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       Featured Poem of the Month​

         Formal Poetry


Swimming Toward the Light

Fish in caves are born blind,
they haven’t any need for sight.
Darkness is all they will ever know,
yet they easily navigate the waters.

They haven’t any need for eyes,
and—having no sense of what they’ve missed—
they skillfully navigate the waters,
just like all the sighted swimmers.

They have no sense of what they’ve missed,
unlike those who once knew light,
yet—just like all the sighted swimmers—
they move toward life with every breath.

Unlike those who once knew light,
blind fish are satisfied each moment
they swim toward life. With every breath,
they thrive in fluid, tranquil pools.

Blind fish are satisfied. Each moment
for those who remember the sun—
those who once thrived in fluid, tranquil pools—
can drown the soul with cold regret.

Many who still remember the sun
now swim in frigid, hostile waters,
their souls drowned in cold regret.
They move in circles, never at peace.

They swim in frigid, hostile waters,
and darkness is all they will ever know
while—moving in circles of quiet peace—
fish in caves are born blind.


Diane Elayne Dees's poetry has been published in many journals and anthologies. Diane, who lives in Louisiana, also publishes Women Who Serve, a blog that covers women's professional tennis throughout the world.

NEW! Featured PoemEditor's Pick - this month's poem is My Mother's Back by Laura Hampton -  read it in Free Verse

Welcome to Guest Editor Michael R. Burch!

Mike edits TheHyperTexts and has been a frequent contributor to BTS.

His first International Poetry Page is on the earliest English poetry of the British Isles.

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!

The Interview with Rhina P. Espaillat

by Vera Ignatowitsch

Rhina P. Espaillat

Rhina P. Espaillat was born in the Dominican Republic, has lived in the U.S. since 1939, and writes in both English and Spanish, but primarily in English. She has published eleven poetry collections, including Where Horizons Go (New Odyssey Press, 1998), winner of the 1998 T.S. Eliot Prize, Rehearsing Absence (University of Evansville Press, 2001), recipient of the 2001 Richard Wilbur Award, Playing at Stillness (2005), and a bilingual chapbook titled Mundo y Palabra/The World and the Word (Oyster River Press, 2001). She has translated the poetry of Robert Frost and Richard Wilbur into Spanish, among others, from and into both of her languages.

Vera: How old were you when you wrote your first poem? Do you still have it?


Rhina: I began making up poems at age 4, but didn’t know how to write: my grandmother—who was a poet and hooked me on poetry—wrote them down for me when I asked her to. No, I don’t have all those early things: they were left behind in the Dominican Republic. They were all in Spanish, of course. The earliest poem of mine that I have is in English, written when I was 10, in PS 94, in NYC.


Vera: May we read it?


Rhina: Yes, here it is.


The First Snowfall


Fell on the first snowfall

Flowers from the skies

Burying under heaps of snow

The place where summer lies.


And in that same tomb lies my heart,

Dead with summer’s gladness,

Harried by the Autumn winds,

Prey to winter’s sadness.


Vera: Thank you! You’ve been a daughter, wife, mother, and more through your life. Have you always been a poet at the same time? Did that ever result in conflict?


Rhina: Yes, I’ve always written, but sometimes a lot and sometimes very little, when I was bringing up small children and later teaching English in HS in NYC, and even later when I was taking care of aging parents during the little free time I had. But the writing has been with me all my life: mostly poetry, but also essays and stories.

....and now...

...from the mind of...

the Mad Poet 

poetry magazine, editor, Anthony Uplandpoet Watkins, Anthony Watkins

Enter our Haiku Contest - details in June issue on Friday June 1st, 2018.

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