New Member Profile of the Month–Calder Lowe

From the editor: As you know, I’m big on experimenting with ways to get the word out about our members, our mission, our benefits–anything that lets people know what Pen Women are all about. Current NLAPW National President Candace Long has talked about the importance of bringing in new members. Word is from the credentials officers that many new member applications are arriving regularly in their mailboxes. (Big shout out to those credentials officers: Nancy Jurka, Letters, Linda Spencer, Art, and Nancy Deussen, Music, for all your hard work!!)

I’m particularly interested in bringing youth into our fold. I joined in my twenties and have benefited ever since from the knowledge and wisdom of our elder Pen Women.

Young women artists, for all the progress that’s been made since 1897, still face hurdles in many arts professions, especially the traditional male domains in music, broadcasting and film, journalism, even fine arts.

Hey, glass ceiling, we’re armed with brushes, pens and batons to break through! Long-time members have paid it forward; new members are our future.

Treanor Baring
Website Editor, Poetry Editor

So why not take advantage of this blog to get to know some of our new members and a (smidgen) of their work? Here, the inaugural profile of California poet and Modesto Branch member, Calder Lowe (scroll down for a new poem).

Calder Lowe Letters Modesto Branch, CA

Calder Lowe
Modesto Branch, CA

In her own words:

I was first introduced to NLAPW by my longtime friend, Mary Lou Taylor who belongs to the Santa Clara County Branch of NLAPW. I joined the Modesto Branch of NLAPW at the invitation of Sally Ruddy. As a writer, initially I composed poetry to support fellow survivors of childhood abuse and poverty. While still bearing witness to the suffering of those our society has marginalized, my writing also addresses other complex issues all poets grapple with in our respective journeys. We seek light and discernment in times of loss and yearn for authenticity and connectedness. We inhabit the Sacred and our offerings hang as prayers on a planet desperate for healing. Holding fast to our highest intentions, may we continue to collectively provide a voice for the disenfranchised, a voice characterized by its passion, urgency and particularity.

My dream is that my work will ignite and capture that epiphanic spark that illuminates the path home where mindfulness ennobles our hearts and awe refashions the very way in which we relate to the world around us. It is my sincerest hope my readers will find within my poems and short stories, a compassionate hand extended, a perception tweaked, a reality reinvented.


This is not who I am,
this decrepit 67-year-old
who finds herself more overburdened
pack mule than vibrant, creative goddess
hardwired by sparks & sass & overweening
passion for the yet unspooled recording of the word.

I look at the parking lot pavement
& see a child’s goldfish cracker, a single
miracle of orange afloat on gray concrete
reminiscent of when I was six, lazily pumping
my legs on a swing set when my whole world
jolted to a standstill at the sight of an infinitesimally

small shred of white paper glowing on a vast expanse
of lawn, when my heart stopped at the sheer wonder
of it all — the solitary shining of the white, the lushness
of the green, the silence of a swing no longer in motion,
merely sedentary molecules of metal. In a nanosecond,
a goldfish & a particle of paper reignited a life.

Calder Lowe
Modesto Branch, CA

Click here to see Calder’s books on


  1. Our website editor could not have chosen a more worthy candidate for the initial member profile. Calder over the years has been short story writer and poet, judge at the High School Poetry Competition at Montalvo Arts Center, editor of the Monserrat Review in its many editions, and has received numerous awards and first place winnings. And what a good friend she is. Her mind is always working to help out someone some place in the poetry world. I’m the recipient of the Dragonfly Press Award, and Calder and I both were at the NorCal annual meeting in Modesto that year, so my reward was an in-person accolade.
    Thank you, for thinking up this blog of yours, Treanor Bering. Such a welcome addition to the rest of what NALPW does.

  2. Ariel Smart says:

    I am delighted to finally read one of your poems, Calder. “Goldfish and Paper” concretely and imaginatively
    compressed the elements of a childhood reminiscence. “The silence of a swing no longer in motion”, an evocative image, conveyed the challenge of the future and the wistful memory of childhood.
    Thank you for the gift of your poetry.
    Ariel Smart, Santa Clara Branch


    great article!! empowering and beautiful poetry!

    May I also congratulate Treanor Wooten Baring for being so steadfast in this wonderful cause of women empowering other women!! NLAPW lives up to its reputation and its an honor to be a part of it!

  4. Great idea TreNor and great choice. I enjoyed that poem a lot taking me directly back to my own swing set and playing outside after supper when it stays light longer…the small things that a child who will grow up to be a poet, notices…wonderful!