Read Volume 22!



“Dolphins That Spend Mambo” by Halina Duraj

Ruthie poses next to the angel and says it’s weird to post next to the tombstone. … She kneel-squats instead of standing and that’s better. She doesn’t look so tall, by which I guess I mean so alive.

“Dark Place” by Robert Martin

I got up and went to the bathroom because I was having so many unarticulated feelings that they oozed right out of me.

“The Words to Say It” by Rosanna Staffa

Excited, he hugged me so tightly it hurt. He wouldn’t let go. I had to wear long sleeves to cover the marks left by his fingers.


“Crying, Dunkin Donuts, and Men Who Look Like My Father” by Katie Walsh

My sister, Maggie, told me once that the sight of a plastic deli bag full of sliced turkey sitting on her kitchen counter reminded her so much of Dad, she started to cry. A deli bag.

“My Oxytocin Moment Was Weirder Than Yours” by Kim McFarden

Fluorescent bulbs illuminate the intimate folds between my legs where a crowd gathers in the tradition of modern childbirth, craning their necks.

“Silver Dollar Drive-In” by Harrison Candelaria Fletcher

We saw parts of ourselves tied down and held captive by run-on frames of the American Dream.


“Ritual” by Janelle Cordero

his neighbors ask him why he doesn’t just buy a damn radio / that’s not the point /

Two Poems by Valerie Nieman
          “Our Hands Were Once Webbed”
          “I Left the Old Country”

you cannot count the beads I knit
into an acceptable face.

Two Poems by Nur Turkmani
          “Car Rides to There”
          “Baqā, or a Night of Sufi Music”

One day the sky is purple eyeshadow, the next day it’s something else.

“Summon” by John Sibley Williams

After centuries of playing at manhood, say:
the borders have softened.

Three Poems by Gail Martin
          “The Canary in My Heart”
“The Sky Is Not Falling, People, It’s Just Architecture”

That point where the eye can no longer take you

is what interests me

“Whisk” by Deborah Davidovits

         arms and legs
whisk the water

“Moby Dick Was a Good Man” by Stephen Hitchcock

                             What I want to say is how terrifying the world is.
So I’ll say it

“If I Lived in a Soap Opera” by Morgan Eklund

I like how everyone forgives him—
I like how they all come back—

Two Poems by Ron Stottlemyer
          “Vacant Lot”

Something always left over
at the end of the day, never just arrived.

Two Poems by Allan Peterson
          “Separation Anxiety”

The world began because the lights came on

How Art Rescues the Artist: An Interview with Rebecca Pyle

Interview by Taylor Gianfrancisco

Rebecca Pyle is the featured artist of Volume 21. She is an oil painter and writer who has lived throughout the United States. Her artwork has been shown in publications such as the New England Review, the Hawai’i Review, Friends of the Great Salt Lake, and Sine Cera.
Continue reading “How Art Rescues the Artist: An Interview with Rebecca Pyle”

Read Volume 21!



“Ragamuffin” by Phillip Scott Mandel

Ragamuffin. That’s what your father called you, in his raspy English vodka-addled voice. Regg-eh-muff’n. A big man, larger than Peter the Great. When you were a child, he was Stalin’s Great Terror. He was only trying to make you tough. Rah-gah-muffin.

“How to Breathe Like a Man” by Alex Apuzzo

“Y’all get hooked too easy,” he says, and I know he’s talking about me, too, because of how I can’t stop thinking about things, how I bite my nails in place of breathing. “And don’t forget nothing. Can’t just make do. Wanting so bad you think it’s a need, like air or water or warmth. That’s a woman for you.” 

“Vanishing Twin” by Jaime Campbell

Her hands settled on her abdomen, which pooched out even though nothing grew in there at all now. Still, the lingering shape reminded her of the war for survival that had taken place inside her as she looked from her stomach to Pesha.


“I Am Thinking About Flowers” by Brianna Pike

I am trying to imagine blue and white and yellow flowers when my mother calls. I am trying to imagine aster and daisy and corn flower when my mother calls to tell me my grandmother is dying.

“Counting the Omer” by Marcela Sulak

The grasses are accustomed to bending. These winds are accustomed to prayer. 

“In the Mists” by David Micah Greenberg

Simultaneity allows us to recognize change. This is because the image of what is long gone remains, to show us how far we have cast it aside. 

“In Which I Imagine Running into Shinsuke Nakamura at Waffle House One Night” by Brian Oliu

Separation is key here: white from yolk, cream from coffee, each square a pit to fall into, rounded on some edges, hard and harsh like the prongs on a fork in others. 


Two Poems by Yasmin Kloth
          “Moving Boxes Like Building Blocks”
          “Sea Glass”

All my broken places I hope
are not broken
in the same places in you.

“Self-Portrait as Diversionary Tactic” by Ann Keniston

Our mother’s body was a raft
that leaked or wasn’t tied

together right.

“Reading the Autobiography of William Carlos Williams” by Lex Runciman

He knows fever and worry flare at 3am,
knuckles or a fist on his door, or his phone rings-

“Joan of California” by Sheree La Puma

Before the wedding, Joan savors the sweet
of sweaters, cashmere & pearls.

“San Stefano” by Rebecca Aronson

I wanted mainly to look at the way the light falling through an arch
changes the mossy stubble on the ancient bricks

“The First Image, a Script” by Olivia Bates

the beauty of the gardens
is that there are so many

“The Unoriginal Presentation of an Eating Disorder” by A. M. Kennedy

I don’t kiss for a decade but tomorrow
would still be too soon. I chew my lips too if that helps.

“When I Hit Bottom” by Jeremy Radin

I wear the dark sweatshirt at the angry
height of summer let absence lay waste
to my hands

“Tearing Down Spiderwebs” by Ruth Baumann

When I would black out in stranger’s houses
& miss days at a time, yes, of course I held
keys between the fingers in my heart

Two Poems by Helen Hofling
          “Letter from a Mailbox Key to the Moon in the Puddle”
          “Letter from Dental Floss to a Funeral Home”

ritual is the foundation of meaning in society
you and I both know that let’s not be coy

“About My Tumor, Before I Meet Her” by Abby E. Murray

She—I know my tumor
is female—

“I Imagine Myself Grateful” by Susan Cohen

Afterbirth is membrane.
What can afterlife be made of?

“The Clearing: Off Penn’s Creek” by Steve Myers

Being down on his knees—was that what saved my mother’s brother,
up there at his Centre Cnty. cabin in the early Seventies?

“Embouchre” by Megan Merchant

My music teacher tells me to travel home, to always

end there.

“Equinox” by Jessica Goodfellow

No amount of day could ever be equal
to the same amount of night.

On Writing Poetry, Part 3: Creating Urgency

by Taylor Gianfrancisco

I went to a reading this past February where the author, Bonnie Jo Campbell, said “writing poetry must come from an emotional urge.” To take it one step further, I would say that the best poems have a sense of urgency – or rather, a call of action – them. Continue reading “On Writing Poetry, Part 3: Creating Urgency”

Writing Personal Truth Through Nature and Metaphor: An Interview with Margie Patlak

Interview by Brian Wallace Baker

Margie Patlak has been writing professionally for over three decades. Her articles have appeared in many popular newspapers and magazines, such as Discover and The Washington Post, and her creative nonfiction can be found in such venues as Hippocampus, The Hopper, and Cold Mountain Review. I recently had the opportunity to interview Margie about her extensive writing career, as well as her essay “Rock of Ages,” which received an honorable mention in JuxtaProse’s 2018 nonfiction contest and was recently published in Volume 20.  Continue reading “Writing Personal Truth Through Nature and Metaphor: An Interview with Margie Patlak”

On Writing Poetry, Part 2: Self-Implication & the Sense of Self

by Taylor Gianfrancisco

Pablo Picasso once said, “Good artists copy. Great artists steal.” Even though it is debated whether he is the first one to recognize the natural duplicity of all artists, the acknowledgment of the quote in this article is to emphasize that there are no original stories or poems. For writing (or any art in particular), the appeal of the work is in the different perspective it has. Continue reading “On Writing Poetry, Part 2: Self-Implication & the Sense of Self”

Volume 20 Now Available!



“Halloween” by W. Andrew Ewell

A general disarray characterized the evening. Candy wrappers tumbling down the sidewalk. Wind whipping up empty soda cans. The soul of the night seemed somehow damaged.

“Hail, Beast” by Jen Julian

But she’s trying to convince herself she didn’t see what she thought she saw, because it scares her. Because she knows she will long for it, and long for it, and it will have no use for her whatsoever.

“Other People” by Jason Zencka

How often did you see a person really frown like that, Peter thought, with the lips turned down like in a child’s drawing? Not very often, it seemed. His wife was remarkable.

“Gorgon” by Genevieve Plunkett

It happens most often when I am cleaning the house. The head arrives unexpectedly, anticlimactically, like a lost sock at the bottom of the hamper, or a deflated basketball in the garage. 


“Little Earthquakes” by Suzanne LaFetra Collier

They don’t even crack the plaster; they scarcely tilt the paintings. Things are just a hair off center, not like anyone would notice.

“Rock of Ages” by Margie Patlak

I want grounding, something stable to grasp, and what better way to find it than to understand the solid ground right underneath my feet.


“Tell Me Whatever Will Help Me Lay Hold of the Day” by Joe Wilkins

Up through the fire-scar we go,
& slow, kneeling at the spill creek

“Re:fuge Sonnet (2018)” by Cynthia Hogue

but rationalists thing is dangerous. Everything
depends upon identity-clarity.

“The Sycamore, the Walnut” by Idris Anderson

curls of leaves under foot. Wind-drifts like particles
of grammar fallen astray, prefixes and suffixes
and Latin roots for something I wanted to say.

“Come Again to the Woods” by Deborah Cummins

slowly, the way leaves come, arrive
at their turnings.

Two Poems by Jennifer Hambrick
          “Spitting Downstairs”
          “There Is Grass in This Death”

Third floor, Ishmael Apartments
no elevator even on grocery days—

“Six O’Clock on the Cape” by Bruce Lowry

On the Cape, everything
gets wet then eventually dries:

“The Molting” by Alessandra Lynch

See how the flowers
………..stammer around me?

Two Poems by Jenny Qi
          “Sun Setting on San Francisco”

Mostly, all I remember is fog. Fog and rain until wetness
became me, washed me up and wrung me out.

“In the Early Days of the Postcard” by Corinna McClanahan Schroeder

August hangs like a heavy dress.

“Mitosis” by Teresa Scollon

Strange, the silence
of anguish under glass.

“Chain” by Jayme Ringleb

A dried sweetcorn cob I left
on the deck for two
wild dogs

Two Poems by John Kinsella
          “Processing César Vallejo’s ‘Los Anillos Fatigados'”

Getting inside the blossom and dowsing in pollen
without causing damage, that’s the euphoria

On Writing Poetry, Part I: Abstract & Concrete Images

by Taylor Gianfrancisco

 Some poets rely on the most literary, beautified images – concrete or abstract – to express themselves. While the commercialization of poetry allows the public to expand their reading prowess, the poets though that rely on these basic images and concepts are often showcased rather than the ones who searched & revised their poems for clarity & unity. Continue reading “On Writing Poetry, Part I: Abstract & Concrete Images”

Interview with Xiao Yue Shan

Interview by Lisa Gregg

Xiao Yue (Shelly) Shan, winner of the JuxtaProse 2018 poetry contest with her two poems “if beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror” and “search by no light,” is a Tokyo-based poet. We were fortunate to be able to discuss both her poetry and the beauties of poetry generally with her, despite a vast time zone difference. Her creative spirit and pinpoint focus were a joy to engage with, as you can read below.

Continue reading “Interview with Xiao Yue Shan”

Interview with Erin McGraw

Interview by Jennifer Batler

Erin McGraw is the author of “Joy,” published in the current issue of JuxtaProse. Her short fiction has also appeared in The Atlantic, The Southern Review, Ploughshares, and The Kenyon Review. She’s a Pushcart Prize winner three times over and the author of several novels, including The Seamstress of Hollywood Boulevard and Better Food for a Better World. Her most recent publication, a collection of short stories titled Joy, was released March 5th.

When I spoke to her in preparation for this interview, we discussed how Joy became the title not only for a short story, but also for a whole collection. McGraw allows that the title can be taken as either ironic or straight; it’s a word that leaves room for more than one interpretation. This touches on the depth of experience waiting for the reader at the outset of “Joy.” Characters are given the space to explore the shifting definitions of emotions like grief, which exist in a suspension of judgment for the span of the story. In the past, McGraw has called herself a writerly “magpie,” and “Joy” is rich with small details placed like treasures for the reader to find. In similar fashion, we hope you’ll find some valuable insights into writing and craft in the following interview. Continue reading “Interview with Erin McGraw”