BEI 30 Days Proposed Graphic

From a train, northbound, the young revolutionary foresees a new history


A bent knee as bulwark.


Along a Oaxacan country-


side, homes strangle

hems of hills, stones


jutting from stone. You wanted

to climb from the neighbor’s garden


to a governor’s library – chrysalis

articles of the nation, snake


plans for a new era of security

     & justice, butterfly


pyramid, mark

how bone, agreement


can crumple. This your grandmother

had whispered to your mother

when you were born: forgive fire


for it must reach

its course, even


as woods rebuild from ash, even

as edges of old scrolls char, even


as tomorrow begets a new daughter

who ignites destiny & all that came before.



Known for her sparkly eyeshadow and raucous laughter, Purvi Shah inspires change as a social justice advocate and writer. She is curious about language as dreamwork for love, transformation, and justice. She won the inaugural SONY South Asian Social Service Excellence Award for her leadership fighting violence against women. During the 10th anniversary of 9/11, she directed Together We Are New York, a community-based poetry project to highlight Asian American voices and experiences. In Terrain Tracks (New Rivers Press: 2006), she plumbs migrations and belongings. Her new chaplet, Dark Lip of the Beloved: Sound Your Fiery God-Praise (Belladonna*: 2015), explores women’s devotions, status, and being. Her first play, Light as a Mountain, had a staged reading in 2016 through INKTank, a playwrights residency by Rising Circle Theater Collective. She serves as a contributing editor to Aster(ix) and a board member of The Poetry Project. Discover more @PurviPoets or


BEI 30 Days Proposed Graphic


            For John Coltrane. For autumn.


The day spends everything

on color.


We withdraw

from the descending



to our houses. Toward


the flannel.

One was born knowing


long legends. He could fray

changes. Blew


cadence. With a horn, he bent

and burdened notes


to clouds.

The trees in their raiment


chord and lengthen.

Each heart wears the start


of sleep, and all the leaves

in a hurry to browning.



Lauren Camp is the author of three books, most recently One Hundred Hungers, winner of the Dorset Prize (Tupelo Press, 2016). Her poems appear in New England Review, Poetry International, Beloit Poetry Journal and elsewhere. Some of her poems have been translated into Turkish, Mandarin and Spanish. Lauren is a Black Earth Institute Fellow and the producer/host of Santa Fe Public Radio’s “Audio Saucepan,” which interweaves global music with contemporary poetry.

BEI 30 Days Proposed Graphic

Because This Is What Love Comes To


I brush away snow to watch the pulse of water

beneath ice, the river’s heart that throbs on and on


despite winter’s cold. After more than an hour cutting

new trail, I can feel my pulse along the left temple


and give thanks for its continuous beating.  We’re allowed

to name the stars more than once. Look at the naked sky


in January. The light we’re blind to at midday traveling

toward us until it’s broken by alder cones and becomes nothing


more than shadow. My heart sits impatiently in the basket

of my ribs while my skis make a lonely sound. As night


comes down, I’m reminded that not long ago

the pierced dark showed ships at sea a way home.

–  Todd Davis


Todd Davis is the author of five collections of poetry, most recently Winterkill and In the Kingdom of the Ditch, both published by Michigan State University Press. He is a fellow in the Black Earth Institute and a professor of environmental studies and creative writing at Pennsylvania State University’s Altoona College.

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Be the Sword: An Exhortation

Cait Johnson

You jeweled hilt

you bright reflecting blade

use your




but not to wound or rend.

Be the sword of blessing,

sword a beacon;

shine light over this confused,

this tangled

human world.

Cut away the killing noise

empty words

reveal the soul’s essentials.

Make something.

Make it true and real and beautiful.

Polish the sword of yourself.

Make it shine.



Cait Johnson has authored six works of spiritual non-fiction, including Celebrating the Great Mother (co-authored with Maura D. Shaw), a handbook of earth-honoring creative projects and ritual celebrations for parents and children; Witch in the Kitchen, which restores a sense of the sacred to cooking and eating; and Earth, Water, Fire, and Air, a look at the common elemental roots of the great religious traditions. She writes poetry grounded in an appreciation of the sacredness in the everyday, feminist spirituality, and the interconnectedness of all things; her poem “Cold Moon” was included inMeasure for Measure: An Anthology of Poetic Meters, from Random House. She is formerly faculty at the Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing program at the University of Southern Maine, and is an Emeritus Fellow of the Black Earth Institute. She has trained with the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology and is a shamanic practitioner with a private practice as an intuitive counselor in the Hudson Valley, where she writes, directs, and performs in shamanic theatre. Her latest book, The Road to Minsk, with artwork by Ania Aldrich, is just out from Baba Yaga Press.




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Freedom Is a Choice


I am with you with him with her

neither do I judge nor condone all deeds

I am with myself and for myself

nor am I sufficient or commensurate to my need

I am with food against hunger but hunger is desire

which engine drives us toward pleasure and the good

I am with a tunic against the burning sun

albeit the sun is heat and light and betimes the eye of God

I am with boots against the rocky path but rock’s the earth

beneath our feet and no way home without a path

I am with blanket against cold but the cold refreshes and quickens me

I am with shelter against rain and light against dark

tho rain is life and I am with the dark when I choose darkness

I am with breath but your choking grip thrills me

I am with truth against lies but tell me you will love me always

I am with beauty but let me grow ugly and old

with so much the greater pleasure to recall my comely youth

I am with wealth as the riches of the earth

for the benefit of livingkind for art for science

I am with power to do well good and right withal

I am with pleasure as a current electric

through mind body and spirit incandescing

I am with gratitude for all kindness bestowed

by god creature land sea or air

I am with air



Michael Broder is the author of the poetry collections Drug and Disease Free (Indolent Books, 2016) and This Life Now (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2014), a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry. His poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. He is the founding publisher of Indolent Books ( and the creator of The HIV Here & Now Project ( Friend him on Facebook (Michael H. Broder), follow him on Twitter (@MichaelBroder), and learn more at

BEI 30 Days Proposed GraphicEpilogue

by John Casquarelli


Our conversation didn’t amount to

A tremendous spark of promise.

We never flew with bees in their

Ceremonial buzz. Even so, I like


To think of this as a progression,

But sometimes I get so caught up

With my parade of thoughts and

Confusions that distance is all I feel.


And, believe me, there is no distance

So great as being away from the

People you love or obsess over.

I know that sounds like something


I read from a fortune cookie, which

Is not really a fortune, but is likely

What you would find in a cheap

Cookie. Though, I never find messages


In chocolate chip or oatmeal cookies.

That’s probably why I like them so

Much. No letdowns when you dare to

Dream amid the kaleidoscope of colors


In the passing seasons, when reoccurring

Memories merge with after dinner wines

And sarcastic laughter on the comfort of

An ocean blue sofa in a pre-war brownstone.


One reoccurring memory that I have is of

A little homeless girl, no older than five

Or six, playing with a Cracker Jack

Marble toy, while leaning on her father’s


Left arm. His back was resting on a red

Brick wall and he was sound asleep.

The woman next to him, which I assumed

Was his wife and the mother of the


Little girl, was also asleep, resting on the

Man’s right arm and shoulder. The little

Girl briefly broke her playful concentration

From her toy long enough to make eye contact


With me, but after a few seconds realized

That moving with the marbles in a series of

Circles, twists, and blocked interruptions

Would be far more rewarding than my


Brown middle-aged eyes. I dropped a few

Bills in a cup that was nestled between

The father’s legs and walked away,

Seeking a notebook to scribble a few lines


That would influence no significant change

In anyone’s life but my own. Maybe I was

Just hoping to make up some of the miles in

These potholed, dirt-riddled distances.



John Casquarelli is the author of two full-length collections: On Equilibrium of Song (Overpass Books, 2011) and Lavender (Authorspress, 2014). He was awarded the 2016 Kafka Residency Prize in Hostka, Czech Republic, and a 2017 residency at the Writer’s Room of The Betsy Hotel on South Beach. His poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies.

BEI 30 Days Proposed Graphic



That is not your poem to write, she says.

And I claim they are all mine to write, even this.


Maybe I’ll do a fucking series

on his near-death experience. If I love him,


shouldn’t I also suffer the knife?

He is too beautiful to live, she says.


All the more reason to survive, I say.

Beauty is twice beauty, ten,


when it comes to him.

But the poem, she nags, the poem?


Right. They found a clot.

In his bloodstream.


Endymion was near-

perfect. The gods inserted


a death note.

What gods, she said?


He is not your lover

or your child.


That hit true.

I am merely his friend.


Maybe that’s what Verlaine said,

at the end.



Marilyn Kallet has published 17 books, including The Love That Moves Me, poetry from Black Widow Press. She has translated Paul Eluard’s Last Love Poems, Péret’s The Big Game, and co-edited and co-translated Chantal Bizzini’s Disenchanted City (with J. Bradford Anderson and Darren Jackson.) Her poems have appeared recently in Plume, Connotation, Cutthroat: Journal of the Arts, and One, and are forthcoming in Blue Lyra Review. Dr. Kallet is Nancy Moore Goslee Professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Each spring she leads poetry workshops for VCCA-France in Auvillar.


Marilyn Kallet






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September by Robin Chapman


Yesterday, early, I walked uphill

though a long green tunnel

of trees and stopped to see,

in all that cool shade, a spoked web,

shimmering iridescent midair,

the center empty of all save

eight guide lines and central knot.

Silk segments circled all the rest

of space, a net of light: and on its outer

edge, a tiny spider, still adding lines

to its made thing. Overhead, light

filtered through the leaves

of oaks and hickories, the cardinal

repeated his sunlit claims of territory

beyond the limits of my breath.


I walked on to harvest kale

and chard in a garden beaded

with dew on every edge and vein

of leaf—saw in the low-lying mist

that webs, funneled and orbed,

covered the field in the spiders’

own morning hunt for the bountiful

fruit-fly hatch in the grapes.


Robin Chapman is author of eight books of poetry, most recently the eelgrass meadow

(2011), honorably mentioned for the Posner Poetry Award, and One Hundred White

Pelicans (2013), poems of climate change from Tebot Bach. She is recipient of

Appalachia's 2010 Poetry Prize and has collaborated with photogravure artist Peter

Miller, pairing her poems with 23 of his gravures in the portfolio Dappled Things (Paris:

Revue K). Her poems have appeared recently in Alaska Quarterly Review, Flyway,

Tamsen, and Terrain. A book, Six True Things, poems about growing up in the

Manhattan Project town of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, is forthcoming from Tebot Bach.

BEI 30 Days Proposed Graphic

Sky Song


Hear the sound of the age changing—

it is the refrain of yes

shaping new constellations

from the old stories

scrolling through our days.


Hear the galaxy hum of love—

the quantum is of the unseen

singing our names (when we

only know to say them) and scheming

sweet rhymes in the forth dimension.


Let’s get invisible.

Let’s kiss elisions.

Let’s get spirit naked

and play in the river of give

and good and mmmm.


Let’s dabble in destiny

and possibility

until we turn into songsters

who heal the holes

in skies and hearts.


Let’s hum in the night.

Let’s ring in the day.

Let’s write a new chorus

across the sky with contrails

of stubborn joy.


Let’s sing it even when it hurts—

even when the blood runs,

even when the fire burns,

even when.



—Anna Elkins


Anna Elkins is a traveling poet and painter. She has written, painted, and taught on six continents—publishing books and exhibiting paintings along the way. She has won a few things (including a Fulbright Fellowship in poetry) and has lost many, many more. Anna resides in the mythical State of Jefferson with her easel and writing desk.


BEI 30 Days Proposed Graphic

This Hanging, That Portrait


His heart

flat as Nebraska in winter


Her calves

sexy as Alpine climbs at unbearable height


They never smile in photos


Think drifts of snow


Dust so thick it stops your breath

Patriotic music swells, an empire of wheat

churns beneath the blade


Trauma replicates by DNA


America, the beautiful


We’ll never know the source of our grief



Melissa Tuckey is author of Tenuous Chapel, selected by Charles Simic for ABZ Press

First Book Award, 2013. She’s a co-founder of Split This Rock and a fellow at Black

Earth Institute. Recent poems have appeared in Clade Song, Kenyon Review, and

Missouri Review. She lives in Ithaca, New York and is currently working as an editor on

Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology forthcoming with University of Georgia

Press in Fall of 2017.