My mother learned it from her mother. I don’t
remember when she thought I was ready. One day,
I was a girl, watching her mother eating impossible
things. I never asked how she became.
The next day, it was my turn. My mother said
lie back like an offering. A sacrifice for tin and
The wind stirred my skirt, and I opened my
mouth, combustible now.
My mother told me the first one is mine to
It rusts inside you, flaking off. A garden of
Sarah Nichols is a co-editor of Thank You for Swallowing, an online journal of feminist protest poetry. She is the author of three chapbooks, including She May Be a Saint (Hermeneutic Chaos Press, 2016), and Edie (Whispering): Poems from Grey Gardens (Dancing Girl Press, 2015). Her work has also appeared in Yellow Chair Review, Rogue Agent, and Noble/Gas Qtrly.
after William Stafford
Mine was a Greek home—transplanted in New England.
We took root there but rejected its cold code.
From the back porch, we could see
the gold dome of the Orthodox church.
The mingled scent of mothballs, parsley, gardenias--
The whirr of the sewing machine birthing flurries of aprons--
The braided kouloudia and sugar-dusted kourabiedes in red and gold tins--
The bottle of home-made brandy under the kitchen sink--
The stark white enamel stove was GE, electric;
lemon-oregano chicken sizzled in the oven.
Outside, peaches and quinces and currants--
and the sun reflected in a mercury ball.
My grandfather fingered his amber worry beads:
“Marry a Greek or marry a Jew, but
whatever you do, don’t marry a Yankee.”
(We took root there but rejected their cold code.)
On hot summer days, my cousins and I roamed the streets
of the old factory town where nothing ever happened
dragged back home to jump on the beds
and eat bowls of fresh peaches with whipped cream.
This poem was inspired by the poem, Our Home, by William Stafford. To read it, click here. The artwork was selected by the editor for illustration, but was not a prompt for the poem.
Leah Johnson is a poet, writer, teacher, and musician. She was a full-time professor in the Writing Studies Program at American University in Washington, DC. for twenty-years and is a member of the Surrey Street Poets. Her work has been published in Green Mountains Review Online, The Healing Muse, and Beltway Poetry Quarterly. In previous incarnations, she has been a journalist, co-founder and artistic director of Georgetown’s Dumbarton Concert Series; US coordinator for Yehudi Menhuin’s outreach program Live Music Now!, and a piano teacher.
On Finding Myself Pregnant in Egypt
There is no bee at Luxor.
I do not eat honey.
No bee, no honey.
There is no goddess.
Artemis or Demeter,
Melissa or Potnia.
No bee, no goddess
Emily Bowles works for the University of Wisconsin Colleges and Extension. Her published poems include: “Scale” in the Blue Heron Review, “Her Hieroglyphs” in Page & Spine “Bird Made of Metal” and “Bird, Not a Baby” in Synaeresis, “The World in My Daughter’s Earring” in The Road Not Taken, and “Contents of a Canopic Jar” in The Ekphrastic Review.
Alabama Cotton Tenant Farmer’s Wife
This is no silk merchant’s wife slim
shoulders leaning against
dry clapboard her eyes
direct her head slightly
turned left ear exposed
ebony hair parted right
an enigmatic smile revealing
no lower lip, bones
of her neck protruding from
the V in her checkered blouse in
this black and white
photo she is centered and
she knows something we
After a long corporate career, Amy Phimister has returned to writing full time. She graduated from St. Mary's College in Notre Dame with a B.A. in Creative Writing. A member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, she is currently working on a chapbook of her poems.
Surprise Poetry Challenge!
Did you know? The Ekphrastic Review is based in Canada. July 1 this year marks our country's 150th year birthday.
To honour this landmark occasion, let's celebrate some Canadian art. Here is a surprise ekphrastic challenge, featuring visual art prompts for you to respond to in poetry. (Prose and short fiction also welcome.)
You have ten days! Dive into one piece for inspiration, choose a few, or try them all. Write!
Send only your best to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deadline is June 30.
We will consider late works, but please try to send them before Canada Day. On July 1 and throughout the month, to celebrate Canada's birthday with art, we'll post the best submissions.
Our hope is that you will discover more Canadian art and be inspired to delve beyond these images, too. Canadian art history is little known outside of our country, and sadly, sometimes inside of it, too. We have a shorter history than Europe or Africa in terms of visual art, and our numbers are small for such a large nation. We are also notoriously polite and quiet and haven't always promoted our creative wealth because most Canadians don't like to show off. But even so, we have a tremendously interesting variety of visual art, and it deserves more attention and a wider audience.
If you find a Canadian work not shown and want to use it as a prompt for this challenge, please do!
Disclaimer: Please note, this tiny selection does not pretend to be definitive in any way. There are glaring omissions; for example, contemporary art is grossly underrepresented, and no two samples could possibly do justice to the epic variety, imagination, and skill of the diverse First Nations arts with which we have been blessed. Nor are these works specifically the "best" or best known of the particular artist highlighted. I wanted to include many more works from underrated and hardly known painters who should be; I also left out works I love and replaced them with works I don't care for at all, because it's important to contemplate art we don't like, and for prompts for writing, it's important to have an interesting selection, not just a Greatest Hits list.
Jazz Fantasy of My Puberty*
Reality has always been too small for the human
imagination. We're always trying to transcend.
– Brenda Laurel
She leans against the wall of a jazz club,
strikes a pose under the spotlight of a streetlamp,
blows ovals of smoke like lassos to rope-in
all lust within sight of the Seine.
She wears a beret like those Beats
with their Van Dykes and goatees
seen through arches in the club’s caveau
as they dig Le Jazz Hot,
ostinato riffs of trumpet and clarinet,
jazzmen as silhouettes through another arch,
wide vibratos, unblushing roll of Lonesome Railroad Blues,
a trombone’s slide in a priapic rise to Mighty Lak A Rose.
Her eyes flash with every blast of brass.
She sways, in the groove.
She begins to dance.
She swoons, a cobra entranced
when I transcend the band
as I solo, when I play
*Inspired by the album cover and music of Le Jazz Hot, an LP recorded in 1957 by The Left Bank Bearcats, a group of American musicians who masqueraded as a French jazz band.
Jack Grady is a founding member of the Irish-based Ox Mountain Poets. His poetry has appeared online or in print in many literary journals and anthologies, including such publications as Crannóg; Live Encounters; The Galway Review; And Agamemnon Dead: An Anthology of Early Twenty-First Century Irish Poetry; North West Words; The Worcester Review; Poet Lore; A New Ulster, Mauvaise Graine; Algebra of Owls; The Irish Literary Times; Skylight 47, and others. He was the first Irish poet invited to read at the annual international poetry festival in Marrakesh, Morocco, where he appeared at its third edition, in April 2016.
To George Bellows on Riverfront No. 1
Is that Emma watching
In that trio on the right?
Just last year you painted her
- royal blue, white lace -
seated placidly at a piano
playing Schubert, perhaps, or Brahms
And now you’ve hauled her
to the river,
to fleshy merriment.
They take it all in -
arms and legs and butts -
Peeling off clothes, scraping, draping
Pulling onto piling and docks
Well out of the drawing room
And that blue-eyed vase.
And what about that blonde-haired boy -
Will he soon arch his back?
Rush headlong into New York City
As you did?
Pat Snyder Hurley
This poem first appeared in A Rustling and Waking Within: Poems inspired by the arts in Ohio, published by the Ohio Poetry Association.
Pat Snyder Hurley is a recovering attorney and long-time humour columnist from Columbus, Ohio, who recently began writing poetry. Her work has appeared in the literary journals Still Crazy and Common Threads, the Ohio Poetry Association’s ekphrastic poetry anthology A Rustling and Waking Within, and the online literary journal The MOON Magazine. A collaborative collection of her poems and those of her late husband Bill Hurley, Hard to Swallow, is scheduled for publication in January 2018 by Night Ballet Press.
The Oil Well
Let the bull wheel wind around
my legs and thighs
further tightening the loveless line.
Derrick-poised, arid figure of luck and charm,
I grew scales and wide-eyes.
For love of country, progress, mankind.
Bringing calm to elements enraged,
no man knew me to be anything other than
wooden, flesh-coloured, sacred and divine.
by the corroding drilling line,
I could’ve gone on like this forever.
Perfect skin now burnt and dry
from desert winds,
solitude and time.
Steel cable fraying scales
turning delicate toes
into five bent, rusted nails.
It was then,
I felt your talons
bound by the same pulling line.
In our self-imposed restraint,
we wrapped the cable
tight around us
against the wheel.
Rebeca Ladrón de Guevara
Rebeca Ladrón de Guevara lives in Los Angeles, California. She received an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Chapman University. Her fiction has previously appeared in Chicago Literati, Genre, Sonora Review and Badlands Literary Journal. In 2008, she was the recipient of the Elizabeth George Foundation grant for emerging writers.
Dillon H Fuller is a musician and photographer. He lives in Santa Ana, California.
The Family in the Red House
While walking through woods
Near a rambling river
I came upon a paint peeled red house
barn like in appearance,
` broken window panes,
tall grasses covering old cement steps
unattended for years.
Who inhabited this red house
and where are they now?
I entered cautiously through the front door,
looked around the open space.
Dishes with cobwebs adorned
the wooden kitchen table.
Shriveled food occupied the old refrigerator.
The scene appeared as though
a family simply disappeared.
Bedroom quilts covered most beds,
one bed remained unmade.
As I walked around
floorboards creaked like soft screams.
I slipped on a small throw rug;
moving the rug with my feet,
I discovered a trap door located in the floor.
Slowly, I lifted the rusty hinge.
There in the hollow space
were skeleton bodies.
The family stayed behind in the paint peeled red house.
Pat St. Pierre
Pat St. Pierre is a freelance writer for adults and children in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Her third poetry book, Full Circle, was published by Kelsay Books. Some of her work can be viewed at: Black Poppy Road, A Long Story Short, Fiction 365, 50 words, Friday Flash Fiction, Kids Imagination Train, The Kids Ark, Silver Boomer Books, The Camel Saloon, etc. She is also a freelance photographer whose photos have been on the covers and included in such places: Gravel, Sediments, Our Day’s Encounter, Peacock Journal, Pacific Poetry, etc. www.pstpierre.wordpress.com.
The Girl I Was
Sunflower, taller than a man, brighter than the star
that warms earth, with broad leaves that pull
me close to its golden face—hypnotic eye with
steadfast stare—I am struck by its caress . . .
What happened to me
under this pocket of stars?
I feel weak, stepping into indigo shallows,
with my arms loose at my sides, my blouse
split open to my waist.
No wind to speak of, or a distant bonfire
with shadows dancing wild, I clench
my fist around the golden petal I stole
from the sunflower’s brow— proof, but
no one cares. I become an excuse for
carrying on. The moon anoints me with
its silky light, making me part of night’s
M.J. Iuppa is the Director of the Visual and Performing Arts Minor Program and Lecturer in Creative Writing at St. John Fisher College; and since 2000 to present, is a part time lecturer in Creative Writing at The College at Brockport. Since 1986, she has been a teaching artist, working with students, K-12, in Rochester, NY, and surrounding area. She has three full length poetry collections, most recently Small Worlds Floating (2016) as well as Within Reach (2010) both from Cherry Grove Collections; Night Traveler (Foothills Publishing, 2003); and 5 chapbooks. She lives on a small farm in Hamlin NY.
Scroll down for writers, archive by month, and categories
(use search box above)
Meghan Rose Allen
B. Elizabeth Beck
Karen G. Berry
Susan P. Blevins
Rose Mary Boehm
Charles M. Boyer
Catherine A. Brereton
Charles W. Brice
David C. Brydges
Danielle Nicole Byington
Wendy Taylor Carlisle
Fern G. Z. Carr
Tricia Marcella Cimera
SuzAnne C. Cole
John Scott Dewey
Suzanne E. Edison
Alexis Rhone Fancher
Ariel Rainer Fintushel
Edward H. Garcia
Adam J. Gellings
Emily Reid Green
Rebeca Ladrón de Guevara
Julie Howard Hobson
A. J. Huffman
Pat Snyder Hurley
Olivia J. Kiers
Loretta Collins Klobah
Jean L. Kreiling
Stuart A. Kurtz
Tanmoy Das Lala
John R. Lee
Lorette C. Luzajic
Ariel S. Maloney
John C. Mannone
Mary C. McCarthy
Patrick G. Metoyer
David P. Miller
Mark J. Mitchell
S. Jagathsimhan Nair
Heather M. Nelson
James B. Nicola
Bruce W. Niedt
Kim Patrice Nunez
M. N. O'Brien
Pravat Kumar Padhy
Melissa Reeser Poulin
Rhonda C. Poynter
Marcia J. Pradzinski
Anita S. Pulier
Ralph La Rosa
Mary Kay Rummell
Janet St. John
Christy Sheffield Sanford
Janice D. Soderling
Liza Nash Taylor
Janine Pommy Vega
Martin Willitts Jr
William Carlos Williams
Shannon Connor Winward
William Butler Yeats
All works of art or literature are used with permission of the creator or publisher, OR under public domain, OR under fair use. If any works have been used or credited incorrectly, please alert us so we can fix it!