Happy New Year! Welcome to Issue 65. This issue has many surprises. Miho Kinnas and E. Ethelbert Miller have collaborated on poems, what Ethelbert calls “twoness poems.” Their poem, What Should We Do with All This History?, begins with this question but ends, “Every dictator believes in resurrection.” Read it to see how these masterful poets arrive at that conclusion.
We also have our runner-ups in our annual WWPH Writes Holidays contest. Fran Abrams, a longtime friend of WWPH, was chosen by our judge Kim Roberts. And, as Roberts notes, When We Each Bring a Dish is an ode to the tradition of the potluck—its weird juxtapositions made more delightful by Abrams’ propelling rhythms and playful end rhymes.” We also have our prose runner-up, also chosen by Roberts, who comments that Delicious by Elizabeth Mercurio is a terrific (and economical) portrayal of a mystical realm of the moon, wine, nakedness, and an androgynous soul.”
We hope you enjoy these wonderful words, and that they inspire you in the new year!
Lastly, take a look at our WWPH News below. We are starting 2024 strong with readings and events across the DMV and at the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) conference in Kansas City, Missouri. We hope to see you in 2024!
co-president and poetry editor
WWPH WRITES POETRY
What Should We Do with All This History?
What should we do with all this history?
Of what does today consist of?
At daybreak, the sky indeed breaks
but history is not.
What are these fragments we call men and women?
How do we measure the distance between
them? Grains of sand? The Constellation of
We are separated by pronouns and what they
the historians think.
We are described by adjectives
that mirror the historian’s mind.
Their words stuck.
How can history repeat itself if it doesn’t budge?
It is like a weekly recycling collection.
We don’t even know where
our bottles and bags go.
In Florida the Governor applauds the beaches disappearing.
He romances the landfill.
Refuse, like people, must
go somewhere. Even dust
and smoke from incinerators
fill our air and land on top of
every picture frame.
Cleaners who run for public office
tend to clean with fascism.
Make sure we have
rugs and buckets in the cupboards.
Skeletons cannot hide there.
Every dictator believes in resurrection.
©Miho Kinnas and E. Ethelbert Miller 2024
Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Miho Kinnas is a translator, writer, and poet. She is the author of three poetry collections. The poem, Three Shrimp Boats on The Horizon, was selected for Best American Poetry 2023. Also in 2023, a book of poetry collaborated with E. Ethelbert Miller, We Eclipse into the Other Side, was published by Pinyon Publishing. In addition, a rengay written with Lenard D. Moore appears in Tandem, Vol2, No2 and her translation in Tokyo Poetry Journal Vol 12. were published. She writes literary essays and book reviews for journals including E-Markings, American Book Review and Literary Shanghai Alluvium. She is an instructor at Writers.com, Camp Conroy, New York Writers’ Workshop and Life-Long Learning of Hilton Head. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the City University of Hong Kong. Her latest book is Waiting for Sunset to Bury Red Camellias published by Free Verse Press.
E. Ethelbert Miller is a literary activist and author of two memoirs and several poetry collections. He hosts the WPFW morning radio show On the Margin with E. Ethelbert Miller and hosts and produces The Scholars on UDC-TV, which received a 2020 Telly Award. Miller is an Associate Editor and a columnist for The American Book Review. He was given a 2020 congressional award from Congressman Jamie Raskin in recognition of his literary activism, awarded the 2022 Howard Zinn Lifetime Achievement Award by the Peace and Justice Studies Association, and named a 2023 Grammy Nominee Finalist for Best Spoken Word Poetry Album. Miller’s latest books are How I Found Love Behind the Catcher’s Mask, published by City Point Press and We Eclipse Into The Other Side, collaborated with Miho Kinnas, published by Pinyon Publishing.
WWPH WRITES THE HOLIDAYS
Fran Abrams’ poems have been published in many journals and anthologies and in three collections: I Rode the Second Wave: A Feminist Memoir (November 2022), The Poet Who Loves Pythagoras (April 2023), and Arranging Words (October 2023). Her poem titled “Flyng Away” published in Gargoyle Online has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Visit franabramspoetry.com for more.
When We Each Bring a Dish
Lobster and lima beans,
pineapple and pastry,
mackerel and marmalade,
pancakes and parsley.
Meatloaf and marzipan,
chocolate chips and chutney,
lemonade and licorice,
ham hocks and honey.
Ketchup and camembert,
gingersnaps and gravy,
barbeque and bacon bits,
crab cakes and candy.
Mushrooms and marble cake,
tuna fish and taffy,
pimento and pumpkin pie,
finished off with coffee.
©Fran Abrams 2024
Elizabeth Mercurio is the author of Doll and Words in a Night Jar. She is an assistant editor for Lily Poetry Review. She earned an MFA from The Solstice Program. Her work appears in The Wild Word, Thimble Magazine, Vox Populi, and elsewhere. She lives in Baltimore County. www.elizabethmercurio.com
“Wouldst, thou like to live deliciously?”— The Witch
I prefer honey butter on delicious, crusted bread. I spread jams and jelly on fresh scones by my warm fire. There are chocolates rich and delicate with a hint of peppermint. I lounge nude with no shame and give and receive pleasure as I like. My cheeks and heart are warm. I have no father or husband’s name. I am not pure, for there is no purity. I have found another world. I have manifested all the power of the wise wound they call weakness. I am of the moon and feel no shame. I am of forests, animals, and wildflowers. I care for them and tend them. I listen. I have drawn my circle and feel no fear. I have done my shadow work. I know myself. There is music. I walk between worlds. The wine that anoints me is my own. It is rich and red. I can appear as a rabbit or a woman. My soul is androgynous. I know all the intoxicating plants and take them as I choose. I am a bridge to the past and link to the future of resistance. Merry greet and merry leave. An ye harm none, do what ye will.
©Elizabeth Mercurio 2024
Congratulations again to the winners of the WWPH Writes the Holiday contest – Myna Chang and Eli V. Rahm. If you missed reading their work in our last issue, find it here.
Special Thanks to our judge Kim Roberts, who is the author of six books of poems, most recently Corona/Crown, a cross-disciplinary collaboration with photographer Robert Revere (WordTech Editions, 2023). Roberts edited By Broad Potomac’s Shore: Great Poems from the Early Days of our Nation’s Capital (University of Virginia Press, 2020), selected by the East Coast Centers for the Book and DC Public Library to represent Washington, DC in the Route 1 Reads program. She is the author of the popular guidebook, A Literary Guide to Washington, DC: Walking in the Footsteps of American Writers from Francis Scott Key to Zora Neale Hurston (University of Virginia Press, 2018). In 2023, Roberts was the recipient of a Pride Poetry Residency at the Arts Club of Washington, grants from the DC Commission on the Arts, and an Individual Practitioner Fellowship from Humanities DC. More on her website here.
WELCOME to Alejandra Galdo (Marymount University), Shiany Salazar, and Demitra Moutoudis (American University), our 2024 WWPH Fellows. Each Fellow will work closely with our editors for twelve weeks and receive a $500 stipend. Thank you to Dr. Jean Feldman for underwriting this program. More details on our WWPH Fellows are here. Applications to our 2025 class will open in the fall. Keep reading WWPH Writes for the specific date.
SUBMIT to WWPH Writes. We are reading now for our spring issues. We are an inclusive, writer-driven community and want to see your poetry and prose (1,000 words or less). Free to submit. Send us your work via our Submittable link here.
SHOUT OUT to the 2024 PRIDE Poets-in-Residence at the National Arts Club in Washington DC, which includes our co-president, JONA COLSON. He will be offering a reading/workshop at the National Arts Club on Thursday, February 15th. More details and free sign-up here.
JOIN US AT AN EVENT. We will be starting the year off strong…exhibiting at AWP in Kansas City on February 8-10 (stop by our table with Yellow Arrow Publishing – T3034) and taking over the MoCo Underground at the Sandy Spring Museum on February 15 at 7:30 pm with a special LOVE CONTINUES theme (OPEN MIC here, so join us!). More on all our winter events in Virginia, DC, and Maryland here.
And later this spring, don’t miss our first-ever WWPH Reading at Busboys and Poets: