portrait A Conversation with Pamela Dionne

interviewed by Tristan Beach

Published in Issue No. 283 ~ December, 2020

Poetry Editor Tristan Beach Zooms in for a conversation with Pamela Dionne, author of Paradox and Illusion (Finishing Line Press, 2020). Dionne and Beach talk about healing relationships through poetry, faith and vulnerability in publishing, and how to be anti-racist in fiction. Highlights of their conversation include a special reading of Dionne’s poem, “Two Mares on the Trail” (find the video below), and reconnecting with nature, family, and the self in writing. Other highlights include honoring the Black experience in fiction and how white writers can “undo the weaponry” of whiteness and racism through self-education and interpersonal dialogue.

The full-length interview is posted on Pif Magazine YouTube Channel. Click on the link here to listen to the conversation.



“Two Mares on the Trail”


one pinto, one roan.

The pinto crow-hops sideways.

Her eyes show white all around.

The roan waits, obedient, quiet.


The pinto shies, dancing up a steep incline

away from the gouge of trail, out of control.

Her rider dismounts, swearing,

shouting orders, tightening his grip

on the reins.


I stand on the far side of the creek watching.

An acrid scent of horse sweat permeates my skin.

I want to urge the pinto to take her own head.

Shake the lead. Shimmy from the saddle.

Run. Up the hill. Join the wind.


She rears once, twice, before wincing

through a narrow cleft of path,

across a tumble of creek.

Her teeth gnash the bit.

I step off the trail to let her pass.


When we are shoulder to shoulder,

our eyes meet.


From: Paradox and Illusion, Pamela Dionne, 2020

To order the book from Finishing Line Press, click here.

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A born and raised Washingtonian, Tristan Beach taught college English across China from 2014 to 2017. Before that, he was a long-time associate editor for The Conium Review. He has been involved with various journals and literary presses since 2010, including Copper Canyon Press, Coffee House Press, Pitkin Review and Clockhouse. His poems and proses appear in Shantih, rawboned, The Writer in the World and Pitkin Review. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College and received his BA in English from Saint Martin’s University. He currently teaches creative writing, composition, and ESL at Saint Martin’s and co-founded the Raven Writers group.