House of the Tomato

If a woman wants to be a poet, she must dwell in the house of the tomato. -- Erica Jong

Regional website for the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, in partnership with the Reader's Loft.


Celebrating, sharing and inspiring poetry throughout Wisconsin.

Poetry Reading

  • The Reader's Loft 2069 Central Court Green Bay, WI, 54311 United States

Christine Swanberg & Cristina Norcross

Christine Swanberg

Christine Swanberg

Christine Swanberg’s books include TONIGHT ON THIS LATE ROAD (Erie St., 1984), INVISIBLE STRING (Erie St., 1990), BREAD UPON THE WATERS (UW:Whitewater, 1990), SLOW MIRACLE (Lake Shore, 1992), THE TENDERNESS OF MEMORY (Plainview Press, 1995), THE RED LACQUER ROOM (Chiron Press, 2001) and WHO WALKS AMONG THE TREES WITH CHARITY(Wind Publications, KY, 2005) and THE ALLELUIA TREE (Puddin’head Press, IL). 

Hundreds of her poems have appeared in many journals such as SPOON RIVER, THE AVOCET, WIND, LOUISVILLE and many others. Recently GARDEN BLESSINGS, BACK TO JOY,  GRATITUDE PRAYERS AND POEMS, and EARTH BLESSINGS (June Cotner Anthologies) have included Christine’s poems as well as SOUNDINGS: POETRY OF DOOR COUNTY. An interview appears in POET’S MARKET 2008.  Christine is a writing teacher for museums, churches, arts councils, and women’s organizations. Recent essays appear in WOMEN ON POETRY and WRITING AFTER RETIREMENT. In Rockford she has won the Mayor’s Art (Lawrence Gloyd) Award for Education,  a YWCA Leader Luncheon Award for the Arts, and the Womanspirit Award at Womanspace.

She has given readings and workshops throughout the USA, most recently Palm Beach Community Center, FL;  Sedona, AZ;  Poetry Rendezvous in Taos, NM;  Door Country, Dickenson Series; The Clearing, Door Country, WI; and many others. Recently two of her poems have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes by CHIRON.

Sample Poetry

Hummingbird Whisperer

Glory be to the fierce little warriors
who return to my garden every year.
Come, enjoy, drink the various nectars,
tiny bold ones. You without any fear.
Teach me to cultivate fervor and focus.  
Stay in our shared secret sanctuary
created for you with bergamot and phlox, 
fuchsia and the feeder hung on the tree
you visit each morning. Hello! Goodbye! 
Who could be freer? Fast as a torpedo
when I'm digging, spading, you catch my eye.
Graceful as the wind--glanced from my window.
You share delight with your earthbound sister. 
You've made me a hummingbird whisperer.

First published THE AVOCET. Won a prize for Word of Art. Also published in June Cotner collection, EARTH BLESSINGS.

A Friend Asks

why I write poetry
and though I’ve dreamed of this moment
for years, it stops me like a siren:

Because Mayan women no longer weave chevrons
     in desert sunset threads
because it is no longer useful.
Because the snowy egret leaves the marsh forever.
Because the people closest to me suffer.
Because words are bread.
Because writing it is as mapless
     as driving down back roads.
Because without it my life is measured in paychecks.
Because I love you and can’t tell you.
Because I couldn’t stop even if I wanted to.
Because there are so many questions nobody asks.
Because someone wants to know.


Cristina Norcross

Cristina Norcross

Cristina M. R. Norcross lives in Wisconsin with her husband, their 2 sons, and a cat who loves to sleep on her warm, humming computer.  She is the founding editor of the online poetry journal, Blue Heron Review, and the author of 7 poetry collections.  Her most recent books include Amnesia and Awakenings (Local Gems Press, 2016), and Still Life Stories (Aldrich Press, 2016).  Her works have been published, or are forthcoming, in: The Toronto Quarterly, Your Daily Poem, Lime Hawk, The Poetry Storehouse, Right Hand Pointing, and Pirene’s Fountain, among others.  Cristina’s work also appears in numerous anthologies.  She is the co-founder of Random Acts of Poetry and Art Day.  Find out more about this poet at:

Sample Poetry

The Last Party
(for Josie)

It all begins to fade
in the land of forget-me-not years.
One moment I am dropping a slice of lemon into my tea –
the next moment
the back of my bed raises
with the click of a magic button.

Crosswords are my saving grace.
All of the clues –
a familiar comfort.
I wonder who keeps filling them in?
She should be more considerate and use a pencil.

There is a woman who comes and points
to pictures on my dresser.
Sometimes I am good at the guessing game –
sometimes not.
She is kind though and brings me a new nightgown
with each visit.

In times of joyful suspension,
the room is filled
with people I have not seen in years.
Gertrude’s fur wrap was always too showy,
but it looks good on her now.
Bill is busy serving cocktails,
while they set up another Canasta game.
It is a party of laughter and noise.
You should come –
before it all disappears.

Cristina M. R. Norcross
(from Still Life Stories, Aldrich Press, 2016)


Where Green Lives

This is where green lives –
the green of snapping turtle shells
and floating algae that does not move.

This is where green lives –
long blades of grass circling the pond –
hiding this secret water
from the mortal world.

This is where green lives –
soft, petal-like leaves –
little floating islands
on their backs.
Transfixed –
they gaze at willow tree fronds –
long fingers caressing
the heads of seekers.

This is where majesty lives –
towering trees standing guard,
until a lone willow falls
and becomes one with the
silent, green circle.

Cristina M. R. Norcross
(from Amnesia and Awakenings, Local Gems Press, 2016)



September 14
Poetry Reading
November 16
Poetry Reading

© 2017 House of the Tomato