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featuring Light poets and editors

November 3, 2022, 7pm ET, via Zoom: Laura J. Bobrow will read from her chapbook Of the Cat, as one of three poets featured in a “Poetry of Place” reading hosted by the Northern Region of the Poetry Society of Virginia. Email for the Zoom link.

Many Light poets have read and discussed their work in the following online series. Click blue names for videos: Able Muse Press (recent readers: Michael Cantor, William Conelly, Anna Evans, Alfred Nicol, and Jennifer Reeser; Poems On (recent readers: Rhina P. Espaillat, Claudia Gary, Timothy Steele, and Marilyn L. Taylor); and Rattle (including Anna M. Evans (#152), Melissa Balmain (#96), and Wendy Videlock (#84)). 

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.

Hear Julie Kane weigh in as part of an NPR feature on the infamous “Poet Voice”!

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

recently received by 
Light editors and contributors

Please join us in congratulating our nominees and runners-up for the 2023 Best of the Net anthology. As always, it was insanely hard to choose just six of the roughly 700 wonderful poems we published from July through June, in both Poems of the Week and our twice-yearly issues.

The nominees:
Daniel A. Anderson: “I Will Never Stop” (cover photo)
Nicole Caruso Garcia: “My Dirty Bedroom Secret”
Stephen Gold: “Catfight”
Julia Griffin: “Some Like Keeping Up: A Transformation”
Lily Jarman-Reisch: “Chemo Becomes Me”
Derek Kannemeyer: “Corgis and Bess”
Susan McLean: “The Slap Heard Round the World”

The runners-up (aka near-nominees):
Alex Rettie: “The Big Smoke”
Alex Steelsmith: “Scoop to the Loo”
Michael Swan: “Opera”
Richard Wakefield: “Terminal Park”

Last year, we were also delighted to nominate some work from 2021 for the Pushcart Press anthology:

The nominees:
Diane Lee Moomey: “Straight-Laced” 
Susan McLean: “Small Wonders” 
Julia Griffin: “Sky High” 
Stephen Gold: “The Mud-Spattered Banner” 
J.P. Celia: “English Teacher” 
Jerome Betts: “Ophthalmic Note” 

The runners-up (aka near-nominees):
Donald Mace Williams: “Three Bugologues” 
Alex Steelsmith: “Roe Verses” 
Julie Steiner: “Rattlesnakes Are Reasonable” 
Jenna Le: “Ode to a Former Physique” 
Max Gutmann: “We Each Have Got Our Bliss” 

Other recent honors:

Bruce Bennett won Plough’s 2022 Rhina Espaillat Poetry Award. His winning poem appears here.

The Susan de Sola Rodstein Derks Prize in Poetry has been established at Bryn Mawr College. The prize will honor Susan, who died last year, by recognizing undergraduate poetry that gracefully uses poetic form, whether traditional or new. If you would like to make a donation in support of the prize, click here, then click on “Other Designations” and specify “The Susan de Sola Rodstein Derks Prize in Poetry.” The family will be kept apprised of donations on a regular basis; if you wish to remain anonymous, specify that in the Comments block.

Martin J. Elster won first place in the 2022 Chicagoland Poets & Patrons sonnet contest. Gail White, Jean L. Kreiling, and Julia Griffin received, respectively, third place, an honorable mention, and a special merit award.

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

Nicole Caruso Garcia‘s poem “Is This Your Cow?” was selected by Kaveh Akbar for Best New Poets 2021. Her first poetry collection, OXBLOOD, was a finalist for the Able Muse Book Award. Robert W. Crawford and Claudia Gary received honorable mentions in the same contest.

Julia Griffin won both the individual sonnet and sonnet crown prizes in the 2022 Kim Bridgford Memorial Sonnet Contest. (Judge: A.E. Stallings.) Bethany Mootsey received an honorable mention for an individual sonnet, and Catherine Chandler was among the runners-up in the crown category.

Julia Griffin and Richard Wakefield each received a Best of the Net nomination for work that appeared in Better Than Starbucks in 2021.

Jean L. Kreiling won the 2022 Frost Farm Prize for Metrical Poetry. Read her winning poem here.

Barbara Loots‘s The Beekeeper and other love poems was one of three finalists for the 2021 Thorpe Menn Literary Excellence Award.

Amit Majmudar’s novel The Map and the Scissors (HarperCollins, 2022) won Tata Literature Live’s Book of the Year award.

Marilyn L. Taylor won second place in the 2021 Better Than Starbucks Sonnet Contest, Catherine Chandler won third place, and Rhina P. Espaillat and Michael Cantor received honorable mentions. 

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).
Damian Balassone: Chime (2022).
Ned Balbo: Ultraviolet Chimera, a collection of original tunes and lyrics (including some comic ones), available to stream and download at
Melissa Balmain: The Witch Demands a Retraction: Fairy Tale Reboots for Adults (Humorist Books, 2021).
Jane Blanchard: Sooner or Later (Kelsay Books, 2022).
Dan Campion: A Playbill for Sunset (Ice Cube Press, 2022); 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).
Edmund Conti: That Shakespeherian Rag (Kelsay Books, 2021). (Reviewed here.)
Maryann Corbett: In Code (Able Muse Press, 2020).
Boris Dralyuk: My Hollywood (Paul Dry Books, 2022).
K.E. Flann: How to Survive a Human Attack: A Guide for Werewolves, Mummies, Cyborgs, Ghosts, Nuclear Mutants, and Other Movie Monsters (Running Press/Hachette, 2021).
Daniel Galef: Imaginary Sonnets (forthcoming from Word Galaxy/Able Muse Press, winter 2022).
Nicole Caruso Garcia: OXBLOOD (Able Muse Press, 2022).
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, 2021). (Reviewed here.)
David Hedges: Trump Über Alles: Rhymes for Trying Times (Road’s End Press, 2022).
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.)
Jenna Le: Manatee Lagoon (Acre Books, 2022).
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). (Reviewed here.)
Kyle Potvin: Loosen (Hobblebush Books, 2021).
D.A. Prince: The Bigger Picture (HappenStance Press, forthcoming in Nov., 2022)
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.)
J.D. Smith: Catalogs for Food Lovers (Kelsay Books, 2021). (Reviewed here.)
David Southward: Bachelor’s Buttons (Kelsay Books, 2020). (Reviewed here.)
Katherine Barrett Swett: The Basket Cat: Quatrains from Quarantine (2022).
A.E. Stallings: This Afterlife: Selected Poems (forthcoming from Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2022).
Marilyn L. Taylor: Outside the Frame: New and Selected Poems (Kelsay Books, 2021).
Wendy Videlock: Wise to the West (forthcoming from Able Muse Press, 2022); The Poetic Imaginarium: A Worthy Difficulty (essays; forthcoming from Lithic Books, 2022).
Richard Wakefield: Terminal Park: Poems (Able Muse Press, 2022).

Lost Love and City! Oh City are the latest Potcake Chapbooks (Sampson Low Ltd., 2022), edited by Robin Helweg-Larsen and illustrated by Alban Low. They include poems by Wendy Cope, Amit Majmudar, Gail White, Maryann Corbett, Jerome BettsJ.D. Smith, Michael R. Burch, Brooke Clark, Martin Elster, Robin Helweg-LarsenJames B. Nicola, Martin Parker, Cody Walker, Melissa Balmain, and others.

The haiku anthology Eating Salad Drunk (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2022) includes work by Paul Lander and dozens of other professionally funny people, such as Maria Bamford, Mike Birbiglia, Margaret Cho, Jerry Seinfeld, and Sasheer Zamata. (Reviewed here.)

Extreme Formal and Extreme Sonnets II (Rhizome Press, 2021 and 2022), anthologies edited by Beth Houston, include poems by C.B. Anderson, Melissa Balmain, Bruce Bennett, Jerome Betts, Jane Blanchard, Susan Jarvis Bryant, Catherine Chandler, Maryann Corbett, Susan de Sola, Kevin Durkin, Daniel Galef, Nicole Caruso Garcia, Claudia Gary, Max Gutmann, Robin Helweg-Larsen, Jean L. Kreiling, Barbara Loots, Susan McLean, Leslie Monsour, Chris O’Carroll, Alexander Pepple, Kyle Potvin, Wendy Sloan, Rob Stuart, Gail White, and others.

From the Finger Lakes: A Memoir Anthology (Cayuga Lake Books, 2021) includes poems by Melissa Balmain and Bruce Bennett, alongside poetry and prose by dozens of others, including Joyce Carol Oates.

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

Submissions to Better Than Starbucks’s 2022 Sonnet Contest are open until November 30, 2022. 

Plough‘s Rhina Espaillat Poetry Award is open for submissions through March 30, 2023.

Potcake Chapbooks Editor Robin Helweg-Larsen is “keen to read and consider rhymed and metered verse that has already been published” for new chapbooks in the series. Poems may be on any topic and run up to 40 lines (though ones under 20 lines are likelier to be chosen). Other things Robin is looking for: wit, elegance, a variety of traditional and nonce forms, and a variety of voices and moods. Submit 3-10 poems (your own work only, and you must have the rights to it) to—either in the body of your email or as a single attachment. Include a cover letter with a link to more of your work. Robin is especially seeking poems on fall and winter holidays (Christmas, Diwali, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc.), but again, any topic is welcome. 

Submissions to Rhizome Press‘s Extreme Love Sonnets anthology open Oct. 1, 2022 (end date TBA). Guidelines for this anthology and/or subsequent anthlogies are here.

The annual Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest will be open for submissions August 15, 2022-April 1, 2023.