Saturday, June 30, 2018

Summer Poetry Pop-Up: Terence Winch

Ghost Bottle

You waited for me as long as you could
that night when I went out to play a gig

It was cold in the back of the car
I clenched my jaw till my teeth hurt

I was in the dark for so long my eyes
have never adjusted to the light

Someday humans will be able to remember
everything but not recognize the present

You waited for me singing your exit
in a rattle that shook through the house

After you were gone I made everything
into a prayer against everything divine

Then they put me in a bottle and tossed me
in the sea floating on the waves of my grief
                                                                     --Terence Winch

[from The Known Universe, Hanging Loose Press, 2018]

Terence Winch is the author of eight poetry collections: The Known Universe, This Way Out, Lit from Below, Falling out of Bed in a Room with No Floor, Boy Drinkers, The Drift of  Things, The Great Indoors [Columbia Book Award winner], and Irish Musicians/American Friends [American Book Award winner]. He has also written two story collections, Contenders and That Special Place: New World Irish Stories, which draws on his experiences as a founding member of the original Celtic Thunder, the acclaimed Irish band. His work is included in more than 40 anthologies, among them the Oxford Book of American Poetry, Poetry 180, and 5 editions of  Best American Poetry, and has been featured on “The Writer’s Almanac” and NPR’s “All Things Considered.” Winch is the recipient of an NEA Fellowship in poetry and a Gertrude Stein Award for Innovative Writing, among other honors.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Summer Poetry Pop-Up: Nancy Naomi Carlson


A coded language emerged from a morpheme sea:
Hyperplasia, exemestane, nuclear grade.
Charmed times are not evoked in threes.

Three weeks between infusions, reprised
In frayed dreams of the needle’s wake.
A broken language emerges. A lymph sea

Reels with vertigo. Red blood cells retreat.
I am bald and moon-faced.
Where’s the harm in threes,

Cytoxen whispers, corroding nails as it seethes
Drip by drip in recalcitrant veins.
A muted language merges with closed seas

Of blood so pale, a slight shift of disease
Could set off a swell so untamed
That evoking three times three times three

Charms may not be enough to save me. 
My body knows how it will end but remains—
With or without charmed times evoked in threes—
A veiled language merging with closed seas.
                                                            --Nancy Naomi Carlson

(First published by The Georgia Review)

Nancy Naomi Carlson, poet, translator, editor, and essayist, has authored eight titles (5 translated). She received a grant from the NEA to translate Abdourahman A. Waberi’s first collection of poems, which was a “Best Translated Book Award” finalist for 2016, and her translation of Char’s Hammer with No Master was a finalist for the 2017 CLMP Firecracker Poetry Award. Recipient of grants from the Maryland State Arts Council, as well as the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County, her work has appeared in such journals as the American Poetry Review, Boulevard, The Georgia Review, and Poetry. “Infusion: Round III” comes from Infusion of Violets, forthcoming from Seagull Books in spring 2019. Her co-translation of The Dancing Other, a novel by Suzanne Dracius, from Martinique, is due out from Seagull Books this summer. For more information, please visit

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Summer Poetry Pop-Up: Patricia Gray

July Moons

I was born   in a lightning storm
thunder   cracking  sky roof
spirit eye opening   delivery
shaft   folk names of   full moons
humming   branch breaking, falling
street blocked   Buck Moon hiding
off in the reaches   young antlers
pushing-through, itchy, eager
I was born under   day-before
Hay Moon   alfalfa cut, baled
stashed from storm   Born
under   the Mead Moon medieval
old pubs peppering   flat beer
to sell it   Born   a bumpkin
in DC’s   mid-summer moon’s
mischief   a sliver left in me
slim switch of lightning   and this
deep clap of   Thunder Moon.
                               By Patricia Gray

First published in Stickman Review, Winter 2015

PATRICIA GRAY’s poem incorporates folk names of full moons for July.  Another of her poems, “Moon Smudge,” enjoyed a three-month ride in 2016 as a poster on Arlington Transit buses—part of the Moving Words program of Arlington Arts.  Also that year, she received an artist fellowship from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Gray is an alumna of Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference and formerly directed the Library of Congress poetry office.  After leaving the Library, she added two prose pieces about that program to the Splendid Wake Up blog.  She serves on the poetry board of the Folger Shakespeare Library, and in July will teach a “Getting Started: Creative Writing” workshop at the Capitol Hill Center campus of the The Writer’s Center.   Gray also made two recent prose contributions to The Writer’s Center blog spot on Facebook. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Summer Poetry Pop-Up: Ginger Ingalls

Culture and Consciousness

My soul sweeps
the earth and settles
a small African.

I hold this child.

My eyes open
but bloodshot from the strength,
from Strasbourg to west Senegal,
for holding on so long.

                                    --Ginger Ingalls

Ginger Ingalls, at 68, wishes to absorb the lessons of her life as Mom, poet, energy bodyworker, and former journalist.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Summer Poetry Pop-Up: Chan Wing-chi


                                                               End of de 19th century
                                                               Off a fishing port entry
                                                      Eight-year boy's dad’s sick death
                                                      Where mother & grandmom left
                                                   While teenager's dream to be sought
                                                  At Macau, he dared to jump on board
                                           Wooden boat sailed for cross-oceanic voyage
                                           Over the storm, in months, to a golden village
                                   For ten years plus, worked for fifteen hours every day
                                   Never in school, dreamed schooling for his kid one day
                            Selling the ID, back to hometown with dream of land property
                            For money been cheated by a learned cousin, yelling in misery
                        So left behind a three-year son/wife, voyaging 2nd time to Ellis Island
                       Whom, with no ID, yelled by Immigration be under an arrest warrant
                   Faceless, speechless, hopeless, a body found on Hudson River, motionless 
                   His son, of US Flying Tiger, at River recalled how dad needed to be tearless
             When a voyage voicing through two continents via symphony of hundred years
             What a requiem symphonized voices of war/peace, life/death for human dears  
         Echoing to a home legacy for singing grace to the needed with a generous hospitality
         Where three great-grand kids now bowing tunes on thy heart-strings at a Capital City


   Note: Ellis Island, in Upper New York Bay, had been the gateway for each of the 12 million
  new immigrant’s entry inspection upon his/her arrival to the United States from 1892 to 1954.   


Chan Wing-chi, currently chair professor for arts at the Beijing Capital Normal University.  Being a Washingtonian poet cum musician, Chan organized the Washington, DC Youth Orchestra’s ten concert tours to Europe and Asia, during his tenure as Development Director.  Also he served as consultants for National
Endowment for the Arts and China National Symphony, adjunct professor at Green Mountain College in Vermont and Shenyang Music Conservatory in China, and external examiner for New York University’s Master’s program. Spearheading to score his mind of conceptual art, minimalism and pointillism music, Chan has synchronized tonal rhyming perception in composing English poetry.  Chan’s poems had been broadcasted and recorded under the Poets & Poems Program at the Library of Congress. Meanwhile Chan’s English poems has recently been published under the Fall 2015 MiPOesias, 2018 The Federal Poet, and by the New Academia Publishing, namely Mass for Nanking’s 1937.  In 2007, Chan, as choral conductor, took a team of twelve American vocalists to participate in a Memorial Concert for the 70th Anniversary of Nanking Massacre

Monday, June 25, 2018

Summer Poetry Pop-up: Jacqueline Jules

Waiting To Heal

Fractured bone
bleeds, then clots.
A callus forms
and tissue toughens—
as long as
circulation is good,
no infection intrudes,
and the limb
stays immobile
long enough.

Bone cells
possess the magic
to link broken parts,
become whole enough
to bear the weight
of living once again.

If only waiting
weeks and weeks
didn’t blister and itch
or entomb every thought
inside a plaster crypt.

                                        --Jacqueline Jules

"Waiting to Heal" appears in Itzhak Perlman's Broken String.

Jacqueline Jules is the author of three chapbooks, Field Trip to the Museum (Finishing Line Press), Stronger Than Cleopatra (ELJ Publications), and Itzhak Perlman’s Broken String (Winner, Helen Kay Chapbook Prize 2016). Her work has appeared in over 100 publications. Visit her online at where you will see that she is also the author of 40 books for young readers including the Zapato Power series and Pluto is Peeved.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Summer Poetry Pop-up: Kim Roberts


His mother dressed him up so fine,
spent all her cash on sailor suits,
wool knickers with the sewn-in pleats,
and floppy grosgrain ribbon ties.
The Coney Island crowd of boys
liked him though: his dirty jokes,

his pitching arm.  Also the way
he let his mother dress him up,
then watched her face go purple-red
screaming down the tenement walls
to all the ragged neighbor boys
who called him out to stickball games.

His name is Irving! she would shout
to my father and his gang below.
It's Irving!  You dirty indigents!
You impecunious gutter rats!

No one screamed as gloriously:
How dare you beggars call him Schmutz!

                                                                   --Kim Roberts

Kim Roberts is the author of A Literary Guide to Washington, DC: Walking in the Footsteps of American Writers from Francis Scott Key to Zora Neale Hurston (University of Virginia Press, 2018), and five books of poems, most recently The Scientific Method (WordTech Editions, 2017). She co-edits the journal Beltway Poetry Quarterly and the web exhibit DC Writers’ Homes. Roberts has been the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, HumanitiesDC, and the DC Commission on the Arts, and has been a writer-in-residence at 17 artist colonies (and will attend her 18th, Art OMI in New York State, this coming October). Poems of hers have been featured in the Wick Poetry Center’s Traveling Stanzas Project, on the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day Project, and on podcasts sponsored by the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her website:

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Summer Poetry Pop-Up: Grace Cavalieri


The Octopus offers me one of his three hearts,
briar and holly for friendship in the second and third,
saved for times of longing, times of loss.
A strange romance, I admit—
Friends would never approve or believe,
yet he was untouched by human hands.
How can we say this is not a source of wonder—
“Who will sing my song, if not you?”  he asked.
“Who will dream of me, as I lay under the stillness of water?”
Even an Octopus can be eloquent, and then again,
as we know, enormous need can become power.
What am I supposed to do now?
I stand by the water,
my woolen dress unraveling in the waves. 

                                                           --Grace Cavalieri

Grace Cavalieri's new book is Other Voices, Other Lives (Alan Squire Publisher.) She celebrates 41 years on public radio with "The Poet and the Poem" now from the Library Of Congress.Her play "Quilting The Sun," which premiered at the Smithsonian Institution, will see a 2019 production.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Summer Poetry Pop-Up: Judith McCombs

Chief M’Comie Mor and the Kelpies
Kelpies are the shape-shifting water spirits of Scotland’s rivers. They take the forms of beautiful horses and hairy, water-weedy humans. Kelpies lure people out to drown them. 

   Glenshee, Perthshire, 1600s

There came a wailing at the door
That night of roaring wind.
O save my man, M’Comie Mor!
M’Comie, let me in.

The flood has swept my good man down,
Shee River runs so high.
There’s none but you can save him now,
O help or he will die.

Shee Water leaps like a wild, wild steed
There’s none but you can tame.
O leave your sleep and come with me
If M’Comie be your name.

The stars were dim, the moon was banned,
He probed the shifting mud
And waded out, his staff in hand,
To brave that raging flood.

A cry he heard, then saw a face
Rise like a thing half-drowned.
The Chief stood braced to pull it safe--
But it reared to stamp him down.

It was no man, but a kelpie-steed
Who carries off mere men.
He hurled his staff at the creature’s head
As the kelpie dove again.

Then the kelpie’s wife struck M’Comie’s side
With her flailing water-weeds--
In the pounding rain he hurled him free
While she joined her wave-born steed.
--Judith McCombs

Innisfree Poetry Journal; rpt. Clach of Clan MacThomas

Judith McCombs grew up nomadic, in a geodetic surveyor’s family. Her poems appear in Delmarva, Potomac & Saranac Reviews, Innisfree, Nimrod (Neruda Award), Poetry, Shenandoah (Graybeal-Gowen Prize); and The Habit of Fire: Poems Selected & New. She is active in Word WorksDC, Federal Poets; and arranges the Kensington Row Bookshop’s Poetry Readings.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Summer Poetry Pop-Up: Myra Sklarew

Safety in Our National Parks

          It is true, an absolute necessity.  We need concealed
          weapons  in our national parks, Taurus revolvers
          with their long and distinguished history. Or
          Uzis, courtesy of the IDF.  AK-47s,  Kalashnikov’s gift
          to the free world. We must protect ourselves
          against ancient redwood trees, Trumpeter Swans,
          Sandhill Cranes and eagles, anonymous killer moths,
          groundhogs. Against geysers, waterfalls, caldera,
          spiders, sagebrush, glacial lakes and fossils, elk and coyote,
          Bighorn Sheep. Thus we carry armloads of supplies,
          multiple cartridges, loaded magazines, backpacks.
          How grateful we are to our legislators for making
          this possible. We must be armed in the event the sun
          fixes its hot glance on us, or an errant star appears
          in the night sky like some infrared searchlight.
          It is not possible to be too careful in the national park.

                                                                         --Myra Sklarew

(U.S. national parks open to holders of concealed firearms, February 22, 2010)


Myra Sklarew attended Tufts University and the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins, and studied bacterial viruses and genetics at Cold Spring Harbor Biological Institute. She conducted research on memory and prefrontal lobe function at Yale University School of Medicine. Her books include collections of poetry, short prose, essays and the forthcoming, A Survivor Named Trauma.