Relative Sanity: Michigan Poet Ellen Lord Releases First Chapbook

Upper Peninsula native Ellen Lord has just released her first poetry chapbook, Relative Sanity, published by Modern History Press (Ann Arbor). Relative Sanity is a collection of thirty-five of her original poems. These elegiac poems emerge from the depths of Northern Michigan lakes and forests, as well as from her own dark places with a poet’s ear for what nature and being human can tell us. This is a book about longing and redemption.

Ellen Lord Relative Sanity
Image @ Modern History Press

Over the course of a career spanning three decades, Lord has immersed herself in working with people suffering from mental health and addiction. Her poems in Relative Sanity also reflect Lord’s own troubled gaze through the journey of her personal relationships. You will find multi-generational themes of love, loss, grief, and recovery.

Twenty-nine of Lord’s poems in Relative Sanity are written in free verse. Five poems are in a structured poetry style: Duplex, Haibun, Haiku, Pantoum, and Tanka. ODE TO BLUE is a ‘List’ poem—each word or short phrase evokes a metaphorical feeling for the word BLUE.  This is a poem about coming-of-age lovers and angst.  That same girl could also be the older woman in NEW WIDOW who bakes an apple pie for the Woodsman whom she describes as a “…purveyor of light”. Darkness and light are prevailing themes in Lord’s work.

Ellen Lord’s poetry has been included in numerous collections including: Bear River Anthology, Dunes Review, Frogpond, U.P. Reader, Peninsula Poets/PSM, and Walloon Writers Review. Her writing style is visual and rich and her poetry has been described as “…full flight into the realms of imagination”, “…deceptively fragile” and, “…a graceful glow to her spare, rich images –…”

Ellen Lord grew up in the western part of the UP, attended The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and eventually settled in Charlevoix County where she works as a behavioral health therapist.. She is an active member of the Upper Peninsula Publishers & Authors Association, Michigan Writers, Haiku Society of America, Charlevoices, and Fresh Water Poets.

Relative Sanity, published by Modern History Press of Ann Arbor, is available at several independent bookstores,,, in Michigan, and distributed by Ingram.