Night Court

THE BOOK: Night Court.


THE AUTHOR:  Erica Goss.

: Steven M. Asmussen for Design & Layout.

: Glass Lyre Press.

SUMMARY: Night Court is a collection of poems revolving around themes of mortality, the environment, and my lifelong struggle with insomnia.

Erica GossTHE BACK STORY: The book took about five years to write and publish. It’s my first full-length collection of poems – poets will put out a book every few years (some more often), containing their most recent work. I wrote and re-wrote the book many times during the years before publication; with every rejection, I made changes.

WHY THIS TITLE?:  The book takes its title from the poem of the same name, where I imagine myself on the “witness stand,” defending my tragedies from some ghostly court. It’s about those awful lonely hours when I can’t sleep, time drags on until morning, and I have to function.

My dream is for Night Court to live quietly in someone’s glove compartment, purse, or on a nightstand, waiting for the reader to open at random and find some comfort or insight within its pages. Like most poetry books, it can be read sequentially or in any order the reader wants. I like the idea of readers finding their own order through the book. I’ve read the poems in this book in front of many different audiences, and I believe that it has something to offer all people.


“I have been loving these poems by Erica Goss for some time now, and marvel anew, each time I read Night Court, at the pure, clear voice of the poet.” – Kathleen Kirk, Escape Into Life, April 2019

“Erica Goss’s Lyrebird Prize-winning new collection, Night Court, begins by pulling readers into a world of eerie sounds in the dark of night. It positions us on the edge of what the book’s final poem calls the “floating world” between real and surreal.” – David E. Poston, The Pedestal, Issue 81 (2017)

“Erica’s writings are simple yet with the power to reach out to people’s hearts. Written in free verse these poems had the power to captivate every reader and inspire them to dabble in poetry. I could not pick favourites because each one was beautiful.” – Lakshmi Iyer, Readings Writings, August 2017

“Erica Goss raps her poem-gavel. I pause and turn a page; another case, another voice. Nothing goes unnoticed or dismissed. Goss tries on robes, viewpoints; she tries out voices, celebrating the sweeping powers of legend and myth.” –Al Young, back cover blurb/

AUTHOR PROFILE: Here’s a video about my poetic practice:

A link to the Books page at my website:

Erica Goss served as Poet Laureate of Los Gatos, California from 2013-2016. Her latest poetry collection, Night Court, won the 2016 Lyrebird Prize from Glass Lyre Press. She is the author of Wild Place (2012, Finishing Line Press) and Vibrant Words: Ideas and Inspirations for Poets (2014, Pushpen Press).

As Poet Laureate for Los Gatos, she organized the first St. Patrick’s Day Poetry Walk, created Poems-in-the-Window (local businesses displayed poems during National Poetry Month), recorded The Poetry Podcast (50-plus recordings of poems in a variety of languages), established the first Los Gatos Poet Laureate Scholarship, and launched The Poetry Kitchen, a poetry reading series at the Los Gatos Library.

Erica’s work is featured in numerous anthologies and journals, including Pearl, Ekphrasis, Main Street Rag, Café Review, Perigee, Dash Literary Journal, Eclectica, Up the Staircase, Lake Effect, Consequence, Stirrings, Convergence, Passager, Atticus Review, Gravel, Tinderbox Review, Caveat Lector, Rattle, Zoland Poetry, Spillway, San Pedro Rover Review, Comstock Review, Contrary, and Innisfree Poetry Journal. She received the Many Mountains Moving Prize for poetry in 2011. She was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2010, 2013, and 2017, Best of the Net in 2016 and 2017, and received the first Edwin Markham Prize for poetry, judged by California Poet Laureate Al Young. Wild Place was also a finalist in the 2010 White Eagle Coffee Store Press Chapbook Contest, and received a special mention from Jacar Press’s 2010 Chapbook Contest.

Erica writes Sticks & Stones, a free monthly newsletter about poetry & art. You can read back issues here and here, and subscribe here.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: I believe poetry is the most concise, moving, and accessible form of storytelling in literature. Poetry is available to everyone. My book is a collection of work from a period of years where I struggled with losing loved ones, illness, and many other challenges. I offer those poems to anyone who needs to get in touch with his or her humanity, with the message that we are all in this together, we all suffer and struggle, and that poetry offers comfort and recognition in difficult times.



I have never learned to wander

to trust in grass and stars and mouthfuls of air.

If I ramble without keys or shoes

I might meet my ghosts, who always seem friendly

at first. No drifting allowed, no matter the delicious

temptation of the vanishing point. I’d rather hit

a sign than turn an unnamed corner

regardless of its lonesome beauty. And so I study

maps of the world, avoiding

shady groves hung with moss,

or streets tense with empty cars

or large bodies of water. When lost

they say, keep to one spot.

Don’t meander. That’s how you found me

a map of the spirits stuffed in my back pocket.

All I had to do was stay put.

WHERE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Barnes & noble, etc.

Order from Glass Lyre Press:


Barnes & Noble:

PRICE: $16

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Readers can contact me at I’m on Facebook at

Published by


Recently retired after 35 years with the News & Advance newspaper in Lynchburg, VA, now re-inventing myself as a novelist/nonfiction writer and writing coach in Lake George, NY.

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