Archives for category: Summer Anthology

by Diane Eagle Kataoka

This giant blue spruce
soars higher into the sky
lying here smelling sun

Illustration: “Blue Spruce,” watercolor by Brenda Owen, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Prints available at

“Summer Haiku” by Diane Eagle Kataoka appears in the Silver Birch Press Summer Anthology, available at


by Rick Smith

ride the Kern River
in late July,
feel the broad shaft of heat
and, in shadow,
beneath an expanse of bridge
carrying trucks from Bakersfield,
the grid hums;
you can hear it
over the rush and roar.
a man my age
may fall out of a raft
at a hairpin turn
innocently named
“Deadman’s Curve,”
a foot wedged against rock,
toe to toe with the stony bed,
eyes only inches from the foam of surface
and pinned by current,
he holds a final burning breath,
expects to rise,
he sees light through air pockets.
sometimes a river raft
may climb onto a boulder
for no reason at noon
while a family orders shrimp scampi
at an outdoor grill in town.
ride the river as it swells
and makes its way
gargling and spitting us out
in an instant
like mouth wash.
the sound of a helicopter
takes another millennium
to arrive. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rick Smith is a clinical psychologist specializing in brain damage and domestic violence. He writes and plays harmonica for The Mescal Sheiks. His poems have appeared in South Bay Magazine, Arts and Letters, Rattle, OnTheBus, and Water-Stone. His most recent books are The Wren Notebook (2000), Hard Landing (2010), and, forthcoming, Whispering in a Mad Dog’s Ear, all from Lummox Press.


“Rafting on the Kern River (7/07)” appears in the Silver Birch Press Summer Anthology, available at

ABOUT THE RIVER: The Kern River, located in California, is approximately 165 miles long. It drains an area of the southern Sierra Nevada mountains northeast of Bakersfield. Fed by snowmelt near Mount Whitney, the river passes through scenic canyons in the mountains and is a popular destination for whitewater rafting and kayaking. It is the only major river in the Sierra Nevada mountain range that drains in a southerly direction. (Read more at


Silver Birch Press is initiating a series of free Kindle downloads with Debt, a novel by Rachel Careyavailable for free at on Friday, July 26, 2013. You can download the Kindle — which retails for $6.99 — for free starting at 12 Midnight PST at this link. (This is the first time we’re trying this, so if there are any glitches — say, the book doesn’t show up for free — we will fix the problem and repeat the offer.)

Phoenix, a memoir by Philippa Mayall will be available as a free Kindle download — a savings of $7.99 — on Tuesday, 7/30, and Wednesday, 7/31, at this link.

Download the Kindle version of the Silver Birch Press Summer Anthology for free (a $2.99 value) on Wednesday, 7/31, and Thursday, 8/1, at this link.

Please spread the word and tell your friends. Facebook posts, Tweets, and other links would be most appreciated.

Thank you!

teenagers down the shore
by win harms

memories of the ocean
sweet spring sweat trickles down my forehead
the sand stings my legs, as a crosswind
creeps up from behind
the salty sea is cold, numbing my bare feet
i hear my friends giggling ahead
and i laugh for no reason at all
you look at me and smile that secret smile
and for one moment we are alone in this
i can’t remember the taste of you
but i know i’ll understand you again
i get higher with the thoughts of days to come
we are sleepy with excitement
last night is so incredibly far away
we were older then, parading like sophisticates
we are young again, spinning in the sun
the past doesn’t matter and
the skeletons don’t feel like dancing
i am mapping out my life
and i want to see you there
with your eyes sparkling like the sea
we walk the boardwalk with the wind in our hair
creating everlasting impressions in time

Photo: “Summer Down the Shore” by funflash, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. (16×20 metallic prints available at

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: win harms is a poet living in France with her professor husband. She hails from the state of the cowboy poetry contest, but she has lived pretty much everywhere, including many psych wards, and considers herself a survivor of the struggle. The chaos has ceased and now she spends her time doing needlepoint and laundry, but longs to share her words with the world. As of last year, she left her roaring twenties, and is now feeling fecund and free. “Teenagers Down the Shore” and other poetry by win harms appears in the Silver Birch Press Summer Anthology, available at

Summer Haiku 
by Virginie Colline

Your meridian muse
hidden away from the sun
violin-shaped dreams

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Virginie Colline is a French translator living in Paris. Her poems have appeared in The Scrambler, Notes from the Gean, Prune Juice, Frostwriting, Haiku Journal, Prick of the Spindle, Mouse Tales Press, StepAway Magazine, BRICKrhetoric, Seltzer, Overpass Books, Dagda Publishing, The Four Quarters Magazine, Yes, and Poetry. Her poetry also appears in the Silver Birch Press SUMMER ANTHOLOGY, available at

PAINTING: “Interior with a violin” (Room at the Hôtel Beau-Rivage),1918, by Henri Matisse

By Shel Silverstein

Ol’ man Simon, planted a diamond,

Grew hisself a garden the likes of none.

Sprouts all growin’, comin’ up glowin’,

Fruit of jewels all shinin’ in the sun.

Colors of the rainbow,

See the sun and rain grow

Sapphires and rubieson ivory vines,

Grapes of jade, just

Ready for the squeezin’ into green jade wine.

Pure gold corn there,

Blowin’ in the warm air,

Ol’ crow nibblin’ on the amethyst seeds.

In between the diamonds, ol’ man Simon

Crawls about pullin’ out platinum weeds.

Pink pearl berries,

All you can carry,

Put ’em in a bushel and

Haul ’em into town.

Up in the tree there’s

Opal nuts and gold pears—
Hurry quick, grab a stick

And shake some down.

Take a silver tater,

Emerald tomater,

Fresh plump coral melons

Hangin’ in reach.

Ol’ man Simon,

Diggin’ in his diamonds,

Stops and rests and dreams about


Illustration:  Georgia Peaches, Vintage Fruit Crate Label Art postcard, available for just 88 cents at

by Carolyn Miller

Although I watched and waited for it every day,

somehow I missed it, the moment when everything reached 

the peak of ripeness. It wasn’t at the solstice; that was only
the time of the longest light. It was sometime after that, when

the plants had absorbed all that sun, had taken it into themselves

for food and swelled to the height of fullness. It was in July,
in a dizzy blaze of heat and fog, when on some nights
it was too hot to sleep, and the restaurants set half their tables

on the sidewalks; outside the city, down the coast,
the Milky Way floated overhead, and shooting stars

fell from the sky over the ocean. One day the garden

was almost overwhelmed with fruition:
My sweet peas struggled out of the raised bed onto the mulch
of laurel leaves and bark and pods, their brilliantly colored

sunbonnets of rose and stippled pink, magenta and deep purple
pouring out a perfume that was almost oriental. Black-eyed Susans

stared from the flower borders, the orange cherry tomatoes

were sweet as candy, the corn fattened in its swaths of silk,

hummingbirds spiraled by in pairs, the bees gave up

and decided to live in the lavender. At the market,

surrounded by black plums and rosy plums and sugar prunes

and white-fleshed peaches and nectarines, perfumey melons
and mangos, purple figs in green plastic baskets,

clusters of tiny Champagne grapes and piles of red-black cherries

and apricots freckled and streaked with rose, I felt tears

come into my eyes, absurdly, because I knew

that summer had peaked and was already passing

away. I felt very close then to understanding 

the mystery; it seemed to me that I almost knew

what it meant to be alive, as if my life had swelled

to some high moment of response, as if I could

reach out and touch the season, as if I were inside

its body, surrounded by sweet pulp and juice,

shimmering veins and ripened skin.

“A Warm Summer in San Francisco” was first published in Light, Moving (Sixteen Rivers Press, 2009) and is featured in the Silver Birch Press Summer Anthology (June 2013).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Carolyn Miller is a poet and painter living in San Francisco. Light, Moving, her most recent book of poetry, was published by Sixteen Rivers Press in 2009, and her first full-length collection, After Cocteau, was published by the same press in 2002. Her work has appeared in The Georgia Review, The Southern Review, and The Gettysburg Review, among other journals, and her awards include the James Boatwright III Prize for Poetry from Shenandoah, and the Rainmaker Award from Zone 3She is also the author of a number of cookbooks, including Savoring San Francisco.

PAINTING: “Farmers Market 3” (2005) watercolor on paper (20-75 x 14.25 inches) by Manfred Lindenberger (Foster White Gallery, Seattle,

June 27, 2013 marks the 141st anniversary of the birth of Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906), a poet, novelist, and playwright—and the first African American writer to gain national prominence. Born in Dayton, Ohio, the son of ex-slaves, Dunbar lived only to age thirty-three, but in his short life created a large body of work—writing short stories, novels, librettos, plays, songs, essays, and poetry. Maya Angelou took the title of her book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings after a line from Dunbar’s poem “Sympathy.”

The just-released Silver Birch Press SUMMER ANTHOLOGY features three summer-themed poems by Paul Laurence Dunbar. Find the book at

by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Oh, summer has clothed the earth
In a cloak from the loom of the sun!
And a mantle, too, of the skies’ soft blue,
And a belt where the rivers run.
And now for the kiss of the wind,
And the touch of the air’s soft hands,
With the rest from strife and the heat of life,
With the freedom of lakes and lands.
I envy the farmer’s boy
Who sings as he follows the plow;
While the shining green of the young blades lean
To the breezes that cool his brow.
He sings to the dewy morn,
No thought of another’s ear;
But the song he sings is a chant for kings
And the whole wide world to hear.
He sings of the joys of life,
Of the pleasures of work and rest,
From an o’erfull heart, without aim or art;
’Tis a song of the merriest.
O ye who toil in the town,
And ye who moil in the mart,
Hear the artless song, and your faith made strong
Shall renew your joy of heart.
Oh, poor were the worth of the world
If never a song were heard —
If the sting of grief had no relief,
And never a heart were stirred.
So, long as the streams run down,
And as long as the robins trill,
Let us taunt old Care with a merry air,
And sing in the face of ill.

by Tamara Madison

June is Friday:  weary of winter
exhausted by spring, brightened
by hope of rest and warmth
and green things stretching
toward the dear sun of summer.
July, then, is Saturday:
brown-limbed, easy, moving slow
through the long hours
of sand, of fish lifted
by clear waves with the light
shining through, of warm
nights with Mars glowing
gold near the rocking moon.
August, alas, must be Sunday: 
there’s still time, the days
still balmy and long
the sun still hot, Mars still
bright in the warm night sky,
the sea still glittering
with the coins of the sun.
But the shadow at the end
looms longer every day.
And then it’s September:
a cheap and painful parody
of summer:  hotter than August
but the days grow shorter
and we are stuck wherever
we have to be as wild fires
devour the hills of spring
leaving us pining for July
when time stretched out
on a blanket before us,
naked and smiling.

“Summer” and other poems by Tamara Madison — along with poetry and prose from over 70 authors around the world — are featured in the 220-page Silver Birch Press SUMMER ANTHOLOGY, available at

Painting: “La Cape Rose” (watercolor on paper) by French Symbolist painter Odilon Redon (1840-1916).

poem by Stanley Plumly

Some—the ones with fish names—grow so north
they last a month, six weeks at most.
Some others, named for the fields they look like,
last longer, smaller.
And these, in particular, whether trout or corn lily,
onion or bellwort, just cut
this morning and standing open in tapwater in the kitchen,
will close with the sun.
It is June, wildflowers on the table.
They are fresh an hour ago, like sliced lemons,
with the whole day ahead of them.
They could be common mayflower lilies of the valley,
day lilies, or the clustering Canada, large, gold,
long-stemmed as pasture roses, belled out over the vase–
or maybe Solomon’s seal, the petals
ranged in small toy pairs
or starry, tipped at the head like weeds.
They could be anonymous as weeds.
They are, in fact, the several names of the same thing,
lilies of the field, butter-and-eggs,
toadflax almost, the way the whites and yellows juxtapose,
and have “the look of flowers that are looked at,”
rooted as they are in water, glass, and air.
I remember the summer I picked everything,
flower and wildflower, singled them out in jars
with a name attached. And when they had dried as stubborn
as paper I put them on pages and named them again.
They were all lilies, even the hyacinth,
even the great pale flower in the hand of the dead.
I picked it, kept it in the book for years
before I knew who she was,
her face lily-white, kissed and dry and cold.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stanley Plumly was born in Barnesville, Ohio, in 1939, and grew up in the lumber and farming regions of Virginia and Ohio. His work has been honored with the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award and nominations for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the William Carlos Williams Award, and the Academy of Amerian Poets’ Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize. He is currently a Distinguished University Professor and Professor of English at the University of Maryland. His poetry will appear in the Silver Birch Press SUMMER ANTHOLOGY (June 21, 2013).

Painting: “Wildflowers” by Walasse Ting — prints available at

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Walasse Ting (1929-2010) was a Chinese-American visual artist and poet. Common subjects include women and cats, birds, and other animals. His works are found in the permanent collections of many museums worldwide, including the Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; Tate Modern, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; and the Hong Kong Museum of Art. (Read more at