Current Issue

Words on Play

Spring/Summer 2020, Vol. 63. No. 2

Virtual Readings

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our release event for Words on Play was postponed. In an attempt to celebrate this exciting issue in a timely manner, we’ve gathered virtual readings from several of our contributors. Check them out below!

Joanna Currey

“Easter Even”:

“Somerset Olde Creek Pool & Rec. Center”:

Michelle Penn

“The surfers”:

“Self-Portrait in Multiple Universes”:

“A history of paper clips in Paris”:

Amelia Williams

“The Catch”:

Marjorie Maddox

“Play Therapy,” “Taboo”:

Dorsey Olbrich

“The Pirate Anne Bonny and I Play Video Games”:

Max Heinegg


Gauraa Shekhar

“Other Significant Others: A Glossary” (excerpt):

Amy Miller

“After the Concert,” “What We Laugh At”:

Brooke Sahni

“What My Mother Knows,” “The Golden Reserve”:

Patrick Kindig

“what they don’t tell you about dido & aeneas”:

Liz Ahl

“Home Game”:

Markham Johnson

“At the Track, Waiting for Jesus”:

Myra Shapiro

“Dearth,” “The letter d”:

Ellen Kombiyil

“The Last Joyride”:


Gauraa Shekhar: “Other Significant Others: A Glossary”

Sean Bernard: “I Want My M.F.A.”

Jackson Ingram: “The Marmee Dress”

Alison Ho: “Ars Poetica”

Creative Nonfiction

JJ Peña: “the truth behind killing monsters”


James Toupin: “The Discovery of Play”

Mary Kovaleski Byrnes: “My Kids in Church,” “Diptych with Daughter/Mermaid”

Joanna Gordon: “Fish-Girl Fragments,” “If Fish-Girls Could Dance,” “Halve the Fish—Save the Woman”

Edwina Trentham: “My mother rebukes me from the turquoise depths”

Michelle Penn: “The surfers,” “a history of paper clips in Paris,” “Self-Portrait in Multiple Universes”

Wendy Drexler: “The Bay, Shimmering the Whole Way Out”

Amelia L. Williams: “The Catch”

Holly Painter: “Cryptic Crossword L,” “Cryptic Crossword LVI”

Gabriel Spera: “WORD SEARCH: Chemotherapy”

James Davis: “As,” “Ex”

Amy Miller: “After the Concert,” “What We Laugh At”

Markham Johnson: “At the Track, Waiting for Jesus,” “Longhorns”

Matthew J. Spireng: “The Perfect Game”

George Looney: “Music Retrieved,” “On the Eaves of the House Next Door”

Patrick Kindig: “what they don’t tell you about dido & aeneas,” “enchant, v.,” “title poem”

Ann Keniston: “Self-Portrait as Off Rhyme”

John Harris: “On Nick Cave’s ‘Soundsuits’”

Ellen Kombiyil: “The Last Joyride”

Alice Duggan: “The Trouble with Cars,” “I Visit Lois at the Nursing Home”

Ioanna Carlsen: “On the Miniature Pumpkins You Hid Through the House”

Margot Kahn: “Skiing up Cold Creek”

Geri Radacsi: “In Times of Abandonment”

Myra Shapiro: “Dearth,” “The Letter d”

Judith Pacht: “Babel”

Cindy Veach: “At the Austerlitz, New York, Blueberry Festival I Buy a Trifold Mirror”

Lynn Domina: “Water Music, 7-17-1717”

Katy Day: “The Death of a Star,” “Snow Angels,” “Variations on Independence”

Marjorie Maddox: “Play Therapy,” “Taboo”

Dorsey Craft: “The Pirate Anne Bonny and I Play Video Games,” “The Pirate Anne Bonny and I Plunder the Cruise Ship,” “Heaven”

Joanna Currey: “Easter Even,” “Somerset Olde Creek Pool & Rec. Center”

Tara Mesalik MacMahon: “In the Old Neighborhood”

Janet Jennings: “Riding with Ken,” “Calling the Colors,” “Names Are a Difficult Matter”

Brooke Sahni: “What My Mother Knows,” “The Golden Reserve”

Heidi Seaborn: “On the Occasion of an Outfielder’s Wedding”

Daniel Becker: “The Incomplete Sentence of Baseball”

Clemonce Heard: “The Gospel of Wheelie,” “Washington Parish Free Fair”

Madeline Grigg: “Burned House Horizon,” “Shape Shifter,” “The Goddess Hel Sits on Her Front Porch,” “Ephemeris”

Ella Flores: “Pyrocumulus,” “Indo-Australian Tectonic Plate Decides It’s Not Working Out, Breaks Up,” “South American Plate Plays on Words,” “Nubian Tectonic Plate Finds Animatronic Fortuneteller, Inserts Coin,” “Invented Language / Sextina”

Alice Templeton: “Nostalgia,” “Trellis”

Laura Glenn: “Holiday Parties”

Jean-Mark Sens: “Croquet”

Anita Sullivan: “Preposition”

Barbara Schwartz: “The Empress,” “Counting Blessings”

Devon Miller-Duggan: “For Mercy”

Cindy Juyoung Ok: “Pale Music”

Marisa P. Clark: “Yet Another Love Poem in Which I Anthromorphize”

Liz Ahl: “Home Game,” “Amnesia at the Cash Tables”

Sarah Ebba Hansen: “A Year After the Breakup,” “The Part I’ll Never Do Again,” “An Elegy in April,” “Moss Hollow”

Nicholas Yingling: “The Limits of Magic”

Max Heinegg: “Blueberrying”

Awards 41

Fall/Winter 2019, Vol. 63. No. 1

Eilis O’Neal: Editor’s Note


Jonathan Wei, “Capybara”

John Tait, “This Might Hurt Some”

Kathleen McNamara, “Pyrosome”

Andrew Mangan, “The Pioneer Spirit”

Elsa Nekola, “Meat Raffle”

Elinam Agbo, “Schools of Longing”


Robert Thomas: “Negligee and Hatchet: A Sonnet Crown”

Matt Miller: “The Adorned Fathomless Dark Creation,” “Getting Out,” “Boys Beyond June,” “Legend”

Hannah Dow: “Realizations While Staying in Other People’s Apartments,” “My Mother Tries to Teach Me How to Pray,” “Bildungsroman,” “The Seafloor of Your Heart Sings Against It”

Tori Sharpe: “The Move,” “The Stray”

Kathryn Haemmerle: “Aubade Ending with a View of a River,” “Extraction”

Olivia Yang: “the backyard is where all the grief resides beneath the sun”

Anne McDonnell: “Ash and Metal”

Amanda Gomez: “Autopsy of My Mother”

Michele Randall: “Tea Hot Tea Iced,” “Exigent”

George Looney: “A Falling Piano is a Classic”

Pam Bernard: “Turtle,” “Iphigenia”

Mary Rummel: “Illuminator Dreams”

Stephen Gibson: “On Georgia O’Keefe’s Cow’s Skull with Calico Roses”

Lisa Compo: “Elegy Prelude”

W.J Herbert: “Northern Cardinal,” “The Double Drowning”

Roy Bentley: “The Fighting Lady,” “Bathtub Beach Reef”

Lauren Coggins: “Precedent,” “Speaking with a Friend”

Janine Certo: “Diagram of the Four Chambers of the Heart”

Adam Penna: “The Love Poems That Are Now”

Peter H. Michaels: “Our First Love”

Jeremy Voigt: “Lunar Eclipse”

Christina Hutchins: “Sleeping with the Melvini Sisters,” “The Lover & The Whale”

Pianta: “Uchinanchu,” “Mother,” “Father Figure”

Catherine Hodges: “Late Afternoon Meditation on an Open Egg Carton”

Laura Apol: “But Winter,” “The Cruelest Month,” “Sowing with Salt,” “Memoir”

Faith Shearin: “Mittens,” “Math,” “Extinct Language”

Joel Peckham: “The Locomotive of the Lord”

James Toupin: “Bird Lives”

Eleanor Berry: “Not Burning the Christmas Greens,” “Like Breathing”

Ösel Jessica Plante: “When the Mississippi Speaks with Its Wet, Pretty Mouth” “The Navy Wife Tries on Her Body,” “Pistol of Bones,” “She & Wolf”

Alysse McCanna: “The Salesman,” “Land Run Haibun”

C.C. Reid: “Indelible”

Sara Wagner: “Captivity Narrative”

A.D. Lauren Abunassar: “Cryptid Poem: “Medium,” “Eavesdropping,” “Autobiography as a Headless Girl”

Gail Newman: “Blood Memory”

Catherine Freeling: “The Glove”

Matthew Gellman: “Not Music,” “Cloudburst,” “Pear Tree, with Thunder”

Ae Hee Lee: “Inside a Mogyoktang in Chicago,” “Fable”

Jo Pitkin: “Village: Bag of Babkas”

Karen Harryman: “Southern Funeral with Hairbrush”

Kristene Kaye Brown: “Taking the Metro Home After the Wake”

Voices of the Middle East and North Africa

Spring/Summer 2019, Vol. 62. No. 2

Voices of the Middle East and North Africa Cover (Art by Mahmood Sabzi)


Eilis O’Neal and Somayeh Shams: Editors’ Note

Fiction: Voices of the Middle East and North Africa

Uzma Aslam Khan: “My Mother is a Lunar Crater”

Peyman Esmaeili: “Waterworld”

Lauren Alwan: “The Levantines”

Nahid Rachlin: “Teheran Beggar”

Poetry: Voices of the Middle East and North Africa

Myronn Hardy: “Performance Day in the Vaulted Theater,” Blue over Bicycles”

Nashwa Gowanlock: “The Story of Ka”

Aiya Sakr: “In Which Huginn Has Fathered Children,” “Broken Ghazal: Seven Hijabis,” “Questions for my Jinn Counterpart”

Sara Elkamel: “Ways of Entering,” “Welcome to the Night, in Which We Are Hidden”

Dujie Tahat: “salat in a dream with Jida’s ghost on the night of Korryn Gaines’ killing,” “salat in the name of the father”

Makram Ayache: “These Old Jackets and Crowns”

Israel Eliraz: “Untitled”

Lori Levy: “Check-Up in Beer Sheva,” “Nursing Home Lies”

Nicholas Samaras: “Alatsata, I Bring You My Mother,” “Immigrant by Repetition”

Threa Almontaser: “When I Was Nine I Lived,” “Mining Cave in Dhamar,” “Yemen Storm,” “Yemen Plated with Divine Origami”

Eli Eliahu: “Ballistics,” “Genesis”

Jameel al-Jameel: “Paleness of Time”

Nineb Lamassu: “28/04/6767”

Bijan Najdi: “Happiness”

Adele Ne Jame: “The SS France and the Ruthless Furnace of This World”

Mariam Gomaa: “Qahwa”

Jessica Abughattas: “She Cannot Bear to Hear His Name”

Nada Faris: “All Knowledge is Permissible,” “Parachutes”

Darius Atefat-Peckham: “An Explosion of Feathers”

Mohja Kahf: “Spaciousness (al-Inshirah)”

Salim Barakat: “Fog Composed Like a Gentleman”

Alaz Ada: “The Tulip Age,” “The Hunger Thief”

Majda Gama: “Tala (Ode to the Girl Palm),” “Passing Twenty-One Palms”

Rachel Neve-Midbar: “Fourth Eden,” “Fajr”

Joshua Sassoon Orol: “Daughter of Egypt,” “Diaspora Prayer”

Hedy Habra: “Though It Still Appears to Be a Dream”

Maya Wahrman: “My Grandfather Said I Spoke Spanish Like Cervantes”

Ibtisam Barakat: “Rhythm”

Nurit Zarchi: “[UNTITLED]”

Fiction: General Submissions/Francine Ringold Awards

Skye Anicca: “Places I’ve Never Been”

Doug Ramspeck: “Summer”

Desiree Evans: “Whirligig”

Poetry: General Submissions/Francine Ringold Awards

Danielle Gosselin: “protector pulse”

Sarah Elrich: “All Maps Are Moving”

Caleb Nolen: “Yellow Jacket,” “Night Drives on the PA-26”

James Crews: “Telling My Mother”

Christopher Costabile: “Old Smoke”

Erin L. McCoy: “Notice of an Ice-Carried Boulder at Borgholm,” “Memoir of the Late John Wolley by Alfred Newton”

Reyna Clancy: “Miss July ‘85”

Cynthia Amoah: “for my grandmother, when words fail”

Lauren Saxon: “Tomorrow,” “Ghost Boys”

Katherine Stingley: “A Daughter Goes to Work”

Roy Mash: “At the Wedding the DJ Puts on an Oldie”

Neva Herrington: “Dining with Marjorie”

Susan Friberg: “Safe Passage,” “Sleeping Birds,” “Ghosts”