Regular Features Pages
Free Verse with Vera Ignatowitsch
Poetry for Children with Robert Schechter NEW!
The Interview with James D. Casey IV
by Anthony Watkins
Five Featured Poems
James D. Casey IV is the author of seven full-length collections of poetry. He is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Cajun Mutt Press. James is a southern poet with roots in Louisiana & Mississippi, currently residing in Illinois with his beautiful Muse, their retarded dog, and two black cats. Mr. Casey’s poetry touches on a wide range of topics including personal experiences, love, hate, religion, politics, dreams, addiction, sex, parallel dimensions, and many more. James spends most of his time writing but also enjoys practicing magick, creating artwork, and cooking Cajun cuisine.
Editor’s Choice - Formal Poetry
The Last Speaker of Akkala Sami
(Marja Sergina, the last known speaker of Akkala Sami, spoken in villages on Russia’s Kola Peninsula, died on December 26, 2003.)
I didn’t mean to let it slip away,
but when there were no reindeer to be fed
or children to be called, the words began
to fade. It was too easy just to speak
my second language. For a while I used
Akkala Sami in my prayers. I thought
it must exist because God wanted it,
so he would like to hear it. Now I know
that God can do without a lot of things:
Kola, the reindeer, all my people, me —
and when I’m gone the words will all be gone,
unless the sounds are somewhere, like the light
of long-dead stars. But now I think the words
will die with my own voice, and that ends that.
The last one who will hear it is my cat.
Gail White is the resident poet and cat lady of Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. Her books Asperity Street and Catechism are available on Amazon. She is a contributing editor to Light Poetry Magazine (lightpoetrymagazine.com).
AW: Mississippi, New Orleans, Colorado, and Illinois. I believe you left Colorado when you were one and grew up in the gulf coast south. I left Mississippi before my first birthday but have family there and stayed in the south (Arkansas and Alabama), so I still feel a strong attachment to the state. Do you still feel a connection to your birth state? Does it influence your poetic and non-poetic life?
JDC: I do feel a connection to Colorado, but it’s one that hasn’t been fully explored yet. I’d love to visit more, only been back a handful of times since leaving. And it definitely influences both poetic and non-poetic parts of my life. Yet I feel more connected to Louisiana and Mississippi because I grew up there.
AW: Looks like we have something in common, though not an exact match, but it leads me to ask: what brought you to Illinois? What keeps you there?
JDC: I met My Beautiful Muse through poetry. She brought me to Illinois, and I love them both.
Editor's Choice - African Poetry
Whirling in the Open in Bulawayo
Outdoors in one worthy season
Barbequed meat and all — served
Babies crying, smoke one reason
But their feasting moms unnerved
Beautiful happy souls hooked on meat
Roasted to perfection, what a delicacy
Without Afro-music the party is incomplete
Bulawayo, a fabulous food haunt and fantasy
Ndaba Sibanda’s poems have been widely anthologised. He is the author of The Gushungo Way, Sleeping Rivers, Love O’clock, The Dead Must Be Sobbing, Football of Fools, Cutting-edge Cache: Unsympathetic Untruth, Of the Saliva and the Tongue, and Poetry Pharmacy.
Editor's Choice - Haiku
Hadi Panahi is a PhD student from Tehran, Iran. Hadi is in harmony with his environment and shows the depth of a cow’s gaze.
the humid air,
and the gaze of the cow
Throwing a few stones,
our hands hurting,
calm is the sea
A Summer noon,
the male lion yawning
in a zoo cage
(This haiku’s first two lines set up the third with great dramatic effect. —K. McLaughlin)
Publisher’s Choice - Experimental Poetry
Escape to Taos
Come and write
Where magpies chatter in the trees
and blind bees gather in the orange-glory flowers
where houses fly away toward Cassiopeia and Orion
(airs and voices in the summer woods
residual and enduring
illusion of moving water)
the blue floor of evening hovering.
Bell sounds and the cool
transparent notes of Ming Shu flowers.
Nothing of permanence quite remains:
fire flicker, tremble of flame
everything in transition.
Why do we suddenly remember?
The age of memoir requires a memoir journal,
with apple trees flower beds sycamores
droll stories cutting through the world
like knives through butter.
First published in At the Horizon Line.
Jeanne Shannon grew up in Virginia and now lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she writes poetry, memoir pieces, and fiction.
April 28, 2020. Re: print issues of Better Than Starbucks:
Last week our print publisher, Lulu, began migration to a new system. Since then, our print and electronic copies have not been available for purchase. Our May issue, due out tomorrow evening, will still be published online. Contributors will still receive their choice of PDF or eBook. Print copies will not become available until the publisher’s site is fully operational again.
If you’d like to purchase a PDF or eBook of any issue please email us at betterthanstarbucks2@gmail — payment via Paypal only — and also ‘pay what you can’ during the lockdown.
— Vera Ignatowitsch