Friday, March 19, 2021

Paul Szlosek’s “A History of Hardtack (in One Sentence)” is #266 in the never-ending series called BACKSTORY OF THE POEM

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*** Paul Szlosek’s “A History of Hardtack (in One Sentence)” is #266 in the never-ending series called BACKSTORY OF THE POEM where the Chris Rice Cooper Blog (CRC) focuses on one specific poem and how the poet wrote that specific poem.  All BACKSTORY OF THE POEM links are at the end of this piece. (Right: Paul Szlosek in February of 2021.  Copyright by Paul Szlosek)

Can you go through the step-by-step process of writing this poem from the moment the idea was first conceived in your brain until final form? The origin of this poem is a bit unusual, being an odd and unexpected byproduct of the 'A Tale of Two Cities' poetry project which I participated in at the beginning of 2018. 

The brainchild of Nina Lewis (Left) (at that time the Poet Laureate of Worcester, England), the AToTC project was a ‘call & response' in which poets from Worcester, England were partnered via email with poets from Worcester, Massachusetts (where I live) with each poet sending an unpublished poem and the other writing a poem in response to it. 

I was paired with Claire Walker (Right), a lyrical poet who sent me a wonderful poem entitled "Like a Lover" which was about the lifelong relationship certain people form with the sea. 

Being a committed landlubber and raised on a farm, inspired me to write "The Sons and Daughters of Farmers" which in contrast explored the undying bond that some have with the earth and soil.

The problem was that I suspected that my poem might have ended up too close to Claire’s, even derivative, finding myself unconsciously imitating her writing style as well as lifting her metaphor of the lover.   

So I felt I needed to write another poem as an alternative, one with a sea theme that was further away from hers and in my own distinctive style. I actually don't feel much connection to the sea myself, so I was looking for an offbeat, novel way to approach the subject. The only thing I could come up with was that throughout the years I have developed a weird fascination with hardtack, the traditional staple in the diet of seafarers. I already had some basic knowledge, but I did more extensive research online before starting to compose the poem. (Left: A group photo with friends above the Atlantic Ocean on top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park in Maine taken sometime in the mid to late 1980s (Paul is the one in the red jacket).

Also just a few weeks earlier, I saw poet Tony Brown at a local poetry reading introduce his own poem by saying it was written as one long rambling sentence.  He did this while he was performing with his three-man band The Duende Project who often accompany him while he recites poetry. 

So it occurred to me that technique might work well with this poem. The first two-thirds of the poem is just me reiterating what I grasped about hardtack in a hopefully entertaining and poetic way. Figuring out how to end it was a bit tricky, but I did what I feel comes naturally to most poets, and just made it all about myself. The notion of having the audacity of incorporating myself into the history of something I actually had nothing to do with was so pretentious, it filled me a perverse delight. 

When I was finished with it, I sent it on to Claire, but we both eventually decided that the first poem was a much better pairing with hers, so that poem served as my official entry in the AToTC project, and this poem became a mere leftover which I didn't know what to do with. 

Where were you when you started to actually write the poem?  And please describe the place in great detail. I have to first explain that I tend to create most of my poetry in a rather unconventional and eccentric way. It is usually composed solely within my head in a linear fashion, line by line. I keep repeating a line in my mind until I am completely satisfied, then go on to next one, and so on and so on. By the time, I first type it up, the poem is already in its totally finished, completely polished form. 

My favorite time to compose poetry is while walking, so this poem was started and almost completely created along a three to four-mile stretch of Park Avenue in Worcester, MA which is also Route Nine.  (Above Left and Right) It is your typical urban thoroughfare lined with bars, fast food restaurants, used car lots, etc. with rather heavy traffic, and sidewalks which are cracked and dirty.

What month and year did you start writing this poem? January 2018 (Right. Copyright by paul Szlosek)

How many drafts of this poem did you write before going to the final? (And can you share a photograph of your rough drafts with pen markings on it?) Because of the way I work, there were no written drafts, just the finished poem.

What do you want readers of this poem to take from this poem? Nothing profound. Hopefully, they will be somewhat amused and entertained, and maybe even learn something about a subject that they previously didn't know much about.

Which part of the poem was the most emotional of you to write and why? The last third. The ferry-crossing described is a collage of different incidents in my life. The trip to Georges Island is a fond even delightful memory for me. I didn't get seasick that time, but on another boat few years earlier. The bit about soda crackers and flat cola is a remedy for nausea from my childhood. Delving into my past in order to create that scene, of course, did spur an emotional response in me like most reminiscing does. (Left: Paul as a child.  Copyright by Paul Szlosek)

Has this poem been published before?  And if so where? Surprisingly, yes. At first, I didn't think I'd be able to do anything with this poem, but I read it at an open mic at a local coffeehouse, and the response was tremendous. So later when submitting poems to Silkworm 12 in 2019 (which theme was Survival), I added it as a lark with two other poems that I thought had a much better chance of being accepted. Shockingly, "The History of Hardtack (in One Sentence)" was the one they chose to publish. 

Anything you would like to add? Thank you so much, Christal, for letting me be a part of this wonderful series. 

A History of Hardtack (in One Sentence)

Centuries ago, twice, thrice, or quadruple baked

rock-like slabs of flour, water, and sometimes salt

known as hardtack, brewis, pilot bread, sea biscuits,

ship’s crackers, (or disparagingly) sheet iron, molar breakers

and worm castles filled the holds of most seafaring vessels

(along with daily rations of beer or rum), sustaining

royal sailors and merchant mariners, pirates and privateers,

whalers and fishermen, sea dogs and old salts,

the hardiest of men, who endured perilous ocean voyages

lasting multiple fortnights crossing the Atlantic

and Pacific through squalls and dead calm,

while I now stand rubber-legged on the bow of a ferry,

clutching a wax paper sleeve of their frail descendants,

unsalted saltines, which I nibble as I sip from a can of flat Coke

in an attempt to quell a tsunami of queasiness in my stomach,

praying to both Neptune and Nabisco that I be allowed

to survive this hour-long excursion across the bay

from Boston Harbor to George’s Island.

Paul Szlosek, (Left with Captain in November of 2020) who has been writing poetry since the age of five, is a poet currently residing in Worcester, Massachusetts. In 1995, he co-founded the long-running Poet’s Parlor poetry reading which he hosted for thirteen years, first in nearby Sturbridge, and then later in his original hometown of Southbridge, MA.. A past recipient of the Jacob Knight Award for Poetry, and more recently the third-place winner of the 2020 Frank O'Hara Prize, his poems have appeared in numerous publications including the Worcester Review, Worcester Magazine, Sahara, Concrete Wolf, Silkworm,  Molecule, Little Grand, Star*Line, and Diner. He’s probably best known in the Worcester poetry community for his fanatical obsession with obscure poetry forms, and has invented his own including the ziggurat, the streetbeatina, and the hodgenelle which he regularly shares on his blog Paul’s Poetry Playground @ In 2019, Paul co-founded and co-hosted The Poetorium at Starlite Reading & Open Mic Series, which until the pandemic began, was held the last Tuesday of the month at the Starlite Bar & Galley in Southbridge, MA, but now has metaphormosed into a unique monthly online poetry journal in the form of transcripts of imaginary poetry readings called "The Virtual Poetorium" which can be read on the Poetorium website @

All of the Backstory of the Poem LIVE LINKS can be found at the VERY END of the below feature: 



001  December 29, 2017
Margo Berdeshevksy’s “12-24”

002  January 08, 2018 
Alexis Rhone Fancher’s “82 Miles From the Beach, We Order The Lobster At Clear Lake Café”

003 January 12, 2018 
Barbara Crooker’s “Orange” 

004 January 22, 2018 
Sonia Saikaley’s “Modern Matsushima”

005 January 29, 2018
Ellen Foos’s “Side Yard” 

006 February 03, 2018
Susan Sundwall’s “The Ringmaster”

007 February 09, 2018
Leslea Newman’s “That Night”

008 February 17, 2018
Alexis Rhone Fancher “June Fairchild Isn’t Dead”

009 February 24, 2018
Charles Clifford Brooks III “The Gift of the Year With Granny” 

010 March 03, 2018
Scott Thomas Outlar’s “The Natural Reflection of Your Palms” 

011 March 10, 2018
Anya Francesca Jenkins’s “After Diane Beatty’s Photograph “History Abandoned”

012  March 17, 2018
Angela Narciso Torres’s “What I Learned This Week”

013 March 24, 2018
Jan Steckel’s “Holiday On ICE” 

014 March 31, 2018
Ibrahim Honjo’s “Colors”

015 April 14, 2018
Marilyn Kallett’s “Ode to Disappointment” 

016  April 27, 2018 
Beth Copeland’s “Reliquary”

017  May 12, 2018
Marlon L Fick’s “The Swallows of Barcelona”

018  May 25, 2018

019  June 09, 2018
Alexis Rhone Fancher’s “Stiletto Killer. . . A Surmise”

020 June 16, 2018 
Charles Rammelkamp’s “At Last I Can Start Suffering”

021  July 05, 2018 
Marla Shaw O’Neill’s “Wind Chimes” 

022 July 13, 2018
Julia Gordon-Bramer’s “Studying Ariel” 

023 July 20, 2018 
Bill Yarrow’s “Jesus Zombie” 

024  July 27, 2018 
Telaina Eriksen’s “Brag 2016” 

025  August 01, 2018
Seth Berg’s “It is only Yourself that Bends – so Wake up!” 

026  August 07, 2018
David Herrle’s “Devil In the Details” 

027  August 13, 2018
Gloria Mindock’s “Carmen Polo, Lady Necklaces, 2017”

028  August 21, 2018
Connie Post’s “Two Deaths” 

029  August 30, 2018
Mary Harwell Sayler’s “Faces in a Crowd” 

030 September 16, 2018
Larry Jaffe’s “The Risking Point”
031  September 24, 2018
Mark Lee Webb’s “After We Drove”

032  October 04, 2018
Melissa Studdard’s “Astral”

033 October 13, 2018
Robert Craven’s “I Have A Bass Guitar Called Vanessa” 

034  October 17, 2018
David Sullivan’s “Paper Mache Peaches of Heaven” 

035 October 23, 2018
Timothy Gager’s “Sobriety” 

036  October 30, 2018
Gary Glauber’s “The Second Breakfast” 

037  November 04, 2018
Heather Forbes-McKeon’s “Melania’s Deaf Tone Jacket”

038 November 11, 2018
Andrena Zawinski’s “Women of the Fields”

039  November 00, 2018
Gordon Hilger’s “Poe” 

040 November 16, 2018
Rita Quillen’s “My Children Question Me About Poetry” and “Deathbed Dreams” 

041 November 20, 2018
Jonathan Kevin Rice’s “Dog Sitting” 

042 November 22, 2018
Haroldo Barbosa Filho’s “Mountain” 

043  November 27, 2018
Megan Merchant’s “Grief Flowers” 

044 November 30, 2018
Jonathan P Taylor’s “This poem is too neat” 

045  December 03, 2018
Ian Haight’s “Sungmyo for our Dead Father-in-Law” 

046 December 06, 2018
Nancy Dafoe’s “Poem in the Throat”

047 December 11, 2018
Jeffrey Pearson’s “Memorial Day” 

048  December 14, 2018
Frank Paino’s “Laika”

049  December 15, 2018
Jennifer Martelli’s “Anniversary”

O50  December 19, 2018 
Joseph Ross’s “For Gilberto Ramos, 15, Who Died in the Texas Desert, June 2014” 

051 December 23, 2018
“The Persistence of Music”
by Anatoly Molotkov 

052  December 27, 2018
“Under Surveillance”
by Michael Farry 

053  December 28, 2018
“Grand Finale”
by Renuka Raghavan

054  December 29, 2018
by Gene Barry 

055 January 2, 2019
by Larissa Shmailo 

056  January 7, 2019
“The Seamstress:
by Len Kuntz

057  January 10, 2019
"Natural History"
by Camille T Dungy 

058  January 11, 2019
by Brian Burmeister 

059  January 12, 2019
by Clint Margrave 

060 January 14, 2019
by Pat Durmon 

061 January 19, 2019
“Neptune’s Choir”
by Linda Imbler 

062  January 22, 2019
“Views From the Driveway”
by Amy Barone 

063  January 25, 2019
“The heron leaves her haunts in the marsh”
by Gail Wronsky

064  January 30, 2019
by Terry Lucas 

065 February 02, 2019
“Summer 1970, The University of Virginia Opens to Women in the Fall”
by Alarie Tennille 

066 February 05, 2019
“At School They Learn Nouns”
by Patrick Bizzaro

067  February 06, 2019
“I Must Not Breathe”
by Angela Jackson-Brown

068 February 11, 2019
“Lunch on City Island, Early June”
by Christine Potter

069 February 12, 2019
by Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum 

070 February 14, 2019
“Daily Commute”
by Christopher P. Locke 

071 February 18, 2019
“How Silent The Trees”
by Wyn Cooper

072 February 20, 2019
“A New Psalm of Montreal”
by Sheenagh Pugh

073 February 23, 2019
“Make Me A Butterfly”
by Amy Barbera 

074 February 26, 2019
by Sandy Coomer 

075 March 4, 2019
“Shape of a Violin”
by Kelly Powell 

076 March 5, 2019
“Inward Oracle”
by J.P. Dancing Bear

077 March 7, 2019
“I Broke My Bust Of Jesus”
by Susan Sundwall 

078 March 9, 2019
“My Mother at 19”
by John Guzlowski 

079 March 10, 2019 
by Chera Hammons Miller 

080 March 12, 2019
“Of Water and Echo”
by Gillian Cummings 

081   082   083    March 14, 2019
“Little Political Sense”   “Crossing Kansas with Jim
Morrison”  “The Land of Sky and Blue Waters”
by Dr. Lindsey Martin-Bowen 

084 March 15, 2019
“A Tune To Remember”
by Anna Evans 

085 March 19, 2019
“At the End of Time (Wish You Were Here)
by Jeannine Hall Gailey

086 March 20, 2019
“Garden of Gethsemane”
by Marletta Hemphill 

087 March 21, 2019
“Letters From a War”
by Chelsea Dingman 

088 March 26, 2019
by Bob Heman 
089 March 27, 2019
“Clay for the Potter”
by Belinda Bourgeois 

#090 March 30, 2019
“The Pose”
by John Hicks 

#091 April 2, 2019
“Last Night at the Wursthaus”
by Doug Holder 

#092 April 4, 2019
“Original Sin”
by Diane Lockward

#093 April 5, 2019
“A Father Calls to his child on liveleak”
by Stephen Byrne
#094 April 8, 2019
by Marc Zegans
#095 April 12, 2019
“Landscape and Still Life”
by Marjorie Maddox

#096 April 16, 2019
“Strawberries Have Been Growing Here for Hundreds of
by Mary Ellen Lough

#097 April 17, 2019
“The New Science of Slippery Surfaces”
by Donna Spruijt-Metz

#098 April 19, 2019
“Tennessee Epithalamium”
by Alyse Knorr

#099 April 20, 2019
“Mermaid, 1969”
by Tameca L. Coleman

#100 April 21, 2019
“How Do You Know?”
by Stephanie

#101 April 23, 2019
“Rare Book and Reader”
by Ned Balbo
#102 April 26, 2019
by Jefferson Carter

#103 May 01, 2019
“The sight of a million angels”
by Jenneth Graser

#104 May 09, 2019
“How to tell my dog I’m dying”
by Richard Fox

#105 May 17, 2019
“Promises Had Been Made”
by Sarah Sarai

#106 June 01, 2019
“i sold your car today”
by Pamela Twining

#107 June 02, 2019
“Abandoned Stable”
by Nancy Susanna Breen

#108 June 05, 2019
by Julene Tripp Weaver

#109 June 6, 2019
“Bobby’s Story”
by Jimmy Pappas

#110 June 10, 2019
“When You Ask Me to Tell You About My Father”
by Pauletta Hansel

#111 Backstory of the Poem’s
“Cemetery Mailbox”
by Jennifer Horne

#112 Backstory of the Poem’s
by Kate Peper

#113 Backstory of the Poem’s
by Jennifer Johnson

#114 Backstory of the Poem’s
“Brushing My Hair”
by Tammika Dorsey Jones

#115 Backstory of the Poem
“Because the Birds Will Survive, Too”
by Katherine Riegel

#116 Backstory of the Poem
by Joan Barasovska

#117 Backstory of the Poem
by Michael Meyerhofer

#118 Backstory of the Poem
“Dear the estranged,”
by Gina Tron

#119 Backstory of the Poem
“In Remembrance of Them”
by Janet Renee Cryer

#120 Backstory of the Poem
“Horse Fly Grade Card, Doesn’t Play Well With Others”
by David L. Harrison

#121 Backstory of the Poem
“My Mother’s Cookbook”
by Rachael Ikins

#122 Backstory of the Poem
“Cousins I Never Met”
by Maureen Kadish Sherbondy

#123 Backstory of the Poem
“To Those Who Were Our First Gods”
by Nickole Brown

#124 Backstory of the Poem
“Looking For Sunsets (In the Early Morning)”
by Paul Levinson

#125 Backstory of the Poem
by Tiff Holland

#126 Backstory of the Poem
by Cindy Hochman

#127 Backstory of the Poem
by Natasha Saje

#128 Backstory of the Poem
“How to Explain Fertility When an Acquaintance Asks Casually”
by Allison Blevins

#129 Backstory of the Poem
“The Art of Meditation In Tennessee”
by Linda Parsons

#130 Backstory of the Poem
“Schooling High, In Beslan”
by Satabdi Saha

#131 Backstory of the Poem
““Baby Jacob survives the Oso Landslide, 2014”
by Amie Zimmerman

#132 Backstory of the Poem
“Our Age of Anxiety”
by Henry Israeli

#133 Backstory of the Poem
“Earth Cries; Heaven Smiles”
by Ken Allan Dronsfield

#134  Backstory of the Poem
by Janine Canan

#135 Backstory of the Poem
by Catherine Zickgraf

#136 Backstory of the Poem
“Bushwick Blue”
by Susana H. Case

#137 Backstory of the Poem
“Then She Was Forever”
by Paula Persoleo

#138 Backstory of the Poem
by Kris Bigalk

#139 Backstory of the Poem
“From Ghosts of the Upper Floor”
by Tony Trigilio

#140 Backstory of the Poem
“Cloud Audience”
by Wanita Zumbrunnen

#141 Backstory of the Poem
“Condition Center”
by Matthew Freeman

#142 Backstory of the Poem
“Adventuresome Woman”
by Cheryl Suchors

#143 Backstory of the Poem
“The Way Back” 
by Robert Walicki

#144 Backstory of the Poem
“If I Had Three Lives”
by Sarah Russell

#145 Backstory of the Poem
by Andrea Rexilius

#146 Backstory of the Poem
“The Night Before Our Dog Died”
by Melissa Fite Johnson

#147 Backstory of the Poem
by David Anthony Sam

#148 Backstory of the Poem
“A Kitchen Argument”
by Matthew Gwathmey

#149 Backstory of the Poem
by Bruce Kauffman

#150 Backstory of the Poem
“I Will Tell You Where I’ve Been”
by Justin Hamm

#151 Backstory of the Poem
by Michael A Griffith

#152 Backstory of the Poem
by Margo Taft Stever

#153 Backstory of the Poem
“1. Girl”
by Margaret Manuel

#154 Backstory of the Poem
“Trading Places”
by Maria Chisolm

#155 Backstory of the Poem
“The Reoccurring Woman”
by Debra May

#156 Backstory of the Poem
“Word Falling”
by Sheryl St. Germain

#157 Backstory of the Poem
“Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup of 7,000 Jews Detained in an
by Liz Marlow

#158 Backstory of the Poem
“Why Otters Hold Hands”
by William Walsh

#159 Backstory of the Poem
“The Invisible World”
by Rocco de Giacoma

#160 Backstory of the Poem
“Last Call”
by Ralph Culver

#161 Backstory of the Poem
by David Dephy

#162 Backstory of the Poem
“Mare Nostrum”
by Janice D Soderling

#163 Backstory of the Poem
“Winnipeg Noir”
by Carmelo Militano

#164 Backstory of the Poem
“Needlepoint Roses”
by Jason O’Toole

#165 Backstory of the Poem
“Singing, Studying on Whiteness, This Penelope Strings”
by Jeanne Larsen

#166 Backstory of the Poem
“How To Befriend Uncertainty”
by Prartho Sereno 

#167 Backstory of the Poem
“Shostakovich: Five Pieces”
by Pamela Uschuk

#168 Backstory of the Poem
“Bouquet for Amy Clampitt”
by Peter Kline

#169 Backstory of the Poem
by Catherine Arra

#170 Backstory of the Poem
“Silence – a lost art”
by Megha Sood

#171 Backstory of the Poem/ May 09, 2020
“Horribly Dull”
by Mark DeCharmes

#172 Backstory of the Poem/ May 12, 2020
“Celebrating His Ninety-Second Birthday the Year his Wife Died”
by Michael Mark

#173 Backstory of the Poem/ May 14, 2020
“Night Clouds in the Black Hills” 
by Cameron Morse

#174 Backstory of the Poem/ May 18, 2020
“I’ve Been In Heaven For Long”
by Evanesced Dethroned Angel

#175 Backstory of the Poem/ May 20, 2020
by Barbara Crooker

#176 and #177 Backstory of the Poem/ May 25, 2020
“My Small World” and
“My Mistake”
by Tina Barry

#178 Backstory of the Poem/ June 05, 2020
“Against Numbers”
by Andrea Potos

#179 Backstory of the Poem/ June 15, 2020
by Julie Weiss

#180 Backstory of the Poem/ June 20, 2020
“The Tree That Stood Beside Me”
by Carly My Loper

#181 Backstory of the Poem/ June 23, 2020
“Electric Mail”
by Julie E. Bloemeke

#182 Backstory of the Poem
June 24, 2020
“Her First Ten Days”
by Julieta Corpus

#183 Backstory of the Poem
June 26, 2020
“Outside My House Is A Guava Tree”
by Dr. Ampat Varghese Koshy

#184 Backstory of the Poem
July 2, 2020
by Victor Enns

#185 Backstory of the Poem
July 5, 2020
“A Way of Life”
by Dan Provost

#186 Backstory of the Poem
July 6, 2020
“The Alabama Wiregrassers”
by Charles Ghigna

#187 Backstory of the Poem
July 7, 2020
“The Seer”
by Kathleen Winter

#188 Backstory of the Poem
July 11, 2020
“Stuck At Home”
by Valerie Frost

#189 Backstory of the Poem
July 13, 2020
“Between the Earth and Sky”
by Eleanor Kedney

#190 Backstory of the Poem
July 14, 2020
of patience” 
by Eftichia Kapardell’

#191 Backstory of the Poem
July 15, 2020
“Threnody by the President for Victims of COVID-19, Beginning with a Line from Milosz”
by Ralph Culver

#192 Backstory of the Poem
July 16, 2020
“Will Be Done”
by Tom Hunley

#193 Backstory of the Poem
July 17, 2020
“The Love of Two Trees”
by Hussein Habasch

#194 Backstory of the Poem
July 18, 2020
“June Almeida”
by Lev RI Ardiansyah

#195 Backstory of the Poem
July 19. 2020
“After Grano Maturo”
by Matthew Gavin Frank

#196 Backstory of the Poem
July 20, 2020
by Linda Neal Reising

#197 Backstory of the Poem
July 21, 2020
“Will Be Done”
by Tom C Hunley

#198 Backstory of the Poem
July 22, 2020
by Ted Morrissey

#199 Backstory of the Poem
July 23, 2020
“Being In Love at Fifty”
by Anne Walsh Donnelly

#200 Backstory of the Poem
July 25, 2020
“Star pinwheel poem”
by Andrea Watson 

#201 Backstory of the Poem
July 30, 2020
“Gentle Women, Adult Female Persons, and Housewives in Indonesia ♀” 
by Kimberly Burnham

#202 Backstory of the Poem
July 31, 2020
by Don Yorty

#203  Backstory of the Poem
August 01, 2020
“I want to unfold the disease”
by Vanessa Shields

#204 Backstory of the Poem
August 06, 2020
“A Bone of Contention with the Ghost of John Lennon Over Strawberry Fields Forever”
by Ruth Weinstein

#205 Backstory of the Poem
August 07 2020
“Statement by the Pedestrian Liberation Organisation”
by Thomas McColl

#206 Backstory of the Poem
August 08 2020
“Un Poco Pequeño”
by Damon Chua

#207 Backstory of the Poem
August 10, 2020
“mary lou williams’s piano workshop (after Fred Moten)”
by Makalani Bandele

#208 Backstory of the Poem
August 18, 2020
“Roll Credits by KCK”
by Casey Kirkpatrick aka KCK

#209 Backstory of the Poem
August 21, 2020
“Ancient Pyramid”
by Mark Tulin

#210 Backstory of the Poem
August 23, 2020
“How Far the Storm?”
by Charles Malone

#211 Backstory of the Poem
August 27, 2020
“89 Tears”
by Robert Carr
#212 Backstory of the Poem
August 28, 2020 
“Food and Water”
by Brooke McNamara

#213 Backstory of the Poem
August 30, 2020
“To hold, to hollow”
by Meghan Lamb

#214 Backstory of the Poem
September 01, 2020
“Would It Be Too Much”
by Justine Quammie

#215 Backstory of the Poem
September 15, 2020
“Darkest days. . .Loneliest nights”
by Aaron R  

#216 Backstory of the Poem
September 23, 2020
“About My Death”
by Jennifer Barber
#217 Backstory of the Pome
October 09, 2020
“Leash of Deer”
by Catherine Graham 

#218 Backstory of the Poem
October 11, 2020
by Susan Tepper 

#219 Backstory of the Poem
November 22, 2020
by Volodymyr Bilyk 

#220 Backstory of the Poem
December 05, 2020
“the creature of bad habits”
by Erik Fuhrer 

#221 Backstory of the Poem
December 17, 2020
by Nan Lundeen 

#222 Backstory of the Poem
December 28, 2020
by Randall McNair 

#223 Backstory of the Poem
December 30, 2020
“Broken Rainbows”
by Steve Wheeler 

#224 Backstory of the Poem
December 31, 2020
“Elegy for Michael”
by Paul Nelson 

#225 Backstory of the Poem
January 01, 2021
“No One Is Home”
by Katrina Lippolis 

#226 Backstory of the Poem
January 03, 2021
“Dream Truth”
by Rachael Ikins  

#227 Backstory of the Poem
January 04, 2021
by Lucille Lang Day 

#228 Backstory of The Poem
January 08, 2021
by Bartholomew Rothrauff 

#229, 230, and 231 Backstory of the Poems
January 10, 2021
“Armed With Imagination”
“We Siblings Three”
by Randal Burd 

#232 Backstory of the Poem
January 13, 2021
“Adventsmarkt in Wurzburg”
by Arthur Turfa 

#233 Backstory of the Poem
January 18, 2021
“Death of a Carousel”
by Richard Weiser 

#234 Backstory of the Poem
January 19, 2021
“Moon Child”
by Carol Berg 

#235 Backstory of the Poem
January 20, 2021
“In That Good Time”
by Kyla Houbolt 

#236 Backstory of the Poem
January 22, 2021
“Epilogue: 10 Years Later”
by Lannie Stabile 

#237 Backstory of the Poem
January 23, 2021
“Awards Season”
by Maija Haavisto 

#238 Backstory of the Poem
January 24, 2021
by Luanne Castle 

#239 Backstory of the Poem
January 25, 2021
by Caroline Smith 

#240 Backstory of the Poem
January 26, 2021
“Rain Noir”
by Lucia Orellana 

#241 Backstory of the Poem
January 27, 2021
“G the F Knows”
by Martha Silano 

#242 Backstory of the Poem
January 29, 2021
by Stacy Boe Miller 

#243 Backstory of the Poem
January 30, 2021
“To Recapture Faith”
by Ellen Austin-Li 

#244 Backstory of the Poem
February 01, 2021
“Mother’s Reply”
by Lesley Clinton 

#245 Backstory of the Poem
February 02, 2021
by Mercedes Fonseca 

#246 Backstory of the Poem
February 04, 2021
“In The Beginning”
by Dr. M. Rather Jr 

#247 Backstory of the Poem
February 05, 2021
“Beasts and Creeping Things”
by Jessica L. Walsh 

#248 Backstory of the Poem
February 10, 2021
“California Feelin”
by Daniel Wright 

#249 Backstory of the Poem
February 14, 2021
“Your Room – Sky High”
by Deana Nantz 

#250 Backstory of the Poem
February 15, 2021
“It’s Complicated”
by Rose Skye 

#251 Backstory of the Poem
February 17, 2021
by Will Justice Drake 

#252  Backstory of the Poem
February 18, 2021
by Patricia Osborne 

#253 Backstory of the Poem
February 19, 2021
by Kelly Van Nelson 

#254 Backstory of the Poem
February 20,  2021
“Duke Ellington, Live at the Aquacade”
by Ryan A Black 

#255 Backstory of the Poem
February 21, 2021
“The Shuttlecock In Myself”
by Aditya Shankar 

#256 Backstory of the Poem
February 22, 2021
“Fractured Planes: An Empty Defense Mechanism”
by Shareen K. Murayama 

#257 Backstory of the Poem
February 24, 2021
by Carl Porten 

#258 Backstory of the Poem
March 03, 2021
“My Stranger”
by Maria Taylor 

#259 Backstory of the Poem
March 04, 2021
by Christie Williamson 

#260 Backstory of the Poem
March 06, 2021
“The Law of Thermodynamics”
by Adam Ai 

#261 Backstory of the Poem
March 07, 2021
“Dad’s Plot”
by Ellie Rees 

#262 Backstory of the Poem
March 08, 2021
by Shey Marque 

#263 Backstory of the Poem
March 13, 2021
“Suite Ending with the Middle School Symphony Orchestra”
by Erin Malone 

#264 Backstory of the Poem
March 14, 2021 
“Swan Dive”
by Todd Franklin Osborn

#265 Backstory of the Poem
March 15, 2021
“There Must Be Other Words For Cry”
by Lynn Valentine 

#266 Backstory of the Poem
March 19, 2021
“A History of Hardtack ( in one sentence)
by Paul Szlosek 

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