Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Sister, by Lisa Richter

Lisa Richter’s poetry has appeared in Canthius, The Puritan, The Malahat
Review, The Scrivener, The Rock Salt Plum Review, and elsewhere. Her first
full-length collection of poetry, Closer to Where We Began, is forthcoming
with Tightrope Books in spring 2017. She lives, writes, and teaches English
to adults in Toronto.

About the poem:

I wrote “The Sister” (whose title was inspired by Sharon Olds’ “The Father”) as
a tribute to my older sister Caroline, whose severe mental illness resulted in her
hospitalization on numerous occasions between the ages of 16-24. Though this
story was not easy to tell, I've been greatly encouraged by The Sibling Support
Project (, an online community for brothers and sisters of
people with special health, developmental, and mental health concerns.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

An Uncertain Map of How I Got Raced, by Charnell Peters

Charnell Peters is from Kokomo, IN. Her work has appeared or is
forthcoming in Ruminate, Apogee, Public Pool, Relief Journal, Puerto Del Sol’s
Black Voices Series, Fiction Southeast, and elsewhere. She is pursuing an
MA in Media and Communication at Bowling Green State University, and
she loves brave, honest stories.

About the poem:

This poem connects a portion of the larger scholarship on race and ethnicity—
such as the social production of race and space and the significance of scientific
racism—to a particular, individual life.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Bee Boxes, by Candace Pearson

Candace Pearson won the Liam Rector First Book Prize for Poetry from
Longwood University for Hour of Unfolding. Her poems have appeared in fine
journals and anthologies nationwide. A Pushcart Prize nominee, she writes
in a turn-of-the-century hiker’s cabin in the Southern California foothills.

About the poem:

I grew up in California’s great Central Valley, a vast agricultural region. The land
and its many inhabits (including bees) still hold dear in my heart. The idea of the
regular, ever-present journey of the bees both informed and contrasted with a
loved one’s life struggle.

Monday, July 10, 2017

There & Here, by Thomas Patterson

Thomas Patterson lives in Westport, Massachusetts. He is retired from his
work as a School Adjunstment Counselor/crisis counselor in the Fall River
School Department and as an Instructor in English at Bristol Community
College, where he taught composition and literature. His most recent
poetry appears in Nimrod International Journal, The South Carolina Review,
New Orleans Review, CutBank
, and Chiron Review.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Crab Creek Review Poetry Prize awarded to Hannah Craig

Hannah Craig, of Pittsburgh, PA, won the 2017 Crab Creek Review Poetry Prize for her poem, “Hemming Twice to Show the Strength.” The finalists are Carol Berg, from Groton, MA, for her poem,“Self-Portrait as Seven Deadly Sins” and Phill Provance, from Woodstock, IL for his poem,“The Stenographers Union.”

Hannah will receive $500 plus publication in the 2017 fall issue of Crab Creek Review. Finalists and semifinalists will also be published. The complete list of semifinalists is listed on our website. Contest judge Diane Seuss (Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl, 2018), read all the semifinalist poems, provided to her without identification. Congratulations to all the poets!

“Hemming Twice to Show the Strength” by Hannah Craig

I love this poem for its many dimensions of artfulness—structure, music, and imagination. Without a heavy-handed narrative, the writer nevertheless sets a scene in the very first line and goes on to perform an “I,” a girl with “popcorn hair and sleeves of silver wire.” The decision to structure the poem via couplets seems just right, given the girl’s twin bodies—the one she’s born with and the one she “grows into,” the body that is not hers, sought (or imposed on her) in the pages of the bridal book. The poem brilliantly enacts the price of false-embodiment—vertigo, dissociation, death. At odds with the poem’s tight structure is the exhilaration of its associative leaps and its mad musicality—internal rhymes, alliteration, composition by ear and by fear. “I’m the twin of the old you/That’s grown inside the blue you, the dead you, the foggy dew/That lies upon the grass that’s you, that’s pressed upon,/Caressed and bound, that’s also laid.” This writer has voiced a speaker pressed, bound, and laid by gender’s ludicrous rules and regulations in a language that is obsessively, dizzyingly inventive. - Diane Seuss

“Self-Portrait as Seven Deadly Sins” by Carol Berg

Beginning with an epigraph from Salvador Dali, this litany voices the Seven Deadly Sins as a speaker who travels through—interpenetrates, really—a deeply-witnessed natural world. The anaphoric phrase that opens these lines is “I travel,” and therefore we experience the speaker as an approaching presence, mysterious, dangerous, even. Its gorgeous specificities haunt—“a donkey’s blunt/discourse,” “the weight of the reluctant loamy language/of moss, of lichen,” “the buddleia’s pink arch,” and “a green dream and of fall’s sudden flight.” Nature here is absolutely unsentimentalized. It is seen. It is languaged. I so dig the final gesture, in which the poem tumbles into Latin, like the Catholic mass retreating to its origins. Somehow, in this move, the “I” feels fully-realized. I admire this poem’s compression and what it leaves in the white space’s great unspokenness. I love that it enacts experience, unburdened by goodness and wisdom. - Diane Seuss

“The Stenographers Union” by Phill Provance

In reading this ingenious poem I feel like I’m looking into a diorama in a shoebox, a scene and a world dreamily composed within the cleanly-wrought borders of the speaker’s imagination, where “The moon is just a jellyfish we all have a spoon in” and God is a “Grand Stenographer…loading his standard-issue pocket protector,” “each of his teeth…a perfect scale replica of Nebraska.” I love this poem’s wit, its creepiness, and its snarky, haunted take on religion. It’s a poem-as-Joseph-Cornell-box—a little myth with a Midwestern twang. - Diane Seuss

The Poets

Hannah Craig is the author of This History That Just Happened (Parlor Press, 2017) which was the winner of the New Measure Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in Fence, Mississippi Review, the North American Review, the Norton Anthology of Hint Fiction, Prairie Schooner, Smartish Pace and other publications. Her work was selected as the winner of the 2016 Mississippi Review Prize. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA with her husband and daughter where she works in IT and is an avid printmaker.

Carol Berg’s poems are forthcoming or in DMQ Review, Sou’wester,Spillway, Redactions, Radar Poetry, Verse Wisconsin, and in the anthologies Forgotten Women, A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poems and Bigger Than They Appear: An Anthology of Very Small Poems. Her chapbooks, Her Vena Amoris (Red Bird Chapbooks), and Ides (Silver Birch Press) are available and her chapbooks, The Johnson Girls, Ophelia Unraveling and The Ornithologist Poems are all available from dancing girl press. She was a recipient of a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Phill Provance’s poetry and prose have appeared in The Baltimore Sun, Orbis, Noctua and others. Previously, he wrote for Wizard and InQuest Gamer before scripting MediaTier Ltd.'s comic strip The Adventures of Ace Hoyle. In 2011, Cy Gist Press published his first poetry chapbook, The Day the Sun Rolled Out of the Sky. His second chapbook, Given to Suddenly Laughter, is forthcoming in 2019 (Cy Gist), as is his first full-length work of non-fiction (The History Press). His critical essay “Warring with Whitmania” will appear in The Poetic Legacy of Whitman, Williams, and Ginsberg (PCCC). Phill is completing his MFA at WV Wesleyan College. When not writing and reading, he prefers spending time with the best little guy in the whole world, his son, Ledger.

Crab Creek Review's contest issue will be available this October. Order a copy on our website or pick one up at Open Books, Elliott Bay Bookstore, or Eagle Harbor Books.

Ragamuffin, by Laura Page

Laura Page is a graduate of Southern Oregon University where she studied
English and Sociology. Her work has been published in many literary
publications, including Red Paint Hill, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, HYPERTEXT
, and Kindred. Her chapbook, Children, Apostates is forthcoming
from Dancing Girl Press.

About the work:

This poem was an attempt to convey the “unsanitized” aspects of loving another
human being and to describe a relationship in terms of resilience.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Landscape with Playground Equipment, Pigtails, and Hypodermic Syringes, by Nicole Stellon O'Donnell

Nicole Stellon O’Donnell’s, first collection, Steam Laundry, won the 2013
Willa Award for poetry. A recipient of writers’ grants from the Rasmuson
Foundation and the Alaska Arts & Culture Foundation, and a Fulbright
Distinguished Award in Teaching, she teaches at a public school in a youth
facility in Fairbanks, Alaska.

About the work:

I am a public schoolteacher exhausted by the “Oh Captain!” archetypes built of
a fetishized vision of teaching and the simultaneous greedy-lazy-union-fatcat
characterizations of teachers pushed by educorp apologists. Teachers in America get
painted as saints or demons. Last spring, I decided to write about what it’s really like,
on a personal level, to teach in this country. Now that I’ve started, I can’t stop.

Monday, July 3, 2017

America Teaches Me About Myself, by Lena Khalaf Tuffaha

Lena Khalaf Tuffaha is the winner of the 2016 Two Sylvias Chapbook prize
for her manuscript Arab in Newsland, published in 2016. Lena’s poems have
been published in print and online journals including Magnolia, Blackbird,
Barrow Street, the Taos Journal for International Poetry and Art, Diode, Floating
Bridge Review
, and elsewhere. Her first book of poems, Water & Salt, is
forthcoming from Red Hen Press.

About the work:

These poems were inspired by, or perhaps resulted from, a habit I have of writing
down statements or sentences that I find amazing. Each of these poems contains a
line or sentence that has been said to me.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Walt Whitman Shops, by Joey Nicoletti

Joey Nicoletti is the author of 2 full-length poetry collections and 4
chapbooks, most recently Reverse Graffiti (Bordighera, 2015) and Counterfeit
Moon (NightBallet, 2016). Educated at the University of Iowa, New Mexico
State University, and Sarah Lawrence College, he currently teaches at
SUNY Buffalo State College.

Abouth the poem:
Having spent significant parts of my boyhood in Walt Whitman’s birthplace
and his eponymously named shopping mall, I visited my old stomping grounds
recently, and was taken aback by its name change from “Walt Whitman Mall”
to “Walt Whitman Shops,” its new emphasis on upscale stores, and the increased
sprawl of tract housing around it, which made me wonder what I might say to
Walt if we swapped stories and perspectives about the area.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

We Are All Something, by Shankar Narayan

Shankar Narayan explores identity, power, and race in a world where the
body is flung across borders yet possesses unrivaled power to transcend
them. A Pushcart Prize nominee and a 2016 Fellow at Kundiman and at
Hugo House, Shankar draws strength from his global upbringing and from
his work as a civil rights attorney. In Seattle, he awakens to the wonders
of Cascadia every day, but his heart yearns east to his other hometown,

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

First Born Son, by Jasminne Mendez

Jasminne Mendez is an award-winning author whose work has been
published both nationally and internationally. Her first memoir, Island
of Dreams, was awarded Best Young Adult Latino Focused Book by the
International Latino Book Awards in 2015. She is an MFA Creative Writing
candidate at PLU’s Rainier Writing Workshop.

About the poem:

This poem came from a writing workshop I took with Willie Perdomo at the Voices
of Our Nation (VONA/Voices) writing workshop where we were asked to write a
“hard poem.” Writing about my brother is hard because although he introduced
me to poetry and theatre, our relationship has dissolved over the years, and in this
piece I mourn the loss of who he was and the things we once shared.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Dark Matter, by Martha McCollough

Martha McCollough is a writer and video artist living in Chelsea, MA.
Her poems have appeared in The Baffler, Cream City Review, and Salamander,
among others. Her videopoems have appeared in Triquarterly, Datableed,
and Atticus Review.

About the poem:
“Dark Matter” is a meditation for one of those days when the universe, or some
malign aspect of it, seems to intend to thwart us. The crows are real. In parts of
Japan, the Jungle Crow often makes nests atop power lines during the breeding
season that could cause large blackouts due to short circuiting. The Kyushu
Electric power company has “crow patrols” that search out and destroy hanger
nests on their power grid.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Two Poems by Brooke Matson

Brooke Matson is a poet and educator. Her full-length collection of
poetry, The Moons, was published by Blue Begonia Press in 2012. Her
poems have appeared in Floating Bridge Review, CALYX, Numéro Cinq, several
anthologies, and various issues of RiverLit, for which she was the 2014 Poet
in Residence.

About the poems:
The past year and a half, I’ve used the medium of poetry to interrogate physical
matter— particularly chemistry and physics—about the nature of human trauma,
both personal and societal. Both these poem explore our symbiotic relationship
with matter—one from the perspective of an element (“Lithium”), and the other
from a human observer (“Ode to Dark Matter”).

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Plain White Shoebox, by Sanam Mahloudji

Sanam Mahloudji lives in Los Angeles, and soon London, with her
husband and two daughters. Born in Tehran and raised in L.A., she’s
worked as a record store clerk and union-side labor lawyer, among other
things. Her non-fiction has appeared in GOOD. This is her first published
work of fiction.

About the work:

My daughters were two, and just started their first drop-off program at our
YWCA; I’d sit in the main office until we felt they were ready for this first real
separation. I’d listen to the older women chat before exercise classes, amazed at
how easily, even hilariously, they spoke of death. Someone mentioned shredding
99.9 percent of her papers in preparation. I felt, though, there was an unspoken
layer underneath, which is what I tried to explore.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Not Elsewhere, by Michele Leavitt

Michele Leavitt, a poet and essayist, is also a high school dropout, hepatitis C survivor, and former trial attorney. Her poems and essays appear most recently in North American Review, Sycamore Review, Guernica, and Catapult. She’s the author of the Kindle Singles memoir, Walk Away.

About the poem:
I was separated from my family by adoption, and reunited with them as an adult.
My mother passed away one year before that reunion, and I often think of what it
would be like to meet her.