Monday, 5 August 2013

POETRY PACIFIC (2.2): Cover Page



Summer Flow: High Falls - Photo Credit: Russell Streur

Poetry Pacific: Editor's Notes

Since we released our first quarterly (spring) issue, we have had a much wider readership! According to our traffic records, we have thus far had pageviews by browsers from more than 100 countries, with the United States, Canada, Germany, Russia, China (excluding Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau), the United Kingdom, France, India, Philippines and New Zealand as our top 10 sources of audience.

Starting from the current issue, we will introduce a prose section "Interview with Poetry Editors," in which we are committed to featuring a number of poetry editors by asking them to respond to what we consider to be "9 Fundamental Questions" about poetry writing/editing/publishing. By replacing our topics for PP's Chatroom with these questions in each upcoming issue, we hope to encourage more interest in, and thinking about, poetry as a worthy human cause. In the mean time, everyone is welcome to answer these questions (as can readily be found in our interview pages), or even raise more or other questions and send his/her response to us at If we find it informative, intriguing or inspiring, we will post it as soon as we can.

As we are to upgrade Poetry Pacific into a publishing house, we plan to begin publishing poetry chapbooks or collections later this year when we are technically more prepared. Please stay tuned for more details/guidelines as well as for our open calls for manuscript submissions. In fact, as an experiment, we have just released our very first poetry collection in hard-copy in a couple of weeks; it is titled TRAFFIC LIGHT by Allen Qing Yuan.

To receive more readerly attention, we will do more social networking via Facebook, and LinkedIn. By so doing, we will try harder to promote our poets, their works and other poetry-related activities. For instance, we will post our interviews with poetry editors on our facebook, and post an editor's pick for discussion from time to time. Please join us, like/follow us on

Last but not least, please note the changes in our submission guidelines on the right column of our main page. For instance, we request all submitters not to send their work in .docx any more, as it does not work well with our blog-based formatting process. Also, any submitter who does not get a acceptance e.message from us within 30 days after sending his/her work over to us please feel free to submit it anywhere else, since we never give any one a 'rejection notice'.

Happy reading and have a great summertime!

Mon., 5 August 2013

Interview with Editor Susan Terris


Susan Terris, Editor of Spillway Magazine, and Poetry Editor: Pedestal Magazine, In Posse Review

Susan Terris' book GHOST OF YESTERDAY, New & Selected Poems was published in 2013 by Marsh Hawk Press. Ms. Terris is the author of six full-length books of poetry, fourteen chapbooks, and three artists’ books. Journal publications include: The Southern Review, FIELD, and Ploughshares. She  had a poem from FIELD in PUSHCART PRIZE XXXI. She’s editor of Spillway Magazine and a poetry editor for Pedestal Magazine and In Posse ReviewMs. Terris has a prior career in the field of children’s books where she had 21 books (mostly young adult fiction) published by Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, Macmillan, Scholastic, and Doubleday. In addition to writing & journal editing, she does freelance editing of book-length poetry manuscripts and teaches workshops on “The Making of a Chapbook”.  With CB Follett, she hosts a series of weekend workshops taught by poet David St. John.


PP: Given the ways contemporary authors have been trying to compose all kinds of poetry, how would you define ‘poetry’?

ST: Poetry is not prose. The best poetry is not “about” something but a made piece of art with multiple layers of meaning. Its language needs to be musical yet muscled. It requires compression. Stanza breaks and line breaks must be strong enough to add power and movement to a poem. Poetry—rhymed, free verse, whatever—is not only words on a page but a creative endeavor meant to make you feel something. It needs memorable images, ones that don’t rely on overused adjectives or adverbs—but propels the reader ahead with well-chosen verbs and interesting nouns. As a poet and as an editor, I like many different styles of work; but, to me, the best poetry surprises and includes the reader in the surprise.

PP: Many people say poetry is dying. Do you agree or disagree with this statement, and why?

ST: If poetry was dying, why would there be so many students battling to get into poetry classes at colleges, MFA programs, PhD programs in poetry? If poetry is dying, why does everyone turn to it for weddings, funerals, inaugurations, and all significant occasions? Why does Garrison Keillor offer poems to his radio audience? Surely, he doesn’t think it’s dying. Poetry will never die, because it reaches into the depth of the self and produces reactions that surprise and delight the reader or listener.

When I was writing in the field of children’s books, a stranger at a party, upon hearing I wrote for children, would address me in words of one syllable. Now if I tell a stranger I am a poet, usually he or she looks for an excuse to walk away. Why? People have an inherent fear of being ignorant about poetry. BUT just read poems aloud to any of these strangers and see the reaction, the enthusiasm, the aha! moments.
Not enough people read poetry; but as poets we must try to educate them to listen to more of it. Poetry—an ancient art form—is, after all, meant to be read aloud. We can keep it from dying, not only by educating students and reading it aloud but also by trying to bring more of it into the everyday lives of children and well as adults.

PP: What defining features do you think ‘best’ poetry should possess? In other words, what is your personal or working definition of ‘best’ poetry?

ST: I’m repeating myself but:
Musicality of line, interesting line & stanza breaks
Good imagery, but not imagery conveyed by too many adjectives or adverbs
Poems where I learn something new
Poems where each line makes me what to know what the next line is going to hold

PP: What are the most important makings of a ‘great’ poet? – please name 3 greatest poets the world has produced thus far.

ST: In English: William Shakespeare, John Milton, W. B. Yeats
In other languages: Dante, Wislawa Szymborska, Pablo Neruda

PP: Who are the 4 most important or noteworthy contemporary poets according to your personal/working criteria.

ST: Theodore Roethke, W.S. Merwin, Adrienne Rich, Muriel Ruykeyser

PP: Considering the contemporary poetry writing/publishing reality, what are the most important changes that you think should be made to promote poetry as a worthy cause?

More poetry read aloud in homes.  More poetry read aloud in schools, starting at kindergarten and first grade. More community & public readings of poetry.  More book reviews of volumes of poetry. Any & all efforts to remove the idea that poetry is so esoteric that it’s meant only for the highly-educated elite.

PP: Which 3 poetry editors or magazines would you like to recommend to all poetry lovers? Or, which 3 are your most favorite poetry editors/journals?

ST: Kenyon Review, FIELD, American Poetry Review

PP: What are the most important or interesting things that you have you learned about poetry writing/publishing as a poetry editor?

ST: Almost all the poems I receive for Spillway, where I am the editor, or for Pedestal and In Posse Review, online journals where I am poetry editor, are good, in one way or another. The ones I reject feel, in general, like lineated prose or they lack the all-important element of surprise. Or, especially in a longer poem, they have stanzas or passages that are weaker than the rest of the piece. To publish a poem, I have to fall in love with it. With all of it. For me, it’s always about the poems – not about who the poet is or how many publishing credits that poet has. In fact, I never read the cover letters until after I have read the poems.

PP: What is the most or least enjoyable part of being a poetry editor?

Rejecting poems – especially by poets I’ve published before and by poets who are just beginning to publish.
Proofreading Spillway before it goes to the printer.

Finding those original poems, in any poetic voice or style, which I admire, love, and wish I’d written!
The actual act & art of editing. I am a hands-on editor, one who often makes suggestions I feel will improve a poem. These usually involve pacing, substituting for over-used adjectives, making the ending of a poem stronger, etcetera.

Putting a magazine together, not alphabetically by author’s last name, but like a small anthology where one poem fits (I hope) almost seamlessly between the poem before it and after it.

Helping promote the work of many poets whose work I value.

3 Poems by Diablo

The Doomsday 

These years
You peddle yourself to the world
Like a politician
More like an old hand in love affairs

These years
You and the world flatter one another
Like a pair of actors
More like a pair of gays

Oh, these years
You sleep together with the world
But you have known nothing about the world
Oh, these years
The Aeolian bells in heaven are like a drunkard
Limping along the tunnel of time

A Lyric a bout “Ah”

Ah, dear cat
Please come and eat a famous poem
Ah, dear dog
Please come and eat a bunch of sweet flowers
Ah, dear tiger
Please come and eat a white cloud
Ah, dear shark
Please come and eat a beam of sunlight
Ah, dear dinosaur
Please come and eat a bit of air
Ah, dear motherland
Please come and eat a bite of liberty

Ah, the ubiquitous “Ah”
Ah, the all-pervasive “Ah”

In Memory of a Butchered Chicken

Yesterday afternoon
I went out to buy a chicken
In the farmer’s market
It is moist all around the ground
In the air
The smell of rotten vegetables filled …
The chickens were put into
A big wire cage by a chicken trafficker
Beside it was a hair removal machine
Their feather on the ground around it
When I approached to the cage
They crowded around in horror
I pointed one of them I wanted to buy
Ask him to weigh it
When he reached
His hands stuck with a few pieces of feather
Into the wire cage
Faced with the extinction the chicken
Was actually motionless
It confirms
A familiar Chinese idiom
—Dumb as a wooden chicken
After weighed
He held
A gleaming knife
Aligning it’s neck
To force a touch
A surge of blood
Was instantly gushing...
The chicken
Was thrown into the machine
And then
He fetched a scoop of
Scalding water pouring down—
It screamed again and again
That also sparked those chickens in the cage
A scene of screaming …
Weakened finally
Until it disappeared in the chilly wind—
He had
Already opened
His machine to stir…
After a moment
A naked chicken
Right under my nose
Was chopped into pieces
At the same time
The chickens in the cage
Had also calmed down
Began pecking at the feed
Feeding by their master
Some began to smooth their feather
Some crowed
Some were fighting for food
What a peaceful and happy scene it was
As if their fellows’ fate
Did not link together with them at all
Just now what had happened
Also seemed to be a nightmare
All was calm again…

(Translated by Sophy Chen)


Diablo is a distinguished poet and critic in contemporary China. His original name is Zhang Zhi, his English name is Arthur Zhang; His other pen name is Wu Yuelou (Moonless Tower); He is a Litt D., Honor Humanities D., was born in Fenghuang Town, Baxian County, Sichuan Province in 1965; his ancestral home is in Nan’an District, Chongqing City. He has worked a variety of career. He is now president of the International Poetry Translation and Research Centre, executive editor-in-chief of The World Poets Quarterly (multilingual), editor-in-chief of WORLD POETRY YEARBOOK (English Version), and foreign academician of Greek International Literature & Arts and Science Academy. Since 1986, he began to publish his works of literature and translation. His poems and prosework have been translated into over twenty kinds of foreign languages such as English, French, German, Japanese, Russian, Greek, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Romanian, Danish, Hungarian, Bengali, Italian, Swedish, Korean, Slavic-Mongolian, Serbian, Rabbinic, Arabic, Slovak, and Bulgarian, etc. His poetry works has won prizes in Greece, Brazil, USA, Israel, France, India, Italy, Austria and Lebanon. His major publications include: RECEITA (Portuguese-English-Chinese); Selected Poems of Diablo (English); Poetry by Zhang Zhi (German-English-Portuguese); Selected Poems of Diablo (Chinese-English) and The Serial Comments on the Vanguard Poets in Contemporary China. He is the compiler of four poetry selections such as Selected Poems of the International Contemporary Poets (English-Chinese); Selection of 20th Century New Chinese Poetry (Chinese-English) , The Book Series of World Poets (Bilingual) , A Dictionary of Contemporary International Poets (Multilingual), and Chinese-English Reader: 300 New Chinese Poems (1917—2011), etc.

1 Poem by David Alpaugh

WEIGHTY MATTERS                                                                                                                               
“The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind.”
  —Emily Dickinson

That two ton elephant in the room
whom none of us has ever seen
does more than dent my linoleum
or pee on your Persian rug.

He wiggles Disney ears;
bats four-inch eyelashes
à la Horton Hears a Who!
and every Sunday morning

lifts his trunk to so tell it like it is!–
that were he in, say, Botswana or
Zimbabwe he'd have the attention
of every beast in the jungle.

(I'd be remiss did I not mention
the fifty-cubit farts that women
who come and go in the room
insist they cannot smell.)

Ages ago, tired of being ignored,
he begged the Goddess of Clarity
to give his life tangible meaning
by upgrading human vision.

Patting his burly shoulder, she declined;
explaining that were he to materialize
(even as through a glass, darkly)
we'd saw off his tusks; chop off

his balls; and sell him to the circus.
Wiser now, knowing how rarely the
painfully obvious lumbers through
the windows of shatterproof souls,

he aspires to be noticed only by
the 800 pound gorilla in the room.


David Alpaugh holds degrees in English from Rutgers University and the University of California, Berkeley where he was a Woodrow Wilson and a Ford Foundation fellow. His poetry, fiction, drama, satire, and criticism have appeared in more than 100 literary journals, including Evergreen Review, Poetry, Rattle, and Zyzzyva, and in the Heyday Press anthology California Poetry from the Gold Rush to the Present. He has been a featured reader more than 100 times at book stores, cafés, colleges, civic centers and other venues in the San Francisco Bay Area and has been a finalist for Poet Laureate of California.

3 Poems by Gillian Sze

First Hymn
'Cædmon, sing me hwæthwugu.'

Now we must rave the somatic reaping:
the stomach of summer and another sun’s labour,
the winding of wheels, the formula to woman.
Even Fall’s failings have more to foster:
the remaining milk to make cheese in winter,
the glut of grapes for another time’s garnet wine,
leftover love – smoked, cured, preserved, pickled – look to it later.
What our tongues tested, made afterwards
firm ground for something that worked, we’ll forget just how well.

[from The Anatomy of Clay (ECW Press, 2011)]

Sunday the Thirteenth

Today I wear your mother’s shirt.
I wish there were more to say,
but the day is ungenerous
and I don’t know how to move
from your side of the bed.
All afternoon the shadows
reassured me that the sun
has seen all angles of my face
as it left for tomorrow.
Now I wear dusk around my knees.

[from The Anatomy of Clay (ECW Press, 2011)]


Behind the buildings,
the sky is like verdigris above the horizon.
The last year rusted through, I wake early.
Raise my green tea to the moon.
It looks down with a half-closed eye.

Lately, I’ve been more aware
of the moon’s phases.
We are somewhere between a new moon
and the first quarter,
and I find myself at intersections
seeking a sliver of shaded relief
behind the blinds.

I am all middle-ground,
flanked by the urgency of language,
the tremor
and the salacity that swings above it.

A full moon will sprout in two weeks.
They say its effects usually last for four days.
People on the street will shift just as I pass,
this dementia will be a lighter bearing.

[from Fish Bones (DC Books, 2009)]


Gillian Sze’s second book is The Anatomy of Clay (ECW Press, 2011). Her debut poetry collection, Fish Bones (DC Books, 2009), was shortlisted for the 2009 QWF McAuslan First Book Prize. She co-edits Branch Magazine and teaches creative writing to youths. Gillian is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at Université de Montréal. links:;

1 Poem by Mardelle Fortier


For wings that glisten, mystery
to others' stumbling feet.
We wait and watch, so clumsily.

Oh, wings that open worlds, wings light,
that spread in waking joy,
that fly across the ice in liquid flight.

One with the music, lost in timeless grace,
the skater spins our dreams
of wings; glides weightless, bodiless.

We forget her strength, her skates are steel--
as on these deathless, breath-light wings
our souls fly freed; this dream made real.


Mardelle Fortier is published in WHITE FIRE, a book from Finishing Line Press.

3 Poems by William E. Berry, Jr.


It weaves
Intricate twists and turns
Delicate fragrances of frankincense and nutmeg
shaping the displeasures of youth
morphing towards the righteous beatitudes of older life
knowing because wisdom is lived and nurtured
not encumbered by boundaries or threats or truth and dares
wrapping my spirit into nothingness.
letting it breathe
just because.

©2012 William E. Berry, Jr.


searching the
tranquility in age-old
novels and vinyl recordings
Remembering a past and
believing then was
better than now.

Hey, “silly rabbit”
the wolf is approaching –

No time for memories
too bad,
death will understand your

© 2013 William E. Berry, Jr.

Death’s Anniversary…Notes on Passing and Ascendance

I can never give you back what I robbed from you
Discordant notes and unfilled blues passages that skirt over the jazzman’s fingers
Weeping willows that kiss the ground and stay stationary like fallen soldiers that life has abandoned

I am free falling

Grabbing at stars and moonlight that melt in my atmosphere of regret
Stories that can never be told as the sands of time became rotted earth
There is no time machine…no beam me up apparatus that can still the raging hurt
Being lost as leaves decompose and seasons morph
Forgiveness is the rock that Sisyphus could not overcome

The clock ticks.


William (bill) E. Berry, Jr. is the publisher of the thrice-yearly online journal simply called aaduna. He also serves as the CEO of its parent corporation, aaduna, Inc., a non-profit and tax-exempt 501 (c) (3) organization. With work published in aaduna, bill periodically will read his work upon invitation and a lot of prodding. Unfortunately, he likes to “fly” under the radar. bill spent over thirty years in higher education as a senior level administrator, adjunct professor, conference speaker and consultant. He claims that he is his work. To decipher truth from fiction, check out or

3 Poems by Jim Bennett


sometimes I feel
I would like to be someone else
someone interesting
someone who does things
in an interesting way
has a desire for knowledge
a morbid curiosity
a ghoulishness
beset with prurience,
a voyeur with scopophilia
an inquisitive busybody
a meddler, gossip
a quidnunc

a globetrotting sightseer
peeping Tom, Nosy Parker

sometimes I feel
I would like to be anyone else
doing any other job
after all who wants
to spend thire lives
compiling, putting together
or collating
a thesaurus


Pink Floyd she cried
It was Pink Floyd
No said the quizmaster
It was Alice Cooper
Are you sure she added
Are you really sure
He was    and she lost
But nothing could cure her
Of saying everything twice
As if it made her right
Even when she was wrong

what remains

whenever I leave there is a reminder
of myself left  on surfaces      fingerprints
the skin flakes      fibre traces of life
and blood yes sometimes blood or other
body parts the liquids and solids that
pursue us with their indignity

years ago I wrote about a woman’s hair
found in a plughole long after
she had gone and this is the same
the self referential that is the biggest irony
for long after life leaves there are pieces
left in every place we touched

these are not what you wanted
to be remembered for      this is rubbish
that falls unseen   unknown     unclean    
in the end we are all left smeared
like a grease patch in a library book
waiting for the next borrower


Jim Bennett lives near Liverpool in the UK and is the author of 71 books, including books for children, books of poetry and many technical titles on transport and examinations. His poetry collections include:
Drums at New Brighton (Lifestyle 1999); Down in Liverpool (CD) (Long Neck 2001); The Man Who Tried to Hug Clouds (Bluechrome 2004 reprinted 2006); Larkhill (Searle Publishing 2009); The Cartographer / Heswall (two poetry sequences) (Indigo Dreams 2012); He has won many awards for his writing and performance including 3 DADAFest awards (2002-4), Berlin Festival Prize (2004). He has been nominated for the Pushcart Award on seven occasions and for the Ted Hughes Award twice.  He is also managing editor of one of the world’s most successful internet sites for poets. Jim taught Creative Writing at the University of Liverpool and now tours throughout the year giving readings and performances of his work.   See Jim Bennett’s website at

3 Poems by DJ Tyrer

The Flesh & The Devil

They say the Flesh is weak
But really it is overwhelmingly strong
The Devil was pure flame
Till the day he put on a coat of skin
The Flesh corrupted the Devil
Just as the Flesh corrupts us all
Tempting, taunting
Feeling, flaunting
Otherwise delights the Spirit cannot resist
That the Spirit cannot comprehend
The Devil just invites us along
For the fleshy joy ride
We ought to resist
In favour of our true nature
But choose instant gratification
Over eternal gain.

Two Sisters

Two sisters born to rule
One acts wise, one acts the fool
Attend a ball in matching masks
Neither tells, neither asks
The secret of the pale stranger
Who carries with him scent of danger
No mask he says with a sigh
Prompting a sister's bitter cry


Yet you sing one last sad song
Else you be forever trapped in silence
Look towards the dawn
Lest your eyes grow dim
Or the colour of decadence fades
Without a resolution to this masque

[Author's note: Previous publication credits:  The Flesh & The Devil - The Supplement 65; Two Sisters - The Poetry Explosion Newsletter, October 2012; Fading - Carillon #33]


DJ Tyrer is the person behind Atlantean Publishing. Published in numerous small press magazines in the UK, USA and elsewhere, his latest poetry booklet, Our Story is now available.

3 Poems by Eugene O’Connor

Cape Cod

This late summer afternoon
the surface water shines
platinum          pure metal.
The sky goes pale with it.
Just a burnished sheen
not a ruffle      plain song.

So unlike my grandmother
endlessly rocking
or my mother’s homemade
A-line dresses bunched
and puckered  at the back.

Wrecked Cars

The aroma of degradation lingers everywhere.
They line up like a row of would-be murderers,
angular, forbidding, the light jagged
on their bent features.

February’s nearly over: on wheel-rutted fallows
the snow’s last dirty traces and the bare trees,
the look pure American. Daylight ends
with a stab in both eyes.

On Reading the English translation of selected poems of Du Mu, by David Young and Jiann I. Lin

Once a solid jue ju block
now the air runs through them
lattice shutters
fluttering curtains


Eugene O’Connor’s poetry and translations have appeared in various magazines and anthologies, including Avocet, Classical Bulletin, Roman Poets of the Early Empire (Penguin), and The Columbia Anthology of Gay Literature. His chapbook, Derelict Mansions (Pudding House Press), appeared in 2011. He is managing editor and acquiring editor in classics at The Ohio State University Press in Columbus.

2 Poems by Kelly Ann Jacobson


Mismatched feet, he finds the beat
and heat, wipes sweat from slick skin
while she step-pivot-turn learns
with scrambler speed.

Lansdale Longing 

Rain used to mean a damp porch swing,
the ting-ting-ting of rain on a leaf-cloaked roof.
Wet blades smuggling stems.
Not slick city sidewalks, heel stamps,
the got-to-get-out-of-it rush of leather boots.
Let the few flowers drink their fill.


Kelly Ann Jacobson is currently pursuing her MA in Fiction at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC, and she is the Poetry Editor for Outside In Literary & Travel Magazine. Kelly has had poems published in Wooden Teeth magazine and Outside In Literary & Travel Magazine, a short story published in The Exhibitionist Magazine, and a four part blog on Her work can be found at

1 Poem by Tim Dyson


Something in me or someone
Out there, was calling
Down through the valleys
And glens that were not there

A strange terrain, darkling plain
Beyond dreaming secrets
Or the rumors of the age
Echoing in the soul

As the sprite and nymph
Somersaulted down the green
Edge above the salted sea
A miracle came unto me

Answers to questions
No longer being asked
Whispered through dark whiteness
About further travel within

Along the twisting lanes
And the muddied road of pain
There was a hidden path
Passing the muscle and vein

To a place where feather and leaf
Drifted slowly on a hopeful tide
Into that cove behind the eyes
A green blazing surprise



1 Poem by Anthony Ward

Shinrin yoku
(Forest air bathing)

Cleanse the cobwebs from those spidery thoughts
Cocooning your brain with apprehension.
Forget you ever existed and exist for the moment,
Listen to the wordless dialogue between the trees.

Feel yourself at one with the world, not one from the world.
Watch the innate come alive as you focus more clearly,
The fauna and flora materialize like stars in the muffled skies
Before acclimatised eyes.


Anthony Ward has been writing in his spare time for a number of years. He has been published in a number of literary magazines including The Autumn Sound, The Faircloth Review, Word Gumbo, Four and Twenty, Drunk Monkeys, Underground, Torrid Literature Journal and The Rusty Nail, amongst others.

1 Poem by Joseph Stern

The Spoon

Spoon fed sweet comfort
In our mouths can make us doze
Which feels so nice

Like lying on pillows in a limo
Being driven, in our softest dreams,
Along a gorgeous path

To a bed where a smile and soothing words
Cross any missing meaning
Behind our backs.


Originally from Montreal, Joseph Stern attended high school in Thailand, undergrad in China, post-grad in a British university, and has lived and worked in a dozen countries.  He has been nominated for a Pushcart this year for a poem on supernatural dinner etiquette, and was lucky to be introduced to poetry in Richard Hague's poetry workshop.

2 Poems by Holly Day


Beyond the curve at the edge of the world, there is a monster that knows
who you are, an awful thing with claws and teeth and too many
eyes to miss all the bad things you do. It is watching you now.
It has an eye dedicated entirely to watching you.

There is a book that your parents are writing and it's
all about you, a list of all the terrible things you've done
since you were born, a laundry list of evils. When you are old enough
they will present this book to the monster, and it will decide
if you're worthy of passing on to adulthood. Your parents
may intervene on your behalf, but they probably won't. They know
that the monster only takes bad children, and they
can always have another one, they can try
for a good, well-behaved child next time.

Just a few children, bad children, never get to grow up, disappear into the night
from their bedrooms, dragged out the window and presumably, all the way
to the very edge of the world, where the monster lives. Who knows what the
monster does with all the children it drags back to its lair? That's not really the question
here. That is the wrong question. This, this is what you must take back with
you today: Try to be good. Sit still and don't fidget. Pay attention when
I'm talking.
Don't lie.


She flaps her wings against the cold, wet wind, determined
but doesn't leave the ground. Her white breast glistens
with salt spray drops, glistens in the mid-morning light.

Flight feathers like fingers, become fingers, grasp
as pieces of falling ice fill the glass
as she stands at the bar. She throws her head back

screeches into the air, one loud, piercing cry,
among many, the beach fills with others of her kind. She tries
once more to fly, decides instead to root among the garbage littering the beach

blinks angrily at the curious passersby, shoves half-eaten sandwiches
in her pocket, preens briefly, remembering her dress from the night before
strikes a perfect planned silhouette and wishes for another drink.


Holly Day is a housewife and mother of two living in Minneapolis, Minnesota who teaches needlepoint classes in the Minneapolis school district. Her poetry has recently appeared in The Worcester Review, Broken Pencil, and Slipstream, and she is the recipient of the 2011 Sam Ragan Poetry Prize from Barton College. Her most recent published book is "Notenlesen für Dummies Das Pocketbuch," while her novel, "The Trouble With Clare," is due out from Hydra Publications in 2013.

3 Poems by Mark Nenadov

Ancient Tower

In the days before
he broke the waters
to the other side
back and forth
this wide looker
towering and swaying
prancing like a penguin
smiling in the breeze
which pours forth
from the golden shore.

Northern Cardinal

With seeds on his mind
he becomes a crimson flash.
Sits among the saintly snow,
which buries the weeds
while the pond freezes below.
Every time he migrates into my mind,
I admire his life.
Princely, perched in the tree.
So little strife
because sensible birds live free.
how happy a bird's life could be!

A Rippled Pond

Two years now we've watched
the leaves shout with their falling voice
and now the sheafs are piling up
two ducks are flying and
gliding along life's rippled pond
and it's our day
we're perched like a lighthouse,
marking out what seems like
just a few stone skips ago
when we joined our ways inseparably
we're happy and puzzled
trying to figure out
where the time went.


Mark Nenadov lives in Essex, Ontario, Canada with his lovely wife and their baby daughter. Mark's poems have appeared in publications such as Wilderness House Literary Review, Shot Glass Journal, WestWard Quarterly, Northern Michigan University's The Lightkeeper, Northern Cardinal Review, and Pif Magazine. He also has a poem in the recently published Whisky Sour City analogy about Windsor, Ontario. See for more details.

1 Poem by Barry Spacks


I was painting my altar bench red
when oops, a fly made a sticky landing.

By pencil-tip, emergency rescue.
Buzzy creature, I've set you free.

I'll know you if you come back this way
for now you have red red feet.


Barry Spacks has taught writing and literature for many years at M.I.T. and UCSB. He’s published
individual poems widely, plus stories, two novels, eleven poetry collections, and three CDs of selected work. His first novel The Sophomore has just been brought back into print in the Faber & Faber Finds series. His most recent poetry collection (Cherry Grove, 2012) presents a selection from ten years of e-mail exchanges with his friend Lawrence E, Leone. It's called A BOUNTY OF 84s (the 84 being a stanza limited exactly to 84 characters, echoing the traditional notion that the Buddha left us 84,000 different teachings because humans have so many different needs, are all of them so differently the same).

1 Poem by Steve Vinson

View to a Sunset

The last step leads to a precipice
stops cold at the abyss at land’s end
where falling away air fills like an ocean
the void where clouds boil and froth in queasy motion
over the thrusting peaks and eroded mountains
littering the desert plain like pike and shield
like detritus of battles waged when the world began
in a war without warriors before fin and carapace.
Fires like funeral pyres break out at the edge
of sight glimpses of sunset on these strange seas without waters
where were once waters retreated now and dried to fossil layers.
fires burn as for lost heroes and for grieving daughters
for the millennia of pain eons passing in mere hours
viewed from this airy ledge.
An ochre wash descends to deep red then purple light
ebbs to black in stains of blood and endocrine
spilled through the spectrum in a deepening lens;
each day a braveing world dies in slow motion
descending unfathomed depths slower than evolution
until all colors converge into starless night.

Steve Vinson teaches high school and community college English in El Paso, Texas. His MA thesis on Anne Sexton’s poetry evolved into a published article and book chapter in Rossetti to Sexton : Six Women Poets at Texas. He obtained his Ph.D. at New Mexico State University at the age of 54, and he has published a scattering of poems in scholarly journals and on web-poetry pages, including the DeKalb Literary Arts Journal and The Cynic Online Magazine. He is looking forward to retirement and time to write more poems.

2 Poems by Susan Dale


Was    listening to hear the grace
That one morning     was
Left, the empty shoes
of a traveler’s journey
If I went there
Everywhere, I    was
And nowhere   was
Far enough
Was     in the act of creation
Me,      into myself
Thinking nothing,
Or anything else mattered
To me
Or me to them


A terrain of time and place
Home – a quiet place
I repeat to find in my mind

Past and present traveling string-straight lines
Before they spiral, one to the other to rise
 to higher elevations
of  twilight faces – secret voices at dawn

But never losing contact with the soil of my roots

A wildflower under shadows wide of woodland trees
Taking root from a seed carried by an autumn storm
Through dark tunnels and out
To a quiet forest
Pulsing upwards from the soul’s blood in spring
Tasting winds – hearing the stars’ chatter
A tangle of blood and genealogy
This soil of linkage to Ohio’s ever-changing seasons

Remembering and forgetting
Remembering again
To resurrect in rain-drenched whispers with the songs of ascension
Upwards to spread
Reaching out to find
To touch again
The ever-elusive phantom
Of home


Susan Dale’s poems and fiction are on Eastown Fiction, Ken *Again, Hackwriters, Yesteryear Fiction, Feathered Flounder, and Hurricane Press. In 2007, she won the grand prize for poetry from Oneswan. (  or

1 Poem by J.R. Solonche


 If yellow is the color of joy,
then here is joy enough
for a city of the miserable.

If red is love’s color,
then here is red enough
for all the cups of the loveless.


Four-time Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee J.R. Solonche has been publishing poems in magazines, journals, and anthologies since the early 70s. He is coauthor of PEACH GIRL: POEMS FOR A CHINESE DAUGHTER (Grayson Books) and author of BEAUTIFUL DAY, forthcoming from Deerbrook Editions.

1 Poem by Afzal Moolla

The Swaying of the Grass

A path leads,
to where wild grass grows,
sashaying in the summer breeze.

Along the path,
lightness settles within,

feeling the grass,
tickling ankles,

swaying to the lilting bird-song,
in a dance of intimate abandon,
brushing the remnants of pain away.

Melodies float across fields of green,
delicately caressing my heart,
teasing emptiness to flee,
comforting the mind,
to silently be.

Walking on,
savouring the peace,

a momentary respite,
from the burdens of the now,

all is quiet,
a stillness cradling fractured emotions,
the grass in the fields sway,
dusk descends,
shadows lengthen,
nudging dimming light to take leave,
of the day


Afzal Moolla lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa. He writes for pleasure.

2 Poems by Dylan Freni

Reading With the Dead

Right before the happy ministry
sang its merry song upon the graveyard,
the prairie of Wright opened its pages,
quiet as a stillborn.

His haiku drenched itself in dysentery--
and among the dying sounds, I heard the soft words
float from the cemetery across the road.
Kneeling by the windowsill:
“blessed departed.”

How short three lines can seem
at once; and how fast they tend
to flash themselves like light
before an afternoon funeral.

The Shattering Force of Some

a quaked misstep may have led to her falling down
that day, miserable as her usual morning

“oh no” she might have said, or
“does this bother you--seeing me after all these years
like this?”

“do you care, anymore, that I might fall--actually

this was the tatter of her dress, stray fabrics
purple and all, beating down the blades of grass
like a five-year old weed whacker,
while the slow mumble of her engine knees screamed behind.

for all of her “oh no’s” and her “falling down’s”
and for every time I seem to want to pick her up,
she dirties her streets again and again
always in the haunted myth of summer.


Dylan Freni is a student and a writer living in Keene, New Hampshire. He is currently studying in the MFA program at the University of New Hampshire, and is the co-creator and poetry editor of The Squalor Review. His poetry has been featured in a number of online journals and blogs, and is forthcoming in print.  

3 Poems by Ray Hsu


#邱聪理 (a.k.a. Ray Hsu) is a poet and entrepreneur. He co-founded Art Song Lab, taught poetry for two years in a U.S. prison, and gave a TED Talk on How to Live a Creative Life. His latest project is, where writers can sit, write, and connect.

[Author's headnote: Here are three poems from a series I call "Spoiler Alerts," in which I take paragraphs from articles and black them out except for "poetic" lines. Users can see the poetic lines but must highlight the text using their mouse in order to see the context.] 

Only people care, and people care about fiction because it is always about people, even if those people look like rabbits. And so, too, do the humanities make space within the institution of scientific knowledge for the valuing that occurs in the psychic theater of human experience and nowhere else.,_Posthuman_Comedy.pdf
Economic opportunity. It was obviously booming—there were big skyscrapers going up, and people couldn’t read maps of their own street. So I went back to business school in Boston, at a time when there was of course very little economic growth in the United States. When I finished business school, going to Asia seemed the obvious thing to do. I found a job in Hong Kong, as a securities analyst with a local, Hong Kong–Chinese stock-broking company. This was 1986. In the first twelve months I was there, the Hong Kong stock market doubled—then I woke up one morning and learned that Wall Street had fallen 23 per cent overnight, and Hong Kong immediately fell back to where it had started. By 1990 I had joined James Capel, the oldest and largest UK stock-broking company at that time, and they sent me to Thailand to manage their research department there. We had ten analysts watching all the companies on the Bangkok stock market. At first, there really was something of a Thai miracle—the growth was solid and fundamental. But very quickly, by 1994, it was obviously a bubble and I started being bearish on the market. I wasn’t saying it was going to collapse, but the growth was going to slow down. But it just kept accelerating, and the bubble turned into a balloon. When it did finally pop, in 1997, Thailand’s GDP contracted by 10 per cent and the stock market fell 95 per cent in dollar terms, top to bottom.
As we consider the enthralled, anxious US chroniclers of Chinese automobility, we might ask, as the political scientist Harold Isaacs did in 1958, “Insofar as they [Americans] have had to react [to Asia’s impact on the United States], what did they have from their past to react with? . . . What are [the] ideas that reach them, where do they come from, what do they feed upon?”4 Recent reports of Chinese automobility both recapitulate and revise narratives that have been shaped and reshaped in changing historical contexts of political, economic, and spiritual interest in China. From the first published accounts and artifact exhibitions in the eighteenth century to the 2008 Discovery Channel series The People’s Republic of Capitalism, US missionaries, merchants, artists, journalists, and scholars have created and consumed knowledge about China. This knowledge has been positioned within multiple, often overlapping rhetorical frames of admiration, bemusement, disdain, pity, eroticism, paternalism, romance, and dread.

3 Poems by Simon Perchik

As if your death is not yet the same weight
traps count on though you are leaning back
putting dirt in your mouth while to the last

pebbles come by to shelter you, lie down
-you will have to die some more, brought
this far by what moonlight has to say
about holding on -you have to eat from a

that's opened till your grave is too heavy,
broken into for each goodbye hidden away

as the breath clinging to footstones that
past, throwing a cloud over you, boarded up
as mountainside and so many deaths at once

-here even rain is comforted to keep you dry

-whole families sitting down, waiting for
to walk in, forget something somewhere else.

A lone whistle cut short and this chair
waits till its wheels, half iron, half the
way trains
are calmed on gravel beds, let you push

till everything you gather smells from steam
from a mouth that is not yours -doze off!
the rails
will carry you between Spring and this

filled with shoreline that no longer moves
and yes, the shadow is yours, bit by bit the
you'll need, built from homelessness and no

to sit near your heart, hear how weak its
breathing is
windswept and the sky unstoppable, taking on
and not sure why it's going down inside you.

And though it's your hands that are cold you
with slippers on, weighed down the way
change places to show what death will be

before it gets dark -even in bed you limp,
the blanket
backing away and you hang on, want to be
still standing yet you can't remember if
it's more rain

or just that your fingers are wet from
falling in love
and every time they pass your lips it's
these slippers
that save you from drowning, let you go on,

something that is not dressed in white,
as the warm breath thrown over the headboard
smelling from cemeteries without moving your


Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. For more information, including free e-books, his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” and a complete bibliography, please visit his website at

2 Poems & 3 Photos by Emily Strauss

In Prison Visitors Touch

In prison visitors touch their villainous loves
through glass, palms pressed flat on each side
a cold pane between them. They stare, clinging
to that ephemeral pressure like the Pacific Ocean

separating two cities with lovers standing on opposite
beaches staring at the pale horizon, waiting for a sign
that never comes, as if distance could shrink.

The lovers raise their hands against the intervening
winds as clear as prison glass, waves from the far
shore lapping their feet the only connection.

I Feel Water in Him

I feel him like a profound ocean
that pulls the earth with currents
bigger than the longest rivers
slow moving, subtle, a mystery
flowing beneath our surfaces,
strong yet easy to overlook.

I feel as if he could lap the distant shore,
coming to the land with small waves
etching lines in white sand
though I prefer to walk out to sea
meet him in the surf

water rising slowly, taking me
until I am floating free
lie back face to the sky quietly
before his depth finally pulls me under
I surrender to the long sinking into blackness

but I don't fear—
soon I will rest on the bottom
his weight upon me and I will smile
in the silent dark surrounded
by the watery world of him,
the whole ocean like his arms.

3 Photos by Emily Strauss


Emily Strauss has an M.A. in English, but is self-taught in poetry. Over 100 of her poems appear in dozens of online venues and in anthologies. The natural world is generally her framework; she often focuses on the tension between nature and humanity, using concrete images to illuminate the loss of meaning between them. She is a semi-retired teacher living in California, and previously lived in China for 8 years.

1 Poem by Stephen Page


The weight of grass is heavy
Upon my shoulders; lift it,

Scythe it, mow it, let the cattle
Feed that I may walk again.

I sit upon a log in the shade
Of the wood.  I sip mate.

I visit Buenos Aires and lie
In bed all day and watch cartoons.

I just want to sleep in
One Saturday, one Monday.

I want the Field-Crossers
To stop trampling the grass,

To stop walking across my back
When they think I am napping:

Don’t they know the padlock turns
Are all numbered and recorded?

Editor, Advisor, stop planting corn
When I want my fields clovered.

I want again my daily strolls
In the quiet of the Wood,

To watch for hours the bumblebees work
And lock eyes with the mockingbird.


Stephen Page was born in Detroit, Michigan.  He holds two AA’s from Palomar College, a BA from Columbia University, and an MFA from Bennington College.  He is the author of The Timbre of Sand and Still Dandelions.  His critical essays have appeared regularly in the Buenos Aires Herald.  He is the recipient of The Jess Cloud Memorial Prize, a Writer-in-Residence with stipend from the Montana Artists Refuge, a Writer Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center, an Imagination Grant from Cleveland State University, a Golden Poet Award, and an Arvon Foundation Ltd. Grant. He currently lives in Argentina where he teaches World literature and writes on a ranch.

1 Poem by Michael H. Brownstein


and there go dream streams, popsicles of color,
rude shapes of violet red scarlet green,
ghosts of skin, happy teeth, excited eyes,
sand filling hourglasses, every hour of our lifetime.
Still the course is clearly marked, the inlet set,
the island chained between two paths of river.
Spring comes again into our consciousness,
the tall hickory, a Rose of Sharon, thick oak.
A jaybird stranded last November
welcomes the songbirds to surround her
and we who have one gold coin fixed to our hand
let it fall onto earth to become seed.
None of us wish to pay for safe crossing.


Michael H. Brownstein has been widely published throughout the small and literary presses. His work has appeared in The Café Review, American Letters and Commentary, Skidrow Penthouse, Xavier Review, Hotel Amerika, Free Lunch, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Pacific Review, and others. In addition, he has nine poetry chapbooks including The Shooting Gallery (Samidat Press, 1987), Poems from the Body Bag (Ommation Press, 1988), A Period of Trees (Snark Press, 2004), What Stone Is (Fractal Edge Press, 2005), I Was a Teacher Once (Ten Page Press, 2011), and Firestorm: A Renderiung of Torah (Camel Saloon Press--Books on Blogs). He is the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam (2011).

1 Poem by Daniel Wilcox


I’m retreaded but road-tired,
Rolling across cantankerous land
Though, thank heavens—knock around
On pavement
And redwood,
Not yet sent off to a ‘board and card’ mansion,

You know where decks and bingo
“Was a dog…” chips or
Define the tokened measures of your life--

Or where
Reclining and breathing entertain you.

No, I’m bound for that promised land…


Daniel Wilcox's wandering lines have appeared in many magazines including Word Riot, The Centrifugal Eye, Write Room, Ascent Aspirations, and Unlikely Stories IV. Three large collections of his published poetry are in print: Dark Energy, Psalms, Yawps, and Howls, and selah river. He recently completed a speculative novel which is wandering. Before that, he hiked through Nebraska, Cal State University Long Beach (Creative Writing), Montana, Pennsylvania, Europe, Palestine/Israel, Arizona...Now he resides with his wife on the central coast of California.

Interview with Editor Sandy Benitez


Sandy Benitez is the Editor of Flutter Press and Flutter Poetry Journal.  She's been nominated for The Pushcart Prize, Best of the Web, and Best of the Net.  Sandy resides in California with her husband & two children.


1.  Given the ways contemporary authors have been trying to compose all kinds of poetry, how would you define ‘poetry’? 

Poetry means so many different things to people, it would be impossible to give one definition to the art.  Poetry for me can include imagination, real life experiences, emotions, and ideas that are conveyed through words drawn with beautiful imagery and metaphor.

2.  Many people say poetry is dying. Do you agree or disagree with this statement, and why?  

I don't believe that poetry is dying at all.  I see it everyday on the internet; there are thousands of people from all over the world putting their poetry out there.  The exposure in the media isn't as great but online it's a vast community.  Maybe the networks should create some type of reality tv show about poets, "The Real Poets of (insert city here)."

3.  What are the most important makings of a ‘great’ poet? – please name 3 greatest poets the world has produced thus far. 

I'm not sure what makes a great poet.  Personally, I am drawn to poems that are unique and engaging with a haunting quality to them.  Some of the 3 greatest poets I admire are Pablo Neruda, Emily Dickinson, and Edgar Allan Poe.

4.  What are the most important or interesting things that you have you learned about poetry writing/publishing as a poetry editor?
Always give every poem a chance, that is, don't dismiss someone's work because you've never heard of them before.  I love to discover new poets and lucky for me I can do that because I'm an editor of a poetry journal.  Sometimes you will find a gem hidden in-between one submission.  It's good to read through submissions more than once.  Moods can alter your perceptions, one day you may be feeling blah and not so into reviewing.  Give it a day, then come back and re-read.  You would be surprised at how your perception can change.

5.  What is the most or least enjoyable part of being a poetry editor?  The most enjoyable is meeting new poets and discovering fabulous new poetry.  

The least enjoyable is when submitters don't follow the guidelines.  It causes more work from my end and more time spent trying to fix the problem.