Archives for posts with tag: Literature

Bob McNeil, host of a Halloween Celebration in the Bronx, with other festive folks
Foreclosure on the Rye
by Bob McNeil

Oh, Holden, here in your grey hair age,
     You must comprehend that hypocrisy is
     A heart-in-chest-vital chemical
     Needed for diurnal to nocturnal survival.
Oh, Holden, here in your grey hair age,
     Know that adults can’t calculate the rate of times
     We use masks woven with mendaciousness
     Just for a smidgen of socialness.
Oh, Holden, here in your grey hair age,
     Understand grown-ups strive to lie or lie to thrive,
     And you, too, must become content
     With adulthood’s demon-deceitful intent.
Oh, Holden, here in your grey hair age,
     Realize a Catcher in the Rye is as needed
     As Hessian flies that are well-fed
     Regardless of everything idealists said.

Photo: Bob McNeil (second from left) hosts a Halloween celebration in the Bronx with other festive folks.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Among Bob McNeil’s recent accomplishments as a writer and editor, he found working on the anthology entitled Lyrics of Mature Hearts to be a humbling experience because of the talented contributors. Further information about the aforesaid collection and other literary endeavors can be found at Amazon, subterraneanbluepoetry, and youtube.

Nancy Drew’s Guide to Life
by Jennifer Finstrom

“Moxie and a good sense of balance are essential when crawling on a      roof.”
Nancy Drew’s Guide to Life by Jennifer Worick

I inspect Nancy Drew’s Guide to Life
with a magnifying glass, hoping to find
the smallest connection between us. But I
don’t know Morse code or how to throw
my voice. I don’t drive a fancy blue roadster.
Nonetheless, the advice that “lipstick is not
just for looking glamorous; it can be used
to signal for help on windows and other
surfaces” convinces me that we are kindred
spirits, as does the notion that “dressing
well will open any doors, even those
connected to a top-secret factory.”

And while I suspect I lack physical courage
and don’t know how resourceful I might be
when faced with kidnappers, jewel thieves,
or smugglers, I’ll keep in mind that
“flowers sent by secret admirers might
be coated with poison” and the pragmatic,
“when confused, sit back and try to arrange
the facts into some kind of order.” I like
to believe I’d have plenty of moxie if I
needed it, that I could crawl on any roof,
no matter how high or how metaphorical.

PHOTO: (Left) Emma Roberts as Nancy Drew in the 2007 TV series. (Right) Recent photo of the author in her favorite cameo earrings.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I have long been fascinated with Nancy Drew, but that fascination was revived this past summer when I bought a nearly complete set at a neighborhood-wide garage sale. I’ve since visited Nancy in poems multiple times and hope to continue doing so.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Finstrom teaches in the First-Year Writing Program, tutors in writing, and facilitates writing groups at DePaul University. She is the poetry editor of Eclectica Magazine, and recent publications include Escape Into LifeExtract(s), Gingerbread House Literary Magazine, and NEAT. For Silver Birch Press, she has work appearing in The Great Gatsby Anthology, the Alice in Wonderland Anthology, and in Ides: A Collection of Poetry Chapbooks.

NOTE: “Nancy Drew’s Guide to Life” by Jennifer Finstrom inspired Silver Birch Press’s Nancy Drew Anthology, a 212-page collection of poetry, prose, and art released on October 1, 2016.

Epilogue Found in the Diaries of the Widow Rochester
(Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë)
by Rose Mary Boehm

Yes, reader, I married him.
A short while after our son was born
his obsessions began, and I recognized
his first wife’s despair. Edward, even though
no longer completely blind, did not ever fully regain
his sight and distrusted the world and me.

My marriage became darker and darker
until I reverted to calling him “Mr. Rochester.”
At moments it was as though a beam of sunlight
filtered through the curtains of foreboding
and I would take heart, only to be plunged
once more into the deepest gloom. One starless
night Mr Rochester fell off his horse and broke
his neck. Since then guilt has been my companion
and melancholy covers me like a heavy blanket.

Still, I can hear my children playing under the trees.
Occasional laughter drifts my way. We are blessed.

PHOTO: (Left)  The poet when Laura Ashley was all the rage and romanticism back in vogue.(Right) Mia Wasikowska as Jane Eyre in the 2011 movie.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I often wondered about what happens AFTER the happy end (even though we get relatively few of those in what’s considered “literary fiction”). The fairytale endings “…and they lived happily ever after” had me imagining Princess XYZ with her hands in the suds and the bonny Prince drunk in the nearest inn. Jane Eyre and Edward Rochester are also almost too good to be true, even though I hated doing this to her after she’d already had such a rough time of it.

boehm (7

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A German-born U.K. national, Rose Mary Boehm lives and works in Lima, Peru. Author of TANGENTS, a poetry collection published in the U.K. in2010/2011, over 150 of her recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in a good two dozen U.S. poetry reviews (online and print), and a new poetry collection is earmarked for publication in 2016 the U.S.

alice cover1

In June 2014, Silver Birch Press issued a call for submissions for poetry, prose, art, photography, and other work inspired by Lewis Carroll’s masterwork, Alice in Wonderland.

We received submissions from authors and artists around the world, and have prepared the Alice in Wonderland Anthology to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the book that continues to offer inspiration and insight generation after generation. The Alice in Wonderland Anthology has an official release date of November 26, 2015, exactly a century and a half after its namesake’s publication.

Published in 1865, Alice in Wonderland remains one of the world’s most popular books—and is still relevant and respected in 2015, a phenomenon that is sure to continue in the years to come.

The Alice in Wonderland Anthology features work by 63 writers, artists & photographers: Mary Jo Bang, Virginia Barrett, Sabina C. Becker, Roxanna Bennett, Rebecca Bokma, Ed Bremson, Kari Bruck, Cathy Bryant, Kathy Burkett, Julia Margaret Cameron, Lewis Carroll, Maureen E. Doallas, Kallie Falandays, Nettie Farris, Jamie Feldman, Jennifer Finstrom, Jackie Fox, Kristin Geber, Sandra Herman, Joanie Hieger Fritz Zosike, Trish Hopkinson, Valerie Hunter, Tatiana Ianovskaia, Justin Jackley, Mathias Jansson, Laura M. Kaminski, Kevin Korb, Jo Anna Elizabeth Larson, Ae Hee Lee, Renee Mallett, Char March, Alwyn Marriage, Karen Massey, Kim Naboshek, Michael O’Connor, Donatella Parisini, Erin Parker, Marybeth Rua-Larsen, Jayme Russell, Rizwan Saleem, Albert Schlaht, Anita Schmaltz, Elvis Schmoulianoff, Dustin Scott, Shloka Shankar, Sheikha A., M.M. Shelline, A.E. Stallings, Katarina Stanic, William Stok, Wendy Strohm, Robyn Sykes, Eileen Tai, Christina Tam, John Tenniel, Pablo Valcarcel, Amy Schreibman Walter, Lynn White, Martin Willitts Jr, Rachelle Wood, Andrew Woodham, Emily Yu.

The 148-page Alice in Wonderland Anthology is available in a black and white version for $12 USD and a full-cover version for $20.

The books are also available on Amazon sites around the world. 

JB Gatsby Pix JB 8.14.15 242 Print Final copy

PHOTO: Built in 1930 and housed in the former Buice’s General Store, Wilbur and Rudy’s Farmtable is a bit late for the Gatsby era. But its recent popularity in the Milton, Georgia, community has generated all the buzz of a Gatsby party. Poet Julie E. Bloemeke chose Wilbur and Rudy’s as the location for this Gatsby photo shoot because of its up-and-coming energy and dedication to promoting local artists, poets, and musicians. Also, it is one of the perfect places to write — organic coffee shop by day, wine bar by evening. Julie is grateful to fellow poet and photographer, William Walsh, for his 20s-era eye, and to her late grandmother, Geraldine Iglehart, whose vintage flapper gown and ostrich-feather fan helped recreate the roar. Her poem “Telephone” appears in The Great Gatsby Anthology.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I am fascinated by Fitzgerald’s use of the telephone as a presence in conversation. The mystery of who is on the other end of the wire lends resonance to Gatsby’s intrigue; the insistence of Fitzgerald’s shrill metallic urgency is often used to punctuate, disrupt, pause, or hijack. My current poetry manuscript—largely influenced by our deepening connection to the cell phone—offers a grateful hat tip to Fitzgerald’s adroit observations of the telephone’s importance in social dynamics.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Julie E. Bloemeke’s poetry manuscript Slide to Unlock, recently placed as a semifinalist in three book prizes: the 2015 Hudson Prize through Black Lawrence Press, the 2015 Washington Prize through the Word Works, and the 2014 Crab Orchard Poetry Series First Book Award. A graduate of the Bennington Writing Seminars and a 2015 fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in various publications including Gulf Coast, Chautauqua Literary Journal, Drunken Boat, Poet Lore, and The Great Gatsby Anthology. In May, she won the 2015 ekphrastic poetry competition at the Toledo Museum of Art, where her work will be on view with the Claude Monet collection until September.

by Mercedes Webb-Pullman

Greg woke uneasy. Dreams
transformed his bed
into a gigantic armor-plated head
divided on top, pitifully thin,
His bedroom lay quiet, its walls
unpacked and spread out,
the picture of a pretty frame.
A lady stole a huge hole.
Her forearm vanished.
Overcast sky
beat gutter melancholy.
Sleep and forget, he thought,
but could not. Violently
he tried his eyes, his legs,
began to feel faint.

Exhausted, irritated,
irregular itching back,
the head easily identified
many small spots
of leg, dew
for a cold shiver.

SOURCE: Opening passage of The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (1915).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I love erasure poems. The first I wrote was for a Silver Birch submission call for Bukowski erasure poems, and I really enjoyed finding other works within the original. I’m now wondering how many different poems I could make from the same text.



Mercedes Webb-Pullman graduated from IIML Victoria University Wellington with MA in Creative Writing in 2011. Her poems and the odd short story have appeared online and in print, in Turbine, 4th Floor, Swamp, Reconfigurations, The Electronic Bridge, poetryrepairs, Connotations, The Red Room, Silver Birch Press, Otoliths, among others, and in her books. She lives on the Kapiti Coast, New Zealand. Visit her at

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE PHOTO: Me riding my sister-in-law’s race horse circa 1985. Sunglasses and a hat provide a good mask. A blank stare helps too.

by William Blake

He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sun rise.

Painting: “PEE WEE” 8 x 12″ giclee print from original watercolor painting by Dean Crouser. Buy copies of the print at

Before and After
by Katie Aliferis 

Long after the glitter has settled
Long after the gowns have ceased flowing
Long after the bubbles have popped in their glasses

Your heart still jumps at the click of heels on the
Marble floors, at the tone of a light giggle
At the mention of her name

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Katie Aliferis is a writer from San Francisco, California. Her poetry has been featured in Voices of Hellenism Project: Voices, 9 Muses News, Velvet Revolution Reading Series, and other literary journals and websites. When not writing, Katie can be found reading, traveling, and enjoying time with her friends and family. Follow Katie on Twitter: @KatieA_SF and visit her website

Illustration: Portrait of Daisy Buchanan (watercolor, 2011) by Hannah Haeun Kim, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

SOURCE: “Before and After” by Katie Aliferis will appear in the Silver Birch Press The Great Gatsby Anthology (April 2015).


The lean days of determination. That was the word for it, determination: Arturo Bandini in front of his typewriter two full days in succession, determined to succeed; but it didn’t work, the longest siege of hard and fast determination in his life, and not one line done, only two words written over and over across the page, up and down, the same words: palm tree, palm tree, a battle to the death between the palm tree and me, and the palm tree won: see it out there swaying in the blue air, creaking sweetly in the blue air. The palm tree won after two fighting days, and I crawled out of the window and sat at the foot of the tree. Time passed, a moment or two, and I slept, little brown ants carousing in the hair on my legs.”

From Chapter 1 of Ask the Dust, a novel by John Fante first published in 1939 and reissued in 1980 by Black Sparrow Press with an introduction by Charles Bukowski. A Harper Perennial Modern Classics edition, released in 2006, is available at

by Charles Bukowski

I know. I know.
they are limited, have different
needs and

but I watch and learn from them.
I like the little they know,
which is so

they complain but never
they walk with a surprising dignity.
they sleep with a direct simplicity that
humans just can’t

their eyes are more
beautiful than our eyes.
and they can sleep 20 hours
a day
hesitation or

when I am feeling
all I have to do is
watch my cats
and my

I study these

they are my