You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2012.

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Notable works by Genevieve Payne, Caren Lee Brenman, Changming Yuan, Tracy Franklin, Allen Quin Yuan, George Stratigakis, Chester Fid, Zack Nelson Lopiccolo, Clinton Inman, Brandon Roy, Wesley Bishop, Pamela Gemme, Sarah Stinnett, Joseph Farley, Michael Maher, and James Dye.

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Genevieve Payne-

Circle of Illumination

I do not want to make a memorial of it
—no passive stone—nothing that my reflection
can fade into and then out of.

Nothing. Nothing to make us cry out
like the Canadian geese who are burned
into the skyline as they fly far
above and away from home.

I hope that is okay with you.

It was early September, the first week
or two of the school year. They announced you
over the intercom. How you had been found
not alive. That is a direct quote.
I wonder how you felt at that moment,
if you heard it. We heard it like a drum.
We heard it like thunder. We
heard it like worms on our skin.

I wonder if you can still hear. There are people
who seem to think you can, although why
I do not know. Even before the pine trees
and the train tracks—I wonder
if you ever heard anything at all.

Heartless like a plague, we felt. We would
have taken it all back; snatched it up
like coins from a counter top, the words
and all that. But it would just been more unjust
taking. I think we realized that. Instead we gave;
gave you a speech, gave you a silence,
gave you a place in a field of stones. I wonder how that feels.

You were unhappy, apparently. Or apparently unhappy.

But what is it about happiness anyway?
Happiness isn’t a memorial of you. Not a gray
stone. Not grave words, or images of
doves, or inked skin. But maybe it is.

And happiness was not you. But maybe
it was. I do not expect for happiness
to always look the same.

We have come a long way from you.
Maybe we are like the Canadian geese after all,
reading the seasons, the sun, and the
circle of illumination; knowing when to go on.

But there was a rhythm to your decision,
reflected in the rhythm of this stupid earth on
its stupid axis; after all, September is a time of declination.

And two years later, it’s that time in the rhythm
again. Nothing remains fixed like it was, and nothing
is changed. And nothing is real until there is a stone.

I hope this is okay with you. I have not visited your stone.

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Genevieve Payne’s work has appeared in Enclave and Verbal Seduction.

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Caren Lee Brenman-

Socks

I stand at the dining room table taking one sock,
to tuck inside the other, quickly stretching
the cotton over, forming a knot
like a rag doll with dangly tails for legs.
Keeping busy folding our laundry,
playing house as our sister sleeps in the other room.
The last time we all lived together,
the three of us watching Laugh-in
or standing around the pink curved counter,
you mixing Nestle’s Quick
to go with our bagels and cream cheese,
had us moving through our young days
a unit of three lined up in size order,
for photos in front of the 16th street house,
a tree in Connecticut and at your Bar Mitzvah,
dark hair shining and our crooked teeth smiles.
Horrified at my sock technique
you take over,
folding the socks length wise
then rolled, so that each pair sits
like a baked good waiting to be eaten.
It is the wrong reason for a reunion.

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Changming Yuan-

Curse in Verse: An Ischemic Tradition*

As if this had been a family curse
You have all the symptoms of ischemia:
Palpitations, short breaths, irregular heartbeats
Although no test results show you
Having a physiological cause of the problem

While your family doctor keeps wondering
Why you do not have enough blood
Flowing around behind your Chinese chest
You know your heart muscle as a sponge
From which you have squeezed out
Too many of your blood-rooted words
Like your father, like your son*

* While my dying father Yuan Hongqi has never been able to have his creative writing published, my 16-year-old younger son Allen Qing Yuan, who suffers greatly from bulged disks, has already had his poems published in four countries.

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Changming Yuan, author of Chansons of a Chinaman (2009) and co-author of Three Poets (2011), is a three-time Pushcart nominee who currently teaches in Vancouver and has poetry appearing in Barrow Street, Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, Drunken Boat, Exquisite Corpse, London Magazine, Mad Hatters’ Review, RHINO and nearly 380 other journals / anthologies in 16 countries.

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Tracy Franklin-

Somatoforms

I want to throttle the fakers.
I know that’s wrong, know they are ill
in a different kind of way,
know others must have done all kinds of damage,
but I just can’t care enough to have compassion
yet.

I see their hand wringing, hear their whining,
read their many, many forum posts
that are always, always some nothing
that is something along the lines of “Am I going to die?”
and it takes all my self control to ignore them
and hurt them most
instead of making them cry and making myself feel better.

Because there are people who actually do hurt,
people who are terrified,
people who can’t move,
people who are going to die,
some of them soon,
and these attention seekers who can’t handle
the occasional crick in the neck,
having to get up early,
life (and I get it, I do; I am not altogether without sympathy),
are saying that we don’t matter.

They’re using up our resources,
spitting out our doctors
and leaving them dry and empty
of things like trust.

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Tracy R. Franklin is a poet, essayist, and editor. Her work has been published in a variety of journals, including A Little Poetry, SubtleTea, and Pen Himalaya. Her first full-length collection, Angst, Anger, Love, Hope, was published by JMS Books LLC in November 2010.

After many years of increasingly debilitating symptoms, Franklin was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder known as potassium-aggravated myotonia in early 2010. She frequently writes about the diagnostic and social difficulties faced by those with invisible illnesses.

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Allen Qing Yuan-

Fading, Fading to Black

My shadow engulfing heart
It’s grip, tight
It screams glaringly in snowy silences
Like a distant storm on fall’s fingertips
It aches, but i can’t stop
Even if i fade to black
Under this
Everlasting sky
Fading, Fading to Black

My shadow engulfing heart
It’s grip, tight
It screams glaringly in snowy silences
Like a distant storm on fall’s fingertips
It aches, but i can’t stop
Even if i fade to black
Under this
Everlasting sky
Even at the backyard of the world’s night

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Allen Qing Yuan, born in Canada and aged 16, currently attends Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School in Vancouver and has had poems published or forthcoming in Cannon’s Mouth, Istanbul Literary Review, Madswirl, Zouch and elsewhere.

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George Stratigakis-

Pause and Prayer by the River at Sparti

The wafting Libyan breeze
lifts the eucalyptus leaves
till tiny seeds rattle, then shiver
waking the giant from an epoch’s peace.

The moon is a sun dimmed by night;
shadows flit and crickets savor life;
worn pebbles dry-grate and scrape
while numbed tendons tingle and ache.

The shadows of an elm fall full
furtively fondling a remnant pool;
in the dark in its roots flickers an eel
darting, plucking a random meal;
long ago wondrous men shaped their bliss
in currents stronger deeper than this…

The eucalyptus stands tall.
Flow! Live!’ voices sometimes call:
May the leaves’ soothing silver flutter
give wing, solace, and ardor
and the crickets’ nightly song
woo pilgrims to this site ever long.

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Twenty-Eight Million and Counting

Start writing they say
you never know where you’ll end up or
what you’ll find along the way.

(Some add, “You’ll get past the block.”)

But it’s not a block really, is it?
It’s about picking and choosing
or–better yet–
about selection, and commitment, and
value and discovery
of what is true.

It’s about—

Is the matter worthy of minutes and hours and
signals scurrying through synapses and
the charring of brain cells and
time lost forever once used.

Or do we deck ourselves in our finest
to bring our most precious to an altar
snared by the heights and trappings of a priest
who is a shell with a nothing abyss beneath?

Twenty seven million, 941 thousand, 760 minutes gone
and counting…
less than that remain.

It’s about the regret of after,
about the traumatic stress that’ll come,
when I realize how trivial the noun was
that I gave my precious minutes to, or worse,
how base.

It’s a struggle–a war, really, of life and death–
that so few take on
to keep from the depths that people often fall,
to seize and cling to and exult on
the slightest spark of progress made
during our time here on the planet.

It’s about lifting the human spirit,
and whatever I do,
–whatever we humans do–
should come back to that,
shouldn’t it?

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George Stratigakis was born in Sparti, Greece. He has taught at the Center for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Studies in Athens, and Northeastern University in Boston. He has translated Ernest Hemingway’s Short Stories and A Moveable Feast into Greek, and translated Greek lyricists into English. His poetry has been published in The Innisfree Poetry Journal.

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Chester Fid-

Why the west is dangerous

Coked up construction worker hiding in a condo
Los Gatos howls for your soul
On angel dust he pulled up emergency break
The devil slithers on the highway

Vengeance for a lost soul
My old land lady tugs my leg in drunkenness flirt
On Sunday, she’s saving my soul in a rock and roll auditorium
abandoned actor plays Jesus
Kidnapped in East San Jose, my tough Mexican fuck nut – struts –
wants to kick me in the face

Go for it

There are many who want to fuck me
For the glory shines from my anus in California
We wake in mist and clouds
prisoners on a mountain

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Zack Nelson Lopiccolo-

paper airplanes

i stood in the shade, making paper airplanes
because if i stood there long enough
maybe then i could be paper-pale
like the few friends i had.
the only connection i could make
was my brilliantly colored eyes,

but like a matchstick those compliments
were drowned by the two slugs
that draped their heavy slime over
the bushy brows of Neolithic human resting
dormant. because even in my palest moments
the skin was still coffee stained.

i sat in my dark meat and olive brows
wondering if i should go home
bathe in bleach, mix the white
powder from mom’s closet
and the drywall dust from dad’s shoes
and pat it on my bleeding skin
so that i could be the prime-cut
of turkey, pale plump and juicy.

i learned that dark meat
was dryer than LA basin, tougher
than jackrabbit, and that the jet-engine
air made me a stealth-bomber
floating high above the pale
frailty of the paper planes.
they were in my shadow,
and i could sneak on them.

they’d never know how
i built my wings how each
fabricated limb was made
from drywall and shim,
L-metal, and paint, pigeon feathers,
and instant noodles.

my MSG flavor was too rich for
their upscale, uptown taste.
seeing them up there in raised
trucks, and fancy cars taught me
that one day these frail pigeon wings
would rise above the doves, rise
over their ghostly presence, and rise
in a cherry-fever on two redwood legs,
finally understanding that paper
comes from trees.

*Originally published in Indigo Rising Magazine

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meteor showers

the stars cover the sky like a million plastic cut outs,
as we stand for hours lighting with flashlights so they
shine on us like helicopter spotlights. the shower
of flaming marshmallows crashes with our pupils
and i can feel the rush of energy tremor over me
with our hands colliding like meteorites into
the pillowyness of the comforter we’re laying on.

i want to graze your lips with mine like chap-stick.
slow and with the right amount of pressure, so i don’t
over do it and have all that extra snail sludge sliding
down our faces like second grade slobber.

now. this is the moment while your gazed off into the cities
of the universe, my fumbled nose trips over yours.
i love that champagne giggle. so i’ll keep on the highway
to your lips. it’s like the downy bear and a silk worm designed
you for a new form of soft, and sultry, and sexy, and shit
if i know what else, but i do know i want to attach
my lips to yours like a starfish to a rock.

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Zack Nelson Lopiccolo is soon to be a graduate of Creative Writing and Literature from California State University of Long Beach. He was born and raised in the LBC, but loves to travel points elsewhere. After a year of adventures he plans on applying to Creative Writing MFA programs to continue in an unpredictable path through life, and strengthen his writing. He also loves canned green beans.

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Clinton Van Inman-

DRESSED RIGHT

They said that you were dressed right
In your blues, your red and white,
The fresh cut flowers were neatly laid,
The flag was folded as the band had played.
We stood and watched with Sunday’s best
In places not for playing you would rest,
Momma fell sick, said it was the heat
When they lowered you under our feet.

They said that you were dressed right
With your blues, your red and white,
But none of those names engraved in stone
Or those flags waving for some proud cause
That gives the grownups much applause,
Or even your medals matter—because you are gone.

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WITH GRACEFUL SWEEP

The river curves with graceful sweep.
Along its banks the willows weep.
Their slender boughs are bending low
To kiss the sun’s reflection far below
And yield their mystery to the stream
That carries away its boundless dream.
Perhaps the pulse or lasting splendor
Will express some secret or oft desire
Beyond all rule and mindless measure
My words too will press even higher.
Without poetry our world will perish
Leaving not a plank or rack behind
To show one royal act to cherish
Some idea that history is not blind.

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Clinton Inman is a high school teacher in Hillsborough County, Florida. He is 65 and a graduate of San Diego State University. He was born in Walton on Thames, England. Recent publications include The Warwick Journal, Poetry Magazine, One of Four, Down in the Dirt, May, June, July, The Inquistion, The Journal, the New Writing, The Hudson Review, Essence, Forge, Houston Literary Review, Greensilk Journal, BlackCatPoems, Munyari.com, and the forthcoming issue of Grasslimb in August. Hopefully, these will be published in a future book called, “Caliban.”

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Brandon Roy-

Analysis of an Old Church

The stain glass church is closed.
No trace of God, no trace of the
divine. An empty building, no people,
no lies, no false promises. Only brick
and glass.

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Mabuk Kepayang (Lost Lost)

The drunk old lady next door
collects bottles in shadow
boxes. She has no need for
love, friends or family.
She has the drink.

She accepts the language of
theatrics. She numbs herself,
uninterested and will not
go to bed. She lectures the
air and works on trust.

Sometimes she plays poker,
she reads magazines and
mixes experimental concoctions.
Ignoring the warning labels,

She doesn’t try to fool others.
She is a paradox crapped in
messy hair. She used to be so
pretty. She ignores the facts.

She goes outside and sits.
Smokes her cigarette, drinks
her liquor and speaks her
truth. No one goes near her.

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Pagkawala (Loss)

-for Donna Mae Buenaventura

Birth, not death, is the hard loss. – Louise Gluck

Come close-

Let saints whisper prayers for those that are gone.
We find comfortable in the silencing the heart

A baby bird has gone to her nest
Deep inside she will live on

Let only truth be spoken, with any further
A song of innocence and youth

Do not cry for her
She smiles for you

Now, she rides high in the heavens
After her loss, there is no other

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Brandon S. Roy is the editor of the Panulaan Review. He has been published extensively over the years.He doesn’t really like talking about himself.

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Wesley Bishop-

Anything, Anytime, Anywhere

God can be
Anything
Anytime
Anywhere

And that is the problem.

She can be a loving mother,
Aiding her children, a comforter
To the afflicted.

He can be a wise father,
Guiding his followers, a voice
Of sanity to the lost.

He can be jealous, she can be envious,
A curser and tyrant of a thousand ills.

It can be the rallier of politicians and mobs.
A gravitational force of oppression.

God can be
Anything
Anytime
Anywhere

And that is the problem.

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Wes Bishop’s poems and short stories have appeared in Write Me a Metaphor, The Cynic OnLine Magazine, Atheist Connect, and Muse Cafe Quarterly. He currently lives in Dayton, Ohio with his wife Allison where he is an ESOL instructor for Project Read AmeriCorps.

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Pamela Gemme-

On Becoming My Mother

I saw my day dream,
my mother’s face in standing water.
Far- flung mother-hood, the gashed
walls of her theatre.
I forgive the verbed
inhibitions of my doubted
blood. Blame is a freak
occurrence for mothers.
I can repeat her, perchance,
I am akin now. Free. Softly,
I sound- out my married name.

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Pamela Gemme has had several on line and print publications. She lives in Leicester, Massachusetts sometimes wishing it were Leicester England. She is employed at what some would consider a real job managing your tax dollars. For Pamela, writing is being without end.

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Sarah Stinnett-

Berklee

Number of students: 4,131
Percent that is male: 71

I am like the Green-Cheeked Parrot
smuggled into our American cages from Mexico,
endangered species # 9
I am a rare female specimen
in the cages of Berklee,

Berklee College of Dudes.

“Yo Dude!”
I aint no dude, home fry.
Kilts flew out of style with Green-Cheeky
before we clipped their wings.
You all sneaky,
thinkin’ I wouldn’t notice you
noticing me
wearing a skirt.

President Roger Brown says,
“I will present a report on the state of the college.”

Rogie,
it’s dire. It’s desperate,
I’m separate
from the other chicks in the coop.
Hear it from my mouth
I’m flying south.

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Sarah Anne Stinnett was born into a family of artists. Poet, visual artist, thespian, and musician, she has plunged head-first into a multitude of disciplines of expression. As a senior at Berklee College of Music, Sarah has had her work published by FUSION Magazine. Simultaneously, she has been actively involved with the community of poets at Emerson College. In the spring of 2011 she received the honor of representing Berklee’s student body by reading original works at the college’s convocation ceremony.

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Joseph Farley-

Medium

I have seen the dead
and they have spoken to me
in photographs and films
and words written
long ago.

Their lives were like
and unlike mine
but we all shared sorrow
and joy
though the mixture
was never the same.

I hear their prayers.
I listen to their dreams
and consider where
they have gone
now that their ashes
have long joined
soil and wind.

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Joseph Farley edited Axe Factory for 24 years. His books include Suckers, For the Birds, and Longing for the Mother Tongue (March Street Press).

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Mike Maher-

Raphus cucullatus or Everything Turns Away

Coyotes and wolves are nearly identical
except the coyotes have developed the ability to adapt,
to learn to eat garbage
and sleep under your shed.
Tom says pigeon parents push
their young off bridges just to see if they are ready to fly.
And if they aren’t?
It is no surprise they are related to the Dodo,
millions of miniature Prince Prosperos leading their people to doom,
tiny Icaruses splashing into seas of New York City taxicabs,
though it is doubtful Breughel would take the time
to illustrate their unnoticed fall
nor Auden or Williams to sit down and illustrate the illustration.
This is hardly a dreadful martyrdom,
but is it an example of evolution, modification,
a malevolent twist of Darwinism,
of how most adaptations are less than beautiful,
far from practical?
The man with a coyote under his shed will most likely say
“What is that damn coyote doing under my shed?”
and not
“What have we done to the world that coyotes are relegated
to sleeping under our sheds?”
And that is why,
when Tom tells me about the pigeons,
a girl in the room,
quite possibly with a coyote of her own in her backyard
and obviously unaware of the significance of these tiny birds,
merely says,
“What did they do before there were bridges?”

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Mike Maher is the founder and editor of Sea Giraffe, an online literary ‘zine. He currently reads, writes, edits, and walks his dog in Pennsylvania’s Pocono mountains. His poetry, fiction, and personal essays can be seen in publications like The Smoking Poet, The Ofi Press Magazine, Calliope, and Dr. Hurley’s Snake-Oil Cure. While earning his BA in English from East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, he served as the Vice President and Forum Editor of The Stroud Courier, winning the Jim Barniak Award for journalism twice during his time there. He also won the Martha E. Martin Award for poetry while at ESU.

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James Dye-

Specters

At the eleventh hour,
the devil sings the blues until midnight,
the raven’s chance to hunt for souls.
A door opens to cerulean ruins.
Lucifer plants his lips on a cigar, sucks in,
and walks through a smoke ring.

The open door is a vision
of noiseless darkness billowing.
The music of spheres is in shambles.
I wish an end to the darkness.

The only light is glowing angels
watching me through a window in the sky
that only I can see
on the other side of a marble path.

Beyond the pale, the devil blows dark smoke
and ruthless wizards rehearse plays.

Muted actors glide by
with painted scowls on their face.

The ground is dust, bones and DEAD bodies.
The devil plays a tune on an acoustic
as clear as a bell, mellifluous and romantic,
and in his expression I almost see daylight.
a chimerical heaven lulls me into shadows.

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Masthead

Editor, Lisa Zaran

ISSN: 1095-732x

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2007

January - Roger Humes
February - Jimmy Santiago Baca
March - Graham Burchell
April - Ruth Daigon
May - Anne Fraser
June - Corey Mesler
July - Scott Malby
August - James Keane
September - Maurice Oliver
October - Robert Pinsky
November - Louis Daniel Brodsky
December - Bill Duvall

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2008

January - Kelley White
February - L. Ward Abel
March - Maura Stanton
April - Dr. Charles Frederickson
May - Peter Magliocco
June - Penny Harter
July - Gary Beck
August - Jéanpaul Ferro
September - Fish and Shushan
October - Kenneth Gurney
November - John Gallaher
December - Carmen Alexandra

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2009

January - Karen Rigby
February - A.D. Winans
March - Donald Illich
April - Stephen Ferreira
May - Tracee Coleman
June - Ernest Williamson
July - Sally Van Doren
August - Nanette Rayman Rivera
September - Gianina Opris
October - Judson Mitcham
November - Joel Solonche
December - Peycho Kanev

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2010

January - Louis Gallo
February - Buxton Wells
March - Labi Siffre
April - Regina Green
May - Howard Good
June - Carol Lynn Grellas
July - William Doreski
August - Sari Krosinsky
September - Ben Nardolilli
October - James Piatt
November - Robert Lietz
December - John Grey

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2011

January - Robert Philbin
February - iolanda scripca
March - Tad Richards
April - Katie Kopin
May - Jacob Newberry
June - George Moore
July - Rae Spencer
August - Jim Richards
September - Antonia Clark
October - Tannen Dell
November - Christina Matthews
December - Charles Clifford Brooks III

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2012

January - Anniversary Issue
February - Jim Davis
March - Ivy Page
April - Maurice Oliver
May - Lori Desrosiers
June - Ray Sharp
July - Nathan Prince
August - Robert Klein Engler
September - Jenn Monroe
October - John Grey
November - Andrea Potos
December - Christina M. Rau

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2013

January - Maria Luisa Arroyo
February - Journal on haitus

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2014

April - Rebirth
May - Timothy Walsh
June - Brian Fanelli
July - Carol Smallwood
August - Elizabeth P. Glixman
September - Sally Van Doren
October - Sherry O'Keefe
November - Robert McDonald
December - Gerry McFarland

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2015

January - James Keane
February - Liza Hyatt
March - Joseph Reich
April - Charles Thielman
May - Norbert Krapf
June - Lynne Knight
July - Sarah Brown Weitzman
August - Tom Montag
September - Susan Palmer
October - Holly Day
November - A.J. Huffman
December - Tom Pescatore

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2016

January - Richard Perin
February - Linne Ebbrecht
March - Sheri Vandermolen
April - Molly Cappiello
May - Caleb Coy
June - Paul Lubenkov
July - Domenic Scopa
August - Adam Phillips
September - Timothy Gager
October - Bruce Lader
November - Holly Day
December - Al Rocheleau

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2017

January - Robert Lietz
February - Jocelyn Heaney
March - David Brinkman
April - Lana Bella
May - Kaitlyn O'Malley
June - Ruth Kessler
July - Chanel Brenner
August - Darren Demaree
September - George Moore
October - Joshua Medsker
November - Ralph Monday
December - Howie Good

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2018

January – Simon Perchik
February – Julia Travers

Artwork

Image of bird by contemporary artist, Courtney Smith
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