Christopher P. Locke

Christopher P. Locke (CNF, Fiction, Poetry) | Upper Jay, NY

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Christopher Locke’s poems & essays have appeared in such magazines as The North American Review, Poets & Writers, The Rumpus, Parents, Poetry East, Verse Daily, Southwest Review, Slice, The Literary Review, The Sun, West Branch, Gargoyle, 32 Poems, Saranac Review, Southeast Review, and NPR’s Morning Edition and Ireland’s Radio One. His latest book of travel writing is Ordinary Gods, (Salmon Poetry—2017). His first post-punk/spoken word album, Late Lights, was recently released by Burst & Bloom Records. Locke has received over a dozen grants, fellowships, and awards for his poetry including the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Award, state grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, and Poetry Fellowships from Fundacion Valparaiso, (Spain) and PARMA (Mexico). He teaches creative writing online at The Poetry Barn and in person at both North Country Community College and Ray Brook Federal Prison in the Adirondacks.


Ordinary Gods (Salmon Poetry, 2017). Poetry. CNF.

Waiting for Grace & Other Poems (Turning Point, 2013)
End of American Magic (Salmon Poetry, 2010). Poetry.


  • 25 Trumbulls  Road (Black Lawrence Press, 2020). Fiction.
  • Trespassers (Finishing Line Press, 2016). Poetry.
  • Possessed (Main Street Rag, 2005) Poetry
  • Slipping Under Diamond Light (Clamp Down Press, 2002). Poetry.
  • How to Burn (Adastra Press, 1995). Poetry.

Blurbs, Press, & Reviews

“Christopher Locke writes true-story poems about growing up in America, poems delivered in plain, sure-footed language. Read a few opening lines and you’ll find yourself helplessly engaged.”
—Billy Collins
“Christopher Locke is a poet with huge imaginative and metaphorical gifts, i.e., his imagination is poetic. An angry Nun stands over his speaker in the third grade “…her skirt as black/as a tornado before it inhales a barn.” Or, (in the same poem!) a teenage ballplayer’s body “is loose as rainwater.” Visceral, lucid, original.”
—Thomas Lux
Like Arthur Miller, Locke gives us work that is desperate and difficult to watch unfold—but in it we also find the hope and grit of the beleaguered.
“Christopher Locke’s poems don’t blink. They face the world, unflinching, laughing when they can, full of weird affection. Underneath their dark surfaces lie a genuine empathy and humanness.”
—Jim Daniels
“Reading Christopher Locke‘s exquisite Trespassers, one can’t help but marvel at his masterful command of metaphor and sensory images—startling, often brutal and unsettling, but always apt. In Locke’s trespassed landscapes, heat is made palpable as a “heavy broth of light,” birds “buckshot” the air, and Aztec gods bear names “like hornets.” Poem by poem, Locke’s language anoints the ordinary and raises it toward transcendence. Whether set “There” in Mexico or “Here” in a rented house in coastal Maine, these poems navigate between an inner emotional realm, fraught with the speaker’s fear of dissolution and loss, and the outer physical world, at once dangerous and comfortingly familiar, where life is nourished—or unexpectedly challenged—by the numinous beauty that “rises / from the common, caught fluttering / in the breath of every day.””
—Richard Foerster
“Christopher Locke gives us his hopes, his fears, and most importantly, what he loves. Ordinary Gods is a collection of poems and stories that take us down Locke’s own heroic path toward feeling it all—and because he’s so good, we get to feel it all, too. This is an open-hearted book by a generous and talented writer.”
—David Allan Cates, author of Hunger in America and Tom Connor’s Gift
“In Ordinary Gods, it is Christopher Locke’s alert poet’s ear and listening heart that propel the reader, mining surprise.”
—Tony Cohan, author of On Mexican Time and Native State
25 Trumbulls Road is a haunting, surreal, visceral collection of tales that is lyrical and poetic, while not losing its bite. Christopher Locke has channeled the ghosts of Matt Bell, Denis Johnson, and Jac Jemc, while retaining his own unique voice.”
—Richard Thomas, author Disintegration and Breaker
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