Alumnae Poets

Jamie Samdahl '15

Jamie Samdahl

Jamie Samdahl ’15  is a poet and naturalist from Princeton, Massachusetts. A graduate of Smith College, she studied American Music History, Buddhism, and Poetry, and had the honor of working closely with poets Ellen Doré Watson and Joan Larkin. During her time at Smith, she won the 92nd annual Glascock Poetry Competition, as well as the Tryon Prize for Writing and the Elizabeth Babcock Poetry Prize.

Samdahl’s work has been published in Rattle, Washington Square Review, Noble/Gas Qtrly, Mountain Record: The Zen Practitioner’s Journal, and elsewhere. Her poems grapple with such shadowy and vast topics as mental illness, life in the wilderness, and the untimely death of a lover. An environmentalist as much as a poet, Samdahl has worked in natural resource interpretation and environmental education since earning her bachelor’s degree in the spring of 2015. She has taught at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, New Hampshire State Parks, and Sequoia& Kings Canyon National Parks in California. She is a certified Wilderness First Responder, Leave No Trace Trainer, and winner of the 2017 Walter Fry Award for Excellence in Interpretation.

Select Poems

I braided his hair and he died     I braided his hair into one long braid

and did mine the same     we slept in his little bed     he is sleeping now

at the bottom of the river     he drank the whole thing he is sleeping now


I did it out of love     I moved away but not before


we tracked a fisher cat in the snow and ate oatmeal     we were faithful

to the woodstove     we knelt and we prayed to our altar     the fire

our impossible happiness     lit the cabin by night


First published by Noble/Gas Qtrly, 2017