Ellen Summerfield asks questions about when, where, and how we as individuals can bend, break, and rewrite rules. She dares to be unruly, but not for its own sake. She looks at how we live, love, age, and die—always with a stance of challenging norms and defining personal ethics. While many topics are heavy, they are usually approached with a light touch and characteristic gentle voice, and they are punctuated with humor. Her themes include, among others, mothering (or non-mothering), social class and poverty, grief, romance, Judaism, childhood, growing old, and the use of language. She writes for a wide audience and is especially pleased to reach those who generally do not read, or are intimidated by, poetry.