Recent clients speak out....

Thanks you, Hannah at Ego-Less Editing. I believe I am a much better writer than when we began, and a lot of that is due of you. Your creative input helps me to look at issues with my scripts and process far more then I would have on my own.

Mark Farrell, Books 6-7 in the Old Fire series

Hannah turned a rather dry thesis into something of poetic, as well as intellectual value and brought a real honesty to the work that gave it new life.

Joyce Herman, "The Linguistics of Democratic Theosophies", "Developing Roman Ethos through Language"

Last year I had a microdecectomy on my lower back,
and it's been a hard thing to recover from, but has given my time to finish my novel.
The best advice anyone gave me was to contact you for editing feedback.I'm so glad I didn't wait any longer, so much has been accomplished even in this difficult time for me thanks to you. Lastly I just want to say, Hannah, thank you
for being so kind and understanding, the world would be a better place to
live in if there were more people like you! :)

Chris Reece Parker 'The ABC's of Your Menopause'

Los Angeles Poets at Large by Gail Callaghan, LANews/Reviews

Ask Hannah Gerber about her writing style and she readily admits her poems are "domestic, suburban and unashamedly middle class'
In Gerbers world we are constantly recognizing bits and pieces of our lives, insights gleaned from passing thoughts and articulated with luminous compassion. Her poetry travels an elegant, reasoned path between an outright love for the world and a healthy suspiciousness of it at the same time.
Never confounding, heavy-handed or self-possessed, these poems open our eyes once again to the everyday wonders around us; the childs hand in our own, the empty nest fallen, the new life begun.

Ms. Gerber has been published many times in the past twenty years, her poetry appearing regularly in print, online journals and anthologies. Most recently her work was accepted for publication in The Aurora Review, Spring 2006 edition. She is the author of three published collections of poetry, a novel and a guide to writing using Buddhist mindfulness techniques.

An updated bio for SoCal Writers League

What can I tell you? I am the product of a dull and relatively uneventful childhood in Fullerton, California. This was followed by a happy and relatively squandered young adulthood in Austin, Texas where I spent some years working at a non-profit community theatre company. I worked hard and always dreamed of being a writer, but had no idea of how you went about being a writer - or at least the kind of writer I wanted to be: someone who wrote long stories about interesting things, rather than news stories about short-lived events. So I mostly wrote poems about daily living that became my guideposts for how to live and see the world as I got older. In my late 30’s, I moved to Portland, Oregon to raise my  family and to kill some time before the inevitable trek to middle age - and amazingly  became a fairly content housewife and mother there.

We moved to Los Angeles in 2009 kicking and screaming and I’ve been writing tons of research on a handful of novels I am working on. My poetry book sales are not what they should be, but give me 100 years and an inelegant end and I will someday have residuals. These days I do very little actual writing; lots of research, which is the best part anyway as I wait for inspiration to hit me like a big ass jack-hammer. Occasionally I will write and edit for others who are working on their own books and need assistance. I'm in the home stretch now with my latest project; not failing miserably at raising a child and now that she is nine will be moving into my next project; not killing a pre-adolescent. These days I am living in wonderful Newbury Park, California with my husband, Larry Gerber, my daughter Audrey Rochelle.

Poetry is the last preserve of honest speech and the outspoken heart. is now back online and will begin taking submissions from moms everywhere

My speech to the 1st graders of White Oak on 'Career Day'! I chose to go with 'Poet' that day and here is what I said.


I am a poet and a writer.

I write poetry about how the smallest things in life, things grownups often don’t even see anymore are the most amazing and magical things in the world. I don’t write about space or hurricanes or great romances, I write about a bird feather you find on the ground, or the way my little girl smiles in her sleep or what a perfect peach tastes like with the first bite on a wonderful summers day. I write about little moments in our lives where everything feels very real and very special.

I think kids know all about this and grown-ups forget. I consider it my job to help remind them when they read one of my poems or stories.

Poetry helps us to feel connected to life in an unusual way that often gets forgotten, especially when we are grown up and are so busy with our jobs, and our families and all our responsibilities. It can remind us of how important it is to really stop and see the world around us.

The best poetry doesn’t have to rhyme, or even make sense to anyone but you, but if it comes from your heart and you feel it, then it is something very extraordinary.

Writing lets me be creative, earn some money to help my family and community and to feel like I am a one-of-a-kind person, which is a terrific feeling to have!

I hope you will all explore writing too, keeping journals, or secret diaries or writing letters telling people in your lives how you feel about them.

Sharing your feelings by writing is a very powerful thing to do!

Thanks for listening to me today!

A word about writing, and old sofas.

Kurt Vonnegut once told us that there are two kinds of writers: those who write too much, and those who write too little. Between the two, he said, the former is the luckier category. Those who write too much must go through the painful process of sacrificing unessential words, sentences, and paragraphs over which they have labored. The advantage, however, is that enough material still remains even after the verbiage and wanderings are subtracted. Those who write too little must add to their compositions. That usually means writing additional material that has to fit into the already existing work. The rule of arithmetic for writers is that it is easier to subtract than to add.
When I write, I often write too much. I get wordy, repeat the same ideas in different ways, and complicate my sentences with awkward construction. But it is difficult not to become attached to my own creations. The written word seems tangible, like a possession. There is satisfaction in ownership. Removing phrases is like taking my comfortable, living-room sofa and tossing it into the street. The process feels both heavy and empty. The result, however, is clarity and organization within the new spaces of the old form.
Although I am not a prolific writer I nonetheless produce an abundance of ideas and constantly accumulate visions of things I might one day create on ‘paper’. I keep a ‘To Do File’, which always expands beyond the confines of a normal file. In paper form, I jot down ideas and notes in spiral notebooks. My definition of exhilaration is to fill a tattered notebook and start a fresh one. Some of the ideas in my notebooks will be fully developed, some saved for later, and some used piecemeal in other stories, poems, essays for which they had not been destined originally.
My problem is with the ideas and notes, which I save for later development. For example, this morning I cleaned out a bookshelf and found a forgotten To Do list. It consisted of three, partially intact, spiral notebooks held together by rubber bands. I had to sift through the pages and decide if I could rekindle the inspiration to transform my notes into actual works, or if I should toss everything into the street with my living-room sofa. I courageously decided to pursue a new vista of creativity. I tossed everything.
Next, I sorted my beloved computer files. There were 10 projects with titles and with starter research and ideas for characters. When would I find the time to write about 10 topics which had seemed important months ago, but which would require much more research and effort? Why had I never finished those essays? That was when I remembered Vonnegut’s wisdom: it is easier for a writer to subtract than to add. It would require tremendous exertion to complete the research and writing for 10 essays. I deleted everything. This is how I do things.
Strangely, I felt a sense of calm when my To Do File became my new and invisible Trash File. The unfinished writing had become a burden, a self-imposed duty with no joy! The topics had gone stale in my mind and I could not bring them back to a workable condition. It would be more invigorating to discover new ideas and to write new essays from scratch. By doing less, I could do more. Sometimes the only way to move forward is to lighten the load.

Poet's Watchtower interview 2008

An I.M. interview with Hannah Gerber 2005 w/ David Cohn of the American Poet's Watchtower Anthology

Q. You say you write without the restrictions of meter, and basic rules of writing. How so, and how did you develop your unique style?

A. Well, I think you’d have to add that I didn’t and still don’t even know the rules of writing poetry. I just wrote for myself putting the lines where they felt the most natural and this is how I develop whatever style I may now have.

Q. How did you keep from the trap many younger poets slip into, that pull of literary fashion?

A. I think a couple of things. For one, I never was in a workshop setting when I was younger. In fact it was only recently I work-shopped a few poems with other writers and thoroughly loathed the experience, totally rejecting the suggestions of change in design, meter and form.Secondly I suppose you could say that I decided very early that I wanted to write. But I didn't think of it as a career obviously and never tried to make it one. I knew journalism, or even English 101 would break my little poetic spirit so stayed away from all temptations to try to be a ‘writer’ professionally. I didn't even think of it as a profession. It was just the most exciting thing, the most powerful thing, the most wonderful thing to do with an hour if the muse was with me!So I didn't question if I should write - I just kept writing.

Q. You never had the insecurity of "Am I doing this right?"
A. (Laughing) Oh, I’ve never felt yet that I was ‘doing it right’! That’s the best thing about language. It can always be done better. But I began to see what worked and what didn’t and I’m still figuring that out as it differs with each poem. I rely more on my energy just to sit down and get the words out than on some method or luck or long hours of work. I don’t have any of those three things in my purse!

Q. Do you compose poems in your head while walking in the park, or doing the dishes, or get ideas for poems at those times?
A. Well, sometimes. I try to keep a notebook with me all the time, and I scribble. You begin to get a felt reaction in a two word combination, or a phrase perhaps, sometimes, in just one word if it’s pretty enough! But you know, the muse doesn’t sit on your shoulder until your open and looking and sometimes that’s hard to do.In truth, I think, it’s only after years of desiring it, being open to it, and walking toward it. I’m just now starting to do that with some consciousness.

Q. Do you consider poetry work or play?
A. Both! I don't see how you can separate the pleasure from the work. There is nothing better for me than this kind of ‘work’. It’s the only time I’ve felt a real ‘work ethic’ a real commitment to following through with something that is almost outside my immediate responsibilities. Work, in the poetic context, for me anyway, is bound together with play. Children know all about that! They play earnestly as if it were work. But people grow up, and they work with a sorrow upon them as it becomes duty.

Q. Do you approach the task with a sense of responsibility for whatever it is you write about?
A. Well, sure! It’s my responsibility if I choose to do it, to write as well as I possibly can. I believe art, be it writing or visual art is important. We don't have to rely totally on experience if we can do things in our imagination. It's a powerful way in which you can live more lives than your own. You can escape your own time, your own sensibility, your own narrowness of vision.Posted by Poets Watchtower David Cohn 2007

A brief interview with myself

Q: What’s hard for you?

A. Math is hard. Reading a map. Following orders. Carpentry. Electronics. Plumbing. Remembering things correctly. Straight lines. Sheet rock. Finding a safety pin. Patience with others. Ordering in Chinese. Instructions from Ikea.

Q: What do you want on your gravestone?

A: “Pardon me for not getting up.”

Q: What do you wonder about?

1. Is there a plug in the bottom of the ocean?
2. How does it feel to be a tree by a freeway?
3. Sometimes a violin sounds like a Siamese cat; the first violin strings were made from cat gut- any connection?
4. When is the world going to rear up and scrape us off its back?
5. Is a diamond just a piece of coal with patience?
16. Did Ella Fitzgerald really break that wine glass with her voice?

Q: What are some sounds you like?

1. Steady rain
2. Children when school’s out
3. Hungry crows
4. Orchestra tuning up
5. Ice melting
6. Piano lessons coming from an open window
7. Old cash registers/Ca Ching
8. Tap dancers
9. Fog horns
10. A busy restaurant kitchen
24. Elephants stampeding
25. Bacon frying
26. Marching bands
27. Clarinet lessons
28. Chinese arguments
31. Pinball machines
32. Tubas
33. Musical Saw
34. Pigeons
35. Seagulls
36. Owls
37. Mockingbirds
38. Doves
The world’s making music all the time.

Q: What’s scary to you?

1. A dead man in the backseat of my car with a fly crawling on his eyeball.
2. Turbulence on any airline.
3. Sirens and search lights combined.
4. Gunfire at night in bad neighborhoods.
5. Leftover fish from the night before.

Reviews for How To Grow Up

"The tenderness of her worldview simply astounds, a very fine poet." - Brian Overton, The Pecan Hill Review

"Gerber captures something that is typically American, a master of celebrating everyday occurrences." - Georgia White, Penfield Linguistic Arts Foundation

"The presence of nature reminds us of life's vitality and also its incredible vulnerability. Simply a wonderful read!" - James Granbury, Chagrin Falls Anthology

"Gerber's gift to the reader is how lovingly she pulls back the shades of the seemingly humdrum and makes ordinary moments alive and new." - Aurora Stanley, New City Prose

Newest Book review for Perfection Of Small Birds

About the Book
Praise for 'The Perfection of Small Birds'
'Beautiful little poems, full of detail, expressed in captivating ways.' -John Dahl, Poetry Bridge Seattle 'These delightfully descriptive poems take us closer to our natures and the nature that lies beyond our windows, that eternal element of life.' -Stewart Findlay, Kilmarnock Poets Press
Hannah Gerber's poetry is marked by a rejection of the restrictive forms which force meter and rhyme. They are witty and playful, beautifully formed and often more serious than they seem. She has been called 'A poet of great warmth and humor whose poems are a joy to read, bitter sweet and always insightful'

How to have a good life

Look carefully. Pay attention, notice everything you can,
keep looking, stay curious.
There is no end to seeing. Look forward to getting old,
be gentle with yourself, your blunders and your failings.
Keep changing, you’ll find you just get more who you really are anyway.
Get stuck, accept it, repeat yourself
as long as it's interesting. Keep doing what you love.
Remember what you knew as a child,
that everything is alive. Rocks, shells, buildings, fish,
plastic wrap, books, trees,
wood and water.
Everything has its own life. Everything lives inside us.
Live with the world inside of you.
It doesn't matter if you paint or write books.
It doesn't matter if you punch buttons, or catch fish.
It doesn't matter if you sit at home alone
and stare at the dead sparrow on the parched lawn,
or the shadows of the trees
or the cars passing by.
It matters that you feel. It matters that you notice. It matters that life lives through you.
Don't be afraid.
Don't be afraid.
Let life take you by the hand.
Let life live through you.

LINKS FOR SITES AND WEBPAGES,stext=hannah%20gerber

Selected Poems from How To Grow Up

The bag I carry

No metaphor here,
I’m actually talking about the bag I carry;
far heavier than it needs to be,
terribly large, making my shoulder throb.

The bag I carry all over town
has the word ‘Poetry’ on it,
and an image of Pegasus,
and you must know
how much I like that.

Plenty of dimes and nickels
but no real cash,
a bottle of water for me
and a sippy cup for you,
three notebooks, gum wrappers,
hand sanitizers, crayons,
Happy Meal toys,
lip balms, sunglasses
and bags upon bags
stuffed full of pretzel goldfish
and vanilla wafers.

I also carry all that empty space;
the heavy cumbersome wishes,
the absence of objects
we could pick up on beaches,
the heady possibility of mountains.
These things,
like invisible elephants
in the universe of my tote,
like play-dough cut-outs
of things we cannot yet touch.

You at the stoplight

I wonder about you
as you sit in your car
staring with such
attention at the light’s color,
revving your big engine
waiting for change.
How dire is it,
your destination?

I wonder about you,
marvel, actually,
at how I can grin at you
for no reason
in the shampoo aisle
and receive no return souvenir,
not even a quick nod
from your gleaming bald head.

I think about you, a face I recognize from long ago
and the vintage Coca-Cola
machine in the back of your truck,
(the eBay win of a lifetime,
that thing you always wanted)
and I wonder if you know
you have an ex-wife
living only four miles away
you haven’t seen in eight years?

I wonder
about every passing car,
why the laughter at that moment
streaming out the window,
whose mouth? What joke?

I wonder about you,
if motherhood means as much to you
as it does to me,
if you’ll notice we have the same
leopard skin patterned car-seats
when you come back from the playground
to claim your mini-van
parked next to mine.

Do you wonder,
because I certainly do,
how the world
all of us
can keep spinning,
dodging the bullets
or catching them,
tending our gardens
whether for pay or for love,
doing everything we do
with all this
heart-breaking beauty
at every corner
shouting at us to come see
and see and see?

This is how

it happens
sometimes, maybe tonight,
maybe to you
and god damn that would be harsh.

He calls, he’s ten minutes away,
just left the drive-through
picking up your prescription
or a pizza, or a movie.

So you sit at the window
and look for the headlights that will
any moment arrive, the table set,
the chilled mug in the freezer

reading the child a book
and you wait and
you wait
and he just

His departure
an unworded
fusion of goodbyes
you’ll recognize later
in twisted metal,
papers to sign,
flowers and phone calls,
the child’s unwashed hair
smelling of sweat and sunshine
and all the rest
that comes
and goes
with or without him
for the remainder of your days.


When we want to escape the city
and unearth enchanted
lost time places like Gonzales,
where we met an albino donkey
on the wrong side of the wire
casually chewing desert paintbrushes
smack-dab in the middle of the quiet road,

we 'Rent-a-Wreck' for thirty bucks a day,
and I drive while you stroke my knee
in that new and proprietary way.

Duhland, Fayette, Gruene, Buda
and downtown Graceville,
population 652.

Rock shops, cow pastures, the estate sale
with the Baccarat crystal goblets
for fifty cents a piece
and above us the
scissor-tailed fly-catchers
working the air, tails
forked like shears
slicing the sky.

On dirt roads
we watch the turkey vultures
circle then settle onto
the rabbit,
the headless armadillo,
the flattened skunk.
And we will open the trunk,
drink the warm orange sodas
sitting on the hood
and watch until the road has
been cleaned
as if by ravenous house-maids.

Cultivating Sense

In our homes plugged into
a perpetual tide of images and ideas,
can you remember when we
cultivated the curiosity of the inner life?
I certainly can’t, and know that
Emily Dickenson would have found me
a most disagreeable next door neighbor.

Here we are not crushed by isolation
or general lack of support.
There is no solitude, the air itself
crackles with energy and information.
There is an uncanny sense that,
at any moment, the world itself
is poised
on the verge of speech.

In that crisp air I hear a voice saying,
“It's simply a matter of trying everything you can try,
just to see what will work for you.”
So sit. Relax,
prepare to receive
whatever the imagination brings.

I know what I will whisper into
thick air and your ear is this:
You can escape your own time,
your own sensibility,
your own narrowness of vision.
Just try everything you can,
just let yourself find out
what will work
for you.


Ever try to get a dog to look at itself
in a mirror?
Dogs and poets both
wisely and intuitively
avoid examining themselves
too closely or too often.

And while it is true
that poetry is the last preserve
of honest speech and the
outspoken heart,
it must also be said
that the glorifying of
the smallest things;
specks of dust on windowsills,
the thigh bones of mice,
the bread’s rising, the flower’s decline,

these things can keep certain
people from paying electric bills,
planning balanced meals,
renewing expired licenses to operate motor vehicles
and making certain there is not
a random kiwi seed or two
planted in between one’s front teeth.

Perhaps I will next go blind

I don’t know what it is
but, bit-by-bit I seem to be losing
my grip and I’m not talking about reality.
I mean my ability
to hold onto objects;
medicine bottles, little glass elephants,
pickle jars.
It scares me but I won’t see
a doctor until it’s too late
to do anything about it.
I’ll just keep on,
the way I always have until
my body makes me shift my orbit.

But the larger things in life, for instance,
the way I can’t keep a linen closet straight,
or the books I buy and never read
will stay just as they are,
like all the things I want to tell you
but think the time is never right.

Palm Reading

And it occurs to me
that no longer will any of us
feel estranged from one another
if we look closely enough
at the palms of our hands,
placing close attention
on how short the journey is

or how when time has taken all
we called our treasures
and gave them back to the water,
the air and soil,
there was only you and I,
after all
and the sound of the birds
as they began the day anew.

The Day Everything Changed

Walking through the hospital lobby
back to where his wife sits waiting,
he notes to himself that
coffee in plastic cups
has an air of desperation about it.
He imagines tea is even worse.
The walk back from the machine
and through the corridor is eternity.

The doctor seems efficient, if a little weary.
Maybe he’s got it completely wrong.
Maybe he’s got the wrong file. It happens.
They drive home not speaking.

The fridge still makes the same sound.
The dog still needs to be fed,
the children called,
the cat’s litter box attended to.
There is a case of summer wine
she bought waiting in the garage
and summer is still eight months away.

He twists the ring encircling his finger,
smiles a little at its symbology.
A good concept, totally unworkable.

A car drives slowly by, an elderly neighbor.
She doesn’t see him standing in the doorway,
his hand on the dogs head,
‘World’s Best Dad!’ mug in hand.

And everything has changed.
The way he moves the garbage cans
to the curb,
the empty cereal boxes,
the way shoes feel.
The sound of the air-conditioner
as it turns itself on, and off.
The sight of the bagels in the freezer.
The dirty glass.

Moving To Portland

It’s just going to keep happening,
all of it, with or without us.
In the world or not,
the sprinkler will be heard,
though not by you, not by you
as it whirs and spins
sending silvered droplets
onto the earth.
The low hum of the passing plane,
the people reading magazines,
looking out of windows,
the dog barking a block away
that used to keep you awake at night.
All of it, all of it,
with or without you.

The best things;
a sky filled with a thousand birds moving as one,
the clink of the chain against the flagpole,
the overwhelming scent
and staining orange silt
of the star-gazer lily,
all of it and none of it
stops when we do,
though we will stop for you
and holding our breath, never move nor touch
anything again in quite the same way,
with quite the same pleasure.

An Austin Poet makes good in the Big D and beyond. Posted by Randall Hoffman,

Poet Hannah Gerber one of the few poets around today who aren't drowning themselves in angst or blood-letting or heavy handed imagery. This poet has been writing in an accessible, amazingly coherent format for years, her work has shown up in literary journals and blogs and at least two other collections of her own. Poetry for real people, her goal of writing honestly and mindfully (as she puts it) is one she has reached again and again, and especially with this collection which focuses on the everyday, nature and parenting. Her new book, 'The Perfection Of Small Birds' can be purchased online(ISBN 1598005383)or at Devorah Leah, A reviewer, June 1, 2006, Avian Poetics abound... in Hannah Gerber's Collected Poems, 'The Perfection Of Small Birds' and it is in this area that she excels. These are lovely poems using simple, understandable language and with this agreeable palette she captures ordinary life in its many forms its pleasures, its strivings, its sadness. It can truly be said that it is not hard to be charmed by Gerber’s sweet poetry, as she pulls back the shades of the humdrum and makes ordinary moments alive and new."