All posts by Fred Wilbur

Submissions Etiquette by Fred Wilbur

Photo of sunset between two buildings

Sending simultaneous submissions is a fact of a poet’s life whether you practice the strategy or not. How such a maneuver began may be one of those mysteries of history, but it is acceptable to most literary venues these days. It may have come about by the eagerness and impatience of poets frustrated by the often long waits and by thinking that someone out there would just love their work. I suppose the more complicated recordkeeping of this doubling (tripling) up has been taken care of by sophisticated spreadsheet programs. Simultaneous submissions is a strategy … Continue reading Submissions Etiquette by Fred Wilbur

Pandemic, 1918 by Eric Forsbergh

Photo of field with blooms sprinkled throughout

….1. France. Poppies blooming blood. Hedged by four sheets strung on wire, my grandparents spent their wedding night, December 1917: a New York married-barracks, moans muffled the night before the men shipped out. Three faces to a porthole on a transport ship. “Fish in a barrel” riflemen would say, sometimes with pity. Who would notice a patient in an Army hospital with a different kind of cough? ….2. Tennessee. Fields overflowing corn. As a girl, my wife heard it from her grandfather. Elmer could bear to tell it only once. He’d turned 18. After morning … Continue reading Pandemic, 1918 by Eric Forsbergh

Reliquary by Annie Stenzel

Photo of wrapped gifts

“Lose something every day. Accept the fluster . . .” (Elizabeth Bishop) Every once in a while I open one of too-many, tiny boxes, and there you are, bright stab of memory: My brave lover from long ago. I see you exactly as you were then, because time took care to preserve the details, the same way amber traps an insect for eternity. One could almost map the genome from this fossil: golden ring with its garnet chip. I used to wear it on my little finger. There are things we find that were never … Continue reading Reliquary by Annie Stenzel

Bedrock Poetry by Fred Wilbur

Photo of cracking yellow line in street

“An artist is said to be original exactly when he takes up the challenge of tradition and makes us see something more than we already knew.” Demetri Porphyrios. Classical Architecture.   I am a fundamentalist. But contemporary connotations dredge up all sorts of pejoratives that I want to dispel. I want you to understand fundamental. There are fundamental math equations, fundamental conventions of a civilized society (etiquette), of language use, rules of public road driving, of constructing a printed book, of lasting friendships, fundamental principles of civil rights in an educated and democratic country. In … Continue reading Bedrock Poetry by Fred Wilbur

It’s Wrong to Feel Lucky by Marjorie Gowdy

Photo of field of poppies

It’s wrong to feel lucky when a poplar blooms. …………Branches spit out slender pinks below low clouds. In fields here, we find arrowheads. Ancient whispers on the ridge. One death begs another. …………Axe, arrow, bullet, bomb. A siege of poisoned bolts. Up the road, old battlefields sit surprised, suddenly covered in grey blankets …………of stinging dust. Charming fencerows buried. Once, old soldiers sold poppies, tried to warn us. Some rode to save us. …………Yet Zeus swung back and slung his fire. Capitol’s newly fallen: an ugly man of bare ambition, youths who rose through thunder, … Continue reading It’s Wrong to Feel Lucky by Marjorie Gowdy

Vigil and Work Gloves, 2 poems by Ron Stottlemyer

Photo of work gloves and tools

Vigil Outside the nurses’ station, third floor east, twilight spreads its white canopy over the busy avenue of bright buildings. Down the hall, an orderly lofts a pale sheet over a vacant bed. In the next room, the ventilator pulses on, pushing a steady breeze through the cracked wall of a failing lung. In the dim light, the old woman tethered to a fever floats under the fluorescent aura shimmering above her head. Beneath shuttered eyelids, night pools. Right up to the edge. Work Gloves Nothing much to look at lying on the shelf, one … Continue reading Vigil and Work Gloves, 2 poems by Ron Stottlemyer

Bookends by Elizabeth Dudley Wilbur


As a very small child I learned language just like all small children. Only in my case there were some mysterious words that took me years to sort out their true meaning. There were words like Amtrak, lugao, Santo Tomás, Los Baños, Baguio, paratroopers. These words were part of my family life and lore. They were the words of World War II internees (another one of those words!). I played with my mother’s crutches, pretending to walk on them by putting my arms where her hands went. I watched my brother put on his leg … Continue reading Bookends by Elizabeth Dudley Wilbur

A Taxonomy of Lists by Fred Wilbur

Photo of note pad, holder, and pencil

    As a youngster, I watched my father slice out-of-date reports whose 8 1/2 x 11″ sheets had blank back sides; the pivoting knife of the paper cutter with its own whoosh sound, produced 3 x 5″ slips. He warned me to mind my fingers.  He made a little box with half cover in his basement shop to hold the repurposed pages. My mother then painted flowers on it to marry the artistic to the practical. This box resides on my telephone table in the back hall, quaint along side our landline and answering … Continue reading A Taxonomy of Lists by Fred Wilbur

Ahab’s Widow and Two Songs, 2 poems by J. R. Solonche

Photo of house at dusk

Ahab’s Widow I wait for him as every whaler’s wife. I write him letters every day. I tell him how he grows bigger and stronger. I tell him of his first words and of his first walk on his own. I write, “What a lovely little pip he is.” I write, “I call him that sometimes, instead of Malcolm.” I write, “Rachel says he’s often mischievous.” I write, “Come home to us safely.” At dusk, as the sun goes down behind the white clapboard house and the elms’ shadows reach out across the lawn to … Continue reading Ahab’s Widow and Two Songs, 2 poems by J. R. Solonche

The Piñata by Dana Robbins

Photo of brightly colored fringes

  It was my granddaughter’s fourth birthday party. I, old lady with cane, was sitting in the shade on the side, then made my way cautiously to watch the children hit the piñata with a plastic bat. (In my support group for survivors of sexual abuse, one man told of being hung and whacked just like that; he had black circles under his eyes from never sleeping.) The first few hits yielded no shower of candy and toys. The kids tried again, whacking harder and harder, even the littlest, while the adults yelled raucous encouragement. … Continue reading The Piñata by Dana Robbins