August 3, 2014

Return in October

Dear Poets & Fellow Poppy Road Travelers,

The journal is closed to submissions for a much needed break.  Poppy Road Review will re-open on October 1st, 2014....see you then!

July 31, 2014

Best of the Net Nominees, 2014

Congratulations to the individuals listed below for being nominated for Sundress Publications Best of the Net for 2014:

James Owens - Between
Martin Willitts Jr. - Pelvis IV
Jim Pascual Agustin - The Ghosts of Fukushima
Molly McCormack - It Used To Be My Favorite Color
Steve Klepetar - Sunrise in a Cloudless Sky
Erin Wilson - Cantilevered

July 30, 2014

Two Poems by William Cullen Jr.

The Lonely Hour

Clouds cross the moon
as bats slice though the air
doing their best at pest control
while a blind man sits on a bench
signing his love to a deaf woman
as fireflies flash in the dark
a church bell far away
begins to toll.

At Death Do Thee Mate

Love was the fish you couldn't catch
despite every lure you could find
it wouldn't even give you a nibble
so you threw your bait away
and swore a vow to be celibate
until the earth at last showed pity
and took you into her bosom
for better or for worse
no questions asked.

William Cullen, Jr., is a veteran and works at a non-profit in Brooklyn, NY. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, Camroc Press Review, Christian Science Monitor, Gulf Stream, Pirene's Fountain, Poppy Road Review, Right Hand Pointing, Spillway, and Word Riot.

July 27, 2014

Two Poems by M.J. Iuppa

How Does the Magnolia Still Bloom in Late June?

For no reason, this mild weather
nurses our magnolia’s pink flowers
to bloom and bloom and bloom
among trim leaves, glossy and green.

Too often, May’s sudden heat curls
each petal until hundreds litter the lawn
like confetti melting in morning’s
light rain . . .

But this year, something’s changed.
Our magnolia refuses to give up
its frills, making us pay attention
to that tender Spring we’ve forgotten.

Persistent Dream

When summer’s fireflies light up the air, I 
stare and stare at phosphorous blinks, unable

to count the pulsing beats before they perish 
in the garden’s grave green shadows.

The day’s rumors have risen to temporal height. 
The full moon ripens to blood orange.

There are no mountains here—only god given 
violets growing in crevices of glacier indifference;

and Ontario settling into its core—gathering 
its strength to lift us all— feel it— water rising

rising to our upper lips— the thrill of going 
quickly, going without question, I do believe.

M.J.Iuppa lives on a small farm near the shores of Lake Ontario.  Between Worlds is her most recent chapbook, featuring lyric essays, flash fiction and prose poems (Foothills Publishing, 2013).  She is the Writer-in-Residence and Director of the Visual and Performing Arts Minor Program at St. John Fisher College.  You can follow her musings on writing and creative sustainability on Red Rooster Farm on

July 25, 2014

Interview w/ Poet Mary Jo Balistreri

Who or what inspired you to write poetry?

I had been a concert pianist and harpsichordist for most of my life until in 2005, my youngest grandson died. He was seven and I couldn’t find a way to transcend grief. Music for the first time was not helpful. My daughter, a published writer, suggested writing, and she actually sat with me for encouragement. Why I chose poems is still a mystery, but I did, took a workshop and then began going to classes, etc. In retrospect, poetry provided the container that interpreting music did not.  It also gave me a way to give witness to this child’s life, and to be true to his spirit, of celebration. He loved his life. So I would have to say that the initial spark came from a seven-year-old boy.

Do you have a favorite place to write?

I write longhand at the kitchen table on a yellow legal tablet. I watch birds at the feeders and also on the small lake we live on. They are my inspiration. When I’m in Florida, I write at the beach at an open window with the sound of the surf my background music.

Who are your favorite poets, alive or deceased?

My favorite poets change but ones with staying power are Rilke, W.S. Merwin, Denise Levertov, Elizabeth Bishop, Olaf V. Hauge, Rolf Jacobsen, Tomas Transtromer, and Robert Cording. Recently, I have enjoyed Mary Szybist, Andrea Hollander, and the ghazals of Ghalib.

What five words best sum up your personality?     

enthusiasm, tenacity, spontaneity, determination, and compassion

Other than writing, what do you love to do?

I like reading, gardening, walking, and spending time with art

What are your current and/or next projects?

I am working on a book of personal essays and also putting together a manuscript for a 4th book of poetry.

July 23, 2014

If You Find No Poem by Michael Lee Johnson

If you find
no poem on
your doorstep
in the morning,
no paper, no knock on your door,
your life poorly edited
but no broken dashes
or injured meter
you do not wear white
satin dresses late in life
embroidered with violet
flowers on the collar;
nor do you have
burials daily
across main street,
no one whispers
in your ear, Emily Dickinson-
you feel alone-
but not reclusive-
the sand child
still sleeping in your eyes-
wiping your tears away-
if you find
no poem on
your doorstep-
you know
you are not from New England.

Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era:  now known as the Illinois poet, from Itasca, IL.  Today he is a poet, freelance writer, photographer who experiments with poetography (blending poetry with photography), and small business owner in Itasca, Illinois, who has been published in more than 750 small press magazines in 27 countries, he edits 8 poetry sites.  Michael is the author of The Lost American:  From Exile to Freedom (136 pages book), several chapbooks of poetry, including From Which Place the Morning Rises and Challenge of Night and Day, and Chicago Poems.  He also has over 70 poetry videos on YouTube.

July 21, 2014

In the Red Room by Sandy Benitez

walls are hemorrhaging
beneath layers of fairy wallpaper
skin scratched to the bone.

Panels of blood-red velvet drapes
frame the windows
to the heaven outside.

A young girl sits on the floor,
legs crossed with head turned down.
She is a red rose yet to bloom

in her dress made of paper and scar-tissue.
Scraps of ephemera,
crumbled and thrown in every corner

surround her like a clay pot.
Her tears become sustenance,
feeding her when no one is watching.

Small, pale arms stretch 
towards the Summer sunlight 
resembling climbing ivy unrestrained.

Fingers bled, wrists cut
in a moment of blood-letting
she imagines the color of love.