Spring 2023 (5.1)

Photo credit: Kevin J. McDaniel

Dear Readers,

According to Frost, the “making” of a poem “begins in delight and ends in wisdom.” In this edition of STR, we present poems frothy and light as ice cream and as “heavy” as a stone Buddha, all following Frost’s dictate. Indeed, the making of ice cream in “Slow Churned” may well serve as metaphor for the making of a poem. Other simple tasks also morph into metaphor. For instance, the “lifetime” of a man’s shaving becomes an epic journey like Odysseus’s “foam and grit lining the sink like a dirty seashore.” The killing of a fly becomes an execution. An ex-con “dies” and is “reborn” a poet “carving poems out of stone.” Borders become “a yellow line . . . no one can pass,” holding us in “like the shell of a tortoise or a bad egg.” Even Billy the Kid, in a bookstore, gets his turn. Finding poetry “as dangerous as his fast gun,” he shoots it out with Federico Lorca and reads Ferlinghetti.


Kevin J. McDaniel, Founder of Speckled Trout Review
Nancy Dillingham, Associate Poetry Editor

Featured poets: KB Ballentine, Ace Boggess, Chris Bullard, Tom Dvorske, Mary Fister, Lynn Gilbert,
Ben Groner III, Joan Mazza, K.E. McCoy, George Moore, Laurie D. Morrissey, Leah Mueller, Lorrie Ness, Richard Rubin, Leland Seese, Russell Thorburn _________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Forgetting You
I went to the woods, left your grin in the dark,
 but you kept smiling from the grain of the bark.
I leaned into your roughness, arms stretched wide,
 but scraped my cheek and shredded my nails,
then found an ax and a five-gallon pail.
 I cut the trunk down, hacked every branch
and built a campfire that could melt an avalanche.
 You warmed my hands, my toes tingling, too,
as flickers of flames and sparks climbed the night,
 devouring your voice in shadows and light.
But you sang again when a tree frog appeared,
 kept on until dawn when storms crashed through.
Desperate, I admit, I tossed you aside,
 then waited for lightning to strike its mark.
When it did, your humming abandoned my heart,
 and you came back as a raindrop instead.
Some days the weather is perfectly clear;
 on other days gray tempests appear.
Now you are there; now you are not.
 If anything’s left, I’ll leave it to rot.

Lost in mist, even the familiar
becomes foreign. I could be
in the Skelligs or the Andes,
one foot ready to lead me over
a cliff-edge—no one knowing
to search for me, my cry caught
on only moss and rock.
It’s odd, this going in gray,
suffused in silence and droplets
that bead eyelashes and hair
though it’s not raining,
like stepping into a Basham painting
and vanishing into the raw unknown.
Twilight dissolves into darkness,
more dramatic than fog’s earlier
monochrome. Somewhere,
beyond my seeing, the moon perfumes
the heavens—
      light, more light.

KB Ballentine’s eighth collection, Spirit of Wild, launched in March with Blue Light Press. Her earlier books can be found with Iris Press, Blue Light Press, Middle Creek Publishing, and Celtic Cat Publishing. Published in North Dakota Quarterly, Atlanta Review, and Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, her work also appears in anthologies including I Heard a Cardinal Sing (2022), The Strategic Poet (2021), Pandemic Evolution (2021), and Carrying the Branch: Poets in Search of Peace (2017). Learn more at www.kbballentine.com.
Solo Show
Night before my birthday
in my last year of freedom,
I went to see Michael
Glabicki from Rusted Root
perform solo on a riverboat.
I sat next to him at the bar.
We chatted about hockey,
a new casino in Pittsburgh, &
the psychology of writing
alone versus in collaboration.
Then my friend arrived
with her red hair & black dress
that sounded louder music.
We hugged, held hands as if dating,
sat together during the set
while songs stirred feelings
we thought cake batter
that turned out to be honey.
She went home to her boyfriend
who shared my birthday, &
I to my wife on whom
I never slept around despite
occasions of overwhelming
love. The pause from normalcy
was enough: two hours
of bodies glued by riffs.
We were fires that
joined in a brittle wood
before splitting to fizzle
separately in the rain.

Goodbye for Now, Goodbye
I did as you asked. I died
inside & was reborn
an ex-con alone,
poet carving poems out of stone,
a layabout lazing in autumn sun,
a singer—voiceless—
drowned out by the winter wind.
I did as you asked. I died
a little more each hour &
was better for it,
rich with hope—a curse—
life would improve
with the icy pristine scent of snow
falling across a landscape
witnessed without you.

Ace Boggess is author of six books of poetry, most recently Escape Envy. His writing has appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Notre Dame Review, Harvard Review, and other journals. An ex-con, he lives in Charleston, West Virginia, where he writes and tries to stay out of trouble.
On Swatting a Fly
What kind of a soul
into a fly?
That suggests
pretty bad karma,
if you ask me.
Something he did,
something he thought
about doing.
The only way out
from a bug’s life
is execution.
Hands together,
tranquilized by a shaft
of sunlight,
he was begging
for my downstroke
to come.
I did him a favor,
really. That’s what
all murderers say.

Chris Bullard is a retired judge who lives in Philadelphia. In 2022, Main Street Rag Publishing published his poetry chapbook Florida Man, and Moonstone Press published his poetry chapbook The Rainclouds of y. His poetry has appeared recently in Jersey Devil, Stonecrop, Wrath-Bearing Tree, Waccamaw, and other publications. He was nominated this year for the Pushcart Prize.
A Story about Men
Every morning I slide a blade along my throat,
up to my chin, turn it under my nose, and bring
it along my cheeks in a tiresome ritual intended
to make me feel and look clean. So close
to suicide it would likely be called an accident.
I never leave notes, except on the rare occasion
my wife and I are on separate schedules. It stretches
before me—this task—as long as the rest of my life,
every day confronting the will to live, the will
to commit. Standing now in front of the mirror,
foam and grit lining the sink like a dirty seashore,
I see Odysseus, in his cloud of hair, ancient
and beggarly, knock on the door of his own house
after twenty years, waiting to be let in.

Tom Dvorske lives in central Florida and works at Florida Polytechnic University in multiple academic departments. His work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Cloudbank, Sentence, Passages North, RE:AL, Texas Review, Louisville Review and, in the anthology, It’s Not You, It’s Me: the Poetry of Breakup (Ed. Jerry Williams, Overlook Press, 2010). His chapbook, What You Know, was published by Lazy Frog Press in 2002.
What Gallops Near
When last spring’s mud dried, 
I trusted enough to ride 
down the path sheened 
with leaf buds, reached 
the end where a hay field  
opened up, seized by its glory. 
I let him out and galloped, 
and he did not harden his mouth 
or run away but stayed lightly  
in my hand. As the sun  
gentled my back, I rose up 
in my stirrups 
that he might better fly. 
I curved my legs around his sides, 
gave in to his urge to gallop on, 
unhinged the fifty-year-old stiffnesses 
in my hips, ankles and wrists, 
suppled them out with his reaching, 
became unseated by how much 
I knew then, how little  
I know now. 
When I returned to the barn, 
my daughter was grooming 
a strawberry roan, 
whose owner never shows, 
but whose ribs do. 
She told me she curried him twice, 
and his back arched up. 
Then, she brushed him with the dandy, 
polished his hooves 
the full two hours while I was out, 
put him away with five carrots 
she broke apart with her teeth. 
This reminds me of a horse 
who suppled through serpentines, 
basculed over high fences, 
and all I had to do 
was follow him over. 
But I put him away, stopped coming, 
shunned the clear gift of him, 
and, all these thirty years later, 
I still see his eye that asks 
whether he was to blame 
for his mud-caked coat, 
burdocked mane, 
the idle days,  
the twinge of them 
no mere nip.
Now I ask whether he held up 
most of those gallops 
at low tide, 
rewards for his willingness 
to carry me? 
Or can neglect be curried out 
through the burnishing strokes 
of my daughter’s brush?

Mary Fister teaches writing and literature at the University of Hartford where she has been a professor for thirty-something years. Her poems have appeared in journals such as The Massachusetts Review, Ploughshares, Tar River Poetry, and Volt, among others. Her chapbook, Provenance of the Lost, was published by Finishing Line Press. Her first full-length book, Quick to Bolt, is being released in April 2023 from Green Writers Press. She lives with her kitties BooDah and Maibee, and her horse, Milli.
Three O’clock in the Morning (Waltz, 1922)

I’d pump the foot-bellows until I panted, my fingers
braced under the keyboard, whose ivories
were scaling off like winter hangnails. Inside a sliding door
above the music shelf, each roll spooled down past

tiny dark slots in the tracker bar, releasing a vacuum
that made the hammers hit the piano strings—
the punched code worked much as in Jacquard looms 
used to weave luxurious brocades and damasks.  

Chords and big bass intervals were rolled shamelessly
from pinkie to thumb; the treble wobbled with cheap tremolo;
glissandos filled in any blank spots in the Tin Pan Alley lyrics
printed in block-letter syllables in the right margin.

Perched there I watched the holes rush past like Niagara,
the runs of notes rippling right to left and back, 
every phrase at the same thumping pace, 
and I would sing along, warbling each syllable

with its partner-note, though the lyrics my grandparents
had favored back in the '20s were revoltingly
saccharine to a nine-year-old. In Vienna at three o’clock, 
party-goers may have been waltzing, giddy, but in Ohio 

at three, it was afternoon: Grandma was outdoors 
pulling wash off the line; Grandpa was in his shop
pushing a plank through the migraine scream of his plane saw; 
I was pumping out “It’s three o’clock in the mor-ning” 

or “Just a cot-tage small by a wat-er-fall,” wondering 
who it was that waited by that garden gate
to smile my troubles away, or why I laughed 
as I yodeled, “All a-lone, I’m so all a-lone.”

Lynn Gilbert’s poems have appeared in The Banyan Review, Blue Unicorn, Concho River Review, Exquisite Corpse, Gnu, Kansas Quarterly, Light, Mezzo Cammin, Mortar, Peninsula Poets, Southwestern American Literature, and elsewhere.
She lives in a suburb of Austin, TX.
A Potter’s Field
The cold silver of the river reflected 
branches ornamented with bras,
face masks, a plastic chair. 
A detonation of geese drifted to 
the transformers and towers; a lone 
heron loomed, blue and gone.
Now, the city drones like a conscience,
neighborhoods perforated with churches,
pimpled with overturned trash bins. 
Still, I drink the liftoff of eleven cardinals 
in the yard next door in one cherry gulp.
How they must miss their missing kin.
He had scrabbled after the scattered
seeds just as they had, had asked
a few of the more complex questions.
But he’d erred greatly, flown from
the others, as rumors alighted his
dead feathers had fallen into a field.
A traveling tradesman once swore
he’d seen him soar in some flyover 
state, and they hope he knows he has
suffered enough, that should he shuffle
in with downturned beak and slurred
whistle, they would, with wide wings,
               welcome his return.

Abandoned Fairytale
You can’t miss it: along US-30, the towering
Pied Piper of Hamelin, patriotic in his 
red pants, his blue jacket and cap, golden
instrument pressed to his lips—
                        From street to street he piped, advancing/
                        And step for step, they followed, dancing
But the fairytale park has been closed 
for decades, the rest of the giant statues—
the goofy pink egg atop a stone wall,
the whale with a knight on its tongue,
the brown shoe (conveniently roofed),
the mushroom with a door and chimney,
as if someone resides in the stipe—
are dingy, deteriorating. So much is
abandoned, left in the past.
                        There was an old woman who lived in a shoe,/ 
                        She had so many children she didn’t know 
                        what to do
What to do with the ten thousand miles
behind us, with the hundred or so left to go?
Do we continue to merge like streams, 
or do we diverge, disentangle, drift apart 
like tides until years utterly obscure 
the other from view?
                        Simple Simon went a-fishing/For to catch 
                        a whale:/All the water he had got/ 
                        Was in his mother’s pail
While a sack of pale scenes dangles 
at my side, the flayed light simmers 
out of the sky, and I’m back in Memphis, 
sequined pants sparkling on an animatronic 
Elvis; back in Phoenix, the dusty shoes 
of Japanese internment camp prisoners
stacked up like bones; back in North
Platte, the Buffalo Bill Cody shrine 
jutting from the Nebraskan flatness, 
wooden and phallic. 
                        Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,/ 
                        Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
We drive on, past cracked Schellsburg 
storefront windows, empty and eerie,
past all those museums we’d perused, 
glimpsing ourselves reflected back 
in the panes of glass. Everything 
after tonight will be remembering 
a remembering. The mind recalls 
itself, recollecting what cannot 
be collected again.
                        Old Mother Goose, when/ 
                        She wanted to wander,/Would—

Ben Groner III (Nashville, TN), recipient of a Pushcart Prize nomination and Texas A&M University’s 2014 Gordone Award for undergraduate poetry, has work published in Whale Road Review, GASHER, The Shore, Rust + Moth, and elsewhere. He’s also a former bookseller at Parnassus Books. You can find his work at https://bengroner.com/.
Already it has come to this, my habits odd
even to me, rising after midnight for an hour
or two to listen for the heat pump and bump
around the Internet before returning to bed
for three more hours filled with busy, peopled
dreams. Days of pondering my next meal,
cooking beans or lentils, and polishing my
long nails, to let them dry while reading
five books at a time. I wear a knitted cap
all day, one that doubles as an eye mask
at night. I sit out of sight to watch the stray cats
come to feed on the back porch, note which
ones use the two cat houses I built for them.
My inside cat says no one else is welcome. 
Wasn’t this the life I always imagined,
longed for? To live alone in the woods
reading, writing, reading, writing, to nap
near a wood stove fire, with only pets,
without the critical voices of lovers, parents,
and former friends, except for the voices
I’ve internalized—my dire quest
to shut them up, to bind and gag
them, and place them on the pyre.

*noun. The unhinged delirium of being alone for an extended
period of time. From The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows by John Koenig.
A combination of solitude + asylum + Elysium (heaven).
Pronounced “soh-lee’-zee-uhm.”

Joan Mazza worked as a medical microbiologist, psychotherapist, and taught workshops on understanding dreams and nightmares. She is the author of six self-help psychology books, including Dreaming Your Real Self. Her poetry has appeared in Slant, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Italian Americana, Poet Lore, The MacGuffin, Potomac Review, The Nation, and elsewhere. She lives in rural central Virginia and writes daily.
Slow Churned

Summers at my grandparents’, we
Made ice cream the old-fashioned way:
Circled up around a
Newspapered workspace on the kitchen floor,
The churn as headliner,
Pouring the cream into its metal bucket
Set into the wooden barrel,
Then packing the space in between with
Ice and rock salt
Till our hands burned,
We had to remember not to wipe our eyes.
Sealing the churn, each kid wanting the first turn at the crank—
Ten, twenty, thirty quick spins and then done,
The crank-handlers getting older as the 
Turning got harder,
Lifting the lid sometimes to
Scrape down the slushy sides,
The task always outlasting
Our short-legged patience,
Until, in the end, it was my grandfather
Alone, in the kitchen,
Sweaty, but smiling, bidding us back in to 
Dip our spoons into that chest of sweetest treasure:
Creamy, with a hint of salt,
More delicious, as it hit our tongues,
For how long it has come,
Sprinkled with the salty-sweet crinkles
Of Grandpa’s icy-blue eyes,
There, as if to remind us, 
That transformation 
Is the work
Of a lifetime.

K.E. McCoy's poetry has appeared in Remington Review, Riverbed Review, Eunoia Review, Stoneboat Literary Journal, and Willows Wept Review. Her poem "Reversal" received a Pushcart nomination. She lives with her husband and children in Wisconsin.
The Border
Crows cross it with ease
in their hidden blackness
and the wind crosses it
without a visa
in the tracks of wolves
in the burr of bees
But it’s a line
drawn in the sand
and oceans wash it away
or it’s a yellow line
down a wide street
and no one can pass
It holds us in
like the shell of a tortoise
or a bad egg
a softness broken
Wave goodbye then
to your Derry grandmothers
to the Highland clan
who wandered back and forth
across oceans for a crop
for a potato or a promise
They moved as you moved
north to a new territory
married a renegade
a disbeliever a profligate
away from the old faith of
do-it-yourself of make-my-day
to slip back and forth
on a crow’s invisible visa

George Moore has poetry in The Atlantic, Poetry, Colorado Review, Orion, and Stand. His collections include Children’s Drawings of the Universe (Salmon Poetry 2015) and Saint Agnes Outside the Walls (FutureCycle 2016). He lives on the south shore of Nova Scotia.
The Fossil Hunter
for Mary Anning (1799-1847)

It was lightning, said many—a bolt
of lightning that flung unlooked-for brilliance
into an unlikely mind. Others explained it
differently: divine favour.

Either way, the most fortunate fossil finder
on the Dorset coast (maybe in all of England)
had a knack for spotting flying dragons
deep in the layers of limestone and shale

laid down by Jurassic seas. The fossil hunter,
a carpenter’s child, combed the windblown cliffs
each day; collected, classified, and drew; assembled
clues to the mysteries of the earth and humankind.

Pieced-together bits of bone became long-necked
lizards, sharp-snouted fish. And, sure enough,
geological gentlemen found their way to her door
to study plesiosaurs—ichthyosaurs—the whorled

shells of marine mollusks. Skeletons left behind
in clay came to rest on mantelpieces in London
and under exhibition glass in Paris and Berlin.
Darwin and Lamarck pioneered their theories.

Lightning-struck or God-gifted, the carpenter’s
daughter understood that the earth was old and life
changed with the ages. Outside the parish church
she lies, on a cliff crumbling into the sea.

Laurie D. Morrissey is a New Hampshire writer of poetry, essays, and nonfiction. Her poems have been published in Poetry East, Appalachia, Blueline, The Worcester Review, Modern Haiku, and other journals. She is the author of the haiku poetry collections all the stars i can swallow and the slant of april snow.
Stealing Buddha
Ten-pound stone Buddhas
don’t seem like they would be
ripe for pilfering, but the statue
I bought in a garden shop
disappeared after bar-time,
snatched by a drunken thief.
I’d kept the saint beside
my front steps: corpulent stone legs
curled in lotus, puffy face
deformed by perpetual cheer.
A friend smirked,
“Someone is going
 to steal that thing.
 Call me cynical.”
Who would swipe a deity?
Three mornings later,
I opened my door, saw the void
where Buddha had rested:
grey eyes blank as he regarded 
6th Avenue traffic. Buddha would say
the spot was the same without him,
since he never existed at all.
I cursed the friend
who saw my fate coming.
She knew I needed a lesson in
non-attachment, yet I still mourned
the fifty bucks I spent on a whim.
Westerners grasp karma like ants
divine calculus. Or perhaps ants
divine calculus, but my cranium
overflows with decaying material:
piles of obsolete newspapers,
mildewed from lack of use.
Either way, the moral eludes me.
I imagine Buddha
in a stoner’s living room
beside a wide-screen television,
fronted by an enormous bong.
The thief can’t recall how
a deity entered his apartment.
Buddha materialized from nothing,
as he has for thousands of years.
Now, the void remains where
my statue once sat. Vacant space
bears its own weight. Buddha’s eyes
follow each passing car.
No one can see him but me.

Leah Mueller's work appears in Rattle, NonBinary Review, Citron Review, The Spectacle, Miracle Monocle, New Flash Fiction Review, Atticus Review, Your Impossible Voice, among others. She is a 2023 nominee for both Pushcart and Best of the Net. Her flash piece, "Land of Eternal Thirst," appears in the 2022 edition of Best Small Fictions. Website: www.leahmueller.org.
Coal Country
Fog & coal dust
work their alchemy on winter hills,
blotting bark & limbs until the tangle of brown softens
to plum. In this valley,
even air pollution is an asset—
a curtain that can be closed. At a quarter to seven,
a stray dog yelps, a toddler with a sagging diaper darts
from a trailer,
a Chevy rolls to a stop. It idles
as a child gets out, places a penny on the track.
He lays his ear to the rail. No crossing gate severs the one-lane road
ahead of the truck.
Two longs and a short—
the only warning as a Norfolk Southern
rounds the bend. Its cyclops headlight pierces the haze.
For a moment, father & son
can see clearly,
the bare-chested baby playing in the cold.
After the train passes, the boy bends down to harvest the copper coin,
then heads back to the Chevy.
Arms out, toe to heel
atop the rail, he looks up only after he’s sure
the view is blurred by his breath—warm as the penny pressed
into his palm.

Lorrie Ness is a poet in Virginia. Her work can be found in numerous journals, including THRUSH, Palette Poetry, and Sky Island Journal. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2021, and her chapbook, Anatomy of a Wound, was published by Flowstone Press in July of 2021.
Trash Day
They were brawny men,
thick and heavy-gloved,
smelling of work,
gripping the tail of the truck,
house by house,
one stutter step at a time.
Each Wednesday,
a week’s life wheeled out in bins.
A tale of midden:
fists of tissue, condoms,
tomato remains and
the skins of spuds.
Now.  A single man
in a cab of glass, grabbing
with arms of metal and joint,
no sweat, no muscle, 
just the strain of engine
and the heedless lift, dump and crush.
It always ends the same—
in a graveyard of stories
heaped and buried,
the voices muffled
by the orphaned stuff of the earth.

Richard Rubin is a retired librarian and library educator who has been writing poetry for personal satisfaction for many years. Recently, he published some of his current work in Great Lakes Review, Willows Wept Review, Kakalak, and American Diversity Report.
One More Test

Waiting to drive to my morning appointment,
I hear your voice, bearer of a half-heard omen, 
jumbled information
from a game of Telephone.

I ignore you, push aside the worry 
that has led me to postpone this visit twice. 
The doctor is young.
She’s nice, as my mother used to say

of people who (she would convince herself) 
had only noble motives—
car mechanics, 
neighbors wielding aspirations.

You chirp again, song so bright and sweet
I wonder if you’re nothing 
but a fledgling or a fantasy
this fine open-doorstep morning.

With resolve I do not have
for my visit to the clinic, I rise,
scent of raspberries livening 
June light, garden

hard at work with honeybees 
and myriad green leaf-eaters.
I’m strangely lit: Who are you?
Someone’s messenger?

I angle for a straight-on glimpse,
the way a CT scan might tell my young physician
if there’s a shadow where there shouldn’t be.
Through the screen door, 

light and leaves
swirl their private pas de deux.
Swift movement cuts the show.
You’re gone, and now it’s time to go.

Leland Seese's poems appear in RHINO, The Stonecoast Review, The Chestnut Review, Rust & Moth, and many other journals. His poem "PTSD" received honorable mention in the North Carolina Poetry Society's "Poems of Courage" contest judged by Ebony Stewart. He and his wife live in Seattle, their six grown children nearby. Contact him at www.lelandseesepoetry.com.
Levon Helm Sings for All the Virgil Caines

Your dream address can be anywhere
down any rail of regret.
A train whistle far away but close
as a heartbeat buried in song.
In defeat Virgil Caine can’t dig back up
his Confederate brother, killed by
a Yankee bullet, reminding you of your lost
brothers, in mud and blood of Vietnam.

Now that war rests heavy on your shoulders,
your dream address leaves you face to face
with all the Virgil Caines. The demeanor
of those who have given blood and mind,
have eyes vacant as empty houses,
their teeth like fences needing mending.
You want to tell them something
about taking the best from a generation
and your refusing to relent,
the letter that saved you from the draft.
You breathe through your eyelids,
as if a mystic suddenly at the Café Paradiso,
a name you made up, for the heaven of it,
and sitting there alone, with a bitter coffee,
you listen to that dream train
split its whistle cry apart and collect
the shards into a glittering rail of song.

Billy the Kid in a Bookshop  

Poetry was as dangerous as his fast gun.
He’d shoot it out with Federico Lorca
when he carried his books into the desert.
They’d even find him with Ferlinghetti’s work,
out among leftover stars before morning.
The blonde cashier asked him if he was famous.
But Billy thought only of Boot Hill
and the 400 graves left unattended.
The gunslinger was paging furiously
through a Bible he kept in the top pocket 
of his chapped jean jacket, a ranch hand 
who caught straying cattle for John Tunstall, 
an English rancher who taught the Regulators 
croquet before he was murdered. Billy the Kid, 
lost in time, found his fast draw was for books.
He should be in a desert hole, not here, 
visible to his killers. He hadn’t shaved in three days. 
“You look kind of familiar to me,” she whispered, 
mistaking him for someone she could not name. 
There seemed to be an uneasy truce between him 
and the world of poetry. Her freckles danced 
when she asked if she could snap his picture for their wall, 
and, without making a foolish move, he smiled back, 
his buck teeth like the dull blaze of bullets.

Russell Thorburn is the author of Somewhere We’ll Leave the World (Wayne State University Press). A National Endowment for the Arts recipient and first poet laureate of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, he lives in Marquette with his wife. His poems have appeared in many literary journals and anthologies, including, Respect: The Poetry of Detroit Music and Undocumented: Great Lakes Poet Laureates on Social Justice. Thorburn’s new poetry collection, Let It Be Told in a Single Breath, will be published by University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Cornerstone Press, in 2024.





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