Friday, December 30, 2016

Applying TV Makeup to a CEO, by Morgan Finn

Morgan Finn lives in the Connecticut hills. Her poetry and prose have appeared in Kalliope, Thema, and Wild Dove. A poem of hers won first prize in the 2016 WEN Writing Competition. Upcoming: a story in Tallgrass/Outrider Press, and a poem in PMS Literary Journal.

Poet on the poem:
The first version of “Applying TV Makeup to a CEO” almost sprang onto paper, even though there were other participants that day for an insurance teleconference.  There was something deeply bonding as I hovered over the nervous CEO who let me see inside him, leaving an indelible impression of what lies behind the mask.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

As a Man, a short story by Laura Farmer

Laura Farmer’s fiction has recently appeared in The Antioch Review, North American Review, and other journals. She is Writing Studio Director at Cornell College and a book critic for The Gazette.

A word from the author:
While the plot in “As a Man” is entirely fiction, the world surrounding the characters is rooted very much in my own experience. From the power of hearing a long-lost voice on a tape recorder to the beauty and wonder that is St. Lucy’s parish in Syracuse, NY, these small, real moments were great fun to reflect on—making me feel like I was on a journey somewhere surprising too.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Static, by Tige Ashton DeCoster

Tige Ashton DeCoster, a native of Seattle, received his BA in creative writing from the University of Washington. Tige’s poetry has been published in Malpais Review, Fly South, Calliope, and others. He was the recipient of a 2009 Fulbright scholarship, and winner of the 2016 Joan Grayston Poetry Prize.

Poet on the poem:
My parents were involved with the civil rights movement in Seattle when I was growing up. Their influence drew me toward contemporary struggles surrounding inequality and racism.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Labyrinth, 3 poems by Oliver de la Paz

Oliver de la Paz is the author of four collections of poetry. His most recent book, Post Subject: A Fable, was published by the University of Akron Press. He teaches at Holy Cross and in the Low-Res MFA Program at PLU.

Poet on the poem:
I’ve been writing this series of poems based on the Theseus and Minotaur myth as a way to find an angle into writing about the experiences of raising a child on the autistic spectrum, while doing him the courtesy of acknowledging he is also changing and growing.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Mossbride, by Hannah Craig

Hannah Craig lives in Pittsburgh, PA. Her first collection is forthcoming from Parlor Press in late 2016. Her work has recently appeared in the North American Review, Mississippi Review, and Copper Nickel.

Poet on the poem:
The poem loosely refers to the 12 Dancing Princesses tale by the Brothers Grimm. Anne Sexton wrote a poem based on the same tale which ends with the princesses, denied future nights of enchantment & dancing, sagging like old sweatshirts.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Body Parts, by T. Clear

T. Clear is a Seattle poet who has been writing and publishing for over 40 years, and is a founder of Floating Bridge Press. Her many publications include Poetry Northwest, Seattle Review, Poetry Atlanta and The Moth.

Poet on the poem:
“Body Parts” was my reaction to the outrage I felt when I was not allowed to see my husband’s body for several days after his death in a car accident at the age of 47.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

A Cuspid Made of Gravel, by Ben Cartwright

Ben Cartwright’s poetry has appeared in Seneca Review, DIAGRAM, West Branch, Parcel, and Prick of the Spindle, among others. His fiction has appeared in The Stinging Fly, Johnny America, and Lilac City Fairy Tales. His collaborative work with printmaker Lindsey Merrell is forthcoming in Duende. Ben’s poetry manuscript After Our Departure won the 2016 Powder Horn Prize judged by Nance Van Winckel, was published by Sage Hill Press in October 2016. Ben teaches at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Using Rust as Pigment, by Jeff Burt

Jeff Burt lives in Santa Cruz County, CA, and works in mental health. He has work in Atticus Review, Per Contra, The Watershed Review, and Clare Literary Magazine. He was the summer issue special poet of Clerestory in 2015.

Poet on the poem:
What we mean by words often requires a deeper explanation than the denotation or even connotation of a work. Rust has an arresting color, the sign of metal fatigue even if the metal remains firm, a sign of dying while living. Seeing rust as a color, I had to come to a poetic understanding of what it meant, the past living in the present, the desire to rest.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Sixteen, by Shevaun Brannigan

Shevaun Brannigan is a graduate of the Bennington Writing Seminars. Her work has been published in Best New Poets. Visit her online at

Monday, December 12, 2016

Given Up, by Jeanette Beebe

Jeanette Beebe is a poet and journalist. Her work has appeared in Nat Brut, Side B, Imagine Magazine, Ariel, and Lyrical Iowa. Her undergraduate thesis at Princeton, “An Instrument for Blinking,” was advised by Tracy K. Smith. She reports for WHYY-FM (NPR, Philadelphia), and is a Master’s student in NYU’s Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting Program.

Poet on the poem:
“Given Up,” for me, feels like a letter. It’s also a poem, full of questions: about love, place, and where we “come from.” Exploring what uncertainty feels like is something that poetry’s particularly good at; it’s a language well-suited for tackling the “in-between.” Thanks to Susan Wheeler and Christian Barter, who helped me shape this poem, and to Tracy K. Smith, who encouraged me to ask the hard questions.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Ray, by Taneum Bambrick

Taneum Bambrick is a recent graduate of the MFA program at the University of Arizona where she received the Academy of American Poets Prize. She recently interned at Copper Canyon Press, and currently serves as an Associate Editor for Narrative Magazine. Her work appears in Cutbank Online, The Nashville Review, New Delta Review, and Cloud Rodeo. Taneum teaches at Central Washington University.

Poet on the poem:
“Ray” stems from a larger collection, Reservoir, which explores the human and environmental consequences of dams. The collection also explores the conditions of rural, working class spaces where hypermasculinity equates to survival.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Alien, by José Angel Araguz

José Angel Araguz, author of six chapbooks, as well as the collection, Everything We Think We Hear (Floricanto Press), has had poems, prose, and reviews appear in RHINO Poetry, New South, and The Volta Blog. He runs the poetry blog, The Friday Influence. A second collection, Small Fires, is forthcoming.

Poet on the Poem:
“Alien” spun out of hearing the radio ads of a congressional candidate in North Carolina who ran a blatantly anti-immigrant campaign where the Twilight Zone theme played behind talk of a possible “alien” invasion.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Escheatment, by Jacob M. Appel

Jacob M. Appel is the author of two novels and six collections of stories including, most recently, Coulrophobia & Fata Morgana. He practices medicine in New York City. More at

Poet on the Poem:
I have always been fascinated by the contents of safe deposit boxes, ever since first visiting the vaults of our local bank with my grandmother as a child. Often, I fancied myself as the guardian of these private treasures … and, in “Escheatment,” I finally had my chance.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

For the Professor Who Told Me Rats Weren’t Noble Enough For a Poem, by Elizabeth Acevedo

Elizabeth Acevedo is a National Poetry Slam Champion, Cave Canem Fellow, CantoMundo Fellow, and participant of the Callaloo Writer’s Workshop. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in the Notre Dame Review, Callaloo, and Puerto Del Sol. She is the author of two poetry collections: her chapbook, Beastgirl & Other Origin Myths (Yes Yes Books, 2016) and her first full-length collection, winner of the 2016 Berkshire Prize, Medusa Reads La Negra’s Palm (Tupelo Press, 2017).