From the Tower

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Poetry in Honor of Conrad Balliet

by the Tower Poets (see “About the Author”)

ISBN: 978-1-59948-604-8, ~150 pages, $15

Release date: November 29, 2016


Kathy B. Austin’s poems have appeared in The Writing Path I anthology (University of Iowa Press) and also in numerous journals, including Poppy Road Review, Flights and Mock Turtle Zine. She has received awards for poetry from the Iowa Poetry Day Association and the Paul Laurence Dunbar Memorial Competition and has been featured and interviewed on WYSO’s “Conrad’s Corner. She focuses on both linear and spiritual connectedness; leads meditations at the Dharma Center of Dayton; and enjoys art, talking to crows, and listening to the words of trees.

Marietta Ball lives in Xenia, Ohio, where she writes poetry and fiction. She has published two novels: Horses Can See in the Dark and which of a wind, and her poetry appears in various publications.

Robert L. Brimm is a graduate of Southern Illinois University. He has been twice nominated for Pushcart Prize honors. He has had three collections of his poems published by Finishing Line Press. He also maintains a daily online journal, “Chosen Words.” His poems have appeared in The American Scholar, The Christian Science Monitor, Modern Haiku, Palo Alto Review, Poem, Potpourri, Riverrun, Southern Humanities Review, and Waterways, among others.

Steve Broidy teaches at Wittenberg University. “Vacuity” appeared in Dark Matter and “Toward a Poetic of Space Travel” appeared in The Resurrectionist. To highlight the obvious, he is also the editor of this book.

Jim Brooks teaches English and creative writing at Chaminade Julienne High School in Dayton, Ohio. He also organizes Poetry Out Loud, a national poetry recitation contest. He has published about 30 poems in various journals and has a chapbook of poems titled Leaning into the Wind. “On Finding a Lost Poem” appeared in English Journal, and “Day of the Dead” was published in St. Anthony Messenger.

Anna Cates lives in Wilmington, Ohio with her two beautiful kitties, and teaches English and education online. Her first full-length collection of haiku and other poems, The Meaning of Life, is available at Amazon and You may also find poems by Anna Cates in the “Living Haiku Anthology”,

Rita Coleman writes poetry and memoir in rural Greene County, Ohio. She has one book of poetry, Mystic Connections, and is compiling a second, And Yet. She has a BA and MA in English literature and creative writing, and is a student of Cincinnati Poet Laureate Pauletta Hansel.

Nicholas Crome says he’s been creating poetry since the age of two. A friend or acquaintance of many well-known poets, he has taught at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Colorado State, and Antioch. He has published widely, in the Paris Review and Corradi, among other venues.

Ed Davis, a West Virginia native, recently retired from teaching writing full time at Sinclair Community College. He is the author of the novels I Was So Much Older Then (Disc-Us Books, 2001); The Measure of Everything (Plain View Press, 2005); and The Psalms of Israel Jones (West Virginia University Press, 2014). He has also published four poetry chapbooks as well as a full-length collection Time of the Light (Main Street Rag Press, 2013). “Boots”, “Crown,” and “Epitaph” appeared in Time of the Light (Main Street Rag Publishing Co.). “Let God Knock” appeared first in Haskell (Seven Buffaloes Press), and then in Time of the Light. “Flummoxed . . .” appeared in Healing Arts (Pudding House Publications).

Cathryn Essinger is the author of three books of poetry: A Desk in the Elephant House, My Dog Does Not Read Plato, and What I Know About Innocence. “Of Course” first appeared in the Mad River Review. “For Six Friends” appeared in Poetry Magazine and later in A Desk in the Elephant House. “Half in Love” and “What the Black Cat is Not” appeared in What I Know About Innocence.

David Lee Garrison’s poetry has appeared nationwide in journals and anthologies. Two poems from his book Sweeping the Cemetery were read by Garrison Keillor on “The Writer’s Almanac,” and the title poem from his Playing Bach in the D.C. Metro was featured by Ted Kooser on his website, American Life in Poetry.

Lori Gravley writes poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. She earned her MFA from the University of Texas at El Paso. She has published poems in a variety of journals, recently including I-70 Review, Burningword, and Crack the Spine. She travels the world for her work as a USAID consultant, but her home is in Yellow Springs, Ohio. “The National Gallery” appeared in I-70 Review.

Joan Harris is a late-blooming writer of poetry and short stories. She lives in Yellow Springs, Ohio. She blogs at

Judy A. Johnson is an Ohio native who began writing poetry in fourth grade. She has spent her life around words—as a teacher, librarian, editor, and freelance writer. She currently lives in Springfield, Ohio, and works at the Clark State Community College library. Her poems have won awards in the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center and the Dayton Metro Library competitions, and are sometimes heard on WYSO’s “Conrad’s Corner.” Dayton’s Mock Turtle Zine recently published two of her poems.

Ronald Knipfer is a retired career Air Force engineering officer, and later an academic Dean at Sinclair Community College. In addition to his self-published poetry book Everybody’s Poetry, available on, his poems have appeared in The Western Ohio Journal of Poetry. He is married to a sweet Irish girl and has three children.

Stella Ling is an Asian American writer, poet, scientist, and artist; nature-inspired; founder of the Wilmington Writers Collaborative, rebel, and tango dancer.

Sharon Luster’s love of the music and rhythm of language began in her grandmother’s rocking-chair lap, listening to her recite poems, sing songs, and tell the family stories. It propelled her to a degree in foreign languages, then to jobs as a storyteller, writer, and editor. She has written poetry throughout her life.

Gary Mitchner is Professor Emeritus and Poet Laureate of Sinclair Community College. He teaches poetry at the University of Dayton’s Lifelong Learning Institute. He has numerous poems in The Paris Review, New Republic, The Cincinnati Review and many others. “Morgan Becomes a Horse” was published in Shenadoah.

Julie Moore is the author of Particular Scandals (The Polema Poetry Series by Cascade Books). Her other books include Slipping Out of Bloom and Election Day. A Best of the Net and two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Moore has published in Alaska Quarterly Review, Image, Nimrod, Poetry Daily, The Southern Review, and Verse Daily. Her work also has appeared in several anthologies, including Becoming: What Makes a Woman (University of Nebraska Press), and Every River on Earth: Writing from Appalachian Ohio (Ohio University Press). “Recovery”, “Clifton Gorge”, and “Hells Angels” appeared in Particular Scandals (used by permission of Wipf and Stock Publishers). “Prufrock in My Backyard” appeared in The MacGuffin. “The Poet Performs in the Theater of Cows” first appeared in The Atlanta Review and then in Every River on Earth: Writing from Appalachian Ohio (Ohio University Press).

Gary Pacernik taught at Wright State University for over forty years. He has published poetry, criticism, and interviews; edited David Ignatow’s letters; and edited Images magazine.

Robert Paschell is a visual artist, a wordplay artist, and a poet, residing in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

David A. Petreman has published his poetry widely in U.S. and Canadian literary journals. His chapbook Francisco in the Days of Exile was published in 2008 by Finishing Line Press; and his book Candlelight in Quintero was published in 2011 by Dos Madres Press. He has also translated and published the poetry of a number of Chilean poets. He has directed a poetry reading series at the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center in Troy, Ohio, for fifteen years. He currently teaches Latin American Literature at Wright State University.

Janeal Turnbull Ravnal is a former social worker at Children’s Services, Drug and Alcohol, and a domestic abuse warehouse. With Chris, her husband of 58 years, lived in Quaker educational communities before her 2006 retirement to Yellow Springs, Ohio. In 2004, after her civil disobedience during the U.S. war in Iraq, she spent a week in Philadelphia’s Federal prison. Her Pendle Hill Pamphlet, “A Very Good Week Behind Bars”, reflects on that experience. Her recent book of poems is From Parsonage to Prison.

Barbara Singleton has lived in Yellow Springs, Ohio, since 1953, where she raised a family, had a career as a social worker, and traveled throughout the world. She has published travel articles and founded a local writing group. A member of the Tower Poetry Group for many years, she enjoys writing poems and hearing those of other members.

Myrna Stone is the author of four full-length books of poems, the last two of which—In the Present Tense: Portraits of My Father and The Casanova Chronicles—were finalists for the Ohioana Book Award in Poetry. She is the recipient of two Ohio Arts Council Fellowships in Poetry and a Full Fellowship from Vermont Studio Center. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, has been selected for nine anthologies, and has appeared in over fifty journals, including Poetry, Boulevard, The Massachusetts Review, Southwest Review, River Styx, Nimrod, and Crab Orchard Review. “Yes”, “Maybe”, and “Charlie McCarthy” appeared in River Styx. “The Flea Hunt” appeared in Sou’wester.

Carol Stoner is a business professor. She is also a lover of language, and has been writing poetry since childhood. She likes exuberant poetry, and an early influence was Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses, especially the poem “The Swing.”

MaryJo White’s poetry has appeared in Persimmon Tree, Dayton Daily News, Main Street Rag, Mock Turtle Zine, Nexus, Fogdog, and English Journal. She was awarded the Paul Laurence Dunbar Poetry Prize in 2006, and Antioch Writing Workshop’s Jerome Judson Poetry Prize in 2012. Billy Collins chose one of her poems in 2009 as adult winner of a nationwide Borders poetry contest. And many of her poems have been read on WYSO’s “Conrad’s Corner.” “Why Poetry?” appeared in Fogdog.


Kathy Austin

Passport Photo


In the tiny strip of prints
I am barely there.
Square after square,
just a thin outline of me.
The woman clips the one
for the passport,
and there I am for the next 10 years—
smiling, bug-eyed,
ready for anything.

In the Shannon airport the same smile appears
as a customs agent stamps a passport page,
and suddenly I am in Ireland,
surrounded by brilliant green, stone-lined pastures,
bottomless, wave-washed cliffs,
rocky crags littered with sheep;
and there I am sitting in a crowded pub
with my faintly Irish nose,
listening to a rosy-cheeked lass
singing “Oh, Danny Boy” as she plays her Irish harp.

A beaming old woman, bent and gray,
jumps up to dance the Irish quick-step,
everyone clapping, while just outside,
a castle wall standing for centuries, stone to stone,
waits silently in darkness
as forgotten ancestors, dancing along,
stir the trees in the woods behind.


Marietta Ball



Two men wearing suits
will come to take the
body from the house. No matter
what the walls were witness to
for hours, for days, for weeks, for
months, for years just past,
two men armed with a gurney
(and shielded by demeanor of respect)
will come to gently storm
whatever barricade has sealed
the living to the one now dead.
They will perform a service
to end circadian expectations
by drawing attention
for a moment
to official connotations
of spotless cuffs and collars,
muted ties,
and somber suits.



Robert Brimm

In This Stillness


How abrupt it seems,
the sudden weight of this
silence upon me,
immovable as a boulder,

as though for this moment
all motion has stopped;
no breeze leafing through
to find me, birdsong lost

in a wallowing sea, even
the whirring of beetles halted,
a pale green snake lying
on the path, a broken stick,

but then a leaf stirs, an acorn
drops to a cushion of moss,
lies waiting, while somewhere
out there a beetle drones,

a bird calls, then a hawk’s
shadow goes exploring up
the hill, like some secret
writing meant just for me.


Cathy Essinger

For Six Friends


When I come back to haunt you,
I promise it will be a gentle haunting . . .
no bloody crosses on the wall to frighten
you into the arms of religion, no unearthly

moans or thunder to keep you awake.
No need to carry talisman in your pockets.
I won’t have you trembling before cellar
doors, or avoiding moonlit nights.

But, when November comes, to pick the lock
between the living and the dead, notice,
please, the door that whinnies on its hinge,
the book that turns its own pages,

the moth that hovers beside your chin.
Talk to me when the cat stares at some
nothingness beyond, when daylight fades
and leaves move against the wind.

And when women gather beside the fire,
to weave the truths and lies that make
them friends, set the table with Haviland
and old silver, and pull up an extra chair.



David Lee Garrison

The Fifties by the Numbers


Five, six, and seven became
brown, red, and yellow leaves
reflected in the lake,
four gave steel gray
to the sailboat masts,
and with number three
you made the sky.
As the artist,
you identified yourself
in the right hand
bottom corner on two,
the lake’s deepest water.
White was number one,
and there was no black at all.
The whole thing—brushes, paints,
light gray outlines on canvas—
came in a box. You knew
the proper place and color
for everything and everyone,
and your picture was always perfect
if you never crossed the lines.