Introducing Susan Ramsey

I’m away until at least February 2. Guest bloggers have been taking over in my absence. I’ve pre-posted introductions to appear before each begins.

Many thanks to the incomparable Dennis DiClaudio for taking the helm yesterday. Please send fan mail to dennis [at]

Today’s guest blogger, Susan Ramsey, handles out-of-print orders for the Athena Book Shop of Kalamazoo, Michigan. It’s “the only [independent bookstore] in town older than I am,” she says, but then concedes that it’s the only indie in Kalamazoo, period, “now that Darth Noble killed the other.”

Susan’s poetry has appeared in Poetry Northwest, the Atlanta Review, the Indiana Review, and other publications. Her most recent poem is “a sestina based on jokes — the repeat words are joke, bar, chicken, lightbulb, blonde, rabbi.” She’ll spend April of this year at the Vermont Studio Center on a partial fellowship.

In addition to hunting down out-of-print books and writing poetry, Susan teaches handspinning and knitting at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts and is leading an enrichment course on women’s literature. Right now she has “a blue stripe on my index finger from loose dye in the merino/alpaca/tussah silk yarn I’m spinning and knitting.”

She and I have corresponded intermittently for almost a year, now, since she wrote to tell me she picked up a Charles Portis book when I posted an excerpt. In email she sometimes calls me “lambie,” one of my late grandmother‘s occasional endearments. And last year she educated me in the art of killing “poison ivy, literal and spiritual.”

I’ll bet you could ask Susan pretty much anything and get a good answer. Email her at susan [at]


You might want to subscribe to my free Substack newsletter, Ancestor Trouble, if the name makes intuitive sense to you.