ISSN 1551-8086
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   poets list
   Francisco Dominguez & Aire Celeste Norell
   Marie Lecrivain & Angel Uriel Perales
   Sheikha A.
   Steve Abee
   L. Ward Abel
   Carl Abt
   Han Adcock
   Elizabeth Addis
   Aderemi Adegbite
   Adeolu Emmanuel Adesanya
   Neil Aitken
   M.I Akande
   Shahd Al-Shemmari
   Lynn Albanese
   Alaina Renee Alexander
   Nicole Alexander
   Will Alexander
   Gwyndyn Alexander
   Scott Alexander
   Inalegwu Omapada Alifa
   William Allegrezza
   Maureen Alsop
   Rafael Alvarado
   Steven Alvarez
   Keiko Amano
   Veronica An
   Zack Anderson
   Kristine Anderson
   G.D. Anderson
   Amy Anderson
   Lori Anderson-Moseman
   Grace Andreacchi
   Renae Andruse
   Arlene Ang
   Michelle Angelini
   Roger Angle
   Stephen Anstay
   Azure Antoinette
   Theresa Antonia
   Aurora Antonovic
   Maria A Arana
   Carlye Archibeque
   Joseph Armstead
   Feral Artist
   Baron James Ashanti
   Charlene M. Ashendorf
    Askew
   Gregory Austin
   Shawn Aveningo
   maeghanne ayers
   Goodness Lanre Ayoola
   John-Patrick Ayson
   Jim Babwe
   Sophie Bachard
   Vasile Baghiu
   Bridget Bagne
   song-hue bahk
   Michael Baker
   Prerna Bakshi
   Anna Balint
   David Banuelos
   Jared Barbick
   J. Mae Barizo
   Peter Barlow
   Matthew A. Barraza
   James Barros
   Jeni Bate
   Jonathan Beale
   Richard Beban
   Gary Beck
   Gary Beck
   Marjorie R Becker
   Lytton Bell
   Hakim Bellamy
   Michele Beller
   Laura Bellotti
   Stefanie Bennett
   Hayley Berariu
   Kevin Berger
   Lawrence Berger
   Mike Berger, Ph.D.
   Tom Berman
   luis cuauhtemoc berriozabal
   Catherine Berry
   Nick Bertelson
    Besskepp
   Mary Rose Betten
   Robert Beveridge
   Cheryl Beychok
   Gwendolyn Beyer
   François Biajoux
   Heitham Black
   Jarvis Black
   Beau Blue
   Rose Mary Boehm
   Bonnie Bolling
   Julie Bolt
   Lek Borja
   Cristogianni Borsella
   Gerald Bosacker
   Amanda Boschetto
   Wendy Bourke
   Jack G. Bowman
   Jennifer Bradpiece
   Bob Bradshaw
   Marcielle Brandler
   Peter Branson
   Sumiko Braun
   Adam Bresson
   Quiana Briggs
   Jack Bristow
   paulo brito
   Alan Britt
   Michelle Brodeur
   Lynne Bronstein
   Charles Brooks
   zoey brown
   Leah Brown
   Deborah Edler Brown
   Adam Levon Brown
   Jason Sanford Brown
   Bob Browning
   Sir Mark Bruback
   MC Bruce
   Jeffrey Bryant
   Kate Buckley
   Robin M. Buehler
   Ron Burch
   Graham Burchell
   Maria Rose Burgio
   Betsy Burke
   Matt Burns
   Richard Burrill
   Tony Bush
   Zachary C. Bush
   Elissa Calvin
   Joseph Camhi
   Dana Campbell
   Neil Campbell
   JR Campbell
   Don Kingfisher Campbell
   Velene Campbell
   Don Kingfisher Campbell
   Luis Campos
   Janine Canan
   Lyn Cannaday
   Pasquale Capacosa
   Joey Capone
   Hélène Cardona
   Britton Laine Carducci
   D.J. Carlile
   Julia Carlson
   Alicia Carpenter
   Jonathan Carr
   Patricia Carragon
   Oscar Carrasco
   Jared Carter
   Michael Aaron Casares
   John Casey
   Lisa Castro
   Anna Cates
   Rachael Kelechi Caulker
   Nika Cavat
   Michael Caylo-Baradi
   Steve Ceniceros
   Adrian Ernesto Cepeda
   Michael Ceraolo
    Cerise
   Robert Cesaretti
   Cheryl Chambers
   Lita-Luise Chappell
   Shibani Chattopadhyay
   Lisa Cheby
   Beth Cheng
   Ralph-Michael Chiaia
   Jackie Chou
   Juhi Chowdhury
   David Christensen
   Terry Clark
   Terry Clark
   Phil Clark
   Darice Clark
   Charles Claymore
   Jeanette Clough
   Kim Cochran
    Coco
   Ed Coet
   Tobi Cogswell
   Megan Coker
   Bruce Colbert
   Karen E. Cole
   Merrill Cole
   Christopher Coleman
   Larry Colker
   Beverly M. Collins
   Christiane Conésa-Bostock
   David Concepcion
   Christiane Conesa-Bostock
   Brendan Connell
   Alice Constantine
   Jack Cooper
   Joshua Corwin
   Flavia Cosma
   Chella Courington
   Rachel Coventry
   R. Paul Craig
   David Cravens
   William Crawford
   Natalie Crick
   Rosemarie Crisafi
   Carla Criscuolo
   Chris Crittenden
   Benjamin Crowley
   Susan Culver
   Bill Cunningham
   Joe Cyr
   Jim D Babwe
   Morgaine d'Abney
   Karen Corcoran Dabkowski
   Daniel Daian
    Dalton
   Catherine Daly
   Iris Dan
   Marie Lecrivain & Daniel Gallik
   Dan Danila
   Michelle Daugherty
   Piper Davenport
   Kathrine David
   Gareth Davies
   Holly Day
   Frank De Canio
   Gregory De Feo
   Steve De France
   J de Salvo
   J. de Salvo
   kumari de Silva
   Pijush Kanti Deb
   Shalla DeGuzman
   JD DeHart
   Diane Dehler
   Aurelius Demarco
   Darren C Demaree
   Gloria Derge
   Chris Derrico
   Lea Deschenes
   Maurice Devitt
   Theo Diamantis
   Mike Dias
   Martin Dickinson
   Edward J DiMaio
   Mark Dixon
   Peggy Dobreer
   Rosemarie Dombrowski
   Francisco J. Dominguez
   Linsly Donnelly
   Lisa Helene Donovan
   Kevin Doran
   Marvin Louis Dorsey
   John Dorsey
   Marvin Dorsey
   Laura A. Lionello & Douglas Richardson
   Doug Draime
   Donelle Dreese
   Dale Duke
   Jawanza Dumisani
   Henri Dumolet
   Max Dunbar
   t. joseph dunn
   Robin Wyatt Dunn
   Tyler Dupuis
    Durenda
   Walter Durk
   Douglas Dvorkin
   Ron Dvorkin
   Amitabh Vikram Dwivedi
   Alfie Ebojo aka alfie numeric
   Sabrina Edwards
   Patricia J. Edwards
   Elisabeth Adwin Edwards
   Miguel Eichelberger
   John Elison
   Julian Ellis
   Neil Ellman
   Dalia Elmanzalawy
   K. Eltinaé
   R.M. Engelhardt
   Margarita Engle
   Jon Epstein
   Sufi Erter
   Eli Eshaghian
   Michael Estabrook
   Timothy Paul Evans
   Alexis Rhone Fancher
   Richard Fein
   John Feins
   Raymond Fenech
   Emily Fernandez
   Melissa Fischer
   Mark A Fisher
   W.S. Fisher
   Jamie Asae FitzGerald
   Amelia Fleetwood
   Jake Fleshner
   John Jay Flicker
   David Flynn
   Rich Follett
   Arthur Charles Ford
   Liz Fortini
   Sesshu Foster
   Heather Fowler
   Clint Frakes
   Sarah Francois
   Amelie Frank
   Amélie Frank
   Alex M. Frankel
   Allie Frazier
   E.L. Freifeld
   M. Frias Frias-May
   Suzanne Frost
   Delia J. Fry
   Elliott Gabay
   Steven Gabriel
   Timothy Gager
   Daniel Gallik
   J Gamble
   Ishmael Garay
   Jerry Garcia
   Daniel Garcia-Black
   Alex Gardner
   Gabriella Garofalo
   Vince Garofalo
   Yvonne Garrett
   Nelson Gary
   Donna Gebron
   Ulrike Gerbig
   Janice Gero
   Ursula T. Gibson
   Rebecca Gimblett
   Kathie Giorgio
   Tony Gloeggler
   Steve Goldman
   Vesna Goldsworthy
   Melanie Gonzalez
   Gerda Govine Ituarte
   Jeffrey Graessley
   Allison Grayhurst
   Jeff Green
   Timothy Green
   Jeanie Greensfelder
   Rhoda Greenstone
   Amos Greig
   John Greiner
   John Grey
   Summer Griffiths
   Danielle Grilli
   Brian Grillo
   John Grochalski
   Wendy Grosskopf
   Andrew Grossman
   Ro Gunetilleke
   Kenneth Gurney
   John R. Guthrie
   Grant Guy
   Debashish Haar
   Erik Haber
   Hedy Habra
   Tresha Faye Haefner
   Matthias Hagedorn
   James Hall
   Tom Hamilton
   Danielle Harper
   David Harrington
   William Harris
   Matt Harris
   Dawnell Harrison
   JD Hart
   Jack Harvey
   J. Alana Hauenschild
   Kari J. Hayes
   KJ Hays
   Ann L. Healey
   Eloise Klein Healy
   Jessica Healy
   Jim Heavily
   Dan Hedges
   Paul Hellweg
   Samantha Henderson
   Jack Henry
   Darrell Herbert
   Alex Hernandez
   David Herrle
   JD Heskin
   Kenneth Hickey
   Jerry Hicks
   Marvin R Hiemstra
   Ed Higgins
   Carlos Hiraldo
   Sherri Hoffman
   Guy Hogan
   Ali Hosseiny
   Dave Houston
   David Howard
   Eric Howard
   Nate Howard
   Bryon D. Howell
   A J Huffman
   Hunter Lee Hughes
   Roger Humes
   Trista Hurley-Waxali
   Elizabeth Iannaci
   Thea Iberall
   Armine Iknadossian
   Gedda Ilves
   Alegria Imperial
   Victor D. Infante
   Victor Infante
   Glenn Ingersoll
   Augustus Invictus
   Tom Irish
   Susan Irvine
   Alexandra Isacson
   Natalie Itzhaki
   Amber Jacob
   Scott Jacobson
   Larry Jaffe
   Sonika Jaggi
   Emmanuel Jakpa
   Colin James
   Matthew James
   Andrea Janov
   T.A. Jennings
   Kait Jensen
   Ivan Jenson
   Dani Jimenez
   Alex Johnson
   Michael Lee Johnson
   Tao Jones
   Lois P. Jones
   James Evert Jones
   Strider Marcus Jones
   Georgia Jones-Davis
   Jasmin Jordan
   Quentin Josephy
   Liu Jue
   Ruth Juris
   Gene Justice
   Gary Justice
   Pete Justus
   Mikel K
   Scott C. Kaestner
   Sheema Kalbasi
   Peycho Kanev
   Rachel Kann
   Jay Kantor
   Paula Sfier Kattan
   Russ Kazmierczak
   James Keane
   Gretchen Keer
   Aaron Keller
   Collin Kelley
   Kamuran Kelly
   Bernard Kennedy
   Raud Kennedy
   Kathleen Kenny
   Stephen Kerr
   Hari Bhajan Khalsa
   Elisabeth Khan
   Just Kibbe
   Jerome Kiel
   lalo kikiriki
   Robert S King
   Franklin Lafayette King
   Ashley King
   Sofia Kioroglou
   Rusty Kjarvik
   Kenny Klein
   LeAnne Kline
   Julia Knobloch
   Philip Kobylarz
   Deborah P Kolodji
   Tracy Koretsky
   Edith Kornfeld
   George Korolog
   Dimitris P. Kraniotis
   Thomas KrÀmer
   Mark Krewatch
   Chris Krueger
   Amanda Krut
   Gerard Kuc
   Christopher Kuhn
   Donna Kuhn
   Len Kuntz
   Craig Kurtz
   Tammy Ho Lai-Ming
   Daniel Lambert
   Anthony Langford
   Donald Langosy
   Ray Lanthier
   Phillip Larrea
   Phillip Larrea
   Wolf Larsen
   Kasandra Larsen
   Ethan Latham
   Lisa LaTourette
   Marie Lecrivain & Laura A. Lionello
   Marianne LaValle-Vincent
   Kevin Lavey
   Judith A. Lawrence
   Eric Lawson
   Richard Leach
   Anne Lecrivain
   Marie Lecrivain
   Noah Lederman
   Pete Lee
   Kevin Patrick Lee
   Emma Lee
   Edward Lee
   N.M. Leepsa
   Alexandra Leggat
   Laura LeHew
   Gary Lehmann
   Sharmagne Leland-St. John
   Kevin LeMaster
   Michal Lemberger
   Kim Leng
   John Leonard
   Roland Lesterin
   Tiffany Lettieri
   P.A. Levy
   Martin Lewis
   Cheyenne Lewis
   Anthony Liccione
   Jennie Lindthorst
   Cynthia Linville
   Laura Lionello
   Zachary Locklin
   Jessica Lopez
   Harold Lorin
   Tess. Lotta
   B.D. Love
   Adam Lowis
   Ron Lucas
   Andrew Lundwall
   Rick Lupert
   Suzan Lustig
   Radomir Luza
   Stosh Machek
   John MacKenna
   Sarah Maclay
   Stefanie Maclin
    Magdalena
   Gary Maggio
   Holly Magill
   Anthony Magistrale
   Marieta Maglas
   Peter Magliocco
   Suvi Mahonen
   Donal Mahoney
   Robert Maiolo
   Kelly Ann Malone
   Michael Malota
   Shahé Mankerian
   Angela Consolo Mankiewicz
   Chris Mansell
   H.E. Mantel
   April-May March
   Rick Marlatt
   Phoebe Marrall
   John Marshall
   Agnes Marton
   Francis Masat
   Hyatt Mason
   Anthony Mason
   Lee Mason
   Johnny Masuda
   Mira N. Mataric
   Sonjaye Maurya
   Nate Maxon
   Ellyn Maybe
   Michelle Mazzetti
   Mary L. Mazzocco
   Ted Mc Carthy
   Austin McCarron
   Terry McCarty
   Paul McConnell
   Brendan McCormack
   Deborah McCreath-Akbar
   Catfish McDaris
   Bray McDonald
   Karen J McDonnell
   Matt McGee
   Allen McGill
   Afric McGlinchey
   Terance James McGunigle
   David McIntire
   Cat Angelique McIntire
   Xavier McIves
   david mclean
   Isobel McQueen
   Stephen Mead
   Fernando Meisenhaulter
    Mephistopheles
   Corey Mesler
   Melissa Michaels
    Mike the Poet
   Scott Miller
   Richard Lee Miller
   Robert John Miller
   Rajnish Mishra
   Hany Haggag Abdl Mobdy
   Richard Modiano
   William Mohr
   Sonnet Mondal
   Jason Monios
   Leslie Monsour
   Amanda Montei
   Patrick Mooney
   Greggory Moore
   Carl Moore
    Albert Lee Moran
   A.J. Morelli
   Christopher Mulrooney
   Frank Mundo
   Barbara-Marie Mundt
   Augusto Munoz
   Mark Murphy
   Christine Murray
   Craig Murray
   Kristine Ong Muslim
   Genie Nakano
   JL Nathan
   Nimah Nawwab
   Leslie Maryann Neal
   Christopher Neal
   Jason Neese
   Raghab Nepal
   Robbi Nester
   Mindy Nettifee
   Martina Reisz Newberry
   Beth Escott Newcomer
   Peter Nezafati
   Scott Nichols
   keith niles
   Dave Nordling
   Aire Celeste Norell
   Steve Norwood
   Laura Nye
   Charlotte O'Brien
   Toti O'Brien
   Suzanne O'Connell
   Katie O'Loughlin
   Peter O'Niell
   Tom O'Reilly
   Akor Emmanuel Oche
   A.J. Odasso
   Rita Odeh
   Kirsten Ogden
   Alexis A Ogunmokun
   Daniel Olivas
   Maurice Oliver
   Alexandra Olmedo
   Marc Olmstead
   Philip ONeil
   Nzingah Oniwosan
   Chika Onyenezi
   Sergio Ortiz
   David Ishaya Osu
   Scott Thomas Outlar
   Holly Painter
   Lizbeth Palma
   Heather Palmer
   Greg Patrick
   Miss Natalie Patterson
   David E. Patton
   Jared Pearce
   Ronald Peat
   E. Martin Pedersen
   Tim Peeler
   Steve Pelcman
   Angel Perales
   Simon Perchik
   Alice Pero
   Angela J. Perry
   Helen Peterson
   bc petrakos
   Brenda Petrakos
   Adam Phillips
   James G Piatt
   Rebecca Pierce
   Gareth Pike
   James Pinkerton
   Rob Plath
   Kushal Poddar
   Contributors to poeticdiversity
   Meg Pokrass
   Traian Pop Traian
   Bethany W Pope
   Wayne E. Popelka
   Elisha Porot
   Adrian Potter
   Fabrice Poussin
   Ren Powell
   Frank Praeger
   Luke Prater
   Kristena Prater
   Shannon Prince
   Stephany Prodromides
   Hattie Quinn
   Octavio Quintanilla
   Beverly J. Raffaele
    Raindog
   Catherine Rajca
   Steve Ramirez
   Mauricio Alejandro Ramos
   Vishnu Rao
   Ingrid Rattay
   James Rauff
   Kasey Ray
   Bili Redd
   Brian Redfern
   Marie Rennard
   Luivette Resto
   E.W. Richardson
   John Richmond
   Francisca Ricinski-Marienfeld
   Lillian Ridgeway
   Kevin Ridgeway
   Brian Rihlmann
   Dee Rimbaud
   Elijiah Rios
   Cat Risinger
   Ariel Robello
   Ebi Robert
   John D Robinson
   Paula Rodriguez
   Nydia Rojas
   Daniel Romo
   Emily Rose
   Rina Rose
   Diana Rosen
   Poet-broker Rosenthal
   Alison Ross
   James Robert Rudolph
   Walter Ruhlmann
   Gina MarySol Ruiz
   Cody Rukasin
   Cody Rukasin
   Ashley Rumery
   David W. Rushing
   Maryann Russo
   Sonya Sabanac
   Miriam Sagan
   Howard Sage
   Russell Salamon
   Opalina Salas
   April Salzano
   Bryan Sanders
   Lisa Marie Sandoval
   Cecile Sarruf
    Sasparella
   Ethan Sassouni
   John Saunders
   Lorraine Sautner
   Rati Saxena
   Iftekhar Sayeed
   Frances Schiavina
   Kim Schroeder
   Carol Schwalberg
   Peter Schwartz
   Iris N Schwartz
   Ken Scott
   Sondra L. Scott
   David Scriven
   Justin Scupine
   LB Sedlacek
   Lisa Segal
   Anthony Seidman
   Anthony Seidman
   Oleg Semonov
   Margarita Serafimova
   Sanjeev Sethi
   John W Sexton
   Jack Allen Shafer
   Dahn Shaulis
   Tom Sheehan
   Jake Sheff
   Steve Shickman
   Nancy Shiffrin
   June Shiitake
   Larissa Shmailo
   Ferrari Silverpowder
   Rishan Singh
   Rishan Singh
   Durlabh Singh
   Kalpna Singh-Chitnis
   Bobbi SInha-Morey
   Apryl Skies
   Knute Skinner
   Sam Skow
   Ratpack Slim
   Lee Sloca
   Carol Smallwood
   Michael Dwayne Smith
   Clinton Smith
   Spencer Smith
   Danielle Smith
   Annette Marie Smith
    smzang
   Megha Sood
   Kate Soto
   Abdel-Wahed Souayah
   Ghetto Speare
   Jeanne Marie Spicuzza
   Richard Spuler
   Matina Stamatakis
   Mark States
   Jan Steckel
   Julia Stein
   Eric Steineger
   Carl Stillwell
   Bruce Stirling
   Alex Stolis
   Karr Stratynberg
   Kevin Stricke-9
   Keith Stump
   Daniel Suffian
   Annette Sugden
   J. C. Sullivan
   Mani Suri
   Terrence Sykes
   Ann Christine Tabaka
   John Duncan Talbird
   John Talbird
   Sister Taxi Hopscotch
   Barbara A. Taylor
   Jonathan Taylor
   Allen Taylor
   Mark Taylor
   Paul Kareem Tayyar
   Perry Terrell
   Alene Terzian
    The Unarmed Man
   A. Thiagarajan
   G. Murray Thomas
   Kallista A Thompson
   Lynne Thompson
   David Thornbrugh
   Kari Thune
   Sarah Thursday
   Ilona Timoszuk
   Tim Tipton
    TJungle
   Chrys Tobey
    tolbert
   Imani Tolliver
   A. TOMIC
   Anthony Torchia
   Mary Torregrossa
   Zev Torres
   Evan Traiger
   Davide Trame
   Tri Tran
   Ryan Tranquilla
   Alain Marcel Treadaway
   Pedro Trevino-Ramirez
   Ben Trigg
   Paul Tristram
   Alyssa Trivett
   Maja Trochimczyk
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Carol Smallwood
April 2020
   

 

Carol Mertz, author of Toward a Peeping Sunrise

    Carole Mertz, author, poet, and editor, has had works published in literary journals, U.S., Canada, Great Britain, and Africa. An Oberlin College graduate, she’s Book Review Editor for Dreamers Creative Writing; reader of prose and poetry for Mom Egg Review; member Prize Nomination Committee for Ekphrastic Review; advance reader WNBA 2018 Poetry Contest. Kendra Boileau, Penn State University Press noted: “Mertz is a master of poetic form, imagery, sonority, and wit.”


    Smallwood: Your poems show a knowing of the darkness but also of the sunrises while “…searching for a distant view of everything.” The poems encompass childhood, courtship, marriage, maturity, and the reader is advised to “hang on to your memories.” How did you decide the chapbook’s title?

    Mertz: Thank you for searching out my themes and encapsulating them so well. I suppose I wanted a title that would show a kind of awakening. For Toward a Peeping Sunrise I borrowed a line from one of the poems.

    Smallwood: You’ve said your chapbook follows an arc. What do you mean by that?

    Mertz: I suppose there’s an arc to the thematic subdivisions, simply beginning, middle, end. But what I mean has more to do with the tempo of the poems. Progressing from one to the next with a rising tempo, as in “Dolly’s Broke” moving faster and louder into the implied dangers in “Ballast.” These urgencies settle down in the two final poems toward a quiet diminution, as if equivalent to a musical crescendo and decrescendo.

    Smallwood: What have you learned from creating this chapbook?

    Mertz: Selecting from fewer number of poems made it easier for me to arrange them around given themes. (When I worked with larger selections, I found I was unable to organize the greater number of poems coherently because too much of my work was as yet eclectic and impossible to group.) I also learned lessons after the chapbook’s publication—that you’re never prepared enough for the PR work that must follow. Writing is only the beginning; marketing and continued networking are additional responsibilities. These inevitably intrude on the writing time. Learning to balance these activities is always a challenge.

    Smallwood: When did you begin writing poetry? Was it the first genre you used?

    Mertz: I began writing poetry about twelve years ago, though I was then taking a course in writing short stories. A first poem about a snowstorm was accepted by a small digest. The success of it and seeing my name in print got me hooked on poetry, though I hope vanity was not the only motivator at the time. Soon a mystery won second place at the Toasted Cheese Literary Journal. But doing poetry became and remained the dominant genre for me.
    My very first serious work, however, was writing nonfiction. After a week-long course at Concordia Publishing House, my writing, and that of my husband, was accepted for publication by CPH. During this shared project, we each wrote on 15 separate themes. I must admit, I enjoyed the subtle competitive element that entered in— I wanted to write as well as my husband.

    Smallwood: Why did you choose the particular publisher for your chapbook?

    Mertz: When Prolific Press chose my manuscript, I was approaching one of my decade years. Their acceptance came as a nice birthday present. The owner of the press promised a deliberate schedule that he followed throughout, meeting every one of his projected deadlines. Working with Prolific Press for a first volume was a pleasant way to learn the steps needed in matters of cover design, collection of blurbs, and decisions about layout. A former writing school instructor had persistently advised students to self-publish and I had planned to do that. But everything requires time and know-how. Working with Prolific Press was a non-stressful alternative.

    Smallwood: What are some magazines/anthologies where your essays, stories, poetry, appear?

    Mertz: Arc, Copperfield Review, CutBank, Conium Review, and World Literature Today. More recently I’ve published a series of reviews at Mom Egg Review, Eclectica, and Dreamers Creative Writing, with poetry at Indiana Voice Journal, The Write Place at the Write Time (recently discontinued), Eclectica, The Ekphrastic Review, and elsewhere. I was pleased to have a poem included in Journal VII, the 2019 anthology issued by the Society of Classical Poets, an online poetry site I regard as one of the finest.

    Smallwood: Why is that site of interest to you?

    Mertz: The Society of Classical Poets furthers the writing of poetry in classical forms. I regard the preservation of these techniques as important as, for example, the retaining of classical forms in music. One cannot perform an Aaron Copland, for example, before one has studied a Beethoven Sonata or perhaps a Debussy Prelude. I don’t mean to preach, but I believe unless we preserve the old forms, we lose a great deal. A number of fine poets today are writing sonnets of equal caliber to Keats or Shakespeare, though written in contemporary language. The Society promotes these modern-day writers. The Society also values the concept of beauty which seems so lacking in much contemporary work I read.

    Smallwood: What is the form of “The Mellow Season” included in your chapbook and published by the Society?

    Mertz: This poem consists of three quatrains. The lines alternate regularly between 8 and 7 syllables, which is to say it has consistent meter.

    Smallwood: Where are your most recent publications?

    Mertz: In addition to Toward a Peeping Sunrise, recent reviews appeared in Main Street Rag, Into the Void, and Dreamers Creative Writing. I like the method of publication at Dreamers. First a 300-word review is published in the print edition. This is followed by a 700- to 1000-word review printed online. I like the process of writing on the same material in both the shorter and longer form. The long form first, and then condensed. But sometimes the process is reversed.

    Smallwood: What poetry writing challenges have you won?

    Mertz: I was happy to win several poetry challenges issued by the Wilda Morris blogspot. Morris’s imaginative orinots differ each month. They taught me new ways of approaching poetry. One could write about colors, or about “memories of my father”, or use of numbers in poems—simple approaches, but they always taught me to innovate and also introduced me to classical poets and contemporary poets I hadn’t yet known.

    Smallwood: What’s your association with the Mozart Academy in Salzburg, Austria?

    Mertz: My studies at the Academy gave me a year of learning not only in music performance (I’m a professional pianist and organist), but also in European history, the fine arts, and the German language. Seeing major artworks face-to-face in the museums of Paris, Vienna, Florence, and Rome created impressions during my early student days that have remained throughout my life.

    Smallwood: You write with ease poems based on a picture. How do you select the pictures and what’s the name of this poetry form?

    Mertz: In my family, two sisters are visual artists. Not a painter, myself, it became very satisfying to write my own impressions of paintings in poetic form, though initially I knew nothing about ekphrasis, which is an artist’s interpretation of another artist’s work. During 2019, I suddenly encountered all these wonderful works at The Ekphrastic Review, both the writers’ and the painters’, and began submitting my own poetry there. Lorette C. Luzajic, owner of the review, makes it all very inviting. She simply requests poems (preferably unrhymed) or nonfiction pieces based on what you see or feel when viewing a work. “Have fun while you write,” she says. At her site, you can select a visual of your own choice or respond to one of her bimonthly ekphrastic challenges. These have ranged from works by Rothko to Joan Miro to Franz Kline. I’m musing here, but I suppose one could also write ekphrasis based on aural works, as well, or based on architectural constructions. Camille Paglia, for example, wrote an astonishing ekphrastic essay on the altar and the Pope’s Chair at the Vatican. Similarly, passages within a novel I’m reading (Josephine Wilson’s Extinctions) are written as ekphrasis on Marcel Breuer’s Wassily Chair, photos of which are included in the novel.

    Smallwood: In the first poem in Toward a Peeping Sunrise, a chapbook divided into three sections, “Singularity” appears in the title—a word often used in physics. How did you come to select it?

    Mertz: I hadn’t thought of “singularity” as a physics term. I merely wanted a word to indicate something unique, something happening only once. If I may add something about that poem, “Seeing to the Singularity…” it’s almost shocking to me that I should have published a poem of self-affirmation.

    Smallwood: Why does that surprise you?

    Mertz: In my old Pennsylvania Dutch upbringing, there was always the underlying tenet, spoken or unspoken, that one should avoid bragging in all its forms. This comes from the religious restrictions I experienced at the time.

    Smallwood: What are some of the topics you cover in your essays?

    Mertz: I like to offer tips I think might be of use to beginning writers. I’ve written about how to establish good relations with editors of literary journals, the importance of MOOC learning, meeting writing deadlines, how a bird can teach you about persistence, about the selection of nominees for the Pushcart and other prizes, etc. But writing reviews is an entirely different matter.

    Smallwood: Please explain MOOC learning:

    Mertz: Many MOOCs are offered online free of charge. MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course. A participant simply logs into the website to sign up. Through interactive participation the writer MOOCs put writers in contact with numerous other writers across the globe.

    Smallwood: Please tell us what you mean about a bird’s persistence:

    Mertz: I wrote an essay that drew the parallel between the patience required of the writer and the persistence of the robin, sitting on the nest until her fledglings are hatched. The writer must use the same persistence as the bird, remaining at the desk until the work is completed. The bird sits long hours, she doesn’t run off for a “snack” until the male robin appears to take her place on the nest. Our writing requires similar care and devotion.

    Smallwood: What appeals to you about writing reviews?

    Mertz: Each volume taken up is like receiving an entire new personality into my life. I’ve reviewed collections by Mary Jo Bang, Layli LongSoldier, Judith Swann, and Dovali Islam, for example. Each artist has her unique view, style, and content. It’s like entering a new country, each time. I don’t critique until I feel I’ve become thoroughly immersed in the given work, and personality, to the extent possible. Reading contemporary artists is what makes this business of writing such an adventure.

    Smallwood: You look squarely at time and the importance of memories in free verse and formal. Your poem “Waking” is in a form reminiscent of Emily Dickinson. The poem looks at space, time, and “tiny tufts of pure thought.” Who are your favorite poets?

    Mertz: Dickinson is certainly a favorite. But there are so many. Among the classics, Keats in particular. Then Whitman and Frost. Of late, Stafford, W.S. Merwin and Bishop. I’ve loved Wallace Stevens who always gets at things “not quite sayable,” to quote Carol Frost. And then contemporaries such as Gluck, Harjo, and so many others.

    Smallwood: What are you reading now?

    Mertz: My latest are Joan Gelfand’s You Can Be a Winning Writer (I hope its wonderful title rubs off on me!) and Clive James’s Poetry Notebook in which he offered reflections on the intensity of language.

    Smallwood: Are you working on another chapbook, or poetry collection?

    Mertz: It’s my intention. As I write more, it’s fun to consider how certain themes might combine into a cohesive whole. April Ossmann, author of Event Boundaries, a poetry collection, offers strategies in the ordering of poems in a collection. These useful tips appeared in The Practicing Poet, Diane Lockward, Editor.

    Smallwood: Do you have social media, links, readers may learn more about you?

    Mertz: Readers can view my writer profile at Poets & Writers. My website, as yet under construction, is www.carolemertz.com.


Toward a Peeping Sunrise, Carole Mertz
Paperback:17 pages, Prolific Press, 2019, ISBN 9781632751898, $7.95

copyright 2020 Carol Smallwood