Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Wednesday, June 03, 2020


by Neil Silberblatt

Listen to a performance of the first movement—
marked Allegro vivo appassionato—
of the String Quartet No. 1 in E minor,
by Czech composer Bedrich Smetana.
The quartet known as "From My Life",
due to the sustained harmonic E on the first violin
in the last movement, which represents the ringing,
the constant ringing,
the incessant ringing,
the maddening ringing,
in his ears that presaged Smetana's deafness.
I would recommend the recording
by the Pavel Haas Quartet,
which would leave you 23 seconds
to contemplate what deafness sounds like.
Or, alternatively,
place your knee ever so delicately
on another man's windpipe
and fail to hear his screams as his
life slips away.

Neil Silberblatt is the founder / director of Voices of Poetry, which has presented a series of more than 400 poetry events at various venues in MA, CT, NY & NJ, including The Rubin Museum of Art and Jefferson Market Library in NYC; The Mount / Edith Wharton's home in Lenox, MA; and Ike & Randy's Boxing Gym in Paterson, NJ. His poems have appeared in several literary journals and anthologies, including Plume Poetry Journal, Tiferet Journal and Tikkun Daily. His most recent poetry collection Past Imperfect (Nixes Mate Books, 2018) was nominated for the Mass. Book Award in Poetry; and Neil has been nominated several times for a Pushcart Prize.