After a brief hiatus, I am pleased to announce that the winning Readers’ Choice poem from the poll is:
Lawrence – by Robert Ford
Robert will receive the usual winner’s mug, and thanks to everyone who voted.
The Editor’s choice was selected by Strix editor Ian Harker and he picked out
The Body Wishes it Could Remain in its Own Palace – by Nome Emeka Patrick
It’s a fine choice, a poem perhaps a little different to the normal AoO ‘style’, and the first poem we have ever published from an African writer.
Ian had these comments to make.
“This poem is circular, almost. By the time the first stanza comes round again, re-manifests in the last stanza, it has changed slightly, but the change reinforces, re-asserts the opening stanza. The beginning pre-supposes the end, contains and creates it. And in the mean-time, the poem expands, conracts, surrounds us with wounds and hearts, winged birds, cities and ache and burning and drowning, but all this happens as part of the pattern, it makes me think that the world is a cosmos not chaos. Death is there (“rot & feathers”) along with love (“…once you were a firefly & you danced out of your mother…”) but that’s part of the pattern too, unavoidably. This is a dazzling poem that frightens and reassures all at the same time.”
Congratulations to both our winners.
The Chief Editor has been indisposed due to circumstances beyond his control and there has been a delay in the processing of the submissions during the window ended 15th January.
This work has now been completed by Nick and Alicia, the co-editors, and it is likely no bad thing that the other guy has not had an influence on the final selection this time round. Change is as good as a rest.
- Email responses to submissions in that window will be coming out over the course of the next week.
- Remaining poems that were slated for January publication will re-commence shortly.
- The latest batch of accepted poems will be published mainly in March, maybe a few drifting into April.
- We anticipate that submissions in the current window that ends on February 28th will be dealt with according to usual process, and we expect responses to those to be forthcoming by mid-March.
I am remembering
a young woman I met
who pulled out her phone
to share a photograph of a mother
she missed while at college, smiled wide
and scrolled down her contacts
pointing to the name – My Everything.
That’s my mother’s number, she said.
That was a month ago.
I’ve been back from Rwanda,
doing laundry in a machine
instead of the bucket,
have baked tofu with fresh ginger,
lemon grass, and soy sauce
not thinking of the beans and rice.
And I have been renaming
my contacts, new names for everyone –
My Rock, He Whose Hair Smells Like Sun,
Bluest Eyes, Get Ready For An Hour-Long Conversation,
Let Go To Voice Mail, She Who Makes Me Laugh,
Will Have Gossip, Best Thai Food…
feeling like I am on scattered pathways
from a garden, seeded
in wild things.
Sarah Dickenson Snyder has written poetry since she knew there was a form with conscious line breaks. She has two poetry collections, The Human Contract and Notes from a Nomad, both published in 2017. She was selected for the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference both times she applied. One poem was nominated for best of Net in 2017. Recent work appears in Chautauqua Literary Magazine, RHINO, and The Sewanee Review. https://sarahdickensonsnyder.com/
When I look at my father, I see a flower,
I see a barbarian who lived in Guam,
and ate McDonald’s for 90 days to file
for divorce. When I look at my father,
I see a flower wearing a straw hat, short
shorts and long socks, t-shirt tucked,
stretched over his paunch, I see a bottle
of wine with a hamburger for breakfast
before going back to bed. I see red
meat and liver-spotted hands.
When I look at my mother, I see the moon,
I see a beast who watches Call the Midwife
in her nightgown, indulging herself
and 16-year-old son with a weight problem
to Custards after a day in the office
listening to sex addicts and divorcées
before getting served on September 11th
by what she thought had been a roofer with a bid.
When I look at my mother, I see the moon,
haggard and luminous.
Cameron Morse lives with his wife Lili and son Theodore in Blue Springs, Missouri. He was diagnosed with a glioblastoma in 2014. With a 14.6 month life expectancy, he entered the Creative Writing program at the University of Missouri—Kansas City and, in 2018, graduated with an M.F.A. His poems have been published in over 100 different magazines, including New Letters, Bridge Eight, and South Dakota Review. His first collection, Fall Risk, won Glass Lyre Press’s 2018 Best Book Award. His second, Father Me Again, is available from Spartan Press.
I traced the GCSE Art-student impression
of your cheekbones, pencilled in peach; a soft
graphite rendering. Your irises were sectioned
by baby ingots. Your jaw was the edge.
I’d deserted a Chemistry lesson to come
to your sterile door:
you were so satisfying, although you wore
a home-knitted jumper in teddy-bear brown.
Through bitten lips, I sucked my Sherbet Fountain.
Wondered if your wife – blanched and underfed,
with a heart of Cotswold stone, no doubt –
tasted 50mg of sertraline when you kissed her.
Olivia Tuck has had poems and prose published in literary journals and webzines including The Interpreter’s House, Lighthouse, Amaryllis and Three Drops from a Cauldron. Her work also features in the Fly on the Wall charity anthologies Please Hear What I’m Not Saying and Persona Non Grata. She is studying for a BA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, and her pamphlet Things Only Borderlines Know is forthcoming with Black Rabbit Press. Find her on Twitter: @livtuckwrites
A red balloon sailing
through patchwork skies
whisked my brother’s young feet
from the fairground. Day bled
to twilight before a cop found him
mangled in a ditch by the highway.
After the funeral, my Dutch au pair
led me down to our basement
and laughed when I told her
I’d never played baseball. Later
we snuck my father’s rifle
out to the train yards, and she
showed me how creamy breasts
of pigeons turn crimson, and
how nothing seems more alive
than in that moment
before it isn’t.
Ryan Stone writes after midnight. His short fiction and poetry have appeared in publications including Algebra of Owls, Eunoia Review, The Drabble and Silver Birch Press and won prizes in a number of competitions at venues including Grindstone, Writer Advice, Goodreads, Writers’ Forum Magazine and Poetry Nook. He lives in Melbourne, Australia.
What was siphoned off the sun
could just as easily be this tree
and each branch carried out
struggling with moss and faraway
– who can tell it’s not this tree’s
last chance to sort the light
as if going somewhere was still possible
that love too is possible – all this wood
even in winter arriving to gather you up
as leaves, shining, smelling from dew
already beginning to blossom, impatient
for arms and shoulders and the fire.
Simon’s poetry has appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, The New Yorker and elsewhere.