Julianne Palumbo


2018 from Unsolicited Press

Fifty often hits hard after we’ve raced through career building and raising children, and Palumbo finds herself suddenly quick-sanded. Years ago she retired from her law partnership with the goal of pursuing her writing and being home more for her children. But now her children are off to college or married. Suddenly with time on her hands, she is both looking back with longing on motherhood and searching for somewhere to put her energies that will matter as much as those elusive parenting years.

50/50 is a collection of poems that examine life with perspective in both directions—missing the tremendous joys of motherhood past and searching forward for new purpose. The poems in 50/50 are about being stuck in the middle. Young enough that her twenty-year-old daughter still borrows her clothes, yet old enough that she can admit to wearing bell bottom jeans and the big hair of the eighties, the poet grapples with the stuff of aging.

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Announcing the Thaw

Available October 31, 2014 from
Finishing Line Press

A poetry chapbook about raising children in which their growing up is both celebrated and mourned. The progression of poems reflects the poet's struggle to replace that precious act of raising now-grown children with something equally worthy.

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Into Your Light

Available now from

The chapbook portrays the deeply-treasured and sometimes harrowing experience of raising teenagers examined from the perspective of a mother saying 'good-bye' as her children leave for college.

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Tutoring Greyson

Do you ever doubt your parents when they tell you you're okay just the way you are?

Meet Gwen...

"I think, therefore I am."
But, I don't need to think,
to know that I am.
When I look down,
I am

Why did Mr. Descartes question his existence
when I am so sure of mine?
Maybe if there were less of me,
I would exist

Do you ever struggle to hold back anger that swells inside of you like a monster wanting to be free?

Meet Greyson...

Then Jared pulls his right arm back
and forms a fist.
He's smiling now,
a thin smile,
but enough to show his venom.
My veins fill with larva.
I'm scared and angry all at once
because I know what comes next.
It feels kind of like it used to
when I was smaller
and Dad was stronger
and Mom wasn't home to stand between us.

It comes when it comes,
this feeling.
I don't invite it.
I don't even want it here.
It swells up inside me,
making me feel big
and terrifying
to everyone around me,
sometimes even to myself.

The problem is
I don't know where it comes from,
and I don't know when it's coming,
this storm inside me,
and I don't know how to tell it
not to come.

Tutoring Greyson. A two-sided story written in verse.

Part I, As I Am, tells the story of Gwen, a high school, soccer-playing freshman who struggles to fit in after her mom dies. Gwen questions whether she is right when she has elephant legs holding her up and her jeans aren't made by the proper designer. Then her English teacher assigns an essay by French philosopher, Rene Descartes, and Gwen is fascinated by the idea, "I think, therefore I am." She learns to question the opinions of her peers and everything around her unless she, herself, can prove it's true. When asked to tutor a senior in English, Gwen finally learns to trust herself.

Part II, Finding the Empty, is the story of Greyson, the senior football star whose mother left him and whose father uses him as a punching bag. Greyson is afraid of the anger that wells inside him and escapes his control when he sees other students being bullied. Greyson gets suspended from school for pounding Hunter Page's face and is kicked off the football team for unnecessary roughness. But Greyson learns to tame his monster when Ms. Roth assigns him a project on Buddha, and Greyson begins to meditate. His self-control is put to the ultimate test when Greyson's father returns home and hits his mother.

Saving Face. A young adult novel about face blindness.

Soccer star and most popular hottie, Joey Rinaldi, is struck by lightning and hits his head on the goal post. Joey survives the head injury but returns to school to find he is unable to recognize anyone. Joey cannot tell the teachers from the students. He snubs his best friend and walks right by his girlfriend in the hall. Joey freaks when he doesn't even recognize his own face in the bathroom mirror. Joey has prosopagnosia, face blindness, a neurological disorder that affects 2% of the population. He devises a plan to retain his popularity without anyone knowing about his condition. Then Joey witnesses a brutal beating in the hallway after school. When he is unable to identify the bully, the principal assumes he's involved and suspends him. Devastated about missing the state championships and leery of the real bullies who think he can identify them, Joey learns that what's important is behind the face.

Silent. A verse novel about social anxiety disorder and free speech.

Emma Kane cannot talk in front of anyone but her family. When called on to read, she panics and nearly passes out. Her classmates think she's a freak, and no one talks to her, except to ridicule her. That is until Ms. Bella pairs Emma with the fascinating Kendra Smythe for a poetry assignment. Emma enjoys her first friendship, learning how to dress and discovering what it's like to talk to a boy without passing out. Then Kendra moves away after rumors of a love affair with their young gym teacher cause the students to taunt her. Desperate after destroying her first friendship, Emma seeks help on the internet. She self-diagnoses with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) and begs her mother to get her help. At her SAD talk therapy group, Emma meets a retired theatre director who helps her find her voice. Facing an end-of-the-school year speech as class valedictorian, Emma tries to convince herself to take the challenge. But when Emma's told she cannot mention God in her speech because public schools don't allow any references to religion, Emma ends her silence.

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