May 2001Café Society's Poetry News Update
Do you have any poetry news or comments? If so, mail me on the email link at the bottom of this page. Competitions and calls for submissions can be announced here free.

an interview with Claudine Moreau

Claudine R. Moreau was born in Bay City, Michigan. She grew up around the mountains and valleys of Uniontown, Pennsylvania, the defunct coal mining and coke oven town south of Pittsburgh. She attended West Virginia Wesleyan, West Virginia University, and finally East Carolina University where she received a B.S. and M.S. in Physics with an Atomic Physics concentration. She now lives in Arlington, Virginia with the painter and portrait artist, Brian Hamill. During the day, Claudine works for NASA's Office of Biological and Physical Research and supports the Microgravity Division peer review projects.

Claudine's poetry has appeared in Pivot, Lilliput Review, The Higginsville Reader, The Bitter Oleander, Thorny Locust, Muse of Fire, American Poets & Poetry, Blood and Fire Review, JACK Magazine, Aileron, Poem Box, Physik Garden, The Eclipse, Erosha, Creativity Magazine, NakedPoetry, Blind Man's Rainbow, Tripwire, Poetry Downunder, Poetry Superhighway, and in the anthology In Our Own Words: A Generation Defines Itself Vol. 3. Her poetry is forthcoming in Frission, Atomic Petals, interweave(zine), and Poetry Motel. Her short story "Speed Skater" placed second in the 1999 Anthology Prose Contest. Claudine's fiction surfaced in Anthology Magazine, Transcendent Visions, Northern Stars Magazine, and is forthcoming in NakedPoetry. She currently poetry edits Comrades Ezine and serves on the anthology editorial board for Comrades Press.

Poetry L & T:When and why did you first start writing poetry, Claudine?

Claudine Moreau: When I was about 11, I was given an assignment in the fifth grade to write haiku's. After writing it I felt so good at the product; I still remember one of the haiku's by heart. Looking back, I understand that I reaped great satisfaction from those haiku's and from other creative writing assignments. My only wish is that some adult had noticed and tried to cultivate the writer in me sooner, however with parents going through the woes of divorce, my talents were barely visible. I wrote volumes of rhyming poetry up until I was about 17 on various kinds of typewriters that I'd buy at fleamarkets/jumble sales. Then I started to write in those pretty flowery journals that you see in Barnes and Noble, which included a lot of stream of conscience poetry writing and ramblings. Most of my work was a bit on the surreal side then, barely revised or rewritten. It wasn't until I was in college that I started to consider poetry as a crafted work of art. When I was a junior in college at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, I was studying physics and not writing much poetry until I signed up for an introduction to poetry writing class with Dr. Pat Bizarro. Being a science major, I went into the class feeling intimidated--after all I wasn't anything close to a well-read literature student. My fears soon faded, and I took up reading modern poetry and short stories. Later in physics graduate school, I enrolled in Peter Makuck's (on BOA) graduate poetry writing class.

Poetry L & T:Who are your favourite poets, both classic and modern?

Claudine Moreau: Lyn Lifshin, Erica Jong, Marge Piercy, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Laure-Anne Bosselaar, ee cummings, Allen Ginsburg, Ted Hughes, Sharon Olds, Tony Hoagland

Poetry L & T:How did you first become poetry editor for Comrades?

Claudine Moreau: Verian Thomas read my poetry on Physik Garden, and emailed me about his idea for an international on-line arts magazine. He tells me that he had a "hunch" about me, and he asked if I would be interested in poetry editing for his conceptual Comrades magazine. Of course, I feared that it meant that I'd have to do my own HTML! Verian, assured me that I wouldn't have to assemble the pages, just find the right poetry. I accepted the offer and began to use my strong work ethic that I'd developed from studying physics to find good poets for the first issue and to put the word out about the new Comrades.

Poetry L & T:Which aspect of being an editor gives you the most satisfaction?

Claudine Moreau: The best feeling is when I receive feedback from someone who was particularly struck by a poet's work on Comrades. For instance, I had many readers write to me to tell me how much they enjoyed Jennifer Vickers work, which she wrote in Belize, that Comrades published in issue two. I've received personal messages from poets around the world who particularly relate with Comrades poetry. It's almost like I feel that I've taken these poets on as my own and any praise makes me feel like a mother would if a child got excellent marks in school.

There is also great satisfaction in the sheer learning experience of poetry editing. I started poetry editing last year with no experience other than college poetry workshops, and I've learned bit by bit what it takes to put together a collection of poets.

Poetry L & T:There are many web sites covering poetry out there, what makes Comrades different?

Claudine Moreau: Comrades is down-to-earth, yet classy, and never flashy. We don't try to tote a snooty air; we just want to provide exposure for good writing and art. Comrades is actively publishing poets from all over the world--Australia, United Kingdom, Singapore, South Africa, New Zealand, Mexico, Canada, and across the US to name a few. We aren't just publishing work from young twenty-something's; we have published high school students and emeritus physics professors in the same issue! The Comrades staff is quite diverse--our art editor, Daniel McAnulty, is a student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he brings in his love of the sublimely quirky artistic taste, Verian Thomas, the Managing Editor and Non-Fiction Editor is out in the middle of nowhere England and radically claims his Welsh heritage in various dirty bathroom stalls, Deborah Swain, the Brit now living in rural Marche, Italy who brings in her passion for the truly crafted short story, to RhondaK our Newsletter Editrix/Librarian from Tampa, Florida who sends out our fun to read and tip-worthy newsletter, Valentina Mazzei, our Italian Poetry editor who lives in Rome. The crazy thing about Comrades is that we are all working together from very different backgrounds at varying latitudes and longitudes of the earth and most of us have never met, but Comrades is something we all do because we love art. None of us are paid, we never expect to make money--we are doing it because we've realized that we can put a dent into the academic facade that an MFA makes a poet, that a college or university must be associated with a good literature/arts magazine.

Poetry L & T:What is your criteria for good poetry for Comrades?

Claudine Moreau: Unique imagery and fresh language. When I'm done with a poem, I write down images I can remember and particular words/sounds I liked. If a poem doesn't have any sustaining images or a particularly good sound to it, it won't usually travel past this point. The poem doesn't have to be tackling big issues, it can be a beautifully crafted poem about a table and I'd give it the same chances of publication. I also try to pull from my personal tastes to move to other audiences of readers. I ask myself "Is there an audience out there for this poem?"

Poetry L & T:Have you had any bad reactions to rejections? Why do you think this was?

Claudine Moreau: Yes, I've received many hate email messages from poets that I've chosen not to use their poetry in Comrades. I think beginning poets believe that the on-line poetry zine should be easier to publish in. Of course, with all of the poetry boards and zines that publish all submitted work, it may suggest to beginners that all on-line literature/arts magazines are this way.

Before I ever sent my work out to publications both print and on-line, I learned from The Poet's Market and other resources the proper etiquette for poetry submissions. (Always read the submission guidelines.) The problem is that so many people write poetry to get published, but they don't learn the rules of the game/the proper way to approach editors, etc. I received many rejections from editor's that made snide comments like "buy a thesaurus" or "it's obvious you don't read poetry that's being published today" and to tell you the truth, I felt like lashing out. But, the publication process requires professionalism, and I held my tongue (or rather pen). I took it in stride, and tried to produce better work then find the right home for my poems.

Poetry L & T:What do you dislike to see in poetry?

Claudine Moreau: I hate to see lines that I've read (or written myself back in my preteen years). Worn out language. Clichés. Poems that anyone could write because they are so generic in their content and language. I want to see the poem that only that particular poet could ever write.

Poetry L & T:"Generic" is a great word to sum up bad poetry! I like that. To my next question... If there was one living poet who you could include in Comrades who would it be?

Claudine Moreau: There is a young Chicago poet named J.M. Morea that I would like to ask to feature her work. My brother Bjorn in Chicago bought me some local poetry chapbooks for Christmas last year and Ms. Morea's was one of them. He chose the book because of the similarity of last names. What's interesting is that I mentioned that I was reading her book on my Live Journal, and her old roommate from college came across my entry and wrote to me about Ms. Morea briefly. When I get the courage up to find her email or something, I suppose I will. Her work is very, very good. I find that the young or unknown poets who are in wait of discovery are the ones who need the exposure. Since I have Comrades at my dispense - why not use it to showcase them?

Poetry L & T: How many different poets do you publish in each issue?

Claudine Moreau: Comrades doesn't really have a set amount of poets to publish. Since we are unlimited in the amount of cyberspace we use, we can usually publish from 10 to 30 poets depending on web production time and the amount of poetry received that gets our blood boiling.

Poetry L & T:I understand Comrades is also now a small press - what can we expect to be produced from it in the future?

Claudine Moreau: Comrades Press, founded by Verian Thomas, just published Deborah Swain's chapbook "filling silence with a sigh" and we are in the final process of printing Richard Denner's collected works, which is over a whopping 500 pages of poetry. Comrades Press is publishing an anthology this year of poetry and black and white photography. We made up an editorial board to decide what poetry to place in the book, and the line up so far is stunning. The anthology should be released by the end of 2001. We've read probably close to 500-600 poems for this anthology. I'm trying to finish my chapbook for Comrades Press titled,
"(Love) x (Science) ="
which is a small selection of poetry dealing with women's relationship with men--in the context of lover and of father. The science is there in the imagery, but not everyone will find it. That's okay, though, it will be the added extra for those that do.

Poetry L & T:Finally Claudine, what advice would you give to a poet who wanted to improve their work enough to have a collection of work published?

Claudine Moreau: I don't think there is a formula for improving one's work for a collection except to write more. Everyone will find their way to a collection in their own way. Some will simply put a book together, send it out and find publication without ever receiving a glorious rejection slip to wallpaper around their writing space. Most poets are probably going to send out poetry over a period of time and find a few poems published in journals and magazines. As I've written over the years, I've found a few distinct categories of poems: family poems, poems about lovers, puberty transformation poems, and poems relating to works of art. When I started separating them, I realized that I was unconsciously preparing them for chapbook themes. And in each category, I had a handful of poems that have been published.

I had the fortunate opportunity to meet a great poet, Laure-Anne Bosselaar, at a poetry workshop in January. She gave me the best advice on putting together a book of poetry. She said two things that stick out the most 1) when assembling the book have the poems "talk" to each other. The poems that are side by side should have some sort of dialogue with one another, and the beginning and the end poems must do the same sort of "talking" to one another. She explained how the arrangement of the poems was so vital, which never having tried doing it before it had seems so arbitrary, but as I wade in this task now, I see how some poems just don't have a strong dialogue with the others. 2) When you write poems, think "book," and you will write with confidence. I found this statement strange at first, but over the last few months, it's beginning to mean more and more. My advice on getting a book together would be to first get your poems published in on-line and in print journals first. Then you know that you've got your audience. Then make a stack of poems that have similar themes and have someone read this stack to decide which ones don't seem to have that "dialogue," then slowly whittle down to traditional chapbook length or full book size.

Poetry L & T:Thank you for the interview, Claudine.

The Poetry of Claudine Moreau
© Claudine Moreau

You found my rocky body
somewhere in the Tundra,
under a mountain of snow
sheets and pillowcases.

You carbon dated my fingers,
toes, and iron hair, to find
I'm older than the solar system,
but younger than the Milky Way.

Created from rich hydrogen,
p-p chain reaction of stars
spit me out, I am radiating
thousand year half-lives.

You determine I came
from the Oort Cloud, icy
region sometimes perturbed
by a nearby star, hurled

toward your sun,
hyperbolic path, collided
with earth. Found frozen,
yet still whole for research.

* "Comet Girl" first appeared in American Poets & Poetry

© Claudine Moreau

I am parts of him that he
pushes in.

On the cold slab
of surgery, he worries

that I'll slip
out again,

that he will wake up
and my fullness

will be larger than the hands
he curls into fists.

I am the pulp of his emotion
strained through wet earth.

I am planted organs and tubes
pressed against the implanted

mesh in his gut. I pick
his hardened abdominal wall

with mutated fingers,
tiny crowbars folding in his lap.

© Claudine Moreau

Cup a hand
to your ear.

Listen to the cosmic cooling

bang of the universe
now whispering in microwave coos,
faint signals through
the birth canal of space.

*"Tilt Your Satellite Dishes" first appeared in The Lilliput Review

© Claudine Moreau

The new shape of suffering
folds her hands in prayer
she no longer believes in.
The sfumato of a lost god
fades into her abstracting
9 to 5 work week.

The river she crosses each day,
is like muted lead flowing silently
in a vein of earth. Beneath
the surface, gray and silver,
her drown doppelganger
blows her kisses.

© Claudine Moreau

The florist shop sign
says the lilies are here.

The ginger flowers
suck the pail of water

with the birds of paradise.
At the end of Pleasant Street,

a bridge droops her head
over a brown river,

a sagging rose drops petals.
She was barely twenty-two.

© Claudine Moreau

My voice is out there like a radio
transmission, Doppler shifted,
reddened a bit, riding on a wave front.

When I say I love you
to my lover, I cry.
Usually, our bodies are sticky

with sweat. He sleeps deep
in my candle-lit bed-cave,
while my mind combines face-

shadows of prior lovers.
My voice is traveling,
a space trail separated by one

year, two weeks, eight months
until this one floats,
a compression of air, sound

propelling itself through a dark
cavernous medium. I picture
gobs of goo beings in Andromeda

at my frequency. Bored
with the same message,
a repetition of waveform.

Do they know what it means?
Because somewhere in the vacuum
after climax, words

reach my tongue, reflexively
I speak them without
knowing the transmission code.


Dear Poets,

This issue features an interview with Claudine Moreau, poetry editor of Comrades ezine. Claudine also works for NASA and sometimes the theme of outer space appears in her poetry. I especially like "Tilt Your Satellite Dishes", which appears in the examples of her poetry under the interview.

Featured poets this month include Val Magnuson, Elisha Porat, Tom Riley, Jim Dunlap and resident poet Jan Sand. Elisha Porat's work is presented as a special feature because Elisha has found a successful way of sending me images of the Hebrew text. Some of these can also be found on Charlotte's Web at Artvilla.

Any comments on this issue or back issues can be emailed to me on the link at the bottom of the page. Please indicate whether you would like the comments to go into the Letters section. Announcements are always welcome, you can also promote poetry books here.

Poetry submissions should be in plain text in the body of an email, with a small jpeg author picture attached, also a bio, with the URLs of any ezines mentioned, so that they can be shown as links. This increases the chance of inclusion, especially for late submissions. Pictures are best at a maximum of 520 pixels across, otherwise they take ages to arrive by email, especially in bitmap or TIFF format. Further submission guidelines are available on request.

Best Regards,


Featured poets this month are Val Magnuson, Elisha Porat, Tom Riley, Jim Dunlap and Jan Sand. Many thanks to all contributors.

Val Magnuson

Born in Detroit, Michigan and lives at Bush Lake in historical, Holly, Michigan and occassionally on the Gulf of Mexico in Dunedin, Florida. Val has a BA from Wayne State University and an MBA from Central Michigan University. Ms. Magnuson is a member of the Michigan Bi-Lateral Trade Team Canada and is a noted stained glass artist. Ms. Magnuson has had her work exhibited in the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada and the Corning Museum of Glass.

Val has been awarded many prizes for her poetry and is the author of "Destiny" published by Poet Works Press. Her virtual homes are and the Poet's Porch, - Val's poetry is featured throughout the world and on the internet.

Five Gates of Poetry is an upcoming anthology featuring Val's work - Val's work will also be included in an anthology, "In the Company of Women" Featuring the best of America's poets.

Winner of Poetry Down Under Australia.

© Val Magnuson, 2000

Dialogues in blue ascending to
The flying of hieroglyphics
Balancing purpler songs
Tossing flowers into the wind
Giving light into the nights of magic

An enigma 22, you
Like some circus performer with birds
Painting dreams, pointing to infinity
And absolute endlessness

I wonder-
I wonder-
Who were the progenitors to the cosmic confrontations?
What were the dialogues between you
And some descending angel?

Views of life from the emerald planet
Crab nebula man dissections
Playing in clouds of bubble dances
Poets, won and poets too
In awe of you

Astral thinking projecting farewell shots
Ringing in my bed
Singing in my head

How did you become the ultimate kite flyer
Electric future man?
The sky exploded into dust
And you became your own

© Val Magnusun, 2000

Autumn, do not leave
For your chambers fill
With feathered gentlemen
Their raiment pommeling the hills

The gingery banks are splashed
In paprika and nutmeg tones
Autumn, do not leave
I would only have alone

Your magical woodswork
Slips far too fast
Through my very fingers
Envelop me within your imposing cloak
Stay awhile- linger

The Guardians of the South
Like some Greenwich clock
Promise warmer beds
To every passing flock

How they fly!
How they fly!
From the radiance of your store
Autumn, wonderous Autumn
Sing a little more-

Autumn, splendid Autumn
To your every essence
I could cleave
But all you do
All that you can only do
Is to forever

© Val Magnuson, 2001

Those strange unmentionables of long ago -
How women wore them
I do not know
Rubber girdles, pointed bras, can can slips
They had their flaws

Seamed nylons, long underwear
Worn with hopes that men would stare
Pantaloons and garter belts
Waists cinched, bosoms svelte

How odd to sit on derrieres
That were bustled, it was not fair
This is a new age, old days behind
The world filled with garments
That blow one's mind
Wonder bras, panty hose
Bikini hi cuts, and so it goes -

I went to Victoria's and almost dropped dead
The store manager's name was Fred
He boldly queried my bra size
Did I prefer floss or clappers with exposed thighs?
Then awaited my reply

I guess I'm older, out of sync
I thought that clappers made lights blink
I remember when you slapped a guy
If he asked you your bra size

I turned bright red and thought it rare
To see a guy in girl's underwear
But - this is a new age
Life is strange -
So, where was I
When underwear changed?

© Val Magnuson, 2000

She slipped silently in
Stepping flamenco whirls
Tambourine sky ribbons trembling
Clicking her heels
Dancing taffeta colors across the heavens
China tea cups shattering
with castinet rhythms
Glazing the firmament with patches of light
Captivity captured with masterful flight
Eager, trembling audience, I
Attempted creation remembering her
From nowhere to nowhere
Along these thin, gray lines
Of her majestic dance
Across the sky-

[email protected]

Special Elisha Porat Feature:

Elisha Porat's poems are now available to read with the Hebrew and English side-by-side. See the image underneath Elisha's biography. There is also a link page to further images showing both the Hebrew and English.

Elisha Porat
Elisha Porat, the 1996 winner of Israel's Prime Minister's Prize for Literature, has published 17 volumes of fiction and poetry, in Hebrew, since 1973. His works have appeared in translation in Israel, the United States, Canada and England. The English translation of his short story collection "The Messiah of LaGuardia", was released in 1997. His latest work, a book of Hebrew poetry, "The Dinosaurs of the Language", was recently published in Israel.

Elisha Porat was born in 1938 to a "pioneer" family in Palestine-Eretz Yisrael (pre Israel);his parents were among the founders of Kibbutz Ein Hahoresh, a Kibbutz on the Sharon plates near the city of Hadera. Today Porat, devoted to the community ideal, still make his home near the original tent erected by his parents back in the early 30s. In 1956 Porat was draft into the IDF (the Israeli army) and fought in three wars: the Six Day War in 1967, the Yom Kippur War in 1973, and the War of south Lebanon in 1982.

As a lifelong member of his Kibbutz, Porat has worked many years as a farmer as well as a writer. His labors in the Kibbutz fruit orchard, perhaps contrasting his military tours of duty, have always influenced his art. Besides writing, his current endeavors include editorial duties for several literary journals. He is married with four grown children - three daughters and a son. In 1998, Porat journeyed out into the internet, and his growing volume of work can be readily found in many literary Ezines. His translated stories and poems have for years found their way into print, most recently The Boston review.

Elisha extends his gratitude, as ever, to his several talented, dedicated translators.

Short anthologies from the author's works:
Ariga: 4 poems by Elisha Porat poems and short stories, Unlikely Stories: Elisha Porat feature poems, fiction, interview, reviews, The Poet's Haven: Elisha Porat poems, fiction - scroll down to P for Porat; Funky Dog Publishing: Elisha Porat, Elisha Porat is author of The Messiah of LaGuardia, a collection of stories.

Elisha's new e-book, Growing Old, is now available from:
The Shyflower Press, 1307 NW 1st Street, Faribault, MN 55021.

Click here for more Hebrew/English jpegs of Elisha's poems

[email protected]

Tom Riley

Born Liverpool 4/12/27, not quite dead yet. Eleven years in two orphanages, then first job (6 months) clog maker and boot repairer Scotland Road, Liverpool; last job (40 years) with the Civil Aviation Authority, mostly installation of long-distance Radar, all over the place.

Education: basic elementary, but improved at Night School. Hooked on poetry and music at about aged 8 years.

Married twice; this one in it’s 32nd wonderful year. Two children: 27 and 28.

Leisure interests: Cruising under sail (current boat Parker 21). Writing: poetry, adult and childrens’ short stories, (some adult stories and poetry published). Reading: especially Patrick O’Brian. Cross-country walking. Music: 40s big bands, classics (choral, Wagner, Delius). Art: Art Noveau, Art Deco. Drinking: Lots of red wine.

Halloween Midnight
© Tom Riley

Nature’s call pre-empts the distant church annunciation of the black traffic hour.
Frowning I lumber towards relief, through the thinking house.
Feet plough the furrow of the years with their own mind, but at the chimes,
The blanket of warm darkness rests uneasily on the psychic sense.

I gaze at the sightless window as needles of childhood prick the edge of knowing -
Do they walk tonight? The bridge of October and November.
Three score and ten, smile at remembered terrors of the flowering years
And long to hear the rustle of the grave clothes.

Racing clouds shred the faint luminescence of the now virtual world
As I return, to the rhythmic music she makes: at peace for the moment,
No God, fawning Saints, chanting Angels, or eternal roast, signposts me.
My Heaven, my Earth, my Cosmos lies there and gives me being.

I am content.

© Tom Riley

Far journeys weary traveller, far south of tropic line,
And on his back he feels the weight of equatorial sky,
Dense cloudless blue, of light years depth and universal time.
Brass sun-god hammers down on him from course in heaven high.
And spirit longs; for Sussex and a new born April morn,
And spirit sees the dew fresh light of dawn.

Sudden the tropic sundown comes with strident harmony,
And moonless heaven adorns herself in jet-black velvet dress.
Suspended in the long moment of creations agony
The icy flame worlds sparkle from the universal press.
And spirit sighs; for moonlit calm of leafy Downland lane,
And spirit treads the moonpath home again.

Our traveller, returning now by fabled Grecian strand
Thrills to the light, that once did Dionysian revels bless.
Neath brilliant sky, the calyx shows the proud limbed Satyr and
Fair Maenads writhing in priapic sport and venereal excess
And spirit wings; to passion spent in spring clad Southdown wood,
And spirit smiles, re-treasuring the mood.

This the Aegean vault, cloud wisped, of deepest cobalt blue;
Horizoned Homer's heroes, raging billows to annoy,
Warmed the sweet muse that mothered Ovids verses true:
Was this the sky that wept the smoky tears of burning Troy?
And spirit feels; the soft cloud cloak of windy Ditchling height
And spirit follows skylarks out of sight.

Sea-borne, our traveller sails on Atlantic homeward track,
Heeds the awful warning of the mackerel painted sky,
Senses the sickly overcast give way to streaming wrack,
As gale releases Furies leash with evening drawing nigh,
And spirit quails; before the stormy ending of the day;
And spirit steels itself to face the fray.

Sharp nailed clouds tear shreds from the racing gibbous moon,
Then gather boiling towers of awful immensity,
Whose drumming rain's the counterpoint of screaming gale's wild tune
Whose blinding fingers strike, with thunderous intensity;
And spirit sees; the lighter bar on western sea's edge form,
And spirit tells the ending of the storm.

Now, home at last, 'neath pristine cloud and newly laundered blue,
The fleecy crowds traverse the sky in never ending train,
And mint bright, sun now takes his turn at warmly shining through
The misty castled transports of the flower refreshing rain.
And spirit joys in ambience that smiles upon the Down;
And spirit rests in quiet Sussex town.

And spirit looks with eager heart, to many an Ashdown dawn,
Of red and gold laced fretting, over palest duck egg blue.
Or pearly white December days with frost upon the lawn,
And early evenings drawing in, through firelit windows view
Where magic bars the horizon, in velvet pink and grey;
And hymns a fitting requiem for the day.

The Last Day Tomorrow
© Tom Riley

Tomorrow, the last day of summer break,
Ev’ning over the Wight: and sinking sun
Homes to the Needles Island terminus.
Western sky in vestments of green and gold,
A peaceful Delius soliloquy.

The children now asleep in downy folds,
Glowing cheeked legacy of August day,
Fight dream wars over sandy battlements,
Banishing still the coming school affray.

Our ship swings, slowly, compass-wise looks north,
As moon goads on the importuning flood.
The Mullet rise for supper’s insect feast
And leave the reflected sky, all pattern’d
And dimpled with concentric geometry.

At river bend an exiled Scot is moored
And gravely mounts his quarterdeck to play,
With pipe-bag swelled and lusty breath exhaled,
He offers orisons of reed and drone.

Late Oyster Catcher piping bed-time call,
Stream skims to muddy nest or samphire bed,
The sun has gone; the pipes a dying fall,
Recital ends with exquisite lament.

Another childhood day is safely stored
In parent’s comforting remembrance
As western sky extinguishes the flame,
Night falls; silently; on Newtown river.

I Ate It My Way
Click the above link to view a longer poem by Tom Riley

[email protected]

Jim Dunlap

Jim Dunlap'swork has appeared in sixty plus small press magazines to date, including PLAINSONGS, CANDELABRUM, the PARIS/ ATLANTIC, DIE NIEDERNGASSE and POTPOURRI. He has been in the Writers' Digest top 100 three times, and for the past five years he was newsletter editor for the Des Moines Area Writers' Network. He recently resigned to spend more time writing, submitting and attending to neglected business.

Jim's website includes a lot of favorite poems by other writers as well as his own poetry.

His work appears online at
and many more.

© Jim Dunlap

Defined by a sonnet, one 'dead, deathless hour'
Is preserved for the ages in lyrics of glory --
The placement of each word and line has great power.

The elegant forming of sonnets in flower
Makes poets miners...the word lodes they quarry
Embellish a sonnet's one 'dead, deathless hour.'

In the hands of amateurs, sonnets go sour,
And the carnage leaves failures battered and gory:
The placement of each word and line has great power.

Before time's headlong surge, the poet may cower,
Since the sonnet's traditional form is so hoary --
The sonnet manque marks no 'dead, deathless hour.'

While Shakespeare, Petrarch and Spenser still tower
Over lesser intellects -- in wide-ranging foray --
Still, placement of each word and line has great power.

Like the perfect seduction grant's epiphany's dower,
Octave, volta, sextet tell a story --
A great sonnet calls back one 'dead, deathless hour':
The placement of each word and line has great power.

* "A sonnet is a moment's monument --
memorial from the soul's eternity
to one dead, deathless hour."
Dante Gabriel Rosetti (1828 - 1882)
Published in Lyrical Iowa, 1999

© Jim Dunlap

On occasion, I feel
that life is a prison --
the punishment is measured
by how much your parents
have taught you
to hate yourself...
Childhood conditioning
stripes you in shades
of black and blue --
sentenced by Fate
to regret lost opportunities ...
caged with your destiny
by striated memories
that eat your insides
like an ulcer
grown cancerous...
yet, sometimes,
love can open a window
for light to illuminate
that stygian shadowland
of draconian disciplines
where regrets and mistakes
spontaneously combust
in a blaze that
heats your heart --
molten gold,
forged in a blast furnace:
pristine and pure ...
a covenant that links
all your yesterdays
to a shining

Published: STAND ALONE, July, 1998
also in Writers' Digest top 100 in 1995.

© Jim Dunlap

Where poverty and hate can breed,
Life is cheap...and terrifies;
In Africa, men starve and bleed.

Famines cry out desperate need.
Day and night, more thousands die;
But poverty and hate still breed.

This is a lesson we must heed:
While starving children wail and cry,
In Africa, men starve and bleed.

With drought to kill the planted seed,
And birthrates reaching for the sky,
Both poverty and hate still breed.

Incompetence is left to lead,
And calm surveillance will descry,
In Africa, men starve and bleed.

The sick succor, the starving feed --
We've failed to even tell them why
Poverty and hate still breed --
In Africa, men starve and bleed.

TUCUMCARI LIT. REVIEW, July/ Aug., 1994, issue #52

[email protected]

Self-portrait by Jan Sand

JAN SAND, poet and illustrator from New York, is a regular contributor to Poetry Life & Times. and the newsgroup alt.arts.poetry.comments. A great deal of his work is about animals, or science fiction.

Recently Jan was published by Kedco Studios Artist Profile Press, on their latest CD ROM e-book, "A Way With Words (Poetry Real and Surreal), which also includes complete books by Dale Houstman, Sara L. Russell and Keith Gabriel Hendricks. Jan's illustrated book on the CD is called "Wild Figments And Odd Conjectures", which is also sold separately, in a limited-edition "single" CD.

To see an illustrated article about Jan's poems, visit the November '98 issue of Poetry Life & Times, and scroll down past the Editor's Letter. He also has his own poetry pages on Charlotte's Web at Artvilla.

© Jan Sand

We each of us treasure within
Precious knots of anguish
Through which we run
Long fingers of our thoughts
That those congealed miseries
Might make more comprehensible
The intensities of feeling
So tightly captured,
Probed between mental finger,
Mental thumb, to release
Small knives of exquisite horror.

© Jan Sand

For all our hunger to be off
This blue Earth to make community
With all the suns of all the galaxies,
We may not dismiss its brandmarks
That, alike, births and slaughters us.
Each cell of our flesh cups its drop of ocean,
Gasps for a wisp of its skies
And our bones are configured to know its shape and bulk.
No matter what azimuth or force
Vectors us away,
We are shaped by its hand
And cannot deny our parentage.

© Jan Sand

This thing of shapes cylindrical,
Orthogonal and technical
That floats in orbital ellipse
High above the solid Earth
Provides a living space for man,
A silver footprint stamped into emptiness.
Its blue petals stare at the Sun's eye
To interpret glare into electricity.
To spin the motors, clean the air
Keep the place alive.
Within, the astronauts, designed for up and down
Revolve and flounder,
Their architecture confounded
For lack of gravity's commands.
Their confused bones tend to disintegrate,
Undemanded muscles lose purpose
Their entire structure cries out
To battle surface forces, push against solidity
To lean against the wind, shoulder aside
The snow, the hail, the rain.
Beyond the metal membrane
Vacuum crouches in anticipation
To toy with these invaders,
Spout out their blood in fountains
Send them back down
In sparking parabolas.

© Jan Sand

The gathering is at the church although
There is no religion manifest.
It is merely the community designation
For family, friends and acquaintances
To unwrap their possessions of the past
To indicate their unique value
And bundle them in common package.
There is some conversation,
Some flowers, some neutral melodies
Rendered on the proper somber instrument.
The package then is addressed, stamped,
And posted to eternity.

[email protected]

The 14th St. Y of the Educational Alliance
The Center for Cultural and Performing Arts
Wendy Sabin-Lasker, Director WhY Women Poetry Series, Veronica Golos, Artistic Coordinator for Literary Programs


CAVE CANEM'S 5th Anniversary Anthology

Monday, May 7, 7pm, $7 ~ In the Theatre

344 East 14th St.
New York, NY 10003, USA

for Reservations and Information: 212-780-0800x255

With special guest, Cornelius Eady

Featuring: Michelle Berry, Jacqueline Johnson, Karma Johnson, Mendi Lewis, David Mills, Veronica Mitchell, Greg Pardlo, Cherise Pollard, Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, Ronaldo Wilson.

Welcome by Veronica Golos
hosted by Quraysh Ali Lansana

Thursday, June 7, 7pm, $7
A WhY Words Series open mic with a special teen segment.
344 East 14th St.
New York, NY 10003, USA

Call to reserve a place for open mic:
212-780-0800 x255

Announcing Rick Lupert's new book: up liberty's skirt
Click book cover image to visit Poetry Super Highway page on this book
up liberty's skirt

I've never been to Arizona.
Here instead, three and
a half days worth of poems
written in New York City
and on the way to the city
and two bonus poems
written in New Jersey
where I was born.
Weren't we all...

born that is.


UP LIBERTY'S SKIRT is $5.00 and available via mail order and online secure credit card purchase.
For credit card purchase, click on 'UP LIBERTY'S SKIRT' at

For mail order, send $5.00 + $1.50 shipping (payable to Rick Lupert) to:

Rick Lupert
Up Liberty's Skirt
5336 Kester Ave. # 103
Sherman Oaks, CA 91411

Thank you for supporting independent artists!

Poetry Life & Times has just received an award from The Quill at

Many thanks to The Quill!

and a chance to get work published...

There is still time to enter, but time is running out...

...Click on the Dogwood Link for further details !

Calling Poets Who Like Sonnets:

Come and visit the Yahoo! group


run by Richard Vallance. You can join this group by emailing Richard on:
[email protected]

...Don't write sonnets? Try the more freestyle group
Narcissus_Reflects run by Scotty.

For Kedco Artist Profile Press

We pay in free copies of anthology + prizes for the best.
Short story trophies + solid silver medallions to be won!

Submissions of short stories and/or up to 10 poems wanted for new MILLENNIUM DAWN anthology, to be published both as a CD rom and a bound book.

Email submissions to Elaine Davis at [email protected] before September 2001.


For those of you who haven't noticed, we've temporarily closed submissions, but should be re-opening them in a week or so. If you have material currently under consideration, you should be hearing from us in about two weeks.

The new online edition should be ready by the second week of May, then we will begin work on our next print edition. On Saturday June 2nd, we will be holding another print benefit with live music and a poetry slam. The last benefit was a tremendous success, and we hope that this one will be even better. What we know so far is that the benefit will be held at the 13th Street Grill and Bar (corner of 13th and Locust in Downtown), and will run from 7:30 pm to 1:30 am. We will announce further details as they become available.

Until next time, I'll see you between the lines.

Sincerely yours
(from under the floor),

William Peck, Publisher/Webmaster
Friction Magazine - a journal of writers and artists

THE PERILS OF NORRIS cartoon, #5 of new story.
Reginald The Rat has been kidnapped, but we hope to get him back for another "Spot Reginald" contest next month.

The Perils of Norris started in August 2000. To catch up on past episodes, click the links below and click your browser's Back button to return.

#1  #2  #3  #4  #5  #6  #7  #8  #9

Click here for BACK ISSUES page

Mail me on: [email protected] with any poems, letters or poetry news.
Please get Featured Poets submissions in as early as possible each month.

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