Lilliput Review

The mail has been boring for about fifteen years. Love notes, gigs, invitations–all these now come by e-mail. But on a snowy day this week my blue mailbox did hold an envelope full of expectation. Out fluttered bright bits of paper like oversized confetti–the newest publications from Lilliput.
Lilliput Review #171 (!) is bright blue with a Picasso-esque political sketch on the cover. Palm sized, it is full of tiny poems, and some wild fun illustrations by Wayne Hogan. I liked this couplet from Charlie Mehroff:

Going nowhere.
Always packed and ready.

There is a lot of variety here, with work traditional and experimental, but hard to beat Dennis Maloney’s translation of Yosano Akikio’s tanka:

A branch
Of wild plum
Is sufficient
For this brief
Brief parting

Lilliput Review #172 is pinkish, sports a secret garden image, and is entirely devoted to 15 poems by Ed Markowski. These have the feel of senryu:

zen garden
the old scarecrow imitates
a young monk

and seem to meditation on the divine–both preset and absent:

midnight mass
i add a few casino chips
to the collection plate

Enjoyable all around. Lilliput Review/Don Wentworth. Editor/282 Main Street/Pittsburgh, PA 15201

Subscriptions & Sample Copy Price Schedule
    1 issue    = $1.00 or a SASE or 2 stamps
    6 issues   = $5.00 
   15 issues  = $10.00
       Institutions: 12 issues = $12.00
       Payment should be made out to:
                 “Don Wentworth”

And check out the blog– for Issa’s Untidy Hut

SFLR Preview: Behzad Dayeny

It is said an army marches on its stomach, but the same is true of a college campus. For many years I appreciated the three squares at Santa Fe Community College campus–filling, nourishing, often interesting food. It was only recently that I realized our head of food services was also a poet. We’re glad to publish him again–his work also appeared in our last issue. Poetry editor Sudasi selected this–for me, the last iage really reached out and got my attention. Enjoy.


Standing frozen
In the moment
Trains dash by
And so do terrains
Planes fly by
A hat blows
In the wind
Plastic bags
Trying to break
Free from the tree
Caw, caw, caw
Coughs the crow
A feather falls
Off the falcon
Still frozen
A mannequin
In the window
Snow comes
Snow melts
Destroy cities
Climb higher
Man walks
On Jupiter
Sun becomes
Less bright
Winters linger
Longer, and
A woman
Dreams about
A red dress

Behzad Dayeny, Director of Food Services at Santa Fe Community College. Born in Iran, I have been living in Santa Fe since 1984

SFLR Preview Poem–Yves C. Lucero

Yves C. Lucero


Single Frenchicano male, 42 and proudly bald, seeks inspiration for long term relationship. Hobbies include scribbling, musing, teeth grinding and wiping beads
of blood off forehead after staring at blank page for extended periods. If you are free spirited, fun-loving, dangerous and neurotic, then you’re probably reading Rumi.

The Greater Fool

I used to play the game
volleying digital money
over nets
and grosses,
skirting margins –
a momentum trader
greedily searching for
The Seven Cities of Gold
in a virtual maze,
not heeding the signs –
caveat emptor.

Now it is gone.
The inheritance built
by years of toil,
gambled and lost,
shame the only dividend,
the only given
in the rigging.

And something else
has taken its place.

I want to render
the buildings of commerce
into heaps of fiery rubble.
I want to grind the bones
of CEO’s
to meal,
to fertilize
my common daisy
as it bursts
through the ashes –
a green temple.

I can no longer
listen to the bullshit:
speak of politics,
I will be picking apples.

SFLR Preview–poem by Lori Romero

The editors at Santa Fe Literary Review are making the final editorial decisions. Poetry editor extraordinaire, Sudasi Clement, has done some heavy lifting both figuratively and literally (you should see the bags of submissons!). I hope to preview a few pieces, and am glad to share Lori Romero’s work. All decisions shuld be made by March 1. We’ll have acceptances out by then and rejections too if the submission contained a self-addressed stamped envelope. The issue should be out by August, with a reading in the fall.


When Aunt Lia died, childless,
mother put salt in my coat pocket,
bid me take my younger sister
and tell the cows. As to the salt:

Evil spirits lurk everywhere and hate
that dash over the left shoulder
into the face. One can torment a fiend
no end with simple seasoning. As to the cows:

Securing our fortune or not, I was fourteen
and you wouldn’t catch me nattering to livestock
with the likelihood of being spotted, particularly
by the Randal brothers. As to my sister:

She took the opportunity to heart, telling one black
heifer about Auntie’s tendency to rock in her chair
and fart. She prattled on about how she warned
Papa not to light his pipe near the cushions.

As to the Randal Brothers, Sean and Hugh:
one year separated their ages, the Irish Sea
embodied their differences. I married Hugh,
a cause for tears – enough, I hope, to dissolve

spilt salt and reverse the bad luck in my house.


Lori Romero won the Spire Press Poetry Chapbook Competition. Her first
chapbook, Wall to Wall, was published by Finishing Line Press. Her short
story, Strange Saints, was a semifinalist in the Sherwood Anderson Fiction
Award. Lori’s poetry and short stories have been published in more than
eighty journals and anthologies. She was recently nominated for her
second Pushcart Prize.

Dear Diary: Geographic

I’ve been reading two books recently, one new, one that is about five years old. The new one is George A. Bannano’s THE OTHER SIDE OF SADNESS. Subtitled “What the New Science of Bereavement Tells Us About Life After Loss,” Ii is a pretty common sense sociology that basically says humans are hard wired to recover from loss–and that the much touted but sometimes nonsensical seeming stages of grief aren’t necessarily real.
The most interesting thing in the book is the author’s experiences with Chinese ritual–burning joss paper images for the dead. It is compelling because it brings up that odd experience of bereavement–a kind of geographical sense that the dead person is someplace–a rather concrete land of the dead. This isn’t exactly based on belief.
In a good movie about Bosnia made just after the war ended there is a great scene where the dead soldier son comes back to drink with his father.The father wants to know if the son is ok, has a woman. He does, but admits “she isn’t one of us.” Still, the father is uncritical. They’re dead after all.
So the dead are geographically somewhere. My own experience with grief propelled me into travel, and into a love of accounts of extreme travel, a love that now seems indelible. I like to read about Everest, storms, survival, remote places, harsh conditions. Kath Lee suggested THE LOST CITY OF Z by David Grann. Here is a tale of Amazonian exploration, or obsession, of a vanished Victorian explorer and those who vanish following after.
How much of the author’s quest is relevant in a book of non-fiction? Both these books are greatly enriched by the presence of the author. The two books link together in my imagination. Both are about looking for something lost in a very concrete sense. And actually both of them ate about finding something unexpected and far from home.

Thinking About: Kathleen Lee

I’ve had the pleasure recently of reading Kathleen Lee’s novel in manuscript “Taxi to Elsewhere.” Set mostly in China when travelers were still rare it is chock full of experience and observation.

“A woman traveling alone is beguiling. Everyone wants to touch her or stand in the shadow of her courage. What suffering, they wonder, what passion propelled her from the safety of home, companionship, the familiar?….Perhaps she’s a harbinger of an unfathomable future in which women go into the world unaccompanied, in which individuals are not padded and baggaged with siblings, cousins, or aunts….She has dropped into their midst from some unseen altitude, some far-off, unimaginable point of origin; what, what has she come for?”

And my favorite line, from the middle of the novel: “What a strange kind of luck it was, to be alone in the world.”

My Life as An Editor

My Life As An Editor

It began in high school when my friend Alma and I published an underground literary magazine, THE PURPLE DRAGON. It continued when I answered a desperate plea from ASPECT MAGAZINE’S Ed Hogan to read poetry–he’d started the mag as an anti-war publication and poetry started pouring in. He and I went on the found ZEPHYR PRESS. Then my husband Robert Winson started FISH DRUM MAGAZINE and our Santa Fe mailbox started filling up. I went on to create the first e-zine in New Mexico, with poet’s techie Miriam Bobkoff, which was SANTA FE POETRY BROADSIDE ( Joan Logghe, Renee Gregorio and I founded the collaborative press TRES CHICAS BOOKS and when I was hired over five years ago at Santa Fe Community College we began to publish THE SANTA FE LITERARY REVIEW.

After forty years of small press and literary publishing, I have some advice to writers:
1. The editor is not your enemy.
2. The editor is not making money off your work.
3. Rather, the editor is working for free and often supporting the publication off the household budget.
4. The editor is not a god–rather than using Platonic standards, the editor is using her or his taste.
5. When a magazine or press accepts your work the editor is doing you a favor.
6. If the editor makes a mistake–a typo for example–this is an honest error and not done to torment you.

While I certainly have had writers thank me, often publishing someone is fraught with difficulty. The writer seems to want something–fame, fortune, coddling–that the editor cannot provide. Why is this? Is it that writers generally feel so neglected and needy that they don’t know how to behave?

A journalist once told me that in parts of Latin America writers bring their editors little treats–particularly pastry wrapped in paper. I’ve published probably a thousand writers, and not one pastry!

Editors probably don’t need pastry, but here is what we do need:
1. Common courtesy.
2. An understanding that you are not the only writer. Asking “where is my poem” of a volunteer who reads bushels each day shows a misunderstanding of how a press or magazine works.
3. Thanks on acceptance. Thanks on publication.
4. A friendly unentitled attitude towards the editor.
5. Taking responsibility–it is not the editor’s fault if your work is not a bestseller.

Of course I’m a writer too. I’ve had my work published incorrectly, changed without permission, smudged, and stolen. Do I mind? Less and less. Everything in life has its negative, and as a rule editors have treated me kindly, fairly, and with respect and affection. I’m lucky to have them.

2 Truths & A Lie: Writing Prompt

Two Truths & A Lie

My intermediate fiction class has started. Here is an exercise, one of my favorites. I simply cribbed it from the parlor game.
Write down 2 Truths and 1 Lie–about yourself, someone else, a character. Weight each thing evenly. Give the same amount of detail. Then ask a friend to find the lie. (Or post below!)
Most importantly, see if the lie feels true. Or visa versa. See what this tells you about creating character on the page.
One of my truths is “I have never shoplifted.” People always think this is a lie. Once a workshop of mine in San Antonio was so disbelieving I had to really convince them. Then, they offered to teach me how.

3 Questions for Terry Mulert

1. What is your personal/aesthetic relationship to the poetic line? That is, how do you understand it, use it, etc.

2. Do you find a relationship between words and writing and the human body? Or between your writing and your body?

3. Is there anything you dislike about being a poet?

when poets moved away from a modernist attraction to form and meter, some felt that symbolized the loss of moral order. what next: no Latin in the schools? i am a poet heavily influenced by the postwar poetics of Kerouac, the innovative aspects of Williams, personal abstractions of Merwin, what i comprehend of Pound and Eliot. so the line to me is a vehicle to somehow make a poem from nothing, which is a formidable task and requires great sensitivity and hard work.

it may be considered a breath as in Kerouac, reference to the musician that phrases or the natural voice where the end of the line corresponds to logical pause and restart or as in the concrete poets where the visual sense of the line break paints a visual landscape within the sea of ideas.

as a poet, i have little relationship to craft as i depend more on my intuitive sense of making art. i admire those poets who can eloquently and insightfully discuss their poems in terms of HOW it got made. i find the moment i theorize, i contradict and distrust myself as if scrutinized by what Foucault calls the “permanent gaze” of self-surveillance.  

2. as for the body: i have always liked to write and read within earshot of water, the feeling of ink as it tattoos the blank page, the sound of the pen tip scratching the surface, the innocent fetish of keeping a journal- holding and carrying it to other rooms, the smell of old books, shuffling a stack of newly typed poems, opening return envelopes from editors, the poetry of reading aloud.

3. what a funny question. it is my nature, perhaps human, to find things i don’t like about things. to your question, Miriam: as artists, there is a stigma attached to being dissatisfied: either we are fulfilling the stereotypical image of the disaffected or we are betraying the cliché/opportunity “to be so lucky- you get to do what you love to do!” in truth, like any pursuit, there are ups and downs. for the most part, being an artist requires a life with a great measure of alone-ness which i think is different from solitude. you just can’t make sculptures, write poems, compose music while drinking coffee at the Aztec and then there is the issue of earning a living which writing poetry is unlikely to satisfy. so the serious artist is quite often very, very busy with being alone while meeting the demands of a social and productive life contradicting the notion of the contemplative, immune to the workaday stresses of deadlines, meetings and incessant correspondence. at least that has been true for me. nonetheless, i am happy with the choices i have made and grateful to live in a society that places such high value on aesthetics.

4. unpublished poem that shows attention to line:


Inside Walls

Born of wine
the skin absorbs the moon

chains hold back
the birth of traveling dew

trouble is
our ankles have multiplied

the chances for escape

-Terry Mulert
Córdova, NM

Terry Mulert began writing and publishing poetry in 1980, and he has continued to pursue this art through readings, performances and publication in literary journals. In May of 2003, one of his poems was selected as an award poem by Plainsongs; a critical essay accompanies its publication. Recently, Mulert’s poems have appeared in The Lilliput Review, Mudfish, Mid-American Poetry Review, The Madison Review, Puerto del Sol, The Chiron Review, and others.

Susan Rothenberg at O’Keeffe Museum

Natalie just took me to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum to see the Susan Rothenberg paintings. At the end I felt saturated, overwhelmed, blissed out. The show is somewhat of a departure for the museum, and a good direction. It is great to see a contemporary woman artist in this setting.

Iconic red horse on a red field of paint–ochre, like the bison of Neolithic cave paintings, with shadow. Called Cabin Fever, 1976. Maybe all magic is a kind of cabin fever, calling on something to appear, a mystic animal.

Hands and Shadows–where the artist says “My hands are performing the image, making shadow puppets. It’s a comment about making images with my hands, which all painters do.” And there is something shocking and primal about it–again, a shadow on a wall.

And then Yellow Studio, with a dog sprawled belly up, a reading lamp, and so much yellow stretching out like solitude or light or something trackless in the mind. “Thinking about those quiet unproductive days. The slowness of yellow.”

There is great emptiness in all of these paintings, whether that emptiness is snow or a Navajo rug or space waiting for motion.

The show is called Moving in Place. It’s good for the imagination and poetry, not to mention the eye.