Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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, January 26, 2022


by Sister Lou Ella Hickman, I.W.B.S.

“School librarians are professionals dedicated to the education and protection of children while cultivating a thirst for knowledge. We should trust them to do their jobs – while holding them accountable – not subvert their expertise by searching for a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. There are already processes in place if a parent wants to challenge a book that they find inappropriate or have concerns about. These processes are designed at the local level to adjudicate the challenges because one size does not fit all when it comes to education. The state should respect the local processes in place in Texas.” —Texas Library Association, January 20, 2022. Photo by Getty; Adam Maida at "This Is a Shakedown: Texas has a book-banning problem" by Emma Sarappo at The Atlantic, December 9, 2021

deep in the heart of texas 
there is a bonfire of books 
burning words  
like witches 
there is no white heat   
no smoke 
but still they burn 
in their sealed boxes 
by those who would coffin thought 
those who would scatter the ashes 
what is written on paper 
is also written in stone 

Sister Lou Ella has a master’s in theology from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio and is a former teacher and librarian. She is a certified spiritual director as well as a poet and writer.  Her poems have appeared in numerous magazines such as America, First Things, Emmanuel, Third Wednesday, and The New Verse News as well as in four anthologies: The Night’s Magician: Poems about the Moon, edited by Philip Kolin and Sue Brannan Walker, Down to the Dark River edited by Philip Kolin, Secrets edited by Sue Brannan Walker and After Shocks: The Poetry of Recovery for Life-Shattering Events edited by Tom Lombardo.  She was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2017 and in 2020. Her first book of poetry entitled she: robed and wordless was published in 2015 (Press 53.) On May 11, 2021, five poems from her book which had been set to music by James Lee III were performed by the opera star Susanna Phillips, star clarinetist Anthony McGill, pianist Mayra Huang at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. The group of songs is entitled “Chavah’s Daughters Speak.”