a lovely, one-bedroom apartment with 13-foot ceilings that I’ve named “Little Patch.”
Click here to read “How I Came To Lead Writing Workshops and Changed My Life.”
Patchwork Journal – an on-line journal by Patchwork Writers
Wales – published in Hampshire Life on sacred sites in Wales
Texas – published in Los Angeles Times on searching for sacred sites in Texas
Iona – published in Los Angeles Times on the Isle of Iona, Scotland
“To This,” a postered poem
Patricia interviewed in The Writer