Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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.

Sunday, July 21, 2019


by Buff Whitman-Bradley

Since the early 1970s, summertime forest fires—such as the Ferguson Fire last year—have gotten 800 percent larger. Credit: NOAH BERGER / GETTY via The Atlantic

Among the many processes important to California's diverse fire regimes, warming‐driven fuel drying is the clearest link between anthropogenic climate change and increased California wildfire activity to date. —Earth’s Future, July 15, 2019

The creek is drier than dry
The ground is dust upon dust
Every arid hour that goes by
Whispers, “Combust, combust!”
To the forest-covered hills
Where we hike to restore our souls
Jettison aches and ills
And take an hour’s repose.                                
But we know that rainless months
And temperatures gone berserk
Can conjure a blaze all at once
From the merest flicker or spark.
So we walk in the trees without blinders
For we cannot not picture the worst –
A paradise reduced to cinders
Whole biomes expiring of thirst.

Buff Whitman-Bradley's poems have appeared in many print and online journals. His most recent books are To Get Our Bearings in this Wheeling World and Cancer Cantata. With his wife Cynthia, he produced the award-winning documentary film Outside In and, with the MIRC film collective, made the film Por Que Venimos. His interviews with soldiers refusing to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan were made into the book About Face: Military Resisters Turn Against War. He lives in northern California.