Welcome to Light. Founded in 1992 by John Mella under the name Light Quarterly, it’s the oldest and best-known journal of light verse in the U.S. 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: Thomas Gorman, Lisa Markwart, Margarita Walters, and Liza McAlister Williams
Book Reviewer: Barbara Egel
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 teaches humor writing, poetry writing, and journalism at the University of Rochester. Though she has received the Able Muse Book Award and the Poetry by the Sea 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 and/or prose have appeared in The American Bystander, American Life in Poetry, Ecotone, The Hopkins Review, Lighten Up Online, Literary Matters, McSweeney’s, Measure, Mezzo Cammin, The New Verse News, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Poetry Daily, Rattle, The Spectator (UK), The Washington Post, and assorted anthologies. Melissa’s poetry collections are Walking In on People (Able Muse Press, 2014), The Witch Demands a Retraction: Fairy Tale Reboots for Adults (Humorist Books, 2021), and Satan Talks to His Therapist (Paul Dry Books, 2023). She is a recovering mime.
Kevin’s poems have appeared in Poetry, The Yale Review, Light, 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 Measure, Irresistible Sonnets, Able Muse Anthology, Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California, and Poetry Daily: 366 Poems from the World’s Most Popular Website. His poetry chapbook, Los Angeles in Fog, is an unreliable guide to Southern California weather. 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 a managing editor at The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, he resides with his wife and two daughters in Santa Monica.
Allison lives in Carbondale, Illinois, where she is Professor of English and Director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Southern Illinois University. She serves as poetry editor of Crab Orchard Review. Her books and chapbooks include What Keeps Us Here (Ampersand Press), Soul Train (Carnegie Mellon University Press), In Every Seam (University of Pittsburgh Press), Worldly Pleasures (Word Tech Communications), Imitation of Life (Carnegie Mellon UP), Voice: Poems (Mayapple Press), My Father’s Kites (Steel Toe Books), Trace Particles (Backbone Press), Little Epiphanies (NightBallet Press), Mercurial (Mayapple Press), Mortal Rewards (White Violet Press), Multitudes (Word Poetry), The Purpose of Hands (Glass Lyre Press), Double Identity (Singing Bone Press), Corporal Muse (Sibling Rivalry), What Once You Loved (Barefoot Muse Press). Her collection Confessions of a Barefaced Woman (Red Hen Press, 2018) was the Gold/First Place winner of the 2019 Feathered Quill Award in Poetry and a nominated work for the 2019 NAACP Image Award in Poetry. Her book Lexicon (Red Hen Press, 2021) won the Poetry by the Sea Best Book Award. She was honored as the Illinois Author of the Year in 2022 by the Illinois Association of Teachers of English. She is the widow of the late poet, writer, and editor Jon Tribble.
Julie is a former National Poetry Series winner, Donald Justice Prize winner, Fulbright Scholar, and Louisiana Poet Laureate. Professor Emeritus of English at Northwestern State University in Louisiana, she currently teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Western Colorado University. Her fifth book of poems is Mothers of Ireland (LSU Press, 2020).
Gail lives in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. Her poems appear in numerous anthologies, including Villanelles and Killer Verse from Pocket Poets, Love Poems at the Villa Nelle, Nasty Woman Poets, and Umpteen Ways of Looking at a Possum. She co-edited The Muse Strikes Back and edited the anthologies Landscapes With Women and Kiss and Part. Her book Asperity Street was a special honoree of the 2014 Able Muse Book Award. She is also a two-time winner of the Howard Nemerov Sonnet prize. A new light verse collection, Paper Cuts, is forthcoming soon from Kelsay Books (which also published her chapbook of cat poems, Catechism). Her current cats are Nicholas and Alexandra.
When he’s not toiling away in the light verse mines, Coleman moonlights as a chaplain and assistant professor of religion at Bryn Athyn College in Bryn Athyn, PA, where he lives with his wife and their four kids (plus eight chickens and an elderly dog). His poems have appeared in Light, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, THINK, Grand Little Things, and Trinity House Review, and as prize-winning entries (and more often, prize-losing entries) in The Washington Post’s “Style Invitational” competition.