Aurora Antonovic is easily one of the most talented writers we have ever encountered.  It is an exciting day whenever an email arives from her address in Canada.  She writes with a beauty and passion we find captivating.  We are including several of her poems and are confidant new readers will become new fans from the first.  She has been published in numerous countries on  several continents. 

This is a volume of favorites.  No doubt you have seen Mr. VanKalker's photographic compositions here before.  I've described him as largely self educated but should have added he had an excellent teacher.   He resides in the Midwest.

The unofficial Poet Laureate of Wisconsin!   Pat Larson is an immensely skilled poet who has that rare ability to write with  technical prowess and powerful meaning.   In this volume she shares three well crafted word paintings.

We don't often review books here but we also don't often find works of the magnitude of Shabby Epiphanies either.  Simon Grady captures the essence of Beat.  I have to keep reminding myself this is a modern writer and not someone from City Lights Books in San Francisco during the days when Kerouac and Ginsberg held court.  The torch has been passed and Beat lives.  Thank you Simon Grady.

Russell H. Ragsdale was born in California in 1944, educated at the University of Arizona and lived for many years in Tucson, Arizona.  He has been a resident of Almaty, Kazakhstan since 1992.  He has nearly forty years in the food industry with eighteen years as a retail meat cutter followed by fifteen years as an executive chef.  He has been writing poetry since the early sixties.  In the past few years he has started teaching English and is currently a Visiting Lecturer at the Kazakh Institute for Management, Economics, and Strategic Planning.  He has published many newspaper articles, and is a contributor to Doing Business With Kazakhstan, Kogan Page, London, 2003.  He speaks several languages and has performed in theater, as a guest on numerous television shows, and as an actor in several commercials.  In Kazakhstan, he’s an old stranger on the bus.

David Barber is kind enough to offer some hard earned information for those about to seek being published.  He has had two books of poetry published as well as numerous articles and all of us will benefit from his expertise and experience.  He calls New Mexico home but his life experiences, writing subjects and published works include Canada, the U.K. and the United States.


for Jason
the red planet
is ruling the sky right now
creating the perfect moment
for space sailing:
here a sphere,
there a megacosm
a galaxy of
binary meter,
cosmic analects,
blazing ellipsis
zero in
with a
parabolic reflector,
decoct the cosmos,
break down the galaxy,
reveal the stars
write your verse
with a celestial-tipped pen,
leave your fiery mark
for all the world to see


What He Wants
a cobalt blue shirt
with narrow stripes
to bring out his eyes
softly faded denims
with whiskered creases in the front
and soft puckers down the sides
maroon boots shone to perfection
with  mustard-coloured laces
a slight wedge to the heel
a new image
created by a new look
to go with the new life
showcased in the back
of the Sears catalogue
page 373


Since when does he use towels with
satin butterflies appliquéd on them?
Pink perfumed soap shaped like hearts
rest in a crystal dish on the counter,
in the adjoining guest room are vases of my favourite flower,
a bedspread in royal aubergine chenille
that wasn’t here last time
a basket of books—Shelley, Keats, Browning,
from one who does not read poetry
boxes of bon bons
bottles of water
so I don’t have to get up for a drink during the night
Better than a five star hotel
is my friend’s kindness to me
which makes me never want to leave,
but rather cocoon under the wine coloured goodness
he’s laid out for me

The Flower of Friendship
He gave her orchids
and red roses
that were the colour of passion itself
but what she longed for
what she missed
in the midst of the flurry and the colours
and the vibrancy
was yellow roses
the flower of friendship   

La Fleur de L'amitié
il lui a donné des orchidées
et des roses rouges
les couleur de la passion sans doutes
mais ce qu'elle a désiré ardemment
au milieu de l'émotion les couleurs et les tremblements
était pour les roses jaunes
la fleur de l'amitié

Then went Samson down… to Timnath …: and, behold, a young lion roared against him. And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand… and he turned aside to see the carcase of the lion: and, behold, there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcase of the lion. And he took thereof in his hands, and went on And it came to pass, when they saw him, that they brought thirty companions to be with him.  And Samson said unto them, I will now put forth a riddle unto you: … And he said unto them, Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness. (excerpts from Judges 14: 5-14)
I slew you
with one look
there was never
a doubt
you would lay your body down
as an offering,
and when I reached inside your rib cage
a treasure of honey nestled,
waiting for me to dip
my fingers into the golden globules
to devour the last trace
of you

On A Clear Day You Can See Japan
and were you to lean forward,
you could grasp the leaping
rainbow fish as they twist up from the water
in jubilant gyrations,
brush them with your fingertips
curl them to your chest,
and keep them safe from the seagulls
that wait to snatch them
with one measured swoop

who have a thousand ways
to describe the rain
cannot find the words
to tell you how I love you   
qui as mille facons
de décrire la pluie
je ne peux pas trouver les mots
pour vous dire comment je vous aime

J’irais à  Paris ce lundi
Nous trouverons le restaurant caché
au Parc Buttes-Chaumont
peut-être nous nous gorgerons
avec des crêpes au chocolat
à  travers de la Tour Eiffel
au dela de la Seine ensoleillée
À d’hôtel des Invalides,
je pretendrais que c’est la premiére fois que
j'ai visiter le tombeau de Napoleon
et ainsi bien charger d'enthousiasme
Je devrai jaillir au Louvre et le Musée D'Orsay,
tant en marchons autour de Monmartre
Le Musée Picasso nous aidera à passer le temps
jusqu'à ce que nous passons Les Halles,
juste au bas de la ruelle ou le café
avec ses chaises de dentiste et tout les detours
que vous pouvez imaginer
et quand avec beaucoup de charme
nous prononcerons notre merci fausse
on recevra des doux sourires et du thé gratuit
L’Arc de Triomphe au heures tumultueuses sera plaisant
et je vous répondrai avec des railleries heureuse,
d’une façons soigneusement preparer
avec l'ardeur que vous trouvez si fortifiante
mais vien la tombée de la nuit
moi je hante les catacombes


I’m Going To Paris On Monday
And we’ll find the hidden restaurant at
Le Parc Buttes-Chaumont
or maybe feed each other chocolate drenched crepes
across from the Eiffel Tower
directly over the sun-sparkling Seine
At Hotel des Invalides,
I will pretend it is the first time
I have seen Napoleon’s tomb,
and with the right amount of enthusiasm
I will gush at the Louvre and Musée D’Orsay,
as we walk around Monmartre
Musée Picasso will help to pass the time
until we make our way to Les Halles,
right down the little back alley to the café
with the dentist’s chairs and more quirk
than you can imagine
and when we charmingly garble our thank you’s in French
we will be given sweet smiles and free tea
L'Arc d'Triomphe at rush hour will be fun
and I will respond to you with happy banter,
carefully arranged manners
and the zeal you find so invigorating
but come nightfall
I’m haunting the catacombs

truth is the rasp of your beard
against the side of my face
truth is the words your whisper
against my neck
truth is the force that pulls us together,
much stronger than gravity’s claims
truth is I never say the words I long to say

la vérité est le contact
de votre barbe
à mon visage
la vérité est les most
que vous suserrez
à mon cou
la vérité est la chose
qui nous attire
plus forte meme
que las forces de gravité
la vérité est je ne
dis pas les choses
qui j’ai envie
de dire

Aurora Antonovic




Every night Lady
howls at the coyote pups
that yip in the dark woods below
the orchard.
She's never done that before this spring
and I've never heard the wild pups before.
It used to be bears,
whose cubs didn't let on their presence.
But even silent babies
leave tracks in the damp sand by the river.
The haunting bay she exudes causes me to wonder
whether Lady reckons with her beast kin;
offering tales of lost tennis balls
and human touch.
I must wake one night,
look out in the deepest dark,
and I might see shadows
of restless young coyotes
darting between the yellowed strips
falling from the porch light …
and catch glimpses of black and white curls from one
blind old cocker gleefully pouncing

Zephyr brisk;
dry leaves whisk.
In the alley
oak leaves rally
Large and small;
whirlwind squall.
Play and chase,
in the face
Rake and gather;
see them scatter.
Patience waning;
hardly gaining.
More descending;
never ending!

Mama's Wishbone Rack
Above the yellow curtains
with teapots green and black
The curtain rod was also used
as Mama’s wishbone rack
Whenever she cooked chicken,
she’d put one up to dry
Forgotten on its lofty perch
until it caught a youngster’s eye
The one who found it brittle
would be the one choose
with whom to break the wishbone
and be most apt to lose
We’d wish for things like shiny bikes
or cause to call off school
The strange thing is, we didn’t care
our wish did not come true
The fun was in retaining
the bigger wishbone half
Thumb to thumb competitors
for the hearty victory laugh

Pat Larson

Simon Grady
A Review

A Beat Poet  like none other today!

Simon Grady is one of the most exciting talents we have come across in years.  We've published him before  and were thrilled to see his latest book, Shabby Epiphanies is published by Nikau Press. Nikau Press  PO Box 602 Nelson, New Zealand.     (

Mr. Grady writes from an honest to goodness Beat perspective.  This is the big leagues as we stay here in the States.  He evokes Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti but he also writes like no one else.  Shabby Epiphanies is one of those books you cannot put down.  It is compelling.`It contains 52 poems and the reader will find himself anxious to return to the book time after time.

Mr. Grady lives in Christchurch, New Zealand  and travels frequently to India.

Here are two examples that illustrate why we feel Simon Grady is one of the most  skilled and capable poets on the scene today:

                                     fifteen lines
                              I have lost my beginning
                                     I've lost my end
                                 I've lost my vertigo
                               on it's stage of stones
                                There's no-one left
                                 just the witnesses
                                     the victim
                                       & me
                          My sword can't cut itself
                               the samurai is lost
                            we have evaporated
   [If we are all one, ego is the gravity that keeps us apart]
                        We are heading to the origin
                               hang up your coat
                            retire your sense of self
   there's an insignificant knot in the fabric of the universe
                        [that's the bit you call me]
              bumping into another swirling speck
                       [that's the bit I call you]
                    And we've been here forever
            it's time that never came our way before
                          Is the word 'satori'?
                      but there's no words at all
                   my poem has no substance
          the next fifteen lines are invisible & silent
                   they're the best ones of them all.

the cypress house
The cypress house is full of freshly-cut people
they smell clean
but I am looking for something gamier
Out there ????
among the flaxes
where herons wade on stilts
with samurai beaks
creating haiku postcards
Out there ????
where the estuary
presses stony silence
into the nautilus ears of fishermen
Out there is a conversation
spoken by the shingle landslides
of river-bank footsteps
I reply with the memory of a woman
whose eyes are the infinite green depth
of geo-thermal pools
the beauty of her soul teeming with life
like the prehistoric sea once teemed with fishes
and the river sighs.

fifteen lines and cypress house
Copyright © 2006
Simon Grady


And then there’ll be an anchor!
So that’s the end of the poem –
Let’s get it out of the way.
Good, now we can talk.
I was at home yesterday
In the morning –
Didn’t grade any papers until afternoon.
This life seems strange to me,
I like it, yes, but there are grays and shadows
I’m not used to –
The kitchen is so much more desperately alive.
Another dinner crowd, no time,
Suddenly the magic erupts.
You know it is up to you,
The others who can do it are in other kitchens,
Doing just as you are doing now,
Something special, something that
Looks like everything else but isn’t.
But this is good,
Getting to watch the young grow,
Helping them when you can.
Such young lives, so unprepared for the
Restless rolling, the searching and finding,
And finding you need to search some more.
I remember this innocence
And how hopeful and frustrating it was.
The hope always leading into
Contradiction rather than answers
And the contradictions and frustrations
Being loaded with answers you can’t peel away
And enjoy them separately.
Life is such a mess of stormy waters
And calm too – time, yes but all rolled together –
Present, past/future –
Papers, un-sortable,
Magic, still somewhat out of reach,
Got to find it so that things don’t stay the same
So that life is not just another day
No matter how others think it is –
So that I can give something to these kids
They will always be able to use –
Words that find the chance of describing
What it is they will soon
See and feel, so that they can tell their
Own kids so that when the storms come
And everything seems so fragile,
Insubstantial, changeable -
So that there will be an anchor.

Odyssey between afternoon classes
Walking in waves of heat,
Tide pools washing over the difficult asphalt,
Walking from the Minotaur’s dacha
To the hat rack of Madusa,
Scraps of poems are scattered in places
Too difficult to hide in.
You were dizzy in my arms.
We drove the highway up to Eden.
It was my dream so when we
Should have been the happiest,
When we got there, it wasn’t real
We stumbled picking up our shadows,
They were cool in our hands.
We were naked children on a deserted beach.
You turned me into a pig
And I followed you everywhere, making noises,
Teaching you to smile
Discovering you were sunlight and motion.

Four Postcards
I have seen you wearing
nothing but urgency
and it was beautiful.
In the calm of dark
I have held you, felt
your tenderness and fire
and glided quietly
to the distant shore.
The answer to the
questions I’ve forgotten to ask,
I  have seen burning
in the sunset that
shines behind your eyes.
Please come in my room,
look out my windows to
see yourself standing outside and
find the quiet and excitement
I feel when I see you on my step.

Sometimes a pearl
The whitest flower grows in a sea of mud,
Never seen, never knowing the lips of the sun.
I grew up in a culture of lost relatives,
Finding the ones I didn’t want,
Searching for mystery and what I don’t know;
Looking for John Merrick in all this deformity,
Trying to make my own light,
Trying to glow in the dark,
Trying to get past the hate and anger,
Finding gentle humor, licking a wound -
Sometimes not hurting so much,
Sometimes breath taken in the deep beautiful,
Sometimes a pearl trying to invent
An oyster I like.


David Barber's advice for the writer wishing to be published:

The Tough Part.
     Ok, you've spent hours working on that poem, short story or review and that was the hard part, right?  I'd like to venture an opinion.  The tough part is after.

     After I finished my first book and agreed with the publisher on its acceptance, then the real work began.  I was asked to put together inside art, cover art and a review/inside biography.  Also, I was asked to develop the marketing documents and a plan.   So, what did I do?  I wanted to share this in case it would help others.

      First,  I did extensive searches on what a promotional package looks like.  Download several examples and started to work.  PowerPoint (r) worked best for manipulating the graphics. I was blessed to have a wonderful painting from my sister.  I have to tell you she is a great artist! Anyway, I wanted to past this on.   If you know someone who is an artist, you might approach them about your cover art.

     Second, I started developing other promotional tools.  Bookmarks were easy.  (The standard size is 7inch long by 2 inches wide.)   MS Word ®  has templates. I distributed the book marks everywhere that would take them.   Hastings was real understanding.  My local library (surprisingly) was not.  Just a hint, if you're working through a local library, find the Manager for the Libraries in your area.    Thirdly,  I started reading other books to see how they arranged their inside biographies and information.  I was limited to just 50 words. While that sounds like a plenty, it's not.  I worked and worked that biography until I had it sound like I wanted and was only 50 words long.   I also developed an electronic postcard to send out and forwarded it to everyone I knew.
    Fourth, and hardest,  I developed a website. Wow, this was tough. It was difficult deciding what would be on there and not.  I am still working on it!    Trying to make it interesting, include a few of your poems and provide a preview copy if you have one.  I also tried to provide examples of my work in more than one format.

      Bottom Line, as you start to finish your work, start thinking about advertising. I'm hoping you can avoid the near panic I had when I got my 'baby' home and realized I didn't know how to take care of it

Copyright  © 2006
David Barber

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