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B. J. Buckley

Official Website
Poet, Writer, Teaching Artist

Author of Comstock Review's 35th Anniversary 2021 Poetry Chapbook Winner IN JANUARY, THE GEESE



microchapbook free download

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In January, the Geese cvr.JPG


Click Book Covers for sample poems from books and ordering information


Blurbs and Reviews

B.J. Buckley has driven more miles across and around the west than any poet alive, and she has the keen eye and intellect to mesh her experience and her emotional vision. Her love of the natural world and its belongings is finely honed and wise, and her poems live in same world they come from. The words are to believe, and to believe in.

Kent Nelson,

editor of Birds in the Hand: Fiction and Poetry About Birds, and author of

The Touching That Lasts and Land That Moves, Land That Stands Still

These poems pay tribute to many of the ways the Corvids have interacted with humans. (B.J.) uses chants, rhymes, poetic forms, and free verse to create mythology that is both old and familiar and, at the same time, stunningly original. Her poems speak to a reverence for not only the birds themselves but that which is numinous in human experience.  Reading these poems changes how we see these beautiful birds, and changes how we see the mystical and spiritual in our lives.

Jane Elkington Wohl, PhD, author of Beasts in Snow, Triage, Learning from the Old Masters, and Bound Feet

B.J. Buckley squeezes all the Big Sky possible—mountain, river, prairie,
pasture, bear, and barn—into this wondrously rich volume of wildness and
range. Reading it makes the heart hurt in the best ways. I proudly claimed
poetic Montana citizenship after reading the magic within.


J. Drew Lanham, PhD,  Alumni Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Ecology, Clemson University, author of the memoir The Home Place, and Sparrow Envy, poems.

In The Press


B. J. Buckley Photo.jpg

B.J. Buckley is a rural Montana poet & writer who has worked in Arts-in-Schools & Communi-ties programs throughout the West and Midwest for more than four decades.


Her prizes and awards include the Joy Harjo Prize from CutThroat: A Journal of the Arts; a Wyoming Arts Council Literature Fellowship; The Cumberland Poetry Review's Robert Penn Warren Narrative Poetry Prize; the Poets & Writers “Writers Exchange Award” in Poetry; the Rita Dove Poetry Prize from the Center for Women Writers, Winston-Salem, NC; and The Comstock Review Poetry and Poetry Chapbook Prizes.

She has been awarded residencies at The Ucross Foundation, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Colrain Manuscript Conference.

B.J. is very grateful to the Montana Arts Council for a 2022 ARPA Grant which supported the writing of new work.


B. J. is available for residencies in school, community, and healthcare settings in poetry, literature, book making, and paper arts; adult writing workshops, conferences, readings; and poetry manuscript consultations.

She lives with her partner and critters along the Rocky Mountain Front, in the beer barley country

west of Great Falls, Montana.


Poems and Links

In January, the Geese

in their long strings every morning
in the pastel sky twining
south and west and east,
towards the fields of stubbled barley
and dry grasses and withering
winter wheat, every evening returning
all degrees of north
to the shallowing stock ponds
and the little flows in the coulees
that every day diminish, in the morning
loud as crowds of playground children
set free from the multiple darknesses
of rooms, at sunset more quiet,
honking to stragglers and the lonely ones
widowed by hunters, and intent on shelter
from fox and coyote, the betraying
waxing moon. This year
they never left us, despite September
and October howling blizzards
that stole autumn’s last ripening
with a grave’s depth of snow,
and winds that ripped siding
from barns and twisted pivots
and toppled cottonwoods a century
old whose trunks no six men holding
hands could circle. The ground
had not yet frozen. Nor has it since.
The winds grew warm as April
and melted all but the hardest drifts
packed deep in the caraganas. The iris
has put up new leaves among the old
that never lost their green. Buds swell
on relict lilacs whose calendars
equate the warmth and rising light
with spring. And it may be. The owls
are already calling for their mates
and staking claims to hollowed trunks
and hawk nests whose former occupants
are still absent. It’s supposed to be bleak
midwinter. Yesterday I heard a meadowlark,
an evening grosbeak, the great horned’s
amorous pleading, wild caroling of geese
before dawn when I am out on the stoop
feeding the barn cats, who are almost
certainly pregnant too early. I wish
I could trust this disastrous shift
of temperature, make peace with it
as the geese have done, so many of them
already gathering choicest sticks for nests.

from the Chapbook of the same title, winner of the 35th Anniversary 2021 Comstock Review Poetry Chapbook Contest, available now! Click on the book cover in BOOKS section for ordering information

Recent poems in Oakwood, SDSU, Vol. 5 Issue 1 include Fulcrum,

Vixen Song, and Whisperer. Click link below for PDF of full issue:

The following poem appeared in Hole in the Head Review,

August 2023:

Once in August

        for Doug Peacock


Chickadees calling out

their libidinal tune

hey babee hey babee chickadeedeedee

in the scorched red surrender

of the day


Gusts of pollen   soft yellow   smoke-sweet

swirls of insects   wing storm   drone song 

the heads of the grasses bowed beneath

a palpable weight of merciless heat

tide-shimmer over timothy   bunch grass

sanfoin   bees in unbroken waves

of  blossom


And the bear stood

her mouth dripping chokecherry

and I hadn't seen her

and I was too close

and her cub was too near

and I was lost

in a death-indifferent sea

of joy

My poem "Hosanna" in Braided Way:

My poem "Monday" in Anacapa Review:


3 poems in The Inflectionist Review:

Links to my MT, SD, and NE Arts Council Roster Profiles:


Other Writers' Links to Explore

Dawn Songs invites you into the deep terrain of birds and bird watchers. It will take you on a lyrical journey that spans miles, ecologies, and cosmologies. It is an anthological exploration of migration at the interface of Nature and human nature. It is well-travelled voices rising, collectively, to call upon a new day. Proceeds from Dawn Songs benefit the American Bird Conservancy's Conservation and Environmental Justice program. It is available from Amazon and many other book dealers. Here are some relevant links: Facebook page, and their You Tube channel with readings from the text and some lovely music inspired by the anthology.

Here is my poem from the Anthology:


Unbearable Lightness

     for JDL

A sparrow weighs

almost nothing.

Before dawn

single digit chill

from spruce shelter

a few are singing


tiny chit-chatter, melody

mumble, almost inaudible --

keening wind,

bone clatter bare branches --

and then as first color

seeps between firmaments


they are feathery smoke

that rises, circles,

sinks down

to the borrow ditch

birds curling their miniature

scaly dinosaur feet


around brittle stems

of winter sere grass,

puffed up like the foam-float

seeds of milkweed, all shades

of the browns and grays

and duns of the earth,


and burdened

by calls unsung and all

of our longing they wait

for the sun and beneath them

the grasses

stand slender and do not bend.

Readings, Workshops, Conferences

Upcoming Events, currently on hold due to ongoing COVID concerns, will be listed in this space


                    B. J. Buckley,

to follow me on Face Book, search B.j. Buckley

             follow me on Instagram @wild4verses

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