Crossing Lines


In stock

A Main Street Rag Anthology

edited by

Rayne Debski

ISBN: 978-1-59948-512-6, ~360 pages, cover price: $15.95

Projected Release date: February, 2015


Physical, cultural, emotional: the stories, poems, and essays in this collection cross almost every line imaginable. In the varied terrains of a Malaysian beach, a Parisian apartment, a Czech bar, and the cities, trailer parks, and backyards of America, people find themselves against the divides of family, race, friendship, and desire. These are not hapless victims. Circumstances challenge their beliefs and require them to act: A homicide detective stumbles into an ethical quagmire. A tsunami survivor chooses reinvention over redemption. A returning soldier confronts PTSD. Youngsters teeter on the border of sexual innocence and sexual experience. Lovers face equal parts of possibility and uncertainty. With grace and skill, award-winning poets and writers make a persuasive case that when the world around you shifts, the best thing to do is to start moving.

J.S. Absher, Raleigh, NC

JS Absher cohosts a monthly reading series at Flyleaf Books, an independent bookstore in Chapel Hill, NC. His poetry has been published in numerous journals, including Dialogue, Dead Mule, Anderbo, and Big River Poetry Review. He has won various prizes, most recently from Kakalak and NC Poetry Society, and been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He has published two collections, Night Weather (Cynosura Press, 2010), and The Burial of Anyce Shepherd (Main Street Rag, 2006).

Martha O. Adams, Hendersonville, NC

Martha O. Adams’ poetry arises from roots in six states, though she has lived in NC for nearly 2 decades. She has published two collections of poems: What Your Heart Needs to Know; 2008, and Peeling the Rind; 2000, and is about to publish a third; Buried Seed. Her Readers’ Theatre Play epic poem, She Rises Through the Sickle Moon, has been performed from New England to Florida. Adams’ poems are found in four anthologies, two, forthcoming.

Shawn Aveningo, Beaverton, OR

Shawn Aveningo is a globally published, award-winning poet who believes poetry is the perfect literary art form for today’s fast-paced world due to its power to stir emotion in less than two minutes. Shawn’s poetry has appeared in over 60 literary journals & anthologies. She shares the creative life with her soul-mate in Portland, Oregon, where they have recently launched their publishing imprint, The Poetry Box™ (

Barbara Bald, Alton, NH

Barbara Bald is a retired teacher, educational consultant and free-lance writer. Her poems have been published in a variety of anthologies and her work has been recognized in both national and local contests. Her recent full-length book is called Drive-Through Window and her new chapbook is entitled Running on Empty. Barb lives in Alton, NH with her cat Catcher and two Siamese Fighting fish.

Betty Wilson Beamguard, Fort Mill, SC

Betty Wilson Beamguard’s publication credits include 34 stories, 17 poems, and numerous humor pieces and magazine articles. Four of her features appeared in The Writer, and her work has been published in Women in the Outdoors, Draft Horse Journal, Sasee,and moonShine Review. Her story “Mercy for a Kitten” was chosen by the S.C. Fiction Project in 2009. She lives in Fort Mill, S.C. and spends her free time kayaking and hiking.

Sean Beedle, Colorado Springs, CO

Sean Beedle has been published in The Main Street Rag and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs literary journal, Riverrun. He lives in Colorado Springs where he teaches high school English and crashes motorcycles. When not teaching or recovering from orthopedic injuries he is busy raising his three children, two goats, and dog. He is currently trying, unsuccessfully, to revive the Icelandic tradition of long form narrative poetry.

Jennifer Jackson Berry, Pittsburgh, PA

Jennifer Jackson Berry is the author of the chapbooks When I Was a Girl (Sundress Publications, 2014) and Nothing But Candy (Liquid Paper Press, 2003). Her poems have appeared in journals such as Booth, Emerson Review, Harpur Palate, and Stirring, among others. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Andrew Bourelle, Albuquerque, NM

Andrew Bourelle’s short stories have appeared in Hobart, Jabberwock Review, Prime Number Magazine, Red Rock Review, Thin Air, Weave, Whitefish Review, and other journals and anthologies. His fiction has previously been published in two other Main Street Rag anthologies: Aftermath: Stories of Secrets and Consequences and Law and Disorder: Stories of Conflict and Crime.

Katie Budris, Philadelphia, PA

Katie Budris earned her MFA at Roosevelt University. Her poems have appeared in From the Depths (Haunted Waters Press), After Hours Press, The Kelsey Review, Outside In, Yellow Medicine Review, & The Albion Review. Her debut chapbook, Prague in Synthetics, is now available from Finishing Line Press. Katie is a professor of Writing Arts at Rowan University and serves as Editor-in-Chief of Glassworks Magazine.

Jennifer Campbell, Elma, NY

Jennifer Campbell is an English professor in Buffalo, NY, and a co-editor of Earth’s Daughters. Her second book of poetry, Supposed to Love, was published by Saddle Road Press in 2013. Recent work appears in Saranac Review, Off the Coast, The Prompt, Oyez Review, Common Ground Review, Sow’s Ear, Fugue, The Healing Muse, and The Pedestal, and is forthcoming in Comstock Review and Seems.

Janine Certo, East Lansing, MI

Janine Certo’s poems have appeared in literary journals and magazines including Burningword Literary Journal, Illya’s Honey, Muddy River Poetry Review and The Endicott Review. She is associate professor of language and literacy at Michigan State University’s College of Education. Her awards include a Lilly Fellowship and a grant from the Spencer Foundation. She is at work on her first poetry collection, In the Kitchen with a Letter on the Chest.

Craig Cotter, Pasadena, CA

Craig Cotter was born in 1960 in New York and has lived in California since 1986. New poems have appeared in Hawai’i Review, Poetry New Zealand, Court Green, Eleven ElevenCaliban Online, Otoliths & Tampa Review. His fourth book of poems, After Lunch with Frank O’Hara, is currently available from Chelsea Station Editions (New York).

Maril Crabtree, Mission, KS

Maril Crabtree grew up in New Orleans but at 17 crossed the Mason-Dixon line and settled in Kansas City where she could cross the Kansas-Missouri line every day. Her latest chapbook is Tying the Light (Finishing Line Press, 2014); two earlier ones are Dancing with Elvis and Moving On. Her poetry has appeared in Kalliope, The DMQ Review, Earth Daughters, I-70 Review, Canyon Voices and other journals.

Michael Dowdy, Brooklyn, NY

A native of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, Michael Dowdy teaches at Hunter College in New York City. His publications include The Coriolis Effect, a chapbook spanning Appalachia and the Andes, and poems in Crab Orchard Review, Kestrel, and Pembroke Magazine, among other places. As a scholar, his most recent publication, Broken Souths: Latina/o Poetic Responses to Neoliberalism and Globalization, is the first book-length study of Latino poetry.

Patricia Esposito, St. Charles, IL

Patricia J. Esposito is author of Beside the Darker Shore and has published numerous works in anthologies and magazines, including Apparitions, Distorted, Scarlet Literary Magazine, Rose and Thorn, Karamu, and Midnight Street. She has received honorable mentions in “year’s best” collections and is a Pushcart Prize nominee. Long-time married to the “boy-next-door,” Patricia has two daughters and works as a copy editor, when she’s not off chasing the muse, or her Golden Retriever.

D Ferrara, Wyckoff, NJ

D Ferrara has been a writer and ghost writer for more years than she cares to admit. While articles, essays and short stories are her continuing obsession, her screenplay, Arvin Lindemeyer Takes Canarsie was a Finalist in the ASU Screenwriting Contest. The premiere production of her play, Favor, won an NJ ACT Perry Award. An M.A. in Creative Writing recently joined her J.D., L.l.M. and B.A, amid the clutter of her office.

Maureen Flannery, Evanston, IL

Maureen Tolman Flannery is the author of eight books of poetry, including Tunnel into Morning and Destiny Whispers to the Beloved. Maureen and her husband lived in Mexico in the early years of their marriage, and returned having conceived the first of four children who would all grow to share their love of Latin America. More that five hundred of her poems have been published in anthologies, journals, literary reviews, and on-line publications.

Kathie Giorgio, Waukesha, WI

Kathie Giorgio is a Main Street Rag author. Her novel, Rise From The River, will be released in early 2015. The Home for Wayward Clocks received the Outstanding Achievement award by the Wisconsin Library Association and was nominated for the Paterson Fiction Award. Learning to Tell A (Life)Time debuted to a standing-room only audience at the Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books. Enlarged Hearts was selected as one of the 99 Summer Must-Reads by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 2012.

Renny Golden, Albuquerque, NM

Golden’s latest book of poetry, Blood Desert: Witnesses 1820-1880 (University of New Mexico Press) won the WILLA Literary Award for 2011, was named a Southwest Notable Book of the Year 2012 and was a Finalist for the New Mexico Book Award. Golden is a Poetry Editor with Voices From the American Land Press; she is on the Advisory Board for the Malpais Review and the Board of West End Press.

Pauletta Hansel, Cincinnati, OH

Pauletta Hansel is author of four poetry collections, including The Lives We Live in Houses and What I Did There. Her fifth, Tangle, is forthcoming from Wind Publications. Her work has or will appear in Atlanta Review, Postcards Poems and Prose, Still: The Journal, Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia and American Life in Poetry, among others. She is co-editor of Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, the literary publication of Southern Appalachian Writers Cooperative.

Ben Harroch, Sunny Isles, FL

Ben Harroch is one of the five pen names of Michael Benharroch, who was born in Morocco, grew up in Venezuela and has since lived in places as varied as Seattle, California, New Mexico, Spain, Wisconsin, Chicago and Kansas. His collage-book ‘The operation has been a complete success but the patient has died” was selected for the ArtsEdge Festival and exhibited at the Seattle Center. He recently published his first novel, ‘Adiós Polanco’, under his own name.

A.J. Huffman, Ormond Beach, FL

A.J. Huffman’s poetry, fiction, haiku, and photography have appeared in hundreds of national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, and Offerta Speciale, in which her work appeared in both English and Italian translation. She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press.

Wendy Elizabeth Ingersoll, Newark, DE

Wendy Elizabeth Ingersoll is a retired piano teacher. Her book Grace Only Follows won the National Federation of Press Women Contest and was a finalist for Drake University’s Emerging Writer Prize. She also has two chapbooks out. Her poems have appeared in Naugatuck River Review, Passager, Caesura, Controlled Burn, Mojave River Review, Broadkill Review, Delmarva Review, and received a Pushcart Prize nomination.

G. Davies Jandrey, Tucson, AZ

G. Davies Jandrey, a retired educator, has lived in Tucson for over 30 years. For five seasons she worked as a fire lookout in the “Sky Islands” of southeast Arizona. This double life, one spent teaching, the other focused on natural history, informs both her poetry and fiction. She makes her home with her husband, Fritz, in the Tucson Mountains.  Visit her web site,, to read samples of her novels, A Garden of Aloes and Journey through an Arid Land.

Esther Whitman Johnson, Roanoke, VA

A former educator who lives in Southwest Virginia, Esther Whitman Johnson travels the globe volunteering on five continents, writing about her journeys. She has completed twelve builds with Habitat for Humanity International, the most recent in Mongolia. Her writing has won numerous awards on local and state levels and appears in Artemis, Colere, The Virginia Literary Journal, and Virginia Writers Anthology. She has read essays on public radio and is working on a travel memoir as well as a book of personal experiences in the segregated South.

Linda Johnson, Chapel Hill, NC

Linda Johnson is originally from Chicago where her first career was in advertising. When the cold and gray got to be too much, she and her husband packed up their dogs and horse and moved to North Carolina. She has published two novels and several short stories as e-books. Most recently her stories have appeared in Red Clay Review and Carolina Crimes: Tales of Lust, Love, and Longing.

Terry S. Johnson, Northampton, MA

Terry S. Johnson has explored careers as a newspaper advertising clerk, a library reference assistant and a professional harpsichordist before serving a public school teacher for twenty-five years. She earned her M.F.A. in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Johnson’s poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies. Her first book entitled Coalescence was published in 2014 by WordTech Communications.

Catherine Jordan, Harrisburg, PA

Catherine Jordan is the author of the horror novels, Seeking Samiel, and The Book Seller’s Secret. She edits and writes in different genres, and has been featured in a variety of anthologies and on-line publications. Catherine lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and five children. Her books are available at , and and through her website.

Rebecca Keller, Oak Park, IL

Rebecca Keller is an artist and writer. Her art is shown internationally, and her essays about art-making in historic sites are featured in the book Excavating History, released in 2012 by Stepsister Press. Her fiction has appeared in several literary journals, and earned the Joan Jakobsen Award (Wesleyan) and the Betty Gabehart Prize. In 2013 Keller was a finalist for the Chicago Literary Guild’s Prose Award.

Michaeleen Kelly, Grand Rapids, MI

Dr. Michaeleen Kelly is an Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her philosophical publications include the areas of basic human rights, the state’s responses to evil and feminist political theory. She is working on her second poetry-instrumental CD, and has won the Dyer Ives poetry contest twice. She is an accomplished pianist and performs classical music at house recitals in Michigan.

Alexander Levering Kern, Somerville, MA

Alexander Levering Kern is a poet, writer, educator, and Quaker and interfaith leader whose work appears in publications such as Georgetown Review, CHEST, About Place Journal, Caribbean Writer, African American Review, and The Whirlwind Review, anthologies from Ibbetson Street, Pudding House, and others. He is editor of Becoming Fire: Spiritual Writing from Rising Generations and Executive Director of the Center for Spirituality, Dialogue and Service at Northeastern University in Boston.

Larry Lefkowitz, Modiin, Israel

The stories, poetry, and humor of Larry Lefkowitz have been widely published in journals ezines and anthologies, including the Altered States anthology of Main Street Rag. His literary novel The Critic, the Assistant Critic, and Victoria and his humorous science fiction and fantasy anthology, Laughing into the Fourth Dimension are available from Amazon books.

Ellaraine Lockie, Sunnyvale, CA

Ellaraine Lockie’s collection, Where the Meadowlark Sings, received the 2014 Encircle Chapbook Prize and will be published in early 2015. Other recent work has been awarded the 2013 Women’s National Book Association’s Poetry Prize, Best Individual Collection from Purple Patch magazine for “Stroking David’s Leg” and winner of the San Gabriel Poetry Festival Chapbook Contest for Red for the Funeral. Ellaraine teaches poetry workshops and serves as Poetry Editor for the lifestyles magazine, Lilipoh.

Amy Locklin, San Diego, CA

Amy Locklin edited the MSR anthologies Law and Disorder and Altered States. Her work has appeared in Hartskill Review, Clementine Magazine, QAE, Maize, The Main Street Rag, And Know This Place, and Dots on a Map. Honors include the Robert J. DeMott short prose contest, the Academy of American Poets Prize, the AWP’s Intro Journal Project, and the Lois Davidson Ellis Literary Award. Her poetry chapbook The Secondary Burial was a finalist for the San Diego Book Awards.

Raymond Luczak, Minneapolis, MN

Raymond Luczak is the author and editor of 16 books. His most recent titles are How to Kill Poetry and From Heart into Art: Interviews with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Artists. His debut novel Men with Their Hands won first place in the Project: QueerLit 2006 Contest. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and can be online at

Robert Manaster, Champaign, IL

Robert Manaster’s poems have appeared in many journals including Rosebud, Many Mountains Moving, International Poetry Review and The Literary Review. His co-translations of poetry have appeared in various journals, such as Virginia Quarterly Review and Hayden’s Ferry Review. He’s been awarded several Illinois Arts Council grants as well as residencies at Ragdale, the Midwest Writing Center and elsewhere.

Mary Markofske, Warwick, NY

Mary Markofske received second place in the 2012 Lamar York Prize for Nonfiction (Chattahoochee Review). Her fiction has appeared in Calyx, Iris, Plainswoman, The Rockhurst Review, and The Gamut and is forthcoming in Pearl. She is also a poet with three books: Traction, winner of the Richard Snyder Prize (Ashland Poetry, 2011); Eating Nasturtiums, winner of a Flume Press chapbook competition; and The Disappearance of Gargoyles (Thorntree).

Dennis Maulsby, Ames, IA

Dennis Maulsby is a retired bank president living in Ames, Iowa. His poems and short stories have appeared in The North American Review, Passager, The Hawai’i Pacific Review, The Briarcliff Review, and on National Public Radio’s Themes & Variations. His book of Vietnam War poetry, Remembering Willie won silver medal book awards from two national veterans’ organizations. His second book of poetry, Frissons, a collection of haiku was published in 2012.

Todd Mercer, Grand Rapids, MI

Todd Mercer of Grand Rapids, Michigan won the first Woodstock Writers Festival’s Flash Fiction contest. His chapbook, Box of Echoes, won the Michigan Writers Cooperative Press contest and his digital chapbook, Life-wish Maintenance, is forthcoming from Right Hand Pointing. Mercer’s poetry and fiction appear in quality journals such as Apocrypha and Abstractions, Blue Collar Review, The Camel Saloon, Camroc Press Review, Cheap Pop, Dunes Review, Eunoia Review, Gravel, The Lake, The Legendary, theNewer York, Postcard Poems and Prose and Spartan.

Robert Moore, Westford, MA

Bob Moore lives with his wife, Stephanie, in eastern Massachusetts, but often looks to his birthplace of Niagara Falls when writing. A librarian by day, he writes and enjoys community theatre in his spare time. He has recently been, and anticipates being, published in Assembly Journal, Wilderness House Literary Review, MacGuffin Reader, and has published two historical novels set in Niagara Falls (Stone House Diaries, Where the Gold is Buried).

P.C. Moorehead, North Lake, WI

When P. C. Moorehead moved from Silicon Valley in California to rural Wisconsin, she found that the beauty and peace of the woods provided an inspirational setting for her writing and reflection. She frequently uses nature images in her writing to express the integration of events from her life with larger issues that may affect others as well. Her poetry and prose have appeared in many journals, anthologies, and other publications.

Alice Osborn, Raleigh, NC

Alice Osborn’s past educational and work experience is unusually varied, and it now feeds her work as a poet, editor, and author mentor. Alice is the author of three books of poetry and is the proud editor of the Main Street Rag anthologies Tattoos and Creatures of Habitat. In her other life she’s donning a curly red wig and showing off her Irish dance moves at pubs and

Christa Pandey, Austin, TX

Christa Pandey crossed lines all her life. Born in Germany, she lost her childhood to WWII. A late-blooming student, she met her Indian husband at the University of Cologne. Together they moved to and still live the US with an interlude in Mexico. Facing these multiple cultures, religions, family dynamics, they learned to practice intercultural understanding. She draws her poetic inspiration (three chapbooks, many journals and anthologies) from this rich life.

Yvonne Pearson, Minneapolis, MN

Yvonne Pearson’s poetry and essays have appeared in Main Street Rag, Wolf Head Quarterly, Open to Interpretation, Chrysalis, Sidewalks, Literary Mama, Sing heavenly Muse!, and other publications. She has received a Loft Creative Non-Fiction Award, the Shabo Award in children’s literature, a Minnesota State Arts Board grant, and won several poetry contests.

Matt Peters, Altamonte Springs, FL

Matt Peters has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of New Orleans and a BA in English from the University of Central Florida. Between universities, he worked as a case manager at Covenant House, a homeless shelter for youth under 21. He currently teaches in the BFA Creative Writing program at Full Sail University and runs Beating Windward Press, a small press for emerging writers.

Lee Ann Pingel, Winterville, GA

Lee Ann Pingel has lived in the Athens, Georgia, area since 1994, where she works as a freelance editor and writer. She earned a bachelor’s degree in creative writing from UC San Diego and holds graduate degrees in political science and religion from the University of Georgia. Her work has appeared in Motif 2: Come What May from Motes Books and in various online journals.

Kevin Pope, Moncks Corner, SC

Kevin Pope is a native of Moncks Corner, SC and a recent graduate of Winthrop University’s English Department. He has had deep appreciation for all things written from an early age. Initially interesting in writing novels and short fiction, time and practice have shifted his output toward poetry. These are his first published pieces.

Wanda Praisner, Bedminster, NJ

Wanda Praisner, a recipient of fellowships from the NJ State Council on the Arts, Dodge Foundation, The Provincetown Fine Arts Center, and VCCA, has won the Egan Award, Princemere Prize, Kudzu Competition, and First Prize in Poetry at the College of NJ Writers’ Conference. A seven-time Pushcart nominee, she appears in Atlanta Review, Lullwater Review, and Prairie Schooner. Her latest book is Sometimes When Something Is Singing (Antrim House, 2014). She is a resident poet for the state.

Kerry Rawlinson, Peachland, BC, Canada

Decades ago, kerry rawlinson gravitated from sunny Zambian skies to solid Canadian earth. She’s the winner of Postcards, Poems & Prose‘s “drawkcaB” Contest; and a finalist in Ascent Aspirations and Mississippi Valley poetry contests. Poems accepted (some with artwork) by, amongst others: Midwest Quarterly; ditchpoetry; Kind Of A Hurricane Press Anthologies; Lantern Journal; 3Elements Review; Unshod Quills; War, Literature & the Arts. Photo-artwork in: Qwerty; Wax Poetry & Art; Centrifugal Eye; Adirondack Review.

Megan Roberts, Fuquay-Varina, NC

Megan Roberts has a MA in English from ECU and a MFA in Fiction Writing from NCSU, where she worked under the direction of Jill McCorkle. Her work has appeared in 971Menu, The News & Observer, Our Stories, The Southern Women’s Review, and Smokelong Quarterly. She has won N.C. State’s Academy of American Poets Prize and First Prize in the Carolina Woman’s Writing Competition. In 2012, Matters of Record, a chapbook, was published by Finishing Line Press. She writes at

April Salzano, New Castle, PA

April Salzano teaches college writing in Pennsylvania. She is currently writing a memoir on raising a child with autism and several collections of poetry. Her work has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Award and has appeared in journals such as The Camel Saloon, Centrifugal Eye, Deadsnakes, Visceral Uterus, Salome, Poetry Quarterly, Writing Tomorrow and Rattle. Her chapbook, The Girl of My Dreams, is forthcoming in spring 2015 from Dancing Girl Press. The author serves as co-editor at Kind of a Hurricane Press (

Rikki Santer, Columbus, OH

Two of Rikki Santer’s published poetry collections have explored place: Front Nine (the Hopewell earthworks of Newark, Ohio) and Kahiki Redux (the late Kahiki Supper Club of Columbus, Ohio). Clothesline Logic, was published by Pudding House as finalist in their national chapbook competition, and her latest collection, Fishing for Rabbits, was published by Kattywompus Press. She’s currently working on her next book of poems, Make Me That Happy.

Prartho Sereno, San Anselmo, CA

Prartho Sereno is author of three prize-winning poetry collections, including ELEPHANT RAGA (2014 Blue Lynx Prize, forthcoming in Spring 2015) and CALL FROM PARIS (Word Works 2007 Washington Prize, 2nd edition 2014). She has been a California Poet in the Schools for 15 years and is creator and facilitator of a popular, ever-evolving Poetic Pilgrimage at the College of Marin.

Eric Paul Shaffer, Kailua, HI

Eric Paul Shaffer is author of five books of poetry, including Lāhaina Noon. His poetry appears in North American Review, RATTLE, Slate, and The Sun Magazine; Australia’s Going Down Swinging, Quadrant Magazine, and Westerly; Canada’s Dalhousie Review, Event, and Fiddlehead; Ireland’s Poetry Ireland Review and Southword Journal; England’s Iota, Magma, and Stand Magazine; and New Zealand’s Poetry NZ and Takahē. Shaffer received the 2002 Elliot Cades Award for Literature and teaches at Honolulu Community College.

Kathryn Shaver, Louisville, KY

Kathryn Shaver spent several decades at the helm of the advertising agency she founded, then developed an international consulting practice for privately held companies in former Communist bloc countries. After retiring from the business and civic community in 2003, she completed an MFA in Fiction from Spalding University. Her first published story was awarded the 2008 Fiction Prize from Inkwell Journal. Since that time, her stories have appeared in numerous publications including Narrative Magazine, Dos Passos Review, The Louisville Courier-Journal, and several anthologies. A Louisville, Kentucky, native, she graduated from Auburn University with a degree in design, and continues to utilize her art training in painting, portraiture, and fiber arts. She divides her time between Louisville and Savannah, Georgia.

Ndaba Sibanda, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

In 2005 Ndaba authored an epic, Love O’clock. He has since contributed to more than ten published books including such international anthologies as Poems For Haiti, A South African anthology, Snippets, Voices Of Peace, Black Communion, Ripples of Love, Lost Coast Review, Summer 2014: Vol. 5, No. 3, On the Rusk Issue Three (Volume 3), Emanations: Foray into Forever, World Healing and Metaphor: Modern and Contemporary Poetry (Volume 1)

Vivian Shipley, North Haven, CT

Connecticut State University Distinguished Professor, Vivian Shipley teaches at Southern Connecticut State University. Her 9th book, The Poet, is forthcoming in 2015 from Southern Louisiana University’s Louisiana Literature Press. Nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, her eighth book, All of Your Message Have Been Erased, (2010, SLU) won the 2011 Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement, Sheila Motton Book Award from New England Poetry Club and the CT Press Club Prize for Best Creative Writing.

Laurence Snydal, San Jose, CA

Laurence Snydal is a poet, musician and retired teacher. He has published more than 100 poems in such magazines as Columbia, Caperock, Lyric and Gulf Stream and in many anthologies including The Pagan’s Muse and Visiting Frost. Some of his work has been performed in New York City and Baltimore.

Matthew J. Spireng, Kingston, NY

Matthew J. Spireng’s most recent book of poems is What Focus Is (2011, Word Press). His book Out of Body won the 2004 Bluestem Poetry Award and was published in 2006 by Bluestem Press at Emporia State University. He is also the author of five chapbooks including Inspiration Point, which won the 2000 Bright Hill Press Poetry Chapbook Competition.

D.A. Spruzen, McLean, VA

D. A. Spruzen grew up near London, England, earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte, and teaches writing in Northern Virginia when she’s not seeking her own muse. In another life she was Manager of Publications for a defense contractor. Her short stories and poems have appeared in many publications, and she is currently seeking representation for her novel The Blitz Business, set in WWII England.

Dana Stamps II, Riverside, CA

I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Cal State University of San Bernardino, and I have worked as a fast food servant, a postal clerk, a security guard, and a group home worker with troubled boys. My recent publications to date include: Plainsongs, Bayou, Blue Collar Review, Main Street Rag, J Journal, Connecticut River Review, Slant, and Coal City Review.

Meryl Stratford, Hallandale Beach, FL

Meryl Stratford won the 2013 YellowJacket Press competition for her chapbook, The Magician’s Daughter. Her poems have appeared in Earth’s Daughters, The Enigmatist, Connecticut River Review, Snail Mail Review, Comstock Review, and The Journal of the Society of Classical Poets, and have been anthologized in Adrienne Rich: A Tribute Anthology, MALALA: Poems for Malala Yousafzai, and The Liberal Media Made Me Do It: Poetic Responses to NPR & PBS Stories.

Sandi Stromberg, Houston, TX

Sandi Stromberg’s poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and appeared in a number of print and online poetry journals, including Borderlands, Illya’s Honey, Colere, and the annual Texas Poetry Calendar. She has been a juried poet eight times in the Houston Poetry Fest and published in several anthologies, including TimeSlice, The Weight of Addition, and Improbable Worlds. She serves on the board of Mutabilis Press and will edit its next poetry anthology.

Bob Strother, Greenville, SC

Award-winning author and two-time Pushcart Prize nominee Bob Strother has had over eighty short stories appear in a number of literary journals and magazines. His collection, Scattered, Smothered, and Covered, was released in 2011, and his novel, Shug’sPlace in 2013, both through Main Street Rag Publishing Company. His short story “Doughnut Walk” was adapted for a short film in 2014. Strother is also a contributing author for Southern Writers Magazine.

Janet Lee Warman, Elon, NC

Originally from Richmond, VA, Janet Lee Warman now lives in Burlington, NC, where she is a Professor of English and Education at Elon University. She has degrees in special education/emotional disturbance, creative writing with an emphasis in poetry, and literature, specializing in twentieth century British and American literature. She has traveled extensively with students in Elon’s study abroad courses and is a raging Anglophile.

Mercedes Webb-Pullman, New Zealand

Mercedes Webb-Pullman: IIML Victoria University Wellington MA in Creative Writing 2011. Work online, in print (Turbine, 4th Floor, Swamp, Reconfigurations, The Electronic Bridge, Otoliths, poetryrepairs, Connotations Press, The Red Room, anthologies, books (Ono, Looking for Kerouac, After the Danse, Numeralla Dreaming, Food 4 Thought, Tasseography and Bravo Charlie Foxtrot)

Sarah Brown Weitzman, Delray Beach, FL

Sarah Brown Weitzman, a Pushcart nominee, has had work in hundreds of journals and anthologies including Art Times, Rattle The North American Review, etc. Her second chapbook, The Forbidden and Other Poems was published by Pudding House in 2004. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.

Will Wells, Liima, OH

Will Wells has published two previous poetry books, Unsettled Accounts, which won the 2009 Hollis Summers Poetry Prize and was published by Ohio Univ./Swallow Press (2010). Previously, Conversing with the Light, won the Anhinga Prize in Poetry. “Prohibitions” and “One Channel” come from his completed current manuscript, Odd Lots, Scraps, and Second-hand, Like New (in circulation). Will has published individual poems and translations widely, and also a volume of translations and commentary with the University of California Press.

Dex Westrum, South Milwaukee, WI

Dex Westrum (Ph.D., University of Minnesota) teaches Western Heritage and American Literature at Carthage College. He has published over eighty juried short stories and literary essays, most recently in Aethlon, Wapsipinican Almanac, and the Mainstreet Rag anthology Dots on a Map. His books are Thomas McGuane, Elegy for a Golf Pro, and the recent mystery Death and the Golf Pro.

Laurelyn Whitt, Manitoba, Canada

Laurelyn Whitt’s poems have appeared in various, primarily North American, journals including Nimrod International, The Tampa Review, Puerto Del Sol, The Malahat Review, PRISM International, Rattle, Descant and The Fiddlehead. The author of four award-winning poetry collections, her most recent book, Tether (Seraphim Editions: Woodstock, Ontario) won the 2013 Lansdowne Prize for Poetry.

Fabienne Andre Worth, Durham, NC

Fabienne André Worth grew up in France, and lives in Durham NC. She is currently writing a memoir Views from Across the Pond. She has published in The Independent, Jouvert, and The Rambler, won the Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition with « Gosses d’Alsace, » and the Monti’s Hippo Best Comedy award for her performance of “The Barrel & The Bidet.” In a former life, Worth published academic articles about French literature, film and cultural studies.


Several years ago I met a half dozen women who were working in this country as live-in caregivers. Well educated and conversant in at least three languages, the women had come to the U.S. from the Republic of Georgia to earn money to support their families still living in Tbilisi. These women had been teachers, psychologists, and physicists, and here they were crossing into the world of illegal workers. Over glasses of bittersweet Georgian wine, I heard stories of their earlier lives where they avoided confrontations with the Russian Mafia, and of their present circumstances where they navigated through the treacherous illegal aliens’ underground to stay in this country. I learned about their rare visits from family who understood neither the idioms of America nor the complexity of the women’s circumstances. Physical, psychological, and philosophical conflicts heightened the tension in these stories. I was unsettled by the precipices the women stood on, and always wanted to know what happened next.

When selecting pieces for this anthology, I looked for work that produced the affect of the Georgian women’s stories. Tension is the engine that drives story. And tension is almost always a result of a decision, a line someone crosses, wittingly or not. The consequence of the choice a character makes, from Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex to Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, is what gives readers a reason to turn the page.

In this anthology men, women, and children weave their way across the familiar divides of family, friendship, ethnicity, and sexuality, but the choices they make are not what we would expect. The detective in Andrew Bourelle’s noiresque “Event Horizon” denies his own intentions until he has to make a choice between life and death. In Sean Beedle’s “The First Time is the Hardest” a soldier home from Iraq is on a collision course with PTSD. In “Whirlpool” D Ferrara gives us a man who survives a tsunami, and instead of searching for his wife, disappears into a new identity. Like several others in this collection, these stories remind us that we don’t simply confront our adversaries. We confront ourselves confronting our adversaries.

This anthology contains its share of philosophical conflict and unexpected resolutions. “Emergence” by G. Davies Jandrey begins as a meditation. Trapped by failing health, Ida watches the moonrise from her patio and thinks “chrysalis is an apt metaphor for her body, a dry and rigid casing concealing her truer, inside self, which is still ripe, juicy, a self eager to wriggle free.” When Ida reaches for her 30.06 rifle, the dynamic changes, and the ending is surprising and satisfying. In her creative nonfiction piece “Resurrection,” Fabienne André Worth re-crosses the line between life and death when she discovers an icon belonging to her deceased parents. The story shows what is important to one generation may not be important to others. A chance meeting with a child in Lee Ann Pingel’s “Baptism in Dust” results in a loss of faith, and becomes a reflection of how a single incident can change a life. Each of the twenty-six stories and essays pulse with the possibility of disaster.

The poems in this volume all concern the difficulties and rewards of choice, of finding truth and making it meaningful. The striking images of dark jungle nights, rusted tracks in an underground tunnel, the unending sky of the Montana prairie contrast with an ordinary waiting room, a tavern, and an unoccupied house, places where people take chances on love, approach adulthood, or confront the dead. Through uneasy situations and shifting circumstances, the poems cross metaphoric and metaphysical lines. As Maureen Flannery says in her poem “Working at the Border,” they are “stories already cut into pieces/ripped down the middle/ segments cordoned off with razor-wire.”

The stories, essays, and poems come from four continents and across the United States and Canada. They have been created with honesty, grace, and humor. May they keep you enthralled as they take you to places you might not have been, but places you recognize as part of the human experience.

Rayne Debski, Editor

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