Stanley Zumbiel

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Stanley Zumbiel was transplanted to the American River watershed at the age of four. He wrote his first poems while serving in the Navy. He taught junior high and high school for thirty-five years, retiring in 2008. He helped raise four wonderful children and loves watching his grandchildren encounter the world. He spent twenty-five years on the board of the Sacramento Poetry Center where he described himself as a poetry bureaucrat. He earned his MFA in Writing from

Vermont College of Fine Arts. His first book, Standing Watch, was published in 2016 by Random Lane Press. He lives now in sight of the American River in a home he shares with his wife Lynn where he continues to write.

132 pages, plus cover
7 x 9, Perfect Bound


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In A Hat Full of Leaves, Zumbiel has accomplished what few can; he not only sees the ghosts, specters, angels, spirits, and moving dust of the past, but he deftly delivers these apparitions as if we have witnessed them ourselves. "Tightrope Walker’s" speaker observes, "clouds roil dark with memory," and so does this inimitable collection. Zumbiel has an ekphrastic eye and births poetry exuberant with sensory detail, full of late light and fire. "These moments last," as the speaker observes in "Key to Open Darkness." Each piece "adds light to the planet’s swirling halo" ("Only Silence and Music") and artfully offers life’s marvels and losses the shimmering afterlife they deserve.

                                   — Heather Hutcheson


Stanley Zumbiel’s new book spreads itself out through the ethers like a labyrinthine dream theater (it’s no surprise that Max Jacob, Salvador Dali and Andre Breton find their way into some of the poems) – inside we walk from stage to stage, room to adjacent room; many of the poems become windows through which we look out at the ever-present natural world, or through them to an inner landscape we may have suspected but did not expect. It might be a church, a bar, or a cemetery. You might have to become a parrot, a ghost, or a stone angel but, each time you enter, prepare to discover something new—a song, a silence, a rustle of wings. Here the dead join the living, the past reappears, and always you will be accompanying the poet as he both confronts and welcomes the existential questions.

Susan Kelly-DeWitt