No by Asma Firdous


Source: Durjoy Dutta’s novel, Till the Last Breath

Method: I found this book in the trash box and thought about putting it to some good use. I had learned about blackout poetry some years back and thought about trying it. I soon turned into an addict of sorts. Blackout is like journaling to me. I always find myself.

Asma Firdous is doing her BA(Hons) in English literature and struggles with discomfort and restlessness in everything she does.

My Thinking by Raina Joines

Issue 11


streak | closer | the head | growing
remember | difficult to move | concentrated | dangerous
moods flare | death itself thins out
memory | now big | beautiful name | in a bright room


Source:  Tomas Tranströmer, Memories Look at Me

Method: This poem was excavated from Tomas Tranströmer’s prose memoir, Memories Look at Me, translated by Robin Fulton. I wanted to strip Tranströmer’s already condensed, luminous language down until the poem seemed like a coded message about language itself.

Raina Joines is the recipient of fellowships from Blue Mountain Center, the Hambidge Center, and the Lillian E. Smith Center. She received a First Honorable Mention from the Dana Awards in 2015, and her work may be found in Crab Orchard Review, Measure, St. Katharine Review, and Grist: A Journal of the Literary Arts.

The Ghost Ranch by Kyle Hemmings

Issue 11

Beyond the hills that were once mountains, past the empty town that was once a falling star, an old man wakes from the dead. He recalls the farm where he planted beans and raised the water. The nights of the shrill cry of stray cats, their memories of swooping vultures. He recalls the lifeless eyes of his then newly-widowed mother. When she refused to talk, to talk about anything, he went to the well, peered down its dark mirror and mistook the darkness for himself. One day he brought a cast iron bucket of water into the house. To wipe his mother’s face of a boy’s sense of death or what little he could make of it. To make her come alive and speak and feel. Stretched out on the daybed, she remained soundless, frozen in time. Her hands were blue. His premonition: nobody was coming back with their old skin. The boy stared down at her, his mouth closed, determined to kiss her cheek, to make his presence known. It was worth a try.

Source: John Riley, The Well (–2) Three Short Poems

Method: My method of remixing these poems is first, I read them again and again. Then I copy them, deleting this or adding that. I keep shaping and reshuffling, sculpting, until the something there is something my own.

Kyle Hemmings is a retired health care worker, His latest collections of poetry/prose are Scream from Scars publications and Split Brain on Amazon Kindle. He loves ’50’s Sci-Fi movies, manga comics, and pre-punk garage bands of the ’60’s.

The Devil by Christopher Iacono

Issue 11

The mouth contracted to an arrow-like point,
a ghastly smile played, eyes flickered
like the eyes of a snake, shrill laughter,
a thunderclap crashed, a lightning bolt
flashed through the night, fire blazed
up the wall, the rafters, through the roof—
horrific unendurable smell of sulfur—
winds striking up roundelays for a grisly dance,
every peak, every crevasse howled and roared
mingled with the tortured moans of the suffering.


Source: Jeremias Gotthelf, The Black Spider, translated by Susan Bernofsky, NYRB Classics, 2013, pages 30–62.

Method: I wrote down all of the phrases in the book that contained strong imagery and re-arranged them to tell a story. Since this was a poem, though, I wanted to create a certain rhythm, so I trimmed some of the phrases or combined two or more that originally didn’t belong together. I also played with enjambment.

Christopher Iacono lives with his wife and son in Massachusetts. You can learn more about him at

Flying by Kathy Douglas



Sources: Flying includes cut outs from issues of The New York Times Magazine, The Sunday New York Times, New Yorker Magazine, and local advertising circulars.  Selected words and punctuation marks are made by hand.

Process: Part chance and part deliberation, the coffee table poems are written by selecting words and phrases based on size, color and themes. Starting with a loose selection process, choices progress organically towards themes. The cut out “bank” of text is placed on the table and moved around to find connections.Then poems are written by synthesizing syntax, meaning,design, and elements of poetry. Initially written in one sitting, the editing process may last through the week, provided the dog doesn’t fan the table with his tail.

Kathy Douglas is writing a coffee table book of coffee table poems.  She recently completed a book of blackout poems entitled On The Ward of Omens based on Mary Daly’s Beyond God the Father: Toward A Philosophy of Women’s Liberation. Work can be found in Calyx, Drunken Boat, The Cafe Review, Noctua, Right Hand Pointing, After The Pause, shufpoetry, and Poetry WTF?! She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Bennington College. Tweets @kathydouglas

The Great Man By Dom Fonce

Issue 11

In Memory of Tony Fonce

I was thinking of the world
and the men that leave their mark on it—
the way they live their lives. Fathers
like Gods to their children, their loved ones.
Be a sorry man and it’s your loss; be a
great man and soon face great death like a great man,
early, with your children together, mourning,
and your heart quiet, but strong. The sorry man,
the little man, is a garden of maybe and somehow—

no, that’s not you.

Don’t turn out like that, Dominic. Please take
care to be just like your father.


Source: Dozens of sympathy cards my family received after my father’s death.

Method: My father died two years ago and, one day, I realized that the couple hundred sympathy cards my family received, which sat  in a wicker basket in my living room, could hold valuable words and phrases for found poems. Not only did I use phrases on the cards themselves, but the words of the friends and family members wrote within the cards. Essentially, I created a word bank of the language within the cards to mix and match to create these poems.

Dom Fonce is an undergraduate English major at Youngstown State University. He has had either work published in or forthcoming in issues of 3Elements Review, West Texas Literary Review, the Magnolia Review, Obra/Artifact, UMU Calliope, and others.

Alone in the Castle by Mary Ardery

Issue 11

Are you lost, by the way?
It’s really hard.
I know how solitary it is, but I am here,
even after not knowing, not knowing, not knowing
other ways to be in the world.

Give time, time.
I hate rain
and like everyone else,
I don’t know why there is suffering.

If I were to truly live
it would re-open wounds
for awhile.
Hence the running.

Just between us,
I am struggling to be clean.
I am from a sick mother
and cracked sidewalks.
Nothingness. Disarray.
A locked room was my life.

The instructor said
love does not want to be rude
or throw the dinner plate
against the wall.

So find a water source:
the river, laugher and writing,
light in others around you.

Instead of numbing the hungry ghost,
free a soul to see what it can create:

trees and breeze,
molecules connecting,
small footholes, and

decisions turned good.

You may ask, “What if I could go back in time
but wouldn’t do anything differently?
What if I was a liar?”

This is what I know:
For everything I am sure of, there are more things I am unsure of.
There will be questions,
and those lullabies weren’t lullabies at all.
I’ll never forget the carcass,
but it all seems livable again.
I still get out of bed each morning.

Source & Method: This found poem was created from writing circle excerpts penned by women in wilderness therapy for substance abuse. I facilitated these writing circles during my sixteen months working as a field guide for Four Circles Recovery Center, based out of Horse Shoe, North Carolina.

Mary Ardery’s poems and photos have been published in A Midwestern Review, Manuscripts, and Eye on the World. After living and working in Asheville, NC’s Blue Ridge Mountains for two years, she has returned home to the Midwest to pursue her MFA at Southern Illinois University.

Epitaph by Howie Good

Issue 11

We have not
had a wedding
or a baptism
for quite some time.
We mostly
have funerals.
Even when
you ride the train,
all you see is
this black forest
with nothing in it –
bread, but no butter.



Howie Good is the author of The Loser’s Guide to Street Fighting, winner of the 2017 Lorien Prize for Poetry from Thoughtcrime Press, and Dangerous Acts Starring Unstable Elements, winner of the 2015 Press Americana Prize for Poetry. He co-edits White Knuckle Press with Dale Wisely.