Poems + Short Prose

"I wanted this day all winter, water chiming in the fountain, robins digging worms, our simple walk down grided streets. Even as death divides me. Notes of peony, rose, French hydrangea, tongue-pink hibiscus on the palate." (two prose poems) “Outside Zion" and "Divided by Zero" Global City Review

"Early spring. Bunchgrass winces underfoot. Death camas leans against basalt, golden current parades her bright blooms. I’m looking for bitterroot among tufts of buckwheat." (two prose poems) “Bitterroot" and "Mima Mound" Migrations and Home: Elements of Place, NatureCulture, 2023.

"Swallow’s nest wedged in the hawthorn, woven with pine needles—lodgepole, white, ponderosa—and thickened earth. You are not a cradle or a bedroom but like a bedroom cradle you shelter, rock. Bring me the protection of clay." (prose poem) “Idaho Lake Fragments" Banyan Review. Reprinted in Red Door Magazine, Issue 33: The Unforeseeable, Summer 2023.

"Did the ponds have names? We’d returned home to find their sharpness fading. The yellow-headed blackbirds, we heard their rusty-hinged cries and realized we were happy. Service berry, bulrush, and willow loosened our grip on life and we stopped glancing over our shoulders." (prose poem) “Rimrock to Riverside" Writing the Land: Windblown I, NatureCulture, 2021.

"This experimental workshop explores the mask as vehicle for performance, ritual and ceremony, so-called illegal actions, medical purposes, artificial self (Carl Jung famously coined the term 'persona,' Latin for 'mask'), and, in this time of ecosickness, as political tool and key component for public health and community well-being." EcoSomatics Archive, contributor, Jacket2

"I can’t turn away from the odd sights, fragments fallen out of someone’s memory or dropped whole from a Dali painting, wrapped as they are around dreams and hallucinations." Rewilding the Salton Sea, Black Earth Institute Blog

"One experience haunted me more than others—a display in a museum I saw on my first trip to Europe in the mid-1990s. Life-sized plaster replicas of naked men painted brown were splayed on a wood structure resembling the hull of a slave ship." A Different Kind of Knowledge, Keats-Shelley Journal

"I first met Gwartney at a book reading where we discovered our lives had unknowingly intersected." Buried Lives and Divided Selves: An Interview with Debra Gwartney, Terrain: A Journal of Natural and Built Environments

"I want to tell her I just sanitized my own hands with 60% ethanol, that I haven’t been sick, but no—I can’t speak. The air we share is too dangerous." Calm Black Earth Institute April Blog

"In October 2017 I became a mariner. I set sail from Longyearbyen, Svalbard, ten degrees from the North Pole." Slime Redemption About Place Journal (Pushcart Prize Nomination)

"One morning at six, we’re anchored at Farmbukta near the top of the Svalbard archipelago. I’m on deck marveling at the haystack-like rocks, dusted in snow, rising from the sea." Arctic Chronicles Washington State Magazine

dj lee burningwood journal"Your neighbor Dorie says it’s hard to leave a man who is emotionally abusing you. Mom likes Franklin Graham. Your cousin Brian shared a selfie. Your colleague Jacquard published a poem that took years to write. Brian can’t believe a naked woman walked into an elevator at the middle school." Status Updates and Russian Trolls, Burningwood Literary Journal

dj lee superstition review blog"But now that I was in the forest attempting to do as Abram had asked, something was holding me back. Possibly I felt exposed. Was it okay to talk candidly to a piece of sky with others listening in?" The Looking Back Superstition Review Blog

"I’m a sucker for outer space, for how it is out there but inside too. When we inhale and exhale, we offer ourselves to space one moment and draw it into ourselves the next." LIGO Lunch Ticket (Disquiet Literary Program Runner-up)

"I’m not entirely sure why I come to the jetty so often. Partly it’s the form, the counterclockwise swirl, its symmetry and beauty. I’m drawn to things that fold back on themselves, like the winding stairs of genealogy, or how I have the same upturned nose as my mother and my daughter." A Syntax of Splits and Ruptures, Superstition Review

"One woman remembered candles. Garden City, Kansas, August 6, 1945, her daughter’s fifth birthday. A cake on the counter next to a sink of dirty dishes. Yellow frosting so thick it spilled over the lip of the plate. News came over the radio that the United States had dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima." Letter to AmericaTerrain: A Journal of Natural and Built Environments

"He disappears so quickly that I wonder if he has even been there in the first place. But I know he has because now everything is heightened: the cattail-tangled gully quivers, the sky flickers, birds on the electrical wires sing off-key." Life After Life, Terrain: A Journal of Natural and Built Environments (7th Annual Nonfiction Award Finalist)

"I noticed someone lounging against a support beam on the porch a few feet away, sun falling on his closed eyelids. It took me a minute to recognize him, but this was the surly man from before, the distressed woman’s boyfriend. Black curly hair matted to his head, beard the size of a Victorian patriarch’s." She Opened a Space in the WildernessSilk Road Review

"I wasn’t prepared for the awe I felt in Williams’s presence as I watched her turn each encounter into something extraordinary: the way she greeted each person eye to eye; the way she touched a sleeve; the way she comforted those who stood in the book signing line saying, 'my mother passed away,' or 'I lost my son,' or 'I, too, care about a piece of land.'” Storyteller: An Interview with Terry Tempest Williams, Los Angeles Review of Books

"As she guides us around the Nevada Test Site; Rock City in Chattanooga; Cerro Gordo County, Iowa; Pickens County, South Carolina; the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; and Patmos, Greece; among other places, she asks us to consider Apocalypse, defined as the death of a place." Lyric Tourism, Los Angeles Review of Books

"As two loons swam alongside, Jane put her paddle across her lap, looked up at the sky, and said, 'Thank you, Universe!' A moment later, a nasty rapid sucked the canoe into its teeth." ScatteringsLos Angeles Review of Books

"Swamp Lake was an open palm, its fingers extended in a cirque of gray-white granite. To reach the lake, 12 women and I had climbed up to 8,600 feet and back down to 5,600 carrying 40-pound packs." Restoration and Ritual, Los Angeles Review of Books

"I had made an appointment with the Nez Perce National Forest archaeologist in Grangeville, Idaho, two hours east of my house, a direction I didn’t want to go: the roads were narrow and winding, and the dusty little towns were few and far between." Human History in the Wilderness, Narrative Magazine

"Outside, the soupy October sky threatened rain. Vancouver weather: everything drenched and emitting the clammy sense that it would never dry out. Vancouverites armed themselves for rain as a matter of course." The 99,Vela. Also published in The Best of Vela.

"At home, I washed Dale’s blood off my blouse as best I could and shoved it in a corner of my bedroom. I never did get the stain out." Dale Flynn's Blood, Broad Street: A Magazine of True Stories (Pushcart Prize Special Mention). Also published on Medium.

"Another thing that bothered me was the idea of falling from the edge. It seemed the worst possible way to die. Would your soul detach from your body as it went soaring through space? Or would it crash and crumble like your bones?" The Edge Is What We Have, Tinge Magazine. Also published in On Foot: Grand Canyon Backpacking Stories, ed. Rick Kempa.

"Dr. Barker-Benfield, the keeper of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Bodleian manuscripts, appears in a black suit and tie. We shake hands. His skin is pale and baby soft." The Longing of the CollectorLos Angeles Review of Books

"The hand is the only body part that forms things, and because of that, it is the primary poetic instrument. The hand is also a spiritual appendage." Chiromancy, Paper Darts - Art & Literature

"I came to London in early summer on a research grant to study the little-known histories of some of the most downtrodden characters in British literature: poor, illiterate women in the British Romantic period, the era of William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. I moved into a London flat in Bloomsbury and set up in the British Library." Ponies of Caldbeck CommonsNewfound: A Journal of Art and Place

"Neurological flashes and bioluminescence emit meaning through light. They are natural metaphors for one another. In fact, the words we use to describe some of these natural phenomenon—incandescence, luminosity—are the same ones we use to talk about emotional intensity." LuminosityGHLL 24 (2013)

"D.J. Lee's essay 'Collage' contemplates the difficult intersection between mothers and daughters, dramatized in the placement of photographs in a collage. Lee's essay explores how a two-dimensional image 'can express the depth of pain and love between generations.'" (5:59)Collage, The Drum

"Sadly, our collaboration is a rare one, even today, more than 50 years after physicist and novelist C.P. Snow gave his now famous Rede Lecture at Cambridge University, denouncing the gaping chasm between scientists and literary intellectuals in the twentieth century, which he called the 'two cultures' problem." Nature Twice: Poetry and Natural History, Washington State Magazine

"As I write this—one week before school starts—the freshman class of 2014 is checking into their dorms. On Terrell Mall, I zigzag around clutches of young men and women dressed in t-shirts and jeans." The Art of ImprovWashington State Magazine

Fortyfive/Seventeen, Chapbook. Publisher's Graphics, 2006.

Selected Scholarly

Wilderness, Nature and Literary Studies (Cambridge)

Traveling in Wilderness, The Cambridge History of Travel Writing

oral history review coverListening to the Land, Oral History Review

modern philology coverPerverse Romanticism with Jenna Leeds, Modern Philology, 111.1

History of the Essay with Rachel Sanchez, The Encyclopaedia of Romanticism Literature (Blackwell)

essays in romanticism coverLost Girls, Lost WomenEssays in Romanticism