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featuring Light poets and editors

Julie Kane and Jenna Le join Annie Finch in an online “salon” on the villanelle, recorded here.

The Powow River Poets will host in-person poetry readings Oct. 9 and Nov. 13, 2021,  at 3pm EDT in the Newburyport Public Library, 94 State Street, Newburyport, MA. For more info, email

Many Light poets have been featured recently in Zoom readings hosted by Able Muse Press. Browse the videos here.

Video of Light Editor Melissa Balmain reading from her work and discussing light verse with Rattle Editor Timothy Green is available here, starting about 31 minutes in. (June 6, 2021.) You’ll find earlier footage of other Light poets on Rattle‘s YouTube channel, including A.E. Stallings and Wendy Videlock.

Enjoy all nine of our Light Verse in Dark Times readings, free on YouTube! Each 60-90 minute recording from 2020 includes at least a half dozen of your favorite Light poets, Zooming in from the US and beyond.

And if you’re nostalgic for pre-pandemic life (and who isn’t?) check out our photo album from Light Verse and Heavy Drinking, sponsored by Light in San Antonio on March 5, 2020. See poets congregate in large numbers! See them read poems into a (gasp!) shared mic! And see them thoroughly enjoy the sort of event that—we at Light dare to believe—we’ll get to repeat one of these days.

recently received by 
Light editors and contributors

We’re delighted to announce Light‘s nominees for the Best of the Net anthology (work published from July ’20-June ’21). Combing our long list of possibilities, we were freshly reminded of how lucky we are to publish so many fantastic poets. As always, we wish we we were allowed to nominate dozens of your poems.

Here are the six we chose, plus one cover photo:

Stephen Gold: “The Mud-Spattered Banner”
Julia Griffin: “Sky High”
Jenna Le: “Ode to a Former Physique” 
Frank Schäfer: “Airhead” (cover photo)
A.E. Stallings: “Verses Starting with a Phrase out of Plato’s Republic”
Alex Steelsmith: “All Options on the Table Tennis” 
Julie Steiner: “Rattlesnakes Are Reasonable”

And here are our four runners-up:

J.P. Celia: “English Teacher”
Mike Mesterton-Gibbons: “Harry and Meghan” 
Robert Schechter: “Love Poem”
Ed Shacklee: “The Elephants’ Graveyard” 

Three of Anne Marie Brown‘s poems recently went viral on TikTok.

David Galef is the new editor in chief of Vestal Review, the world’s oldest flash fiction magazine.

Barbara Loots won first place in the 2020 Better Than Starbucks Sonnet Contest, Catherine Chandler won third place, and Richard Wakefield and Max Gutmann received honorable mentions. Read all their poems here.

David Southward‘s sonnet “An Aging Poet Explains” won the 2021 Kim Bridgford Memorial Sonnet Contest (single sonnet category).

Gail White received a Best of the Net nomination for “The Last Speaker of Akkala Sami,” which appeared in Better Than Starbucks.

written, edited, or contributed to by Light poets

Brian Allgar: An Answer from the Past: being the story of Rasselas and Figaro (Kelsay Books, 2020). (Reviewed here.)
Bill Ayres:
What Passes for Wisdom (Finishing Line Press, 2020).
Melissa Balmain: The Witch Demands a Retraction: Fairy Tale Reboots for Adults (Humorist Books, 2021).
Jane Blanchard: In or Out of Season (Kelsay Books, 2020).
Dan Campion: The Mirror Test (forthcoming from MadHat Press, 2022).
Catherine Chandler: Annals of the Dear Unknown (forthcoming from Kelsay Books in 2022).
Brooke Clark: Urbanities (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2020).
Maryann Corbett
: In Code (Able Muse Press, 2020).
Claudia Gary: Genetic Revisionism (a companion to her course “The Poetry of Science, the Science of Poetry”).
Midge Goldberg: To Be Opened After My Death (Kelsay Books, fall 2021).
Phil Huffy
: Rhymal Therapy (2020).
Allison Joseph: Lexicon (Red Hen Press, 2021); In Every Seam (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2020).
A.M. Juster: Wonder and Wrath (Paul Dry Books, 2020). (Reviewed here.)
Julie KaneMothers of Ireland (LSU Press, 2020).
Daniel Klawitter: The Misuse of Scripture (2020). (Reviwed here.)
Barbara Loots: The Beekeeper and Other Love Poems (Kelsay Books, 2020). (Reviewed here.)
Amit Majmudar: What He Did in Solitary: Poems (Knopf, 2020).
Leslie Monsour: The Colosseum Critical Introduction to Rhina P. Espaillat (Franciscan University Press, 2021). (Reviewed here.)
James B. Nicola: Fires of Heaven: Poems of Faith and Sense (Shanti Arts, 2021).
Chris O’Carroll: Abracadabratude (White Violet Press, 2021).
Orel Protopopescu: Dancing Past the Light: The Life of Tanaquil Le Clercq (University Press of Florida, 2021).
Leslie Schultz: Larks at Sunrise: Light-hearted Poems for Dark Times (2021). (Reviewed here.)
David Southward: Bachelor’s Buttons (Kelsay Books, 2020). (Reviewed here.)

Extreme Formal (Rhizome Press, 2021), an anthology edited by Beth Houston, includes poems by Melissa Balmain, Catherine Chandler, Maryann Corbett, Susan de Sola, Kevin Durkin, Nicole Caruso Garcia, Claudia Gary, Robin Helweg-Larsen, Jean L. Kreiling, Barbara Loots, Leslie Monsour, Alexander Pepple, Kyle Potvin, Wendy Sloan, and maybe even more Light contributors and editors. (We’ll update the list once our copy arrives in the mail…)

The forthcoming haiku anthology Eating Salad Drunk (St. Martin’s Griffin, Sept. 2021) includes work by Paul Lander and dozens of other professionally funny people, including Maria Bamford, Mike Birbiglia, Margaret Cho, Jerry Seinfeld, and Sasheer Zamata.

The anthology Moving Images: Poems Inspired by Film (Before Your Quiet Eyes Publishing, 2021) includes poems by Bruce Bennett and Bob McKenty.

The Powow River Poets Anthology II (Able Muse Press, 2021), edited by Paulette Demers Turco, with a foreword by Leslie Monsour, includes work by many Light contributors. (Reviewed here.)

The latest Potcake Chapbooks (Sampson Low Ltd., 2020 and 2021), edited by Robin Helweg-Larsen, include poems by Melissa Balmain, Michael R. Burch, Edmund Conti, Maryann Corbett, Daniel Galef, R.S. Gwynn, A.M. Juster, Bruce McGuffin, Bob McKenty, Chris O’Carroll, Nina Parmenter, Jennifer Reeser, Rob Stuart, A.E. Stallings, Marilyn L. Taylor, and others.


The staff of Light is unable to vet every contest …
but we’re happy to pass the info along.

The Inaugural Bill Hickok Humor Award for Poetry: Submit one to three unpublished poems between Jan. 1, 2022 and Feb. 28, 2022. Entry fee: $15. Prize: $1,000 and publication in I-70 Review. More details here