Joseph and Susan Finkleman


Joseph Finkleman was born in Hollywood, California. He has a BFA and an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, was a professional photographer for 20 years, and taught photography and animation. Joe, who shows both photography and watercolor, characterizes himself as a serious artist. Before art school, he was a literature major with a minor in journalism. Along with the novel, a number of short stories and plays, and a great deal of poetry, Joe has recently completed the libretto of an opera (You Who Know), which will be performed this season at California State University, Sacramento.

Susan Finkleman began her delusional existence as a struggling novelist in Detroit, Michigan at age 10, and as a poet at age 13. She has been recently encouraged in these delusions by such publishers as Susurrus, Rattlesnake Press, The Yolo Crow, and Sacramento News & Review. She is co-authoring a novel for children and any number of two-voice poems with her husband, Joseph. Having burned out on transforming classrooms full of students into struggling writers, she is now the office manager of the Davis Cemetery. In her miniscule spare time, she whirls around contra dancing; when she is thoroughly spun out, she practices Zen.

Joe and Susan also have CDs of their work. You can find out more on their website:  They can also be reached at


—Joe Finkleman

I dream that I’m dreaming
deep summer’s dusty embers of valley heat
burning away all that isn’t essential,
distilling life to the parched hope of a delta breeze.
Instead, dusty whirls of wind circle purple needle grass
framing one clump like wolves cutting a deer from the herd,
a tough wind, circling like a white tailed kite hunting for life
in order to kill, in order to live.
I dream that a river once ran here; I dream
of water that flows from living rock.
I dream of earth blood streaming
through swales of slender blue rye,
through fuchsia and poppies
like dresses covering young girls’ legs.
Beneath the flowers lies that swelling of bold curves,
jutting breasts of granite.
I dream of water, that bubbling hollow rock sound
thrumming from the power of currents and eddies.
I dream of cold water from the deep,
from the abyss. In the deep dusty summer
I dream that I’m dreaming.


—Susan Finkleman

Shaggy white mother,
fierce cave of fur and instinct
arching over her young
until they are ready
and she drives them away.

Will they remember in old age,
recognize her on the trail
like humans, bound to their cluttered pasts
by memory and obligation?

I am a mother,
a daughter,
and the rust red pain of both.
I want to be a bear,
white against the snow.





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