Issue 1:
Winter 2013

Issue 3:
Winter/Spring 2014


Issue 2: Summer 2013


From the Editor's Note:

"Why crustaceans? Animals whose bones are outside their bodies, who molt their skeletons during lunar phases, and who scavenge necrotic tissue to get their three squares have all sorts of stories to tell. Put a love song and a crab and a wooden mallet together and you’ve got a combo with some big hall swing. Add some potato salad and you’ve got poetry. Sure, we hunger for quality as much as anyone else, and we feel a special delight in discovering outstanding new writers of prose and poetry, but we also just love the whole great mess of literature, the conversation and beer and spicy salt and lemon wedges of it."

MARIE ABATE learned to drive in a hearse with her father, an undertaker at a Jewish funeral home in Baltimore. Marie’s writing has recently appeared or is forthcoming in The Sewanee Theological Review, Short, Fast, and Deadly, Crack the Spine, The Mom Egg; Smile, Hon, You’re in BaltimoreKisses with Fishes, Downer Magazine, and others. The “Best of the Net” winner and 2012 Pushcart Prize nominee lives in Baltimore, Maryland.


GARY BLANKENBURG was blessed with a soft-spoken father who ran an art deco movie house in Illinois, where his father allowed him to see whatever movie was playing once a day. The founder of Electric Press is also the author of eight books of poetry and fiction. Gary, who once said that he’s a confessional poet because he has no imagination, has a new manuscript, The Times Theatre, which depicts the spiritual angst of an aging kid.


SHEVAUN BRANNIGAN’s poetry has appeared in Best New Poets 2012, So to Speak, Calyx, Seltzer Zine, and Lumina. She inherited a fiery temper and love of metaphor from her father Christopher, and some of this vitriol is displayed in Shevaun’s other passions—animal rights activism and a radical herbivorous lifestyle. Her accomplishments include raising over $20,000 for special needs guinea pigs, including those abandoned for reckless behavior.


ANTOINETTE BRIM is the author of two collections of poetry: Icarus in Love (Main Street Rag, 2013) and Psalm of the Sunflower (Willow Books, 2009). Her poetry and memoir has appeared in Tidal Basin Review, 95Notes, Southern Women’s Review, Villanelles, 44 on 44: Forty-Four African American Writers on the 44th President of the United States, Not A Muse and Just Like A Girl: A Manifesta. The Cave Canem fellow is also a recipient of the Walker Foundation Scholarship to the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and is an Assistant Professor of English at Capital Community College in Hartford, Connecticut.


CAROLYN CECIL’s poems have appeared in The Broadkill Review, Gunpowder Review, Loyalhanna Review, The More Stories Place and Poet’s Ink.  Her chapbook Taken Away will be published by The Broadkill Press in 2013.  She “goes somewhere” often.  But mostly it is the quiet place itself that draws her from her home in Baltimore. Her father, Bill Cecil, Sr., was a spiritual leader, preaching with a hammer and a shovel, building many Christian day camps throughout the land.


ROBERT COOPERMAN is the author of 14 collections, most recently Little Timothy in Heaven (March Street Press) and The Lily of the West (Wind Publications).  His work has appeared in The Sewanee Review, The North American Review, and Comstock Review. Bob’s mother Ann was a great table tennis player. At tournaments in the Catskills, she’d take all comers, and generally kicked butt. She was also passionate about Bob’s poetry, but what mother isn’t? “I miss her terribly,” Bob says, “And so does my wife.”


DANIEL FERRERA’s poetry has appeared in The Sewanee Theological Review and 32 Poems.  He lives in Baltimore with his wife Laura and works at a college founded by the Quaker grocer, abolitionist and philanthropist Johns Hopkins. Dan was raised next to a milk crate that supported his parents’ turntable.  The needle was weighted by quarters and spun a wonderful collection of 33’s and 45’s in a little red rancher not very far from the Atlantic ocean.

GARY FINCKE’s most recent poetry collection, The History of Permanence (2011), won the Stephen F. Austin Poetry Prize.  His newest book, The Proper Words for Sin (stories), is just out from West Virginia University Press.  He is the Charles Degentaein Professor of Creative Writing at Susquehanna University.  His father Bill was a baker and then a janitor, blue collar work and lifestyle that have built a foundation for much of his son’s writing.


HEATHER FULLER lives with a one-eyed dog and a band of feral cats. The New York Times called her third book Startle Response “jagged and terrific.” Her other collections are Dovecote and perhaps this is a rescue fantasy. A child of North Carolina, she landed in Baltimore by way of D.C., where she ran with avant-garde kids for more than a decade, collaborating on poetry/visual arts projects. She is one of five poets on the Women in the Avant Garde CD from Baltimore’s Narrow House.


MEREDITH DAVIES HADAWAY is the author of two poetry collections, most recently The River is a Reason (Word Press, 2011). Her mother Eloise, a former Justice Department attorney, raised her on Wordsworth, Yeats, and Swanson TV Dinners. Hadaway also serves as poetry editor for The Summerset Review.


CLARINDA HARRISS, co-editor of Hot Sonnets, is a professor emerita of Towson University, where she taught for decades. She directs Brick House Books, Inc. In her work with prison writers, she has done as much jail time as many felons; several Brick House books, most recently Clarence Brown’s novella Needs, have come out of these efforts. Her own most recent books are Air Travel, Mortmain, and Dirty Blue Voice. She owes her existence to H. L. Mencken, who introduced her father, writer R. P. Harriss, and her mother, educator Margery Willis, long before the advent of OK Cupid.



NANCY G. HICKMAN’s poems have been published in Mad Poets Review, Philadelphia Stories, and The Delmarva Review, and her non-fiction has appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer. Nancy was raised on a sheep and pony farm in eastern Sussex County, on the Eastern Shore. After spending thirty years in Philadelphia, Nancy returned to the old peninsula’s familiar sandy loam to homestead near the Pocomoke River, eagerly awaiting the annual “Blessing of the Combines”—a multi-denominational send-off for bean and corn harvesters.


JENNIFER KEY is the author of the recent Tampa Review Poetry Prize collection The Old Dominion. The book features an old Virginia Commonwealth map on its cover, which might have been a handy document since her move from Virginia to North Carolina involved a detour to Wisconsin. Jennifer is the editor of Pembroke Magazine. Her other awards include the Southwest Review’s McGinnis-Ritchie Award for Fiction, and her poems have appeared in The Antioch Review, The Carolina Quarterly, and Callaloo, among others.


W.F. LANTRY received his Maîtrise from L’Université de Nice, and PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston. He is the author of two poetry collections, most recently The Structure of Desire (Little Red Tree 2012). His work has appeared in The Valparaiso Fiction Review, Asian Cha, and Aesthetica, among others. His father, Frank, is a design engineer, and this has led to Bill’s lifelong interest in shape and form. The San Diego native currently works in Washington, D.C., a Federal town whose alphanumeric streets are superimposed over a series of stars and circles created by the capricious Pierre L’Enfant.


KEVIN LAVEY’s stories have appeared in The Lifted Brow, Witness, Stickman Review, Zygote in My Coffee, Unlikely Stories, Poeticdiversity, Slipstream and others. Recently, he won a Maryland State Arts Council Artist of the Year for Fiction. He teaches at an alternative high school in Baltimore County where he encourages his students to cultivate their subversive leanings. Perhaps he is pushing back against his father, who worked for the Agency on the overt side, providing him a childhood filled with secret handshakes.



NIKIA LEOPOLD’s second chapbook, Small Pleasures, won the 2012 Blue Light Press Award. This year, her other poems appear in Able Muse, The Southern Review and Gargoyle Magazine. She also writes and illustrates children’s books including Adam’s Crayons, illustrated by Barry Nemett (Galileo Press, 2012). Her father Blake was a nonfiction writer who often quoted the Romantics while undertaking the complete history of Pearl Harbor.



BRUCE LEOPOLD made a career of fifty-minute hours at Shepherd Pratt before retiring to a life of gentlemanly pursuits. With a wife, a guitar, a bottle of wine, and a sable hair paintbrush anything is possible. A distance runner in his younger days, Bruce has since become a cycling enthusiast and has seen much of the world, including Virginia, from his calloused seat bone. A scavenger of oddities and harmonies in the vein of his father Aldo—a natural historian—our cover artist prefers scraps of wood to linseed oiled canvases, and frames made of driftwood polished by tides.


KAREN LILLIS is the author of four books of fiction, most recently Watch the Doors as They Close (Spuyten Duyvil Novella Series, 2012). A small press librarian, Karen writes about the small press scene and independent bookstores at her blog, “Karen the Small Press Librarian.” Her father is a physician and a comedian. He mostly treats the elderly and the poor and specializes in heart and lung problems. Many of his routines begin: “So, this guy comes into my office…”


V.P. LOGGINS is the author of The Fourth Paradise (Main Street Rag 2010) as well as a critical book on Shakespeare. His work has appeared in The Baltimore Review, Cæsura, The Dalhousie Review, English Journal, The Formalist, The Healing Muse, Memoir (and), Poet Lore, Slipstream and The Southern Review. After World War II his father, playing what was then called semi-pro baseball, got a base hit off a barnstorming Satchel Paige who often preached “Just take the ball and throw it where you want to. Throw strikes. Home plate doesn’t move.”


LESLIE F. MILLER is the author of Let Me Eat Cake: A Celebration of Flour, Sugar, Butter, Eggs, Vanilla, Baking Powder, and a Pinch of Salt, and the chapbook, BOYGIRLBOYGIRL (Finishing Line Press, 2012).  Her work has appeared in Gargoyle, Kit-cat Review, Main Street Rag, Baltimore Review, and other journals. Leslie’s father, Harvey, who passed away last July, was a professional fixer—parking lots, roads, properties. But he was most passionate about fixing his daughters’ problems.  Leslie had a few.


EDWARD O'DWYER’s poems have appeared in Poetry Ireland Review, Southword, Agenda, Weyfarers, Danse Macabre, A Hudson View Poetry Digest, and Tinteán. He was selected in 2010 by Poetry Ireland for their Introductions Series. The Limerick native’s first poetry collection, A Love Poem Mostly for You, is mostly forthcoming from Salmon Press. Both retired now, his mother worked all of her life in food service, while his father gave many of his working years to the bread company Irish Pride.


  SANDRA RAMIREZ was raised in Santa Monica, California, next to a Shell gas station that is no longer there. The eldest daughter of Manuela and Gilberto, she rode skateboards and waves, shot hoops and pool, and once skipped a high school class to drive to San Francisco because it was a nice day to do so. In 2007, she received the Emerging Voices Fellowship from PEN Center USA. Her work has appeared in the anthology Strange Cargo.


MICHAEL RATCLIFFE lives and along the boundary between the Baltimore and Washington suburbs. His poems have appeared in You Are Here: The Journal of Creative Geography, Do Not Look At The Sun, Symmetry Pebbles, Loch Raven Review, and Little Patuxent Review. Michael’s father, Roger, was a research entomologist who finished out his career producing wheat that tasted bad to Hessian fly larvae. Ew.


ALAN C. REESE is the author of the chapbook Reports from Shadowland. His work has appeared in many publications including Smartish Pace, Gargoyle, The Baltimore Sun, Maryland Poetry Review, Potomac Review, Delaware Review, Welter, Grub Street, Attic, Bicycle Review, Danse Macabre, and the Loch Raven Review. His dad, Carroll, served in the Navy and worked in a steel yard after the war, catching hot rivets in East Baltimore.


JOSEPH ROSS is the author of two collections of poetry: Meeting Bone Man (Main Street Rag, 2012) and Gospel of Dust (Main Street Rag, 2013). His poems have appeared in Collective Brightness: LGBTIQ Poets on Faith, Religion and Spirituality, Poet Lore, Tidal Basin Review, Beltway Poetry Quarterly and Words. Beats. Life: The Global Journal of Hip-Hop Culture. In 2007, he co-edited Cut Loose the Body: An Anthology of Poems on Torture and Fernando Botero’s Abu Ghraib.


MICHAEL SALCMAN is the author of two poetry collections, most recently The Enemy of Good Is Better (Orchises, 2011). His poems can be scanned in Alaska Quarterly ReviewThe Hudson Review, The Hopkins ReviewNew LettersOntario Review, and New York Quarterly. When not writing poems, Michael performs surgery on brains. He served many years as Chairman of Neurosurgery at the University of Maryland, and as president of the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore. No doubt the “spaghetti stains” on his hospital tunic conjure Jackson Pollock. Michael lectures often about the history of contemporary art, as well as the brain—how it got its shape, the various glands, and amygdala gone awry.



ANNA SCHACHNER has been published in many literary journals and magazines, including The Sun, Puerto del Sol, Kalliope, and Ontario Review.  She won the Frank O’Connor Award in fiction and the Southern Women Writers Emerging Fiction Writer Award. Her other passions include animals and the mandolin.  She’s better at the first—a gift passed on from both her parents—but occasionally will learn a new chord and think there’s still hope for the mandolin.  She also loves to travel, most especially to Latin America, where she is happiest.  She teaches creative writing in Atlanta and is the editor of The Chattahoochee Review.



SAM SCHMIDT is the author of the poetry collection Suburban Myths (Beokuk Books, 2012) and is currently working on a mystery novel. His father loved highways, golf courses, cherries from roadside stands, sweet iced tea, and crossword puzzles.



HEIDI SHULER was born in the Golden State but now lives in Portland, Oregon, near her son and grandson, and works as a percussionist. Her twenty years’ drumming followed stints driving a donut truck, selling water beds, and being Front Desk clerk at the famous Shack Up Inn. In 2012, Heidi was awarded the lavish Rattle Poetry Prize for her poem “Trials of a Teenage Transvestite’s Single Mother.” It was her first publication. That poem and her poems in Free State Review, are included in her new manuscript Other Heroes. Heidi’s father, Al, is still known as Coach Shu by everyone.



JEFF SURAL longs to craft one or two perfect, simple, declarative sentences (except when writing poetry of course). The attorney and public policy advisor is also something of a dreamer, much like our President, but he differs from the Free World leader in a significant way: Jeff is also writing a novel, Life Lessons for Raising a Son During a Zombie Apocalypse: A Guidebook for Fathers, because the zombie-genre has not been explored thoroughly enough. He enjoys open water swimming, bourbon, and reading. “U. P. Spring,” which refers to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, is his first published poem.



SUE ELLEN THOMPSON’s most recent book of poetry is The Golden Hour (Autumn House Press, 2006). She is the winner of the 2010 Maryland Author Award from the Maryland Library Association. Thompson will publish her fifth book, They, in 2014. Her father, Elliott, was a B-24 pilot in World War II who spent 2 1/2 years as a P.O.W. in northern Germany. After being liberated by the Russian Army, Lt. Thompson returned to his home in New Jersey, where he raised five children and ran a hardware company for more than four decades.



NICOLA WALDRON’s writing has recently been featured in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Her Kind, The Common, and Places Journal. The recipient of the United Kingdom’s Bridport Poetry Prize, her poetry chapbook, Girl at the Watershed, will be published this spring by the University of South Carolina. She has just finished a memoir set in the London theatre during Margaret Thatcher’s fall from power. Sex & regret are involved (which is why she hopes no one will tell her mother about it).



HAROLD O. WILSON parlayed a 1961 Divinity degree into a life long career as a low income home ownership advocate. He helped build homes in rural America, as well as Poland, Guatemala, and Uganda, so it should come as no surprise that he also serves on the Queen Anne County Ethics committee. At 75, “Hal” is so busy in his retirement—writing essays, novellas, and short stories—that he must take periodic vacations to visit his mother in Charleston, SC.



RUPERT WONDOLOSKI has been called “King of the Lawn” by various folk musicians in the spirit of Roger Miller’s 1964 ballad about a restless hobo. He is the author of two poetry collections, most recently Mattress in an Alley, Raft Upon the Sea (Fell Swoop, 2013). He also sings and plays in The Mole Suit Choir which is slated to have a summertime release on Baltimore label Ehse. Rupert’s dad, Stew, is a war veteran. God bless him for that.


  WILLIAM KELLEY WOOLFITT is the author of The Salvager’s Arts, co-winner of the 2011 Keystone Chapbook Prize. His writings have appeared or are forthcoming in Threepenny Review, Cincinnati Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Ninth Letter, Shenandoah, Los Angeles Review, Sycamore Review, Southern Humanities Review, and Hayden’s Ferry Review. His parents’ passions, many of which have become his own, include running, car trips, volunteer work, literacy, and visiting the farm in rural Barbour County where his grandmother lives.