A Place for the Genuine by Les Bares

a pile of mail in envelopes

You’ve gotten over the idea that writing poetry is only for strange people who carry around moleskin notebooks with ribbon bookmarks. You may have even admitted to people you’ve met in airports, knowing you will never see them again, that you write poetry. Perhaps after supplying an alibi, you’ve even gone to an open mike poetry reading and mustered the courage to read a poem or two of your own. What do you do now with those poems you have labored over, edited and re-edited, let stew and percolate, honed and polished until you think … Continue reading A Place for the Genuine by Les Bares

Keeping To The Beat by Mariflo Stephens

Cadets studying Howl

On the face of it, it wouldn’t seem to be a match. Beat writers and military cadets. But Gordon Ball, Allen Ginsburg’s farm manager, taught Beat Generation writers to cadets at Virginia Military Institute for 26 years. Also, on the face of it, a young woman from Appalachian with writerly ambitions would have little chance to meet a man connected to the most famous poet in America. But I did. I met Gordon when I was in my early 20’s, during the 1970’s, because his sister married my cousin. I hadn’t known much about Ginsburg … Continue reading Keeping To The Beat by Mariflo Stephens

No Rules for Creation by Spriggan Radfae


For as long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed being a creative person. I’ve occasionally been labeled “artsy-fartsy” or some similarly dismissive phrase. And I’ve struck back and used my own pejorative, the phrase “corporate drone,” to describe somebody I perceive as having little imagination, but in spite of my personal attachment to the creative process, I can also empathize with people that are thwarted or daunted by it. Creation has no rules. A lack of rules, a lack of structure, and maybe even an indeterminate goal: that’s pretty scary to some people. For others, … Continue reading No Rules for Creation by Spriggan Radfae

Reno and Smiley in Verona by Frederick Wilbur

closeup of banjo frets

Reno and Smiley in Verona   Walking not far from Juliet’s graffitied house, a window gives its music to the alley below— Appalachian spring tripping on love. I hear I Wouldn’t Change You if I Could.                                   * An unintended plot comes back to me— how fifty years ago we drove south to Stuart’s Draft to hear Reno and Smiley play, a hay wagon above us, haloed by the setting sun, singing their country’s tunes.                        Don’s banjo sowed the seeds of bluegrass with Lee’s March                        and Don’t Let Your Sweet Love Die. Have you forgotten the … Continue reading Reno and Smiley in Verona by Frederick Wilbur

Thirteen by David Gardner

Yellow Grader on side of road

Thirteen is a hellish year. I don’t understand why evolution didn’t just let us skip from twelve straight to fourteen. Twelve is really cool. You’re a sixth grader in grammar school (as they called it when I was a boy), the oldest and biggest of all the kids. Everyone respected you. At fourteen, you were a year into adolescence, beginning to be comfortable with it (overlooking, of course, the pimples and the squeaky voice). But thirteen? At thirteen, you were all of a sudden among the smallest at your junior high school, the one everyone … Continue reading Thirteen by David Gardner

What Would Buffy Do? by Miles Fowler

Poster of characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

The first fan fiction I ever wrote was inspired by Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the television series created by Joss Whedon about a blonde superhero who turns the tables by killing vampires instead of being killed by them. Then, having seen every episode of the series, I wanted something more but wasn’t sure what. I bought an Xbox 360 solely for the purpose of playing the Buffy the Vampire Slayer video game. As my partner’s grandson can attest, I am usually incapable of keeping an avatar alive for more than thirty seconds, but I managed … Continue reading What Would Buffy Do? by Miles Fowler

From Ice and Dust by Sharon Ackerman

comet in sky

From Ice and Dust   All summer long, a comet streaks, star blown and cold, as I walk, hollow boned thin ribbed, a scarecrow loosed upon the night, trailing cotton. How elastic the hands once, thick with boxwood and petunias, a plump face blankly ignorant of kneecaps and hips, their gray, aching moonscape. In the dark closeted sky, original dust returns, its tiny, solid planet flashes the same blinkered path always, a brightness not consuming itself, a body falling, falling for miles, whole and unbroken. Sharon Ackerman is a poet residing in Albemarle County, Virginia. … Continue reading From Ice and Dust by Sharon Ackerman

The Blue Room by Karen Kates

blue walled bedroom

Apparently, during the fifteen or so minutes while my husband and daughter waited in the car outside Whole Foods, some man had knifed his ex-wife. The injury doesn’t seem serious; she’s slouched in the rear of an open ambulance, where a paramedic presses a tiny bandage to her cheek. Still, I’m horrified: that blade could have reached her eye. I’m relieved to see my husband, Nathan, sitting up straight in the Volvo, and six-year-old Juliet, harnessed behind him, in that complicated plastic bucket of a seat. It’s bitter cold, sleeting. As I get into the … Continue reading The Blue Room by Karen Kates

The Photography of Fabrice Poussin


My selected photographs belong to two different periods and locations but stem from similar motivations. They are studies, each leading to the next image, knowing that images birth one another. They are all connected as, in reality, they are the inner life of the creator. As for the effect, I place the objects, or find the objects as they are. I try a number of angles, and lighting conditions so I am not necessarily sure of what the final product will be. I shoot hundreds of images of the same subjects as I move around … Continue reading The Photography of Fabrice Poussin

Life in the Big Woods by Martha Woodroof

View up, through trees, into sky

Ten years after my second divorce and one year sober, dreaming of companionable days and zooming up to a net worth of zero, Charlie asked me to marry him and I said yes. It was an act of reckless selfishness. I had no history of peaceful co-existence with a man; no demonstrated ability to function as part of a team, take things as they come à deux. But true love will rise up and conquer common sense even after forty, and one fine September day Charlie and I were married by Rappin’ Ray, minister of … Continue reading Life in the Big Woods by Martha Woodroof

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