Issue 20 March 2019

Editor's Comments

Welcome to Issue 20 of Allegro Poetry Magazine. I hope you enjoy reading these poems as much as I enjoyed selecting them.

Sally Long


Age of Steam
The deadly gap seemed wider then:​
where tappers crawled on oily beams​
and steel screamed on steel, strident.​
Moquette benches, corridors, insipid prints​
of scenery the tracks no longer reach,​
ample netted luggage racks, leather-strapped blinds;​
No Spitting or Petting or Putting Shoes on opposite​
seats and paranoid about the flaunting, taunting,​
Dare-To-Stop-The-Train chain.​
Sash windows you could poke whole shoulders out of,​
mindful of legends of decapitated boys​
and the black click-rush and close echo of tunnels.​
Sulphurous fumes of mighty stations, whistled bursts of steam,​
and once, at the dangerous window's breezy frame,​
a vicious cinder mote extinguished in my eye.​

Clive Donovan

Peak Hour

I confess on the train
every time the doors open and close.
New faces enter and spines walk out
taking with them all the silences
that the priests didn’t hear in churches
all the repentances that the Lord didn’t find
in the unwritten book of life.

I confess on the train
every time the rails crack surprised
while days push each other
to accomplish a mission
with their

But somewhere two hands hold a door
and someone is not late…
confession at times is done like this,
strangers carrying the power of salvation
and temples are lost in sweaty palms
of people that are in a hurry.

Starting points and destinations
are but a seat on a train,
the zeros where all eternities

Aida Bode

Birds of Salt Air

White and grey puff-ball seabirds
standing on the harbour wall,
face into the gale, shift orange feet
to re-balance after squalls.
Wind divides around bills and heads,
narrow and sleek, ruffles main feathers
while new downy fluff shivers.
Fulmars sway to the music of air;
unflustered by storm, they groom
breast plumage, and manoeuvre necks
to reach wing-tip feathers. A white tern
trips along on pipe-cleaner legs
with knees like knots in thread, uses
salt wind to dry fantail wings.
A sudden gust urges them
to abandon positions and yield
gracefully to soaring instincts,
angle themselves for lift, and allow
the remorseless wind raise them up,
fluttering and tilting, on violent air,
not fussed at all about the risks
of making headway against such force
or the precise feathered adjustments
needed to survive the eye of storms.

Michael G. Casey

Of Sheep and Goats

There seems to be some suction going on—
among bagpipers none the less. Band-size
affects the odds of winning any prize
at competition. In a blow-a-thon
bigger is better, not just louder, since
impressive music can be played. A score
of kilts thus outperforms a dozen. Sore
about the loss, the twelve posthaste convince
another twelve to join their ranks. Next time
a band of thirty is the champion—
and so it goes. If tuning may be done,
more pipes (plus drums) will stay the paradigm.
The effort to turn rivals into mates
increases faith that victory awaits.

Jane Blanchard

Inside baseball

Inside baseball,
down the track and
far away, the
secret sportsman’s
coming out to
play. The questions
and the answers –
all of it. We’re
inside baseball
now, we’re inside
badminton and
squash, we’re inside
the inside track
and out of sight,
leaving only
a shuttlecock
behind to tease
our tale. The night-
ingale flits through
the sycamore,
stuttering out
its code-sweet song.
As for us, well,
we’re inside base-
ball and under
the rose, under
the net, among
friends, speaking at
ease while outer
circles of those
not in the know
orbit us. It’s
nice to know you
received my note.
I’ll come by in
the autumn and
put you in the
picture. OK?

Michael Caines

The Coming of Spring

I imagine the monarch on its way
just as I imagine you on your way.

One flapping its black-veined orange wings,
the other squeezed into an economy-sized seat

but sipping on a business-class cocktail.
Of course, there is never just one monarch,

but entire generations battling their way northward
while you’re in that shiny metal flight cocoon

surrounded by dozing or book-reading
or laptop tapping strangers.

The monarch will land where instinct tells it to,
in a field of white-sapped common milkweed,

spawning its larvae to grow into banded caterpillars
to chomp on the leaves, evolve into more monarchs.

You’ll merely grab your bag from the carousel,
report to parking lot C where you left your car,

head straight for the highway on-ramp and home.
Only repeated history awaits the monarch.

My arms will provide your succor.
Not a characteristic of the species but a hug unique to us.

John Grey

Days of 1979

A winter evening. I’m perched near a heap
of laundered clothes that mom hands to dad
for ironing: dress shirts for work, which he’ll crease
with a hiss of steam; schoolboy trousers padded

at the knees: patched up tears from my slips and falls
on the sleet-drenched streets. New York’s brocade of light
tints and dapples the whitewashed walls.
On the stove, water boils for our Sunday treat--

spaghetti with ragù
sauce, piqued with spice:
garam masala, red chilies. A sheet
of garlic bread to compliment, and Coke on ice.
Our Shi-Tzu snores on a leopard swivel seat.

As we count the time in the hospital ward,
I prefer to remember moments like this--
when there was youth and purpose in what we did.
A simplicity of movement, a whiff of bliss.

Vikram Masson 

Home: Living Between

My younger self dwelled in shadows propelled by light.
Indigo to ebony, in variant shades.

Concealed in language and skin, surrounded by shelved words.
Departed friends. Grass grown tall or baked to a brittle yellow.

The central order of a life arranged in sequence, orbiting through mother,
father, sister and passers-by glancing through our windows.

A parachute of discomfort billowing in the blue.
Distance and uncertainty beyond the nuclear family.

Acknowledging the new, still I looked inward.
The house as structure, as symbol, but always impermanent, unattainable.

Not rejection, but a liminal sense of being, of place.
Faces changed, but books carried me from city to state to country.

Translated from three views and speaking in brushstrokes across the wall,
slowly filled from edge to center, layer upon layer.

Containment, conjunction, circumstance. Triangle to circle.
No headstones mark my locus, no place bears my name.

Borders, the threshold of shared lives.

Robert Okaji

Unkind Thoughts On Listening To An Acceptance Speech

The Sixties, it would seem, have a lot to answer for,
not least a concerned middle class collecting pieties
like so many pieces of Delft.

And to think we thought them sweet,
peddling dope and faux philosophy
in beads and a flippity-floppity hat;
whinnying love and revolution,
riding unconventionality all the way
to the Bank
to the Bar
to the Chancellorship at university,
fulfilling an obligation to tribe and to family
but leaving their toys on the street.

And for that I would see them in Hell,
sizzling in their grease;
firing off obscenities like Bearded Bobby
slumped outside St. Nick’s -
who as a boy would jump in a lake
if you smiled,
suggested the idea persuasively.

Robert Dunsdon

After Irène P. Mathieu

I always hated the word spouse
it made me think of mould
the way right things at wrong times sour the belly
the way a lightless tree turns when neglected
the way tumours refuse to be ignored
you made a spore of me
offered room nestled in pits and under skin
let me plant amoebulae with ardour
brush my trichrome tresses, fairy trailing
poisoned strands across your pillow
gather ‘round, aspiring parasites, see the germ
in her unnatural habitat; hard shelled and bitter tongued
prickly walled and sired by distaste
when our feast decayed
something was born, a spawn of sexless parentage
a mitotic divorcing
embedding in our marital
rotting us from within
I thought of boiling you away
peeled my lactodermis back and tried to scrape you off
but I was not enzyme enough, I couldn’t break us down
breathe again on me
give me part of you to multiply
an overripe posterity to breed
a seedling we can stomach lick and loin
after all this time, I admit it
you are still growing on me

Isabelle Baafi


For more than five decades, my mother wore 
a coronet of dark-brown braids around her head.

She fixed upon the style when she was not quite 20
and it suited her to the end of her days.

Good luck finding a photo with her hair arranged
in some other fashion: once she had the knack

of those plaits there was no turning back. Every
morning, down they came, unbound from the thin

end of each length that reached to her waist,
back up to the thick coil that began behind each ear.

Methodical combing, with an ancient comb usually
missing a few teeth; methodical re-braiding (no need for her

to watch her fingers), quick twist to secure a rubber-band
then careful deployment of the same dozen bobby pins.

She didn’t undo her braids at night and she never left them
down just for a change, could you, Mama! Please?

People who barely knew her sometimes asked
if she ever thought about cutting her hair or seeing

how she might look with a more modern style.
My mother’s set-speech on the subject brooked no

rebuttal: No, I don’t want to try something different;
no, I don’t believe I would look younger, and no, I don’t

spend as much time fussing with my hair as you do
with yours. So year after year, in photos taken with the grade

school kids she taught, although a tracery of lines appeared
on her face to mark the passage of time, she otherwise looked

just the same: tall, slim, dazzling smile, and with a crown
of dark-brown braids upon her head. No need for rescue.

Annie Stenzel

Classic Kindergarten Scene

Children under their desks
keeping perfectly still

hands on their knees not one
daring to whisper cough

or blow a nose only
one week before Christmas

the room dark the door locked
those small eyes intently

focused on the classroom
loudspeaker as they wait

for the commanding voice
of their principal to

announce that the lockdown
drill has ended that they

may finally return
to their chairs for learning—

Robert Fillman

About the Weather

‘Then let us never speak of this again,’
I said, and started talking of the weather.
That was the first time and the last
We spoke of love together.

A good thing too. There was a time when I
Would sulk, write sonnets, go without my dinner;
When passion made me brooding, pale
And noticeably thinner.

Though not exactly jaded yet, my heart
Has donned some extra layers for its protection.
I’ve almost ceased to care about
The form of the rejection.

You may have always liked me as a friend,
You may be quite appalled, or very flattered;
It does not matter to me now
As once it mattered.

It’s not to be. Let’s not prolong the pain
With tired clichés and sentimental blether.
Let’s never speak of this again.
Let’s talk about the weather.

Thomas Tyrrell

Babylonian Decimal System

My numb eye wanders. I examine
red spines on old books, trying
to form shapes into readable letters.

Ur-Cyrillic, the old man says,
behind me, real gold. He’s been leading
me up iron stairs and down whitewashed ones.

Even with my cool back turned to him
I know he loves these stacks, flying
upwards and in circles with no limit.

Stroke them, he says. Slowly, he says.
They will yawn open, unveiling
tendrils. They’ll bind you, like me, right here.

Mark J. Mitchell

Common Names for Imaginary Flowers

Purple frogsbane,
duck-tailed thrift,
zebra lily, tightrope tealeaf,
newt's nettle, blue bean,
overdue joy.

Tri-colour moonmint,
spaceweed, black sun,
back alley's battered-ragwort 
trashed star, glass gun,
hempish hornbill,
drooping dew's robe,
sad thorn,
forgotten sense of purpose,
fear of the future,
memory of love.

Simon Zonenblick

it’s only belief
what else can words do
but love                       eventually?     

sacrifice your edges
plummet into me         the city of fallen angels
looking on
let me complete you
let me be your art                    your freedom
brush your strokes across my world
filling in the cavities               
the sea is quiet.
the coves                     chiselled into faces
hide us             the sounds of love

we’re here                   which sounds curt, i know  
in this room full of mirrors
only astronauts and something much greater
than the force of love
            overlooking these imperfections

Paul Robert Mullen

My Life is Measured
 By my companions,                           
       by Brownie, the Irish setter
       who gloried in chasing the birds
       of the field, who learned to open
       the backyard gate, to go downtown
       so he could dog around, and later
       when crippled by a car, endured
       the pain so stoically it would have
       impressed the gods of Sparta . . .

By Walter, the Old English Sheep Dog
       who herded party guests
       into the kitchen, one by one
       where they would be contained
       as though they too were sheep
       to be gathered together safe from harm,
       and if one stepped forth to leave
       he would block their way like a chess piece,
       so devoted was he to duty . . .

By Cynthia, the Springer
      who followed later, and one evening
      after dinner when the family went out
      to the theatre, she nosed open the trash,
      pawed out three chicken leg-bones
      and for hours gnawed them down so fine
      she digested every bit, and the next morning
      was eating fallen figs from the ground
       and in general, lived a life without regret . . .

By Irish, the Grand Terrier
      who was the Muse of Solitude,
      sleeping under my desk
      as if she had no other rest,
      who never grieved over what was lost,
      feared no thing, and did not know jealousy,
      or ever worried—or worried that I knew—
      over anything, not past injustices, or what
      might come, and kept her happiness to the last . . .
My life is measured by my companions,
       by those I most admire, who surpass me
       in their magnanimity. 

Michael Gessner

Slumping to Attention

my love is like an old coat
hanging on a chair back
tired and attentive
ready as it ever was
not as steady

at your shoulders
staid as good and evil
my love would dearly want you
to try it on
wear it out
take it to the cleaners
button it
but it will wait
as you do

Sarah White


I like the word oval. So for breakfast
an egg, just like this hand, brown and freckled.
My spoon taps gently on the shell. A child
at heart I cut soldier boys from my toast.

My wife believes in exercise and buys
organic veg. Friday's always fresh fish.
She steams their eyes to pearls and never sighs.
I like the swaying fennel, but not the fish.

It's winter now. She walks on settled snow
down the Kissing Lane, and locks our door
because I lost her gloves. I'm getting slow.
She takes her sister's eager Labrador.

I know her hands are cold, her sable hair
flecked with frost. Childless we've grown old.

Phil Wood


I remember
by Barnes Pool, in the stub of a winter afternoon,
we taught you to scuffle,
to rustle the papery leaves and throw handfuls
at a pale moon.

In the glare of a green July garden
you juddered your hands through the water,
and cracked a glittering whip.

Out late, in a drizzle, we came past the blind boarded windows,
held your hands, and we swung you;
wet newsprint swirled and clung to your ankles,
and would not be scuffled.

Hermione Sandall

My Lost Child

dances on the salt marsh,
peers between cord grass as she hides
and seeks between the dunes.
She hops with oyster catchers in foaming wavelets
and scurries across the sand with fiddler crabs.
She skips from the water over the wrack
to brush sea oats as they curve
and sway back in the wind.

Farther into the tree line, she dodges
saw palmettos, white pines until she discovers
the live oak, the stippled shade that veils
her freckles, her sun-bleached hair.
Silent as the deer she follows, she tilts her head
at the cicadas’ garbled oaths, the sizzle
of waves rushing the shore.
Where she strokes the bark, moss appears –
then she is gone.

KB Ballentine

We Are Not aMused

Like a cat I left behind 
for just a few days--
some neighbor feeding it 
while I was gone--
the Muse avoids me

Tail twitching if I draw near
No brilliant inspiration 
in her turned-away scowl

But it was family 
I tell her… 
And lovers and 
potboiler jobs
There was rent to pay
Places to go 

She is silent
curls up contemptuously upon
a photo album 
of those who’ve loved her well
Everyone knows their names
No one—she assures me—will ever know mine

But I only want her love, I say
She arches her back 
and fades into dark room shadows

Will a bouquet of 
soft or sultry couplets 
or a newly created floral species
do the trick?

I don’t get too close
for fear of another bout of 
Muse-scratch fever…
that familiar malady that keeps me
babbling like this
--unloved by goddess
and unread by the casual reader

Arthur Gatti

Coniston Return

You ride Coniston again, returned from the dead
fifty-one weeks when the boats race elsewhere
or lie in garages being overhauled and tuned
at the expense of cars. On test, your craft –

stiletto-sharp – slashes the water as easily
as old sheets, the frayed edges curling and hurling
autumn’s flotsam over the shingle, roots
and plastic trash that circumscribe the lake.

Apprehensive? No, your mind's tight-set
as the boat thrashes and thuds from buoy to buoy,
sneering at dinghies, picnickers below Crag Head,
and the chance synchrony of wash with wave

that last year looped and snatched you nearly
full fathom five. Come sundown you'll be swilling
spirits convivially in a bar, overlooking the dark
curve of water with its reminiscent, oily swell.

 Mantz Yorke

Bosigran Castle

The bluebells, campions and foxgloves on the cliffs
won’t hold the children – they’d rather be building
sandcastles, collecting shells and paddling in the sea. 
I’ve done my share of beach-time, so just for the day
I have the freedom to meander, stand and stare.

Meadow browns flit through shrubs on the descent
from part-tumbled engine houses to Porthmoina Mill. 
Three half-centuries ago the millstream’s rush
powered the crushing of tin-rich ore, sluicing tailings
into the sea’s ever-hungry maw. Little remains –

a couple of walls, a dried-up leat and a small voussoired
bridge over the stream. I climb the gorse-fringed path
to the promontory, enjoying the granite’s variety –
here, white and coarsely crystalline; across the cove,
a dun saurian’s jaggedness against a Mediterranean sea.

Landward, the castle’s defence was merely a wall
across the headland: toppled, it’s no barrier now. 
I reach the highest slab and sit, an apple my reward,
enraptured by the commingled blues of sea and sky
and a cuckoo antiphon – one in the zawn below echoing

a rival on the distant height. Clinks and voices interrupt
the calm: climbers are inching like commandos up crevices
in the stronghold’s seaward flank, prompting me to retreat
to the sandcastles, buckets and spades. I trudge back,
the ruins a sombre waymark against the haze-drabbed hill.

Zawn (a Cornish term): a deep, narrow inlet of the sea.

Mantz Yorke


in gloom
to make

Gwen Sayers

Sit at the outer hedge of time 
untie the clock’s hands 
and try to hold its thread: 
however strong memory is
you always glance aside.
The blank clock quakes 
under the load of years 
which tire its cogs, whose 
restless turn spells no hour.
Sharp beats go back and forth 
in a chaos of days ungathered 
by the heart, speeding around 
us. The final measure of time 
is an eyeless silence, the inmost 
deceleration of the world.
Endlessly widening circles 
cross behind empty passages, 
echoes forgetting their origin. 
When will this creaking cease?
How invisible! How unspeakable!
The locked room only keeps 
its place, inviolable, smelling 
of a coat once covered with snow,
now with its pocket full of dried
petals, long since not worn by the dead.

Federico Federici


Friday night kitchen supper. Wedges, flan, broccoli.
Recycling, gloves, cds, a hairbrush. Stacked pots teeter;
papers, pile on pile, shoved to the table-end. It could be neater.
Glasses of milk. Cake or fruit for pudding. ‘Please eat properly.’
The day’s stories: maths, lacrosse, chemistry, a “free”,
art. ‘We’re out of semi-skimmed.’ ‘The meeting went ok,
thanks.’ Then, the dishwasher fed, a game. We play
till past bedtime. Tired, safe, at ease, we get silly.
For the family, nothing remarkable, perhaps. For me, a once
in every-so-often go at belonging;
not looking in, nose pressed against the window, longing,
but having my place set at the table; not feeling like a dunce
at life, but part of it. I flood with gratitude
for toast-crumbs, chaos, kids. All the everyday beatitudes

Lucy Crispin

Mrs. Ryle Buys A Photograph Album From The British Heart Foundation Shop

with its pages, empty polythene sleeves
soon to be filled from the life she’s lived.
She’ll seal in the living, the dead,
where, when its opened, they’ll look up at her,
smile, and she’ll smile back.

Yet, now, she feels it’s hiding ghosts.
When she turns pages their faint rustles
are loud whispers calling out names
she’ll never hear, and on the shelf,
when she sees only its spine, tales are told
only the back of her photos will know.

Bob Cooper

Fire Drill

Cold mornings, my father scraped a metal
hand shovel -- rusty chinks notched
along its edge -- in and out of the space
below the kitchen grate, and as the ashy
powder poised above the zinc bucket
settled on the clinker, he would crumple
a copy of the News Chronicle
or Sunday Observer on the swept grate,
granting our Labour-voting family
illumination for the second time.

First, however, came the ritual placing
of the sticks; straight lengths, laid
on the newsprint like a rustic game of noughts
and crosses. Only then could a “smoker’s
match” from my father’s ever-ready
box of Swan Vestas touch the paper’s
corners with a practiced skill and set
the sticks alight. No novice, fooled
by premature victory, my father
nursed those flames until the fire leapt.

He capped the pyre with hard black anthracite,
king of coals, hacked in craggy pieces
from the South Wales Coalfield, and consenting
to be immolated yet again.
Sometime miner’s son, he reverenced
those dual, sacrificial roles: king
and collier keeping people warm. Unlikely
vestal virgin, he patrolled our hearth
with tender vigilance, shoring up
its crimson core with glinting Welsh gold.

At seventeen, prone to let our home fires
burn too low through inattention – lapses
my father, orphaned at fourteen, could never
share -- I lost a central segment from
a faceted black earring; hearing which,
he got to work, chipping a tiny fragment
from a shiny lump of coal, and nudging
its glued edges imperceptibly
in place – proud, as he always was,
to warm the cockles of his family’s heart.

Ceri Eagling


Isabelle Baafi
is a British writer and filmmaker of Jamaican and South African descent. Her work has been published in Moko MagazineLitro, AFREADA, Kalahari Review and elsewhere. She is currently working on her debut poetry pamphlet.

KB Ballentine’s fifth collection, Almost Everything, Almost Nothing, was published in 2017 by Middle Creek Publishing. Published in Crab Orchard Review and Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, among others, her work also appears in anthologies including In Plein Air (2017).
Learn more at

Jane Blanchard lives and writes in Georgia.  Her poetry has recently appeared in Boyne BerriesConcho River ReviewThe Healing MuseLighten Up OnlineThe Raven Chronicles, and Valley Voices.  Her collections---the shorter Unloosed and the longer Tides & Currents—are available from Kelsay Books. 

Aida Bode is a poet and writer, whose works have been published online and in-print including, Prelude, 34th Parallel, Allegro, West Texas Literary Review, The Raven's Perch, catheXis, and more. Aida holds a MA in English and Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University.

Michael Caines is a journalist living in London.

Michael G. Casey has published four books and numerous poems and short stories—many of them award-winning and anthologised. His two best known novels are, Come Home, Robbie, and The Visit. Six of his plays have been performed on stage—one in the Henrik Ibsen Museum, Oslo. He holds a PhD from Cambridge.

Lucy Crispin, a former Poet Laureate of South Cumbria, is a prize-winning poet whose work has appeared in EnvoiThe SalopianLiterary OxygenPoetry Cornwall and Poetic Licence as well as in other anthologies. She works freelance for the Wordsworth Trust and as a person-centred counsellor.

Bob Cooper has had 7 pamphlets published - six of them winning pamphlet competitions. He’s also had two full length collections published, one by Arrowhead in 2002 with another with Pindrop in 2017 see:  He is now retired and lives on the Wirral.

Clive Donovan devotes himself full time to the craft of poetry and has found favour with a variety of editors of poetry magazine both print and on-line. He lives in Totnes in Devon.

Robert Dunsdon was first published in Ambit, since when his work has appeared in numerous literary journals, in newspapers and in anthologies, most recently in Pennine Platform.

Ceri Eagling grew up in Wales. lived six years in France, and is a long-time resident of the United States. Her poetry has been published previously in AllegroVerse-Virtual, and Antiphon, and is upcoming in Rigwelter. Her short stories and essays have appeared elsewhere.

Federico Federici is a physicist, translator and writer. His works have appeared in Jahrbuch Der Lyrik 2019, Raum, Sand, Trafika Europe, Magma and others. Among his books: the collection On a certain practical uncertainty (2018); Liner notes for a Pithecanthropus Erectus sketchbook (2018) with a foreword by SJ Fowler.

Robert Fillman is a Senior Teaching Fellow in the English Department at Lehigh University. His debut chapbook November Weather Spell will be published in 2019 by Main Street Rag. His poems have appeared in The Hollins Critic, Poet Lore, Poetry East, Tar River Poetry among others.

Arthur Gatti has two books of poetry in print and two of nonfiction that are out of print. His poems are frequently published in New York City, where he lives, and in Mexico. Collaborating with DarkLight Publishers (Mexico City/NYC) he translates poetry from Spanish to English.

Michael Gessner has authored 11 books of poetry and prose. From the most recent, (Selected Poems, FutureCycle Press, 2016,) The Poetry Foundation chose several for its online archives (2017). His latest publications include those in The American Journal of PoetryInnisfree Poetry JournalThe Kenyon ReviewNew Oxford ReviewNorth American Review, (finalist for 2016 James Hearst Prize,) Verse Daily, and he co-edits Verse-Virtual.  His reviews appear regularly, and he is a voting member of the National Book Critics Circle.  More information may be found at 

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in the Homestead Review, Harpur Palate and Columbia Review with work upcoming in the Roanoke Review, the Hawaii Review and North Dakota Quarterly.  

Vikram Masson is a lawyer by training who lives in Richmond, Virginia. The interests he wishes he had time for: playing solos on the tenor ukulele; learning how to chant in Sanskrit; and flying weaponless drones with a license. He writes poetry and essays and has work forthcoming in the Amethyst Review.

Mark J. Mitchell’s novel, The Magic War appeared from Loose Leaves Publishing. He studied at Santa Cruz under Raymond Carver and George Hitchcock. His work appeared in several anthologies and hundreds of periodicals. He lives with his wife, Joan Juster making his living pointing out pretty things in San Francisco. A meager online presence can be found at

Paul Robert Mullen is a poet, musician and sociable loner from Southport, near Liverpool, U.K.  He is a keen traveller, having lived and worked in China and Australia, and has scaled the entirety of Asia.  He has three published poetry collections: curse this blue raincoat (2017), testimony (2018), and 35 (2018).  He also enjoys Leonard Cohen, bass guitar riffs, porridge, paperback books with broken spines, and all things minimalist.

Robert Okaji lives in Texas and occasionally works at a ranch. He has accumulated no literary awards but once won a goat-catching contest. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Riggwelter, The Lake, North Dakota Quarterly, Eclectica and elsewhere.

Hermione Sandall has been a drama teacher and, with her husband, a long-distance yachtswoman. She lives in Shropshire. 

Gwen Sayers, a member of Herga Poets, lives in London. Her poetry, shortlisted for the Flambard Poetry Prize in 2017, appears in OrbisReach PoetryDream CatcherCannon’s MouthHysteria AnthologyUnder the Radar, and Shooter Literary Magazine (forthcoming).

Annie Stenzel was born in Illinois, but has lived on both coasts and a couple of other continents at various times in her life.  Her book-length collection, The First Home Air After Absence, was published last year by Boston-based Big Table.  Her poems appear or are forthcoming in print and online journals in the U.S. and the U.K., from Ambit to Rat's Ass Review to Whale Road with stops at the Aurorean, Catamaran, Eclectica, Gargoyle, Kestrel, QuiddityThe Lake, and Verse Daily among others. She lives within sight of the San Francisco Bay.  For more, visit

Thomas Tyrrell has a PhD in English Literature from Cardiff University. He is a two-time winner of the Terry Hetherington poetry award, and his writing has appeared in Picaroon, Amaryllis, Wales Arts Review, Spectral Realms, Lonesome October, The Road Less Travelled, Three Drops From A Cauldron and Words for the Wild.

Sarah White lives in Lancashire and has worked in education for ten years. She has published poems in Antiphon Poetry Magazine, Snakeskin and Simply Haiku.

Phil Wood was born in Wales. He works in a statistics office, enjoys playing with numbers and words. His writing can be found in various publications, including:  Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Poetry Shed, Snakeskin, The Lampeter Review, London Grip.

Mantz Yorke lives in Manchester, England. His poems have appeared in a number of print magazines, anthologies and e-magazines in the UK, Ireland, Israel, Canada, the US, Australia and Hong Kong.

Simon Zonenblick is a poet, gardener and organizer of cultural events, who also dabbles in films and local radio. See