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ModPo & Experimental Poetry



Harry moves the slice of bread 



his mouth as he talks, 

staring into the distance. 

The fly on the bread is unfazed by the tiny motion, 

and cleans its head, 

cleans its wings. 

Harry keeps talking, 


the bread 


I watch, fascinated.

SuddenlyHarry’sheadsnapsforward and the end of the bread is gone. 

But where is the fly? 

Harry chews now, delicately, bemused, and 



for a tissue and blows his nose. 

The fly staggers out of the tissue and takes off.

“Where was I?” asks Harry. 

The fly probably has the same question.

Robin Helweg-Larsen is British-born but Bahamian-raised. His chapbook “Calling The Poem” is available as a free download from Snakeskin Poetry Webzine, issue 236. He lives in Governor’s Harbour on Eleuthera.

Lunch at My Grandmother’s House

Five of us gather in my grandmother’s kitchen. Three generations under one roof. My grandmother stands at the sink, chopping a cake. We sit patiently at the table, nibbling on cheese and crackers, and drinking blackcurrant juice.

My parents glance at each other. Is now the time? My mother wears a smart red shirt; my father is dressed casually. They share a funny story with my grandmother. The turn-taking is flawless. The punchlines: immaculate. My grandmother turns around. Laughing heartily, she waves the long cake knife dotted with crushed walnuts. Smiles settle over the table.

Silence for a few moments. I turn my head to the right, looking at the expansive backyard beyond.

            In my grandfather’s

            Old vegetable garden

            A cool breeze passes

Ben Taylor lives on the Central Coast, near Sydney, Australia. He enjoys writing, beach-going, being in nature, and laughing with friends.


            A golden shovel for W. S. Merwin


This morning, the sole-flesh of my foot found your

tie clip beneath the bathmat. In my palm, it vibrates absence—

hums a refrain my gut remembers. Time has

thawed me marginally, but you were only meant to stay gone


until 5 o’clock sucked up its traffic jam through

a straw. If you ever find yourself thinking of me,

just know that I remain half-sewn; much like

our flea-market sofa, I keep my memories thread-

bare to see through

them. I fabricated you a

thin & tattered home made of needled



is fraying fire. I

paraphrase rain’s ability to extinguish. For me to do

anything that may wash myself sterile is

to deny my skin is a patchwork of hand-stitched

scars your forefinger traced with

paint twice over; its

permanence left my body in graffitied color.

Allison DeRose is an English/Creative Writing graduate student at The College at Brockport in Western New York. Allison is constantly inspired by words and also enjoys taking photos of nature.

ars poetica in the bathroom


when shaking yourself

free from the day


slapping at your own thigh

black n blue

peering at your iris

milky hazel


when tangling hair

clipping toenails

soaping skin

squeezing stomach


when spitting into the sink

fluoride flushing green

like lake erie tide


dna falling


from your body


that is when

to remember the form


that is when

to compose the stanza


that is when to notice that

you’re washing out to sea



Cameron Gorman is the editor-in-chief of Luna Negra, Kent State’s literary arts journal. She is a student journalist and aspiring poet.

Empty Suit Press
 Sometimes California or the March Set
by Anthony Watkins
Silent Poems
by Anthony Watkins
 Games Poets Play
by ModPo Students

Better than Starbucks began wholly as a creation in my mind. Now the wonderful collaboration of six dedicated editors is creating a monthly magazine that I could have only dreamed about when I was starting out as a one person organization.


Having said that, there are no direct connections between U Penn, Al Filreis, KWH (Kelly Writers House), ModPo (Modern & Contemporary American Poetry), or any of the actual affiliated programs to ModPo and this magazine, other than I have been a part of ModPo for several years now. There is, however, a strong spiritual and intellectual connection between BTS and ModPo.


If I had not gotten involved in the larger community of ModPo, I don't think I would have restarted a literary publication. I am certain I would not have added a Formal & Rhyming Page, and probably not a Translations page. I have a pretty narrow preference for poetry, but the course and the people at ModPo have expanded my view of poetry to the point that I decided if I could find good people to help me do it, we would make BTS as broad of a source of styles and genres as possible. We have been fortunate to establish a team of talented editors and are in the process of an ever expanding quest to find poetry wherever it may be.

Thus, it seems fitting that we dedicate a page to my fellow students at ModPo, and/or anyone who wants to share experimental poems. The thing about experiments is, they often fail, but as the point is to learn, not to create perfection, even failed experiments in the lab or on this page, will offer something for us, if we will find it. and when the experiment doesn't fail... well, you will see! - Anthony Watkins

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