Marilyn Kallet has published 17 books, including The Love That Moves Me, poetry from Black Widow Press. She has translated Paul Eluard’s Last Love Poems, Péret’s The Big Game, and co-edited and co-translated Chantal Bizzini’s Disenchanted City (with J. Bradford Anderson and Darren Jackson.) Dr. Kallet is Nancy Moore Goslee Professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Each spring she leads poetry workshops for VCCA-France in Auvillar. She has performed her poems on campuses and in theaters across the United States as well as in France and Poland, as a guest of the U.S. Embassy’s “America Presents” program; recently she performed with Ivy Writers Paris bilingual poets series, and with Plume at Shakespeare and Company Bookstore in Paris.
On Rue Bichat
on the shattered street
you want a poem
I have only
that hang heavy
in the air
like church bells.
I have Sunday
blue sky above
and foot patrols,
who “came all this way”
and can’t enter
I have one family
reduced to long echoes,
Ode to a Lost Poet
You abandoned me
during the worst violence
Paris has known
since World War II.
You are no
You are no longer
Poets must have heart.
The moment you
were not center
stage, you backed
I sat alone in
Hotel Quartier Latin
watching the loop
of butchery on TV.
a black hood of
silence for yourself.
“You can read
if you want to,” you emailed, at last.
“But my poetry must wait
for a more tranquil time.”
I was strapped into the plane
at LaGuardia on
to take off.
Sorry, the pilot said.
Now I’m here,
in our beloved Paris.
Writers and friends do not wait.
stays well-lit, open for poetry, camaraderie.
The amps have been plugged in.
The audience wants words: comfort, rage,
anything. Attendre? They attend.
“We need to laugh!” someone says.
Down the road, Place de la République
is packed, despite warnings.
Almost midnight: friends and strangers
raise candles, compose notes.
Wait for peace?
Yours will be long, Madame.
Your poems can
rest, tranquil as dust,
as a drug.
You lost me
in the dark night
Nancy Chen Long is the author of Light into Bodies, winner of the 2016 Tampa Review Prize for Poetry (forthcoming, University of Tampa Press, 2017) and the chapbook Clouds as Inkblots for the War Prone (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2013). You’ll find her recent and forthcoming work in Prairie Schooner, Crab Orchard Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Pleiades, Bat City Review, the Anthology of Contemporary Indiana Writers, and elsewhere. Nancy received a BS in Electrical Engineering Technology and an MBA, worked as an electrical engineer, software consultant, and project manager, and more recently earned an MFA. She lives in south-central Indiana and works at Indiana University. www.nancychenlong.com
D. H. Bruun is the recipient of a Stegner Poetry Fellowship from Stanford University, an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and a Pushcart Prize nomination. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as AGNI, Meridian’s Best New Poets, Black Warrior Review, H_NGM_N, and Gulf Coast. He currently lives in Dubai, UAE.
Barbara Sabol is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Original Ruse (Accents Publishing) and The Distance between Blues (Finishing Line Press). Her work has most recently appeared in The Examined Life, San Pedro River Review, Ekphrasis, Common Ground Review, Pentimento, Chrysanthemum, Modern Haiku, and Pudding Magazine, as well as in a handful of anthologies. Barbara holds an MFA from Spalding University. She won the Jean Irion Prize in poetry in 2014. Barbara reviews poetry books for the blog, Poetry Matters. She is a speech therapist who lives and works in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio with her husband and wonder dogs.
Sound prevails under the ice small light in the depths—where
the beluga travels, north to Cook Inlet. Apart from mating, breath
her strongest instinct; Eskimo, spear, an afterthought. The burden of ice
is relieved by the echoes of her twitter-clicks, telling her here is a sliver
of open water, here is your breathing. The ice-bound ocean her intimate
aquaria, the white whale navigates the margins of air and water.
Above the ice the polar bear waits, waits for the streak of white to pass
beneath his paws, for the first pulse of water between the floes. He is learning
to decipher her song, learning exactly where to stop, when to scoop his great
foreleg against her heft. But this one, ah, she has tuned her voice not only
to the air above, but to what it shapes itself around, and with that knowledge
she swims backwards, holding her breath.
Sarah Nix is a writer and artist living in Cincinnati, Ohio. She received a BFA in 2006 from Herron School of Art and Design. Her poetry has appeared in CALYX Journal, DIALOGIST, Rust + Moth, and Sugared Water. Her blog is sarahonpaper.blogspot.com.
where his brush
missed the canvas
rubbed off the edges
of his pictures
left its mark
Cup, Sasanian Period
When he brought its lip
to his lips, he closed his eyes.
He could not see
thousands would come to look
into the void of its mouth.
For how many years
did it clasp
her wrist like a hand?
Don’t leave us with this
Dutch Timepiece, 17th Century
pinned open like a specimen.
Bowl, Song Dynasty
The way we imagine
it held by hands.
it will never be again.
This is the dark butterfly of the mountain,
its image rippled in the water.
The rocky coastline softened
The instance we knew iridescence:
close-up of the beach, fragments of shells.
And this—taken just before
my hat flew into the wind
and was lost to the ocean.
Let it go. Forget
the rust-bitten signs,
tangles of power lines.
How we framed out the crowds,
the traffic and trash, our quarreling.
This is the mountain. Fog.
My dress in full bloom. Our wind-
posed hair. These are clouds,
trees. This is the sea.
Triin Paja is an Estonian, living in a small village in rural Estonia. Her poetry has appeared in The Moth, BOAAT, Otis Nebula, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Gloom Cupboard, The Missing Slate, and elsewhere.
you say its kindness, the way dusk gathers
its skirt-hems, walks to the wheat field,
leaves. how a cat leaves an old woman’s lap,
ribbons of light fluttering in the wind.
kindness, you say, as the sun disappears in
your throat, leaving me beneath the grey belly
of the whale-sky. I hear spring shatter its
perfume bottle, the clouds clinging to tin roofs
with soft hands. I have kissed your hands.
when we cannot speak, we press our bare skin
against silence’s bare skin—I want to say
when you die they will not find blood but birds
in the body. how kindness is always forgiveness,
the thrushes covering us with the insect netting
of their song. how somewhere we pearl into
a bone-white memory, rising, collapsing,
like a lover’s breathing after a vodka-darkened
night, after the ghost of the orgasm leaves us.
how somewhere the stones are writing us,
the dandelions flickering in a kind of light.
we hear the conversation between the wind,
the reeds. we hear the church bells where
there is no church. we’ve come here to be
forgotten, here, where the deer touches
the mildewed stones. the linen of fog
dresses the river—the river Lethe
running through our bodies
when we touch. this light of bodies,
flickering, climbing into the night
of another’s limbs, the moss of skin.
you say the world has become Lethe.
you say, and the bird of your voice grows old,
the wings spread slowly. you enter me
as one enters a river, your warmth on my skin
like paint. you say the speed of forgetting is a river,
your wheat-bruised hands in a mustard field of light.
when I touch you in the river, I do not know
if it is you I touch or the water.
are you a river? are you a dream?
your pulse in the river
like a blue stone, like a song.
the wine begins to glow like a gas lamp inside us
because in this city no one has hands. we saw the boy
with the purple scarf. his silhouette was a monolithic statue.
the vegetables begin to rot. we forget the nightmares
of the oiled seagulls. how our mothers waited for hours
for the sugar, the flour, beneath the moth-flickering factory light.
there are nights when the lilium becomes the moon.
the hair of the wheat swells in the snow and we become
what the crows didn’t take with them. someone cries
in the tractor shed but here I am washing your back.
I gather up the yarn, the mandarin peels. moon-soaked, desperate,
our memories begin to disappear like elephants from ancient china.
to be this feral with emptiness. to come to you as to a body
tied to an oak tree. the paint of your name peeling from the walls.
the moon clinging to a branch like a luminous owl. the river
where I gave names to your bones. a polaroid of Rome.
a boy, a man. a hand, trembling, and trembling.
Sherry Chandler has published four collections of poetry, most recently The Woodcarver’s Wife. Her work has received three nominations for a Pushcart Prize. Individual poems have been published in the Louisville Review, the Cortland Review, The William and Mary Review, and other periodicals and anthologies. Her website is http://www.sherrychandler.com.
Annie Hinkle‘s poetry is published in Ascent, Mid-American Review, Best of Ohio 2014, Express Cincinnati, and Southern Poetry Review. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Miami University and a PhD from University of Kent, Canterbury, England. When she is not writing poetry or fiction, she is teaching high school language arts and directing The Writing Center at Ursuline Academy in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her poetry chapbook, Composition Studies, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.
Bruce Bond is the author of sixteen books including, most recently, For the Lost Cathedral (LSU Press, 2015), The Other Sky (Etruscan Press, 2015), Immanent Distance: Poetry and the Metaphysics of the Near at Hand (University of Michigan Press, 2015), Black Anthem (Tampa Review Prize, University of Tampa Press, 2016), and Gold Bee (Crab Orchard Open Competition Award, Southern Illinois University Press, 2016), Three of his books are forthcoming: Blackout Starlight: New and Selected Poems 1997-2015 (E. Phillabaum Award, LSU Press), Sacrum (Four Way Books), and Dear Reader (Free Verse Editions, Parlor Press). Presently he is Regents Professor at University of North Texas.
Then my teacher told me to close my eyes
and observe the observer of the observer
and so on, down the long path of seeing,
the chiaroscuro of thought in the distance
like a field of starlight when the power goes.
See the seer, she said, and as I breathed
in waves against the dark, I saw my teacher.
I saw her porch lit with prayer flags
from Tibet: a light wind in the word flag,
a lighter word in the wind departing.
How it all fit in there, I will never know:
the flags, the words, the black canvas starred
in needles. And her, or my idea of her,
descending the stairs on her mechanical
chair devised for those who suffer daily
steps and thresholds beyond my understanding.
She told me once, you hear a note a suffering
in the higher resonance of laughter.
I confess. I do not hear the better half
of what I hear, though I feel the pull there
of missing things, of earth and its burden
beneath the pale lamentation of waves.
She is gone now. And shows up every time
I see a chair like this. I hear her curse
her feet of stone, not knowing I am there.
God, she says softly to herself.
They say the new moon can be traced in
the faint deflected sunrays of the planet.
That the sky we see is always bigger
than how we see it. Stars and mirrors.
Stars and dead stars. Tell me, teacher
in your field on fire. What else is there.
Andrea Uptmor is a writer living in Minneapolis.
When K Gets Home
The cat has been dead
for hours, coiled tidily
on the tufted rug
where he spent his slow
and deliberate afternoons.
Oh, dampness. His golden
fur, his pulpy toes.
You wonder: Has K seen?
No. Not yet. She is aflush
with carnal magic, grating
with one toenail an itch
on the meaty center of her calf.
The hallway mirror paints a portrait
of heronesque grace, thick
resting upon its lower
lip like a slug.
How beautiful, she mouths
and rakes, to have
this kind of accidental
pleasure in life.
Such as last summer
when the garden opened
itself to my feet
like the sinking back
of a lover. That reddest tomato.
Wind that smelled of lake. Me
chewing like a child, seeds blessing
my chin in their phlegmy juice.
Eating as if I had not just crashed
the car into the garage. As if
I had not panicked at the sound
of peeling metal, nor
braked mid-scrape, nor held
the seatbelt between my teeth and cried
at the damage of reversing;
the cost of moving forward. Grief
loomed either way, and yet.
That red tomato still awaits, that
spongy earth beneath.
How curious, she
murmurs, the moments
that press upon you
with such urgency
that you wear them
from then on like a cape. May
we all be wrapped
in them forever.
Will Well‘s most recent book of poetry, Unsettled Accounts won the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize and was published by Ohio University/Swallow Press in 2010. He continues to publish widely, often on Jewish themes and was pleased to discover Blue Lyra Review at session of AWP (Association of Writers & Writing Programs). He recently has been a Fellow at Sewanee Writers’ Conference and West Chester Poetry Conference and won a 2016 Individual Artist Excellence award in poetry from the Ohio Arts Council.
Beneath the Seal, Ferrara
Plaster tablets in Ferrara’s Jewish
Archive once served as seals for Jewish tombs.
If medical students scavenged for fresh
corpses to dissect, families would assume
no remedy from the Catholic courts,
but could haggle with doctors for the scraps.
A broken seal meant go, collect the parts.
For any absent bits, God must mend the lapse
at the end of days, or so the second seal
implores. Still missing, unabated grief,
suspended by the haste to strike a deal.
These exchanges compounded as beliefs –
to spurn the lesser offer; to hold fast
to whatever they could; to make things last.
Under an Amulet, Venice Ghetto
for Dr. Leonard Rothman
The midwife’s assistant stood across the room
and raised a Torah scroll. It gave devout
focus through labor, a hedge against doom.
The air was suffused with scents of stewed fruit
from the pan beneath the bed, bait set to
distract demon Lilith from causing harm.
Adam’s first wife, she haunted the Ghetto,
seeking vengeance, though subject to the charm,
like her sister, Eve, of forbidden fruit.
On the mounded belly, the midwife placed
a scrap from a worn-out scroll, believing it
would leach good luck into the womb. She faced
the wall for modesty, but used frank hands
to part the waters to a promised land.
Tim Mayo’s poems and reviews have appeared in Narrative Magazine, Poetry International, Poet Lore, River Styx, Salamander, San Pedro River Review, Tar River Poetry, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Verse Daily, Web Del Sol Review of Books, and The Writer’s Almanac. His first full-length collection, The Kingdom of Possibilities, was published by Mayapple Press in 2009. His second volume of poems, Thesaurus of Separation, is forthcoming from Phoenicia Publishing in July 2016. A five-time Pushcart Prize Nominee, and a top finalist for the Paumanok Award, Mayo lives in Brattleboro, Vermont.
The Mussel Pickers
Out of the belch and foam of whales,
the slap and splash of the big fin,
out of the ambergris depths
of the great leviathans, comes the moment
they have waited for.
Out of the pop and dip of harbor seals,
their bobbing heads’ glistening black sheen,
out of the chop and lurch of the big waves,
they see the sea’s slow, slate-colored ebb,
its weakening recession at dusk or dawn,
and the impoverished bounty of brown
Out of the feather-green of the bayside grasses,
out of the spiked bastions of fir and spruce,
they come descending the granite-gray cliffs
down to the jagged depths of rock and water,
and there . . . amid the foam-lathered and steepled stone,
they cut free the salt-raw tangles of filaments,
their thongy, ragged lengths from the bastioned boulders,
and tugging the barnacled-white and steel-blue shells
by the rough tendrils of their anchors, they raise
the dangling clusters: skyward, blue-ward and to the clouds,
then, from the salt-grit and slick of this unearthing,
they, once again, trumpet and proclaim:
Blessed are the animals of the sea
the fast fin and leap of those that swim,
the slime and squeeze of the slow ones,
and the calcified castles of the immovable.
Blessed are the pluck and harvest,
the brine-becoming-beauty and taste of them.
Blessed, blessed, are we, the mollusk-eaters,
our slurp and drool––even the lip-smackers among us,
for they, too, have touched the beards of mussels.
Lori Desrosiers’ poetry books are The Philosopher’s Daughter, (Salmon Poetry, 2013), a chapbook, Inner Sky (Glass Lyre Press), and a new full-length book of poems, Sometimes I Hear the Clock Speak (Salmon Poetry, 2016). Her poems have appeared in New Millenium Review, Contemporary American Voices, Best Indie Lit New England, Blue Fifth Review, Pirene’s Fountain, The Mom Egg, The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish-American Poetry and many other journals and anthologies. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She edits Naugatuck River Review, a journal of narrative poetry. She teaches Literature and Composition at Westfield State University and Holyoke Community College, and Poetry in the Interdisciplinary Studies program for the Lesley University MFA graduate program.
Nobody puts their children on a boat unless the water is safer than the land
– Warsan Shire
We have forgotten how
our mothers left their fathers’ lands
crossed uneven planking
onto vessels of doubt.
Suffered salt water, heat
in bruised pursuit
stored like seeds beneath
sore, weathered feet
calloused on that long walk
from shore to shore.
They believed the sea
would heal them
from ravages of war
or deluge of hunger.
We their children
ignore the documents
forged in congresses
argued in assemblies
call new immigrants
criminals and job-stealers
make them flee to other lands
despite their families waiting
like our mothers’ mothers
waited to take their daughters
in their arms
to hold them again.
Instead, children’s bodies
wash up on a Turkish beach
a family rejected
by mounds of Canadian red tape.
(Patrick Venturella needs bio)
slide across the lake
plates congeal into continents
then dissipate mountains
thrust skyward then evaporate
a gust of wind
a species of ghost
he feels orogenies erosions
decay laced November
air lithifies his bones
and time peels
back layers of skin
The Lake Is Ink
spilled on ice
and Tom tells funny
stories with his hands
the camp fire
throws his shadow
against the limestone
cliff and his silhouette
and builds pyramids
his silhouette illuminates
scripture and starts
its own blog
and I’m not sure
if the heat
is coming from the fire
or your body
but our laughter
through the blackness
Kate Fadick began working seriously as a poet in 2009. Prior to then, she worked with rural and urban Appalachian communities on issues of environmental and economic justice. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Still: The Journal, Indianola Review, Kudzu, Pine Mountain Sand and Gravel, Wind ’97, Blue Lyra Review and other journals. Slipstream, her first chapbook, was released by Finishing Line Press in March, 2013. She lives in Cincinnati, OH with her partner of 25 years.
When Hildegard cannot sleep
she stays up
all night hidden in the branches
only she can see
she tires of darkness
color spills from her eyes
into the wind
the sky fills
with blue flame
gentle as breath
once empty shells
begin to sing
and the sweet ache
rises in my throat
In my dream of Hildegard
we turn to face the worst
our kind can do
our bodies the spinning
death of stars
woven with all that lives
a fragile weft of green
runs dull through her fingers
the yes of her eyes
enough of a prayer
When Hildegard drops
a blue sapphire into her wine…
strobes and circles
fill her mind’s eye
she sings her unresolved
sketches visions on wax
as she sits
on the slash
between either / or
P. V. Beck has published poetry, essays, articles, translations, young-adult novel, and works of non-fiction.
In the Deep Midwinter
The earth stalled on the longest night of the year creaking at its old poles,
a ball of ice too tired to roll over.
Deep below zero Fox exhales ice, her fur is thick as snow.
She hears no fibrillating heart beats, no scurls or scurry, only a
silent frozen scape waiting for a pulse of heat.
Bear in their caves, mice in their tunnels. Deep and hushed and ancient the
heart slows to the pace of creation.
Fox pushes through the snow to the emptiness where the pond used to
be—a cat-tailed moonscape, a tangle of elk hairs locked in ice.
Her aching breath and hunger pull at her.
A winter that escapes itself in sleep and then awakens, that’s what we
cherish. That moment something moves in the corner of the eye, a
flurry or flight, the folding over of cusp and quarry
on that longest night.