Bridges, Constance Quarterman

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Bridges, Constance Quarterman


Born in Plainfield, NJ.


Home—Egg Harbor, NJ.


Writer. U.S. Treasury Department, program analyst, retired in 1987.


First Thursday Writers Group.


Cave Canem Poetry Prize, 2005, for Lions Don't Eat Us; New Jersey State Council on the Arts, poetry fellow, 1999.


Lions Don't Eat Us, selected and introduced by Sonia Sanchez, Graywolf Press (Saint Paul, MN), 2006.

Contributor to journals, including African American Review and Potomac Review.


Constance Quarterman Bridges retired from her job as a program analyst with the U.S. Treasury Department in 1987 and made use of her idle time by writing, mostly poetry. Bridges is a member of the First Thursday Writers Group and received a lot of guidance and support from its founder, Peter Murphy, as well as Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Dunn. Bridges has given poetry readings in a number of East Coast states. In 1999, she won a poetry fellowship from the New Jersey Council on the Arts. This was followed up in 2005 with a Cave Canem Poetry Prize for unpublished writers over the age of fifty. Graywolf Press published her winning poems in the collection Lions Don't Eat Us.

Bridges's collection of poems is a family-centered piece which traces her mixed African American, Native American, and Caucasian ancestors and their personal lives as reconstructed through oral history and written accounts. Reviews for her first published book of poetry were quite positive. Robert Saunderson, writing in School Library Journal, said that "readers will find a truly American story of great pain and despair, but one not lacking in reward and pleasure." Library Journal contributor Barbara Hoffert remarked that "Bridges can write evocatively," but added that "she's not out to draw pretty pictures; her words are in the service of a tougher vision." Janet St. John's review in Booklist mentioned the benefits of the way Bridges wrote in order to avoid "turning poetry into social statement." St. John concluded: "This is one impressive and mature first collection."



Booklist, October 1, 2006, Janet St. John, review of Lions Don't Eat Us, p. 20.

Library Journal, November 1, 2006, Barbara Hoffert, review of Lions Don't Eat Us, p. 81.

School Library Journal, February 1, 2007, Robert Saunderson, review of Lions Don't Eat Us, p. 150.


New Jersey State Council on the Arts Web site, (July 25, 2007), author profile.

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Bridges, Constance Quarterman

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