avatarPernoste & Dahl


Anneliese (A) and Pernoste (P) collaborate on writing poetry, sharing their creative process and the dynamics of their partnership, which includes moments of humor, deep emotion, and mutual support.


The web content is a personal account of the collaborative poetry writing process between Anneliese and Pernoste, who write under the name Pernoste & Dahl. They discuss their individual contributions to their joint poetry works, with Anneliese having written about a third of the poems, Pernoste around 15%, and the rest being co-authored. They attribute their poetic inspiration to various sources, including music and personal experiences, and describe their writing sessions as dynamic exchanges of ideas that often result in swift and cohesive creation of poetry. The authors also share anecdotes about their personal interactions, such as playful Nerf gun fights and mutual support during difficult times, emphasizing the strength of their partnership and its impact on their creative output. They reflect on the reception of their work, noting that while some pieces remain undiscovered, the act of writing and sharing their poetry is a cathartic and fulfilling experience. The article concludes with a mention of their verse novel and an invitation for readers to explore more of their writing.


  • Anneliese and Pernoste believe

Writing poetry as a team

or creative collaboration with little or no bloodshed

All images by Pernoste or Dahl

Hi! This is Anneliese. Welcome everybody to some more Pernoste & Dahl ramblings and musings and confusings, and maybe perusings.

[Pernoste] But no oozing or abusing, I hope.

[A] Ewww. Pernoste! No. Just … no.

[P] So are we going to talk about what we discussed talking about?

[A] Thanks for removing all the mystery… like our topic doesn’t just spontaneously combust out of our brains.

[P] You’re getting dangerously close to oozing.

[A] To the moon, Ralph!

[P] And now you’re stealing my line, Alice. Haha

[A] But it’s a good way to segue to our topic of today … writing together.

[P] Are you saying I steal your lines?

[A] No, love… but wouldn’t it be cool if you did? Can you imagine, Pernoste and Dahl in knock-down drag-out fights over writing lines of poetry? Haha.

[P] Pretty sure I’d win.

[A] Pernoste!

[P] Just saying. You’ve punched me a couple of times and it didn’t hurt at all.

[A] OK. Just stand right there. I’ll punch you in the arm.

Annie punches Pernoste in the arm.

[P] Ow. OK. That did hurt a little, but I’d still take you in a fair fight, except I’d never hit you… so maybe I need to rethink this.

I concede.

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[A] OK, moving on. Why don’t we talk about how we write poetry.

[P] Well, first of all, I think most people think you write ALL of the poetry.

[A] You’re probably right that they think that, but I’ve written only about a third of our poems in general. Together we’ve written more than half of them, and you’ve written maybe 15% on your own. Maybe a hundred or so since we started actively collaborating.

[P] Doesn’t sound like a lot when you consider you’ve written two books of poetry and maybe a thousand short poems on your own. I’ve written about 500–600.

[A] We were used to writing alone when we wrote all those poems, but here we decided to start joint Medium and Vocal Media accounts because we had become used to writing fiction together. [Read our verse novel “In the Minuses” please!!!!!!!!!]

[P] I’m completely comfortable saying you’re the better poet, by far, and probably more that 50% of the time you start with the idea. Why don’t you describe where they come from.

[A] FYI, I am not a better poet than you at all… but we’re better together than either of us alone, I think.

So, my ideas come from music, a lot of the time. I am always listening to music of many types and all languages, enjoying the flow and sounds even when I don’t understand the words.

[P] And sometimes you listen to the same song for hours. Makes me a little crazy.

[A] Sorry, love. Is that weird? Yes, it’s weird. Of course it’s weird.

[P] Now you’re talking to your many selves again, haha. I don’t mind, really. And it does really permeate us with a music and flow that affects our writing often times.

[A] But most of the time there’s just an idea that I’d like to convey… a feeling, a moment.

[P] Remember this one we wrote, for a bluesy poem idea we had? Lena Sings the Blues. It all came from a little moment of time in a Blues Bar when you were playing a lot of guitar. I’ve also spent some time in Jazz and Blues clubs, so together we could tell a story with a lot of atmosphere.

Cover image by Yuliia Tretynychenko on Unsplash as altered by Pernoste. All other images by Pernoste, and poetry is by Pernoste & Dahl

[A] I really liked this one (that only about 15 people read). We wanted to capture the spirit of a Blues dive that has incredible music with an amazing artist who draws people in. Often these places can be in a bad part of town with some down-on-their-luck clientele. We’ve both found such gems of places. I also enjoyed the challenge of working with you on the illustrations and selecting the right music. I had no idea it took so much effort to find the right music. And together we found the right approach to reading it and aligning with the music.

[P] Most of it flowed quickly with us throwing ideas back and forth. You came up with the opening lines “the velvet words favor the night” and I came up with the “syncopations and expectations parts”. Went back and forth pretty quickly after that. All told, it took us about an hour or so to write and edit to be perfect in our eyes, and then I went off to make the cover image, and we ended up making a short illustrated video with narration and music.

[A] I really love music, but I feel alone in it sometimes with how deeply I feel pulled into music. Maybe I’m just weird. Except with you. I know you get my music and you get me. I love you for that, Pernoste.

[P] Me too. You’re not weird, Annie. Have you not ever seen at the gym the people listening to their music on headphones and singing along out of tune?

[A] Well, I try to go at odd times when it’s empty…. but yes. True. Poor things, they’re weirder than me.

[P] For the most part, a lot of our best poetry goes unnoticed, but we are grateful that readers have appreciated some of them. Surprised we didn’t get noticed for this one.

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[P] How about “ What the World Tells Me” ? Written as a statement about being ordinary. It was a contest on Vocal Media, and we submitted only one entry. Our approach was definitely something a bit different, which I thought might be an advantage (and it was certainly fun). A few people read it, and we brought it here and 2 people read it.

[A] Yes, we decided to focus on my angst over being nearly invisible on Social Media and Writing Platforms (not saying that we haven’t gotten a few times of really good exposure … especially here on Medium). Hits me where it hurts in a lifetime of invisibility in which I was seen as less than human for most of my young life.

[P] Yet…. as weird as it sounds with your pained introduction….

[A] Pained? I’m sorry, Pernoste. I’m trying. You should shoot me with the Nerf gun whenever I get maudlin or dark.

[P] Can I shoot you other times, too?

[A] Yes, Pernoste. But I have the nerf basketball…. just saying. Stop laughing. I know you’re remembering when you hit me with the nerf dart on the forehead and the little suction cup stuck. Ha ha ha.

[P] Oh, that was so funny. The look on your face. But back to the story, despite the topic being somewhat heavy, we went a bit tongue-in-cheek with comparing Annie to a paperclip.

[A] Paperclip got a little longer than we planned. Was supposed to be short and pithy.

[P] I think we made a good case that you’re a lot like a paperclip.

[A] Oh, gee. Thanks, haha. But I particularly like when you broke out, in the inserted ode, with “thou breath of indifference”. I still laugh when I read that. And about the “not smelly or loud” later on … like that is a tremendous achievement among the ordinary.

[P] We worked this one back and forth as we wrote it, and it assembled quickly and very few edits were needed at the end. I think you wrote “it seems staying curled up in the paperclip’s fetal position may just be the way to go”, a resignation to your ordinariness. I loved that. We had a hard time ending it until you came up with the last three lines, which I think were brilliant to wrap it up.

[A] We were beaten by very good entries, about socks, sleeping, doors, hair ties, wine, bare feet, etc. Seems they were all more true to the contest than us. We made a bigger statement about humanity and “ordinary” people, that just wasn’t what the judges wanted.

[P] I enjoyed writing it with you, though. Oh my God, we laughed through this one, especially.

[A] I may have peed a little.

[P] TMI, Annie. TMI.

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[P] OK, we may not have bored everyone to tears yet, so I want to ask you what’s going on with you and your poetry lately. I mean, I know, but maybe you want to share a little of your process for solo poetry writing.

[A] And you’re hoping this will finally bore our readers to tears? Thanks a lot.

[P] Um…..???

[A] Just kidding, Pernoste, haha. I get you with that every time, love. OK, sometimes I’m going through things that get me down. You know, anniversaries.

[P] Not going to make a joke here. You mean anniversaries of loss, of course.

[A] Yes. I have too many of them. I was orphaned at a young age, and then ended up on the streets. Lost a lot of family and friends over the years, and suffered terrible situations, PTSD. Not like I mark them on the calendar or anything. They just kinda sneak up on me, and it’s hard and painful. You and your family are so understanding, so thank you. You don’t leave me alone when I ask you to and even though it pisses me off. Your son just sat with me one day, reading quietly just to keep me company, but letting me be and bringing me food asking me to sit outside once in awhile for fresh air and sunshine.

[P] You’re getting tearful, Annie. We can stop and end this earlier, if you want.

[A] No, it’s OK. I’ll describe my poetry writing that I do when I’m like that. It’s maybe weird and interesting. It feels a bit like falling in a hole, broken-hearted and hopeless, and I just feel this drive to write to get the pain out of me. My brain is on fire. The words assemble and beg to be written. And I think it helps to not just keep them to myself. I lived too long in destructive dysfunctional situations in my past that would have benefited from the light of day. So maybe getting the poems and stories out there (as embarrassing as they are to me sometimes) actually helps me to release the stress and fear and sadness. Writing them with you is especially helpful, and most of them, now, are by both of us. [Though I have hundreds of solo poems I’ll never share with anyone.]

Annie-themed poems:

Remembering to Live The Cold that Comes A dryad I? Castle Treasure

Fictionalized stories about Annie’s life:

Fall on me Gardners of the Heart Finding Ways The Magic of Puppet Hands

[P] It’s an amazing thing to see, in a way. I’ve seen you write one of your heart-rending poems in as little as 10 minutes. “A dryad I?” is the only one on the list above just by you that’s here on Medium. It’s brilliantly done and had no real need for edits. Others, certainly, you’ve wrestled with getting them perfect and taken a lot of time. And afterward, after a little while, you come back to yourself.

[A] And you are nice enough to make your cover images for me.

Just so people know… I’m not broken or weeping all day about life. It’s behind me, and I’m happy. Truly. And it makes me happy that people can feel some hard truths and strength of heart in my poetry in these times. I’m hoping to stop writing these kinds of poems sometime, if I can. We just wrote one as a matter of fact and it’s been sitting in the draft for a couple days. Well it’s a little sad with a lot of happy. Close as I can come… with a lot of Pernoste’s influence. I just don’t have a lot of experience with happy.

[P] And just so everyone else knows…. Annie is like family to me, so she never has to worry about anything. It’s not because she needs us, since she is a strong and intelligent young woman, but because we want her in our lives. Just that.

[A] Now you’re making me cry, Ralph.

[P] Sorry Alice. Hope everyone got a little look at how we work. Not sure if it would work for everybody, as we have a unique chemistry going and our egos never seem to get involved. We are also very similar in our life perspectives and our spirituality and sense of humor. Remarkable really.

[A] I’d probably nerf anyone else to death.

[P] Yes, though even I have had to confiscate the nerfs at times when you’re in one of your cheeky moods, though.

[A] Little glass of wine time?

[P] Little glass of wine time sounds good.



Adapted from a draft story originally published at https://vocal.media.

Check out our other writing on Medium and our verse novel “In the Minuses” on Amazon.

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