The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Code by Charlotte Pence

T. at the Limits of the Possible

“…At least one child had been lifted by an adult to produce
some of [the cave art]. The process had been relatively
complex as the adult had moved a distance of several
yards while the child marked the surface of the ceiling.
So, it was not a case of simply producing the drawings
just anywhere… This all suggests that creators wanted to
produce tracings at the limits of the possible.”
—Jean Clottes from What is Paleolithic Art?:
Cave Paintings and the Dawn of Human Creativity

I read the caves are often conceived as female.
The art itself considered the oldest: 40,800
years. And I know we have to go, be a part
of something that lasts. “Help me pack?” I ask her.

She drops a plastic dinosaur into her sneaker,
then trots away. I want to take her hand, pull her
into my lap, tell her again of Spain and the art
she’ll see, caverns larger than any house, time

longer than any dream. I wish her mother were here
to see it. Grief, like art, continues to teach
the limits of the possible. I want to take her hand,
lead her through damp-dark to where a child

years ago was led by her father to mark
the cave. Handprints reveal an index finger
shorter than the middle, a fact divulging
the artist was a girl, barely older than mine.

I will take her hand and walk along the slipping
mud floor wet from the mountain’s slow
weeping. “Up there,” I will say, pulling her
onto my shoulders, her body plus mine making us

as tall as a crow’s nest. Up there, he too
must have said, holding fire burning on bison
fat, holding shell of red ochre
mixed with cave water. There? she must have

asked, pointing to what was almost out
of reach. Something on the edge of something.
Here, she decides, poking the ceiling’s moon milk,
that wet, soft carbonate sparkling like stars
under the forked flame. I start to sway; she steadies
her torso, begins singing Here, here, here, combing
her fingers through the ceiling’s fur while I roll
and bow, circle round, her fingers now flutes,

now waves, now stone, now snow, all rolling
through glitter, time, and space. Here she has
been born. Here she will stay. A part of this clay,
this cave, this moonmilk, mountain, mother.


This selection comes from the book, Code, available from Black Lawrence Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Danielle Hanson.

Charlotte Pence’s first book of poems, Many Small Fires (Black Lawrence Press, 2015), received an INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award from Foreword Reviews. The book explores her father’s chronic homelessness while simultaneously detailing the physiological changes that enabled humans to form cities, communities, and households. She is also the author of two award-winning poetry chapbooks and the editor of The Poetics of American Song Lyrics. Her poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction have recently been published in Harvard Review, Sewanee Review, Southern Review, and Brevity. In July of 2020, her next poetry collection, Code, will be published by Black Lawrence Press. A graduate of Emerson College (MFA) and the University of Tennessee (PhD), she is now the director of the Stokes Center for Creative Writing at University of South Alabama.

Danielle Hanson received her MFA from Arizona State University and her undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  She is Poetry Editor for Doubleback Books and a Senior Reader at Atlanta Review, and was formerly Poetry Editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review, and associate editor for Loose Change Magazine and Carriage House Review.  Her work has appeared in over 70 journals and anthologies, including Poets & Writers, Iodine Poetry Journal, Rosebud, The Cortland Review, Willow Springs, Roanoke Review, Poet Lore, Asheville Poetry Review, and Blackbird.  She has been on staff at the Meacham Writers’ Conference and the Chattahoochee Valley Writers’ Conference, and completed residencies at The Hambidge Center.  She has received several Pushcart and Best of the Net nominations.  She is the 2017 recipient of the Codhill Press Poetry Prize, Finalist for the 2018 Georgia Author of the Year Award for Poetry, and 2016 recipient of the Vi Gale Award from Hubbub.

Her second collection Fraying Edge of Sky (Codhill Press, 2018) won the 2017 Codhill Press Poetry Prize, and was previously a Finalist in the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry in 2017, the Wick Poetry Prize in 2017, the Codhill Poetry Award in 2017, the Antivenom Poetry Award in 2016 and 2017, and the Richard Snyder Prize in 2016 and 2017; and was Semifinalist in the National Poetry Series in 2017, the Crab Orchard Series in 2017, the Elixir Press Prize in 2016, and The Washington Prize in 2016. 

Her debut collection Ambushing Water (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2017) previously was Runner Up for the 2012 Marsh Hawk Poetry Prize; Finalist for the 2015 and 2016 Robert Dana Prizes for Poetry; the 2015 and 2016 Blue Lynx Prizes; and the 2014 Codhill Poetry Award; and Semifinalist for the 2015 Miller Williams Poetry Prize; the 2012, 2014 and 2015 Crab Orchard Poetry Series; the 2013 and 2014 42 Miles Press Poetry Awards; the 2013 Elixir Press Antivenom Award; the 2015 and 2016 Codhill Poetry Award; the 2015 Washington Prize; and the 2015 Richard Snyder Publication Prize.  

 

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Code by Charlotte Pence

“DNA’s Main Role is the Long-Term
Storage of Information”

the geneticist writes. Then stops. Very elegant,
one of her lab workers said of the double helix.
The geneticist cannot help but think: Yes. DNA
is a whirl, a twist, a woman who will not have a seagull
crap on her shoulder as she accepts a glass of wedding
champagne. The drink tilted but never spilling.
She is a ladder no one can climb. A track laid for
a corporeal train. A hope to continue. What does
her voice sound like, she who is never done
talking? A bluebell in a field of red poppies?
Sand among sand? Or maybe her voice is one long “O”
as in: Oh, I was hoping to see you again.


This selection comes from the book, Code, available from Black Lawrence Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Danielle Hanson.

Charlotte Pence’s first book of poems, Many Small Fires (Black Lawrence Press, 2015), received an INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award from Foreword Reviews. The book explores her father’s chronic homelessness while simultaneously detailing the physiological changes that enabled humans to form cities, communities, and households. She is also the author of two award-winning poetry chapbooks and the editor of The Poetics of American Song Lyrics. Her poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction have recently been published in Harvard Review, Sewanee Review, Southern Review, and Brevity. In July of 2020, her next poetry collection, Code, will be published by Black Lawrence Press. A graduate of Emerson College (MFA) and the University of Tennessee (PhD), she is now the director of the Stokes Center for Creative Writing at University of South Alabama.

Danielle Hanson received her MFA from Arizona State University and her undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  She is Poetry Editor for Doubleback Books and a Senior Reader at Atlanta Review, and was formerly Poetry Editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review, and associate editor for Loose Change Magazine and Carriage House Review.  Her work has appeared in over 70 journals and anthologies, including Poets & Writers, Iodine Poetry Journal, Rosebud, The Cortland Review, Willow Springs, Roanoke Review, Poet Lore, Asheville Poetry Review, and Blackbird.  She has been on staff at the Meacham Writers’ Conference and the Chattahoochee Valley Writers’ Conference, and completed residencies at The Hambidge Center.  She has received several Pushcart and Best of the Net nominations.  She is the 2017 recipient of the Codhill Press Poetry Prize, Finalist for the 2018 Georgia Author of the Year Award for Poetry, and 2016 recipient of the Vi Gale Award from Hubbub.

Her second collection Fraying Edge of Sky (Codhill Press, 2018) won the 2017 Codhill Press Poetry Prize, and was previously a Finalist in the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry in 2017, the Wick Poetry Prize in 2017, the Codhill Poetry Award in 2017, the Antivenom Poetry Award in 2016 and 2017, and the Richard Snyder Prize in 2016 and 2017; and was Semifinalist in the National Poetry Series in 2017, the Crab Orchard Series in 2017, the Elixir Press Prize in 2016, and The Washington Prize in 2016. 

Her debut collection Ambushing Water (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2017) previously was Runner Up for the 2012 Marsh Hawk Poetry Prize; Finalist for the 2015 and 2016 Robert Dana Prizes for Poetry; the 2015 and 2016 Blue Lynx Prizes; and the 2014 Codhill Poetry Award; and Semifinalist for the 2015 Miller Williams Poetry Prize; the 2012, 2014 and 2015 Crab Orchard Poetry Series; the 2013 and 2014 42 Miles Press Poetry Awards; the 2013 Elixir Press Antivenom Award; the 2015 and 2016 Codhill Poetry Award; the 2015 Washington Prize; and the 2015 Richard Snyder Publication Prize.  

 

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Code by Charlotte Pence

The Weight of the Sun

I like the 4 a.m. feedings best, tilting
the rocking chair back and forth
with my toes, observing how the invisible

lines of our dark yard rest against
the lines of other yards—of other lives.
Before the sun rises, this small wedge

of the world momentarily in agreement:
everyone on this block wishing for sleep,
for peace, for the coming day to be better

than the last. I like thinking how the grass
growing a thousandth of an inch every
fifteen minutes is celebrating something

as I celebrate solving small mysteries
like learning a red fox is the one who
flattens the path through the lawn.

Mainly I like pretending I am the only one
awake, the only one seeing the world
at this instant. The navy sky, thick as blood,

is my blood, as the fracture of stars, bright
as raw bone, is my bone. I like being
reminded that we all began in dark and stars,

that the carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen
in our bodies was created 4.5 billion
years ago in another generation of stars,

that somehow if we could weigh the sun,
all rising 418 nonillion pounds of it,
we’d see that strength is never needed

to begin the day. No, it’s something else.
Behind every square of light flipped on,
someone is standing or slouching,

stretching or sighing, covering
or uncovering her face. Someone
is thinking, Today, I will I will I will…


This selection comes from the book, Code, available from Black Lawrence Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Danielle Hanson.

Charlotte Pence’s first book of poems, Many Small Fires (Black Lawrence Press, 2015), received an INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award from Foreword Reviews. The book explores her father’s chronic homelessness while simultaneously detailing the physiological changes that enabled humans to form cities, communities, and households. She is also the author of two award-winning poetry chapbooks and the editor of The Poetics of American Song Lyrics. Her poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction have recently been published in Harvard Review, Sewanee Review, Southern Review, and Brevity. In July of 2020, her next poetry collection, Code, will be published by Black Lawrence Press. A graduate of Emerson College (MFA) and the University of Tennessee (PhD), she is now the director of the Stokes Center for Creative Writing at University of South Alabama.

Danielle Hanson received her MFA from Arizona State University and her undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  She is Poetry Editor for Doubleback Books and a Senior Reader at Atlanta Review, and was formerly Poetry Editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review, and associate editor for Loose Change Magazine and Carriage House Review.  Her work has appeared in over 70 journals and anthologies, including Poets & Writers, Iodine Poetry Journal, Rosebud, The Cortland Review, Willow Springs, Roanoke Review, Poet Lore, Asheville Poetry Review, and Blackbird.  She has been on staff at the Meacham Writers’ Conference and the Chattahoochee Valley Writers’ Conference, and completed residencies at The Hambidge Center.  She has received several Pushcart and Best of the Net nominations.  She is the 2017 recipient of the Codhill Press Poetry Prize, Finalist for the 2018 Georgia Author of the Year Award for Poetry, and 2016 recipient of the Vi Gale Award from Hubbub.

Her second collection Fraying Edge of Sky (Codhill Press, 2018) won the 2017 Codhill Press Poetry Prize, and was previously a Finalist in the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry in 2017, the Wick Poetry Prize in 2017, the Codhill Poetry Award in 2017, the Antivenom Poetry Award in 2016 and 2017, and the Richard Snyder Prize in 2016 and 2017; and was Semifinalist in the National Poetry Series in 2017, the Crab Orchard Series in 2017, the Elixir Press Prize in 2016, and The Washington Prize in 2016. 

Her debut collection Ambushing Water (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2017) previously was Runner Up for the 2012 Marsh Hawk Poetry Prize; Finalist for the 2015 and 2016 Robert Dana Prizes for Poetry; the 2015 and 2016 Blue Lynx Prizes; and the 2014 Codhill Poetry Award; and Semifinalist for the 2015 Miller Williams Poetry Prize; the 2012, 2014 and 2015 Crab Orchard Poetry Series; the 2013 and 2014 42 Miles Press Poetry Awards; the 2013 Elixir Press Antivenom Award; the 2015 and 2016 Codhill Poetry Award; the 2015 Washington Prize; and the 2015 Richard Snyder Publication Prize.  

 

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: The Marriage Of The Moon and The Field by Sunni Brown Wilkinson

Little Owl in a Dark Room

singing whoo whoo, and the creaks
of the old crib as he lifts

himself up. Summer in the covers
and fall around the house.

Stillness. Now whoo whoo
and ba ba ba. In the oldest language

he lifts the morning
over our heads. The ceiling

tilts as I rise. Cold wood like a river
under my feet


This selection comes from the book, The Marriage of the Moon and the Field, available from Black Lawrence Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Danielle Hanson.

My poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review, Adirondack Review, Sugar House Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, BODY and other journals and anthologies. I am the author of The Marriage of the Moon and the Field (Black Lawrence Press 2019), and winner of New Ohio Review’s inaugural NORward Poetry Prize. I teach at Weber State University and live in northern Utah with my husband and three young sons.

Danielle Hanson received her MFA from Arizona State University and her undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  She is Poetry Editor for Doubleback Books and a Senior Reader at Atlanta Review, and was formerly Poetry Editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review, and associate editor for Loose Change Magazine and Carriage House Review.  Her work has appeared in over 70 journals and anthologies, including Poets & Writers, Iodine Poetry Journal, Rosebud, The Cortland Review, Willow Springs, Roanoke Review, Poet Lore, Asheville Poetry Review, and Blackbird.  She has been on staff at the Meacham Writers’ Conference and the Chattahoochee Valley Writers’ Conference, and completed residencies at The Hambidge Center.  She has received several Pushcart and Best of the Net nominations.  She is the 2017 recipient of the Codhill Press Poetry Prize, Finalist for the 2018 Georgia Author of the Year Award for Poetry, and 2016 recipient of the Vi Gale Award from Hubbub.

Her second collection Fraying Edge of Sky (Codhill Press, 2018) won the 2017 Codhill Press Poetry Prize, and was previously a Finalist in the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry in 2017, the Wick Poetry Prize in 2017, the Codhill Poetry Award in 2017, the Antivenom Poetry Award in 2016 and 2017, and the Richard Snyder Prize in 2016 and 2017; and was Semifinalist in the National Poetry Series in 2017, the Crab Orchard Series in 2017, the Elixir Press Prize in 2016, and The Washington Prize in 2016. 

Her debut collection Ambushing Water (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2017) previously was Runner Up for the 2012 Marsh Hawk Poetry Prize; Finalist for the 2015 and 2016 Robert Dana Prizes for Poetry; the 2015 and 2016 Blue Lynx Prizes; and the 2014 Codhill Poetry Award; and Semifinalist for the 2015 Miller Williams Poetry Prize; the 2012, 2014 and 2015 Crab Orchard Poetry Series; the 2013 and 2014 42 Miles Press Poetry Awards; the 2013 Elixir Press Antivenom Award; the 2015 and 2016 Codhill Poetry Award; the 2015 Washington Prize; and the 2015 Richard Snyder Publication Prize.  

 

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: The Marriage Of The Moon and The Field by Sunni Brown Wilkinson

At Last the Light in the Trees Wavers

The young man who flies from New York to Salt Lake to fill in
for a famous pianist (stomach flu) is also a famous pianist. We
are second row at the symphony, and the pianist is skinny,
early 20s, and he plays a song like lanterns crashing.
Something modern. But first he plays Beethoven. We watch
him sway on the piano bench, eyes closed, anchored by his
torso and pointed leather shoes, and I wonder about his
mother. How many hours of practice did she hear? The
Emperor Suite over a screaming pot of tea. Endless staircases
of Chopin while she plucked his clean underwear from the
basket, folded the waistband in half, tucked under the crotch.
And for all the art about Paris or the sea, why not more about
laundry? About children, teaching them to pee like grown-ups:
elbows on their knees, legs swinging while they wait, wait,
wait, afterward the curved pink mark on their bottoms, a
funny frown. Sweet Mary Cassatt, what do I owe you? What
can I give you, who are both hands and mirror? In The Bath the
beautifully plain mother washes the feet of her daughter. They
gaze downward like suburban saints. Quiet, ceremonial. The
heart is harnessed in a thimble and every day it’s the morning
of creation. My son on an evening walk at four years old says
the moon looks like a floating egg mama I love living on earth.


This selection comes from the book, The Marriage of the Moon and the Field, available from Black Lawrence Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Danielle Hanson.

My poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review, Adirondack Review, Sugar House Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, BODY and other journals and anthologies. I am the author of The Marriage of the Moon and the Field (Black Lawrence Press 2019), and winner of New Ohio Review’s inaugural NORward Poetry Prize. I teach at Weber State University and live in northern Utah with my husband and three young sons.

Danielle Hanson received her MFA from Arizona State University and her undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  She is Poetry Editor for Doubleback Books and a Senior Reader at Atlanta Review, and was formerly Poetry Editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review, and associate editor for Loose Change Magazine and Carriage House Review.  Her work has appeared in over 70 journals and anthologies, including Poets & Writers, Iodine Poetry Journal, Rosebud, The Cortland Review, Willow Springs, Roanoke Review, Poet Lore, Asheville Poetry Review, and Blackbird.  She has been on staff at the Meacham Writers’ Conference and the Chattahoochee Valley Writers’ Conference, and completed residencies at The Hambidge Center.  She has received several Pushcart and Best of the Net nominations.  She is the 2017 recipient of the Codhill Press Poetry Prize, Finalist for the 2018 Georgia Author of the Year Award for Poetry, and 2016 recipient of the Vi Gale Award from Hubbub.

Her second collection Fraying Edge of Sky (Codhill Press, 2018) won the 2017 Codhill Press Poetry Prize, and was previously a Finalist in the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry in 2017, the Wick Poetry Prize in 2017, the Codhill Poetry Award in 2017, the Antivenom Poetry Award in 2016 and 2017, and the Richard Snyder Prize in 2016 and 2017; and was Semifinalist in the National Poetry Series in 2017, the Crab Orchard Series in 2017, the Elixir Press Prize in 2016, and The Washington Prize in 2016. 

Her debut collection Ambushing Water (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2017) previously was Runner Up for the 2012 Marsh Hawk Poetry Prize; Finalist for the 2015 and 2016 Robert Dana Prizes for Poetry; the 2015 and 2016 Blue Lynx Prizes; and the 2014 Codhill Poetry Award; and Semifinalist for the 2015 Miller Williams Poetry Prize; the 2012, 2014 and 2015 Crab Orchard Poetry Series; the 2013 and 2014 42 Miles Press Poetry Awards; the 2013 Elixir Press Antivenom Award; the 2015 and 2016 Codhill Poetry Award; the 2015 Washington Prize; and the 2015 Richard Snyder Publication Prize.  

 

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: The Marriage Of The Moon and The Field by Sunni Brown Wilkinson

At Last the Light in the Trees Wavers

and moves on like an old woman
turning away

from the mirror. Everything dims.
Now the lamp

is master. November,
and the rake face–

down in a pile of leaves
is like a kid playing dead,

the stick of his back staying
perfectly still.

And at night in our bed
the bird of me returns

to the tree of you.
All we’ve shed: leaves

and feathers on the floor.
The dark and your limbs

draw me in.
I’ll sing now

in my little house of bones.


This selection comes from the book, The Marriage of the Moon and the Field, available from Black Lawrence Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Danielle Hanson.

My poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review, Adirondack Review, Sugar House Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, BODY and other journals and anthologies. I am the author of The Marriage of the Moon and the Field (Black Lawrence Press 2019), and winner of New Ohio Review’s inaugural NORward Poetry Prize. I teach at Weber State University and live in northern Utah with my husband and three young sons.

Danielle Hanson received her MFA from Arizona State University and her undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  She is Poetry Editor for Doubleback Books and a Senior Reader at Atlanta Review, and was formerly Poetry Editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review, and associate editor for Loose Change Magazine and Carriage House Review.  Her work has appeared in over 70 journals and anthologies, including Poets & Writers, Iodine Poetry Journal, Rosebud, The Cortland Review, Willow Springs, Roanoke Review, Poet Lore, Asheville Poetry Review, and Blackbird.  She has been on staff at the Meacham Writers’ Conference and the Chattahoochee Valley Writers’ Conference, and completed residencies at The Hambidge Center.  She has received several Pushcart and Best of the Net nominations.  She is the 2017 recipient of the Codhill Press Poetry Prize, Finalist for the 2018 Georgia Author of the Year Award for Poetry, and 2016 recipient of the Vi Gale Award from Hubbub.

Her second collection Fraying Edge of Sky (Codhill Press, 2018) won the 2017 Codhill Press Poetry Prize, and was previously a Finalist in the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry in 2017, the Wick Poetry Prize in 2017, the Codhill Poetry Award in 2017, the Antivenom Poetry Award in 2016 and 2017, and the Richard Snyder Prize in 2016 and 2017; and was Semifinalist in the National Poetry Series in 2017, the Crab Orchard Series in 2017, the Elixir Press Prize in 2016, and The Washington Prize in 2016. 

Her debut collection Ambushing Water (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2017) previously was Runner Up for the 2012 Marsh Hawk Poetry Prize; Finalist for the 2015 and 2016 Robert Dana Prizes for Poetry; the 2015 and 2016 Blue Lynx Prizes; and the 2014 Codhill Poetry Award; and Semifinalist for the 2015 Miller Williams Poetry Prize; the 2012, 2014 and 2015 Crab Orchard Poetry Series; the 2013 and 2014 42 Miles Press Poetry Awards; the 2013 Elixir Press Antivenom Award; the 2015 and 2016 Codhill Poetry Award; the 2015 Washington Prize; and the 2015 Richard Snyder Publication Prize.  

 

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: The Marriage Of The Moon and The Field by Sunni Brown Wilkinson

Nesting Dolls

The biggest one carries all that weight
inside her it’s a wonder

she doesn’t fall over.
Pull apart her two halves and out

comes another, rouged and ready
to open again. Quiet, and you can hear them

breathe, a tiny ocean
sound in each. Just now a thump

under my ribs says No more room
in this borrowed house. Like cells slowly dividing,

we make our peace by letting go.
It’s almost time. We’re verses

with space in between
for our own small hallelujah. Selah,

the Hebrew word that marks a rest
after each Psalm. I want to say Selah in between

each house on my block, all the sleepers
in soft places. When the wind tore

at our house and I was afraid
the big pine would fall,

we all slept in the front room,
nothing but our breath, covers rising

and falling, a stone–light
through the blinds,

two children and their parents
dreaming. Deeper inside, the unborn

tapped, and the train whistle cried out—
my son says, like someone calling your name.


This selection comes from the book, The Marriage of the Moon and the Field, available from Black Lawrence Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Danielle Hanson.

My poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review, Adirondack Review, Sugar House Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, BODY and other journals and anthologies. I am the author of The Marriage of the Moon and the Field (Black Lawrence Press 2019), and winner of New Ohio Review’s inaugural NORward Poetry Prize. I teach at Weber State University and live in northern Utah with my husband and three young sons.

Danielle Hanson received her MFA from Arizona State University and her undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  She is Poetry Editor for Doubleback Books and a Senior Reader at Atlanta Review, and was formerly Poetry Editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review, and associate editor for Loose Change Magazine and Carriage House Review.  Her work has appeared in over 70 journals and anthologies, including Poets & Writers, Iodine Poetry Journal, Rosebud, The Cortland Review, Willow Springs, Roanoke Review, Poet Lore, Asheville Poetry Review, and Blackbird.  She has been on staff at the Meacham Writers’ Conference and the Chattahoochee Valley Writers’ Conference, and completed residencies at The Hambidge Center.  She has received several Pushcart and Best of the Net nominations.  She is the 2017 recipient of the Codhill Press Poetry Prize, Finalist for the 2018 Georgia Author of the Year Award for Poetry, and 2016 recipient of the Vi Gale Award from Hubbub.

Her second collection Fraying Edge of Sky (Codhill Press, 2018) won the 2017 Codhill Press Poetry Prize, and was previously a Finalist in the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry in 2017, the Wick Poetry Prize in 2017, the Codhill Poetry Award in 2017, the Antivenom Poetry Award in 2016 and 2017, and the Richard Snyder Prize in 2016 and 2017; and was Semifinalist in the National Poetry Series in 2017, the Crab Orchard Series in 2017, the Elixir Press Prize in 2016, and The Washington Prize in 2016. 

Her debut collection Ambushing Water (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2017) previously was Runner Up for the 2012 Marsh Hawk Poetry Prize; Finalist for the 2015 and 2016 Robert Dana Prizes for Poetry; the 2015 and 2016 Blue Lynx Prizes; and the 2014 Codhill Poetry Award; and Semifinalist for the 2015 Miller Williams Poetry Prize; the 2012, 2014 and 2015 Crab Orchard Poetry Series; the 2013 and 2014 42 Miles Press Poetry Awards; the 2013 Elixir Press Antivenom Award; the 2015 and 2016 Codhill Poetry Award; the 2015 Washington Prize; and the 2015 Richard Snyder Publication Prize.  

 

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Alice in Ruby Slippers by Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas

Since You’ve been Gone

Since you died, I’ve dreamt of being lost—
amid the unfamiliar; somewhere Frost
might call a traveler’s puzzlement, a quest
determining which pathway suits me best
as though I’ve heard an inner voice or song
yet overwhelmed which choice is right or wrong—
bewildered by the thought, I’ll cry for you
as if your death’s a thing I could undo.
A dream can be a devastating place
though more alarming still to wake and face
the truth of what is real. There’s no way
to signal you for help. Sometimes I play
old messages to hear your voice again—
as if you’re home, then ask you where you’ve been.


This selection comes from the book, Alice in Ruby Slippers, available from Kelsay Books.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Ada Rivera.

Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas is currently enrolled in the Vermont College of Fine Arts, MFA in Writing program. She is a ten-time Pushcart Prize nominee and a seven-time Best of the Net nominee. In 2012 she won the Red Ochre Chapbook Contest, with her manuscript, Before I Go to Sleep. In 2018 her book In the Making of Goodbyes was nominated for The CLMP Firecracker Award in Poetry, and her poem A Mall in California took 2nd place for the Jack Kerouac Poetry Prize. In 2019 her chapbook An Ode to Hope in the Midst of Pandemonium was a finalist in the Eric Hoffer Book Awards. Her work is widely published in magazines and online including, The Yale Journal of Humanities in Medicine, Mezzo Cammin, and Verse Daily. She is a former  Editor-in-Chief for the Tule Review and The Orchards Poetry Journal and member of the Sacramento Poetry Center Board of Directors. According to family lore, she is a direct descendant of Robert Louis Stevenson.

Nilsa Ada Rivera writes about gender and diversity issues. She’s the Managing Editor of The Wardrobe for Sundress Publications. She’s an MFA candidate at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her work appeared in the Huffington Post, 50 GS Magazine, Six Hens Literary Journal, Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies, and Selkie Literary Magazine. She lives in Riverview, Florida with her multi-species family.

 

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Alice in Ruby Slippers by Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas

Alice in Ruby Slippers

Oh, girl who sips her beautiful soup,
and walks a winding yellow-brick road—
who dreams of tweedles that loop-de-loop,
where munchkins sing in turtle code.

The griffin calls to Neverland
she’s now confused, could this be Oz?
As if a Wizard brings good news
or gives the Queen sufficient cause.

Off with your head, you wicked thing!
Oh, girl who sips her beautiful soup,
now paint the roses red and sing
“où est ma chatte,” the Dormouse snoop

just might be snoozing during tea—
the Emerald City awaits you there,
with soldiers dressed, and whiskers green
find Glinda with her golden hair.

Oh, girl who sips her beautiful soup—
White Rabbit reads and strokes his fur;
she clicks her heels three times for guilt—
they told me you had been to her.


This selection comes from the book, Alice in Ruby Slippers, available from Kelsay Books.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Ada Rivera.

Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas is currently enrolled in the Vermont College of Fine Arts, MFA in Writing program. She is a ten-time Pushcart Prize nominee and a seven-time Best of the Net nominee. In 2012 she won the Red Ochre Chapbook Contest, with her manuscript, Before I Go to Sleep. In 2018 her book In the Making of Goodbyes was nominated for The CLMP Firecracker Award in Poetry, and her poem A Mall in California took 2nd place for the Jack Kerouac Poetry Prize. In 2019 her chapbook An Ode to Hope in the Midst of Pandemonium was a finalist in the Eric Hoffer Book Awards. Her work is widely published in magazines and online including, The Yale Journal of Humanities in Medicine, Mezzo Cammin, and Verse Daily. She is a former  Editor-in-Chief for the Tule Review and The Orchards Poetry Journal and member of the Sacramento Poetry Center Board of Directors. According to family lore, she is a direct descendant of Robert Louis Stevenson.

Nilsa Ada Rivera writes about gender and diversity issues. She’s the Managing Editor of The Wardrobe for Sundress Publications. She’s an MFA candidate at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her work appeared in the Huffington Post, 50 GS Magazine, Six Hens Literary Journal, Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies, and Selkie Literary Magazine. She lives in Riverview, Florida with her multi-species family.

 

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Alice in Ruby Slippers by Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas

Autopsy

My mother told me not to fib
or I’d go straight to hell,
and never ever twist the truth
from all that was to tell—

and I believed this golden rule
was one I shouldn’t break,
because she had no tolerance
for stories that were fake.

I guess I never questioned her
assuming she was right,
that everything she said to me
was honest and forthright.

Now looking back, I’ve come to find
a day she told a whopper—
one falsehood that I’ve later learned
was totally improper.

At least if one’s accountable
to ‘practice what you preach,’
and shouldn’t mothers say and do
exactly as they teach?

And I was just a child then
the morning I recall—
I went to wake my father up,
who slept across the hall.

I opened up their bedroom door
then turned the knob just so,
the morning light came spilling through
and cast a shadowed glow.

I tiptoed gently to the bed,
my everyday routine
then leaned in close to kiss his cheek
to stir him from a dream.

But he just slept and never moved—
his hands felt limp and dead,
and when I tried to waken him,
he didn’t move his head.

My mother made me leave the room
until the stretcher came.
Away he went with blinking lights,
a siren’s flashing flame.

She said he’d had a heart attack,
and offered nothing more
yet when she died, I found his note—
long hidden in her drawer.

With all her fiery threats of hell…
one truth had been denied.
The records read Took Overdose.
Apparent Suicide.


This selection comes from the book, Alice in Ruby Slippers, available from Kelsay Books.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Ada Rivera.

Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas is currently enrolled in the Vermont College of Fine Arts, MFA in Writing program. She is a ten-time Pushcart Prize nominee and a seven-time Best of the Net nominee. In 2012 she won the Red Ochre Chapbook Contest, with her manuscript, Before I Go to Sleep. In 2018 her book In the Making of Goodbyes was nominated for The CLMP Firecracker Award in Poetry, and her poem A Mall in California took 2nd place for the Jack Kerouac Poetry Prize. In 2019 her chapbook An Ode to Hope in the Midst of Pandemonium was a finalist in the Eric Hoffer Book Awards. Her work is widely published in magazines and online including, The Yale Journal of Humanities in Medicine, Mezzo Cammin, and Verse Daily. She is a former  Editor-in-Chief for the Tule Review and The Orchards Poetry Journal and member of the Sacramento Poetry Center Board of Directors. According to family lore, she is a direct descendant of Robert Louis Stevenson.

Nilsa Ada Rivera writes about gender and diversity issues. She’s the Managing Editor of The Wardrobe for Sundress Publications. She’s an MFA candidate at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her work appeared in the Huffington Post, 50 GS Magazine, Six Hens Literary Journal, Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies, and Selkie Literary Magazine. She lives in Riverview, Florida with her multi-species family.