Uh-oh! The hourglass is nearly empty! No trio of saviors will free you. Send your poetry and/or short prose (<= 500 words) to us by July 31 midnight US Central time! That way, we’ll consider it for inclusion in Issue 22. We plan to publish it in early September.
We’d love to read your work! Scroll down for our Guidelines. Thanks for thinking of Panoply!
Andrea, Clara, Jeff, and Ryn, Editors
Summer’s Greetings to All!
We’re pleased to announce that Panoply is open for submissions of poetry and short prose (<500 words) now through July 31. We plan to publish Issue 22 in early September.
We’re always proud to share fine voices along a, yes panoply, of subjects, styles, tones, etc. We feature a wide range from debut writers to Pushcart Prize nominees and other notables. We read “author unknown,” deliberately focusing on the writing, not the writer.
We’d love to read your work! Please review our Guidelines and submit via Submittable. There’s a link on the page. Thanks for thinking of Panoply!
Andrea, Clara, Jeff, and Ryn, Editors
A Triptych of Birds & A Few Loose Feathers
By Pratibha Castle
Published by The Hedgehog Poetry Press
Reviewed by Andrea Walker, July 2022
A Triptych of Birds & A Few Loose Feathers by Pratibha Castle begins with a dedication to her mother and the poem “Heartsease.” The name of a wild pansy in Europe found in the meadows, the poem’s title suggests a theme of peace. The speaker’s pleasure at the sight of a volery of long-tailed tits, a charming little bird with the cutest song ever, foreshadows the presence of birds throughout the poems. In this forty-eight-page collection of twenty-four poems, the poet captures the story of a childhood along with some of the events that went awry.
The literary triptych flows from childhood, to young adult, to maturity with themes of childhood memories to disillusionment, and eventually peace of mind. The series of events and memories are told with a bit of the magic one would expect in Ireland and England. Allusions abound to places with romantic names like South Downs, Brighton, Kensington Gardens, Notting Hill, Maida Vale, Finchley, and Benbulben Mount.
The reader will sense peace of mind in the opening pastoral set in “South Downs.” The poet sets a mystical mood with an image of Dryads who “lean in, anoint me with murmured prayers.” It also contains the first loose feather “amongst the leaves.” “A Celtic Spell” continues the mystic mood with “tales of Celtic lore, of a blackbird’s luck,” and how the blackbird’s good luck brings the speaker’s bad luck.
In an early example, she compares her father to “Paidrag—Who drove the snakes out of Ireland” as she remembers accompanying her father to work the Irish soil. A robin watches keenly for worms, “his song a crystal cataract of merry.” Her father disappears from her life, which makes her believe he must be a saint, but he reappears later at her school bringing books and toys. Her mother promptly transfers her to another school. There, the head nun is not so nice because her mother cannot afford to give her gifts. Evidently, “Paidrag banished more than snakes.”
The poem “Riddles” begs the question why do parents behave in unexplained ways. The question is posed to her father, “How could you let her snatch me from you?” followed by numerous incidents, puzzling to a child, ending with wondering why her parents never smile that way at one another. The first of several sexual allusions appears here in the guise of “the purpose of stamens in flowers” while the disapproving mother “purses citrus lips, slams the door, and flays all life out of the breakfast dishes.”
The poet’s eye for resemblances is illustrated in “Drowning” where the speaker almost drowns at the beach in Brighton and no one notices. The suffocating reminds her of her mother when she scrubs and wrings out a sheet that was stained with blood. One wonders about the bloodstain and why her mother scoured it so brutally. The stain “stubborn as sin” hints at sin, especially since “the blight of that day lingered.”
Several poems offer enough subtle sexual allusion to pique the reader’s interest. Suggestive language in “Under the Bridge” implies a sexual event. This theme is also hinted at in the “Homework” paragraph her father orders her to destroy. “Exodus” addresses the issue of the priest sinning vicariously through the Confessional. This poem leads the reader to question who is guilty here, the young girl who confesses “I slept with him,” or the priest who eagerly asks “exactly what did you do?” She seems to be tempting the priest, but says her Hail Marys and exits “absolved.”
“Plums” offers the preview of a turning point within the pages. The poet writes of buried words, hopes, and dreams then returns in the last stanza, a woman who exhumes and enjoys her poetry and shares it with the world. “The Only One Who Loves You” begins with leaving home at eighteen in anger and frustration. The speaker packs her bag and sets out to prove she is worthy of love. Several years of searching and wandering take her through some wild and strange times, nights of dancing, music, and musicians. Places and activities like “chanting mantras with Ram Dass in a basement in Notting Hill,” a squat in Maida Vale, crashing in a Highgate commune “spooning marmalade from a jar half-full, recycled from a skip” (British slang for dumpster) reveal an adventurous Bohemian lifestyle. She almost believed herself “deserving of love” near the end when the night her mother dies, she discovers “Love is an ether you can choke or float in.”
After a tumultuous childhood and hippie youth, later poems relate a calmer sense of acceptance. The speaker acknowledges her mother’s love, accepts the mistakes, forgives the pains of childhood and adolescent injuries, but doesn’t forget. The serenity of “Dawn Walk” brings resolution to a more mature speaker. But the calm of the sparkling sea, “mysteries clammed in sand and heart,” sun seeping through the clouds still do not bring peace as the speaker misses a chance meeting with her mother and hurries on. “On Reaching Heaven” portrays a warm memory of her and her mother baking a favorite cake together, the speaker wishing she had dropped by or phoned more often. Peace is found, at last, in the two final poems. First, in the “Refuge” of the wild garden with myriad flowers, “emerald jewel beetles,” and the blackbird, sparrows, woodpecker, and finch the collection is named for. The book ends with a funeral. “Pipe’s Wake” is played with a tin whistle and a “timpani of droplets on the window.”
Castle’s pages will surprise readers with their bluntness, delight with vivid imagery, and sadden with melancholy awareness. The collection, populated with a wide variety of birds, provides purposeful moments of connection. Readers will discover loose feathers for themselves.
For other chapbook reviews, please visit: Previous Chapbook Reviews
The night is full of sounds, colors, activity; full of wonder. Enjoy this reverie from Abby Wheeler.
Copyright 2022 Ryn Holmes
Who could imagine the events that presented themselves these last few months, particularly here in the US? Is this a rare compression or the new pace of life? We’ve managed to keep up, but this editor is pondering the depths and capacity of hope and faith.
We’re hopeful and faithful, though, due to the energy, commitment, and devotion contained here in these pages. Call it love. Sometimes, it’s tough love. Sometimes that is required, all we can muster, all with which we must reply. There’s some tough love contained herein. To that, we say, “Hurrah.” Sustain us all.
During WWII, Churchill was asked to cut funding for the arts. He replied, “Then what are we fighting for?’” Indeed. Read some Camus to learn about resistance and redemption.
To recognize the tragedy and horror in Ukraine, we’ve included a special section on war and peace, oppressor and oppressed, invasion and resistance. This editor is really impressed by the breadth and scope of the pieces included in the Special Section. They lift off from current events, brutal and dramatic as they are, to the timeless and universal. What a response!
As always, we thank our contributors and readers. Stay healthy. Make it a great day.
Pray for Ukraine.
Andrea, Clara, Jeff, and Ryn, Editors
Coming About – by Alan Perry
Cormorant – by Kathryn Jordan
Driving in Early Winter – by Renee Szostek
The embarrassment of Sierra Escumbre – by Lawrence Hopperton
February Vacation, Ft. Myers, Florida – by Kerry Trautman
The First Sign From My Dead Son – by Melanie Dunbar
The Glittering Girl – by Robert Nisbet
A Gratitude Stone – by Heidi Slettedahl
Horn – by Emma Neale
A Humble Bewilderment of Love – by Nelly Shulman
In the Absence Of Coffee – by George Franklin
In the Dolomites – by Lesley Carnus
Is This One of the Ways to Trap a Butterfly? – by Hedy Habra
jack kerouac goes to the beach – by Louise Kim
Jackpot Romance – by Kevin Ridgeway
Melville’s Whale – by Michael Igoe
The Migratory Bounty of Spring – by Jeannie Roberts
The Morning After – by Ramesh Dohan
Peeling a Tangelo – by Carol Edwards
Pindar – by Januario Esteves
Police Call at Night – by Ann Howells
Return to Florida – by Amanda Valerie Judd
Scaffolders – by Irene Cunningham
Seeing Red – by Simon A. Thalmann
Sonnet on a mote of hope – by William Joel
Stepping Outside My House on Elizabeth Place – by Abby Wheeler
stored in hives – by Corbett Buchly
Traces – by Lynn Lauber
Tyrian Purple – by Jeremy Proehl
Well, she was just seventeen/You know what I mean 2022 – by Lois Bassen
When You’re Done Reading This, I’ll Show You the Real Poem – by Traci McMickle
Who Done It – by Karla Linn Merrifield
The Woodcutter I Live With – by Katie Kalisz
Worker on a Rainy Saturday – by Mitch Roshannon
Special Section Contents
109 Empty Prams – by Andrea Vasile
And the Wolves in the Factory Paused – by Jon Yungkans
Bamboo Coda – by Jane Rosenberg LaForge
Boundaries – by Holly Guran
Calling the Soul – by Lorraine Caputo
During the Wartime – by Kushal Poddar
an encounter in Fredericton’s Old Burial Grounds (est. 1787) – by Albert Katz
Hopscotch – by Ken Farrell
Indictment – by Harold Ackerman
Ma’s Green Coat – by Lily Prigioniero
Mizocz Ghetto, October, 1942 – by Ken Meisel
Resistance – by Emily-Sue Sloane
The soul eater comes with no strap or boots, his fists tucked in his pockets – by Heather Haigh
Survived – by Toti O’Brien
What I Saw When Looking for my Bones at Lekki – by Ololade Akinlabi￼
Artwork copyright Ryn Holmes 2022
How time flies! Internally, we’re marveling at our milestone of 20 issues. Issue 21 will complete our seventh year, quite a journey that began with outdoor coffee at dusk. Not quite a garage band or a garage business, but you get the idea!
2021 brought a great deal of personal disruption to this Team. (Join the club, right?) We’re fortunate to have each other and to be able to share the wonders laid before us. When physics hurts, go for metaphysics.
Issue 20 ushers in two poems about grief, two from women named Roberta and two from women named Chris, a Christmas ditty and a New Year’s welcome, high school memories, some very short pieces, some very long ones, artistic allusions galore, and more to delight and inspire.
As always, thank you submitters, contributors, readers, and benefactors. We derive great satisfaction from our little place in this expanding world of the written word and hope you do as well.
Let’s make it a great year!
Andrea, Jeff, and Ryn, Editors
#1 Poetoum – Laurie Byro
After Discovering Mother’s Passport – Tina Barry
After “Landscape and Jacaranda,”– Peter Mitchell
All Songs – Barry Peters
All Those Wildflowers – Renee Cronley
At the Back Fence – Karen Loeb
Before This, The Occaneechi – Maura High
Between Being and Not Being – Matthew Friday
Between the Moon and Me – William Reichard
Black Stones – Steve Gerson
Capnomancy – Chris Armstrong
Childhood Never Happens Again – Ryan Quinn Flanagan
Commentary L. Ward Abel
Diners – Rachel R. Baum
The First Stage of Grief – Jane Snyder
Gust – JC Niala
Happy New Year, San Miguel de Allende – John Milkereit
Indecent Exposure – Roberta Schultz
Jeanne d’Arc of the Suburbs – Laura Jan Shore
Kayak – Katherine Gotthardt
The Keepsake Diner – Don Pomerantz
Kinship – Chris Wood
La Mer – Roberta Brown
The Leaf Blowers – Judy Bolton-Fasman
The Lure – by Andrew Jeter
Math Game – Don Noel
Maundy Thursday – Emily Rose Proctor
Morningtide – Diana Dinverno
Musing On Auguste and William – Sharon Berg
A Nickel Short of Heaven – Audrey Howitt
Our Dalliance: Elegy – Linda Jackson Collins
Pandemic Barbie – Dustin Brookshire
Rivals – Charles Rammelkamp
Rural Sonnet – Paul Ilechko
Sand – Alicia Viguer-Espert
Sea Chanteys – Ann Howells
Seeing Life for What It Is – Jeannie Roberts
Sergei’s Hands – Jack Ritter
she had wine with gertrude stein’s widow – Connie Carmichael
Sitting in Bathwater at 1 am – John Casquarelli
Sometimes I Wonder – Scott Ferry
Swam with a whale shark again in 2021 – Sha Huang
Tables of Content – Bruce Robinson
Themes Unbecoming – Victor Pambuccian
Those Dead Shrimp Blues – Charlotte Hamrick
To the Boy with the Golden Hair – Ellen Austin-Li
To Our Executor (first draft) – Tom Barlow
Tonight is the Night I Break Jimmy Taylor’s Poor Heart – Francine Witte
Unexpected Epiphany – Marcelo Medone
A Visit from “The Florida Flash” – Karla Linn Merrifield
Was I Born Hollow – Stephen Douglas Wright
Whisky Hourglass – Hugh Anderson
Such a pleasurable experience! As editors, we enjoy reading thousands of pieces each year, coming from all walks of life, all corners of the Earth. Some seem a bit “extraterrestrial!” To compile our issues, then make our 5-6 Editors’ Choices per issue is quite a stimulation and challenge. Then to reduce them to nominees for this prestigious prize is chilling and memorable.
We hope you find the reading just as chilling and memorable. Please join us in congratulating our nominees.
Love and best wishes,
Andrea, Jeff, and Ryn, Editors
Welcome to Issue 19! We’re pleased to bring you more of the contemplations, wonders, journeys, and time travels of our fine contributors. This summer has been one of tumult and disruption for us here at Panoply, but our submitters’ dedication to the craft buoys us. We hope it propels you into a fine autumn! Stay safe and healthy, everyone.
Andrea, Jeff, and Ryn, Editors
Advice to a Wayward Girl – Barbra Nightingale
The Awakening of Hula – Lisa Creech Bledsoe
Bluegrass Baby – Mary Beth Hines
Breathe – Nate Maxson
Buttermilk and Popcorn – Carol Ellis
Class of Rebels – Linda C. Wisniewski
Cross Chest Carry – Roberta Schultz
Damaged Lily – Morgan Boyer
Evening With Lines From Whitman – Hilary Sallick
Every Condo in Toronto – Cole McInerney
For the First Time in 200 Years, a New Blue Pigment is Up for Sale – Lenny DellaRocca
A Grown City – Purbasha Roy
How the Light Escapes Us – Thomas Allbaugh
I Miss Philadelphia – Robert Beveridge
I Wish I Understood Love George Franklin
In the Blood – Michael Minassian
The Lost Hotel – Steve Klepetar
Meeting the Dire Wolf – Dana Sonnenschein
Night, Old Poet – John Riley
November –John Hart
Now, Then, Later – Margo Davis
Or Rather There Are No Lines in the Time – Jonathan Yungkans
Out of the Park – Daniel Edward Moore
Questioners – Abdulrosheed Fasasi
The Ranger – Robert Nisbet
Requiem for Twenty-Twenty – S.B. Merrow
Saturday – Michael Steffen
Sick of Love – John Grey
Spy Story – James Walton
The Stables on Solly Avenue – Mary Rohrer-Dann
Take Shelter – Akua Lezli Hope
That’s where it ends, the book – Samn Stockwell
Those big-boned, black-haired country boys – Pauletta Hansel
Towards a Nebulous Sun – Lorraine Caputo
A Tragedy’s Brewing – Susan Sonde
Two Girls From Queens Go To Manhattan – Faith Paulsen
Uncharted – Jan Seagrave
The Vulture – Max Heinegg
We Didn’t Cross the Ocean – Mary Anna Scenga Kruch
You ache for something you cannot name – Babo Kamel
Hello Panoply World!
In this semi-post-Covid world, we’re pleased to share the results of our second biennial contest! Our theme was “Feast,” with a lovely and energizing variety of facets to that stone. Remarkably, on this comparatively short list of pieces, we have two dealing with Russian culture. We’re also pleased to share a piece of bona fide cowboy poetry from a bona fide cowboy poet! Pardon the disproportionate sidebar, but we encourage you to explore cowboy poetry. You might be surprised by the craft but also by the voice, perspective, and subject matter. Whatever your taste, we hope you enjoy Issue 18! We extend our heartiest thanks to all submitters and contributors and especially shout out to our contest winners, Pete Mackey, Issa M. Lewis, and Gabrielle Langley.
Issue 19 is planned for early September, with our Call for Submissions due out July-ish. Don’t forget about our weekly Editors’ Choice videos, the first of which is planned for May 21.
Stay healthy. Keep reading and writing!
All our love,
Andrea, Jeff, and Ryn, Editors
The Bells of St. Mary’s – Mark Madigan
Beside – Susan Kay Anderson
Bubbe and the Snow Maiden, Vitebsk, 1903 – Mikki Aronoff
A Celtic Spell – Pratibha Castle
Dinner Parties – Rosanne Ehrlich
Eating the Heifer – Sean Sexton
The Eternal Mother – Vanessa Watters
Fat Family – Robert Nisbet
Fire and Ice – Alexis Rhone Fancher
First Holy Communion – Mary Leonard
Georgia O’Keeffe’s Summer Days, 1936 – Karen George
In My Mother’s Kitchen – Marianne Forman
Like Fingers – Britton Pontoux
My Blue Heaven – Katherine Nelson-Born
November Seeds – Karla Linn Merrifield
sacrificed into residue – Perla Kantarjian
Safe House – Ysabel de la Rosa
Silver Links – Annette Sisson
Stalk Talk – Jennifer Maloney
We All Bought Tickets to the Allusion – Jonathan Yungkans
Why I Leave the States – Bonnie Jill Emanuel
Artwork © Ryn Holmes, 2020
Wait, what? 2021?
Congratulations, you made it. But let’s not fool ourselves that a page-turning is alchemy …
No matter the date or circumstances, we love to bring you “a wide array of fine writing.” We do notice incidental motifs in our submissions. This time, it’s insects and long, winding sentences. Of course, there are plenty of other fine works of all types included!
As always, we thank our contributors for favoring us with their talents. (You’ll notice more than one debut writer this time!) And of course, we thank you, readers, for spending a little time here. We hope you continue to find this publication uplifting and enriching.
All our best for a fine year!
Andrea, Jeff, and Ryn, Editors
1997 – Tony Gloeggler
Aphrodite and Mars – Jakub Svanda
Argyle Forest – C.B. Crenshaw
Awakening – Stephanie L. Harper
but i am only fiercely dreaming – Perla Kantarjian
Celestial Navigation – Diana Dinverno
The Child Born – Virginia Laurie
climb, fall, sober-up – Kelli Allen
Creatures in the Last Hour – Julia Watson
The Depth of Water – Marsha Lewis
Every Dream Holds a Meaning – Sophie Aay
Fireflies – Moinak Dutta
First Artists – Kelly DuMar
First Flight – Nathan McMullen
For Me and For Greta Gerwig – Naomi Hurley
Heisenberg in the Suburbs – George Franklin
Her Face Streaked with Tears – Zvi Sesling
hesperides – Kolbe Riney
Himself – Stephen Ground
Homeless – Sekhar Banerjee
the hour before – Mike Jurkovic
I Am Not Writing About the Rose, I Am Making it Bloom in the Paper – John Milkereit
In His Dream – Ann Howells
Inventory – Stacie Kiner
Kulturaustausch – Sean Kelbley
‘Merica the Insidious – Mike L. Nichols
Pairing Mantids – Paul Jones
Paper – Hugh Anderson
Path of the Dragonfly – Marc Janssen
A Published Poet’s List – Rha Arayal
The Rabbit Looks Away – Issa M. Lewis
Rainbow Connection – Jaelyn Singleton
The Reception – Leonard Temme
Red Dress – Katie Mcilroy
River – Mallory Kellum
Ryou-Un Maru – Joseph E. Arechavala
The Simian Line – Joanne Clarkson
Sorrow – Bruce Meyer
Spider – Robert Okaji
Split – Francine Witte
Sweet Retreat – Emily Jacko
Table – Catherine Arra
Tea As Indicator for Weather – Lenny DellaRocca
Tragedy – Sheree LaPuma
Twilight – Makenna Dillon
Where To Find My Body – Cleo-Paulo Valentino
White Tulips – Carter Vance
The Writer – Kelsey Hontz
Year of Firsts – Joseph Kerschbaum
You Tell Me It’s the Worst Album Ever – Kate LaDew
You Must Share the Secret of Eternal Life With Someone You Love – Sandra Cimadori
Zen Shirt – Joseph Hardy