FIRST LITERARY REVIEW-EAST

Submissions Meet the Editor-in-Chief March 2016 Meet the Associate Editor July 2016 November 2015 January 2012 Book Review - Lyn Lifshin's "Ballroom" March 2017 September 2016 May 2014 Book Review: Amy Holman's Wrens Fly Through This Opened Window July 2012 Book Review: Kit Kennedy Reviews Heller Levinson September 2012 Book Review - Patricia Carragon Reviews Leigh Harrison November 2012 January 2013 March 2013 Book Review - Dean Kostos "Rivering" May 2013 Book Review: Hochman Reviews Ormerod Summer Issue 2013 September 2013 McMaster Reviews Szporluk January 2014 July/August 2014 November 2014 Book Review: Wright Reviews Gardner Stern Reviews Katrinka Moore May 2015 Hochman Reviews Ross July 2015 Tocco Reviews Simone September 2015 Simone Reviews Cefola May 2016 Bledsoe Reviews Wallace November 2016 January 2017



 

AUGUST 2011

Inspiration begets inspiration in poetry-land!  When I heard Michael Graves read his poem "The Rival," I knew it wouldn't be long till I announced a theme of Writing Poetry.  And then you responded - - with some wonderful and varied poems about the craft we love so dearly (with a terrific summer poem by Denise Duhamel too!)  I think this issue is a winner - - but I want to know what YOU think!!  -Cindy Hochman, Editor-in-Chief

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After Encountering An Old Rival

You and I great saints of poetry
Who suffer in obscurity,
Flaunting stigmatas.
                                   -Michael Graves

Michael Graves is the author of two chapbooks, Outside St. Jude's (R.E. M. Press, 1990), Illegal Border Crosser (Cervena Barva, 2008), and a full-length collection Adam and Cain (Black Buzzard, 2006). A second full-length collection, In Fragility, is forthcoming from Black Buzzard this year. In 2004, he was awarded a grant from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation.

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Prehumous

Open the diary
and show somebody
before it's too late
                                   -Fred Arcoleo

Fred Arcoleo lives in Washington Heights and teaches English and creative writing at the George Washington High School Campus. He has just released his first CD, "SEEDS," on Rally Folk Records, available at cdbaby.com. Find him and join his mailing list on reverbnation.com/fredarcoleo.

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Inventing Poetry

Like Petrarch dreaming up his little love song, the sonnet,
to see if he could get Laura under the duck feather duvet
where they could do the rhyming couplet.
                                                                   -George Spencer

George Spencer lives in Ecuador part of the year. He used to paint and sculpt but began writing about 5 years ago. He started the first poetry slam in Quito. He co-produces the Thin Air Poetry Cable Show, and is the Publisher/Editor of the hard copy/internet magazine www.faroutfurtheroutoutofsight.com/. Recent poems are in Adirondack Review, Spinozablue, Fieralingue (Italy) and Retort (Australia).  His newest book of poetry, Unpious Pilgrim, is coming soon!


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Outdoor Shower

Our empty flip flops
on the deck, slow dancing
without us and with.
                                       
-Denise Duhamel

Duhamel is the author, most recently, of Ka-Ching! (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009), Two and Two (Pittsburgh, 2005), Mille et un Sentiments (Firewheel, 2005) and Queen for a Day: Selected and New Poems (Pittsburgh, 2001). A recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, she is a professor at Florida International University in Miami.

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A Secret

My
poetry
sounds
great
sung to
bagpipe
music.

A Success

After a
long
search,
I have
found
financial
backers
for this
poem!
                       
-Sparrow

Sparrow lives in a sleek doublewide trailer in Phoenicia, New York, at the foot of a remote and silent mountain.  He has been published in The New Yorker (Editor's Note:  Is anyone out there as jealous as I am, not about the trailer, but about the New Yorker!!)


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Praxis

If the beautiful voice
is found sleeping
and you don't know how to waken her
with your petal pleas and tender tickles

do you wait until she rouses
herself, refreshed and freshened
from the loose dreams
she corralled with the silk lasso

or do you shake her awake,
ply her with strong caffeine
question her forcefully
until she opens, spills . . . .
                                                    -Karen Neuberg

(Previously published in Toasted Cheese)

Karen Neuberg's complete bio can be seen by clicking "Meet the Associate Editor" on this website.


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For a Poem or a Song

Keith Richards of the Stones once said
in songs, "there's a place to go ooh
and there's a place to go daah."

So the bluuuuuuuuues is a river of song
river of sounds in motion

A poem is a soul seeking sense
consonants form round vowels as feeling flows
around rocks in the creek and eddy
where the forest is dense
vowels of bliss and anguish
consonants of sense
                                             -Steve Zeitlin

Steve Zeitlin is a folklorist, filmmaker, writer, and cultural activist. He is the founding director of City Lore, an organization dedicated to fostering New York City - and America's - living cultural heritage. He is a commentator for public radio, and is the author of a number of books on America's folk culture, including Because God Loves Stories: an Anthology of Jewish Storytelling, City Play, and three books for young readers. He has documented, recorded and fallen in love with carnival pitches, children's rhymes, family stories, subway stories, ancient cosmologies, and oral poetry traditions from around the world.

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Death Announcement

Bullets pouring blood of innocence
on the streets of Afghanistan, blaring horns
feast on the crumbs of myth called sanity.

I wake up, hoping the scream caught in the corners
of my mouth, would escape barrenness,
prevent it from stealing my words.

Wishes don't strike like the monsoon, I forget.
A dachshund on a leash chasing the crow,
I leap but fail. Concrete jungle pours cement on my pen.

A prisoner tattooing ink of incoherence on paper,
I mourn my fingertips. Oh Icarus, was I foolish
to believe city life could sing songs of creativity?
                                                                           -Sweta Srivastava Vikram

Sweta Srivastava Vikram (www.swetavikram.com) is a two times Pushcart nominated-poet, novelist, author, essayist, columnist, educator, and blogger, whose musings have translated into four chapbooks of poetry, two collaborative collections of poetry, a fiction novel, and a nonfiction book of prose and poems (upcoming in 2012). Her scribbles have also appeared in several anthologies, literary journals, and online publications across six countries in three continents. Taj Mahal Review describes Sweta as "A poet with hauntingly beautiful talent." A graduate of Columbia University, she lives and writes in New York City and reads her work across the United States, Europe, and Asia. Sweta also teaches creative writing workshops. Her new novel is "Perfectly Untraditional" (Niyogi Books). Follow her on Twitter (@ssvik) or Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/Words.By.Sweta)

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Making Her Way From Aquinas to Zinn

My daughter's pup Cleo now works her way
through the all Great Books in my study.

Aquinas was first to be devoured.
The rest lay ravaged 'neath my overturned table.

Simone de Beauvoir is pretty well gone, her objections
to sex object gals rendered mute.

And now I see Cleo takes a liking to Chaucer;
with each chomp she takes out another good tale,

Getting a grip on the mystical Goethe, she
surely anticipates chewing on Kant. Pure reason

replaces Purina, of course! I must write a poem
to explain the cause of existential phenomenology.

What other excuse might any dog offer
for the tragic results of my misplaced tautology?
                                                                                
-Arthur McMaster

Arthur McMaster is a Pushcart Prize-nominated poet. He also writes short stories and stage plays. His poetry and fiction have appeared in Poetry East, Wisconsin Review, North American Review, and Subtropics. His poetry chapbook, Awkwardness, was recently selected by the South Carolina Arts Commission's Poetry Initiative. Having previously taught creative writing for Furman and USC Upstate, Arthur now teaches writing and literature courses at Converse College.  His latest book of poems is The Spy Who Came Down With a Cold, available from Finishing Line Press.

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Searchers

Here is poetry. In a space, a place by itself, this lonely
poem. This lonely poem is searching for the words, the
words to make some sense in this space.

And here is art, with all excitement and hopefulness.
Hanging on the wall, waiting for poem to come along, and
make some sense with words in this space.

Waiting for the poetry, this lonely poem to come across
this art and recognize his face, because he's in a place
without words, a place by itself, this lonely place.

And here is beauty and hope and love. They are dancing
in a circle arm in arm, spinning and laughing. They find
the art and they find the poetry and they fill the space so it
isn't lonely and they lift us up with art and poetry to a
place that is filled with words and images that is tempered
by beauty and hope and love.

They've all gone off now . . . in search of music.
                                                                               -Su Polo

Su Polo is a multitalented artist. A native New Yorker, her writing conveys unusual insights and surprises found in life's everyday events and encounters. She is a singer/songwriter with guitar and dulcimer in the band The Flying Dogs of Jupiter, Jazz vocalist, photographer, painter, sculptor, computer graphic artist and created her website www.supolo.com. Her book, "Turning Stones", a collection of poems and stories is available at St. Marks Books. She is the founder and co-host of the Saturn Series poetry reading and hosts Artists' Lounge Music Showcase at Nightingale Lounge NYC. Su is also the set designer for the last 6 years of the New Years Day Poetry Extravaganza held at the Bowery Poetry Club. She is currently working on her one-woman show and her second book.

 

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The Perfectionist

On the seventh day He rested,
put down His heaven high quill,
held up His star speckled parchment,
beheld His handiwork and saw that it was good.
Saw that it was good.
And He lay down,
but could not sleep.
And on the eighth day rose
and on each day henceforth rose and,
like any driven author,
He revised.
                                                                 -Richard Fein

Richard Fein was a finalist in the 2004 Center For Book Arts chapbook competition.  He will soon have a chapbook published By Parallel Press, University Of Wisconsin, Madison. He has been published in many Web And print journals, such as Southern Review, Foliate Oak, Drown In My Own Fears, Morpo Review, Ken*Again, Oregon East Southern Humanities Review, Morpo, Skyline, Touchstone, Windsor Review, Maverick, Parnassus Literary Review, Small Pond, Kansas Quarterly, Blue Unicorn, Exquisite Corpse, Terrain Aroostook Review, Compass Rose, and many others. He also has an interest in digital photography and has published many of his photos. Samples of his photography can be found on http://www.Pbase.Com/Bardofbyte Photo Album

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and now, here's a poem by a 10-year-old poet from India (I couldn't write poems like this when I was 10, could you??)

The Poet

When you bring home a
A piece of Poetry,
Even the Moon
Looks in envy,
At your Wonderful
Composition.

You are a Magical
Poet,
You Pour Poems
Like clouds a Rain.

I am Gazing in awe
At a piece of paper
In which you wrote
The poem.

I said "you are a magical poet"
But you corrected me
"I am but a Poet"
                                                -Nihal Sahu

Nihal Sahu is a fifth-grader at Chennai, Tamilnadu, India. His hobbies include reading, computer, TV, listening to music, and dancing. His blog is yellow-sparrows.blogspot.com

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Drink-Offerings

I write these words in your native tongue
as an offering, a prayer -
as you offer him in earnest what he takes
with no concern but for the taking

with swollen heart and drowning eyes
I coax your words to form in my language
as breathless, you gasp your love
from Moses' rock into the desert

then, in the steely rays of morning
when my sacrifice has fed the gods
that stole your gift, glisten the one
gift we both accept: our tears
                                                           -Ronald Fischman


Ronald Fischman started writing poetry in middle school, but turned to musical composition. His works have been staged by ensembles from solo piano to full orchestra in Aspen, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Trenton,, and Storrs, CT. With the dissolution of his marriage, Fischman returned to poetry. His first collection, Generations, is scheduled for release on Amazon.com and Ex Libris Publishing in time for Mother's Day.

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The Bondage of Form

The pleasures of restraint I'll not deny -
the velvet ropes, the shackles made of lace -
and language drawn so taut that when you cry,
each joyous tear will scarcely leave its trace

Each pulsing word succumbs beneath your hand,
glistening with the warrant of its juice;
its destiny: to dance at your command
for tender - eerie - wild - or wicked use

Such bondage frees each word, now truth made flesh
while poets toil from thought...to form...to line,
and, as each verse's rhyme and rhythm mesh,
the sweetest domination spills sublime

When words plead, captive in their silken cage,
The poet's next submission . . . is the page!
                                                                           -Leigh Harrison

Leigh Harrison is a writer, poet, singer/songwriter, and teacher of poetry and writing. Her CD's (Eclectic Chanteuse and Oh, Wow!) were released by SongCrew Music. Her books include Tour de Farce (Poet Tree Press) and Our Harps Upon the Willows (Cross-Cultural Literary Editions). Her book reviews have appeared in American Book Review and On The Bus; her poetry has appeared in numerous publications, in the US and internationally. She is the creator of the 20th century poetic form, the "pentina," and has taught writing at several schools, colleges, and universities.  Her newest chapbook is Finding Sermons in Stones.  Her website is:  www.leighharrison.com.

 

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Emily, Rescue Me from Mediocrity

hunkered down on Me
-- an Albatross, that by Night
in full fright, slips ten Talons
through my sleepless Brain and digs
up Bits and Pieces of Poems
ostensibly laid to rest.
From my writing Hand by Day

-- in full Sight -- the Interloper
presses me to pen again and again,
those scrapped Fragments, and renders
Verse I put that Trash into
not the least bit better for It.
Fighting Tooth & Nail not to write
worse and worse, I sweat wanting
Intervention -- your Invention.
                                                                -Ruth Sabath Rosenthal

Ruth Sabath Rosenthal is a New York poet whose poems have been published in dozens of literary journals and poetry anthologies throughout the U.S. and abroad. In 2006, Ruth's poem "on yet another birthday" was nominated for a Pushcart prize. Her debut chapbook "FACING HOME," published by Finishing Line Press, can be purchased from Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Facing-Home-Ruth-Sabath-Rosenthal/dp/1599246325 and her full-length book of poems titled "FACING HOME and beyond," published by Paragon Poetry Press, Inc., can also be purchased from Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Facing-Home-Beyond-Sabath-Rosenthal/dp/0692013237 For more about Ruth, visit websites: http://www.ruthsabathrosenthal.moonfruit.com                                                     http://www.pw.org/content/ruth_sabath_rosenthal                                                 http://www.poetryvlog.com/ruthsabathrosenthal 
 

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Editing

I must get back to editing again, and all I ask is a metaphor
a few striking images, and a desk smelling of camphor.
You can polish the desk as I polish the lines that rhyme
and then we can both go for a walk where the wild thyme
grows. Note the enjambment there, a clear case of
run-on, just like the real poets use, I might be larkin'
around with this, but the trick is in the polishing!
The trick's the thing to kill the wicked king,
rescue maiden and take the dragon's ring.
Why is it such a thankless task to edit again
and again, this is why real poet's complain
Oh, the pain, the pain. Wipes fever'd brow.
                                                                        -Richard Soloway

Richard Soloway grew up in Hampstead Garden Suburb in London.  He has lived there and in Sydney, and now lives in South Downs.  He does ot regret his misspent youth as he can now use the experiences to draw on for material.  He has had a couple of papers published on computing and Artificial Intelligence and now he has returned to poetry and fiction.  A poem of his was published in 'Eclectic Flash' in September 2010 and two poems in an anthology in 2009.

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Fishing the Unstruck Sound

I
follow it trustingly, seeing nothing of where it's taking me,
only the stillness to guide me closer to the sound.
I've been here before and will come again, frequently,
searching for words that are never easily found.

They latch on like fish seeking life out of water,
a fast, finite bite or a slow, steady nibble for hours.
I reel them in closer, eager to taste their contour,
the weight of their syllables, the fullness or lack of their power.

"Unstruck" grinds rough and reckless against the tongue,
like a ship caught between crashing waves in a frantic storm.
"Sound" echoes calm, adding permanence where there's none,
through self-sustaining, reverberating form.
In the end I'll set them free, back to the hum of the seas
or into the lines of a poem, a practice of catch and release.
                                                                                           -Hope Koppelman

Hope Koppelman has been writing since the age of five, when she began dictating stories to her mother who typed them on the family's typewriter. She completed her first 24-chapter novel, "New Girl," at the age of twelve. Today she lives in Orlando , Florida where she spends her free time writing about the evolution of spirit and the laws of personal growth. "Writing is the most solid thing in my life; it's my bridge between matter and spirit, conscious and subconscious, life and the great unknown. I would be unbalanced, disconnected, misaligned without a framework for my thoughts, a structure to the madness, a map of my own creativity."

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A Tale of the Cities

With the universe there was a bang
heralding birth and process like
the pop startling equine ambulation
at a race. For her, slow drama of
a lesser nature as she drug two weighty
bags and a typewriter to Budget Rental,
where transpired in her tectonic body,
shifts, as continents of her bosoms
and rear slipped, strained from lifting
her life from one coast to another.
A dust mote at SFX sparkled with
a bit of her in it and swifted passage
on United to ABQ then up to Santa Fe
where to this day it evades the maid's
feather duster at La Fonda because
maid like moat is entranced with stories
crackling in the kiva where cedar sends
smoky tales into ether and over to JFK.
                                                                     -Sarah Sarai

Sarah Sarai has work in or soon in Gargoyle, POOL, Boston Review and others. Her poetry collection, The Future Is Happy, was published by BlazeVOX [books].

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Writer's Block

They sit in my head like tossed salad
wait to be brewed like Mandarin tea
on white-chilled nights
tease me like a lover's wink
and pout like spoilt children

They tempt me with red caviar
and Hershey bars with almonds
drip like melting Oleo
then dissipate into the hell-black heat

They mingle amidst the savage pain
crying blood, crying passion

These stuck poems,
like empty screams,
waiting for the madness to pass
for them to be born.
                                        -Cindy Hochman

Cindy Hochman's bio can be seen on her new chapbook, "The Carcinogenic Bride," which is now available. . . (how's that for a cheap plug?)  If you would like to obtain a copy, just drop me a line!

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