Posted on

Fantastic Imaginary Creatures

Fantastic Imaginary Creatures: An Anthology of Contemporary Prose Poems edited by Gerry LaFemina. Cover shows a clay figure painted in bright red and green. The creature has wings and pointy spikes that look like pens coming out of his head, and a big toothy grin.

An Anthology of Contemporary Prose Poems edited by Gerry LaFemina

2023 Acceptances Announced

Anthology publication planned for  Spring 2024.

This is the call Gerry LaFemina put out for this anthology: 

The prose poem is the literary sphinx, the literary chimera, minotaur, gryphon–part one thing, part another and at their best, they’re magical, mythical. Fantastic Imaginary Creatures seeks to collect the best contemporary prose poems that demonstrate the potentiality and plasticity the form allows, previously published or brand spanking new. We’re not looking for short short stories, but rather work that explores the liminal space between story and lyric, the luminous spark of possibility in the form.

And of the many fine poets who answered Gerry’s call, these are the poets and the poems Gerry selected:

Valerie Bacharach“Momento Mori”

Ujjvala Bagal-Rahn

“Just Enough House”
Ned Balbo “O Christmas Tree,” and “That Which We Discard We Also Cherish”
Madeleine Barnes “Key Rock,” and “Self Portrait in My Mother’s Closing Lines”
Michelle Boczek Evory “Absolution,” and “Dislocation”
Rick Campbell “Parable of the Forest Pygmy,” and “Forgetting the Nicene Creed”
Joseph Capista “Room for Error,” “Myth,” and “Song”
Gary Ciocco “Being and Becoming”
TS Coody “Mimesis”
Jim Daniels “With Apologies to the Tom Tom Club,” and “At Last”
Anthony DiMatteo “Every Time”
gary fincke “The Hands”
Jeff Friedman “Giver of Gifts,” “Terrorists,” and “Lost Memory”
Molly Fuller “Home Again, Home Again,” and “Tale of the Flopsy Bunny”
Joy Gaines-Friedler “Daffodils,” “Act 20:14,” “Traveling with the Band,” and “The Children’s Ward”
George Guida “Trip Wire,” and “The story of a Life”
Luke Hankins “A Voice out of the Ruins”
Gretchen Heyer“Pasiphae Answers Questions,” “Missionaries Breakfasted on the Word of God,” and “Jute, Two Inches in Diameter”
Tom Hunley “My Chili Recipe (An Ars Poetica)” and “Questions for Further Study”
Anna Jacobson “This is to That”
Peter Johnson “Vaccination, in the Broadest Sense of the Term,” “Crickets,” and “Nice Socks”
Richard Jordan “Jesus in the Café,” “With Feathers,” and “Mackerel Day”
Elizabeth Kerlikowske “At 45th Parallel, Halfway Between the Equator and the North Pole,” and “Tabula Rasa”
Nina Kossman “Kharkiv”
Gerry LaFemina “Fantastic Imaginary Creatures,” “Happy Pigs,” and “Bad Medicine”
Joseph Lerner “The Black Egret”
Geri Lipschultz “Aphrodite in Manhattan”
Lorette C. Luzajic “Feathers,” and “January River”
Gary McDowell “Prose Poem on the Nature of Things; or, Armchair Philosophy,” and “Another Apocalypse”
Kathleen McGookey “Night Sky with Calculus Worksheet”
Jennifer Militello “Identifying the Pathogen,” “Dear B,” and “Antidote with Attempts at Diagnosis”
Robert Miltner “Wolf Dancing,” and “Hopeless”
Erin Murphy “Ekphrasis,” “Gerunding,” and “Hula Dancer”
kerry neville “Decade”
Robert Perchan “The Unselfish Elfins with their Trusty Hammers,” “At Home with Marlboro Jones,” and “The Orgun Box Junkies”
Christine Rhein “Drone Pilot,” and “Sunday Night Retail”
Jane Satterfield “Latin 121,” and “Abbreviated Inventory”
Katherine Smith “Crossword,” and “Quilt”
Joshua Michael Stewart “Yellow,” and “Book of Love”
Virgil Suárez “Chinese Weather Balloon”
Matthew Thorburn “A Hundred Birds,” and “How it Starts”
Eric Torgersen “My Blindness”
Patricia Valdata “Mayfly”
Doug Van Gundy “Sideshow, Barbour County Fairgrounds, 1975,” and “To Join the Circus”
Elinor Ann Walker “Object Impermanence,” and “Fugue State”
Greg Watson “Why I Live in a Cold Climate”
Cathy Wittmeyer “Max Beckmann, Still Life with Fallen Candles, oil on canvas, 1929,” and “Otto Dix, Horse Cadaver, etching & drypoint, 1924”
George Yatchisin “Leap Year”
Michael T. Young “Quoting Blake to Mother,” and “Sweaty Palms”

About the editor, Gerry LaFemina

Gerry LaFemina’s flash creative nonfiction essay collection, The Pursuit: A Meditation on Happiness, came out in 2022. His poetry collections include Baby Steps in Doomsday Prepping, The Story of Ash and Little Heretic. His essays on prosody, Palpable Magic, came out in 2015 and Kendall Hunt recently released his textbook, Composing Poetry: A Guide to Writing Poems and Thinking Lyrically.

Posted on

2022 Arthur Smith Poetry Prize Winners

A photo of poet Linda Ravenswood.

Madville is pleased to announce that linda ravenswood‘s poetry collection, a poem is a house, is the winner of our 2022 Arthur Smith Poetry Prize, judged by Charlotte Pence!

Yiskah Rosenfeld was the first runner-up with her collection Tasting Flight.

We received 52 total submissions. The first round was read by Candance Reaves and Catherine Pritchard Childress, and winners were chosen from a shortlist of amazing work by 

a poem is a house

by linda ravenswood

Winner of The 2022 Arthur Smith Poetry Prize
Upcoming publication date Spring 2024

A photo of poet Linda Ravenswood.

a poem is a house pushes against the borders of poetry to emphasize how all borders are a construct: geopolitical, literary, and personal. Each poem in this outstanding collection reinvents itself, employing a range of forms, such as visual poems and broken poetry cycles, to recreate vivid details of the speaker’s experiences as someone who grew up in California with Mexican ancestry.

Throughout this book, readers experience a state of bardo, a sense of existing between states: between different cultures, between safety and violence, and perhaps most of all, between past and present. Like memory itself, these poems thrive on elision, repetition, and reversal. Take for example an evocative poem placed early in the book: ‘To live at the scene of an accident.’ The two-line poem simple states: ‘To go on living / at the scene of the crime.’ Such sparsity emphasizes the stark reality of the situation and faces it directly without adorned language that could distract from the fact’s horror. What’s more, the book presents readers with four variations of this poem, emphasizing how trauma is not only situated in the past, but something that interrupts the present—and never leaves the body.

One poem tells readers that ‘this is not really a lullaby for the end of the world this is a map to the beginning of the body.’ Such a statement is not a dichotomy, but simply a reality wherein grief and celebration share spaces. a poem is a house is a dazzling accomplishment that presents a new and unique poetic vision.”

—Charlotte Pence, final judge for the 2022 Arthur Smith Poetry Prize, and author of Code

linda ravenswood is a poet and performance artist from Los Angeles and the founder and editor-in-chief of The Los Angeles Press. Her previous books include Cantadora — Letters from California, The Stan Poems, Tlacuilx, X LA Poets, and Hymnal.

Tasting Flight

by Yiskah Rosenfeld

Finalist for The 2022 Arthur Smith Poetry Prize
Upcoming publication date Spring 2024

“A yearning dominates the vibrant poems in Tasting Flight, specifically the desire to be enough. Of course, though, one is always enough. The observant, insightful, and confident speaker in these poems knows this truth intellectually, but searches to internalize such knowledge as in this breathtaking poem ‘Bird Call Koan with Glossary’:

Across the hall I lay in the dark contemplating this, the infinitely expanding universe of what I don’t know. Stars exploding and being born. Moons in our own solar system still uncounted. And yet some things I think I know with certainty: I’m not pretty. I don’t deserve to be loved. 

If I trill my mating call, who will answer me? 

I forget the moon is always whole.

These lines are representative of the well-crafted poetry readers will find in this book, each poem creating scenes with such vivid details, readers feel as if they are with the speaker, perhaps as an adult gazing at the stars or as a child hiding behind the Life cereal box.  Not only are the details engaging, but the form of each poem closely aligns with its subject, be it in the form of a question mark or the dwindling lines in ‘Submission Guidelines.’ All of the poems are deeply rooted in the lyrical tradition, following the switchbacks and curves of a mind always in motion, perhaps contemplating the beauty of moths at night or the intricacies of raising a child. Whatever the subject, Tasting Flight is a book that sings back to the exploding stars.

Yiskah Rosenfeld balances solo parenting with freelance teaching in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her poetry has appeared in The Seattle Review, The Bitter Oleander, Lilith Magazine, Rattle, Cottonwood, Full: An Anthology of Moon Poems, and The Ravens Perch.

The longlist included:


      • Only the Finest Track Stars Smoke Newports by Susan Leary

    The shortlist included:


      Posted on

      Congratulations Gianna Russo!

      Gianna Russo reads from One House Down

      Congratulations, Gianna Russo on a successful book launch!

      It was a huge success, and we couldn\’t be happier for her. Last night, she officially launched her One House Down. There were about 100 people there and they gave her a standing ovation, an encore call, and then bought every single book!

      She read at the beautiful University of Tampa, where we well be attending the Other Words Conference with her in just a few short weeks. It was the perfect venue for this collection of poetry focusing on Tampa, and Gianna is the perfect person to tell the stories of this, her hometown.

      So, again we say, congratulations, Gianna Russo! You deserve it.

      Here are just a few of the comments from early readers:

      “…happiness is a snow globe, our house glued inside…: This is what I feel when reading One House Down, this fantasy in verse, this beauty contained in sprawling lines and stanzas. Each poem, a song. Each song, a swoon. Russo’s newest collection is both a love song and an indictment of a place she knows so well, a Florida without palms and sun, a Florida that is grit, a Florida that represents our world-one which breaks the heart and heals it in the same beat.

      —Ira Sukrungruang, author of In Thailand It Is Night

      One House Down is filled with story-poems from the unsung American South, where natural beauty butts up against strip malls and human ugliness. Tracing her family’s history in Tampa, a city many readers will be surprised to visit, Russo documents with terrific detail a diverse and fascinating culture in this original exploration of a very particular place.

      —Heather Sellers, author of You Don’t Look Like Anyone I Know:
      a True Story of Family, Face-Blindness and Forgiveness

      Get ready. You’ve read the tour-de-force of an opening sentence, a poem hurdling you into the world of One House Down. Now watch Gianna Russo illuminate histories so electric and elegiac, and shadows of shame so persistent, they’re writ in our bones. Yes, this is a book very much about place; but, more importantly, this wonderful collection examines the emotional spaces we occupy as we strive for satisfaction, safety, and meaning. As Russo writes, “Flash at sunset like the luck I never spied.”

      —Erica Dawson, author of When Rap Spoke Straight to God

       From front porches to the places where we live, work, and love, to the highways that lead us both out of the city and back home again, One House Down takes us on a precise and lovingly rendered tour of the rhythms, movements, and loves of a city and its people. Gianna Russo’s poems, expansive yet intimate, make a case that perhaps poetry, rather than the evening news, is the true first draft of our collective history.

      —Steve Kistulentz, author of Panorama and Little Black Daydream

      When it comes to one’s place of origin, the tides are strong—the pull to hold on, and the push to let go. In this luminous, thoughtful collection, Gianna Russo explores the bittersweet legacies of old Florida. One House Down is rooted rooted deeply in place, whether Nebraska Avenue and Central Avenue, cultural seats such as the Fun-Lan Drive-In and the Sanwa market, or the ripe specificity of “Faedo’s Bakery [as] men roll loaves / of Cuban bread, turnovers of guava paste.” I appreciate Russo’s musicality and her formal agility, as she experiments with ekphrasis, ghazal, pantoum, and pecha kucha. Whether the stubborn advice of the Methodist Women’s Society Cookbook, or the dark chuckle of a plaster cat on a funeral home’s roof, these are poems we need.

      —Sandra Beasley, author of Count the Waves

      Posted on

      Poetry for Fall 2019

      Poetry Collections by Two Award-Winning Poets in Fall 2019

      Have we told you about the the outstanding poetry collections we have leading off our Fall 2019-Spring 2020 offerings?

       \"AA Clearing Space in the Middle of Being, by Jeff Hardin

      978-1-948692-18-2 paper 16.95
      978-1-948692-19-9 ebook 9.99
      6×9, 72 pp.
      September 2019

      If the taste of the eternal “is increasingly absent in our words,” then Jeff Hardin’s sixth collection, A Clearing Space in the Middle of Being, attempts to behold language anew, to listen in on its “preview of eternity.” Aware of ambiguities that plague our lives and given to swerves of logic and dislocations, to echoes and reverberations “too numerous to see in some totality,” his poems nonetheless speak openly to existence, to the mind’s “attempts/to console itself,” and to the “intoxication of incoherence” existence so often feels like. Here in a postmodern world, is it still possible to step boldly into certainty, into clarity, to find a sacred and shared space where “all moments blaze up with a speaking/voice”? Hardin listens intently, discovering more and more how “wanderingly vast” enchantment still might be. In the presence of so many options for understanding, he chooses to believe “a new/parable unfolding, still instructive,” pointing him toward a fellowship with others who likewise “lean toward thinking some healing is already/underway.”

      Jeff Hardin is the author of five previous collections of poetry, most recently Small Revolution and No Other Kind of World. His work has been honored with the Nicholas Roerich Prize, the Donald Justice Poetry Prize, and the X. J. Kennedy Poetry Prize. His poems have appeared in The Southern Review, Hudson Review, North American Review, Gettysburg Review, Southern Poetry Review, and many others. He is a professor of English at Columbia State Community College in Tennessee. Visit his website at


      \"OneOne House Down, by Gianna Russo

      978-1-948692-20-5 paper 16.95
      978-1-948692-21-2 ebook 9.99
      6×9, 72 pp.
      October 2019

      The candid poems in Gianna Russo’s One House Down are grounded in experiences of ambivalence and oneness, not unlike those we sometimes find in true love. Russo ruminates on the past and scrutinizes the present in her hometown of Tampa with honest affection, concern, anger and delight. She asks an essential question: How can we treasure a place whose history and values have sometimes supported injustice? And if those wrongs are still evident today—then what? With family roots in Tampa that go back over a century, Russo skillfully pursues an answer in these inventive, surprising poems.

      Gianna Russo is a Tampa native and third generation Floridian. She is the author of Moonflower, winner of the Florida Book Award Bronze and Florida Publishers Association Silver awards. A Pushcart Prize nominee, she has had publications in Green Mountains Review, The Sun, Poet Lore, The MacGuffin, Tampa Review, Valparaiso, Ekphrasis, Crab Orchard Review, Florida Review, Florida Humanities Council Forum, Water Stone, Karamu, The Bloomsbury Review, and Calyx, among others.  She is founding editor of the Florida poetry chapbook publisher YellowJacket Press ( She holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Tampa. She is Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at Saint Leo University where she directs the Sandhill Writers Retreat.