Episode 44: Fairy Dust Watches and John Bonham

November 2, 2017

Episode 44: Fairy Dust Watches and John Bonham


Present at the Editorial Table:

Kathleen Volk Miller

Tim Fitts

Marion Wrenn

Samantha Neugebauer

Joseph Kindt


Production Engineers:

Joe Zang

Matt Propp


On this week’s episode of Slush Pile, our editorial table discusses Kayla Carcone’s “Benediction for: the boy who’d know it was his,” and “Foresight.” We began, of course, by letting listeners know that our new co-op Joseph is a Gemini. Tim Fitts reminded us that he’s just published a new book through Xavier Review, titled Go Home and Cry For Yourselves.

Kathy, having just returned from a trip to Abu Dhabi where she met with Samantha and Marion, talked about time as a meaningless idea as she went to teach classes as soon as she got back. The experience made her think of Artemesian fairy dust watches, made with shattered mirrors and vintage frames.


Kayla Carcone is trying to practice humility. She is also trying to rewatch every episode of Dawson's Creek with a critical eye and eat less cheese. None of these things are panning out. She often thinks about the complexity/simplicity/overall weirdness of gratitude & how she feels it for every poet & essayist who has managed to keep her writing & alive. Sometimes, she tweets.

We started with Carcone’s “Benediction for: the boy who’d know it was his,” and whether you read in, listen in, or both, you’ll know that this is a loaded, arm-hair kind of poem. We had to read it a second time! This brought Kathy and Marion back to their time in Abu Dhabi, reviewing this poem with a class of Marion’s, and even bringing Kathy to tears.


“Foresight,” was a slow-you-down, snap-inducing poem! Another loaded, dense, and intense work, our talks of tempo got us talking about John Bonham’s aesthetic and style as Led Zepplin’s drummer (naturally).


“The world is full of pixie fairy dust, that’s for sure.” -Marion Wrenn

Episode 43: Family Matters

October 12, 2017

Episode 43: Family Matters


Present at the Editorial Table:

Kathleen Volk Miller

Tim Fitts

Sharee DeVose

Jason Schneiderman

Marion Wrenn

Joseph Kindt


Production Engineer:

Joe Zang


This week’s episode of Slush Pile sees the editorial table discussing George McDermott’s “Frames Per Second” and Gabrielle Tribou’s “The Loneliness of Mothers.” On this episode, we also say goodbye to Sharee Devose as PBQ’s Co-Op and welcome Joseph Kindt as the next, but don’t worry--Sharee has an open invitation to join us for any future podcasts we record, so she’ll be around! As lit lovers, our conversation trying to find the right word to describe Joseph’s training experience led to some hammer banter about  Game of Thrones character, Gendry, before starting our editorial meeting with George McDermott’s work.




George McDermott has been exploring the Merry-Go-Round Effect. Many years ago, he left high school English teaching to become a speechwriter and screenwriter. Some years later, as a sort of penance, he became a teacher again. Most recently, he’s co-authored a book with a woman who was a student in one of his eleventh-grade English classes. He’s hoping that traveling in circles can add up to progress.  See more  @ www.gorge-mcdermott.com; www.facebook.com/WhatWentRight and Twitter: @McDwrite

We really enjoyed reading George McDermott’s “Frames Per Second.” Tim Fitts enjoyed it so much, in fact, that he is tempted to steal some of the lines. Then, speaking of plagiarism, Jason mentioned a recent plagiarism scandal involving a former Canadian Poet Laureate taking work from Maya Angelou and Tupac Shakur! Naturally, then, Marion transitioned us to talking about Cinema Paradiso’s 25th anniversary, and talks of obsoleted technologies led us to our vote! Listen in to hear the results before we moved on to Gabrielle Tribou’s “The Loneliness of Mothers.”

Gabrielle Tribou currently lives in Hue, Vietnam. When she's not working, she splits her time between the different cafes in her neighborhood, visiting an average of three per day. She's a fan of vegetables and public green spaces.  

“The Loneliness of Mothers” got us into deep discussion about the role of mothers and parenting. After two poems dealing with various family matters, we shared stories about our parents, and Kathleen and Sharee bonded over a friendly parenting tip for all to enjoy: Take your kids to The Home Depot! Tim reminded us not to forget to get some Honeycrisp apples while they’re in season, and Jason shared a list of good reads for you to look into. Tune in to hear all about it.

Episode 42: Love Shack

September 27, 2017

Episode 42: Love Shack


Present at the Editorial Table:

Kathleen Volk Miller

Tim Fitts

Marion Wrenn

Sharee DeVose

Jason Schneiderman


Engineering Producer:

Amber Ferreira


This week’s episode of Slush Pile features three poems by two authors: “Gala Dali Speaks Broken French” and “What Can Happen to Women and Men” by Wendy Cannella and “Nightmare” by Jana-Lee Germaine.


Wendy Cannella once fronted a rock band in Boston, back when everyone fronted a rock band in Boston. She is an avid supporter of the local arts and leads writing workshops, runs a reading series or two, serves on the board of the Portsmouth Poet Laureate Project, and generally embarrasses her children by volunteering in the classroom on Poem in Your Pocket Day (what, didn’t your mom ever hide poems in your jean jacket?). You can find her work in various places including Fogged Clarity, Houseguest, Mid-American Review, Salamander, and Solstice. She continues to play the same few guitar chords, sing off-key, and speak many languages brokenly.

Jana-Lee Germaine recently moved from Massachusetts to a small village in the English countryside where she lives in the old post office, homeschools her 4 children, and has thoroughly embraced the idea of beans for breakfast. She is an avid runner and cyclist (will it ever stop raining?) and has recently taken up weightlifting, despite the fact that her mother thinks it will make her look weird. Her favorite holiday is the 4th of July (not celebrated in the UK, for obvious reasons). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Potomac Review and Naugatuck River Review.


Share you thoughts about this episode on Facebook and Twitter using #donorcycle

Episode 41: The Bathrobisode

September 14, 2017

Present at the Editorial Table:

Kathleen Volk Miller

Tim Fitts

Sharee DeVose

Jason Schneiderman

Marion Wrenn

Samantha Neugebauer


Production Engineer:

Joe Zang


For the first and possibly only time, we were in a recording studio within Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business, which made us feel like we were on an episode of The View. This week, the editors review three poems by Nick Lantz: “An Urn for Ashes,” “Starvation Ranch,” and “Ghost as Naked Man.”

As a child, Nick Lantz was obsessed with paranormal phenomenon and the unexplained, from cryptids to aliens to ghosts. These days, he tells people he's writing a book of poems about ghosts, though that's only sort of true. His fourth book, You, Beast, won the Brittingham Prize and was published by University of Wisconsin Press in 2017. He was also the recipient of a 2017 NEA fellowship for his poetry. He lives in Huntsville, Texas, where he teaches at Sam Houston State University and edits the Texas Review.

“An Urn for Ashes” gets us started off on our a conversation on past lives and reincarnation. Lantz’s impressive use of language and imagery draws up ideas of present beings possessing remnants of those far in the past. Moving on to “Starvation Ranch,” the editors reflect on what memory and recollection look like in the modern era. The poem layers alluring images that are beautifully constructed and give us a front seat in recounting many summers past. The final poem, “Ghost as Naked Man” offers a reimagined commentary on gender as a social construct. Seemingly in conversation with other works on the topic, the poem conveys frustration and destruction, then pride, as expressions of manhood. It also brings to mind Ada Limón’s “After the Storm,” published in Issue 66 of Painted Bride Quarterly. Listen in for our takes on these poems and the verdicts!

Let us know what what you think about this episode, ghosts, red paint, and more on Facebook and Twitter using #WeAreStardust!

Episode 40: Contemporary in Context

August 30, 2017

Present at the Editorial Table:

Kathleen Volk Miller

Tim Fitts

Marion Wrenn

Sharee DeVose

Jason Schneiderman


Engineering Producer:

Amber Ferreira


On this week’s episode of Slush Pile, the editors consider three poems by John Blair: “Degrees,” “Pink Noise,” and “The Giving Tree.”

John Blair has published six books (most recently Playful Song Called Beautiful,University of Iowa Press, 2016) and several articles on the dangers of oak wilt in the Texas hill country.  He is a professor in the English Department at Texas State University, where he directs the undergraduate creative writing program.

With three unique poems by John Blair, we find ourselves in a surprising discussion and rather spirited debate on widely varying topics. While at times syntax and structure left us feeling like we were on a slippery slope with “Degrees,” at others, we were simply impressed with the intellect that a poem could convey. (You can find the episode of Invisibilia, the source of Jason’s and Kathy’s heated debate over perception, here.) The same goes for Blair’s “Pink Noise,” what we read as an accurate portrayal of the frustrating wakefulness of insomnia and the distractions one might face in the pursuit of a peaceful sleep. (Once again, Kathy tells us how much she loves sleeping with Scooter from the Sleep With Me Podcast.) And, perhaps the most different of all, “The Giving Tree” sparked a debate on classic versus contemporary and the platform for paying homage to the former.

Tune in for the conversation and the verdicts. And don’t forget to let us what you think about this episode on Facebook and Twitter using #70Percent!

Episode 39: Punched in the Face, in the Best Way

August 17, 2017

Episode 39: Punched in the Face, in the Best Way


Present at the Editorial Table:

Kathleen Volk Miller

Tim Fitts

Marion Wrenn

Sharee DeVose

Jason Schneiderman


Engineering Producer:

Amber Ferreira


This week from the slush pile, we review two poems by Alana Folsom: “Anatomy of a Dream” and “Mirroring” and one poem by Sarah Stickney: “Guest.”

Alana Folsom would genuinely like to thank The OC for giving her pre-teen self her first taste of poetry a la Death Cab for Cutie (which she will insist is poetry with anyone who wants to argue). If it wasn't for Seth Cohen, she might be trying to hack it as an accountant. She is currently living in either Boston or rural Oregon, depending on when this podcast is published, and plans to name her next cat "Birthday."

We start off this this week’s episode with reviewing Alana Folsom’s poem, “Anatomy of a Dream,” leading into a discussion of very uncommon imagery coupled with a dream-like structure and surreal ideas. To simply sum it up in Tim’s words: “There’s a lot of nipples in this poem!” But that’s partly what causes it to be unexpected and super fun to read.

Folsom’s “Mirroring” follows with a lovely premise of ancestry embodied, as it follows the sexual exploration of a girl while treasuring the connection she has to her father. Also really fun for us to discuss, this poem is both brilliant and truly organic. Many thanks to Issa Rae, creator and co-star of Insecure, for giving us the tools we needed to discuss this poem!

Next up is Sarah Stickney, who describes herself as a snail; she does everything you do slower than you. She grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and spends a lot of time thinking about what the sky looks like. She likes fire, foreign languages, and food-shopping, but she agrees with Pindar that water is best.

We move on to review “Guest” by Sarah Stickney, yet another brilliant poem that makes us think (some of us affectionately, others not too much) about the sentimentality of friendship. While channeling the very human experience of love and passion between friends, “Guest” gorgeously gives us much to feel, leaving us to reflect on our own experiences with love so strong that it might even be embarrassing to feel.

What do you think about this episode? Share your thoughts on nipples, romance, and insecurity with us on Facebook and Twitter using #smashing!

Happy reading!

Episode 38: Of Flossing and Pottery Barn

July 25, 2017

Present at the Editorial Table:

Kathleen Volk Miller

Tim Fitts

Sharee DeVose

Marion Wrenn

Jason Schneiderman


Engineering Producer:

Ryan McDonald


Our latest episode of Slush Pile features four poems by Marcia LeBeau titled “Instead of Cornering Jericho Brown by the Wine and Cheese, After His Talk on Racism, I Whisper to Him in My Head,” “Ode to Flossing,” “Letter to Myself at Eighty,” and “After You Tell Me You and Your Wife Have ‘an Agreement.’”

Almost 20 years ago, Marcia LeBeau started writing poetry by mistake. After receiving an MFA at Vermont College of Fine Arts (when it was called Vermont College) where she learned a lot and made some of the best friends of her life, she was writing radio ads for Courvoisier Cognac that her creative director called “spoken word.” Who knew?  She later wrote “ad poems” for Kahlua, and they chose her to be the voice over. LeBeau and her husband recently co-founded a studio/art gallery in Orange, New Jersey, called The Rectangle. She has Twitter and Instagram accounts that she never uses (people tell her this has to change), but you can find out more about her on Facebook and her website. LeBeau currently lives in South Orange, New Jersey, with her husband and 5- and 7-year-old sons, where she tries to find time to write poetry.

In discussing LeBeau’s four poems, we find each one unique in style, tone and topic. Their content ranges from a conversation on race and racism to self-affirmation in old age, from an extreme love for flossing to the contemplation of an extramarital affair. The poems are at times serious and bold, funny and wild, gorgeous, elegant, and meaningful. And one thing they all have in common - beautifully crafted imagery and language make them an absolute delight to read and review! Find out which poems had us torn in our decisions and which got unanimous yes’s!

We close out the episode with encouragement from Tim to support our favorite authors and literary publications, especially those threatened by budget cuts to the National Education Association (NEA). It’s important to do what we can to keep authors, publications, and local libraries afloat. Once or twice a year, go buy that new book you’ve been checking out, or even gift them to friends!

Let us know what you think about this episode on Facebook and Twitter with #AgainAgain!

Episode 37: Father’s Day?

July 10, 2017

Present at the Editorial Table:

Kathleen Volk Miller

Sharee DeVose

Marion Wrenn


Engineering Producer:

Joe Zang


On this week’s episode, we discuss two poems by two authors: “elegy” by Jessica Hudgins and “Daddy Box II” by Rebecca Baggett.

Jessica Hudgins is a poet and teacher who has just moved to Ednor Gardens from Charles Village, is working with her roommate on their backyard, and thinking about adopting a dog.

First, we discuss Jessica Hudgins’ “elegy,” an accurate grasp on the complexities of family relationships in which the speaker conjures childhood memories of her father and aunt.  The poem depicts moments reflected on in gratitude, and recognizes the love and care in the lessons they taught her throughout her life. Despite how those lessons were initially received as a child, it is clear to us that the speaker expresses appreciation for both figures who helped mold her in very different ways. Hudgins offers a thoughtful comparison between the specific, mundane moments in life and the philosophical questions surrounding a child’s experiences, as well as what they all come to mean later on.

Rebecca Baggett attributes her life-long loathing of “real” shoes to her childhood at the beach and spends a great deal of time searching for flipflops with good arch support.  She lives now in Athens, GA, where she can often find decent watermelons, though none of them are as good as the ones her daddy grew.  She still loves to swim under the stars.

In “Daddy Box II” by Rebecca Baggett, we witness the brilliant redemption of the list-style poem! This piece is one that “incantates” with imagery and teaches you how to read it along the way. Going from a list to a narrative, it captured us with a broad portrayal of fatherhood and family life then left us to reflect on one lovely, very specific image of a cherished moment in a childhood.

With just us three Wonder Women at the table for this episode, we close out by talking a bit about the superhero film that recently made box office history!

Share your thoughts about daddies, Wonder Woman, and this episode on Facebook and Twitter with #WonderWomen!

Read on!




Episode 36: A Giant’s Monologue

June 23, 2017

Present at the Editorial Table:

Jason Schneiderman

Kathleen Volk Miller

Marion Wrenn

Samantha Neugebauer

Sharee DeVose

Tim Fitts

Engineering Producer:

Joe Zang


This week at the editorial table, we discuss three poems by Matthew Kelsey, “Confessions of a Giant,” “Giant Gets Adopted,” and “Giant Loses His Virginity.”

Matthew Kelsey, at 6’7”, is something of a giant and, as can be gleaned from his poems, is also his own uncle. Kelsey has played the cello since he was 8 years old and is in his hometown’s Athletic Hall of Fame. Some of his writings and recordings can be found in Bread Loaf, Pacifica Literary Review, Poetry Northwest, The Monarch Review, The Awesome Sports Project. A huge fan of puns, Kelsey has given lectures on humor and wordplay in poetry and dreams of some day founding an interactive children’s poetry museum.

Kelsey’s giant series is a well-constructed compilation of tall jokes, spot-on language, and imagery that make these poems come to life. Each evokes feelings of sympathy and compassion, leading us into discussion of the brilliant tension between humor and pain.  The speaker reflects on growing up, facing complicated, struggling to understand himself, and the dread and thrill of a romantic relationship. We find this giant’s monologue to be surreal, funny, sad, and refreshing all at the same time. Oh, and some of us demand a book-length collection from this giant!

Tune in for the verdict! And let us know what you think about this episode on Facebook and Twitter with #GiraffePorn!

Episode 35: Viles, Vitality, and Virgules  

June 5, 2017


Present at the Editorial Table:

Kathleen Volk Miller

Tim Fitts

Sharee DeVose

Marion Wrenn

Jason Schneiderman


Engineering Producer:

Joe Zang


This week’s episode features three poems by two authors: “As Snow” by Pam Matz and “Solu-Medrol” and “Words” by Michael Levan.

Pam Matz reads poems to get some real news and writes poems to find out what she means. The previous sentence is almost true. She’s spent most of her working life moving words around, as a typist, editor, librarian, and writer. She has a pet rabbit, who is bossy and silent.  

We started off our conversation with “As Snow,” a poem about death, dying, and possibly dementia. A poignant account of what we read as an instance of mother-daughter interaction, Matz brought into discussion the impact of death on the survivor and how losing someone close can make us hyper-aware of our own mortality. Images and ideas of snow, cliffs, and death are well-woven elements in this piece and part of what left us anxious to give our votes.

Michael Levan, unlike previous Slush Pile-r Frank Scozzari,  didn't finish the John Muir Trail because 30 miles into the trek with his future wife, he sprained his MCL. He's a diehard Clevelander who couldn't bear going to school the day after Earnest Byner's fumble versus the Denver Broncos in 1988, which is why he made sure to attend the first major Cleveland sports championship celebration last summer along with 1.3 million other fans. This past Easter night, he and his wife welcomed their third child, Odette, who along with Atticus and Dahlia, have made their world complete, no matter how difficult the pregnancies were.

We move on to discuss the work of Michael Levan, “Solu Medrol” and “Words,” which also affects reflection on life, death, and dealing with illness. Levan’s structural choices for his writing lead us to ask what certain decisions might do - or undo - for the effect of our words. Can form distract from the intent? Can interruptions in pace lead the reader astray? Either way, Levan has a way of sustaining the sentimentality in his writing and making the speaker’s thoughts clear.

Tune in for the results! Let us know what you think about this episode, these poems, and virgules in poetry on Twitter and Facebook with #ScallopsAndVirgules!

Episode 34: Mistakes Were Made

May 17, 2017

Present at the Editorial Table

Kathleen Volk Miller

Tim Fitts

Sharee DeVose

Jason Schneiderman


Engineering Producer

Joseph Zang


Due to a miscommunication, we discussed Matthew Perini's short story, "Martha's Rule,” without knowing that it had been published by Summerset Review.  We had such a great time discussing this piece, and we think the conversation still has value. With the permission of the author and the Review, we share that conversation with you on this episode.

Matthew Perini is thrilled to have his story, "Martha's Rule" featured in PBQ's Slush Pile. Perini feels guilty that he writes slowly, but is confident that given a grant of several million dollars and a retreat along the rocky coast of Southern Maine, he might be able to increase his literary output. The five things Perini loves most in this world are farmer's markets, Raymond Carver stories, Lorrie Moore stories, John Cheever stories, and going to friends' houses and drinking all their wine. In his "responsible adult life," he conducts research, develops instructional strategies, and publishes resources for educators. Perini lives in New Jersey with his wife Kristen, daughters Ella and Alison, 2 dogs, 1 cat, and the overwhelming sense that technology is going to get us all.

You can read more of Perini’s stories in Crack the Spine Literary Magazine and The Tower Journal.

“Martha’s Rule” tells the story of an incredibly strained mother-son relationship that leads to questions about morality, good and bad parenting, and the challenges of early adulthood. Everyone at the editorial table agrees that Perini uses a voice that sustains the entire story and engages the reader all the way through with visceral detail and a depiction that rings true. We also take some time to discuss the significance of time and place in the telling of fiction - whether or not the lack thereof can create a void that needs unvoiding; you can help us decide.

Enjoy, and let us know what you think about this week’s episode on our Facebook event page and on Twitter with #HoldTheKetchup!

Happy reading!

Episode 33: The Lily of the Valley

May 3, 2017

Present at the Editorial Table

Kathleen Volk Miller

Tim Fitts

Sharee DeVose

Jason Schneiderman

Maureen McVeigh


Engineering Producer

Joseph Zang


This week, we’re back at the table discussing a fiction piece by Frank Scozzari, titled “In the Valley of the Dry Bones.”

Frank Scozzari hobo’ed his way across America at age eighteen, twice trekked the John Muir Trail, backpacked through Europe, camel-backed the ruins of Giza, jeep-trailed the length of the Baja peninsula three times, globe-trotted from Peking to Paris to the White Nights of northern Russia, and once climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro – the highest point in Africa. A four-time Pushcart Prize nominee, his award-winning short stories have been widely anthologized.

“In the Valley of the Dry Bones” creates a discussion that looks at the story’s uses of imagery, characterization, and overall language to engage us from the first page to the very last. Scozzari’s piece gives us Sergeant Dax Garner as the main character, the one remaining soldier on the battlefield after his platoon has been wiped out by the enemy. In reviewing “In the Valley of the Dry Bones,” we shared our ideas on social commentary in fiction, whether or not it is necessary for characters to have psychological depth, and finding the balance between “telling” and “showing” in writing. Scozzari employs altogether excellent writing that leaves us all anxious and exhausted (in the good way), but also impressed with his distraction-free storytelling.

We close out this episode talking about how fiction tends to shape our perceptions of things that we don’t know much about from short stories to TV series like House of Cards and steamy doctor dramas. Tune in to hear our takes on favorites like Big Little Lies, Google for education, and the not-so-genius production of Hamlet.

Share your thoughts about the episode with us on our Facebook event page and on Twitter with #GoogleItUp!

Happy reading!


Episode 32: Art & Politics

April 19, 2017

Present at the Editorial Table:

Kathleen Volk Miller

Jason Schneiderman

Sara Aykit


Special Guest:

Adrian Todd Zuniga


Engineering Producer:

Joe Zang


This week’s episode features special guest Adrian Todd Zuniga, creator and host of the Literary Death Match, in our discussion of art, politics, and the relationship between the two. Zuniga and the editors discuss whether a heated political climate leads to higher-quality art or simply creates art filled with anger and redundancy.


Check out our thoughts and, after listening in, share your own on our Facebook event page or on Twitter with #ArtandPolitics!


Happy reading!

Episode 31: Balance

April 7, 2017

Present at the Editorial Table:

Kathleen Volk Miller

Jason Schneiderman

Tim Fitts

Sara Aykit

Sharee DeVose


Engineering Producer:

Joe Zang


On this week’s podcast, we review three poems by two authors: “The Riddle of Longing” by Faisal Mohyuddin and “Pyramids” and “American Wedding” by Shayla Lawson.


Faisal Mohyuddin teaches English at Highland Park High School in suburban Chicago, is a recent fellow in the U.S. Department of State's Teachers for Global Classrooms program, and received an MFA in creative writing from Columbia College Chicago in 2015. Mohyuddin is a lead teacher and advisor for Narrative 4 (narrative4.com), a global not-for-profit organization dedicated to empathy building through the exchange of stories. He is also an experienced visual artist who had the opportunity to participate in his first exhibition in October 2015. Check it out here!


We started off our conversation about “The Riddle of Longing” by discussing the singularity and the universality of the speaker’s circumstances. The poem put into perspective the reality that many immigrants and children of immigrants face in countries around the world. The imagery and language employed by Mohyuddin elicit various emotional responses and enforced the idea that, despite loss, life will continue on; and because everything persists, it may often persist in a broken state.


Following “The Riddle of Longing,” we move on to Shayla Lawson’s first poem, “Pyramids.” Shayla Lawson is, was, or has been at certain times an amateur acrobat, an architect, a Dutch housewife, & dog mother to one irascible small water-hound. Find out more about her here and watch her read here! Then, you’ll want to follow her on Twitter: @blueifiwasnt


After spending some time figuring out what an isosceles triangle is, we examine the motivation and intent behind the poem, look at the challenging social commentary, and consider the beautiful balance of blasphemy and reverence. Whatever the message readers might take away from this piece, we were left wonderfully exhausted by the risk and fearlessness displayed in such strong, honest writing. In our final review, we look at “American Wedding” and acknowledge that an author’s writing can be very strong, but it’s always important to find the happy medium between what adds color to our work and what ultimately distracts and inhibits the reader from experiencing the raw goodness of it. The final poem opens up a relatable discussion about relationships, focus, and potential.


We close out this episode by discussing other podcasts our listeners might enjoy called “Sleep with Me,” a podcast that’ll put you to bed with a smile on your face, and “Dumb People Town.” Turn on and tune in!


Let us know what you think about these three poems and this episode on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook with #riskybusiness! Feel free to also tell us whether you are on Team: “The Earth is Flat” or not!

Episode 30: Resonance and Rejection

March 22, 2017

Present at the Editorial Table:

Kathleen Volk Miller

Marion Wrenn

Jason Schneiderman

Tim Fitts

Sara Aykit


Engineering Producer:

Ryan McDonald


This week we look at two poems by two authors, “Drink Like A Fish” by Alexa Smith and “pine” by Shabnam Piryaei.


Alexa Smith is a poet, actor and visual artist born in Washington, DC and based in South Philadelphia. A triple Scorpio with nothing to lose, Alexa was once accurately described as "seven cats in a people suit;" she was awarded the college superlative "Most Likely to Lose Control of Her Hands," and, she can lick her own elbow without difficulty. She works for a local medical publisher and serves as the Managing Editor for APIARY Magazine, a free, volunteer-run literary magazine of Philly poetry, prose and visual art. Her poetry has appeared online in Entropy Magazine at entropymag.org, and her photography of Philly's post-election protests was featured by Billy Penn at billypenn.com. You can find out more about APIARY and check for submissions calls at apiarymagazine.com.


As Marion puts it, “Drink lLke a Fish” is truly a tumble and a roll. With aggressive analogies, “enfished” personifications, and a strong use of language, this poem certainly demands attention from its readers. It opened up discussion about author intent, romanticization of culture, and whether or not literature must have a “takeaway.” Listen for the results of this poem’s vote, which even surprised our editors!


Shabnam Piryaei.


After “Drink Like a Fish” we move on to “pine.” Once we got over the lack of capitalization, we were able to start trying to digest its dense material and determine what it was about. After a lot of back-and-forth dialogue, it looked like we could have multiple interpretations. However, with whichever interpretation the reader perceives, there is a great loneliness and desperation of the speaker that pulls a strong empathy from us. While we couldn’t settle on an interpretation, we know that this multi-faceted reading only enhanced our discussion.


We finished off talking by talking about rejection, and what it means to us. Check out the article written by Roxane Gay that Kathy references. Does a rejection stop you from submitting again? Or do you laugh in the face of rejection? Are you involved in a “rejection game” and don’t you think that would make a great movie title?


Let us know what you think about these poems, and about rejection, on Twitter or Facebook with #glugglug


Always, always, read on!

The Unexamined Fisherman

March 8, 2017

Present at the Editorial Table

Marion Wrenn

Jason Schneiderman

Tim Fitts

Sara Aykit

Samantha Neugebauer


Engineering Producer

Joe Zang


For the first time ever, we review a piece of nonfiction, “The Art of Fishing” by Keith Rebec

Keith Rebec has been backpacking around the world since October 2015. He is the editor-in-chief of Pithead Chapelan online literary journal of gutsy narratives and small print press, and he’s currently working on a novel. You can visit him, even as he travels, at keithrebec.com.

“Art of Fishing” creates a riveting discussion on genre, racism, voice, and identity. The editors in this episode all appreciate Rebec’s craft and point of view of an underrepresented culture. He presents a non-judgemental depiction of grotesque and brutal acts of exclusion. Our editorial table had a great time discussing the difference between resiliency and rationalization, and the merits of nonfiction in a piece that is, as Jason puts it, “muscular, gorgeous and direct with a lot of sentiment.”

Let us know what you think on our Facebook event page and on Twitter with #nextbabewinkelman

Read on!

Episode 28: PBQ Celebrates with One Book, One Philadelphia

February 22, 2017

M.C. Extraordinaire:

Paul Siegell


The Lineup:

Kalela Williams

Cindy Arrieu-King

Thomas Devaney

Patrick Rosal

Julia Bloch


Engineering Producer:

Joe Zang


This is a special podcast episode with some help from the folks over at One Book, a signature program of the Free Library of Philadelphia that promotes literacy, library usage, and citywide conversation by encouraging the Philadelphia area to come together through reading and discussing a single book. This year’s book is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.


We started the evening with a round of Slam, Bam, Thank you, Mam, or improv reading game. Listen in and see what we created in 5 minutes.


The writers came at the themes of the book from so many angles, but the one they each had in common was they blew us away.If you’re old enough, imagine the dude (and his martini glass) getting blown away by the sound from his Maxell tape (if you’re too young to remember that iconic image, Googe it)—it was like that. Or, just look at this:


And then listen to the podcast and feel the same way!


Let us know what you think on our Facebook event page or on Twitter with #OneBook


Read on!


Episode 27.5: AWP Bookfair Buzz

February 20, 2017

Present at the Table:

Kathleen Volk Miller

Marion Wrenn


Engineering Producer:

Joe Zang


Last week, Painted Bride Quarterly made its way down to the 2017 Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference in Washington D.C along with an estimated 12,000 individuals and 800 presses, journals, and literary organizations.


AWP is always the highlight of our year as we release our latest Print Annual to the public and more importantly, get to meet so many of our talented and diligent writers and readers. Each time we handed a book to one of the authors we got to be as excited and thrilled as they were. Check out our Instagram feed if you want to see for yourself.


No matter where AWP is, it’s more than amazing to surround ourselves with like-minded, lovely people. The AWP lifestyle is not one we can sustain for too long, but we’d still like to start a movement to hold two conferences a year! 


Check out the thoughts of our editors, Marion and Kathy, in this episode. Listen in on conversations they had at their booth with busy and brilliant authors.


Tell us about your AWP experience on our facebook event page or on Twitter with #AWP17


Read on!

Episode 27: Suicides and Skelton Jazz

February 9, 2017

Present at the Editorial Table:

Kathleen Volk Miller

Marion Wrenn

Jason Schneiderman

Tim Fitts

Sara Aykit


Engineering Producer:

Ryan McDonald


In the midst of excitedly preparing for AWP 2017, we record this episode in which we discuss two poems by Rita Banerjee.


Rita Banerjee is the Creative Director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop and is currently working on a futuristic dystopian novel about Mel Cassin, a half-Tamil, half-Jewish girl stuck in the middle of a familial crisis and an epic political meltdown, and a collection of essays on race, sex, politics, and everything cool.  A jet-setter at heart, she spends her time between Munich, Germany and the United States.


This week’s discussion both took us back and made sure that none of us would see the world the same way again. With images of breakdancing, gospel choir, and the not-so-innocent Georgia Brown, we were in it. Whether we're distinguishing jazz from jazz or this episode is filled with risky moves.


Join us in the campaign to have your local library carry lesser-known authors and small presses. Let us know what books you’ll be requesting with #getsomebooks! Let’s support libraries, small presses, and the authors who write for them.


Make sure you follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and let us know what you think of this episode with #longandskinny! Stay tuned to hear about our AWP 2017 experience--we hope to see you there!

And of course, most importantly, read on! 

Episode 26: Preparation H is easy on the Mouth

January 27, 2017

In this episode, our lovely and larger-than-usual editorial table discusses “Vultures,” a work of fiction written by Alex Pickett.


Alex Pickett recently received his MFA from the University of Florida and his stories appear at Green Mountains Review, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Bayou, and elsewhere and have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He is also an associate editor for Subtropics. He has just finished a novel.


In the winter of 2010 he volunteered for six months at a state park in Alaska, which is where he got most of the information for this story. He can be reached at rapickett [at] gmail.com


As our podcast newbie Maureen puts it, “Vultures” fosters a great discussion among our team. We all agree that the characters were natural, and created a “gripping” tension that made us keep reading. Despite the hopeful and heroic ending, we as readers were left contemplating self-awareness, desperation, and a darker view of people as merely predators and prey.


Does “Vultures” get a thumbs up from PBQ? Listen and find out. One thing’s for sure, this one was a “Tuffy!”


Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to let us know what you think with #woodengravestones


As always, read on!

Episode 25: Saved from Bon Joviism

January 11, 2017


Present at the Editorial Table:

Kathleen Volk Miller

Marion Wrenn

Jason Schneiderman

Tim Fitts

Sara Aykit

Miranda Reinberg


Engineering Producer:

Joe Zang


PBQ is back with the first episode of 2017! In this episode we talk about two poems by Taylor Altman and one by Heather Sagar.

First, we discussed Taylor Altman’s poems, “How to Break Without Falling Apart,” and “Contra Mundum.”

Taylor Altman taught herself how to juggle while studying for a calculus exam in college.

She won her school district's spelling bee in 4th grade (the youngest student ever to do so) and was excused from spelling homework for the rest of the year.

She has synesthesia, so she sees letters and numbers as being different colors; for example, "D" is green and "7" is purple.

Find her on LinkedIn, Medium, or Blackbird.



Next, we read Heather Sager’s poem, “Green.”


Heather Sager finds happiness in reading the Russian Symbolists and in spending time with her outgoing son. Feeling mildly adventurous, she might wander out to snap a too-close photo of an ornery snapping turtle, an oversized praying mantis, or a suspiciously quiet pigeon. You can find her poems or stories in places like Bear Review, Fourth & Sycamore, Naugatuck River Review, BlazeVOX, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, NEAT., Minetta Review, Untoward (forthcoming), Jet Fuel Review, and elsewhere.


From the global to the personal, from surviving terrorist attacks to kissing frogs as a child, this conversation had all of us thinking critically about the relationship of a writer to the world around them, or, the world against them.

Were these poems accepted or rejected? Did Kathy ever kiss a frog? Listen and find out!

See Tim’s novel, The Soju Club, here.

Check us out on Facebook and Twitter and let us know what you think with the #kissingfrogs

Thank you for listening, and read on!



Taylor Altman


How to Break Without Falling Apart

She trades in antiques

at the end of Adeline Street.

Her shop is like the inside of a dream,

with carpets and African masks

and rings and earrings

encased in glass

as though within a tide pool.

From the armoire of her mouth

all sorts of things come out

in the Kentish accent thirty years in California

hasn’t shaken—

what lives she has led,

what other people she has been,

how she learned to break

without falling apart.

A cool breeze comes

through the back door, from the alleyway,

and she says she works as a nurse for the elderly

to afford a new passport

with her maiden name,

and to fix her teeth,

small spans of darkness between gold.



Taylor Altman


Contra Mundum


Under the burnt-out tree

where the nightingale sings,

where a magpie made its nest


of wedding rings, the singed olive trees

that once bore waxy fruits,

where are you?


John Walker Lindh, now called Sulayman,

rocks back and forth,

            reading his Quran


in Terra Haute.

The tile halls of the madrassa are empty,

the fountain stopped. Somewhere

you are just waking up, in some other city,

someone else’s skin. Our house

was filled with books, corners of pages


torn off for gum, small surface wounds

that bloomed like carnations.

Everything is


complicit. A bird goes up

the scale, notes like glass beads

crushed underfoot. It’s you and me


against the world. In the bazaar,

we passed the birds in cages,

seedcovered, shitcovered, the white bars


scratched to copper. Clocks going off

in every direction, faces faded

and filled with sand. You read the papers


every morning; the news was neither good

nor bad; you had been

in Srebrenica. IEDs exploded


in the streets, bombs full of nails. A little boy

was breathing blood. There was nothing

we could do for him,


his lungs expanding like balloons.

You proposed that night, gave me the ring

from the magpie’s nest,


then disappeared. So many nights

I watched you fight sleep. So many nights

you woke up drenched in sweat


as the imam’s cry flew over the rooftops

and minarets. You said, Lindh’s father

visits him in prison. He believes


in his innocence. I watched your hips

grow wider, the age spots appear

on the backs of your hands.


I painted and painted this fragment

of window. Finally,

the urgency of lovemaking


left us. But our names remain

on the lapels of your books, hybrids

of our names, Punnett squares.




Heather Sager





After staring down

those amphibious creatures,

their sad-mute eyes

dimly reflecting my own,

I picked one up, and smacked him on the lips.


Into woods, ponds I’d chase,

collecting and admiring

tone of skin, angling of protuberances,

the feel of shifty, leggy treasures. Nearby,


Hard-shelled soldiers rose,

showing dilapidated orange mouths.


My father ran at me with a shovel,

once, to free a pinched limb—

I wiggled free, he tapped

the large shell.

Still, there I remained—

watching my parade,

sentient, croaking, green.



PBQ’s Holiday Extravaganza!

December 28, 2016

MC Extraordinaire:

Paul Siegell


On The Stage:

Emma Brown Sanders

David Olimpio

Katie Ionata

Sevé Torres

Mai Schwartz

Kirwyn Sutherland

Alina Pleskova


Engineering Producer:

Joe Zang


This week, we have a holiday special for you all! Just a few months ago, we had the privilege of hosting an event for Philalalia, a small press festival. We had a great reading at the Pen and Pencil Club in Philadelphia with a superbly talented group of writers, and we know you’re gonna love them as much as we did!


Let us know what you think on our event page or on Twitter with #holidayextravaganza


Interested in learning more about (or participating in) our Slam, Bam, Thank You, Ma’am? Sign up for our newsletter and join us on January 26!


Happy holidays, and read on!

Emma Brown Sanders is a queer philly poet originally from chicago. she co-hosts POETRY JAWNS: A PODCAST with Alina Pleskova. She recently put out a chap called RELEASE FANTASY that will be available at philalalia. You can find her work at full stop, fungiculture, bedfellows and recreation league.


David Olimpio grew up in Texas, but currently lives and writes in Northern New Jersey. He believes that we create ourselves through the stories we tell, and that is what he aims to do every day. Usually, you can find him driving his truck around the Garden State with his dogs. He has been published in Barrelhouse, The Nervous Breakdown, The Austin Review, Rappahannock Review, Crate, and others. He is the author of THIS IS NOT A CONFESSION (Awst Press, 2016). You can find more about him at davidolimpio.com, including links to his writing and photography. He Tweets, Instagrams, and Tumbles as @notsolinear and would love for you to join him.


Kathryn (Katie) Ionata is the author of the chapbook Yield Signs Don't Exist (PS Books, 2016). Her writing has appeared in or is forthcoming from The Toast, The Best of Philadelphia Stories, Cleaver Magazine, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Hawai'i Review, U.S. 1 Worksheets, and other publications. She has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and has been a finalist for the Sandy Crimmins National Poetry Prize and the Bucks County Poet Laureate Competition. She teaches writing and literature at Temple University and The College of New Jersey.


Sevé Torres is a poet, father, and college professor. His work has appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Mead: The Magazine of Literature and Libations, and Dismantle: The Vona Anthology. He currently teaches at Rowan University and Rutgers-Camden.


Mai Schwartz is a poet, a storyteller, a sometime-beekeeper, an unofficial historian, and a native of New Jersey with lots of opinions about diners and malls. Based in west Philly for the past six years, Mai spends their time growing plants, teaching others to do the same, and editing Apiary Magazine.


7 Things about the current version of Kirwyn Sutherland

  1. I luh God
  2. I'm cool peeps
  3. Trying to get my self-care on
  4. Editor of Poetry for Public Pool and APIARY Issue 8: Soft Targets
  5. Media Director for The Philadelphia Poetry Collab group
  6. Deep breathing helps
  7. Slam poet always and not ashamed


Alina Pleskova lives in Philly & strives to maintain optimum chill. She is coeditor (with Jackee Sadicaro) of bedfellows, a literary magazine focused on sex/desire/intimacy, & cohost (with Emma Sanders) of Poetry Jawns, a podcast. Recent work can be found in Queen Mob's Tea House, Public Pool, and Sea Foam Mag.


Episode 23: The White Episode

December 14, 2016

Present at the Editorial Table:

Kathleen Volk Miller

Marion Wrenn

Tim Fitts

Denise Guerin

Sara Aykit


Engineering Producer:

Joe Zang


Today we talk about “White,” fiction by Aggie Zivaljevic!


Aggie Zivaljevic's fiction ​has appeared or is forthcoming in The Literary Review, Cosmonauts Avenue, Narrative Magazine, Joyland, Crab Orchard Review and Speakeasy.  She lives in California and curates Story Is the Thing, a ​quarterly reading s​eries at Kepler's Books in Menlo Park.


On her desk, Aggie keeps a framed writing advice given to her by Simon Van Booy,“Write as you garden -- with passion, awe, intent, and openness.” You can check her San Jose garden (she gets lots of help from her dog Sundance) board on Pinterest.


This week’s piece led to a lot of great discussion! While we analyzed our favorite and not-so-favorite moments in this story, our table discussed fiction as a genre: its purpose and the functions it must serve for its readers. With lingering depictions of artwork and thoughts on the process of grief, this story certainly provided conversation. However, did “White” do it for us? Listen and find out!


We end this episode by talking about a few of the things that make us happy: like the Korean release of The Soju Club, The Band Joseph, Heather Birrell’s Mad Hope, roommates, and donuts!


Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and let us know what you think, and what makes you happy, with #dreamroom

Episode 22: Tea Leaves and Tastykake

November 30, 2016

For this episode, we look at three poems by Laura Sobbott Ross.

Laura Sobbott Ross lives in a rural, hilly part of inland Florida where horses and hothouses of orchids abound. She loves to take pictures on long drives through the open land, and to sing to the radio with the windows wide, which conjures threats from her teenagers, but her dogs don’t seem to mind. You will find paint on her clothes at any given time. She’s taught English to students from dozens of countries, and has two poetry chapbooks: A Tiny Hunger (YellowJacket Press) and My Mississippi (Anchor & Plume Press.)

First, we’re transported to the sunny beaches of “Bora Bora,” where we find ourselves with some trouble in paradise. We follow that off trying to decipher “The Walrus in the Tea Leaves,” where we’re left with more questions than answers. And finally, we throwback to The Eagles’ “Hotel California” with “Déjà Vu.” Even though we do check in, we’re not so sure if we ever want to leave!

Let us know what you think of these poems on Facebook and Twitter with #squeegeeboy!

Don’t forget to read on!

Episode 21: Alabama Field Holla

November 16, 2016

Present at the Editorial Table:

Kathleen Volk Miller

Sara Aykit

Marion Wrenn


Engineering Producer:

Joe Zang


PBQ Box Score: 2=0


In reaction to the events of November 8, this week’s episode begins with local Philly poet Cynthia Dewi Oka reading “Post-Election Song of Myself.” We first heard it at our Reading at the Black Sheep Pub on Monday, November 12, and we were so moved we had to ask her to share it with you.


In Episode 21 of Slush Pile, we discuss two poems by Harold Whit Williams.


Harold Whit Williams goes by the name Whit to family, friends, and acquaintances, but thinks that using his full name for poetry gives him that much-needed literary gravitas to get his “little scribblings” published. He catalogs maps, atlases, and journals for UT Austin Libraries. His guitar heroics have been much lauded around the world. He and his wife enjoy birdwatching, wine tastings, modern art exhibits, monster truck rallies (mostly for the cuisine), and trying to find a place to park.  Once he dreamt a poem in its entirety, then awakened and wrote it down verbatim. That poem, "The Best of Intentions," was published in The Great American Wise Ass Poetry Anthology 2016. The poem is not very good, but it is most definitely wise-ass.


Our small group of three begin the episode with “Hawk Pride Mountain Nocturne,” a piece that Marion feels, “breaks [her] heart from line one.” With an incantatory and rhythmic tone, we are swept back in time to a liminal spot of dreams and melodrama. Our vote was unanimous, but we are requesting a few “gentle” edits.


We were not as quick to love the next poem, “Alabama Field Holler.” However, after discussing the historical significance of the field holler and the musicality of phrases, we started to change our minds…


Of course, let us know what you think about these poems, and Cotton Mather’s “Lily Dreams On” with the hashtag #lampshadesofdesire!


Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and, most importantly, read on!

Boxed Wine and Slush Piles

November 2, 2016

Present at the Editorial Table:

M. Rachel Branwen

Kathy Volk Miller

Sara Aykit

Tim Fitts

Marion Wrenn


Engineering Producer:

Joe Zang


Welcome, welcome, welcome to Episode TWENTY of Slush Pile! We thank all of our listeners, writers, and guest speakers for supporting this podcast and its mission.


We first launched Slush Pile at the end of March at the 2016 AWP Conference. We were thrilled with the enthusiastic response, yet confused at how many times people asked if we were related to Slush Pile Magazine, also debuting at 2016 AWP! We had never heard of this publication, so we hunted down their booth and were blown away by the ladder and a very tall stack of papers.We had the pleasure of meeting M. Rachel Branwen, Slush Pile Magazine’s founder and editor, and we invited her back to our booth for some boxed wine and great conversation! Then, we convinced her to come on air. 


M.Rachel Branwen is the editor of Slush Pile Magazine, the longtime senior reader of fiction at Harvard Review and the former fiction editor of DigBoston. Her work has appeared in The Missouri Review, The Adirondack Review, The Millions, and elsewhere. She is fond of: bougainvillea, red wine, mashed potatoes, unexpected conversations with oversharing strangers, long road trips, learning new languages, walking up hills for exercise, the thesaurus, her dog (Nigel, a pug), and the movie "When Harry Met Sally." She dislikes: headaches, mosquitoes, and the sounds people make when they're chewing. Feel free to look her up on Facebook here or here or Twitter @slushpilemag.


In Episode 017, we spoke to Jim Hanas about the value and perhaps impracticality of today’s slush piles. This week, M. Rachel Branwen was happy to talk about her thoughts on what the slush pile is really about, disagreeing with Hanas unapologetically. Branwen tells us about the history of Slush Pile Magazine, “championing” and “curating” works that Branwen believes deserve the world’s attention.


After explaining her magazine’s history, Branwen probed us for the history and executions of Painted Bride Quarterly. Kathy and Marion reminisce about their introduction to a group of people who work on magazines like Painted Bride Quarterly and Slush Pile Magazine simply for the love of literature. Then, we have veteran reader Tim Fitts and brand-new reader Sara Aykit discuss the democratic nature of PBQ’s voting that not only empowers young readers, but keeps the perspectives of older readers fresh.


M. Rachel Branwen embodies the pleasure of reading poetry and short stories like they are the only thing that matters. We had a great time discussing her more optimistic views on slush piles and the “staggeringly interesting” Slush Pile Magazine.


Check out the Issues Marion raves about here and here!


We would love to know how you feel about slush piles: are you Team Hanas or Team Branwen? Let us know on our Facebook page or @PaintedBrideQ with  #TeamHanas or #TeamBranwen!


Thank you for listening and read on!

The Dinosaur-Robot Episode

October 19, 2016

Present at the Editorial Table:

KathleenVolk Miller







Engineering Producer:



PBQ Box Score: 2=0


Welcometo Episode 19 of Slush Pile!


Forthis episode, we have two “creepy” poems submitted for our Monsters Issue bySarah Kain Gutowski.


SarahKain Gutowski can't keep succulents alive and is easily distracted by allthings blue and shiny. Find her on Instagram @sarahkaingutowski to follow herannual #domesticviolenceawareness project during the month of October, or ather blog, Mimsy and Outgrabe, where she keeps a messy, irregular,sometimes profanity-laced record of her life as a writer, academic, and motherof three.


Whilethese poems, part of a suite, did not get unanimous votes, we all felt theyenveloped us into a universe of magical realism. True to the tradition of scarystories, these poems demand to be read slowly, deliberately, and out loud.Additionally, Gutowski’s work is more than simply scary. Like Kathy says,“Sometimes freaky shit happens,” and these poems force our team to consider theambiguities of life, or pre-death, as Tim puts it.


Listen to the outcome, but one thing isfor sure: these poems are stronger together.


Comment on our Facebook event page oron Twitter with #frogtongue and sign for our email list if you’re in the area,and even if you’re not!


Read on!


Chapter VI: The Children Have a Request


Theseason stretched itself thin, weakened by storms and heat.

  Inside the damp, shadowy space of thechildren’s fort,

  the woman with the frog tongue wove basketsand bowls

  with tight, interlocked laces, while her silkstitches

  began to fray and lengthen. The gap betweenher lips

  widened to where the children could see thewhite of her teeth.

  They stared at her, sometimes; she saw themclench their jaws

  and try to speak to each other without movingtheir mouths.

Beforelong they’d begin to laugh, and she’d shake with relief at the sound.


Thenone day, when the trees broke into glittering shards

  of gold and red and green, and light spunpinwheels above

  their heads as they walked together betweenthe falling leaves,

  the girl looked at the woman and asked if shehad a name.

  At this, the woman jerked to a stop. The oldsurge,

  the impulse to speak that rose within herbelly and chest,

  overwhelmed. She wanted the girl and boy toknow her name.

  Her tongue, rolled tightly and barred frommoving inside its cage,

strainedagainst her teeth and cheeks, contorting her face with its rage.


Theboy stepped back when he saw the change on the woman’s face.

  The girl moved closer, though, to pat thehand she held

  like she might a frightened kitten orskittish, fallen bird.

  Let’sguess your name, she said. The woman’s jaw fell slack,

  as much as the stitches allowed. Her panicpassed away.

  The boy saw her relax and began to hoparound.

 A game, a game,he chanted. Across her eyes the sun

  sliced its blade, and though her vision bledwith its light,

shefelt cheered by the girl’s hand and the boy’s excitement.


Aurora. Jezebel. Serafina, guessed the girl.

  Her brother laughed and grabbed a fallen branch,whacking

  the moss-covered roots of the treessurrounding them.

  The woman laughed, too, short bursts of airthrough her nose.

  Her happiness shocked them all. The boylaughed again,

  a raucous sound, and she looked the littlegirl in the eye.

  A curve tested her mouth’s seams, moregrimace than grin,

  but the girl smiled back and sighed with somerelief. Then she reached

towardthe woman and pulled her close, until they were cheek to cheek.


Thegirl’s face, cold and smooth, smelled of the moss and earth

  her brother lashed and whipped with vigorinto the air.

  The woman with the frog tongue hugged thegirl loosely,

  as if those little shoulder blades wereplanes of cloud,

  a shifting mist she could see and feelbetween her arms

  but couldn’t collect, or hold, or keep forher very own.

  The girl stepped back yet kept her hands bythe woman’s face.

  Her small, thin fingers hovered before thefraying threads.

Why don’t you take these out? she asked, as she touched each raggedend.


Atthis the boy stopped his joyful assault of the trees

  and ran to see for himself what theydiscussed each night

  when walking home: her muffled, chokedmurmurings,

  the gray lattice unraveling across her mouth.

  He peered closely at each loose stitch,searching beyond

  her lips for whatever monster she’d locked sopoorly inside.

  He found no monster, just a hint of pinktongue.

  So he shrugged, said Yes, and spun on his heel to resume his game.

Thegirl jumped up and down, shouting: Andthen you’ll tell us your name!


Thewoman watched the boy whip tree roots free of moss,

  the tufts spinning into the air andseparating,

  becoming dust, the dark green spores likebeaks of birds

  that plummet toward the rocky earth withoutfear.

  She watched the girl’s hair lift and fly awayfrom her head,

  the wind dividing its strands, the way ithung, suspended

  like dust in the sun, then sank like spores:a sudden drop.

  She worked her mouth from side to side, andby degrees

openedher lips enough to burble a sound that said: Maybe.



Chapter VII: She Grows a Second Heart


Thatnight she woke to find another oddity:

  during sleep her heart had split or twinneditself,

  and where one muscle pumped before, now beattwo.

  Her blood coursed through her veins twice asfast as before,

  and over those paths her skin buzzed andstammered, like wire

  strung tautly between two poles and chargedwith load.

  As if she’d run for miles across rollinghills,

  as if inside her chest two fists beat timeall day,

beneaththe bone she sped at death in the most alive way.


Theday crawled while her two hearts raced. Above the fire

  she set a series of clocks to ticking. Shewatched the flames,

  sometimes leaning close enough to feel theheat

  singe her stitches a deeper shade, theirfibers scorching

  until they curled, like dark froth spillingfrom her mouth.

  But when her hearts began to flicker more,and faster

  than she could stand, she turned her eyes tothe clocks’ marked faces

  and drew comfort from the second hands’neurotic twitch.

Everyminute witnessed meant another minute lived.


Beneathher breastbone her strange second heart pulsed harder.

  She sensed the muscle, like her tongue, wouldleap and fly

  away from her body if her body let it go.

  She took the silver-handled knife and inciseda cross

  above the cavity where her hearts balloonedtogether,

  jostling for room and dominance. The flaps ofskin,

  pale as egg shell, trembled slightly. A headappeared.

  A bird with obsidian eyes emerged wet withher blood,

shookto shed its burden, and leapt toward the rafters above.


Shewatched the bird and felt air seep into the space

  it left behind, her single heart unrivaledbut lonely

  in its great room. The wound bled slowly,healing fast

  to a pale silver scar, flaps falling back toclose

  neatly over the bone, which laid itself again

  like lines of track or scaffolding across herchest.

  The bird flew to the window’s sill, andticked its head

  to look back at the woman. A slight breeze,cool and calm,

caressedits dark wings, and it leapt for the steady branch of that arm.



Jersey Guernsey, a Frenchman, and 2 Ho’s

October 5, 2016

Present at editorial table:

Kathleen Volk Miller

Erika Meitner

Marion Wrenn

Jason Schneiderman

Miriam Haier

Tim Fitts

Engineering Producer:

Joe Zang

PBQ Box Score: 3=0

Welcome to Episode 18 of the PBQ’s Slush Pile!

This episode is extra special because we had guest, Erika Meitner, winner of the National Poetry Series and professor at Virginia Tech. She is currently working on a “documentary poetry project” on the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland for Virginia Quarterly Review.

All of the poems we’ll consider on today’s episode were submitted by Maureen Seaton: "West Ho," "West Ho 2," & "Love in the Time of Snow."


Maureen Seaton currently lives in three states of art—Florida, New Mexico, and Colorado

(ocean, desert, mountain range)—all bordering on our next-door neighbors, the world.

You can listen to Maureen read her poem “Hybrid” at the University of Miami here, and at a POG reading with collaborator Sam Ace here.

We start with the “West Ho,” and Tim points out that the poet’s use of specific facts ultimately aids the piece. The wonderful descriptions of sunshine from Jersey to Colorado warms us up to this poem.

We go on to discuss “West Ho 2,” a seeming counterpart. This poem brings nods to the Jersey accent, and leaves us wondering who Lizzy Tish is. The “constellation of places” keeps us “tawlking” about this one for a bit longer than “West Ho.”

We were all a little intimidated by the French in “Love in the Time of Snow,” but Erika reads for us using her “Jersey French.” We love the historical allusions in this poem, and Jason, who grew up in a military family, recounts for us the story of Lafayette in the Revolutionary War.

Listen to find out which poems we accepted and comment on our Facebook event page or on Twitter with #WestHo!

Sign for our email list if you’re in the area, and even if you’re not!

Send us a self-addressed stamped envelope, and we’ll send you a PBQ Podcast Slushpile sticker!

Read on!

West Ho

Colorado ties with Texas for 6th sunniest

state in the USA. Who cares? The sun’s

not racing against itself, why should it?

I will not be buried in Elizabethport nor

one of the Oranges like the rest of my clan.

My body will not be flown home in a crate

to be clucked over by who knows which

Irish relatives. The way the sun rises here,

clanging its huge cowbell, easing the East

right out of you, you’d think everybody’d

be tinted silt and rouge and worshipping

The Bright Solar Prince of the Solar Palace.

(Who?) I’m but one who recently drifted

from old New Jersey, the 27th sunniest state

where the sun shines 56% of the time. Don’t

underestimate the operatic trill and maw

of this western sun as it blazes over you

and laughs behind the Rockies. It will draw

you to it and sear you like a steak, Jersey

girl, Golden Guernsey, little pail of milk.

West Ho 2

I also live in the state of New Mexico, the second sunniest state, and in Florida, the eighth. I live in three places but I don’t have three faces. This is not exactly a metaphor, yet I can see the metaphor coming at me, a satellite in the hard dark sky.

Deputy Azevedo placed Dexter’s head in an evidence bag and took it out to his cruiser:

the last words I read as I fell asleep last night.

Here in Colorado everyone skis obsessively on Sunday. People break their legs and arms and sometimes their necks.

I’m feeling a little Jersey today.

Don’t get me talking about dogs or coffee.

There are no real characters in this poem, only those who have escaped from Totawa.

Lizzy Tish, for example.

Lizzy will not be buried in Totowa nor Newark nor Hoboken. Her musical body will be laid to rest somewhere on the plains of Colorado.

Personally, I both do and don’t believe in the efficacy of death and dying.

Eggcream, potsy, stoop, stickball.

These are some of the words a Jersey girl might remember while under the influence of the Colorado sun.

Her musical body will be buried in Boulder Valley under the lid of a baby grand piano, her soul accompanied into the afterlife by a flashmob of multigenerational percussionists.


Love in the Time of Snow Poem

Lafayette, Colorado

People who live here

speak very little French.

Lafayette, nous voilà!

they sometimes say.

Although Lafayette,  

famous Hero of Two

Worlds, (our world et

le monde de Lafayette)

never skied much past

the bunny slope and

few remember him slip-

ping bourbon in cocoa

after snowboarding—

in fact, few remember


him at all—it’s still

historical as hell here,

a veritable winter love-

fest de la révolution,

hippies and nobles lug-

ing down the Rockies.


Slush Pile: Episode 017: “Let’s Kill the Slush Pile”

September 21, 2016

Present at the Editorial Table:

Jim Hanas

Jason Schneiderman

Kathleen Volk Miller

Marion Wrenn

Caitlin McLaughlin

Tim Fitts

Engineering Sound Producer:

Joe Zang

Today we have a very different episode; instead of discussing submissions from our own slush pile, we talk about whether a “slush pile” is even the best way to find writing and writers at all! Joining us is Jim Hanas, author of the essay “Let’s Kill the Slush Pile,” which details how open submissions really work, under what premises, and the advantages of scouting for work over open submissions. In a world where Facebook and Wordpress have made sharing writing easier than ever, does a slush pile still have the value that it once had? Are Editors who strictly pick from submissions nothing more than literary Gatekeepers? We sit down for this episode ready to defend our democratic slush pile as the obvious way to go, but Jim’s arguments left us questioning our own methods (unless you’re Jason).

Jim Hanas is certainly not a new face to the publishing world. Currently, he works for HarperCollins as the Senior Director of Audience Development and Insight but he’s done it all, from freelance writer, to professor, to editor. He no longer submits to the slush and is trying to conquer the full-length novel. Look for his collection of short stories titled Why They Cried: a surreal look into the strange and beautiful present in everyday life.

We here at PBQ aren’t slashing our slush pile any time soon, but Jim leaves us contemplating the function of the slush pile and with an uncertainty of its future in the ever-changing world of publishing.

What do you think? Do you agree with Jim? What are your experiences with slush piles? Let us know on our Facebook event page or tweet us@PaintedBrideQ.

Thank you for listening and read on!

Slush Pile: Episode 016: Consumption

September 7, 2016

Present at editorial table:

Kathleen Volk Miller

Tim Fitts

Jason Schneiderman

Caitlin McLaughlin


Engineering sound producer:

Joe Zang


Hello and welcome to Episode 16 of our podcast! Today we discussed fiction for the second time: Hunger by Kerry Donoghue. You can read the story before or after you listen to the podcast, but: SPOILER ALERT; you will hear us discuss all of the major plot points!


Kerry Donoghue once launched a falcon from her arm so it could snatch a pigeon head in mid-air, which seems really random to mention to you right now, but when you’ll read the story you’ll see: she’s obsessed with consumption: what we put in our mouths, all the different infidelities we allow. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, her little girl, and a distressing capacity for cheese (See? It’s all connected.)  We know you’ll want more of Donoghue, so we’ve made it easy--The Pinch, The Louisville Review, The South Carolina Review, Potomac Review, and Harpur Palate.

We loved the way that Donoghue was able to paint such misguided, inept characters without judgement. From Buick’s competitive eating to Glory’s obsession with childbearing, the story held enough elements of reality for us to believe in and truly care about these characters. Sex, food, beauty salons, brothers, baby shampoo, and tricep dips--the visceral details here drive this piece. If you read it, you will immediately want to share it--just like us!


We then decided to fully rip off one our favorite podcast’s, (Pop Culture Happy Hour) and Kathy asked each of us what’s been making us happy. Tim mentioned that he’s re-reading George Orwell, while Caitlin brought up the Spider Man/Deadpool Marvel comic, and so her happiness dealt with anticipation. (Once again making us love the diversity of our staff’s minds.)

Jason is loving former PBQ author Kristen Dombek’s book, “The Selfishness of Others: An Essay on the Fear of Narcissism,” ,and admits that his currect gulity pleasure is the Netflix series, Stranger Things. (“Reason to watch=Winona Ryder.)


Kathleen ended the podcast with a call for memoirs written by people under 30 who are not celebrities and have not suffered huge life tragedies. Do any exist? Let us know on our event page!


As always, let us know what you think---of the story, our conversation, or the podcast in general, on our Facebook page! Don’t forget to rate and subscribe if you like what we’re doing!


Read on!


Slush Pile Episode 015: The Schneiderman Tingle Episode

August 24, 2016

Hi and welcome to Episode 15 of the PBQ’s Slush pile.

On today’s podcast we discussed four poems, all part of a “polyvalent” poetry series by Jayson Iwen. These poems were unique because they could be read two different ways, horizontally and vertically.

Jayson lived in Beirut, Lebanon for four years where he served as the “Hare-Raiser” for the Beirut Tarboush Hash House Harriers (yeah, we had to look it up, too). He wrote his first two books on a Smith Corona WS250 when he was in high school, and dropped out of pre-med to become a writer. In college he played Petruchio in an S&M, black box version of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew (eat your heart out E.L. James).

Slush Pile Episode 014: Martinis are Just Like Testicles

August 11, 2016

Welcome to Episode 14 of our podcast! We’re having so much nerdy fun with these and hope you are, too. This week we discussed one poem a piece by Hilary Jacqmin, Keith Woodruff, and Kierstin Bridger, each submitted for different issues. Another Slush Pile first! We read poems that focused on topics from boredom to Frankenstein to growing up in a reformatory town. 

Over the years, PBQ often accepts work, contacts the authors, and then gets told there’s been a revision. Almost always, the original is better than the revision. We discussed why this might happen, and how difficult it is to know when your own work is “finished.”

 Let us know what you think—do you continue to work with your work once you’ve sent it out?

You can let us know your thoughts on this episode on our Facebook discussion page, and then rate us on our iTunes! 

Slush Pile Episode 013: Creature Triple Feature

July 27, 2016
In this episode we discussed three poems by Dana Sonnenschein, all submitted for our Monsters issue! These poems were part of a series that put a twist on old horror stories.

Dana love wolves, ravens, black cats, Universal horror films, folklore from around the world, and the kind of cookbooks that feature ingredients like mummy and shavings from human skulls. And yes, she does wear white glove when she handles manuscripts!

We also discussed some of the emotional responses we received so far, and some of the reasons our podcast might scare authors, even when we’re not talking about the Creature from the Black Lagoon!

Full notes can be found here: http://pbq.drexel.edu/podcast/slush-pile-episode-013/
Don't forget to subscribe and rate! 
Read on! 

Slush Pile Episode 012: Who Killed the Cat?

July 14, 2016

Hello and welcome to Episode #12 of PBQ’s Slush Pile! 

For the first time on our podcast, we are discussingfiction!  Today, we will talk about ashort story, “Prufrock” by Terry Dubow. We were nervous about discussing thislonger format, but super excited to try it out.

 Dubow has been writing fiction for twenty years or so—it’shis secret identity without exciting parts. No super powers. No spy stories. Nosecond family in Idaho. 

 In addition to​​writing 250 words a day, he works at an independent school in Cleveland anddoes his best to help his two daughters and his one lovely wife stay happy,healthy and fed. A storycollection was a finalist for the Autumn House Fiction Prize in 2011.Currently, he’s working on his third novel. We want more, and afterreading this story, we have a feeling you will, too. Read another story, “Wyoming” in Witness 


We advised our listeners to go read Prufrock LINK first, butof course, we can’t know that they did--it’s all an experiment, right? We doveright in: raccoons and a cat and teenagers and mother-in-laws, oh my!!!

 This story packs so much into thirteen pages; we laughed atmoments, and while we may not have cried, we winced at all the right parts.This story made us think about fatherhood, T.S. Eliot, incapacitation,indecision, and whether we should be paid by the hour. Once again, Tim schooledus on the real habits of the wildlifeof North America, and we could have discussed the story for another hour.

 We had some dissension about how the piece ends and evenmore about what happened to Prufrock; please read, listen to this show, andcast your vote!

 Marion suggested that we might provide a synopsis of thestory at the beginning of episodes that discuss fiction, which sparked adiscussion of recap podcasts and the ways we consume longform media. With suchan overwhelming amount of media coming at us in so many ways---how do youconsume? You can let us know on our Facebook event page (link) and our twitter@PaintedBrideQ


As always, thank you for listening, and read on!



Slush Pile Episode 011: The One with Heart, Brain, and Balls

June 30, 2016

In this podcast, we discuss three of Laura McCullough’s poems. The box score above is the spoiler alert: though today’s podcast crew spanned from the east coast to Iowa, included an undergrad and people who’ve done this work of editing for more than two decades, we were unanimously enamored of all three poems.

“Leafless” moved us and took us on a journey that also spanned decades. “Reclaimed Wood” told a tale we only want even more of, and “Maggot Therapy” simply left us thunderstruck. Read along and listen in—these poems are even more breathtaking aloud.

Laura McCullough
Laura McCullough

Laura McCullough’s Jersey Mercy

She’s hates the word feminist and she’s no stranger to PBQ! Laura McCullough is an award-winning poet with six (!) poetry collections which include her most recent, Jersey Mercywhich narrates the lives of two people affected by Hurricane Sandy. Watch a brief interview after her first book or watch part of a reading from this past spring.Check out more of her work on her website.

The fact that we were going to discuss Laura’s work and we’ve known her for years, spurred us to invite Jennifer L. Knox to join us for this episode, as Jennifer fits a similar profile: she’s a poet whose work we admire and the added bonus—we can call her a friend.

We discussed the conundrum many of us find ourselves in—how difficult is it to be a poet who wants to send work to journals she loves and respects, but whose editors she knows well. No one wants to be published out of obligation or to put her friend in an awkward position. The flip side is just as bad: no editor takes pleasure out of rejecting anyone, let alone a friend. Our discussion focused on social ties and aesthetic taste—or, as Jennifer put it, discerning the “heart-to-brains-to-balls ratio” of any given magazine or press in order to find the right home for your work. Listen in as we explore our practices, then chime in on our FB event page and share your own.

Sign for our email list if you’re in the area, and even if you’re not!

Send us a self-addressed stamped envelope, and we’ll send you a PBQ Podcast sticker.

Follow us on Twitter @PaintedBrideQ and Instagram @paintedbridequarterly.

Read on!

Laura McCullough


In the end, my mother’s shoulders, barely covered and quivering,

were like birds.

Once, I made a dress

for her, the fabric creamy white, the print a single brown tree

spanning the width, with stark branches.

It was 1974.    I was fourteen.                       Each night,

I taught myself to sew,                               feeding

the fabric through the foot,             thinking

how surprised she would be.              I remember

seeing her in it, how we’d both loved the gesture, the achievement,

and though it fit poorly, the print

was enough for us.      She wore it once and never again, let me see

her walk out the door in it.


love’s architecture is exposed when we try and fail at what we mean.

Outside the hospital, winter had flayed everything, the trees

charcoaled against the sky, their shadows

thumb smudges on the institutional snow hid lawn, and inside the air

was redolent of shit, flowers, and chlorine.

The first time I changed her clothes, peeling back from her shoulders

the blue flecked cotton gown,

then sliding a clean pink one up her arms, we held each other

in the oily light, spent.

Reclaimed Wood

I confess now I have begun to henna

my red hair gone dull

in parts and penny bright in others.

And I always tried to subdue

its wildness. But when the hull of our

marriage busted rock

and began to leak, we both thought

it was a good idea to renovate

the kitchen, together, by ourselves.

We closed up the hall

to the back rooms to create more

privacy and took down a load-

bearing wall in hoped of opening

the “flow.” My husband looked

like Christ hauling the salvaged

timbers from a warehouse deep

in the Piney woods one by one

up the front stoop, laying

them in our suburban living room,

posing as a Brooklyn loft.

We framed the new wide space:

one as header, two as column braces,

then sat on the floor cross-legged

looking at our work in progress,

the way the wood had aged,

the colors and striations, notches

and hammered pegs. We felt our

fifties ranch had a new story now,

something with weight, and we

held hands a little while before

getting up, heading to the shower,

falling back into our routine.

Maggot Therapy

Near death, sometimes the hands curve

into themselves like claws.

I held my mother’s open, smoothing

the fingers, trimming the wild nails.

Once, years before, my husband and I awoke

to a fawn caught in the family compost,

a hole on its back end festering with worms,

and he pinched each one out

swiping his little finger in the bowl

of the wound, then coating it

with antibiotic salve. I loved him,

and how he saved this small thing.

It’s a story I have told over and over.

Today though, I’m thinking of the medical uses

for maggots: biodebridement and extracorporeal

digestion, their enzymes liquefying

dead tissue in wounds, and wonder,

do I feed off the dead

who live inside me? When my mother was dying,

she had a vision of her non-corporeal

father, brothers, sisters. Her last words,

   Why have you left me alone?

She never opened her eyes again,

her chest a drowning well.

The bodily signs of death:

the skin mottling as blood flow slows;

breathing, open mouthed; jaw, unhinged.

I won’t recount the signs of a dying marriage,

but he left two days after her funeral. Physically,

he returned but told me he’d fallen

in love with someone else,

that his love for me had passed.

Above my mother’s body, orange mist

had exhaled and dispersed, a light bulb

busted open, its luminescent gas escaping.

The word fluorescent is so similar

to the word florescence, meaning flowering,

and somewhere between these two,

there is a splendor I can barely stand.

     Inflorescence refers to flowers clustering

on one branch, each a separate floret,

but if they are tightly clustered

as in the dandelion seed head, they look incomplete

alone, though the whole is an illusion.

The word for this—pseudanthium—means “false

flower.” Infrutescence, its fruiting stage,

gives us grapes, ears of corn, stalks of wheat,

so many of the berries we love.

This morning my hands ache

as though in the night I’d been trying

to claw my way out of a hole

I am down in, having lost the body

I came into this world through, and my husband’s

as well. It’s almost as if my body

had come to believe his was a part of its own,

a connection he would have to break or die.

Medical experts say it takes two moltings

for maggots to do the job well,

to feed enough to clean a wound. I do not feel

clean at all, though in our shower,

my husband and I still huddle some days,

hunched into the spray. We call it watering.

When we do, we scrub each other, grateful

for the living, dying flesh, but trying to get clean

of each other. That fawn he saved way back

when we were new in love

was released into the wild. Surely, it had a scar

identifying it, evidence of what flesh

my husband was willing to enter

in order to keep something alive. Lately,

he seems more clear-eyed, and it is as if a cicatrix husk

is cracking. Neither of us know who

will emerge, but he seems luminescent,

a kind of light created by the excitation

of the smallest elements, and not giving off warmth,

but a cold glow that at least illuminates.

Slush Pile Episode 010: Mangoes and Monsters

June 17, 2016

Welcome to Episode 10 of the PBQ’s Slush pile! Episode 10!!!! Can you believe it?  Thus far, we have released 10 episodes of our podcast.  We’d like to say thank you to our listeners, supporters, authors and editorial board!

Jen Karetnick
Jen Karetnick

First up is Jen Karetnick, who submitted the poem “The Physics of Falling Mangoes” for the Locals issue. When we asked her if we could discuss the poem she said, “I love the idea of the podcast editorial meeting, although it might prove to be a little nerve-wracking. But I'm sure my students, who get put through the workshop wringer all year long, will consider it more than just! So for their sake alone, I am delighted to say yes.”

Side note: It’s mango season, so we thought what better time to discuss this poem than now! Perplexed at first by a few “scientific” words, we grew to appreciate the intimacy of the vocabulary. Karetnick beautifully and authentically captured the atmosphere where mango trees grow; it’s as if she lives among the trees that she describes. In fact, Jen Karetnick lives in Miami Shores on the last acre of a historic plantation with her husband, two teenagers, three dogs, three cats and fourteen mango trees. This poem will make you want a mango, and to read more of her Jen Karetnick’s work: she released the poetry collection American Sentencing (Winter Goose Publications, May 2016). You can also see more   @ TheAtlantic.comGuernica and her website.

Tria Wood
Tria Wood

The next poem was submitted to our Monsters issue, but you probably would have guessed that. When we first asked Tria Wood she said she was “excited and intrigued” also a “little nervous.”Keep up the bravery poets!

Immediately, we noticed the contrast between Godzilla’s graceful swan-like nature and his belly collapsing like a flat tire. The imagery in the third and fourth stanzas also had us close to speechless—which loyal listeners know takes a lot!  Every detail had us captivated (even Godzilla's cocktail)! A pleasant surprise for all, we quickly fell in love with this re-imagined Godzilla. Make sure to watch Tria read “Godzilla Walks Into a Bar” herself!

Tria Wood’s poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in RattleLiterary Mama and other publications. Check out one of the public art projects in Houston that features her work.

In this podcast, we also clarify some things that have been happening in our podcasts. Even after our tenth episode, we can still be surprised by the outcomes. We’re sorry to learn that “Brazillian” was accepted elsewhere, but we are glad we still got to discuss it in Episode 8.

We also discuss a few questions that arose due to Episode 9: Do you consider the work posted here as published? Is there a difference between posting and publishing work? Listen and then chime in!

We’d love to know what you think; let us know on our FB page!

Sign for our email list if you’re in the area, and even if you’re not!

Send us a self-addressed stamped envelope, and we’ll send you a PBQ Podcast sticker.

Follow us on Twitter @PaintedBrideQ and Instagram @paintedbridequarterly.

Read on!

Jen Karetnick

The Physics of Falling Mangoes

If a Haden mango, full with sun,

and an ovoid Irwin, that ornament

of dawn, drop at the same time from

panicles equivalent in height,

will they accelerate identically

despite degrees of heft, of maturity,

the knowledge of their own ripeness?

Physics says yes, despite mass, even

if it’s a late-season Beverly, still green,

set upon too early by a squirrel

sitting on its stem, or an Indian mango

five pounds large, swaying all summer,

too big for the basket of the tool

I wield like lightning to strike

a singular fruit. The damage, then:

That should be equal, too. But all things

considered, there is no free fall. Air,

on a humid whim, can change

its resistance, and there is no formula

to adjust for the destructive means

of a mango during descent, helicoptering

sap through the day’s work of spiderwebs,

a season of boat-shaped leaves that bear

those burns until they themselves release,

and the twigs it breaks without discrimination,

whether they are ready to reach like hands

or be struck down to ground. And the ground,

which could be oolite or limestone, grass

or a brother mango, the driveway

or the chemical buffer of pool water,

my shoulder or arm or skull, willing to take

the aromatic knock. I know the parts

of the equation: limb, fruit, gravity. But not

the sum, upon landing. Wholly bruised? Flesh

protected by deflection? Or a split that, turned

every possible way, simply, dumbly smiles?

Tria Wood 

Godzilla Walks into a Bar

Godzilla walks into a bar.

He’s much smaller

than you’d expect, really.

Scaly, dark, and haggard.

He’s been sleeping it off

for centuries, all that rage,

dust and ashes washed out

of the cracks in his suit

by the surging Pacific.

He’s graceful, surprisingly

so. Swanlike, even.

He will not look at you.

When he sits, his forearms pool

on the bar like crayons in the sun.

His belly is a flat tire

collapsing into his crotch

and whatever may be there

is hidden. He’ll order

something tropical, all rum

and fruit and fire,

incinerate the paper umbrella

with a tiny burst

that could have been a laugh.

He swivels his head

to watch it burn, left,

right, then pokes its charred

skeleton down into the tumbler

and gives it a feeble stir

with stubbed fingers. One dark claw

etches delicate architecture

into the condensation on the glass.

And when he turns, half-smiles

at you, at last you understand

love at first sight.

Slush Pile Episode 009: All Abu Dhabi All the Time

June 6, 2016

All 3 of the poems on today’s episode were submitted by poet Brittney Scott.* The Abu Dhabi editors flagged Scott’s previous submissions—we wanted to publish them!—but we moved too slowly. Other publications nabbed them. So Scott sent us another batch of poems to consider and we discussed them on this special edition of “The Slush Pile,” the “all Abu Dhabi all the time edition,” featuring members of our Abu Dhabi editorial board.

These poems set out to both delight and appall. We were transfixed by a dismembered body mauled by dogs in “After the Hunt”; fascinated by the relationship between a daughter and her mother, an “unstable gardener,” in “Daughter of Wild Lettuce.”

Plus, Scott’s work stuck an inadvertent chord with our PBQ ex-pat crew. Listen as Scott’s poems help the Abu Dhabi editors make sense of being far flung, of being mildly Dazed & Confused.

Brittney Scott received an MFA from Hollins University in Virginia. A finalist in the 2013 Narrative 30 Below Contest, she is also the 2012 recipient of the Joy Harjo Prize for Poetry and the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize. She teaches creative writing to adults, Girl Scouts, and high-risk youth at Richmond’s Visual Arts Center.

for podcast

Tell us what you think about Brittney Scott’s poems or anything else you’d like to share with us on our Facebook page event, Episode X.

Sign up for our e-mail list if you are in the area and even if you, too, are far flung!

Send us a SASE and we’ll send you a podcast sticker!

Follow us on Twitter @PaintedBrideQ and Instagram @paintedbridequarterly.

Read on!


* You might notice that we posted only 2 of the 3 poems we discussed in this week’s episode in our show notes. This is the first time in 9 episodes we’ve had a poet ask us not to post anything we reject. You’ll have to listen to hear more!

After the Hunt

Here’s the body the dogs robbed—

the limbs strewn around the field like prophecy.

She won’t make it,

they say. They say

the body found in her bed

was eaten right through to the floral mattress.

They had to shut her eyes

because she would not stop

blinking up at a bone marrow colored sky,

enjoying her party, the confetti

of her flayed body.

The dogs got sick on her form,

the remains of her last meal of steamed artichoke

grapes, mercy, and rejection.

Don’t they know

What’s good for one

will poison another? So

they say. They say

the dogs died in a circle

and she rose the next day

to bury them and bring flowers

to their graves.


Daughter of Wild Lettuce

My mother plants snow peas behind the garage.

She works around the sink hole that takes

dry leaves and garbage all summer.

In her memory, I am an almost abortion.

She plants marigolds with the tomatoes,

symbiotic bright suns

bursting between the rows.

Sometimes she knows, love

abounding, sometimes she overlooks

an entire season’s glut, and rot

carries us through winter.

In the cellar, plastic roses, night crawlers,

unfinished half-hearted projects,

the potatoes’ all seeing eyes and me

damp through my nightshirt.

No natural light filters in,

so I only know the earth’s eternal hour.

My mother, an unstable gardener,

tosses spare seeds into barren patches

of the backyard. We won’t know until spring.

Sometimes new buds shoot up

in the most unusual places,

but more often, they don’t.

Slush Pile Episode 008: The Brazilian

May 20, 2016

First up in this episode is Todd Pierce, with “If Only You Could Remember” which had us both as lost as the speaker (in a good way) and mesmerized. Todd is currently rereading War Music: An Account of Homer’s Iliad, by Christopher Logue and the chapbook Weird Vocation, by Art Zilleruelo.  He hopes that 2016 is the year that he finishes Don Quixote. Oher facts:  he once flew a plane without crashing it, and once crashed a bicycle without riding it.

Todd Pierce has been published in Opium Magazine, Annapolis Underground, and Poet Lore. Stay tuned to see if he can add Painted Bride Quarterly to that growing list! Until then, we are honored to publish his first ever selfie!

Untitledslush pile picslush pile pic 2

You really have to scroll down or click here and check out the format of “Brazilian”—it’s one of the best executions of that we’ve seen.

We had so much fun discussing this one, and were very happy we could finally educate Jason Schneiderman on SOMETHING. But to be even more mysterious, though (spoiler alert) we loved the poem, we found out some bad news after this podcast, which we will discuss in Episode 9!

Boudreaux is New Orleans born and raised, and he uses his deep, southern roots for inspiration in his writing. Read more in Louisiana Literature and Southern Poetry Anthology, buy Running Red, Running Redder (Cherry Grove Collections, 2012) and see even more here.



slush pile pic 3Catherine Partin is a novice poet: she is unpublished, even though she has experience in the publishing world with Agora Publishing. As she describes herself, she is “finance by day and philosophy by night.” You’ll have to listen as we discuss her poem, “RE: advice [erasure]” to find out if she makes the jump from publisher to published!

Tell us what you think on our Facebook Event page for this episode!

Sign for our email list if you’re in the area, and even if you’re not!

If you haven’t yet, follow us on Twitter@PaintedBrideQ and Instagram@paintedbridequarterly.

Send us a self-addressed stamped envelope, and we’ll send you a PBQ Podcast Slushpile sticker!

Read on!


Todd Pierce

If Only You Could Remember

When we came upon the muddy river

between the mountains I realize

now were not there, our dog crawling

out of the lungs of the mysterious beast he found

ahead of us, lost as much but more at home,

we learned to distinguish dream from wish, surrounded

by the forest’s tired breath chilling the sky, our noses

bunched up against the scent of something not quite death,

as I plucked a bloated tick off your nape

and popped it under the rolling clouds,

fine raindrops running red down the dog’s white sides.

Beau Boudreaux


She leans in                                                     towards my ear


overwhelmed, awash                                       shock of perfume


zoo stench, sniff                                            an old Easter lily


no, I really do admire                                      the cut of her


hemline, zebra skin                                         bangs on the brow


oh commando                                                  Ms. Orlando


information I don’t need                                 a cheat, she’s the only one


smoking, cocktailed                                       touching my arm.



Slush Pile Episode 007: Howl

May 4, 2016

Present at editorial table:

Kathleen VolkMiller

Marion Wrenn

Jason Schneiderman

Miriam Haier

Tim Fitts


Engineering Producer:

Ryan McDonald


PBQ Box score: 2=2


Both of the poemswe discussed in Episode 7 were submitted for our “Monsters” Issue and both poems, Coyote and Coyotes,were written by Paul Nelson. Tantalizing and intriguing, we were “seduced intoloving this animal that will eat your face,” as Tim pointed out. We now lovecoyotes and the unanimous “yes” votes prove we love these poems too!

Paul Nelson has authored eight books and was Ohio University’s Director of the Creative Writing program for many years. Nelson has bounced around the Northeast United Statesbut currently resides in O’ahu, Hawaii where he is a member of the editorial board for Kaimina,a Hawaiian literary magazine.

After our unanimous votes for Paul Nelson’s poetry, Tim brought to the table a risingtrend among new writers: using crowd funding websites such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or even the artist-centered Patreon to raise funds for future projects, books in the making. How does crowd funding affect content? Should it be a viable form of self-publishing? What do editors feel about it? You’ll have to listen to Episode 7 to hear our answers to these questions and more, of course.

We at Painted Bride Quarterly are more than excited to endorse our own Jason Schneiderman’s latest book, Primary Source (Red Hen Press, 2016) which is now available for purchase!

Tell us what you think about Paul Nelson, the use of crowd funding for writers, or anything you’d like to share with us on our Facebook page event, Episode 7.

Sign up for our email list if you’re in the area and even if you’re not!

Send us a SASE and we’ll send you a podcast sticker!

Follow us on Twitter @PaintedBrideQ and Instagram 


Read on!






Paul Nelson





Last December,just beyond the windows

where we standwith wine, she clawed

for frozen applesin her new coat

beneath the treethe children climbed.

Just bred weguessed.


I wanted to caressher muzzle and ears,

lower my face toher eyes,

say something asif she were a dog,

something fatuousand loving.

You laughedbecause I said

I would takeanything she offered,

teeth or tongue.






In a shaft ofbrass light

down throughspruce, a big

chocolate male,done for the year,

pads across moss,dissolves in shadow.


The tattered blondbitch stands in bright

spring grassedging the woods.

Hanks drag fromher molting flanks,

ears alert formice and voles.

Two pale kits diveafter each other.

Shorter ears andheavier bodied

than westerncartoons; “coy-dog” some say.

Her heavy rotting taildrapes,

eyes generous andfrank.


This morning onthree legs another bitch

crabs acrossNebraska’s 1-90 in a whiteout,

men standing downat truck stops,

diesels thrummingand clacking in the lots.


Shaky behind theslapping wipers, I barely see her

hop South throughthe barbed wire

onto stubbledacres of ice and drifting snow

where men settraps to kill “vermin”

that will freeze,coiled down on steel and chain,

get skinned andnailed to a shed with others,

or thaw comespring to feed the ravens.

She chewed her ownleg off.


A sixteen wheelerpasses like a war.

I draft in itswake as it shelves the storm

over and by me,watching for its tail lights

to blink …muzzleflash, signals

to follow in theblur.

Slush Pile Episode 006: “Wait, Wait, You Said ‘No’?!”

April 20, 2016

As we prepared for Episode 6, something new happened: a poet whose work we wanted to read and discuss on our podcast said, “No.” It was bound to happen some time and it did---a month a half in. We talked about it and acknowledged that some people are simply not going to be ready, some people are going to let fear win over curiosity, and some people are simply not going to ever want their work discussed in such a public manner---a recorded manner that will always exist.

We were disappointed to receive our first “No,” but it caused us to revisit the vulnerability of what we are doing here: taking a writer’s work and picking it apart, separating the juicy poetic goodness from the bone. For most writers, they never get to hear what editors think of their poems, regardless of whether they were accepted or denied. The feedback we are getting uses the word transparency a lot, with that term directed at the transparency of our editorial conversation, but whoa—the writers who are brave for sharing--for writing in the first place—have to peel another layer back to submit to a podcast.

We are grateful that the people we asked so far said, Yes, even though they were scared. Their bravery makes us feel brave, too, and like we’re doing the right thing with this project. Tell us what you think on our FB Episode 6 event page.
We will be looking at two poets today, and the first poet up is Carlos Gomez.slush pile e6

We discussed, MorningRikers IslandBlack Hair, and Interracial in Flatbush, Brooklyn. Gomez is a renaissance man with too many skills and too many awards for us to reiterate here! Poet, actor, essayist—it seems wherever he directs his attention, great things happen. After you read these poems we know you’ll want more, so we suggest you start here.

Let us tell you his last three accomplishments, just so you get the idea: the cover story on of Brass Magazine. He was ONLY voted Best Diversity Artist in Campus Activities Magazine’s 2016 Reader’s Choice Awards. And oh, year, he is featured in The New York Times documentary short film A Conversation with Latinos on Race! So that’s what he’s been up to in just the last few months! Check out his performance schedule—practically no matter where you are he’ll be there this spring and summer.

None of Gomez’s poems were unanimous acceptances, but all three were accepted. From the first line, the light in Morning, Rikers Island resonated with us, and we applauded the craft and elegance of this poem. Interracial in Flatbush, Brooklyn has such specific narrative imagery that we all felt immersed in this scene, and a final moment that resonates. Black Hair had a very different tone, voice, and format from the other two, and our editors were simply engaged in the story just under the surface.

We discussed Adam Day a bit in Episode 5—take a look and listen back to see how these poems ended up in our podcast at all! We discussed The Quiet LifeMy Telemachus, and Openango.

slush pile e6 4

slush pile e6 3

Anyone who has been reading literary magazines for a while has seen work by Adam Day. His latest book is Model of a City in Civil War (Sarabande Books), and his latest awards are a Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship for Badger, Apocrypha, a PEN Emerging Writers Award, and an Al Smith Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council. It’s hard to keep up with this author. If you need to catch up, visit.  If you miss him, watch this video.

You’ll have to listen to find out which of the three poems we accepted, but know this: we had a great time discussing them! Tell us what you think at our FB event page. We enjoyed the passion behind The Quiet Life, and the humor of both My Telemachus and Openango; we’re betting you will, too.

Thank you for your patience as we’re learning as we go here in the podcast world, we’d love to know what you think – let us know on our Facebook page!

Sign up for our email list if you’re in the Philadelphia area and even if you’re not!

Follow us on Twitter @PaintedBrideQ and Instagram @paintedbridequarterly.

Read on!


Carlos Gomez

Morning, Rikers Island

Physics and light
pierce the hollow stench
of the forgotten
gymnasium stripped naked of clocks.

All the boys stopped.
Offered their grief
to each other like water,
glancing out the only window
they all shared. A single ray
unfolds its warmth
across the dusty belly
of the thudded parquet;
and here’s the miracle—
another day had come.

Interracial in Flatbush, Brooklyn

We watch them do this, expand
from all directions like lungs
abruptly filling with water,
as we hold hands and walk through
the eye of another storm. A man grabs
his crotch, offering it to my wife, flings
a mouthful of spit and epithets towards us.

Each pupil is a dim swamp
flooding, silence blanketing a shallow
body in Neshoba County, dusk
shedding its absence across the congealed
oven grease beneath a rusted burner.

A woman’s neck swivels when we pass,
wraps a hard vowel around her tongue
like lighter fluid choking a glass bottle
holding a fuse.

On this corner, scored by dancehall and soca,
there is nothing more novel than me and my love’s
contrasting hues—it ignites a rush of color
from these strangers’ faces. They ring us
a violence familiar as February weather,
mine our skin for metaphors, demand
we offer answers to questions
they are still forming like infants
from their throats.

I have watched my body’s primal wisdom
flicker dark as a fist-concealed palm, ache
so volatile it screams for release. Rage
is a language I unlearn on the corner
of Ocean Avenue and Church, no shoreline
or cathedrals in sight, only fractured things
decorating a broken sidewalk like littered snow.

A new voice pierces the air, a flood of sound
that hits me like a wall of ice, louder and higher
pitched than those before, this time a small child
with brown skin and green eyes, writhing
in her flimsy stroller, pointing towards
the dimpled oval bootprints I leave
behind in the hazel-colored slush,
squealing: Papi! Papi! Papi!

Black Hair

I made her a vow
that I always would,
so I join two fresh clusters
in my clumsy
and careful hands as I cradle
her slumbering nape.
I am submerged in the calculus
of it all, as though
concentration is where I took
my misstep. As though I am
not three decades behind
in my practice. As though it is just
about finding the pattern
(too late). I’m too late, I think,
or maybe it’s something else: his hands
never knew how to fix
my sister’s hair. I tend
each thick, onyx strand
like I’m mending her favorite blanket,
as though my calloused
digits might coax and shape
anything into an ordered grace.
I layer another braid
into the tidy maze
crowning her scalp. I can feel,
with each pull and twist,
the newly assembled
crib watching.

Adam Day

The Quiet Life

You is a pricy practical joke, a missed
appointment, termination that didn't take,
doctor without depth, military march,

intolerant of mystery; a dinner party
grope and stock exchange, growing aroused
in the shadow of compromise, in the pantry's

smell of lessening, of whatever
comes along. You'll have him-
you can't have anything dripping

and no one to see, and should you
be feared to share him your shrunk
breasted enthusiasm, and shaven

gape, like a mouth ajar, an over worn
loafer, you'll liptongue and hand him,
poor spunk, half-screwed, like moth larva

rolling in a rice jar. To make nothing
out of nothing but a backbend and
take three quarters of an hour over it.

No one ever captured the insanity
of monologue like you did, vulgarizing
anger into irritation and a plaster

of panic, grinding fists into your eyes,
like our child. So quiet now
it scrapes the calm from bones,

punctuated with involuntary
exonerations, the house in weed,
shingles steaming, all fog

and submission, a celibate brothel
(if nuns carried their duties
as you sexed all saints they'd be.)

No, no solicitation in a street
urinal, no sodomizing the duck
on account of its down, no slush

of thrushes in the rain gutter, no train
of dangers, or snoring next door, eyes
unlit, half the sun and twice the rent.

My Telemachus

"The dog drinking water
sounds like a horse
trotting," my five-year-old says.
Well, look at you, brilliant little
oedipal bastard, trying to steal
my crown (and he is illegitimate;
ask his mother if you
can find her) but Patton was too
and look what he achieved.


After Sherman Alexie

I had just begun
ice-fishing. A walleye

taught me
how. A fish

with a headdress.
He called me

white man. Man,
I'm tired

of that racist
shit. It's like

if I didn't vacation
at your ice hole

you wouldn't
have that casino. And

don't look
at me like that, lying

on your side, a vein
of blood

skating the black
plate of your eye.

Slush Pile Episode 005.5: WTF2 AWP + PBQ + LDM = Umbrella Drinks

April 12, 2016

AWP 2016 in Los Angeles was la-la lovely. Marion and I flew out together, for the first time in all of these years of traveling to different cities. Our first bit of business? We discussed what our podcast from AWP would be about.

Literary Death Match? Could we ever have an experience close to the awesomeness of Mark Dotyin Chicago? Tony Hoagland in Boston? Abraham Smith in Seattle? How about Chris Abani, Susan Orlean, Danez Smith, and Kirsten Valdez Quade in L.A.?  And since it’s LA, let’s throw in some celebrities like, I dunno,  Martin Starr, Lena WaitheMichaela Watkins, and Zach Woods

Sure, hot enough, but basically, we wanted to sit back andenjoy the show, and then immediately have umbrella drinks on the rooftop,so…what else could we talk about?

How crowded it was? Negative and boring.

How expensive it was? Negative and boring.

Should we interview our Uber drivers?  Not a bad idea. But, when we thought just that much longer, probably about when wewere flying over Wyoming, we thought about the AWP conference and everyone’sexpectations, how overwhelming it can be to have so many choices, how undone one can become even when all ofthose choices are great, we thought about the bookfair. We thought about howmuch we enjoy “camping out” at the bookfair, letting the attendees and ourfar-flung friends come to us, doing laps ourselves when we need to stretch. Yes.We’d hang out and the boofair and talk to people about…

Writing. What else? Tune in and hear what people are working on when they’re not swimming in the riches of the AWP conference. 

Podbean.com - superior podcast hosting.

April 11, 2016

Welcome to Podbean.com. With Podbean, you can create professional podcasts in minutes without any programming knowledge. Our user-friendly interface allows you to upload, publish, manage and promote your podcasts with just a few clicks of your mouse. Just point, click and execute. How easy is that? Learn more at http://faq.podbean.com. Have a question ? Check out the Podbean.com support center. Happy Podcasting!