July 2018 Vol. III No. VII
Not your ordinary poetry magazine!
If good coffee (or just the concept of coffee), great books, sharp wit, and great authors excite you, we are for you!
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Our next issue will be September 2018!
Regular Features Pages
Free Verse with Suzanne Robinson
Haiku with Kevin McLaughlin
Formal & Rhyming Poetry with Vera Ignatowitsch
Poetry Translations with Vera Ignatowitsch
African Poetry with Tendai Rinos Mwanaka
International Poetry with Michael R. Burch
Sentimental Poetry with Anthony Watkins
Prose and Form Poetry with Anthony Watkins
Better Than Fiction! (creative non-fiction)
Featured Poem (Publisher's Pick)
Featured Poem (Editor's Pick)
Featured Poem of the Month
November 17, 2017 was the ten-year
anniversary of her death.
Cancer riddling my aunt’s breasts,
gone for a year,
it came back the next.
Her funeral was held in a small, dim-lit
brick Baptist church.
My father dragged me out
for turning my coloring book
pages too loudly.
The next day I was
sitting by myself in my grandparents'
living room sunken into the couch crying.
Ten years later all I have is a picture from an artist at a mall
that hangs in my grandparents'
family room. It stares at me
every time my grandfather says the blessing
for our Sunday lunch.
I stare right back at her
Wishing I remembered the Easter egg hunts
where she held my pink basket and I ran
around the yard being pushed
over by my favorite black lab, Dixie.
Her picture sits in a scrapbook
Just like her body does under rotting
flowers that I have to pass by.
Caroline Adams is a rising senior at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Jacksonville, Florida where she studies creative writing. She is excited to have her first poem published.
Featured Poem - Editor's Choice
this month's poem is
Wallets and Wallowings
by Pamelyn Casto
read it in Prose & Form Poetry
The Interview with William Blake
An Imagined Conversation by Kevin McLaughlin
Closeup of 1807 portrait of William Blake by Thomas Phillips.
Forward: Three months ago I had the opportunity to pass through a time-space wormhole in the Cosmos, and travel back to England, the year 1825, to conduct a brief interview with visionary poet, painter, and printer William Blake. In many parts of this text I took the liberty of updating Blake’s words as spoken into the style of 2018 English. I sat in their small parlor. Blake and his wife were in the nude à la Adam and Eve. They had been reading Milton’s “Paradise Lost” when I popped in unexpectedly. The Blakes were unfazed by my appearance, the poet having had extensive experience with heavenly visions. -Kevin McLaughlin
Please note that any direct quotes and more than one paraphrase were derived from “The Complete Poetry & Prose of William Blake” edited by David V. Erdman, Doubleday Anchor Books.)
Blake: Welcome, Archangel. And what might be thy name?
McL: I am Kevin Mclaughlin. I’ve come from the 21st century to interview you for BTS magazine. Your work is enormously popular in our age.
Blake: A petty sneaking knave I knew, why Mr. McLaughlin, how do ye do? I am not fond of critics. As for my influence and fame in future centuries, I am not surprised. Great things are done when men and mountains meet.
McL: By way of introduction to our readers, I am going to quote some of your work, and ask for your comments.
Blake: Fair enough. Degrade first the arts if you’d degrade mankind. And in my era, the arts have been slandered. (Note: During his lifetime Blake was largely ignored by all but his most savage critics.) Let me introduce my work with selections from an early piece, “Proverbs of Hell,” an excerpt from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Typically, I wrote the poem on sheets of illustrations I drew and my wife and I colored. I borrowed stylistically from the Bible, and some of Dante’s devices.
Drive your cart and your plow over the bones of the dead.
The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.
He who desires, but acts not, breeds pestilence.
Prisons are built with stones of Law, Brothels with bricks of religion.
The lust of the goat is the bounty of God.
The nakedness of woman is the glory of God.
Better Than Starbucks 2018 Haiku Contest
sponsored by John DeCesare and CraftekDesign
First Prize $50
Second Prize $30
Third Prize $20
We’re delighted to announce that Better Than Starbucks has been named a finalist in the Best Debut Magazine category of the Firecracker Awards. The Community of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) sponsors these awards each year to support and celebrate independent publishing. Thank you CLMP and judges for recognizing our publication. And thank you to all of our poets, creative writers and editors who have contributed so much great work!