FUMFA for Kim: Remembering and Celebrating Dr. Kim Bridgford

This two hour event featured Katie Schneider, Anna M. Evans, Molly Mellinger, Nicole Caruso Garcia, Annabelle Moseley, Laura Marie Marciano, Sally Nacker, April Booker, Brittany Hill, Holly Brigham, Wendy Sloan, Colin Halloran, Barbara Crooker, and Julie Kane.

Poetry by the Sea would like to thank FUMFA for organizing the tribute and for giving kind permission to Poetry by the Sea to download and embed the recording.

Read Nicole Caruso Garcia’s tribute cento on Poets Respond.


For Kim

You always think your heroines won’t die,
ignore the subtle signs she’s getting older—
she slips or stumbles, and you don’t ask why,

because she’s still the woman whose words fly
like cardinals. There’s no one brighter, bolder.
You always think your heroines can’t die.

Tried like a witch, you never saw her cry.
You fought beside her as her loyal soldier,
your pen, her sword. No need for reasons why.

She built a world with open arms and high
ideals, and people came. You wish you’d told her
you thought your heroines would never die,

and she was one. Is it too late to try
to cast a spell of words and love to hold her,
and if you can’t, insist on knowing why?

But no, don’t make her sacrifice a lie.
Be stoic like her, everybody’s shoulder.
You always think your heroine won’t die.
Why here and now? Why her? Oh God, just why?

Anna M. Evans

To Kim Bridgford


To praise a great woman, strongest in her deeds –
editor, poet, teacher, pioneer –
founder of the future, she succeeds
despite the odds, despite the shrug, the sneer
(as little minds defend the status quo),
she implements her vision, even so.

How many other lives did your life change?
How many students moved to poetry?
How many poets build community?
How many more, once lost to history
now resurrected from obscurity?

You gave as much as anyone could give,
and most of all, you showed us how to live.

Wendy Sloan

On Learning Kim Bridgford is in Hospice Care

Anyone who knows her—
but, wait, you must not,
cannot make sweeping
declarations without numbers,
evidence, without the strange
facts she loved assembling,
gathering like rare coins in
her careful stanzas.

Impulsive, you sent her your first
juror poem last year.
Kim liked your rondeau, a
lament, a premonition

Now you join in the
outpouring of gratitude—her
poise, acumen, warmth. Her
quiet but shrewd laboring.
Reader, writer, beloved.
Scholar, impresario, friend.

Too soon, too soon, this
upheaval—more abduction than
vicissitude, more
wail than sonnet. You
expect to mourn beyond this
year of contagion, so many
zeroes after commas on the charts.

Kathleen McClung

2 thoughts on “FUMFA for Kim: Remembering and Celebrating Dr. Kim Bridgford”

    Kim Bridgford (1959-2020)

    She nudged green talents
    from the shade of other poets.
    Every novice knew:
    inquire and she’d point up
    the courses best for you.

    Mulling how to fence
    stampeding, raw experience
    into a canny narrative?
    She’d smile and short list
    real alternatives;

    yet managed well enough
    not to manage stuff
    too closely. She set folks
    carving their own schemes
    through spans of English oak.

    Lending speech to spirit,
    she helped us hear it
    —the measured choices
    folded into metaphor—
    the range of mortal voices.

    Summer 2020

  2. I had the privilege of teaching Kim when she was an undergraduate at the University of Iowa. We had remained in touch till after she started teaching at Fairfield, and then last year found out she was at West Chester. I’d hoped to see her again when I next travelled east and was completely surprised by the news of her death this summer. She was incredibly talented and a lovely person.


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