The Ekphrastic Review is pleased to announce workshops in Toronto at Artusiasm Gallery.
The Panther’s Tale
In 1934 a female black panther escapes from the Zürich Tiergarten and survives through two months of a Swiss winter, before being shot for food by an itinerant labourer in the mountains near Saint Gallen.
The animal’s escape and disappearance quickly become sensational news. During the time the panther is at large, the authorities receive hundreds of reports from people claiming to have seen the animal, some from the most far-flung corners of the country and beyond. There is never a confirmed sighting. Suspicious tracks in the snow always turn out to be those of dogs.
A certain religious sect asserts that the panther is demonic and should be exorcized by a pastor from their church. A clairvoyant from Paris travels to Zürich and offers her help to the searchers, claiming she’s had a vision of the panther hiding in a cave of ice high up on a glacier. The clairvoyant is politely asked to return home.
The panther herself is aware of none of this. She survives by way of her instinctual stealth and her learned distrust of human beings. She hunts mice, voles, and hares in the snow-mantled forest, as far from human habitation as possible, and makes herself a den under the roots of an immense, ancient stone pine, from which she emerges only when hunger drives her.
Her time in captivity has does nothing to lessen her innate distrust of humans, but where they are found, there is always food.
She leaves her den and prowls slowly down the mountain, further into their territory, until she comes to a small graveyard ringed by trees. Hunkered in the concealment of a thorn bush at the edge of the burial ground she can smell a freshly dead human, somewhere close by.
Eating things she has not killed herself is not in her nature, but surviving is. Still, she must be careful. She remembers how the humans first caught her. How they had a thing made of wrong-smelling vines that fell on her so that she couldn’t get away. She has seen the work of their fire sticks and understands that it means death. She will not move until she’s certain there is no hidden danger here.
Then humans come. There are many of them, some carrying a thing made of pieces of tree. They carry the thing to a hole in the ground. They set it down. One of them utters that strange flat barking that only humans make. Some make other noises, like the cries and whimpers the panther heard from other caged creatures around her in the place the humans kept her before she escaped.
Most of the humans leave. Two stay behind and cover the hole with earth. Then they leave, too.
The panther waits until it is well past dark and then she creeps into the burial ground. She reaches the fresh grave and slowly, with many pauses to listen, digs away the loose soil. She claws and bites at the flimsy thing made of wood and two of its pieces move apart and now she can get at what’s inside. The panther hauls it out and drags it to her hiding place to eat. The dead human is small. It was weak and sickly, the panther knows when she tastes its flesh, which is dry and joyless fare. But it will sustain her.
Later a fall of large wet snowflakes patter softly on the bare branches, on the panther’s fur, on the damp earth. The panther would rest after her meal, but now she can hear them returning. Many of them. She can see their angry fires flicker through the trees. The panther gathers herself and springs away.
She is here, now, a dark shape against the snow, her breath the ghost of what she cannot tell us. She is still at large, in the place we find ourselves exiled from by our torches, our words. We can only glimpse her through a thicket of brush strokes, at the edge of a great silence.
Thomas Wharton's novels and stories have been published in Canada, the US, the UK, France, Italy, Japan, and other countries. His first novel, Icefields, received the 1996 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book (Canada and Caribbean Division), and won the Grand Prize at the 1995 Banff Mountain Book Festival. His collection of stories, The Logogryph, was shortlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award.
middle of May
Alexa Findlay spends most of her time writing fiction and poetry. She is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of three online literary magazines. She is obsessed with Disney and Jurassic Park. Her work has been featured in Pomona Valley Review, Better than Starbucks Magazine, Adelaide Literary Magazine, Halcyon Days, Grotesque Magazine, The Quail Bell Magazine, Vox Poetica, amongst others.
Christina Lying in the Grass
With green eyes rises from her dream,
imprints of sleep fade from her skin.
She stands, walks to the door.
Window sills have wept flakes of paint
in the long wind. She pushes it open,
floors flowered with coloured wallpaper,
a stack of kindling piled by the fire place.
An open diary reads Paint Christina.
One glass bottle of ketchup on the table,
a deep red and nothing else bar the bird
dangling between house and shed
muzzled with brush strokes.
Christina wakes, walks.
I had the strangest dream.
I was a bird with broken wings
crawling through the dirt.
He who painted and ended her,
full of useless bones and flowing hair,
framed her like a man frames a woman
in his mind, unequalled.
From the shining blades she wakes.
I had the strangest dream.
David Ross Linklater
David Ross Linklater is a poet from the Highlands of Scotland living in Glasgow. He is a graduate from the University of Glasgow's Creative Writing MLitt. He is the recipient of a Donald Dewar Arts Award and was shortlisted for a New Writers Award in 2015. His pamphlet 'Black Box' was published in February 2018 by Speculative Books. Follow him on Twitter @DavidRossLinkla
She parts her legs, just a crack...
One, two, three, here comes a thrust.
One, two, three, he’s almost there.
She gawks at the ceiling the whole time. The crack is bigger now. At the far end, the peeling orange paint looks like a gecko in the shadowy dark.
Finally, release. His release.
At dinner he frowns.
She watches the hairy sprouts on the knuckles of his hands, both on the table, swallowing more space than they should, each big enough to cover the side of her face.
He rips a loaf of bread before pushing it into the molokhieya soup bowl, his hands almost turning it over. He sniffs the rice, pokes a finger at the painstakingly rolled vine leaves and the warm roast. He grunts. He glares.
His hand still fits the side of her face, his knuckles, knife-like− obliterating.
It’s nearly midnight. The pounding in her ears stalks her still. He’s been out all day, his cologne forever present--- a reminder. She catches a sob before it escapes.
She hears the unabashed car horns, and watches headlights fill the night as a bridal procession passes by, puncturing the darkness. Neighbours laugh over the hollering T.V. host in the “Late Show with Bassem.” She looks past the congested streets and steers her eyes to the vast plateau of the Giza Pyramids in the back drop.
Noise! Much of it outside but never inside. Was it always like that through time? Even back with the Ancients?
“Hushhh.” The wind threatens, its strong gusts shaking the shutters, bullying the curtains.
The peeling paint on the orange walls still looks like a gecko—an impassive gecko. The pounding in her ears is back again, or is it the sound of his hands banging on the door.
She arranges her hair in front of the mirror; her fingers touch her lips, trailing over their now careful silence.
It is a dream. To scream is a dream, but in my dreams, screams are as silent as stillborns.
Riham Adly is an associate editor in 101 words magazine and first reader/marketing coordinator in Vestal Review magazine. She is also a creative writing instructor and a writing coach. Her published short stories appeared in notable literary journals such as Vestal Review, Page&Spine, Tuck Magazine, For The Sonorous, Fictional Café, Paragraph Planet, Visual Verse, Centum Press Anthology, The HFC Journal of Arts and The Alexandrian. Her story "The Darker Side of the Moon" won the MAKAN Award in 2013 and was published in an anthology with the same name. http://www.thealexanderian.com/the-darker-side-of-the-moon/ Riham currently moderates "Roses's Cairo Book Club” for those growing avid bibliophiles, having moderated three successful rounds in the AUC Tahrir Campus. Riham lives with her family in Gizah, Egypt. To find out more about Riham’s activities, workshops, and the book clubs she moderates follow her author page:
and on twitter @roseinink
In this light the surface is a black mirror. I don’t want to see
myself seeing back, not seeing black. Behind cut glass a black
cat in a coal bunker, fur curled in a corner. Learn to see flat,
see flatly in the way Freud listened. Does matt paint glisten –
a sea creature raised from lightlessness; or is this vantablack,
sense-deprivation, an anechoic chamber? The only sound is
the nervous system, heart hurtling inside my cranium. Here
I see the starlessness between galaxies, the black of nothing
quite happening, of consciousness closing, fastening. Could
this be a Madonna and Child, figures excised (suprematist and
still a mother and child)? And this black has a dead Christ
uncanniness (Holbein’s panel for Prince Myshkin). This is
also Gallipoli, field artillery (out into history). Closer, this is
only a semblance of black: stygian tones, a rainbow, the web
of a shattered phone. A buffalo, torso, legs, a head hurrying
towards some wilderness.
Patrick Wright has a poetry pamphlet, Nullaby, published by Eyewear. His poems have appeared in several magazines, including Agenda, Wasafiri, The Reader, London Magazine, Poetry Quarterly, Ink, Sweat and Tears, and Iota. His poem ‘The End’ was recently included in The Best New British and Irish Poets Anthology 2018, judged by Maggie Smith. He has also been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. He works as a Lecturer at The Open University where he teaches Creative Writing.
[)when you are shoulder
dedicated to & inspired
by e e cummings
)when you are shoulder brushing
shoulder(blouse brushing pant
leg)i could give
meaning to slumber.i could give
meaning to the deepest
hardest flint of silence. the first time
to the sky(the
your face)the first time
to the ocean(
your hands)the first time
i confessed my heart(you
kissed away my mind)tied
cruel & firm as helium.
here is the plumpest secret
no one knows
[balloon as moon,
the sun as june]
the first time
the first time
(th efirs ttme
Lindsey Thäden is the winner of the 2018 Luminaire Award for Best Poetry for her poem, "Waking to Pablo Neruda Pumping My Chest." Alternating Current Press called the poem "a jolting, refreshing read." Thäden also won the City of New York's 2016 #PoetweetNYC contest. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in the Philadelphia-based Apeiron Review, The Coil, New York Metro, and Passages North. She is also a regular poet contributor at Vending Machine Press and The Ekphrastic Review.
The painter hangs a quince,
sun yellow, dimpled, mottled brown.
Two veined leaves make green mouse ears
as it floats upper left inside
a deep-shadowed box.
A cabbage just below and right,
ribbed big-head bow-knotted at the end
of its own rope, hovers toward the shelf.
The resting melon in the middle,
flesh splayed to offer clustered seeds
at its center cleft.
Crescent melon slice next, upturned
on a green-striped rind. Its shadow
edges the shelf’s lip. Last, the cucumber,
humped and grooved, throws its shadow
off the shelf, outside the canvas toward us.
Two vegetables, two fruits, set
in a box with grey-beige floor. A still life
lacking cutlery or silver plate,
mirrors, goblets or tulips,
nautilus shells or suffocated fish.
Why hang a cabbage, dangle a quince,
to parade a patron’s pelf?
With three spheres, one crescent
and a blunted cylinder, the painter
swings an arc against a plane of darkness
neither table top nor window frame.
But see: the melon’s companion slice
is narrow, the flesh exposed is wide.
Art nourishes: why waste the model?
David P. Miller
David P. Miller’s chapbook, The Afterimages, was published in 2014. His poems have recently appeared in Meat for Tea, Ibbetson Street, Constellations, riverbabble, What Rough Beast, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, and Autumn Sky Poetry Daily. A Boston resident, he was a member of the multidisciplinary Mobius Artists Group for 25 years.
All You’d Done
Noise spills off the canvas, sucking you
into the smoke-covered crowd, cigars
upturned and teeth-clinched, as the two fighters
will be in moments if gray-trunks doesn’t
go down. The man seen between black-trunks’ legs
bellows on the far side of the ring, fingers
extending claws, a jubilant fat cat.
But it’s you the artist’s after, you who’ve found
yourself in the second row on the near side
where the press take notes, sweat and spit
landing on their pads, sometimes blood. You,
inches behind the high rollers, bagmen,
and gents in boiled shirts. You can see the mat
bounce up and down with every hook and jab;
you could reach out and touch it if you wished.
Each fist’s thud transcends the noisy mob.
The man just in front of the ring, dead center,
shares for you alone a delighted smirk--
girlish, swollen lips under haze-squinted eyes.
All you’d done was stroll by the scene
when this tempter-devil gave you his leer.
J. Stephen Rhodes
Poems by J. Stephen Rhodes have appeared in over fifty literary journals, including Shenandoah, Tar River Poetry, and Texas Review, as well as several international reviews. Wind Publications has published his two poetry collections, The Time I Didn’t Know What to Do Next (2008) and What Might Not Be (2014). He has won a number of literary awards including two fellowships from the Hambidge Center for the Arts and Sciences, selection as a reader for the Kentucky Great Writers Series. Most recently, he won First Prize in Still: The Journal’s annual poetry contest. He holds an MFA from the University of Southern Maine-Stonecoast and a Ph.D. from Emory University
you loved the open cage of me,
the lighting embrace of me.
You loved the skin-soft curves,
the creases of me. The flighty
free will of me. The home
in my own skin of me.
Home. You wanted to home
with me, in my skin with me,
in a nest of twigs & pine with me.
To winter & spring with me.
But, from our nest, you didn’t
like the wildness of me,
the changing plumes of me,
the strong-scared songs of me.
What’s left of you, your love
of me – a crown of nettles,
which settles in my hair.
The birds – they poke, they prod
at me, singing the loneliest song –
of me, of me, of me.
Christie Collins "I just moved to Cardiff from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where I taught full-time in the English Department at Louisiana State University in addition to working as a remote editorial assistant for Copper Canyon Press. Here in Cardiff, I am a doctorate student in Creative Writing at Cardiff University under the supervision of Richard Gwyn and Ailbhe Darcy. As part of my degree program, I also teach creative writing workshops for the university. My critical and creative work has been published or is forthcoming in Kenyon Review Online, Entropy, Cold Mountain Review, Chicago Review of Books, Canyon Voices, Appalachian Heritage, Poetry South, Still: The Journal, Wicked Alice, So to Speak, and Reunion: The Dallas Review. Recently, I have also accepted the task of writing reviews for Poetry Wales. My chapbook titled Along the Diminishing Stretch of Memory was published by Dancing Girl Press in 2014."
Erna Kuik is a photographer, visual artist, and writer. After graduating from the Artez Academy in 1992, her artwork was awarded the Gretha and Adri Pieck Prize, an award to encourage young, promising artists. Her work tends to an expressionistic style, known for its strong lines in linocuts and its poetic content. She wrote and illustrated children's books about very creative hares published by Atlantie Verlag Switzerland and has published other work that features her photography and illustrations. Her art can be found in many private collections worldwide and is exhibited in museums like the Haags Gemeentemuseum in The Hague and Museum De Fundatie in Zwolle and in galleries most recently during Slow Art In Motion Zutphen, Weg van Kunst in Kampen, and Lingeprint Grafiekmanifestatie in Huissen in the Netherlands. She loves to be in her studio; the spirit of making fluid thoughts into sparkling crystals on paper keeps her going. Her book Zwei lange, lange Ohren received many good reviews and was nominated for the Luchs Award by die Zeit in Germany.
More on this creative collaboration can be found at: loveofliterary.com.
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Sherry Barker Abaldo
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B. Elizabeth Beck
Karen G. Berry
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Rose Mary Boehm
Charles M. Boyer
Catherine A. Brereton
Charles W. Brice
David C. Brydges
Mary Lou Buschi
Danielle Nicole Byington
Wendy Taylor Carlisle
Fern G. Z. Carr
Tricia Marcella Cimera
SuzAnne C. Cole
Robert L. Dean, Jr.
Joanne Rocky Delaplaine
John Scott Dewey
Catherine Ruffing Drotleff
Suzanne E. Edison
Kurt Cole Eidsvig
Tara A. Elliott
Alexis Rhone Fancher
Ariel Rainer Fintushel
Edward H. Garcia
Adam J. Gellings
Grace Marie Grafton
Emily Reid Green
Rebeca Ladrón de Guevara
Laura Quinn Guidry
Andrea L. Hackbarth
Judith Lee Herbert
A. J. Huffman
Pat Snyder Hurley
Arya F. Jenkins
Brandon D. Johnson
Crystal Condakes Karlberg
Christopher T. Keaveney
Olivia J. Kiers
Loretta Collins Klobah
Kim Peter Kovac
Jean L. Kreiling
Stuart A. Kurtz
Tanmoy Das Lala
John R. Lee
David Ross Linklater
Gregory E. Lucas
Lorette C. Luzajic
M. L. Lyons
Ariel S. Maloney
John C. Mannone
Mary C. McCarthy
Megan Denese Mealor
Patrick G. Metoyer
David P. Miller
Stacy Boe Miller
Mark J. Mitchell
Mark A. Murphy
S. Jagathsimhan Nair
Heather M. Nelson
James B. Nicola
Bruce W. Niedt
Kim Patrice Nunez
M. N. O'Brien
Pravat Kumar Padhy
Daniel J. Pizappi
Melissa Reeser Poulin
Rhonda C. Poynter
Marcia J. Pradzinski
Anita S. Pulier
Amie E. Reilly
J. Stephen Rhodes
Ralph La Rosa
Mary Kay Rummell
Mary Harris Russell
Janet St. John
Lisa St. John
Kelly R. Samuels
Christy Sheffield Sanford
Courtney O'Banion Smith
Janice D. Soderling
David Allen Sullivan
Kim Cope Tait
Mary Ellen Talley
Liza Nash Taylor
Janine Pommy Vega
Sue Brannan Walker
Martin Willitts Jr
William Carlos Williams
Morgan Grayce Willow
Shannon Connor Winward
William Butler Yeats
Abigail Ardelle Zammit
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