poetry, essential advice and practical know-how for women

aiming to set the world on fire 

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Uncertain Girls in Uncertain Times is an anthology of inspiration and encouragement for the next generation of thinkers, problem solvers, peacemakers, and creators of all kinds. It is a collection of poetry paired with reflections and life lessons from those who have the wisdom to impart, history to share, and hope for the future. 


We live in an uncertain world.  A world that can sometimes seem as broken as it is beautiful.  Those launching into adulthood voice this paradox again and again: the frustration and despair that makes them want to set the world on fire — to lay waste to it whatever the consequence; and the joy and excitement that makes them want to set the world on fire in a completely different way — to imagine deeply, to create bravely, and to do something truly remarkable with their lives.



Navigating between this hope and disheartenment isn’t easy, especially when you’re about to start your adult life.  That is why we are casting our net wide for this anthology, looking for contributors who reflect the ways we learn to trust our inner authority, find meaning, and set the world on fire.  


There are thousands of inspirational stories out there, and we want to hear yours.

Will you join us?













on the minds of those beginning the journey into adulthood



I worry I know a lot less than I think I do. I worry that I am not prepared.  I worry about how I stack up compared to my peers.  I worry I will get stuck in a job, a relationship, a city.  I worry about being successful socially, in my relationships, in my career, in romance.


I wonder how I will create the change I want to see in the world.  I wonder if I can fulfill my dreams. I wonder about money and what trade-offs I will have to make between money and my passions. I wonder what will happen in the world.


I want to experience the world. I want to make a difference. I want to stay true to myself.  I want to be self-sufficient. I want to be challenged. I want to have fun. I want to be seen, believed in, respected.  I want to be a good person.


Uncertain Girls want to know there is a path to a meaningful and joy filled  future. They want counsel, conversation, and a sense of camaraderie. They want to learn from your experience, to understand that while life is hard it is also rewarding. They want to know where you have roamed and the paths you have wandered.  They want to know when you stalled and what propelled you forward.  When you listened to your inner beat, when you said “no” to fear, when you found your conviction and knew you would be okay, at least for a while. They want to see how you met the challenges of life, and how you embraced or overcame them.


This is your chance to share insight and experience, to lend a hand to young women in these uncertain times. And there are just three things you need to do:


Think about your experience of passing through the portal from college to life, or another life transition that was meaningful to you. Think about what mattered to you, what shaped and inspired you during that time.  Think about the counsel you received that helped you through a challenging time or the advice or insight you wish you’d been given. What influenced your path? And what would you most like to share with young women today as they step into the unknown?


Then write it down — a short, personal reflection on your experience. Write it as if you were addressing a young woman today. Tell her what you learned in a manner that will inspire, support, and encourage her as she starts on her own journey.


Find a poem that resonates and stirs you, one that seems to distill some essential truths of your personal reflection, and serves to make sense of the possibilities and challenges of stepping into the unknown of the "real world.”


Why poetry? We believe poetry is a superhighway into our interior self and a perfect partner for reflection and inspiration. It sparks our heart, opens our eyes, and invites us into a bigger world, one filled with possibilities we may never have imagined. 



Once you’ve written your personal reflection and selected your poem, send them to ucg@wonderpress.org. Your submission may be in plain text, Microsoft Word, or Apple Pages format. 


Please also include a one or two-sentence bio to let us know who you are.)


We’ll be gathering submissions throughout 2019. We can't wait to see what you come up with!



  • Katherine Anderson, owner of The London Plane and Marigold and Mint Farm

  • Cleo Barnett, director of Amplifier Art Lab, artist, pleasure activist

  • Hannah Bae, a Korean American writer, journalist and illustrator

  • Carol Caliyah, founder of The Institute for Black Justice

  • Martha Choe, former Seattle City Council member, director of WA State Department of Commerce, and chief administrative officer for the Gates Foundation

  • Jeanie Chunn, national director of engagement at RAISE: High Road Restaurants

  • Cristina Constantino, a DREAMER and middle school Spanish teacher

  • Ruth Dickey, executive director National Book Foundation and a poet

  • Elizabeth Easton, Reverend Canon to the Ordinary, Diocese of Nebraska 

  • Matt Echohawk-Hayashi, minister and principal organization development and leadership consultant for Headwater People

  • Rozlyn Anderson Flood, previously a trusts and estates attorney, as well as wealth management executive, currently a philanthropic advisor for Princeton University and board member and consultant to nonprofit organizations

  • Antonia Galindo, international organizational development consultant

  • Malaka Gharib, deputy editor and digital strategist on NPR's global health and development team; graphic artist

  • Muguette Guenneguez, executive director for the Seattle Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and a passionate voting rights activist

  • Walt Hamberg, a traveler and historian living in the Pacific Northwest 

  • Shadab Zeest Hashmi, poet and author of Ghazal Cosmopolitan, Kohl & Chalk, and
    Baker of Tarifa 

  • Jennifer Hegeman, U.S. Naval Academy graduate, retired high school English teacher, and gender metamorph

  • Nancy Hilpert, executive recruiter, life coach, writer, mindfulness meditation teacher, and spiritual seeker

  • Rebecca Li, professor of sociology, College of New Jersey, founder and guiding teacher of Chan Dharma Community

  • Caryn Mathes, president and general manager at Puget Sound Public Radio/KUOW 94.9

  • Sara Marie Ortiz (Pueblo of Acoma), author, Highline Native education Program Manager, Native arts/lit & culture specialist, artist mentor, editor, curriculum writer, public speaker and co-founder of the Northwest Native Writers Circle

  • Kerry McKeaver, a self-described “academic gardener” who spent 40 year as a faculty member and administrator in institutions with challenges

  • Shin Yu Pai, poet, essayist, artist, and curator

  • Emily Parzybok, political consultant and mindfulness teacher

  • Azra Raza, professor of medicine, director of the Myelodysplastic Syndrome Center at Columbia University, and author of The First Cell: And the Human Costs of Pursuing Cancer to the Last

  • David Risher, cofounder and CEO of Worldreader.org & creator of #HalfMyDAF

  • Jennifer Risher, author of We Need to Talk: A Memoir About Wealth & creator of #HalfMyDAF

  • Sharon Shelton, certified coach (CPC), certified mindfulness teacher (CMT-P), founding advisor and teacher at Cloud Sangha (www.cloudsangha.co), interfaith minister, speaker, love activist.

  • Lisa Sitkin, senior staff attorney at the National Housing Law Project, focused on economic justice issues related to housing 

  • Andrea Steinberger, rabbi and educator at Hillel University of Wisconsin

  • Suzanne Swift, director of marketing and inclusion for the UW-Madison School of Computer, Data & Information Sciences 

  • Hope Wechkin, medical director of Evergreen Hospice and Palliative Care, violinist, soprano soloist, and interpreter of contemporary music



"We want this to go well for you".  This was the advice my sixth-grade sex ed teacher gave us girls as she guided us through what do when we first get our periods.  This was a whish of relief and the first time I remember being truly uncertain and realizing there was a universe of folks ready to help me out.


Fast forward 40 years (yikes!) and I've since been uncertain more times than I can count and have been guided and inspired by countless wise people and saved many times over by poetry.


Now my eldest daughter is about to launch into one of the greatest periods (ha!) of uncertainty in woman's life, the leap into adulthood.  To say I want this to go well for her is a drop in the sea of things I hope for her. But I don't just hope them for her, I need them for her and for all women who are beginning the journey.  They are our future memory and our changemakers.


Uncertain Girls in Uncertain Times is an attempt at a collective "We want this to go well for you" wish.  I hope you'll join us.