Barbara Goldberg

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In the woods

are these things:

fingers of madmen

nimble and quick

playing cat's cradle

with ropes meant for strangling

a great horned owl

in the treetop

the soul of a Chippewa

caught in its throat

a sidewinding snake

rubbing its scales

jaws unhinged

hungry for neckbones

quicksand, though no one

knows where exactly

These are stories our children tell us

to keep us from wandering.


Barbara Goldberg has authored six prize-winning poetry books, including Breaking & Entering: New and Selected Poems. Recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, she translated and edited contemporary Israel poetry. Goldberg, Series Editor of Word Works International Editions, has selected poets translated from Kurdish, Croatian, and Ancient Greek for publication.

John Bradley


And so this guy says to his friend

who happens to be a wheelbarrow,

Tell me, amigo, Don't you get tired

of being a wheelbarrow?

And his friend says: Hey, I'm lucky

I got to be a wheelbarrow!


Something to make you laugh,

César. Or maybe groan.



from Hotel Montparnasse: Letters to César Vallejo

Photo by Jana Brubaker

John Bradley is the author of Love-In-Idleness: The Poetry of Roberto Zingarello, which won the Washington Prize, awarded by The Word Works.  He first encountered César Vallejo in the Southeast Minneapolis Public Library, while reading Thomas Merton's Emblems of a Season of Fury.  Vallejo has been a close friend ever since. His latest book is Hotel Montparnasse: Letters to César Vallejo. Bradley is presently a poetry editor for Cider Press Review.

Andrea Carter Brown




Let’s not romanticize bodies

falling. Others may use float

or dance; I refuse to pretend.


They were not graceful, quiet.

They fell unbelievably fast.

Straight down. Head first.


Some screamed. The sound

they made landing? Forget

thud. Louder than the wind.

Photo by Thomas Drescher

Andrea Carter Brown's most recent poetry collection is September 12. Previously, she is the author of Domestic Karma, The Disheveled Bed, and Brook & Rainbow. An avid birder and backyard citrus farmer, she lives in Los Angeles, where she is Series Editor of The Word Works Washington Prize.

Rae Armantrout




Lion taming

exists to make us think

that the ferocity of lions

is fake.


Or lion taming exists

to parody our sense

of human mastery

over the earth.


Of course,

any thought

is a shot in the dark.


But a poem exists

to contain it.


Now a thought

is a watched pot.  

Photo by Andrea Auge

Rae Armantrout is the author of fifteen books of poems, including Conjure, a finalist for the PEN/Voelcker award,  (Wesleyan, 2020), Wobble (2018), a finalist for the National Book Award, and Versed (2009) which won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2010.  She is the current judge of the Yale Younger Poet award.

Henry Crawford

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Years Later, Frank O’Hara


I was only five

years old

and fifteen

miles away

when you

leaned against

that john door

at the



so I came

to this poem

a little

too young

and a moment

too late


to do much

for her except

to listen

eyes closed

saying to myself

it’s only

a song.


Henry Crawford is author of two poetry collections, American Software (CW Books 2017) and The Binary Planet (The Word Works 2020). His poems have appeared in several journals and online publications. His poem The Fruits of Famine, won first prize in the 2019 World Food Poetry Competition. His poem Blackout was selected by  Southern Humanities Review as a finalist in the 2018 Jake Adam York Witness Poetry Contest. His poem Making an Auto Insurance Claim was selected as an honorable mention in Winning Writer’s 2019 Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest. His multi-media work, Gettysburg Auto Tour, was selected as a finalist for the 2019 Deanna Tulley Multimedia Prize. He has produced numerous online poetry events and is the host and developer of the online poetry series, Poets vs The Pandemic.

Grace Cavalieri

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Forget what I said before—

It’s evening in Tuscany.


Someone is making bread that will not grow stale,

others are picking carciofi.


The moon won’t speak one word

so covered with the moss of clouds.


I know someone who died, but stays.

I would live it all again.


Nothing is divested but the

crêpe myrtle that screams pink.


Nothing is enough but the

empty wastebasket where letters once were.

  from The Man Who Got Away

(New Academia)


Grace Cavalieri is Maryland’s Tenth Poet Laureate. She’s author of 26 collections of poetry. She has had several plays produced, most recently “Quilting The Sun,” NYC 2019. She founded, produces and hosts “The Poet and the Poem,” for public radio, 44 years on-air, now from The Library of Congress. For ten years, Cavalieri was poetry columnist/reviewer for The Washington Independent Review of Books. She has taught poetry workshops in colleges throughout the country. Her latest book is Grace Art-Poems and Paintings (Poets’ Choice Press,2021). She is the recipient of many honors and awards, including the 2013 Association of Writers & Writing Programs’ George Garrett Award, The American Association of University Women, Phi Beta Kappa,  and The Corporation for Public Broadcasting Silver Medal.

David Keplinger



That your shoes are two fish, a school that moves by the singular will. That the body is here, but elsewhere, too. That there exists a body of wind, one for you, one for the city, the country, the planet. That there’s one wind moving all of this just so. Even the bride in the white wedding gown. And the groom in the charcoal suit. The beautiful car that’s waiting for them. The vast night.

Photo by Czarina Divinagracia

David Keplinger is the author of eight books of poetry, including The World to Come (Conduit, April 2021) and Another City (Milkweed Editions, 2018), which was awarded the 2019 UNT Rilke Prize for a mid-career poet. His other books of prose poetry include The Prayers of Others (New Issues Press, 2006), winner of the Colorado Book Award, and The Most Natural Thing (New Issues Press, 2013). In 2020 he was the recipient of the Emily Dickinson Award from the Poetry Society of America. His books of translations include Forty-One Objects, his 2019 collaboration with Danish poet Carsten René Nielsen, which was a finalist for the 2020 National Translation Award.

Lorna Goodison

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My mother raises rare blooms
and waters them with tea
her birth waters sang like rivers
my mother is now me

My mother had a linen dress
the colour of the sky
and stored lace and damask
to pull shame out of her eye.

I am becoming my mother
brown/yellow woman
fingers smelling always of onions.

Photo by Scottish Poetry Library

Lorna Goodison, born in Kingston, Jamaica, is author of nine poetry collections, including her latest Collected Poems (UK: Carcanet, 2017). Forthcoming in 2021 is Mother Muse. A painter before she became a working poet, Goodison was educated at the Jamaica School of Art and the School of the Art Students League of New York. She was appointed poet laureate of Jamaica in 2017. In 2018, she received a Windham–Campbell Literature Prize, and in 2019, she was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry.