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Saturday, December 31, 2022


by Jen Schneider

many viewed a sit-down with the master

as a sign they had arrived, when the truth

seeker knew it was she that would steer 

the conversation

to destinations named 


all the same—amidst 

streetcars of desire 

and paths of





all in a series of views 

and viewers—direct

questions, big scores,

time (and timely) covers

gets and galas

days and nights

anchors and achings

ports and payscales

spoofs and spares

drivers and dares

trees and trials

fears and fashions

trials and televisions

presidents and precedents

interns and internments

ladders and legacies


done right

always (and all)


that arrivals 

are relative and truths 


in a series

of stand-ups

and sit-downs

up down

across town


well sown

it’s not goodbye

it’s not goodnight

it’s not farewell

it’s 20-20 vision,

mountains climbed,

broadcasts traversed

her way

an unmeasurable

and irreplaceable


a fabulous


Jen Schneider is an educator who lives, writes, and works in small spaces throughout Pennsylvania. Recent works include A Collection of RecollectionsInvisible InkOn Habits & Habitats, and Blindfolds, Bruises, and Breakups.

Friday, December 30, 2022


by Rachel R. Baum

A memorial for Shayma Roman, 17, who was killed in front of her grandmother’s house in Brooklyn. Credit: Laylah Amatullah Barrayn for The New York Times, December 27, 2022

Guns are now the No. 1 cause of deaths among American children and teens, ahead of car crashes, other injuries and congenital disease. —The New York Times, December 15, 2022

measure guns, like AR-15s, in linear feet,
or add up the dead, war’s body count
more guns for everyone, more bullets,
more spent shells, more active shooter drills
more school playgrounds empty of play
blinds closed, lights off, how many will fit
in a supply closet, behind its door, they turn 
and bump, constellations in a night sky
stars hiding in quiet deep black holes
listening for hallway footsteps in space
no light will pierce their sealed vacuum, 
like Mercury, another moonless messenger
without wings on their backpacks
they orbit in locked classrooms
holding their teacher’s hand, no talking,
only texting their mothers goodbye.

Rachel R. Baum is the editor of Funeral and Memorial Service Readings Poems and Tributes (McFarland, 1999) and the author of the long-running blog Bark: Confessions of a Dog Trainer. Her poems have appeared in Poetica Review, Raven’s Perch, OneArt, Crosswinds, and others. She chairs the committee that will select the first Poet Laureate of Saratoga Springs.

Thursday, December 29, 2022


by Alixa Brobbey

Image Credits: Jim Watson/AFP/ (collage by TechCrunch) / Getty Images

You are free to stand on the sidewalk
with your thumbs up. You are free to like
this Tweet. You are free to boo silently.
You are free to clap loudly. You are free
to give me a dollar to vote in this poll.
You are free not to vote. You are free
to choose between silence and tinnitus.
You are free to leave. Here is the back 
door. You are free to leave without a 
goodbye. You are free to swallow
thumb tacks. You are free to live inside
this snake’s nest. You are free to
decide: hunger pains or cyanide.
You are free to give me another dollar
to vote in a new poll. You are free to know
nothing—I change this game at my whim.
You are free to play this game by my rules.
You are free to leave. You are free to
shut up and like this tweet. You are free
to comment well wishes. You are free
to correct my science—once. You are
free to be fired. You are free to leave.
Go stand outside. Sip some blue air.
Ponder the wide and winding road
that led us, somehow, here.

Alixa Brobbey spent portions of her childhood in The Netherlands and Ghana. She has a B.A. in English from Brigham Young University, where she won the Ethel Lowry Handley Poetry Prize in 2020. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in The Blue Marble Review, Segullah, Inscape, The Albion Review, The Susquehanna Review, The Palouse Review, The Exponent II, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, and others. She is currently a law student at Brigham Young University.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

DEAR 2022

an abecedarian
by Susan Vespoli

Au revoir, heaviest year of my life,
bringer of shit and light,
carrier of catastrophe, 
death of my adult kid by bullet
explosion. It’s hard to say the word “dead,”
followed by the word “Adam.” I look for a
gentler way to say, “murdered son.”
How about “deceased,” or “angel son,” or
“invisible winged-son,” or “no longer
journeying on the physical plane.”
Kris, my cash-pay splurge of a
long-term therapist planted a
metaphor to help me
navigate: walking
over an abyss, holding a balancing
pole made of coping tools to remain
quaver-proof, (like poetry, therapy, 12-step, being in the
right-here-right-now), the rod’s weight increa-
-sing my moments of inertia,
tamping my tendency to fall. And I
understand, so I trek, carrying his
vivid lucence, his essence, as I
wire-walk, step tip to toe, eyes on
xystus on the other side of this
year, where I will enter 2023, sit cross-legged
zazen on the floor and breathe, Adam with me still. 

Editor's Note: The New Verse News previously published three of long-time contributor Susan Vespoli's poems about the killing of her son by police:  "Before I Knew Adam Had Died" and "My Ex-Husband Calls To Tell Me Our Son Has Been Shot By Police," and "Police Violence in Reverse."

Susan Vespoli writes from Phoenix, Arizona where police violence and the criminalization of homelessness are alive and well.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022


by Steven Kent

"'We will not surrender': Bolsonaro militants demand coup as Lula prepares to take power.” —The Guardian, December 22, 2022

Law and order, we demand.
   A military coup
Will go (we hope!) the way we planned,
   Since Bolsonaro's through.

Ironic? Sure, but that's our way;
   The Left will not enjoy it
When Right makes might makes right. We say,
   To save Brazil, destroy it!

Steven Kent is the poetic alter ego of writer, musician, and Oxford comma enthusiast Kent Burnside. His work appears in Light, Lighten Up Online, Snakeskin, and OEDILF, among others.

Monday, December 26, 2022


by Tricia L. Somers

By desert deaths and a river,
tractor trailer sarcophagus coffins.

Again and again.
we are greatly diminished.

Show us their faces.
Let them out if you’ve caged them.

Let us know their names then
let them live without fear .

Let them pay it forward.
For without that exchange

Liberty will not be sustained .
You won’t find her hanging around.

She will go pick up her girl Hope
and they will both skip town.

Like endangered species
only fleetingly glimpsed.

You may never see
Hope or Liberty again.

Trish is out of Los Angeles Ca where she lives with her Significant Other and their crazy cats. Her essays and poetry can be found in the last several issues of The American Dissident (print journal). Online at Rat’s Ass Review, The New Verse News, and elsewhere. She is also included in the forthcoming Poetry Marathon Anthology 2022 at Amazon or your favorite bookstore.

Sunday, December 25, 2022


by Susan Terris

I was in kindergarten at a K through 8 school that had an annual Christmas program on the stage in the gym. It always featured students from every grade. I was 5 and the only one from my class chosen. My mother taught me to recite "The Night Before Christmas" (written by Clement Clark Moore) by heart and dressed me up as one of Santa's elves with a pom-pom hat, a brown suit with a red belt, and my brown saddle shoes from Lasky's. When I walked onto the stage holding the book, everyone cheered and laughed, because I was so smallAt the front center of the stage, opened the book, and speaking in a loud voice, I recited it all. Some people in the audience giggled, but I was sure it was because they thought I was cute. After the Christmas program was over, my mother rushed up and leaned forward to whisper in my ear. I was sure she was going to say had been wonderful. But, instead, she told me quietly that I'd "read" the poem holding the "The Night Before Christmas" upside-down. Yes. So, I can tell you in one short sentence what I found out about books and poetry at five-years-old:

Susan Terris is a freelance editor and the author of 7 books of poetry, 17 chapbooks, 3 artist's books, and 2 plays. Journals include The Southern ReviewGeorgia Review, Prairie Schooner, Rattle, Denver Quarterly, The New Verse News, and Ploughshares. Poems of hers have appeared in Pushcart Prize and Best American Poetry. Her newest book is Dream Fragments, which won the Swan Scythe Press Award. Ms. Terris is editor emerita of Spillway Magazine and a poetry editor at Pedestal.

Saturday, December 24, 2022


by Suzanne Morris

Source: Wikipedia

I am typewriting my version
of the recipe for Coulibiac.

This hearty main dish has
endured since the 17th century

and requires a long list
of ingredients that

I must divide by half
whenever I prepare it, for

it makes enough to feed
a family of Russian peasants

after a long day of laboring
in the fields.

A customized version at hand
will save time as I spread

a rectangle of dough with
salmon, rice, boiled egg slices

and sauce redolent of scallions and
mushrooms and tarragon

then top with another sheet of dough,
seal the edges, glaze with raw egg

and bake the plump mound
to golden brown perfection.

In a flood of sympathy for the
valiant people of Ukraine,

I feel I should omit the note on the
origins of Coulibiac.

Then I remember how it
saddened me when

Ukrainians stripped the
names of

19th century literary giants
such as Tolstoy and Dostoevsky

from street signs, parks,
and public squares:
Weren’t they overlooking the
deep sense of moral justice

that flowed from the pens of
these Russian novelists,

as warming to the
human heart

as a fire in the hearth
on a snowbound winter’s eve?

Who is to say they would not be
wielding their pens today

to tell the truth of
the evil being done

in their country’s name, and
warn of the dire consequences?

...the worm gnaws the cabbage,
but dies before he’s done...*

*Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, 2007.    

Suzanne Morris is a novelist and a poet.  Her poems have appeared in numerous anthologies, and in journals including The New Verse NewsThe Texas Poetry Assignment, The Pine Cone Review, Stone Quarterly, and Emblazoned Soul Review

Friday, December 23, 2022


by Julian O. Long

Hanging my heart’s wassail
outdoors again once more
shall I light tonight’s candle
to honor the Maccabees?
I, who am neither Jew nor Greek
nor gentile enough to call myself
Christian any longer, but not
alone. Eight days of Temple miracle
this year encompass Christmas.
A bit like recurring
planetary conjunctions billed
from time to time in the press
as the Star of Bethlehem, star
in the east that leads us towards
a dying west as Arcturus drives
his great plow in such heavenly
furrows as may from time to time
command him.
And we, needing children
we once were, await the miracle
winter solstice always seems to promise
ponder more and more the time
to time, as our recurring
celebrations grow each year
more hollow, as nations rage
and find no compass, take no
counsel or reproof.
What will the new year
bring us, no new birth
certainly. Left to comfort
ourselves, can we find solace
in faded retrograde, memory
of walks to school in childish
crowds when the air blew fresh
and scented with as yet no
fevered yearning?
It cannot be expanded
to the whole, and yet one almost
thinks it could if one knew the song—
and thus we begin to see our breath
as loops of cold air lift our singing
high and towards the sun, children
again once more in the chosen present
moment, having no memory or thought
of time before or after.

Julian O. Long is a previous contributor to The New Verse News. His poems and essays have appeared in The Sewanee Review, Pembroke Magazine, New Mexico Magazine, and Horizon among others. Recent publications have appeared or are forthcoming at The Piker Press, Better Than Starbucks, Raw Art Review, CulturMag, PineStraw, and O’Henry.

Thursday, December 22, 2022


by Orel Protopopescu

The sellout’s cards are selling out, 
the freakish cards of Don. 
No other president has shown 
such genius for a con!
Had Washington chopped up that tree
and sold each splintered share, 
he could have used a submarine 
to cross the Delaware!
And Lincoln never thought to sell 
real Lincoln Logs, it seems, 
too busy binding up a land
of violent extremes.   
But W may still have time 
to trump T’s licensees
by storing paintings of his toes
in polished NFTs.

Self-portrait by George W. Bush.

Orel Protopopescu has written prize-winning works for children and adults. She won the Oberon poetry prize in 2010 and 2020. Her light verse has appeared in Light Poetry Magazine, Lighten Up Online, and elsewhere. Her first biography Dancing Past the Light: The Life of Tanaquil Le Clercq (University Press of Florida, 2021) received a starred review in Library Journal

Wednesday, December 21, 2022


by Katherine West

It is the north wind
does the damage

Blind semi head-ons
small family car

Flowers mound on graves—
freeze to ice sculptures

that never melt into
palette knife paintings

We put on our winter
coats, scarves, gloves

begin the long hike
to spring

The leaders of men freeze—
proclaim the death of spring

You say: Never mind, Love,
we will make our own.

We gather wood—
make a fire in the lee

of the Holy Mountain—
my tears freeze on my cheeks

I say: The Frozen are coming. There is no dry wood.
The fire is going out.

You say: Never mind, Love,
we will make our own.

Katherine West lives in Southwest New Mexico, near Silver City. She has written three collections of poetry: The Bone Train, Scimitar Dreams, and Riddle, as well as one novel Lion Tamer. Her poetry has appeared in journals such as Writing in a Woman's Voice, Lalitamba, Bombay Gin, The New Verse News, Tanka Journal, Splash!, Eucalypt, Writers Resist, Feminine Collective, and Southwest Word Fiesta. The New Verse News nominated her poem "And Then the Sky" for a Pushcart Prize in 2019. In addition she has had poetry appear as part of art exhibitions at the Light Art Space gallery in Silver City, New Mexico, the Windsor Museum in Windsor, Colorado, and the Tombaugh Gallery in Las Cruces, New Mexico. She is also an artist.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022


by Dick Altman

Climate change is reshaping the American economy. New Mexico is leaning on ecotourism and sustainable industries to see it through, but extreme weather keeps getting in the way. —The New York Times, December 10, 2022

Northern New Mexico

Your sky’s downcast—clouds testy/twitchy
as broncos—stampedes ashen/rusty as tea—
Your breath a wave of gray—mauling—
across Rio Grande’s valley from me—
shores of the Jemez Mountains—
horizon’s serpentine spine—wind’s
womb – hissing/growling—eager
to gust me off my feet—Westerlies—yours—
slam body – flash into face walls of dust –
dirt road’s heavings—worn/restless—
as if to warn—Indian/Anglo alike—
you mean to hang—come winter—
all of us out to dry—we of high desert
who worship you—you without yielding
a glisten of grief—
You make no attempt to hide from me
your anger—La Nina’s avenging
herself—from the far Pacific—on land
history’s riven—dancing on the blade                           
of survival—denying us your blood—
that flourishes mind/body/flower—
Snow’s florets—like white roses—
bloom at the highest heights—hardly
enough—come spring—to succor
lowlands of range/field/pasture—
Vaults of roots lie in hollow dark—
I listen to them whisper/beg for sky’s
sweet sweat to envelope thread/throat—
vast schemes of arterial/arboreal twining—
desperate for clouds’ benediction—
Will you conjure the Rio Grande                      
into Old West’s version of Big Muddy—
the Santa Fe River into a drought-
starved trail of sand—acequias—
irrigation ditches—lifelines centuries old—
into runnels of emptiness—Or will you
relent/unfurl—after all—a semblance
of season’s radiance—moon seeing—
as in mirror—its face reflected back
to itself—Some glimmer that La Nina
will yet mercy us—that mountains—
pearlescent—emerge before my eyes—
to melt into rages of ebb and flow—
riverine bounty—yours—pouring
into mouths of petal/leaf/needle/heart
Dick Altman writes in the high, thin, magical air of Santa Fe, NM, where, at 7,000 feet, reality and imagination often blur. He is published in Santa Fe Literary Review, American Journal of Poetry, riverSedge, Fredericksburg Literary Review, Foliate Oak, Blue Line, THE Magazine, Humana obscura, The Offbeat, Haunted Waters Press, Split Rock Review, The RavensPerch, Beyond Words, The New Verse News, Sky Island Journal, and others here and abroad. A poetry winner of Santa Fe New Mexican’s annual literary competition, he has in progress two collections of some 100 published poems. His work has been selected for the forthcoming first volume of The New Mexico Anthology of Poetry to be published by the New Mexico Museum Press.

Monday, December 19, 2022


by Karen Warinsky

Scientists studying fusion energy at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California announced on Tuesday that they had crossed a long-awaited milestone in reproducing the power of the sun in a laboratory. That sparked public excitement as scientists have for decades talked about how fusion, the nuclear reaction that makes stars shine, could provide a future source of bountiful energy. The result announced on Tuesday is the first fusion reaction in a laboratory setting that actually produced more energy than it took to start the reaction. —The New York Times, December 13, 2022. GIF via The Hustle.

A wave went round the world this week,
congratulations for tapping in to star power,
but others did it first,
blending us into something new,
their gravitational pull undeniable
as we crashed into orbits without consent
no way to resist such talent and charm,
and we were changed,
the way the sun’s gravity compresses hydrogen atoms,
fuses them into helium
the complete transformation
a burst of irrepressible energy;
we became light!
Ah, who can forget their first love?

Karen Warinsky  has published in various anthologies and literary magazines including the 2019 Mizmor Anthology. She is the author of Gold in Autumn (2020), Sunrise Ruby (2022), and is a previous finalist in the Montreal International Poetry Contest. She loves to kayak and organize poetry readings.

Sunday, December 18, 2022


by Indran Amirthanayagam 

Lionel Messi kisses the trophy.

We are exhausted and delirious throughout

the continent, rising and falling as our team

controlled the play and was facing an apparently

easy and merited victory with less than fifteen

minutes left and then we lost a penalty, and

two minutes later a shot from Mbappe

so powerful no goalkeeper could have

stopped it; and our players are tired

yet they must limp into injury time


not letting any more goals, so the mini-

match over thirty minutes can decide,

and again we go ahead and then a loose

Argentine hand touches the ball in the area,

an accident, but that of course is irrelevant

to destiny, and we are back in the penalty box

and Mbappe does not miss. Tied now

at three, we try and try but our last shots

do not hit the net, and we are left to finish


the match in the penalty box. Then

our goalkeeper, Martinez, our final fortress, 

stops a French penalty, then another goes 

wide, and all the Argentines score 

with precision. The game is won, 

the World Cup won. We are tired 

and barely typing on the wire, the keyboard. 

But as eyewitnesses, poets, journalists, 

we have to write our impressions out. 

Indran Amirthanayagam is the translator of Origami: Selected Poems of Manuel Ulacia (Dialogos Books)Ten Thousand Steps Against the Tyrant (BroadstoneBooks) is the newest collection of Indran's own poems. Recently published is Blue Window (Ventana Azul), translated by Jennifer Rathbun.(Dialogos Books). In 2020, Indran produced a “world" record by publishing three new poetry books written in three languages: The Migrant States (Hanging Loose Press, New York), Sur l'île nostalgique (L’Harmattan, Paris) and Lírica a tiempo (Mesa Redonda, Lima). He writes in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Haitian Creole and has twenty poetry books as well as a music album Rankont Dout. He edits The Beltway Poetry Quarterly and helps curate Ablucionistas. He won the Paterson Prize and received fellowships from The Foundation for the Contemporary Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, US/Mexico Fund For Culture, and the MacDowell Colony. He hosts the Poetry Channel on YouTube and publishes poetry books with Sara Cahill Marron at Beltway Editions.