Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions. Use "Verse News Submission" as the subject line. Send a brief bio. No payment. Authors retain all rights after 1st-time appearance here. Scroll down the right sidebar for the fine print.

Thursday, March 31, 2005


Voices in Wartime is a feature-length documentary that delves into the experience of war through powerful images and the words of poets – unknown and world-famous. Poets around the world, from the United States and Colombia to Britain and Nigeria to Iraq and India, share their poetry and experiences of war. Soldiers, journalists, historians and experts on combat interviewed in Voices in Wartime add diverse perspectives on war’s effects on soldiers, civilians and society.

The films opens in selected theaters throughout the U.S. beginning April 8. For more information, click on the title of this post.

Monday, March 28, 2005


by Cele S. Keeper

So many lethal
needles from a man who errs
on the side of life.

Cele S. Keeper, 78, retired social worker, (not an oxymoron) long-time Texas Democrat, has been published in The Houston Chronicle, The Texas Observer, an anthology "Noble Generation II", "The Book of Rememberance," an on-line collection of post 9/11 pieces and in various literary magazines.

Sunday, March 27, 2005


Originally uploaded by J.Olson.
"Militant poetry as the agent of truth is the best arm against home-grown fascism."
Lawrence Ferlinghetti*

* delivering a rough draft of Ars Poetica on the occasion of his receiving The Frost Medal of the Poetry Society of America.

The completed work will be called Ars(e) Poetica. The work-in-progress What Is Poetry to which the poet is constantly adding is available as a book: 0-88739-369-1 $9.95.

Friday, March 25, 2005


by Ben Valentin

Houston to 14th,
east side of the strip,
split on 6th, the projects
are the feathers of Avenue D.

From its wings, the imagination
of its youth soars around the world
searching for an olive branch.

Yet when viewed up close, strangers
are afraid of its beak and claws.
Maybe they get their info
from the Discovery Channel.

But we as a group of families
do not embody a vulture,
but an eagle surviving
a long winter trail.

After WW2,
whites flew from the city to the suburbs,
we flew from the Caribbean to the projects
up north to find racial tension,
language barriers,
gang warfare,
Vietnam draft;
Rockefeller Slave Laws;

FBI destroying activism;
heroin destroying families;
slumlords burning tenements;
NYC bankrupt;
cocaine money;

AIDS epidemic;
TB outbreak;
music cut out of elementary schools;
asbestos postponing the start of school;
scandalous special ed.;

lead paint in every apartment;
outrageous rent hikes;
and now hip hop betraying our children.

Hot, human pee frozen on snow,
we survive year after year to find
every other month is January
and those in between is December.
It is cold in the summer when city hall
cuts youth employment.

But we warm ourselves near
the music radio or the mix tape booming out
of someone's bedroom or someone's car;
or the live d.j. in the basement jam;
or the battle rap outside the bodega
or on a bench echoing off the projects
all around.

Perched on the rooftops, we oversee
Alphabet City. From high in the sky,
we saw the slumlords burning down
family homes. Now we see investors
rising up yuppie closet space.
We know about those rats below.

With a double consciousness,
we are an American eagle.
Endangered, sí,
but with wings too strong
to return south.

From Houston to 14th,
east side of the strip,
split on 6th, the projects,
the feathers, of Avenue D.

Ben Valentin's poem concerns the rapid gentrification taking place in various New York City low-income neighborhoods--in particular the one on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and the reactons of long time natives such as Ben himself.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


by RD Armstrong

Been reading about Africa again
That dark continent of
Seemingly endless
Sadness and barbarity
(there but for fortune go we)
Tsk tsk tsking my way through the
Morning paper shocked at tales of
A woman drowning her five children
Or a man who devourers his victims
Or a group of racists dragging a man
Down a road in Texas until his head
Bounces off – all this is simply
What’s wrong with people these days

But when an entire country is
Divided by (un)civil war and one tribe
Decides that its neighbors deserve
Nothing better than to be hacked to
Death and raped and/or vice-versa
It barely makes page ten

Or how a woman is raped
In South Africa
Every seventeen seconds partly
Because the stupid SOBs believe
That fucking a virgin purges HIV
From the body

And now AIDS and HIV is
Pandemic decimating the population
With an efficiency that puts Hitler
Pol Pot and Amin to shame
Striking down first the intelligentsia
Then the artists then the teachers
Then their students
Leaving the ignorant to find their way
Or simply wait for death to finally
Appear and take their last
Pitiful possession

I read on and on my heart growing heavier
With sadness as if tears might fall
Here as I sit reading the paper
Over coffee and a croissant
I read a graph that says I’m older by ten
Years than the average black African
That I earn more in a week than
Some make in a year and
I notice there is a growing
Pressure in my chest
As if boney black fingers were
Reaching up off the page
Pushing me pulling me begging me
As if each word was a small round
Stone and each stone was piling up
Each paragraph a bag of stones
Stone upon stone
Being stacked there
Against my chest
So I might know the terrible weight
Of a continent forgotten
Each stone a soul
Lost to ignorance
Each stone a failed wish
Dumped at the foot of
An uncaring world

By the time I finish the article
I am so numbed (stoned) that
Even the next page with its
Numerous well-fed models
Posed provocatively in lingerie
Stirs nothing in me

It might as well be a dead cat
Squashed flat by traffic
Or a small round stone
Lying innocently on a
Weed-choked sidewalk
Where candy wrappers
Blow down the street like
Urban tumbleweeds and
Africa finally makes page one

Raindog, AKA RD Armstrong began his most recent incarnation as a poet in the early 90s. He has 15 books including the second printing of his fifteenth (published by 12 Gauge Press), entitled ROADKILL. He has been published in over 75 poetry magazines, including most recently, the Louisiana Review; Flash!Point #5; The Bukowski Review #1; and Unwound Magazine. He has also been published in many anthologies including, Last Call: A Legacy of Madness; An Eye For An Eye Makes The Whole World Blind - Poets and 9-11; Drinking With Bukowski; Incidental Buildings & Accidental Beauty; and Raising the Roof. His work has also appeared online at over 50 different websites including BigCityLit; Thunder Sandwich; Poetz; and Neidergrässe (Europe). Raindog also publishes a variety of poetry through his Lummox Press, which offers the Lummox Journal, the Little Red Book series (with nearly 50 titles so far), and several other titles including The San Pedro Poems (memories of his days in San Pedro) and LAST CALL: The Legacy of Charles Bukowski (a collection of poems, stories and essays by some 42 writers).

Monday, March 21, 2005


by Taylor Graham

She’s dying, we said 15 years ago.
She’s dead. But no. See her smile
so slow, how long – look, she lies

there still as yesterday, a some-
times smile to see us, or not.
Sometimes smiles at nothing

as today drags to tomorrow. Life,
we say, is sometimes so close
to death. She never left a will,

she wasn’t ready. So young and
smiling. So strong a will. But
will has so many meanings.

She said she never wanted to be
kept like this, imprisoned
in a wordless smile.

Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in the Sierra Nevada; she also helps her husband, a retired wildlife biologist, with his field projects. Her poems have appeared in Black Moon, Free Lunch, The Iowa Review, and elsewhere.

Saturday, March 19, 2005


by Don Kingfisher Campbell


walked through
Heaven's Gate
surprised to find
a blank book
open on a table.

He thumbed a page,
bent over to look
at glowing words:
century baby.

They flew through
his eyes and he
found himself in
a dark place,
warm and wet.

Suddenly, a metal
stick appeared
over his head and
scraped his chest
through his brain.

Dead again, but
aware he realized
his wheelchair dream:
to be of use once
more to society.

His stem cells were planted
in a diabetic woman
who was grateful
she didn't have to
lose a leg after all.

Don Kingfisher Campbell is the editor of the San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly, founder of Poetry People youth writing workshops, leader of the Emerging Urban Poets adult writing workshop, and host of Monday Night Poetry in Pasadena, California. His poetry is currently available in the anthologies Open Windows, River Walk Journal, Dirt, Cosmic Brownies, Three Chord Poems, Midnight Mind, So Luminous The Wildflowers, and One Drop To Be The Color Black; and is also viewable in the online journals MindFire Renewed, Hiss Quarterly, Lunarosity, Edifice Wrecked, Poetic Diversity, Writer's Hood, and Poetic Voices. He has published one collection of his poetry "Enter: Selected Poems 1999-2001" on iUniverse Press. You may contact him at


by Clyo Beck

I would like to make war beautiful
describing bright white explosive light
Star-like streaming, screaming with power
cascading tiers of sparkling sand
pallid cheeks blushing with the rush to their Creator
a last beautiful touch
before the transition from this world to the next.

I would like to make war holy
praising its cleansing virtues—
as it snaps the stalk of life so purely, so deftly—
and give hooded terror a godly name, invoking some deity
Who, angry as myself, enjoys seeing the warm red blood of his babes
spattered upon the hot wind,
their limp hands no longer reaching
to usurp my star.

I would like to make war just
invoking centuries old karma
assuring that those who died, lived by the sword
and must die beautifully by it,
in a cosmic mystery wondrous and terrible
that doesn’t, really, involve me.
But most of all, from a distant place,
through some rapturous pairing
of original imagery and meaningful meaning
I would like to make war comfort those it has left behind
with beautiful words
and feel satisfied for my contribution
and maybe receive accolades
for weaving horror into magic.

But I can’t.

I cannot make war beautiful.
I cannot make war holy.
I cannot make war just.

Not because words cannot lie.
But because we need the truth.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Clyo Beck graduated from Ohio State University and lived in San Jose, California where she studied metaphysical and religious principles. She founded Prayerforce.Org, dedicated to peace and is the author of Prayerforce: 365 Days to a New Life. She lives in Tarpon Springs, Florida.

Thursday, March 10, 2005


by Mark Hughes

Insurgent Attacks in Iraq Leave 33 Dead
By PATRICK QUINN, Associated Press Writer
BAGHDAD, Iraq -Iraqi insurgents set off bombs and fired rocket-propelled
grenades and automatic weapons at military convoys, checkpoints
and police patrols in a spate of violence Monday
that killed 33 people and wounded dozens...

Pluralism treks into the Sunni wasteland
Cradled in cocoons of reactive armor;
Ideals convoy into the horizon
Weathering anger, angst, and rocket launchers.
Though hated now as if by Herod
Democracy's birth
Will be received by shepherds.

Mark is a Kindergarten teacher at Jakarta International School. He is a loving husband and father of three.