About

Welcome to Light. Founded 24 years ago by John Mella under the name Light Quarterly, it’s America’s oldest and best-known journal of light verse. My fellow volunteers and I are proud to be building on John’s mission to “restore humor, clarity, and pleasure to the reading of poems” by publishing some of the wittiest poets around. ~Melissa Balmain, Editor 

Light’s many friends and supporters include:

Volunteers and Emeritus Staff: Barbara Egel, Lily B. FitzPatrick, Thomas Gorman, Lisa Markwart, Margarita Walters, and Liza McAlister Williams
Webmaster
: Taylor Briggs
Web Designer: Pete Duval
Consulting Editor: Alex Pepple
Directors of the Foundation for Light Verse, Inc., publisher of Light: Melissa Balmain, Bruce Bennett, Dan Campion, Frank Osen

Light’s Editors are:

Melissa Balmain
Melissa Balmain, Editor
Melissa  teaches humor writing, poetry writing, and journalism at the University of Rochester. Though she has received the Able Muse Book Award and twice been a finalist for the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award, some of her favorite prizes are Abe Lincoln bobbleheads, salt and pepper shakers that look like outhouses, and other classy items she has won in light-verse contests. Her poems have appeared in such places as American Arts Quarterly, Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry, Lighten Up Online, Measure, Mezzo Cammin, Poetry Daily, SnakeskinThe Spectator (UK), and The Washington Post‘s Style Invitational; her prose in The New Yorker, The New York Times, McSweeney’s, and Success. Melissa’s poetry collection, Walking In on People (Able Muse Press, 2014), is often assumed by online shoppers to be some kind of porn.
Kevin Durkin
Kevin Durkin, Managing Editor
Kevin’s poems have appeared in PoetryThe Yale ReviewThe New CriterionLight, and numerous other journals, and he has been a finalist for the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award and the Donald Justice Poetry Prize. Some of his poems have been “pickled in anthological brine” (to quote E.A. Robinson) in Measure for MeasureIrresistible SonnetsAble Muse Anthology, and Poetry Daily: 366 Poems from the World’s Most Popular Website. His poetry chapbook, Los Angeles in Fog, an unreliable guide to Southern California weather, is available from Finishing Line Press. Once an itinerant educator, Kevin taught English for several years in Singapore, Kitakyushu  (Japan), New York City, and Washington, D.C. Somewhat later, he trod the boards, mostly in Shakespearean roles, at theaters across the United States. Currently the managing editor at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, he resides with his wife and two daughters in Santa Monica.
Allison Joseph
Allison Joseph, Contributing Editor
Allison lives in Carbondale, Illinois, where she co-directs the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Southern Illinois University.  She serves as poetry editor of Crab Orchard Review. Her books include What Keeps Us Here (winner of the Ampersand Press Women Poets Series Prize and the John C. Zacharis Prize), Soul Train (Carnegie Mellon), In Every Seam (Pittsburgh), Imitation of Life (Carnegie Mellon), Worldly Pleasures (winner of the Word Press Poetry Prize) and Voice: Poems (Mayapple Press).  Her most recent full-length poetry collection, My Father’s Kites, was published in 2010 by Steel Toe Books. Recent published chapbooks include Trace Particles (Backbone Press) and Little Epiphanies (Imaginary Friend Press). Her next book, Mercurial, will be published in February 2016 by Mayapple Press.
Julie Kane
Julie Kane, Contributing Editor
Julie’s most recent book is Paper Bullets (White Violet Press, 2014), a collection of light verse. She is also the author of Jazz Funeral (Story Line Press, 2009), which won the Donald Justice Poetry Prize, and Rhythm & Booze (University of Illinois Press, 2003), a National Poetry Series winner and Poets’ Prize finalist. The 2011-2013 Louisiana Poet Laureate and a former Fulbright Scholar, she is a Professor of English at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Her work appears in more than fifty anthologies including The Norton Seagull Reader, Penguin’s Poetry: A Pocket Anthology, The Book of Irish American Poets from the Eighteenth Century to the Present, and Best American Poetry 2016.
Gail White
Gail White, Contributing Editor
Gail’s career took off with the Formalist movement, since when she has published three anthologies and four books of poetry. Her work appears in several anthologies, including Villanelles and Killer Verse, both from Pocket Poets. She has twice won the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award (2012 and 2013), and was the featured poet in the Summer/Fall 2013 issue of Light. Her chapbook Sonnets in a Hostile World is available from Amazon. Her latest collections are Asperity Street (Able Muse Press, 2015) and Catechism (White Violet Press, 2016). She lives in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana with her historian husband and three cats.