Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Barn Lit By a Duck Egg, by Lillo Way



Lillo Way’s poems have appeared in New Orleans Review, Poet Lore, Tampa
Review, Tar River Poetry, Madison Review, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Poetry
East, and Santa Fe Literary Review, among others. Seven of her poems are
included in anthologies. Way's full-length manuscript, Wingbone, was a
finalist for the 2015 Barry Spacks Poetry Prize from Gunpowder Press.

About the poem:

“Barn Lit by a Duck Egg” was written in direct response to a 3-hour workshop
led by Natalie Diaz, which was the best and most intense short poetry workshop
I’ve ever had the pleasure (and pain) of participating in. Charles Burchfield was
an early twentieth-century American painter. Olivier Messiaen was a 20th century
French composer. Burchfield describes hearing music projected from the
colors and shapes of objects. Messiaen describes seeing colors and patterns in
response to musical sounds.

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Pear Trees at Terezin, by Jennifer K. Sweeney



Jennifer K. Sweeney is the author of Little Spells (New Issues Press), James
Laughlin Award winner, How to Live on Bread and Music (Perugia Press), and
Salt Memory. A Pushcart Prizewinner, poems have recently appeared in The
Adroit Journal, The Awl, Stirring, Terrain, Tinderbox, Thrush, and Verse Daily.


About the poem:

“The Pear Trees at Terezin” was written after spending a month in the Czech Republic.
My travels triggered so many folds of memory and experience that what I could tangibly
remember and what was part of me solely through ancestry felt embedded into the
present. At times I felt like I was reaching far back into my lineage, and at others, spun
out of that dream-like tumble, having never been so far away from my story.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

The Scientists Agree, by Nate Stein



Nate Stein is an international human rights attorney in New York City. His work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Wordriot, Isthmus, Gravel, and The Santa Clara Review, as well as The NYU Journal of International Law and Politics, The NYU Law Magazine, The Orlando Sentinel, and Shanghai Expat Magazine.


About the poem:

It often takes me between a week and a month to think a thought. I wrote these [poems] when
I was thinking about how as I get older I don’t feel afraid as frequently. But I miss that feeling. I have had success in life and I miss being scared of failing and I also miss being allowed to fail.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

California Dry, by Patricia L. Scruggs



Patricia L. Scruggs lives in Southern California. She is the author of Forget the Moon (2015). Her work has appeared in ONTHEBUS, Spillway, RATTLE, Calyx, and Cultural Weekly, among others, as well as the anthologies 13 Los Angles Poets, So Luminous the Wildflowers, and Beyond the Lyric Moment.

About the poem:

Last summer, during our 5-year drought, I began listing all of the names of places that were burning or had burned that year. I noted how many bore the names of saints. A poem began to emerge. The rest is court reporting of an incident during water aerobics and the scene around us—taking in the beauty of the day while parts of California were burning.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

My Body Mourns, Limb by Limb, as I Recount Your Final Days, by Michael Schmeltzer



Michael Schmeltzer is the author of “Elegy/Elk River” and “Blood Song,”
his full-length poetry debut from Two Sylvias Press. A collaborative
nonfiction book, “A Single Throat Opens,” is forthcoming from Black
Lawrence Press. You can find Schmeltzer procrastinating on Twitter at
@mschmeltzer01

About the poem:

I spend a lot of time thinking about grief, its effect on our bodies. Grief has this way
of moving, morphing, traveling from one part of us to the next. One day our heart
aches, the next our head. One day we fast, the next we gorge. Grief feels very alive
to me, and if I can’t control it within me, at least I can control it a little on the page.

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 (www.siblingsupport.org), 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
Magazine
, 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,
Delhi.

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.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

After the Election, Reading with Students, by Michael Lauchlan



Michael Lauchlan’s poems have landed in many publications including New England Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, The North American Review, Harpur Palate, Sugar House Review, and Poetry Ireland. His most recent collection is Trumbull Ave., from WSU Press.

Poet on the poem:
In his efforts to comment on the authoritarian drift in Athens, Sophocles found the Trojan war to be a useful frame. His portrayal of madness and destruction provided a similar lens for me on the day after our election.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Pope Francis Blesses the Motorcycles, by Pat M. Kuras



Pat M. Kuras has two chapbooks: Hope: Newfound Clarity (2015), and Insomniac Bliss (2017), both from IWA Publishing.

Poet on the poem:
It never occurred to me that bikers could be devout and fond of Pope Francis. When they got together, I knew I had to write a poem about them.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Until I Am Warm Too, by Eve Kenneally



Eve Kenneally (from Boston by way of DC) is a freelance writer and recent alumna of the MFA program at the University of Montana. Her chapbook, Something Else Entirely, was recently released by Dancing Girl Press. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Whiskey Island, Yemassee, Bop Dead City, decomP, Stirring, Blue Monday Review, and elsewhere.

Poet on the poem:
This poem started when my friend sent me an article about a woman making a robot out of lipstick, which I thought was an amazing and visceral phrase. I was also trying to do an Inger Christensen “Alphabet” imitation for a workshop around the same time, so this is what I ended up writing in response!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Colin, by Erren Geraud Kelly



Erren Geraud Kelly is a Puschart-nominated poet whose works have appeared in over 200 publications in print and online, in the USA and around the world. His work can be found in Children, Churches and Daddies, Slow Trains Journal, Allegro Poetry Review, and vox poetica. Kelly is the author of the book, Disturbing the Peace, from Night Ballet Press, and The Rah-Rah Girl, forthcoming from Barometric Press. He has a B.A. in English—Creative Writing From Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, and lives in Los Angeles.


Poet on the poem:
Colin is not a typical Black Poem; but then again, I’m not a typical black poet.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Still Life In A Hearse, by Judy Kaber



Judy Kaber’s poems have appeared in many journals including Eclectica, Ekphrasis, Off the Coast, Comstock Review, and The Guardian. Contest credits include the Maine Postmark Poetry Contest, the Larry Kramer Memorial Chapbook Contest, and, most recently, second place in the 2016 Muriel Craft Bailey Poetry Contest.

Poet on the poem:

This poem started as a homophonic translation of another poem, and explores the way the past, however wayward, still lives in us in the present.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Introducing Crab Creek Review Intern Rukhsar Palla




Rukhsar Palla is a Sullivan Scholar at Seattle University, currently completing her senior year. She is pursuing a double major in Creative writing/English and French, and spent the last year abroad in France, Senegal, and then Pakistan. She is currently the co-editor of Fragments, Seattle University's Annual Literary Publication. Two of her poems have been published in this year's issue of Fragments. Currently, Rukhsar is working on voicing the collective realities and injustices Pakistani women face, through fiction. She has just been accepted to pursue an MFA in Creative Writing at Emerson College, which she will begin completing in August.

Crab Creek Review is pleased to welcome Rukhsar to the team. She's been busy all spring reading submissions, and helping out at the Crab Creek Review table at SAL events.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Tragedy of the Commons, by Claire Jackson



Claire Jackson is an essayist, poet and transit lawyer. Born and raised in Seattle, she studied creative writing at the University of Washington and continues to study at Richard Hugo House. Her work has appeared in various northwest literary journals and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.


The writer says:

The “tragedy of the commons” is the observation that individuals acting in their self-interest can be pretty terrible at preserving a shared, unregulated resource for the benefit of the collective. I’m interested in the ways we contend with the everyday depletion of our various “commons”—including the edens we try to create in our relationships—and how difficult it can be to count the costs of our own behaviors.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

I Forgive and Forget, by Tom C. Hunley



Tom C. Hunley was once the world’s forgotten boy, but now he’s God’s lonely man. He is a husband of twenty years, a father of four, a professor, and a publisher. His poetry collections include PLUNK (Wayne State College Press 2015) and THE STATE THAT SPRINGFIELD IS IN (Split Lip Press 2016).

Poet on the poem:

This is part of a book-length manuscript consisting of fifty-odd self-epitaphs. The tentative title is THE GRAND PAUSE.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Aleppo, by Lola Haskins



Lola Haskins’ latest collection is How Small, Confronting Morning. Her prose includes a poetry advice book and a book about Florida cemeteries. She has won the Iowa Poetry Prize and two Florida Book Awards and was recently named Honorary Chancellor of the Florida State Poet’s Association. Haskins taught at Pacific Lutheran University’s Rainier Writing Workshop for eleven years.

Poet on the poem:

“Aleppo” came from a news story which drove home for me what life must be like for all those people who live, hoping that today no bomb will fall on their children, and how much under those circumstances even a few moments of sky/freedom can matter.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Day at the Beach, by Merridawn Duckler



Merridawn Duckler lives in Portland, OR. Poetry current or forthcoming in TAB, Literary Orphans, International Psychoanalysis, Really System, Rivet Journal, Rogue Agent, Unbroken Journal, The Offing, and Otis Nebula. Recent humor appears in in Defenestration. She was a finalist for the 2016 Sozoplo Fiction Fellowship. Duckler is an editor at Narrative and the international philosophy journal Evental Aesthetics.


Poet on the poem:

Where we live, in the Pacific Northwest, nature’s ability to heal is well known. But I wanted a reminder that nature isn’t solely for skilled and accomplished, even competitive, outdoors-people. It’s for all. I don’t need to tell you this world is no day at the beach. But maybe also: go to the water. Say what you find there.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Allied Maintenance, by Merrill Oliver Douglas



Merrill Oliver Douglas has published her work in Barrow Street, San Pedro River Review, Baltimore Review, Lips, IthacaLit, and South 85 Journal, among others. She lives in upstate New York, where she runs a freelance writing business, working with trade magazines, university magazines, nonprofit organizations, and corporate clients.

Poet on the poem:

When I first met my future husband, and for several years into our marriage, he worked on the machine maintenance crew at the huge IBM production complex in our area. IBM is no longer a significant employer in our part of New York State.

Monday, May 22, 2017

An Emergency of Birds, by Diana Decker



Diana Decker is a poet whose work has appeared in Verdad, Poppy Road Review, Silver Birch Press, deLuge, KY Story’s Anthology Getting Old, Mothers Always Write, and Smoky Blue Magazine. She writes, sings, and counts the birds on the small farm in New York that she shares with her husband.

Poet on the poem:

This is about habitat loss and climate change, of course, but also about a delayed realization of loss and missed opportunity, and the momentary impulse to just give in and ride the decline.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Pasta In A Ditch, by Brendan Cooney



Brendan Cooney is a U.S. poet living in Copenhagen. His poetry has appeared in Spillway, Sugar House Review, Canary, and Isthmus. He’s published essays in Prairie Schooner, Salon, Counterpunch, Chicago Reader, and Outlook India, and journalism in National Journal, Columbia Journalism Review, and other magazines and newspapers. Glimpses of films and other work are at: https://brendancooneyblog.wordpress.com/

Poet on the poem:

My immediate inspiration here was the Tang dynasty poets. The twin longings I have long had for solitude-in-nature and for home I was thrilled to find in work over a thousand years old. The pasta story ended with the man, a Swedish dairy-farmer, taking me for an Eastern European burglar, rounding up neighbors a few minutes later to hunt for me. I could see their lights from my new hiding place. The alienation from the species I felt at the time deepened. A homelessness never more shocking than upon return to my sacred swath of ground in Maryland.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

You Go Too, by Dennis Caswell



Dennis Caswell is the author of the poetry collection Phlogiston (Floating Bridge Press).  His work has appeared in Bluestem, Crab Creek Review, Poetry Northwest, Rattle, and assorted other journals and anthologies. He lives outside Woodinville, Washington, works as a software engineer in the aviation industry, and loves Bassetts jelly babies.

Poet on the Poem:

I’m guessing that it takes a long time and a lot of thought to muster the resolve to commit mass murder. What sort of thought could that be? I wanted to create a sort of calculus of alienation: a system of thought within which slaughter makes a kind of psychotic sense.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

For My Cousin, The Stripper, by Maari Carter




Maari Carter is originally from Winona, MS. Her poems have appeared in such places as Salt Hill Journal, Superstition Review, and SundogLit, among others. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing at Florida State University, where she serves as Poetry Editor of The Southeast Review.


Familial mythology is often a point of interrogation in my work as a way to examine the causality of that initial priming that occurs through inherited narratives and the schematic dissonance it can create, even within something as interconnected as the family unit. With this poem, in particular, I wanted to focus on oppositional epistemologies without privileging one or the other, but acknowledge the cost and limitations of each.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

How the Birth Mother Was Found, and Thorn, by Lynne Thompson



Lynne Thompson is the author of Beg No Pardon, winner of the Perugia Press Prize and the Great Lakes colleges Association’s New Writers Award, and Start With A Small Guitar (What Books Press). Thompson’s poems have appeared in Ecotone, African American Review, North American Review, and Prairie Schooner.


“How the Birth Mother Was Found” accurately reflects the way in which a friend found my birth mother, and, ultimately, connected us. It was the first time I understood that the gene pool includes the vocal chords. “Thorn” was born of my ruminations—read: fears—about the kind of mother I might have been and, perhaps, why I never became one.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Valentine Palindrome, by Christine Butterworth-McDermott



Christine Butterworth-McDermott is the founder and head editor for the online journal, Gingerbread House Literary Magazine. Her poems have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, The Normal School, River Styx, Southeast Review, and others. She is the author of Woods and Water, Wolves and Women.


“Valentine Palindrome” was inspired by two separate incidents: an old boyfriend who hid some love letters from another girl and a mockingbird (not a cardinal) that crashed into my window.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Short Talks (After Anne Carson), by Molly Brown



Molly Brown is from Geneva, IL. She holds degrees in Music and English from Bucknell University. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Word Riot and Turtle Island Quarterly.


After encountering Anne Carson’s “Short Talks” in Plainwater, I was struck by their form and timbre, how their collective voice is at once reverential and then twists away into humor and then back again. I wanted to try my hand at this kind of voice, at its lovely, intimate, and beautifully strange brevity and presence.

Monday, May 8, 2017

"I Was the More" by Martha Gray Adkins



Martha Gray Adkins was born in St. Louis, MO, and has lived at Egleston Children’s Hospital, Fort Benning, Fort Ord, and Fort Drum. Adkins’s work has appeared in Feminine Inquiry and Lavender Review, and is forthcoming in Plenitude.


“I Was the More” is based on my experience as a survivor of intimate partner violence. This poem is part of an ongoing body of trauma-oriented autobiographical work re-interrogating the domestic, where each piece uses fragmented text from Shakespeare’s Hamlet (in this case, Ophelia’s line “I was the more deceived”) as title and kindling.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Introducing David J. Daniels, Assistant Poetry Editor




David J. Daniels is the author of Clean (Four Way Books), winner of the Four Way Books Intro Prize, and finalist for the Kate Tufts Award and Lambda Literary Award for Poetry. He is also the author of two chapbooks, Breakfast in the Suburbs (Seven Kitchens Press) and Indecency (Seven Kitchen Press). He teaches composition in the University Writing Program at the University of Denver and has received fellowships or scholarships from Kenyon Review, Bread Loaf Writers Conference, and The Stadler Center at Bucknell University.

Crab Creek Review is honored to welcome David J. Daniels to the editorial team. David has been hard at work reading submissions for the 2017 Crab Creek Review Poetry Prize. Follow David on Twitter @David_J_Daniels

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Selfie at the End of the World, by Francine Witte



Francine Witte is a poet, flash fiction writer, photographer, blogger and reviewer. Her latest poetry chapbook “Not All Fires Burn the Same” won the 2016 Slipstream Press competition and will be published this fall. She is a former high school teacher, and lives in New York City.


The title of this poem just popped into my head one day as I noted how everyone loves to document each moment with a selfie as a kind of stamp that this particular moment took place and I was part of it. I thought of all the possibilities this offered, and the most outrageous one would, of course, be pausing in the middle of chaos just to snap that photo.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Motai-nai: Don’t Waste, by Sara Yamasaki



Moving Words Writing Clinic. Her poetry is published in Calyx and Echoes from Gold Mountain, book reviews, articles and essays in the International Examiner and The Kyoto Journal. She is a 2015 Hedgebrook Writing Residency recipient. Movingwordsclinic.com


While caring for my 92-year-old father, at times I felt crazy. He had dementia. His days and nights, and past and present realities were mixed up. Yet, I began to see I wasn’t just caring for him. Sometimes, at the most surprising moments, we dipped back in time and he became my caring, insightful father, and I became his little girl. He passed away on February 28, 2016.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

This is Your Love Poem, Al, by Corrie Williamson



Corrie Williamson is the author of Sweet Husk, winner of the 2014 Perugia Press Prize and a finalist for the Library of Virginia Poetry Award. Her poems have appeared in The Missouri Review, AGNI, Shenandoah, Willow Springs, and elsewhere. She lives in Helena, MT.

“This Is Your Love Poem, Al”: I have been known to say that all poems are ultimately about sex, death, or god. My partner has gently pointed out the potential cynicism and narrow-mindedness of such a claim. He usually makes a fair point, and so I did my best here to prove myself wrong.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Oh, This Could Be the Last Time So Here, by Peter Twal



Peter Twal’s poems have appeared (or will soon) in Kenyon Review Online, Ninth Letter Online, Public Pool, Quarterly West, cream city review, The Journal, Devil’s Lake, RHINO, Booth, Yemassee, DIAGRAM, Bat City Review, and elsewhere. Peter earned his MFA from the University of Notre Dame. Read more at Petertwal.com.


First inspired by the LCD Soundsystem song “All My Friends” and later the poetry of Habib Al-Zayudi which I was translating from Arabic, I began writing poems obsessed with nostalgia, began exploring the ways in which memory can be a sort of violence against the body, both past and present. These poems explore that premise at different points in manuscript—specifically, when the speaker’s memories begin to bite back.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Crab Creek Review Poetry Prize open for submissions

Spring is almost here in the Pacific Northwest, and after a cold, wet winter, Seattle is looking forward to some sunshine! While we wait, we're buoyed by flurries of submissions for the 2017 Crab Creek Review Poetry Prize, and excited to have Diane Seuss on board to judge this year's contest.

The entry period for the 2017 Crab Creek Review Poetry Prize began on February 15th; entries will be accepted until May 15, 2017. A $500 prize will be awarded for the winning poem. All entries considered for publication. Winner and finalists will appear in Crab Creek Review. All poems are read anonymously (blind reading) by the editorial staff. We follow the CLMP code of ethics; if you think you are too close to the poetry editor or judge for comfort, please refrain from submitting work to the contest. We have a non-contest option available to all, with a 10-day turnaround time. A small processing fee is charged for this "Fast-Lane" submission option.


Diane Seuss was born in Indiana and raised in Michigan. She earned a BA from Kalamazoo College and an MSW from Western Michigan University. Seuss is the author of the poetry collections Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl (2018); Four-Legged Girl (2015), finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open (2010), winner of the 2009 Juniper Prize for Poetry; and It Blows You Hollow (1998). Her work has appeared in Poetry, the Georgia Review, Brevity, Able Muse, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and Missouri Review, as well as The Best American Poetry 2014. She was the MacLean Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Department of English at Colorado College in 2012, and she has taught at Kalamazoo College since 1988.

Friday, February 3, 2017

The Politics of Scent, by Kelly Grace Thomas



Kelly Grace Thomas is a Pushcart Prize nominee and 2016 Fellow for the Kenyon Review Young Writers. “The Politics of Scent” was a semifinalist for the Crab Creek Review Poetry Contest. Her work is forthcoming or has appeared in: Rattle, PANK, Rust + Moth, Crab Creek Review, Black Heart,
and others. Kellygracethomas.com

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Grinding Up the Seed Corn, by Mara Adamitz Scrupe



Mara Adamitz Scrupe creates poetry, book arts, installation, and public art. She has authored two poetry collections, “Sky Pilot,” published by Finishing Line Press, and “BEAST,” winner of the National Federation of State Poetry Societies’ Stevens Manuscript Award.


Poet on the poem:
I live on an 18th century-era farm in Virginia where I do most of my writing surrounded by the stories and artifacts of history set amidst splendid and profoundly moving natural landscapes.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Carious Lesion Scale (Or, the classification of dental cavities), by Verity Sayles



Verity Sayles is an essayist from Massachusetts. She received her MFA in nonfiction from Oregon State University where she discovered a love of pine trees. Her work appears in Under the Gum Tree, Commonline Journal, Burningword Literary Journal, and Dark Matter Journal. She can be reached at
Veritysayles.com or @saylesteam.

Writer on the essay:
No stranger to the dentist’s chair, I wanted to write a piece that felt like a growing cavity, and engaged the paradoxical ratio of decreasing enamel with increased pain. “Carious Lesion Scale” developed from a prompt given to me by the fabulous poet, Jen Richter. I love writing within existing constraints, especially those of a medical nature, and trying to push the emotional weight of an essay into clinical boundaries.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Engine Crisis, by Janet Reed



Janet Reed teaches writing and literature for Crowder College in Missouri. She began giving her poems breath in the world over summer break a year ago and is pleased to have published in multiple journals. She is humbled to share this poem with Crab Creek Review.

Poet on the Poem:
This poem began as an exercise about a vivid memory from childhood. My dad could fix anything, and his garage was better organized than any chef’s kitchen. I had never seen him fail, and the anguish that hung in the air when he gave up has stayed with me. The poem took on some surprises for me as I revised and also made me feel tender toward a man who was both brilliant and fragile.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

De Melkmeid by Johannes Vermeer, by Rachel Rear



Rachel Rear is a teacher, writer, actor, and sometime aerialist living in Brooklyn, New York. Her work has been published in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, Off The Coast Poetry Journal, and Forage Poetry Journal. She is working on her first book. Follow her on Twitter
@RaeRear.

Poet on the Poem:
Vermeer’s De Melkmeid was on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2009, in its first US appearance since the 1939 World’s Fair. Painted circa 1657-1658, it is a pivotal work completed in what is considered the middle of Vermeer’s career.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Kalamazoo Visits Saint Francis’s Tomb, by Susan Blackwell Ramsey



Among other places, Susan Blackwell Ramsey’s work has appeared in The Southern Review, 32 Poems, Poetry Northwest and Best American Poetry 2009. Her book, A Mind Like This, won the Prairie Schooner Poetry Book Prize. She lives in Kalamazoo and still can’t break herself of spacing twice after a period.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Gardening, by Connie Post (2016 Crab Creek Poetry Prize winner)



Connie Post served as Poet Laureate of Livermore, CA (2005-2009). Her work has appeared in Calyx, Crab Creek Review, Comstock Review, Slipstream, Spoon River Poetry Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and Verse Daily. Her first full-length book, Floodwater (Glass Lyre Press 2014), won the Lyrebird Award.

Poet on the Poem:
The poem, “Gardening,” was dormant in the back of my mind for many years. I saw the image, I lived with the image, but it never became a poem until this year. As many poems happen, they stay in our conscious and subconscious for years, and they tell us when it’s time to be born. I am pleased I listened to the poem’s voice, and was patient with its blooming.

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Moon, by Kelly Michels



Kelly Michels received her MFA from North Carolina State University. She is the author of two chapbooks, the most recent entitled Disquiet, published by Jacar Press. Her work has appeared in Best New Poets, Green Mountains Review, Nimrod, Connotation Press, One, Redivider, Reed Magazine, and Barely South Review, among others.

Poet on the Poem:
I wrote this poem for Betty Adcock and Claudia Emerson, whose poetic friendship was deep and enduring. The poem was inspired by a moment in which I stopped to look at the moon after spending an evening discussing one of Claudia’s poems at Betty’s house. Soon after, Claudia passed away, and I sent Betty the poem, knowing I had very little to offer in the face of such grief. It was the only thing I could do after the loss of such a brilliant voice.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Junior Partner, by Nilla Larsen



Nilla Larsen holds a MFA in poetry from UNC-Wilmington. Her poems are featured in or forthcoming in Asheville Poetry Review, North Carolina Literary Review, Slippery Elm, and elsewhere. She is the winner of the Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing First Place Poetry Fellowship. Follow her on Twitter @nillalarsen.

Poet on the Poem:
“Junior Partner” is the most slash-full poem I’ve written so far, but the slashes were not part of the early drafts. What jumpstarted the poem were the similes in stanza one, which challenged me to find the resonant qualities in mundane, inanimate objects. The narrative is inspired by two lines from Jenny Hval’s song ‘That Battle is Over’: “So are we loving ourselves now? Are we mothering ourselves?”

Monday, January 16, 2017

Amazing Grace, by Jennifer Jean



Jennifer Jean’s debut collection is The Fool. Her writing has appeared in: Rattle, Waxwing, Drunken Boat, Solstice, Green Mountains Review, and more. Jennifer is Poetry Editor for The Mom Egg, Managing Editor of Talking Writing, and Co-director of Morning Garden Artist Retreats. She teaches Free2Write poetry workshops to sex-trafficking survivors.

Poet on the Poem: 
This poem is from my manuscript exploring objectification, and sex-trafficking—which is modern-day slavery. It’s based on the famous hymn which has become an anthem against all kinds of social injustice. Included is an excerpt from this D.W. Winnicott quote about the human condition: “It is a joy to be hidden and a disaster not to be found.” Shame often keeps us hidden when we need to be found—seen, and known—to be healed.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

this is my da Vinci face, by Dennis Hinrichsen



Dennis Hinrichsen’s most recent collection is Skin Music, co-winner of the 2014 Michael Waters Poetry Prize from Southern Indiana Review Press. His previous books have won the Akron, FIELD, and Tampa Poetry Prizes. He has also received a 2014 Best of the Net Award and the 2016 Third Coast Poetry Prize.

Poet on the Poem:
I wrote this poem after having a couple of negative blood tests post prostate surgery via the Da Vinci Surgical System, so I felt a little saved, as if I had been re-birthed, painted, re-painted by da Vinci himself. Hence, the opening lines and then the run toward figuring out what to do next with that saved life.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Bulrushes, by Alec Hershman



Alec Hershman lives in Michigan. He has received awards from the Kimmel-Harding-Nelson Center for the Arts, The Jentel Foundation, and the Institute for Sustainable Living, Art, and Natural Design. Other poems of his appear in recent issues of Denver Quarterly, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Cimarron Review, Western Humanities Review, Bodega, Posit, Puerto del Sol, and elsewhere. You can find out more at Alechershmanpoetry.com.

Poet on the Poem:
I initially thought to publish “Bulrushes” online accompanied by a video of my googly-eyed hand in drag—big garish “mouth” reading the poem somberly aloud before uncurling itself at the end, but the editors and I couldn’t agree about the video, and so this poem had to go back into its fascicle for a couple years until it could behave or further insist to me its video cause. Here it makes its print debut, along with its chaperone poem, “Is to Cowardice, Is to Grace.”

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Freshman Health, by Ross Helford



After more than a decade working as a screenwriter, Ross Helford earned his MFA, which rekindled his passion for prose. He is presently nearing the completion of his second novel. Ross is also a teacher, black belt, trombonist, and ordained vegveyzer living in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter.

A word from the author:
My wife awoke from one of those dreams where she didn’t graduate high school. At the time, our daughter was five months old, and I thought how odd our subconscious remains stuck in adolescence even with all the inherent worries of parenthood. Stylistically, the story owes much to Elizabeth Crane.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

At the Art of War, by Maximilian Heinegg



Maximilian Heinegg is a public high school English teacher, singer-songwriter, and guitarist. His poems will appear this fall in Nine Mile and Structo (UK). His songs and adaptations of poetry from the public domain can be heard at Maxheinegg.com

Poet on the poem:
This poem was written after my wife and I followed our daughters and their friend around the Harvard Natural History Museum, which connects to the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. Our visit came during another snowy New England winter, and my kids were looking for a place to find their spirit animals. Instead, we stumbled into The Art of War. The poem is syllabic, written after reading a lot of Thom Gunn, whose work I admire greatly.

Friday, January 6, 2017

The Third Thing That Killed My Brother, by Kait Heacock



Kait Heacock is a book publicist and writer in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in journals, magazines, and websites including Bustle, DAME, Esquire, KGB Bar Lit Mag, Portland Review, Tin House, tNY.Press, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, and The Washington Post. Her debut story collection, Siblings and Other Disappointments, was published in October 2016.


A word from the author:
During the time that I was editing my short story collection, Siblings and Other Disappointments, my brother died. Many of the stories within the book are inspired by him. As I struggled to make sense of his sudden and horrible death, I turned to writing. This piece is an homage to both my brother and Raymond Carver, whose writing and life often helped me better understand my brother.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Tango Life: Buenos Aires, by Stuart Freyer



Stuart Freyer’s poetry has appeared in Slant, Mount Hope, and Poetry Quarterly among others, and will be seen in Mudfish and Peregrine. “Following In His Tracks” was a finalist in the Cutthroat Joy Harjo Poetry Contest. He lives in a house on a dirt road in Williamstown, MA exactly two miles from the mailbox where he and his wife madly practice their tango steps.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

On Being Told I Look Like the Rapper J. Cole, or List of Black People I Apparently Look Like, or Do All Black People Look Alike?, by Malcolm Friend



Malcolm Friend is a poet and Canto Mundo fellow originally from the Rainier Beach neighborhood of Seattle, WA, and a MFA candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Pittsburgh. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in La Respuesta magazine, Vinyl, Word Riot, and The Acentos Review.