When the blackberries hang

swollen in the woods, in the brambles

nobody owns, I spend


all day among the high

branches, reaching

my ripped arms, thinking


of nothing, cramming

the black honey of summer

into my mouth; all day my body


accepts what it is. In the dark

creeks that run by there is

this thick paw of my life darting among


the black bells, the leaves; there is

this happy tongue.


             ~ Mary Oliver


"Blackberry Picking" by John George Brown, 1875

“Blackberry Picking” by John George Brown, 1875

The tri-annual literary journal Minerva Rising is currently reading for its upcoming themed issue and is looking for fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and interviews that focus on the topic of “home.”  For this issue, the magazine is interested in “where we come from, where we want to return, what we expect, where we belong.”  All entries should address the theme of the current issue and not exceed seven thousand words.  The online submission deadline is October 1.

Minerva Rising publishes original essays, interviews, short stories, short shorts, memoirs, poetry, photography, and artwork by women writers and artists.  The journal also supports women’s independence by donating to charities like Women for Women International, an amazing organization with which I have been involved personally for the last six years.  For more information about Minerva Rising and to submit online, visit the website at http://minervarising.com.


Minerva Rising


The adolescent night, breath of the town,

Porchswings and whispers, maple leaves unseen

Deploying moonlight quieter than a man dead

After the locust’s song. These homes were mine

And are not now forever, these on the steps

Children I think removed to many places,

Lost among hushed years, and so strangely known.


This business is well ended. If in the dark

The firefly made his gleam and sank therefrom,

Yet someone’s hand would have him, the wet grass

Bed him no more. From corners of the lawn

The dusk-white dresses flutter and are past.

Before our bed time there were things to say,

Remembering tree-bark, crickets, and the first star…


After, and as the sullenness of time

Went on from summer, here in a land alien

Made I my perfect fears and flower of thought:

Sleep being no longer swift in the arms of pain,

Revisitations are convenient with a cough,

And there is something I would say again

If I had not forever, if there were time.


                                             ~ Robert Fitzgerald


"Summer Afternoon" by Winslow Homer, 1872

“Summer Afternoon” by Winslow Homer, 1872


It’s all right

Unless you’re either lonely or under attack.

That strange effortful

Repositioning of yourself. Laundry, shopping,

Hours, the telephone – unless misinformed –

Only ever ringing for you, if it ever does.

The night – yours to decide,

Among drink, or books, or lying there.

On your back, or curled up.


An embarrassment of poverty.


                    ~ Michael Hofmann


"Reading Woman" by Poul Friis Nybo, 1929

“Reading Woman” by Poul Friis Nybo, 1929

Who has not waked to list the busy sounds

Of summer’s morning, in the sultry smoke

Of noisy London? On the pavement hot

The sooty chimney-boy, with dingy face

And tattered covering, shrilly bawls his trade,

Rousing the sleepy housemaid. At the door

The milk-pail rattles, and the tinkling bell

Proclaims the dustman’s office; while the street

Is lost in clouds impervious. Now begins

The din of hackney-coaches, wagons, carts;

While tinmen’s shops, and noisy trunk-makers,

Knife-grinders, coopers, squeaking cork-cutters,

Fruit-barrows, and the hunger-giving cries

Of vegetable-vendors, fill the air.

Now every shop displays its varied trade,

And the fresh-sprinkled pavement cools the feet

Of early walkers. At the private door

The ruddy housemaid twirls the busy mop,

Annoying the smart ’prentice, or neat girl,

Tripping with band-box lightly. Now the sun

Darts burning splendor on the glittering pane,

Save where the canvas awning throws a shade

On the gay merchandise. Now, spruce and trim,

In shops (where beauty smiles with industry)

Sits the smart damsel; while the passenger

Peeps through the window, watching every charm.

Now pastry dainties catch the eye minute

Of humming insects, while the limy snare

Waits to enthrall them. Now the lamp-lighter

Mounts the tall ladder, nimbly venturous,

To trim the half-filled lamps, while at his feet

The pot-boy yells discordant! All along

The sultry pavement, the old-clothes-man cries

In tone monotonous, while sidelong views

The area for his traffic: now the bag

Is slyly opened, and the half-worn suit

(Sometimes the pilfered treasure of the base

Domestic spoiler), for one half its worth,

Sinks in the green abyss. The porter now

Bears his huge load along the burning way;

And the poor poet wakes from busy dreams,

To paint the summer morning.


                               ~ Mary Robinson


"A Street Flower Seller" by Augustus Edwin Mulready, 1882

“A Street Flower Seller” by Augustus Edwin Mulready, 1882

This has been a summer of quiet anticipation. Nearly giddy with the possibility of commencing my doctoral studies in the spring, I am waiting for former and potential professors to return from summer hiatuses, classes to resume, and admissions offices to reopen. In six weeks, the application process will become a whirlwind of activity, consuming my free time through November 1. But for now, while the days are warm and far too bright for my liking and any discernible progress is stalled, I can only read, study, write…and wait. It is summer, after all.


What is the change in summer

of which one expects nothing?

Nature is not reborn,

nor does she perish except

in the streaks of a rare elm

that has outlived itself.

The weather conceals nothing:

the months are temperate,

even in the hardest rains

one may walk without a coat.

The gardens flourish, and bear

without a gardener’s help.


Sitting in windows at night

black cats and their masters

look out on summer; the moon

feeds their yellow visions,

the opened windows cool them.

One learns to smoke a pipe

and is pleased for solitude.

One wants nothing to happen

forever, and thinks of those

who perhaps are ready to die,

except that it is summer

and they are putting it off.


~ Robley Wilson, excerpt from “In summer, nothing happens,” included in Robert Atwan’s anthology A Dream of Summer: Poems for the Sensuous Season (Beacon Press, 2004)


"Young Woman Holding a Black Cat" by Gwen John, circa 1920

“Young Woman Holding a Black Cat” by Gwen John, circa 1920

StoryQuarterly is currently accepting submissions to its Third Annual Nonfiction Prize.  The winner will receive $1,000, and the winner, first runner-up, and second runner-up will be published in StoryQuarterly 50.  The online submission deadline is August 1.

Founded in 1975, StoryQuarterly has been publishing the literary fiction of emerging and established writers for over thirty years.  The journal welcomes short stories, short shorts, novel excerpts, and creative nonfiction up to 6,250 words.  Its contributors’ work has been selected for inclusion in annual collections such as The Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses series, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading anthologies.

For more information about StoryQuarterly and to submit online, visit the website at http://storyquarterly.camden.rutgers.edu.




Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 71 other followers

%d bloggers like this: