Issue: Issue 3 No Limits

Featured Poet. Luiz Canha Machado

Luiz Canha Machado was born in Porto, Portugal, in 1971. He started writing poetry at the age of sixteen, drawing inspiration from his own life, the XIX Century Romanticism and the counterculture movements of the XX Century. He first wrote exclusively in his mother tongue but soon began to write in English also. Since then he alternates his poetry in both languages. Yeats, Neruda, Whitman, Ginsberg, Joyce and Kerouac are among his personal favourite poets and writers. Besides poetry and literature, his other passions are music and history.

He married his high school sweetheart and continues to write.  He has two books on Amazon, “Misplaced Poems” (2015) and “Chapters of Poetry” (2016). His poem “Utopia” (the original Portuguese version) was selected to be part of Portuguese contemporary poetry anthology “Between Sleep and Dream VII”, published in Lisbon in 2016.

You can visit Luiz’s website at



Poetry’s Not Dead


I’ve seen it on the underpass

In a winter’s dealer night,

Knifed by moribund moonbeams,

The spray on the fuliginous wall

Proclaiming poetry’s not dead.

I wonder if they know what that means

At the end of the inner tracks,

Where the heart synapses fade away,

At the bottom of the soul pit

Where the nameless feeling rests inert.


I’ve seen it on the underpass,

I’ve seen it on stone, wood and flesh;

I’ve seen it in a warrior’s glare,

I’ve seen it in a woman’s flare,

Poetry’s not dead.

I wonder if they know what that means

For those hurt by the undoing of life,

For the failed strategies of heaven,

For the runaway lips on whoring street,

For the bruised knuckles of the spirit.


I’ve seen it on the underpass,

I’ve seen it on the roaring sky,

Poetry’s not dead.

I wonder if they know what that means

To the moon’s desires as a whole,

To the wonders of humanity below,

To the smoke that rises unstructured,

To the shape of dreams floating above,

Feeding the common hope,

Untying the hanging rope.



Road of Words


On a late afternoon,

Under sick skies of bronze,

I pogo-danced

Barefoot and alone

On the road of words,

With the strength of a blacksmith

And my dark eyes burning

With the furnaces glow.

For my gods have deserted me,

Wildfires are burning horizons

In the east,

And I’m eager to reach

The endless tides of peaceful seas

In the west.

And there,

By the mouth of our baptismal river,

Have a rest from being known

For something I am not,

And daydream about you,

Far away

From that stinking swamp

Where I carried

The whispers of murder

In a machine gun,

With muddy water to my waist

And dirty magazines on my mind.


For my friends kissed me,

Like Judas did,

I was backstabbed

With sheer disdain.

I was hanged on the tree of love

And I was left there to die;

But I never learnt how to spell

The word goodbye.

And all I requested her,

When she was lying

On her lover’s bed,

Was to open her arms to life

And spread her legs to love,

Because she was not dead yet,

Nor she was death.

And though we longed

To be loved on the road of words,

Paved with the soliloquies

From the past seekers,

We took a detour

And we marched up the mountain

By the old forest trail,

Where we walked around

The burnt out ruins

Of the stone round houses

And search for the lost meanings

Of our forefathers’ language.



Poetics of Time


She left me a note in the night sky

Codified on a dance of stars,

To be read right to left

Starting from the chimney

Of the old abandoned textile mill,

Then upside down

Following the traces of the moon

Across the Milky Way gospel,

Punctuated by the fading fire

Of the tangential city lights.


She left a note in the night sky

Just to let me know

That seasons have no meaning

In the realm of poetry.

I’ve read it following the paths

Of faraway dead suns,

To learn that if space is the blank page

And matter is the dark ink,

Time is the entire language

With which everything was scribed.


She left me a note in the night sky

And I inhaled what she said,

The poetics of time running away

Like fast cars passing by,

Relativity of clocks on display.

These days I don’t care anymore

For the hours fading away,

Past, present and future

On the palm of my hand,

I crushed them all into a fistful of love.





Utopia attended without a formal invitation

The assembly of your human reason.

It was announced as a beam of light

Breaking the veil of some dense cogitation

And it reflected the morning on the still water

Of the untouched well.


Utopia forced you to reach out your hand

Before a sudden fall victimised your brother.

And among the winds of famine and the fury of order

Showed you the world you could build,

Breaking the path full of mines,

The path that goes from the fist to the hand palm.


Utopia found you on a tired afternoon among ruins,

Watching the poignant emptiness with a voided look.

It introduced you to the son of the primordial father

And challenged you to love the daughter of the original mother,

Scattering on your dream the dawn of the impossible

And demanding you to rise up more than a bare man.



The Decay of Youth


The lights went on inside the lacquered doors,

As the starry sky rose over the waters

And summer scents swirled around the pines,

Fireflies in the hot evening summer breeze

Announced the Orchids’ demise,

Waning by the old stone wall covered with aged ivy.

It all started there! –

The decay of youth on a perfect night.

I poured myself a glass of Absinthe,

Listening to the poetry spoken in every word

Of my poetic brothers and sisters,

The joyful laughs and murmured confidences.


Some of them were discussing sorrow and happiness,

Some were ghost dancing by the ivory piano,

Some were talking in badly angled corners,

Some were in love next to the golden bannister,

And some of them were running from everything.

We hugged and we kissed on the nocturne blue sofa,

We recited, we loved, we drank and we fucked.

We gave each other punk haircuts,

We became gods for a moment,

We ended up servants for a lifetime.

And we praised the eternal and endless snake

Penetrating our world – mad with passion and refusal.


But it has always been clear to my road companion

That faking our age was not an option.

He had a serious soul condition

And he looked like a Moor in Gibraltar centuries ago,

Staring at sunsets feeling incomplete.

So he drank, he drank to deceive his own lies,

To see if there was something at the end of his sobriety.

And I always carried him home,

I always cleaned up his mess,

But I could never figure out what he meant

When he said he would meet his fate

On the day my heart betrayed all he believed in.


Now our highway came to an end

And we felt like a pair of worn out shoes

Left behind on some old lover’s apartment.

You never go back for something

That you wore on the road,

At least we knew that much by then.

So we posed for eternity one last time,

After exchanging so many whys and why nots,

Just to find that nothing really matters in the end,

Because we never possessed the reasons for

Why young hearts were naïve enough to believe

That a poem could change reality.


And in the morning brightness

I saw your ghost under the door frame,

Sent from a day yet to be born,

Conceived on a waltzing bed

On the other side of dreaming.

And your fiery smile lighted up the room

Like fireworks on some nonstop festivities,

Beckoning me home,

Whispering me across Spain,

Carried by the mesa scorching wind,

“Don’t be late, my street poet,

You know that life it’s just time fading away.”



You Have My Word


You have my word;

You have this word of mine,

This word forged

In the beginning of the world

By the fires of the gods.

And here you have it now;

Take this word,

Savour it on the tongue,

Feel the taste of the syllables,

Frame it to your breath

And release it from the lips,

To elucidate the significance

Of all that I meant to say

Throughout a lifetime

Of silent complicity.


You have my word;

You have this sacred word

Written in indecipherable dialect

Of love turned into flesh.

Here it is as it was

Before you were born.

Disregard the divine verb,

Don’t make that mistake.

React only to this word,

That is pure in its nature,

And it was spoken to you

In the instant before time,

Alone in its endless existence,

Fecund of all that I gave you,

Root of this love I have for you.



Declaration of Independency


I proclaim my independency

From the swirling flags

Of this world in decay.

On this present day

I’m border blind,

I can’t even read a map properly.

But I miss the poetic tribe of yesterday,

Those that with stained souls

Wrote with gallows humour

And died of thirst on the road.


I proclaim my independency

From churches and faiths.

I stand up before the gods

Like a pagan runaway.

I never get down on my knees

Because I love like the trees,

Proudly standing on my roots,

Aiming for the sky

With my unsoiled children,

The dancing leaves.


I proclaim my independency

From the rotten philosophies

Ruling over the nations

Under the burning sun

And the muddy crawls

They have enforced on their sons.

For I am not a dry horizon

And I deny the verbal and written lies

Passed from generation to generation

As the almighty true.


I proclaim my independency

From everything and everyone

That gives me an identity

As a man and a poet.

And among the stones,

Older than our time,

I stand in the dark

Of a moonless night

Letting go of my humanity

To become a piece of immortality.



Streets of Stone


I will beg on these streets of stone

For one more night in the stronghold of your shoulders,

Until the heavens catch on fire with the demise of the sun;

For I am the man who closed down the book of Revelation

When the dawn watered down the promise left behind.


For whom but she would I challenge my loneliness?

She held in her tiny hands my rootless soul,

Centuries of wandering renegade by a single gesture;

I will stand on these streets of stone

Until the heavens light up with the stars in tune.


And who are we at the end of the years, dear?

How many gods did we conjure for this love?

In the meadow, lying among your forget-me-nots,

I left myself be under the languish of the suns

As the night carved the word infinite in me.


I will be the undying man on these streets of stone

Until the heavens are ploughed with light.

Here are my flesh and my only thought,

The ultimate custom that consecrated me;

Give them a home in you, love of my time.



Poetic Nomads


I was born out of static;

She was born out of tune.

We felt in love under a lyrical moon

Down on the docks packed with winos pissing in the dirty river.

She gave me an eyelash for good luck

And together we took the windy road to level the cerulean skies.

We picked up a fight with a prose craftsman

On the streets of Salamanca

When we were fairly young.

He had the wisdom of a thousand philosophers,

We were just drunk.

We knifed him with a sharp verse

And shattered to pieces all his fancy sentences.

That’s when we first heard the ancient bards singing.

Later we were initiated into the Holy Church of Carnal Love

By the art of an infinite kiss on an Iberian plateau.

Then we were blessed by the light tamer.

He intercepted a single beam,

Made it dance before our eyes,

Taught us the ways of immortality.


We became poetic nomads,

We roamed the lands barefoot

From the coasts of the west to the steppes of the east.

We made love in Florence,

Put to shame the Renaissance.

Then we had dreams of steam,

An ethereal bloodstream of love’s eternal theme.

We slept by the side of the tracks

That stretched from the past to the future.

Halfway in our journey we felt like Omsk,

A Cossack song lost in translation.

But we were aiming for a Vladivostok death,

To stare at an endless ocean on the other side of life

And feel the peaceful waves moving inside us.

Because we were added up moments of being

And we mastered the talent of love

The day we spat out the hate we were forced to devour.

Much later we mended the broken strings of mankind

With duct tape made of beauty words.

Yes, we were happy and we never apologised for that.







Searching for my poetic voice.

By Dave Kavanagh


When I started to read poetry I found that certain poets grabbed my attention, they possessed something unique. It took me a few months to figure out what that something was. I eventually figured out what set these poets apart was a strong and very recognisable ‘Poetic Voice.



This was a eureka moment for me. And so like a terrier, I predictably went in search of my own Poetic Voice and ran smack bang into a brick wall.

I knew if I wanted to write honest poetry that I needed to define myself and to do that I needed to find and hone my ‘Poetic Voice’ But first I needed to define this magical characteristic. I needed to discover what a poetic voice was, I would need to  break it down into it’s constituent parts and then rebuild it around myself.


So, what is the poetic voice?

Prosaically speaking it is the quality and unique voice of a poet that tells you immediately who is speaking. Examples of strong poetic voice for me where, Charles Bukowski Sylvia Plath and my fellow countryman Seamus Heaney. When I read there work I knew immediately it was theirs, I didn’t need to see their name at the bottom of a page to know it was theirs but I still had not identified the magic that made up the ‘Poetic Voice’ of these masters of their craft.


It took me some time and much research to define this mysterious characteristic but eventually I found what I believe to be the secret of a strong ‘Poetic Voice’


The ingredients are.

Grammar & Syntax.
Subject Matter
Magic (The hardest to define)


Grammar & Syntax.


Grammar; the whole system and structure of a language or of languages in general, usually taken as consisting of syntax and morphology (including inflections) and sometimes also phonology and semantics.

Syntax; The arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences in a language.


So we know the definitions of both Grammar & Syntax but how do the effect our work, or how did they effect the work of the great poets. I believe that firstly you need to know the basic rules of both and then, and only then are you free to break them. Consider EE Cummings, a wonderful poet who broke each and every rule of both grammar & syntax and in doing so rewrote the rules of poetry. Cummings was such a master of language that he could do this. He flaunted the rules and in doing so set about defining his poetic voice.


Consider this poem by Cummings


[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]



i carry your heart with me(i carry it in

my heart)i am never without it(anywhere

i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done

by only me is your doing,my darling)

i fear

no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want

no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)

and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant

and whatever a sun will always sing is you


here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud

and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows

higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart


i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)


My old English teacher (If he didn’t know the poet) would have decimated this poem with his red pen and called it near illiterate and yet Cummings wrote in this style and made it his own and in doing so became one of the most popular poets of his and our time.



In any discussion of poetic form we can not ignore the work of William Shakespeare famous for his sonnets. An understanding of the tight traditional forms of poetry re important to any emerging poet and again, once we understand these rules we can go ahead and break them. We can find our own form. Form should be like an old pair of shoes, we should feel comfortable and familiar with our chosen form. Many poets will say that they ignore form but be assured, that the best poets only ignore it because they have a deep understanding and appreciation of it.



Perhaps the most important constituent of a poem is it’s musicality, poetry is first and foremost an auditory experience and so the flow and rhythm of words is central to a readers enjoyment of a poem. Consider how the use of assonance, consonance, alliteration, rhyme and prosody contribute to the sound of your poetry. Musicality and mood are influenced by word choice.

The poet Stephen Dobyns points out that specific sounds evoke certain emotions. Consonant plosives (usually referred to as the sounds made by the letters d, b, p, c, t and k) lend themselves to a fast pace and explosive action. When making those sounds, the mouth exhales a puff of air, often with force. In contrast, the consonant sounds that are longer in duration (f, th, sh, l and wh) provide a softer sound and calmer feel. Consider these staccato and legato sounds when composing your work.


Sylvia Plath’s poem Daddy illustrates these concepts well. Just reading the title, the reader finds his mouth making two plosive consonant sounds, for the first d sound and the second. In addition, the mouth is required to make the long e sound at the end of the word, emphasising the sharpness of the consonants before it. Those sounds continue throughout the poem, as the first stanza indicates:

You do not do, you do not do
Any more, black shoe
In which I have lived like a foot
For thirty years, poor and white,
Barely daring to breathe or Achoo.


4. Subject matter / Muse

This is where the real voice of the poet will start to emerge. Having learned and mastered grammar & syntax, form & musicality the final element is your subject matter. Yeats wrote about Ireland, Heaney also. Bukowski wrote about his life, Plath about hers. Langston Hughes wrote about the struggle of black Americans and the ghetto poor. A strong poetic voice comes, in part, from writing about those things you know well.

Writing from your own experience brings an honesty to your work, using your everyday voice and harnessing the power of musicality, form, syntax and grammar is what produces the magic.

Be protective of your voice, play with it as you write but remain true to it.  Your work developing your poetic voice will result in poetry that connects with readers and in time perhaps will mark you as a master of your craft.





A quick round up of American journals that accept poetry, prose & short fiction.

AGNI: currently closed for submissions, opens again in September. Publishes poetry, short fiction, and essays. Send no more than one story, one essay, or five poems at a time.

The American Poetry Review: dedicated to reaching a worldwide audience with a diverse array of the best contemporary poetry and literary prose. Send no more than five poems per submission. They strive to respond to all submissions within six months. Submission fee of $3.00, via Submittable.

The Cincinnati Review: submissions reopen on August 15th 2017, until March 15th 2018.  Payment is $25/page for prose, and $30/page for poetry. For poetry, submit up to six poems or a total of ten manuscript pages at a time; fiction submissions should be no more than forty double-spaced pages; literary nonfiction usually less than twenty double-spaced pages.

The Common: seeks stories, essays, poems, and dispatches that embody a strong sense of place: pieces in which the setting is crucial to character, narrative, mood, and language. Reading periods are March 1 – June, and September 1 – December 1.

Conduit: seeks poetry and prose “that demonstrates originality, intelligence, courage, irreverence, and humanity”. Postal submissions only. Please send 3-5 poems or 1 prose piece (up to 3500 words). Reporting time is 9 weeks to 9 months.

FIELD: reads poetry from August through April, and usually send replies within two months. Please send between 2 and 6 poems. Pays contributors at the rate of $15 per page.

Green Mountains Review: open to submissions year-round. All work submitted will be considered both for their annual print issue and for GMR Online. Publishes poetry, essays, fiction, interviews, book reviews, and art. Also looking for work that pushes these boundaries and are open to audio and video submissions.

The Iowa Review: open to poetry, fiction and non-fiction. Submissions read during September, October, and November only. Submit via post or Submittable, $4 fee to submit online. The page limit for prose is 25 pages and for poetry is 8 pages, Pay $1.50 per line for poetry ($40 minimum) and $0.08 per word for prose ($100 minimum).

The Kenyon Review: accepting submissions from September 15th through November 1st. They consider short fiction and essays (up to 7,500 words), poetry (up to 6 poems; please format and submit as a single document), plays (up to 30 pages), excerpts (up to 30 pages) from larger works, and translations of poetry and short prose.

The Literary Review: publishes the best new fiction, poetry, and prose from a broad community of international writers and translators. Submissions are currently closed, but will open again in the autumn.

The New English Review: accepts new submissions from September 1 through May 31. Open to short stories, short shorts, novellas, novel excerpts (if they can stand alone), and translations. The word limit is 20,000. For poetry, please send no more than six poems. Payment is $20 per page, plus two copies of the issue in which the work appears and a one-year subscription.

New Ohio Review:  open to literary submissions in any genre. Submission periods are September 15th to December 15th and January 15th to April 15th. Typically take anywhere from 2-4 months to respond to submissions.

The Paris Review: accepts postal submissions only. Please submit no more than one short story, one nonfiction manuscript, or six poems at a time.

Ploughshares Journal: accepts submissions to the journal from June 1, to January 15, 2018. Fiction and nonfiction: Less than 6,000 words. Poetry: Submit 1-5 pages at a time. $3 service fee for online submissions. Payment is $45/printed page, two contributor copies of the issue, and a one-year subscription.

Poetry Magazine: open all year round to original works written in the English language as well as translations of poetry into English. Payment is made on publication at the rate of $10 per line (with a minimum payment of $300), and $150 per page of prose. Submission must be made through their Submittable page, and they aim to respond within seven months.

Prairie Schooner: publishes short stories, poems, imaginative essays of general interest, and reviews of current books of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Submissions from September 1st to May 1st of each year. For poetry, send a selection of 5-7 poems contained within a single document. For fiction, essays, and reviews, send only one selection at a time.. Please allow 3-4 months for a reply.

The Southern Review: open to fiction, poetry, and essays, including creative nonfiction and literary essays. Fiction and nonfiction are read September 1 through December,  poetry read September 1 through March 1.Payment is  $25 per printed page with a maximum payment of $200, plus two copies of the issue in which the work appears and a one-year subscription.

Southwest Review: open to poetry (up to six poems), fiction (up to 8000 words) and nonfiction articles (preferred length: 3,500 to 7,000 words). There is no fee for submissions sent by mail. Online submissions require a $2.00 administrative fee. Submissions not accepted during the summer months of June, July, and August.

The Threepenny Review: Pays $400 per story or article, $200 per poem or Table Talk piece.  Response time for submissions can range from two days to two months. Please do not submit more than a single story or article, or more than five poems. Articles should be about 1200 to 2500 words, Table Talk items 1000 words or less, stories and memoirs 4000 words or less, and poetry 100 lines or less.

The Virginia Quarterly Review: open to poetry (all types and length), short fiction (2,000–8,000 words) and nonfiction (3,500–9,000 words). Pays $200 per poem, up to 4 poems; for a suite of 5 or more poems, usually pay $1,000. For short fiction, we generally pay $1,000 and above. For other prose, such as personal essays and literary criticism, generally pay $1,000 and above, at approximately 25 cents per word, depending on length.





Five contemporary poets worth reading

I find that new poets often turn to the classics for inspiration and read the works of

poets who were fashionable in an older gentler time. They harness this inspiration to write their first poems which are often rhyming pieces that use archaic language. There is nothing whatever wrong with this and it is a great way for new poets to cut their teeth, however they may find that their work is been left unread and so go in search of inspiration elsewhere.



A common question asked by emerging poets is “Who should I be reading” or “What contemporary poets should I be watching” To answer this question I had intended to select five poets that I felt worthy of closer scrutiny, but The Daily Telegraph had already done the job so here they are 

5 Contemporary Poets Worth Reading


Don Paterson

The Scottish poet, critic and editor is much adorned with prizes and plaudits, and it’s easy to see why: his poems bring together beauty, depth and complexity of thought, lightly woven in structures of intricate perfection. A creative writing teacher at the University of St Andrews, Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, winner of the Forward Prize and twice winner of the TS Eliot Prize, Paterson also holds an OBE and the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry. He has a particular interest in sonnets, having just written a new collection of 40 of them and edited an anthology of 101 chosen from the anglophone canon.

Read this: Rain (2009) (all titles are links)

“…forget the ink, the milk, the blood—
all was washed clean with the flood
we rose up from the falling waters
the fallen rain’s own sons and daughters
and none of this, none of this matters.”


JH Prynne

Born in 1936, Prynne may be the living poet that other poets admire the most. His poems can look unfriendly and even wilfully obscure to the casual reader, often bound in coded allusions and aesthetic formalism, exploring and teasing at the poetic construction process. Linguistically dexterous, they also display a virtuoso musicality. Prynne has been an English fellow at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, since 1962, although he no longer teaches.

Read this: Smaller than the Radius of the Planet (1969)

“…the ethereal language of love in
brilliant suspense between us and the
hesitant arc. Yet I need it too and keep
one hand in my pocket & one in yours,
waiting for the first snow of the year.”


Alice Oswald

A contemporary nature poet every inch an heir to the Romantics, Oswald’s poems are steeped in landscape and history and show just as careful an ear for light and warmth as for darkness and cold. Dart, her TS Eliot prize-winning book-length poem about the river Dart(2002), is full of visceral mud and water exploring British people’s relationship with our natural world and our past. Another long poem, Memorial, is hugely ambitious in scope. It’s an atmospheric and accomplished sweep of a poem retelling the Iliad through an extended elegy for its war dead, a response to the ancient tradition of oral poetry and another take on poetry for performance.

Read this: Wedding (1996)

“…and this, my love, when millions come and go
beyond the need of us, is like a trick;
and when the trick begins, it’s like a toe
tip-toeing on a rope, which is like luck;
and when the luck begins, it’s like a wedding,
which is like love, which is like everything.”


Brenda Shaughnessy

The American poet Shaughnessy, like Prynne, is a writer whose books you’ll most likely find on the bookshelves of other poets, who follow her with slavish awe. Her lightness of touch with wordplay and internal music makes her poems dance and sing on the page, while inhabiting several moods at once: they can be erotic and mournful, playful and furious, and comic and lyrical all in the space of a few moments’ reading. Shaughnessy currently teaches at Rutgers University Newark (where she is tenured faculty), has won several American poetry prizes, and her work appears in The New Yorker and Best American Poetry.

Read this: Project for a Fainting (1999)

“…You are my stranger and see how we have closed. On both ends.
Night wets me all night, blind, carried.
And watermarks. The plough of the rough on the slick,
love, a tendency toward fever. To break. To soil.
Would I dance with you? Both forever and rather die.
It would be like dying, yes. Yes I would.”


Kei Miller

Originally from Jamaica, Miller now teaches at Royal Holloway, University of London, and in 2014 won the Forward Prize for his collection The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion. His poems are interested in the politics of language and its history, and often demonstrate just how perfect a form poetry can be for the debate and exploration of history and ideas, when in the right hands. A favourite of double Booker Prize-winner Hilary Mantel, Miller is currently enjoying some excited buzz around his work and is often to be found performing at events across the UK or reading his work on Radio 4, but you should believe the hype.

Read this: Speaking in Tongues (2007)

“…Years later a friend tells me
tongues is nothing but gibberish – the deluded
pulling words out of dust. I want to ask him
what is language but a sound we christen?”








Popular Poem Styles: The Latest Trends In Poetry

By Dave Kavanagh


It is worth keeping an eye on trends in literary journals that publish poetry, especially if you have ambitions to submit work for publication.

Each literary journal will have its own policies and preferences; trends are not rules and different editors like different things but by following general trends we can get a good feel for the requirement of our target audience.




Long poems struggle to find a place in literary journals, shorter poems are more popular with editors, most favour poems no longer than one page. That said, online literary journals vary a bit: Some editors of online journals believe that shorter is better in digital formats; other editors are open to posting longer poems online because they’re not paying for paper. Generally speaking, the trend seems to favour poems that fit comfortably on one page.




This is a strange one, some journals request doublespacing while others are suspicious of it.

Sometimes you need the extra spaces between the lines to add something to your poem; to allow it to breathe. If you submit your work doublespaced be sure you’ve done it deliberately and for good reason. Some editors might suspect that double-spacing is an effort to make the poem “look more poetic.” Single-spacing will also make your poem a bit shorter. (See above)



Most editors will instantly dislike centred poems, they will feel the author is attempting to make their work appear more poetic than it actually is. Make your poem left justified if at all possible, editors will receive it more warmly.



Simple end rhyme is not fashionable. Mid rhyme and slant rhyme, well composed, are both acceptable to most editors. That being said, there certainly are editors who adore rhyme and are keeping it alive. But the general consensus is, rhyme is not as fashionable among editors as it once was.



Following trends is not for every writer, I recommend working in the form you are most happy with. Develop your own style and voice and then find a journal or an editor who likes that style.

And if you feel your destined to write the centered, rhyming, double-spaced, novellas as poems then go for it, there is room for every form, genre and style and as a poet you should be true to yourself.

Two further articles that are worth looking at to help you develop as a poet and increase your chances of publication are included in this weeks issue.

Developing your poetic voice. & Five Contemporary Poets worth reading. 





Poetry One

I Edit my Life

By Michael Lee Johnson


edit my life

clothesline pins & clips

hang to dry,

dirty laundry,

I turn poetic hedonistic

in my early 70’s

reviewing the joys

and the sorrows

of my journey.

I find myself wanting

a new review, a new product,

a new time machine,

a new internet space,

a new planet where

we small, wee creative

creatures can grow.


Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era. He is a Canadian and USA citizen. Today he is a poet, editor, publisher, freelance writer, amateur photographer, small business owner in Itasca, Illinois.  He has been published in more than 930 small press magazines in 33 different countries or republics, and he edits 10 poetry sites.  Author’s website  Michael is the author of The Lost American:  From Exile to Freedom (136 page book) ISBN:  978-0-595-46091-5, several chapbooks of poetry, including From Which Place the Morning Rises and Challenge of Night and Day, and Chicago Poems.  




by Kapardeli Eftichia


You must catch
and that strange
with white petals
and the red mark
the circle of life
to imprison

pink Sorrows
the shoulders of the angels
their wings ornaments
where the soul incessantly
the sky spreads and flies


At night the stars free
time to go
with the Sun heart
Stis land hug to submerge
together with the poor
and the hungry of the world
into an uninterrupted
sleepless prayer


By Leanne Neill

Corporations measure her worth

in milliliters.

There’s a price on her face,

barcode on her forehead,

Use by date,

stamped on her demeanor.

All in the terminology though

it seems;

Best before,

may soften the blow.


Society is fickle,

there’s still money to be made;

just a different set of insecurities to target.

Discarding all receipts, proof of value,

she sends postcards from her lustrous heart.

She knows despite her sun screen,

she’s just beginning to ripen.

There are few, can afford her.


By Stealth

By Leanne Neill



I avoid you;

in the quiet of darkness,

by stealth.

Monsters under my bed;

teeth sharp and defined.

Even the certainty of daylight

allows no comfort,

in your shadowed bruising.


The Light

By Leanne Neill


Maybe it’ s time to relent,

to a higher power.

I’m messing it all up

with the consistency

of a prodigal fool.

My supremacy of self

a well-constructed fallacy,

all outside saviors,

devils in obvious disguise.

In foetal position,

I’ll await your voice;

same one came to me years ago,

in the darkness of a child lost.

She told me that everything

was going to be just fine;

like any wise woman,

she was right.

Come to me my guardian angel,

I’ll not denounce you this time.

Please tell me again;

I’m ready now,

for the light.


Leanne Neill is a company director, mother of three, and a self-professed composer of words.  She has twenty-three years of experience in public libraries and local government.  In May 2016, she started her poetry-inspired Facebook page : LUST for WORDS.  Her poetry collection, ‘Fine Lines and Unpolished Pieces of Me,’ is due for release in 2017.  She lives in Melbourne, Australia.







Poetry Two

places where magic may die

by Alfred Booth


I know broken. I’m an expert with glue. Vases. Words re-
quiring separation. Love triangles and the triage after
friends betray trust. Who goes, who stays? Yet broken
souls, like the one mamma crushed with a hair brush, well
that’s another matter. There is no glue. Its magic doesn’t
work. Just words, words, and more words spoken, spit,
sworn as we lie on a shrink’s couch and pour tears into
our wounds hoping the salt will cauterize them one last
time. All I can tell you about the outpouring of tears is that
I welcome their sting, like a hornet’s, like a swig of vodka when
you’ve eaten too much lobster, caviar, or chocolate and your gut
cries “stop”. At holiday time, I totter on the high precipices
above the sea, thinking about that final crash. Its sweet
inebriation. I return every year with the same resolution.



To tie knots in loose threads

by Alfred Booth

Slightly loosened, not yet unraveling. Those thick red threads, an editor’s folly, binding Shakespeare’s Sonnets. I call them My Gutenberg Bible. Grandfather’s copy, to impress other eyes gazing on his bookshelf collection, caressed into life beneath my fingers. Fine linen pages tango with touch. Turn, turn back. Pivot, pirouette. Turn again. Leather. Its cover, crackled, smells new. Real typeset letters, fat and inky,  declaim, weep and torment as they leap to grapple with imagination. How bright a sunlit morn through the haze of love.
deep evergreen
branches bend low
a bench
where I write wisdom
for my son

Alfred Booth is an American professional pianist who lives in France, Alfred Booth folds origami; its patience often inspires poetry. When he not at the piano learning new arcane repertoire to stretch his horizons, he teaches would-be amateur musicians to put enough bread on the table. In the 90s he studied extensively the harpsichord and his millennial project had him able to play Bach on the cello; this latter duo waits for his retirement years. Currently he has an 82-poem volume journaling a recent dance with cancer and an 34-poem chapbook of ghazals looking for a homes in the professional world of rhyme. A large handful of his poetry can be found in the e-zines Dead Snakes, I am not a silent poet and Spring Fling. He keeps an online portfolio at:



By Mike McNamara


Drawn, moth to moon I fell, down to the fermenting Newfoundout,

that fabulous, infamous refuge, tugging in awe

at sodden sleeves of thieves and anthropomorphous mounds of drought.

Idealistically, in each ascetical, grim face I saw

non-attachment, secret masters, stoics bearing bravely existentialist distress

with humble, stumbling steps, routing worldly poverty through rank integrity.

All lost within the sawdust strewn cidered wilderness

where faeces, phlegm and violence were doled out uncharitably,

dispensed in that sanctuary where vomit flavoured lungs

cursed and vowed, dreaming aloud in raucous, rambling tongues.



In departmental stores, jaded housewives with highlighted hair sipped cappuccino


from china cups or scrutinized aisle and rail for colourful placebos,

aching with denied desire for self-forgetting liberty,

like playground children spinning to a pitch transcending egos.

While under a hazy, pomaceous glow aligned with drug tinged tolerance

two consumer subcultures combined

in perverse addictive drives to fill the empty distance.

In bright eyed naivety I dragged each guttered, burnt out mind

into the blinding light of shining Sunday streets I knew,

uncomprehending protests of so many at so few.



Fleeced and sheepish, shifting weight, legless drifters, lame

passed over lambs inpatient florin files,

before a no-change, two bob bottled Dionysus they came,

rancid shirts, odd, battered shoes and crooked smiles,

eschewing changing fashions, broken free from common thought.

Among this diaspora I would stage my misplaced quest

for an iconoclastic sage, a displaced Daedlus sought

by a tabid Icarus. Ask of cloth clad bones possessed

of two ounce tins and dead men’s coats for heresy and esoteric eloquence,

no lasting truths are learned to justify a man’s life long existence.




Mike McNamara: Born in  Northern Ireland but living in S. Wales,  Mike McNamara has had a collection of poetry ‘Overhearing The Incoherent’ published by Grevatt and Grevatt  in 1997. Mike is lead singer with Big Mac’s Wholly Soul Band.  His poetry has been published in Envoi, Orbis, Tears in the Fence, New Welsh Review, The Dawntreader, etc. Mike also had a selection of poems published in The Pterodactyl’s Wing (Parthian, 2003


> >

Prayer for an amazing wretch
By Andrew Lawson

I was going blind
by my hypocrisy
stumbling and tripping
over the fragments
of a guilty conscience

I could never become pure again
like a small child
bathed in white light
reciting bedtime prayers

I had witnessed too much
held a smoking gun
harbored bad thoughts
in the dark crawl space
of a red beating heart

when the smoke cleared
I found both churches

bombed out

stain glass fragments
lay at my feet

both churches had failed me
in some way



Andrew Lawson hails from Connecticut USA
he pens song lyrics, poetry, children stories and ghost
and an eclectic mishmash






Poetry Three

A Dream Washed Up

By D.L. Hume


She rests,

like a hundred others,

ignored and forgot.

Tricycle cradled,

blackberry wreathed

and thistle jewelled,

her complexion

blushed moulding green.

Just three

slow declining miles

from her riverside home.

Face pointed away,

eyes spider blind,

she succumbs to blister and rot

as other such

ornaments rust.

A dream

from a foundered romance.

A ragged reminder

Of time drifted by.

Love locked,

by rib, plank and quarter knee,

she sinks back

to the earth.




Where are you now

by D.L. Hume


I gaze up the hill,

across the river,

where a low sun

drapes the shore

in the final shroud of day.

And ask, where are you now?

I check my watch.

It ticks and turns.

A machine above your head

Shows no time remaining.

You are always late.

Where the fuck are you now?

I held your still warm hand,

stroked your mohawk arm,

anointed your forehead

and whispered in your ear,

I’ll catch you on the other side

So tell me where are you now?

I breathe the empty dark.

The glow of a late night joint.

An empty bottle.

Slainte mhath.

And I wonder

Where are you now?

I step out for a piss.

As you would have done.

A shooting star passes,

I tell no one.

There is no one to tell.

At least now old mate, dear friend,

I know where you are now.



D L Hume lives off grid in the south of Tasmania. As well as poetry he contributes to the critique of ceramic art and has many years teaching and travelling. Many of his papers and other works can be found at








by Maurice Devitt


You moisten her lips with a lollipop

of sponge. Words pucker,

like an engine after snow,

and then take flight, chase

down the twisted laneways

of her youth, eke out a name,

last whispered in prayer,

now to be a hero

in the epilogue of the series.



The Hat

By Maurice Devitt


This morning was the first time

you saw me without a hat,

but in my rush out the door

I left it behind.


I know exactly where it is

and, if pulled in for questioning,

could re-create the scene

with guilty precision.


How I tore it off and threw it

on the couch in the other room,

how I wrestled with my coat,

as though it had sprung


another sleeve, and how I slept

in my scarf,

hoping you might call.



Maurice Devitt was runner-up in The Interpreter’s House Poetry Competition in 2017, he was winner of the Trocaire/Poetry Ireland Competition in 2015 and has been placed or shortlisted in many competitions including the Patrick Kavanagh Award, Listowel Collection Competition, Over the Edge New Writer Competition, Cuirt New Writing Award, Cork Literary Review  and the Doire Press International Chapbook Competition. He has had poems published in Ireland, England, Scotland, the US, Mexico, Romania, India and Australia, runs the Irish Centre for Poetry Studies site and is a founder member of the Hibernian Writers’ Group.


Beach Plums

By Steve Langhorst

Thoreau’s feet walking the fragile beach
Thru the plums, dunes and sands of the times
Marconi’s wave length sent and bent
The sail set in wake and breadth
A wake up America sign
The ecological landscape that escapes the mind’s eye
Gone in a blink and 40 winks
The philosophy of the minimalist
In earnest prayer under starry skies Practiced in cabins with no walls
The silence of empty halls that echo with the Oracle
Tickling the auricle
Revealed empty choices found contained in shells by the sea shore
The surf runs and roars
As it always has and always will
In time that stood still
I stand watch at the binnacle
Sexton set on the sights
Against the moonbeams and dreams
In spite of what it seams
I grasp the wheel and it’s pins
Wooden handled grip
First landing ship
If you stepped off you’ll stub your toe on a rock
In the land history forgot. 


About Steve: My poetry ebbs and flows like the tide and my emotions. I have no real formal training and answer to the calling of the “little voice” in my head….,







Poetry Four

things i found when i wasn’t looking

By Bev Smith


i am in
my lazy
have found
the most
of things

for my busy
allows no rest
no room or
for change

i’m guilty
and confess
to hiding
my prosper
behind stout

broken toothed
fortress crumbles
envious eyes
and though
i’ve tattooed
thankful shawl
on my cowering
their burden
chafes under
the yoke
of your stare

and i’m finding


-i’m too


and walls

if hit
hard enough



the deepest blue of you

By Bev Smith


for awhile i lingered in a silence, this place where light no longer
differentiated between the shadows cast ~ bev smith


with calloused hands
reached inside
your heart and
pulled out sky.

a place my kites
could fly forever
without needing
worry of tangle
tethering strings.

in the nature
of your gentle,
corralled the sun
so each morning
in all weather
i may find a dance
among it’s rays.

placing every cloud
with care
in their dark place.
where in escape
i may stay to brood,
running the bulls
that on occasion
need freed of
my devil’s way.

and in your strength
pulled for me
every mountains mass
so sometimes,
when needed,

my feet
can touch
its solid ground

and i will feel
at once
all that lies within
our love.



Bev Smith: Sometimes we find ourselves in the damnedest places. Stumbling around in the dark,  poetry was the shade I needed before I could tolerate the sun again ~

Equine professional since high school. Horseman since birth. I train dressage horses and riders in Texas on our family farm with my husband and two sons.





What is that Equation

By Ashutosh Dash


The equation that inscribes the anthropic synergy;

Is the equation that evolves Brain-stein’s gravity;

The equation that tranquils the theorem of everything;

Is the equation that enthrals the purpose of being.


When anthropic accretion annihilates gravity;

Space-time wraps and exhilarates relativity;

When energy is the matrix of dimensional travel;

Paradoxes combine forming a quantized gravel.


But yet I wonder what is that equation;

The enigma of consciousness in the wondering dimension;

What is that equation that survives in the transcendent uniqueness;

That enforces anthropous and gravity condenses.


What is that equation that supports existence;

That reinforces the galaxies, to thrive in quantized intelligence;

Yet that equation lies in each quantum of His palms;

Who vibrates the strings in the rhythmic calms.



Ashutosh Dash: To explore the elegance of knowledge that flows within my ignorant body and soul and discover each corner of the universe using the language of mathematics…..






Sky, an open window

By Tamara Miles


Sky, an Open Window

Window-shoppers never tire of a glass menagerie;

light falls equally on the giraffe and the laughing hyena,

though only one is graceful. From heaven,

God, too, sees his colorful, organic panoply

on the blue planet under an epic sun.

The sharp edge of a slow-moving glacier

fascinates Him, as does a village ski-slope

on which tightly bundled tourists climb,

some soon to tumble down, down,

and on the ground collapse in laughter.


Far from there, a team of scientists

and ethnographers treks into the Amazon forest,

a complicated maze of broadleaf trees,

low-lying bushes, and entanglements, to study

its inhabitants, most of which are insects,

including Gigantiops destructor,

an ant with enormous eyes designed for jungle navigation,

and the jewelled caterpillar, destined to metamorphosize

into a winged moth.


Kafka’s mysterious beetle might be here.

Only big-eyed God knows; he counts each creature,

even the strange, camouflaged jumping stick

and the praying mantis, a personal favorite

in his collection. Its spiny arms extend to trap its prey,

then return to Namaste.


But I’ve forgotten the indigenous

people, who watch, amused, from their hidden height,

as the industrious outsiders plunder on

against the setting sun, and the precious light

they depend up grows dim like a storefront bulb

that flickers and then suddenly goes out.

The great store-keeper has drawn a curtain

across the sky; the kinkajou has drawn in the last fruit

with its five-inch tongue. Wait. Look closely there.

In the murky river, an electric eel still shimmers.


Tamara Miles teaches English at Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College in South Carolina.  She was honored to be a 2016 contributor at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Her poetry has been published in Fall Lines; OBheal Five Words; Pantheon; Love is Love; Apricity; The Tishman Review; Subprimal Poetry Art; The Rush; The Gateway Review; Obra/Artifact; The Devil’s Doorbell: Vagina Edition; Snapdragon; Whatever Our Souls; The Cenacle; and Crosswinds Poetry Journal.



He Drives

by Rajnish Mishra


He presses pedals, rushes fast,                                                                                     Drives impatiently,                                                                                                       Angrily past plastic, glass and metal.                                                                   Cuts through slow, slimy snails,                                                                     driver’s bane,                                                                                                     switches lanes,                                                                                                  swerves, then goes slow                                                                                         and blocks their lane                                                                                                For revenge.

He drives                                                                                                                   with geometric precision,                                                                                       with a drive to drive,                                                                                               eyes of tiger,                                                                                                                     half-a-smile.                                                                                                           Lingering fingers or eyes                                                                                               on mobile screen, not his way,                                                                                his style is simple,                                                                                                    not a moment extra                                                                                                spent on the road.                                                                                                 Rage erupts when he outdrives,                                                                                   with a war to wage                                                                                                 every moment.

How could he, she, or they,                                                                                            delay him for a second?                                                                                        ‘Mon semblable, mon frère’?                                                                                You know him.

Don’t you?



Apologia pro vita mea
by Rajnish Mishra

I don’t remember exactly

what happened that evening,

she told me

she wanted her minute,

hour or year of fame.

She told me loudly,

that she felt restrained;

living at my mercy.

I tried to reason,

with a woman,

and failed.

She kept pestering;

I broke down.

I may have slapped her,

not more than once;

lightly, tangentially,

I don’t remember clearly

now, but I know how

to restrain myself.


I was beside her,

just seven inches away,

separated by a wall.

Listening to her sobs

through the night.

I apologized the next morning,

even made her an omelet

and coffee.

She said nothing.

Her words were drained

with her tears maybe.

She did not respond,

I left for work,

looking at her,

although I didn’t know it then,

for the last time.


In the evening,

I returned with two tickets

of Life is Beautiful,

and a resolve

to be more patient with her,


no matter what.


I just can’t fathom even today,

why she

pulled an Amy on me?

Gone girl!


..Rajnish Mishra, poet, writer, blogger and critic has published works in various journals and magazines. His love for his city and his awareness of its effects on his psycho-social development led him to starting his blog: The blog features both his academic writing and his writing on his city: the City of Light, Varanasi. Then, as he is a poet, and loves reading and talking about other people’s poems too, he started another blog: