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Prior Previousness by Cheryl J. Fish

Background photo: Undisclosed/IHA, CC BY 4.0.
Manipulation and design layout: Elizabeth Stark

Cheryl J. Fish is an environmental justice scholar, fiction writer, poet and single parent. Her short stories have appeared in Iron Horse Literary Review, From Somewhere to Nowhere: The End of the American Dream, Cheap Pop Lit, and Liars League NYC. An excerpt from her novel manuscript Off the Yoga Mat was a finalist for L Magazine’s Literary Upstart contest. She is the author of the chapbook Make It Funny, Make it Last (#171, Belladonna, 2014). Her poems have appeared in The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry; Hanging Loose;; New American Writing; Talisman; Santa Monica Review; Kudzu House Review; Reed Magazine; Volt. Fish has been a Fulbright professor in Finland and she lectures on environmental justice, activism and film by Indigenous Sami artists in the Nordic countries. She has been writer-in-residence at Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, and she is a professor of English at Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York. She is writing a series of poems based on Finnish sauna, The Kalevala, Sami myth, and her journeys and friendships forged in sweat, lakes, and the midnight sun.

Cheryl J. Fish’s website, including her blog “Obsessive Journey Girl,” may be accessed here, a link to her most recent flash fiction here,  and a video of her reading “sauna poems” at Gobi Desert Canoe Club Bar in Tampere, Finland here.

cafe in UzesCheryl J. Fish

CHeryl in Helsinki

Cheryl at cabin


EB Stark View All

Author-in-hiding, Digital Artist-in-training, Student-in-perpetuum

4 thoughts on “Prior Previousness by Cheryl J. Fish Leave a comment

  1. Oh my – this sounds great. We didn’t find such wonderful saunas in Finland, more small one on our journey north. My mom, a full-blood Finn, was enjoying first-hand, the land of her parents. Don’t remember eating those fish though – and we had trouble finding the kind of food my son and his coz would enjoy, (they were only 9 and 10) – but you bring back memories to me. We enjoyed it there a lot. Well done prose poem.


  2. Very evocative of the key place the sauna has in Scandinavia and the sharing of that moment where time is suspended along with thoughts of jobs and ties back home.
    I’ve never been keen on saunas (I hate to sweat) but this almost makes me reconsider.
    But your poem does awaken a longing to stay up with the midnight sun again.


    • Thank you Susan. The sweating is very healthy and removes toxins. I also find going into the water afterwards a joy in the warmer months. I have a whole collection in progress of poems about sauna, The Kalevala and my friendships in Finland.

      Liked by 1 person

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