Lyric Essentials: Rogan Kelly Reads Rowan Ricardo Phillips

Welcome back to Lyric Essentials! This week poet and educator Rogan Kelly has joined us to discuss the work of Rowan Ricardo Phillips and great poetry. Thank you, as always, for tuning in!


Ashley Hajimirsadeghi: What was your first experience with Phillips’ work?

Rogan Kelly: I think the first poem of his that I read was “Golden.” I was living and working in DC then and not reading or writing much poetry. It was in The New Yorker. I would always search out the poetry first, look for the break from standard paragraphs on the page. It’s one of those poems where he’s talking to the beloved, retelling an experience, a place, a feeling. The reader is made implicit; luckless clover, a bee entered me. The poem stayed with me, though I don’t think I could articulate then what the poem was doing or its affect. It was years later that I put the poet to the poem in a more meaningful way.

Rogan Kelly Reads “A Tale of Two Cities” by Rowan Ricardo Phillips

AH: Is there a particular reason you chose these poems?

RK: I just think they’re wonderful examples of Philips’ gifts as a poet, what lies beneath or above the din, as Mary Ruefle might say. He has a way of making you feel like he’s letting you in on something, whispers before he growls or exalts. Surprising and seductive in the telling.

AH: How has interacting with and enjoying Phillips’ poetry inspired you as a writer?

RK:There’s an authenticity; he finds ways in to poems that never feel heavy-handed. He’ll use high art or make a pop culture reference, sometimes in the same poem, but it never feels contrived. He’s a reminder to be true. Reading great writing makes us up our level. It’s the same in tennis. As if there’s an invisible volley happening between poets.

Rogan Kelly Reads “Love Song” by Rowan Ricardo Phillips

AH: What have you been up to lately? Got any news you’d like to share (life updates,
writing, anything!)?

RK: I have a hybrid piece in Pidgeonholes coming out; a literary deceit to illustrate the living kind. Recent poems with Plume and The Rupture, and I’m working on a review of Cynthia Dewy Oka’s Fire Is Not a Country.


Rowan Ricardo Phillips is a poet, educator, and journalist, and academic. He is the author of the poetry collections Heaven (2015) and The Ground (2012), and the recipient of awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, Whiting Writers’ Award, and the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award. His work has appeared in The New York Times and The New Yorker.

Find his website here.

Find his books here.

Read Phillips’ poem “Little Song” at Poetry.

Rogan Kelly is the author of Demolition in the Tropics (Seven Kitchens Press, 2019). His work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in New Orleans ReviewThe Penn ReviewPidgeonholesPlumeRHINO, and elsewhere. He is the editor of The Night Heron Barks and Ran Off With the Star Bassoon, and does web design and build for RUBY literary magazine and press.

Find him online here.

Find his chapbook, Demolition of Tropics, at Seven Kitchens Press.

Read his poem “Temporary Sound” in The Rupture.

Ashley Hajimirsadeghi is a multimedia artist, writer, and journalist. Her writing has appeared in Barren Magazine, Hobart, DIALOGIST, Rust + Moth, and The Shore, among others. She is the Co-Editor in Chief at both Mud Season Review and Juven Press. More of her work can be found at ashleyhajimirsadeghi.com

Call for Submissions: A Body You Talk To: An Anthology of Contemporary Disability

Sundress Publications announces an open submission call for A Body You Talk To: An Anthology of Contemporary Disability, a collection of works by Disabled writers and poets that pushes defiantly against what it means to be Disabled today.

The last two years have been an especially challenging time to be Disabled as isolation, illness, and stress are at an all-time high—three things that already disproportionately impact those of us who are Disabled. Yet we remain a sexy, vibrant, hilarious, and brilliant community. Disabled friends, have you looked at yourself lately? Stunning! And this is what we seek to reflect in our upcoming anthology. 

Disabled writers and poets alike are invited to submit work to A Body You Talk To; An Anthology of Contemporary Disability slated for release in Fall 2022. Send us your stories and poems of sex, of illness, of pandemic isolation, of medication challenges, access victories (or failures); send us the messy and funny, the profound and unruly. Send us words in which we can feel you loving yourself. Works may, but are not required to, include direct inference of disability experiences in the body and in the world. Writers and poets may submit on any topic and are not required to disclose their specific disability. Works by Disabled BIPOC and LGBTQ+ writers and poets is specifically sought.

Contributors will be paid a small honorarium. This anthology will appear in a digital format.

Interested writers and poets should submit up to 5 poems or 1 piece of prose (max. 750 words) along with a short bio (max. 100 words), a preferred email address, phone number, and physical mailing address on this form by April 30, 2022. Previously published work will be considered as long as you retain the right to reprint it and note where it first appeared. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable as long as they are noted as such and the author notifies the editor at anthology@sundresspublications.com that the work has been accepted elsewhere before notification of acceptance in the anthology. Early submission is recommended as work will be assessed as it arrives. 

Artwork by Disabled artists is also sought for consideration for this anthology. To submit, please send high-resolution JPEGS and a short bio (max. 100 words) along with your preferred email address, phone number, and physical mailing address through the form, above. 

Anna Black will serve as the editor for this anthology. Black is a queer, autistic, and multiply-disabled writer who received an MFA at Arizona State University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Collagist, The Seattle Times, SWWIM, Hotel Amerika, 45th Parallel, Wordgathering, and New Mobility among others. She has taught composition, creative writing, and/or publishing at Arizona State University, Western Washington University, Perryville Women’s Prison, and the National University of Singapore. She is the Managing Editor at Sundress Publications and the Best of the Net Anthology.

Sundress Reads: Review of Learning to Love a Western Sky

Learning to Love a Western Sky PAPERBACK - Amelia Diaz Ettinger : Small  Press Distribution

Following a story of immigration and assimilation, Learning to Love a Western Sky (Airlie Press, 2020) is a wistful and sentimental collection of poetry by Amelia Díaz Ettinger. Separated into four parts, each section is punctuated by warm illustrations of a village. Ettinger’s poetry paints a new kind of homesickness as she contemplates life as an unending entanglement of the past and the future. 

The opening poems of Learning to Love a Western Sky travel back in time to reminisce in distant but dreamy memories. Ettinger’s rich and profound imagery astounds readers, creating captivating scenes of nostalgia and a deep sense of loneliness. “Dia de los Muertes” is one such poem filled with gorgeous and powerful imagery as Ettinger captures grief as the brisk transition from fall to winter. The speaker says: “Dew covers this gray day, / light struggles to reach ground, / but cold has no trouble / filling space with living remains. // Cold whispers its name / at night in the coyote’s call. / At dawn the bulging elk, / the slowing heartbeat of a dying friend.”

The natural world plays a significant role in Ettinger’s poems and overall storytelling. While exploring major milestones such as migration and death throughout the collection, Ettinger often uses the weather as an indicator for a period of change.

The collection also touches on themes of loss, nature, and diaspora as Ettinger revisits the past. In “Lost Night”, Ettinger captures the comfort and solace that nature brings in the face of grief. The speaker remembers, “At the bottom of the walk / there is a guava tree, / the girl sits in its lap sighing. / Her braids unmade / by a gentle breeze, / she stiffens her tender shoulders.”

“Lost Night” explores the mutual agreement of giving and receiving that characterizes spiritual, intellectual, and physical ties to land, particularly to one’s homeland. To find a home somewhere is to dig your feet into the ground and set your roots. In this poem, Ettinger verbalizes the immense sense of loss that comes with leaving your roots behind for another country, especially one you are struggling to connect to. The speaker comes to realize their roots remain in the Caribbean through reminiscing, recognizing that their home is suddenly a figment of the past, seeming to only exist in their memories. 

In the middle of the collection, this natural imagery is repurposed to tell stories of heartbreak and longing. Before this point, nature was a loving and attentive force. While nature remains a source of comfort and familiarity, it also becomes a descriptor for pain and detachment. Throughout most of the collection, the sky and the land are used to discuss endings and their many forms, including death and heartbreak. “Betrayal in Hunting Season” is a gorgeous example, as Ettinger writes “Autumn is inside me / with colors going sepia. / Orange and rust stolen / by her kisses. / Did she taste of honey and berries? / Certainly not apricots; leave me those.”

“Her Husband’s Hands”, a poem written for a family member, combines these two purposes as Ettinger uses nature to tell of how heartbreak makes a home in grief. The speaker draws inspiration from the earth to describe her husband’s hands: “Those hands carried home / a shell, like for a snail. / The water of our dreams / every day till the end.”

Recurring themes of youth and aging compliment Ettinger’s exploration of life in a foreign land. In a couple of poems, Ettinger uses body image to touch on aging, health, and the small changes that occur in self-examination routines, detailing the odd experiences of ageing in an unfamiliar country that does not feel quite like home. 

She also writes about aging through the perspective of love and desirability. The speaker of “Today” says “we are afraid of growing old” and continues the conversation in “Today Talks Back”, responding with “fear was not of age…The certainty is tomorrow / when there will be no touch.” 

I found her brief examination of desirability interesting as touch became a diminished expression of love and desire with age. In “Old Age”, she writes: “You become invisible. / A woman no longer desired. / But the body continues.”

Learning to Love a Western Sky touches on a wide array of important topics that Amelia Díaz Ettinger captures beautifully. There were times when I hoped Ettinger would delve deeper into the stories she chose to tell, particularly those of migration and integration. I found myself wanting to read more about Ettinger’s perspective on building new relationships (with land, people, and so on), and renewing connections with one’s homeland. It would have been interesting to see how these parts of life change through her poetry and how nature would have been used to explore these new dynamics. Still, Ettinger’s well-crafted and gorgeous symbolism makes the collection a very enjoyable and light read filled with nostalgia and yearning.

Learning to Love a Western Sky is available at Arlie Press


Iqra Abid (she/her) is a young, Pakistani, Muslim writer based in Canada. She is currently a student at McMaster University studying Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour. She is also the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Kiwi Collective Magazine. Her work can be found in various publications such as Stone Fruit Magazine, Tiny Spoon Lit MagazineScorpion Magazine, and more. You can find her on Instagram at @iqraabidpoetry.

Vintage Sundress: An Interview with Katherine Riegel

Since the publication of Letters to Colin Firth (Sundress Publications, 2015), writer Katherine Riegel has published a full-length collection, Love Songs From the End of the World (Main Street Rag Press, 2019), started teaching poetry and creative nonfiction online, and is experimenting with new poetic and literary forms, including using images. Recently, she sat down with Sundress Editorial Intern Saoirse to speak about her writing process and projects over the past six years.

Saoirse: Thinking back on the publication process from Letters to Colin Firth, what was the experience like?

Katherine Riegel: I was just so floored to have won anything, since I tend to be one of those workhorse writers who publishes in non-splashy ways. But it so was lovely and easy to work with the team at Sundress, and I was (and am) impressed by the work Sundress does to get the word out.

S: What would you say surprised you the most about putting Letters to Colin Firth out in the world?

KR: The most surprising thing was having someone review it on the Ploughshares blog, and say that it read a bit like a rom-com. I loved that! And I really enjoy that it’s available for free for readers as an e-chapbook on the Sundress site, but it was also fun to put it together as a print-on-demand book that sells a copy every couple of months or so on Amazon, often to the UK or Europe.

S: What has changed for you since Letters to Colin Firth was published?

KR: Well, I married the English man I was dating in the book (it’s sort of prose poetry, sort of lyric creative nonfiction). I’ve published a book of poetry called Love Songs From the End of the World, some of it written during the early days of the Trump administration, when it did seem like the world was ending. I left academia to live with my new husband, and now teach independent online classes in poetry and creative nonfiction. It’s kind of funny that I’m in England now, as I answer these questions, to visit my husband’s family and walk on the moors and eat English chocolate. 

S: Has the publishing of Letters to Colin Firth altered your perspective on the literary community? If yes, in what way?

KR: Every year that I’ve stuck with writing and publishing, I’ve felt more connected to the literary community. When I was young and had just graduated with my MFA, I felt like an outsider looking in, like I didn’t matter at all, even when I published a poem here or there. But Sundress is part of a wonderful tradition of publishers connecting with the writers they publish in real and substantive ways. I think the rise of social media has made this easier, but you still have to put the work in, and Erin is truly exceptional in that way. I think many writers struggle with issues of self-worth and self-doubt, but the truth is that publishers and other writers really do want to be connected with you. We’re all in this together, and it’s more important than ever to understand that other writers are part of the same tribe.

S: Have you published other full-length works or chapbooks since being published at Sundress?

KR: Love Songs From the End of the World came out from Main Street Rag Press in 2019. It’s a full-length collection of poetry, and putting it together helped me get through the awful stress of having the 45th president of the United States in office. The poems in that collection seek to find beauty in the midst of despair, to understand that loving the world and believing it to be doomed are not incompatible impulses. 

S: How do they build on the themes you explored in Letters to Colin Firth?

KR: I feel closer to Letters to Colin Firth, actually, than to the newer book, possibly because I had such a good experience with Sundress and possibly because I think I did a better job injecting a bit of humor into Letters than into Love Songs. Interesting to think about them in conjunction, since both presuppose an audience in the very title, as though I needed to imagine someone on the receiving end in order to write them. I guess that’s a useful framework for me, imagining that I’m speaking to someone directly, trying to explain what I feel and think. But though I love to laugh, I tend to be far too earnest and serious. Thus, a bit of poking fun at myself feels necessary in order to hold the interest of that imaginary reader.

S: Who are your inspirations right now? Which books are you reading? Which writers stand out to you the most?

KR: I’m in love with the poems of Ada Limón, Kelli Russell Agodon, and Maggie Smith. I’m reading Russell Agodon’s Dialogues with Rising Tides and trying not to go too fast because I want to savor it. I want to get Smith’s Goldenrod, but I try to keep my physical books to a limited space due to a dust allergy, so I’ve been waiting for it to come out in paperback (hardcover books take up more space). I also don’t enjoy reading poetry on my Kindle, though I read prose on it all the time. I follow my favorite poets on social media and am thrilled when they post new published poems. In this way, I discover new favorite poems all the time by poets like Martha Silano and Camille T. Dungy. 

I’m also reading Livewired by David Eagleman, which is interesting nonfiction neuroscience, though sometimes it’s difficult to see how this is the same guy who wrote Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives, an old favorite of mine (short prose pieces speculating what the afterlife might be like, imaginative and instructive). I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy, and although some writers would call those books “guilty pleasures,” I think different kinds of books serve different purposes for a person. We’re not all one thing, any of us. And some of those genre books deal very directly with issues facing us now: sexism, environmental collapse, fascism. My current favorite of these writers is Alix Harrow, who wrote The Ten Thousand Doors of January and The Once and Future Witches

You will easily be able to tell that I read mostly women writers these days. I don’t dislike male writers, and have many favorite poems and books by them, but life is short, and I’m drawn to the words of people who understand things about my own experience that are generally not in the forefront of the minds of men. If we’re alone in a parking lot at night, a woman writer and I are thinking the same thing—be vigilant!—while probably also feeling frightened, angry that we have to feel frightened, and foolish because we know most women are attacked by men they know rather than strangers. None of this has to be spelled out; it’s just there, like gravity. 

S: What are you currently working on?

KR: I’m working on a book about my sister, her death in December 2019 from cancer, and my grief. Since she received her terminal diagnosis nine months before her death, I haven’t really been able to write about anything else. While the book will have a narrative arc, it will include poems, prose, fragments, experiments, and probably even images. I wish I were able to write long-form creative nonfiction, but it seems that I simply can’t—at least not now, on this topic. I have to work in shorter sections. I don’t think my grief is particularly unique, but I also have learned from and gained solace from other people’s books about the deaths of their loved ones; perhaps others will get something from my writings. At the moment, I have pieces of this book in several programs, including Scrivener, phone notes, Evernote, and MS Word. Soon I hope to gather everything together and print it out, play around with order, see where the holes are. I have sent out a chapbook of poems on this topic to a few contests, but I’m not sure it works as well as it should in that form. I think there are explanatory pieces that provide necessary context, and I think some readers who might be drawn to the content could be put off by the form—some folks, even literary people, see line breaks and immediately avoid reading. So, I may take out the line breaks, which worked for Letters to Colin Firth—yes, that was originally written as poems. Several of the pieces of this book-in-progress have been published as poems already.

S: What is one thing you want to try in your current work that you haven’t tried before?

KR: Definitely the images and experiments! I think the old brainstorming maps are fascinating, because we are seeing the writer’s conscious and subconscious connections. Timelines, family trees, photos can all tell stories. Personal timelines juxtaposed against public ones say a great deal about the general climate in which a person grew up. I think being primarily a poet means that the work that would be behind-the-scenes for a novelist feels vital and stage-worthy for me. 

S: What are you most excited about for the future?

KR: Flying cars? At least that’s what I thought, when I was a kid, would be common by the year 2000. I suppose in both a literary and larger world sense, I’m excited to see what young people will do with things. How will young people use and change social media, for example, so that it serves us rather than our scrolling serving it? How will they keep alive the human flame at the heart of true works of art, so our culture doesn’t collapse under “influencers” who sell not only objects but worldviews and self-loathing? How will they help each other recognize that their minds are complex and mysterious, miraculous even, and that their words and paintings and music are important regardless of money or notoriety? I try to do that as a teacher, to help others see themselves clearly, to challenge them to ask the hard questions and say the hard things. 

S: And finally, what advice/insight would you give to emerging writers?

KR: Don’t stop writing. You’ll get kicked by rejections and envy and your own self-doubting brain. You’ll have “well-meaning” people ask why you keep writing when you haven’t made any money at it and probably won’t, ever. You’ll send out your best poem and throw in one you really aren’t certain of—and the editor will take the second one, and that best one may never get published. You’ll find ways to avoid writing (oh, so many ways) and then beat yourself up for being weak and not writing. You’ll read about the schedules of other writers, some of them long dead, and feel inadequate because you don’t have that same schedule. You’ll see other writersget lucky with publications or jobs and you’ll half-believe they deserve it, that they’re just better than everyone else. It’s hard, the making of art in a capitalist culture that does not value it, and a Puritan culture that tells you people get what they deserve. The truth is, fuck capitalism, because your art matters in ways not measurable by dollars. And don’t buy into the old American fable that hard work and talent are always rewarded. For every person who gets a book taken by your dream publisher, there are 500 others, many of them just as good, who don’t. There is so much in this life that we can’t control. Find ways to be at peace with that, and then focus on what you can control: write. Read. Keep writing. Keep reading. Take classes or exchange work with other writers when you want to, and don’t when you don’t. There’s no one right way to do things, but nothing good will ever happen—for your soul or for your writing career—unless you keep writing, in your own way and your own time.

Letters to Colin Firth is available for free on the Sundress website


Katherine Riegel is the author of Love Songs from the End of the World, the chapbook Letters to Colin Firth, and two more books of poetry. Her work has appeared in The Gettysburg Review, The Offing, Orion, Poets.org, Tin House, and elsewhere. She is co-founder and managing editor of Sweet Lit, and teaches independent online classes in poetry and creative nonfiction. Find her at katherineriegel.com.

Saoirse‘s name and passion are the same: freedom. As an exophonic writer, their academic interests revolve around linguistic power dynamics, especially in connection to the land. They are always trying to write, and find, poetry that breaks the English language into articulating its own colonial violence. They are a freelance editor and serve as the Guest Editor for Emerging Voices in Poetry at Oyster River Pages. They are a 2021 Brooklyn Poets Fellow and a finalist for the Sophie Kerr Prize. They find excitement in travel, comfort in a good cup of coffee and love in their newly adopted puppy, Malaika. Find them at saoirseedits.com or on Twitter @saoirseedits.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Smaller Ghosts by Jennifer Moore


This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Smaller Ghosts by Jennifer Moore, a book of centos released by Seven Kitchens Press in 2020. 

The bee in high summer
is ruined by the world.

Sunlit dustmotes drift
away from the pond’s face,
every flower black at the edges,
wind-torn, tossed.

I chose not to stay, heartsick
to watch the dimming forms
dissolve into plumes.

The ghost gestures—
a sweep of woundedness.
What injures the hive

injures the entire grove.
Watch the flame go.


Source texts (for all book poems): Claribel Alegría, “Rain,” Rae Armantrout, “Unbidden,” David Barber, “To the Trespasser,” Emily Berry, “This spirit she,” John Berryman, “Not to Live,” Frank Bidart, “The Ghost,” Linda Bierds, “The Ghost Trio,” Lucie Brock-Broido, “How Can It Be I Am No Longer I,” Emily Dickinson, [“One need not be a chamber”], [“The Zeroes—taught us—Phosphorus”], John Donne, “The Apparition,” Timothy Donnelly, “Globus Hystericus,” Carolyn Forché, “The Ghost of Heaven,” “Sequestered Writing,” Lola Haskins, “Patsy Sees a Ghost,” Mary Hickman, “Visionary Elegies,” Cynthia Huntington, “Ghost,” Mark Irwin, “Ghost,” Christopher Kennedy, “Ghost in the Land of Skeletons,” Dan Lechay, “Ghost Villanelle,” Dana Levin, “Ghosts That Need Reminding,” Vachel Lindsay, “The Spider and the Ghost of a Fly,” Robert Lowell, “The Ghost,” Nathaniel Mackey, “Ghost of a Trance,” Carl Marcum, “Cue Lazarus,” Paul Mariani, “Ghost,” Sarah Messer, “Prayer from a Mouse,” Eric Pankey, “Epitaph,” “Restless Ghost,” Elise Paschen, “Ghost, Fountain,” Carl Phillips, “Ghost Choir,” Edgar Allan Poe, “Lenore,” Lisa Sewell, “Letter from a Haunted Room,” William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Wallace Stevens, “A Rabbit as King of the Ghosts,” Keith Waldrop, “The Ghost of a Hunter,” Afaa Michael Weaver, “The Appaloosa,” Dara Wier, “Blue Oxen.”


Jennifer Moore was born and raised in Seattle. She is the author of Easy Does It (2021) and The Veronica Maneuver (2015), both from the University of Akron Press, and a chapbook of centos, Smaller Ghosts (Seven Kitchens Press, 2020). Her poems have appeared in Crazyhorse, Bennington Review, Interim, The Cincinnati Review, and elsewhere. An associate professor of creative writing, she currently serves as Director of the School for the Humanities and Global Cultures at Ohio Northern University and lives in Bowling Green, Ohio.

Sundress Academy for the Arts Presents Our January Poetry XFit

The Sundress Academy for the Arts is pleased to present Poetry Xfit hosted by Victoria Mullins. This generative workshop event will take place on Sunday, January 16th, 2022 from 2 to 4 pm EST via Zoom. Join us at the link tiny.utk.edu/sundress with password “safta”.

Poetry Xfit isn’t about throwing tires or heavy ropes, but the idea of confusing our muscles is the same. This generative workshop series will give you prompts, rules, obstructions, and more to write three poems in two hours. Writers will write together for thirty minutes, be invited to share new work, and then given a new set of prompts. The idea isn’t that we are writing perfect final drafts, but instead creating clay that can then be edited and turned into art later. Prose writers are also welcome to attend!

Victoria Mullins is a writer, bookseller, and avid reader from Knoxville, TN and has worked with SAFTA for two years. In her spare time, she enjoys rock climbing, pasta cooking, and vegetable gardening. She is currently at work on her first poetry collection.

Our community partner for January is Knoxville Family Justice Center. The Knoxville Family Justice Center (KFJC) is a 501(c)(3) organization that is the hub for domestic violence services in Knoxville and Knox County. At the KFJC, victims can access a range of services and support, all in one place. Their mission is to end family violence through collaboration, education, and advocacy and help survivors build a future of safety, opportunity, and choice.

To learn more about Knoxville Family Justice Center, please visit their website at https://www.fjcknoxville.org

To donate to Knoxville Family Justice Center, please visit https://www.fjcknoxville.org/donate.html

While this is a free event, donations can be made to the Sundress Academy for the Arts here: https://sundress-publications.square.site/product/donate-to-sundress/107?cs=true

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Smaller Ghosts by Jennifer Moore


This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Smaller Ghosts by Jennifer Moore, a book of centos released by Seven Kitchens Press in 2020. 

At first a slight unsteadiness:

call it fear of thieves. An air
of sifting possibilities,

like smoke spiraling
before memory intrudes.

There are rooms I won’t enter.
This is as far as I go.

There, where the staircase
stops short, find me:

indecisive thing, all this reckless
tenderness, hiding my face

in my hands. Eventually
we are all asked,

Did you choose this?
The moon rising down

the yellow hallway?
This secret dark, a stolen cigarette?

Ghost, you’re a fool to think
you can bargain with a burning house.


Source texts (for all book poems): Claribel Alegría, “Rain,” Rae Armantrout, “Unbidden,” David Barber, “To the Trespasser,” Emily Berry, “This spirit she,” John Berryman, “Not to Live,” Frank Bidart, “The Ghost,” Linda Bierds, “The Ghost Trio,” Lucie Brock-Broido, “How Can It Be I Am No Longer I,” Emily Dickinson, [“One need not be a chamber”], [“The Zeroes—taught us—Phosphorus”], John Donne, “The Apparition,” Timothy Donnelly, “Globus Hystericus,” Carolyn Forché, “The Ghost of Heaven,” “Sequestered Writing,” Lola Haskins, “Patsy Sees a Ghost,” Mary Hickman, “Visionary Elegies,” Cynthia Huntington, “Ghost,” Mark Irwin, “Ghost,” Christopher Kennedy, “Ghost in the Land of Skeletons,” Dan Lechay, “Ghost Villanelle,” Dana Levin, “Ghosts That Need Reminding,” Vachel Lindsay, “The Spider and the Ghost of a Fly,” Robert Lowell, “The Ghost,” Nathaniel Mackey, “Ghost of a Trance,” Carl Marcum, “Cue Lazarus,” Paul Mariani, “Ghost,” Sarah Messer, “Prayer from a Mouse,” Eric Pankey, “Epitaph,” “Restless Ghost,” Elise Paschen, “Ghost, Fountain,” Carl Phillips, “Ghost Choir,” Edgar Allan Poe, “Lenore,” Lisa Sewell, “Letter from a Haunted Room,” William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Wallace Stevens, “A Rabbit as King of the Ghosts,” Keith Waldrop, “The Ghost of a Hunter,” Afaa Michael Weaver, “The Appaloosa,” Dara Wier, “Blue Oxen.”


Jennifer Moore was born and raised in Seattle. She is the author of Easy Does It (2021) and The Veronica Maneuver (2015), both from the University of Akron Press, and a chapbook of centos, Smaller Ghosts (Seven Kitchens Press, 2020). Her poems have appeared in Crazyhorse, Bennington Review, Interim, The Cincinnati Review, and elsewhere. An associate professor of creative writing, she currently serves as Director of the School for the Humanities and Global Cultures at Ohio Northern University and lives in Bowling Green, Ohio.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Smaller Ghosts by Jennifer Moore


This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Smaller Ghosts by Jennifer Moore, a book of centos released by Seven Kitchens Press in 2020. 

We never saw the fox,
a stranger moving rapidly, nervous

at the edge of thirty years of night.
Hoping to capture

his blue shadow, we made of exile
a homeland, field after field

of high grass and seedpods.
Here again, the suggestion of a form,

stepping into the mouth
of October undergrowth.

Odd birds call. A swallow returns
to an invisible orchard.

Have you seen it? That sound in the brush?
Everywhere, we saw untouched white.


Source texts (for all book poems): Claribel Alegría, “Rain,” Rae Armantrout, “Unbidden,” David Barber, “To the Trespasser,” Emily Berry, “This spirit she,” John Berryman, “Not to Live,” Frank Bidart, “The Ghost,” Linda Bierds, “The Ghost Trio,” Lucie Brock-Broido, “How Can It Be I Am No Longer I,” Emily Dickinson, [“One need not be a chamber”], [“The Zeroes—taught us—Phosphorus”], John Donne, “The Apparition,” Timothy Donnelly, “Globus Hystericus,” Carolyn Forché, “The Ghost of Heaven,” “Sequestered Writing,” Lola Haskins, “Patsy Sees a Ghost,” Mary Hickman, “Visionary Elegies,” Cynthia Huntington, “Ghost,” Mark Irwin, “Ghost,” Christopher Kennedy, “Ghost in the Land of Skeletons,” Dan Lechay, “Ghost Villanelle,” Dana Levin, “Ghosts That Need Reminding,” Vachel Lindsay, “The Spider and the Ghost of a Fly,” Robert Lowell, “The Ghost,” Nathaniel Mackey, “Ghost of a Trance,” Carl Marcum, “Cue Lazarus,” Paul Mariani, “Ghost,” Sarah Messer, “Prayer from a Mouse,” Eric Pankey, “Epitaph,” “Restless Ghost,” Elise Paschen, “Ghost, Fountain,” Carl Phillips, “Ghost Choir,” Edgar Allan Poe, “Lenore,” Lisa Sewell, “Letter from a Haunted Room,” William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Wallace Stevens, “A Rabbit as King of the Ghosts,” Keith Waldrop, “The Ghost of a Hunter,” Afaa Michael Weaver, “The Appaloosa,” Dara Wier, “Blue Oxen.”


Jennifer Moore was born and raised in Seattle. She is the author of Easy Does It (2021) and The Veronica Maneuver (2015), both from the University of Akron Press, and a chapbook of centos, Smaller Ghosts (Seven Kitchens Press, 2020). Her poems have appeared in Crazyhorse, Bennington Review, Interim, The Cincinnati Review, and elsewhere. An associate professor of creative writing, she currently serves as Director of the School for the Humanities and Global Cultures at Ohio Northern University and lives in Bowling Green, Ohio.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Smaller Ghosts by Jennifer Moore


This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Smaller Ghosts by Jennifer Moore, a book of centos released by Seven Kitchens Press in 2020. 

A little satin-like she entered the evening,
life still there, upon her hair—
the musk of chestnuts in a house
the wind owns.

Where the Alone lived,
my ghost looked up and saw
a feather blown
between everyone’s bones.

I do not know what becomes
of winter, gone as the moment
begins to wink. The soul sleepwalks
into a mirror—

one stepped in as one stepped out.
Inside I am frosted; if I weep
it’s for the rocking chair.
Nothing left except light on your fur.


Source texts (for all book poems): Claribel Alegría, “Rain,” Rae Armantrout, “Unbidden,” David Barber, “To the Trespasser,” Emily Berry, “This spirit she,” John Berryman, “Not to Live,” Frank Bidart, “The Ghost,” Linda Bierds, “The Ghost Trio,” Lucie Brock-Broido, “How Can It Be I Am No Longer I,” Emily Dickinson, [“One need not be a chamber”], [“The Zeroes—taught us—Phosphorus”], John Donne, “The Apparition,” Timothy Donnelly, “Globus Hystericus,” Carolyn Forché, “The Ghost of Heaven,” “Sequestered Writing,” Lola Haskins, “Patsy Sees a Ghost,” Mary Hickman, “Visionary Elegies,” Cynthia Huntington, “Ghost,” Mark Irwin, “Ghost,” Christopher Kennedy, “Ghost in the Land of Skeletons,” Dan Lechay, “Ghost Villanelle,” Dana Levin, “Ghosts That Need Reminding,” Vachel Lindsay, “The Spider and the Ghost of a Fly,” Robert Lowell, “The Ghost,” Nathaniel Mackey, “Ghost of a Trance,” Carl Marcum, “Cue Lazarus,” Paul Mariani, “Ghost,” Sarah Messer, “Prayer from a Mouse,” Eric Pankey, “Epitaph,” “Restless Ghost,” Elise Paschen, “Ghost, Fountain,” Carl Phillips, “Ghost Choir,” Edgar Allan Poe, “Lenore,” Lisa Sewell, “Letter from a Haunted Room,” William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Wallace Stevens, “A Rabbit as King of the Ghosts,” Keith Waldrop, “The Ghost of a Hunter,” Afaa Michael Weaver, “The Appaloosa,” Dara Wier, “Blue Oxen.”


Jennifer Moore was born and raised in Seattle. She is the author of Easy Does It (2021) and The Veronica Maneuver (2015), both from the University of Akron Press, and a chapbook of centos, Smaller Ghosts (Seven Kitchens Press, 2020). Her poems have appeared in Crazyhorse, Bennington Review, Interim, The Cincinnati Review, and elsewhere. An associate professor of creative writing, she currently serves as Director of the School for the Humanities and Global Cultures at Ohio Northern University and lives in Bowling Green, Ohio.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Smaller Ghosts by Jennifer Moore


This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Smaller Ghosts by Jennifer Moore, a book of centos released by Seven Kitchens Press in 2020. 

A single deer stepped
into a stillness and watched me:
nothing need be explained.
Given lilacs, lilacs disappear.

Here is the painted world,
the ghost garden; our self behind
a heap of apples, concealed.
A spectral game of hide and seek.

I will always love the way a lost word
will come back, fanatic against
the vanishing. In the avenue of trees,
the haunt sings and it’s my music.


Source texts (for all book poems): Claribel Alegría, “Rain,” Rae Armantrout, “Unbidden,” David Barber, “To the Trespasser,” Emily Berry, “This spirit she,” John Berryman, “Not to Live,” Frank Bidart, “The Ghost,” Linda Bierds, “The Ghost Trio,” Lucie Brock-Broido, “How Can It Be I Am No Longer I,” Emily Dickinson, [“One need not be a chamber”], [“The Zeroes—taught us—Phosphorus”], John Donne, “The Apparition,” Timothy Donnelly, “Globus Hystericus,” Carolyn Forché, “The Ghost of Heaven,” “Sequestered Writing,” Lola Haskins, “Patsy Sees a Ghost,” Mary Hickman, “Visionary Elegies,” Cynthia Huntington, “Ghost,” Mark Irwin, “Ghost,” Christopher Kennedy, “Ghost in the Land of Skeletons,” Dan Lechay, “Ghost Villanelle,” Dana Levin, “Ghosts That Need Reminding,” Vachel Lindsay, “The Spider and the Ghost of a Fly,” Robert Lowell, “The Ghost,” Nathaniel Mackey, “Ghost of a Trance,” Carl Marcum, “Cue Lazarus,” Paul Mariani, “Ghost,” Sarah Messer, “Prayer from a Mouse,” Eric Pankey, “Epitaph,” “Restless Ghost,” Elise Paschen, “Ghost, Fountain,” Carl Phillips, “Ghost Choir,” Edgar Allan Poe, “Lenore,” Lisa Sewell, “Letter from a Haunted Room,” William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Wallace Stevens, “A Rabbit as King of the Ghosts,” Keith Waldrop, “The Ghost of a Hunter,” Afaa Michael Weaver, “The Appaloosa,” Dara Wier, “Blue Oxen.”


Jennifer Moore was born and raised in Seattle. She is the author of Easy Does It (2021) and The Veronica Maneuver (2015), both from the University of Akron Press, and a chapbook of centos, Smaller Ghosts (Seven Kitchens Press, 2020). Her poems have appeared in Crazyhorse, Bennington Review, Interim, The Cincinnati Review, and elsewhere. An associate professor of creative writing, she currently serves as Director of the School for the Humanities and Global Cultures at Ohio Northern University and lives in Bowling Green, Ohio.