Kakalak 2020


Out of stock

Kakalak is an annual publication of poetry and art by or about North and South Carolina, the people who live here, the places that draw others here. All work is selected through an annual contest which has a May deadline. Guidelines for the next upcoming contest will be posted on the MSR website starting in January of that year.

ISBN: 978-1-59948-839-4, ~150 pages, Cover price $15.00

Release date: November 27, 2020  (OUT OF STOCK. Inventory on all copies of this title belong to the current publisher).

The Advance Sale Discount price expired October 23, 2020.

Check Payment:

For those who prefer to pay by check, the price is $19/book (which includes shipping and applicable sales tax) and should be sent to:

Main Street Rag
PO BOX 690100
Charlotte, NC 28227-7001



First Place & Cover Art: Julie Ann Cook, “Sacrament”
Second Place: Kathryn Waller, “Rose Hips and Red Clover 1”
Third Place: José H. Quiñones, “Spring Tree, Charlotte, NC”
Honorable Mention: Debra Daniel, “Umbrellas”
Honorable Mention: Peggy Rowland, “Boy on Carousel”
Honorable Mention: Brittany Taylor-Driggers, “Garden”



First Place: Debra Daniel, “Things Lost”
Second Place: Kathryn Etters Lovatt, “Everything Is Normal Unless You Know Better”
Third Place: Lucinda Trew, “Wooden Spoon”
Honorable Mention: Kathleen Calby, “Cider Press”
Honorable Mention: Steve Cushman, “Fishing Again”
Honorable Mention: Glenis Redmond, “Learning How to Run”



Christina Baumis, “Beaufort, SC 1”
Cheryl Boyer, “Treed Frog”
Les Brown, “Jack in the Pulpit”
Julie Ann Cook, “If Einstein was a Birdbrain”
Susan M. Craig, “Tree Abstracted”
Debra Daniel, “Amaryllis”
Evelyn Eickmeyer-Quiñones, “Dancing Dama-Brookgreen Gardens”
Bill Griffin, “Erythronium”
Jack McGregor, “Into the Mystic”
Barbara Rizza Mellin, “Misty Music”
Peggy Rowland, “Country Store”
T. Parker Sanborn, “NC Waterfall”
Trish Sheppard, “Out for a Swim”
Brittany Taylor-Driggers, “Bubble of Protection”
Kathryn Waller, “Crow and Common Nightshade”



Anthony Abbott, “The Word in the Window”
J.S. Absher, “When I Have Fears”
Kathy Ackerman, “Misnomer”
Melanie Aves, “Progress”
Pam Baggett, “September, 2018”
Dorothy Baird, “Tea with Grandmother’s Ghost”
Don Ball, “Sunday School Lessons”
Joan Barasovska, “Her Breath”
Lynn Bishop, “Two Beverages”
Cheryl Boyer, “Ache”
Norma Bradley, “Eula Dee”
Mary O’Keefe Brady, “What We Do”
Doris Thomas Browder, “Forty-three Years Together”
Joyce Compton Brown, “Charlie Compton Registers for War”
Les Brown, “Sarvis Tree”
Kathleen Calby, “Pattern of Enchantment”
Barbara Campbell, “Cordell Tells a Joke at the Homeless Shelter”
Glenn Cassidy, “Mrs. Van Stratton”
Kenneth Chamlee, “Fraternal Twin”
S.L. Cockerille, “I Could Tell You Were Gone”
Joy Colter, “Breath of Fresh Air”
Barbara Conrad, “Thickety Creek”
Julie Ann Cook, “Making Do”
Beth Copeland, “Morning Meditations”
Cherie Cox, “Family Tree”
Susan M. Craig, “Walking by the Neighbors’ Backyard”
Jane Craven, “Speaking of the World”
Steve Cushman, “In the Harris Teeter Produce Aisle I Watched”
Debra Daniel, “the dog curled at His feet”
Heather Dearmon, “Dear April”
Kelly DeMaegd, “Five Senses”
Mary Alice Dixon, “Heirloom Tomatoes”
Sue Weaver Dunlap, “A Taste of Holler Haiku”
Nadine Ellsworth-Moran, “St. Francis of the Back Garden”
Terri Kirby Erickson, “Papa’s Chair”
Rebecca Ethridge, “Freckles”
Janice Moore Fuller, “The Vitreous Gel Is Shrinking”
Michael Gaspeny, “To Mr. Rhone, Dead Thirty Years Before His Schizophrenic Son”
Terri Greco, “Five Haiku”
Anne Waters Green, “Aphasia”
Bill Griffin, “Telemedicine”
Janis Harrington, “Fly Away Home”
Lisa Hase-Jackson, “Owls at Midday”
Mary Hennessy, “Having Flown Before”
Jo Ann Hoffman, “Migration”
Culley Holderfield, “Big Water”
Charles Israel, Jr., “What the Next Cornell Box Might Contain”
Karen Luke Jackson, “Snapper Head Bait & Tackle”
Arnie Johanson, “Shot Glasses”
Kelly Jones, “On Viewing the Wild Horses at Corolla, NC”
Jeanne Julian, “The Birds in Her Hereafter”
Caroline Kane Kenna, “Dry Summer, 2019”
Sandra Marshburn, “After My Mother Died”
Mary E. Martin, “Evicted”
Preston Martin, “A Story She Told”
Katherine H. Maynard, “Cursive”
Terri L. McCord, “Seminar Reading”
Jeff Miles, “Woodcut of an August Moon”
Kathy Nelson, “Chain”
Ione O’Hara, “High Tide at Edisto”
DL Pearlman, “Autumn Compass”
Sarah Pross, “History Wreckers”
Lisa M. Pursley, “The Way the Night Talks”
David Radavich, “Family at the Pool”
Glenis Redmond, “Proof of Purchase”
Judith Cummings Reese, “Onslaught”
Jonathan K. Rice, “I Don’t Eat Crab”
Pat Riviere-Seel, “When There Were Horses”
Susan Shaw Sailer, “Under the Bridge, Near the Alley”
T. Parker Sanborn, “Post Mortem Pile”
Jane Seitel, “The Plumb Line”
Martin Settle, “Pokeweed in the South”
Trish Sheppard, “Drive-in Movie”
Jane Shlensky, “Ounce of Prevention”
Sherry Siddall, “Landscaping”
H.R. Spencer, “As Manigault Tells It”
Caren Stuart, “The Still Burns”
Lynne Santy Tanner, “An Abiding Image”
Abigail K. Taylor, “Yesterday”
Richard Allen Taylor, “After So Long Without a Heart, Writing Is Difficult”
Melinda Thomsen, “Sweet Potato Casserole”
Betsy Thorne, “Just Now”
Lucinda Trew, “Of Stars”
Jenny Van Stone, “Planting Roland”
Mark Vogel, “Melvin Plays His Golden Trombone”
Kathryn Waller, “Portraits: Bookout Road”
Rebecca Warren, “What the Living Know”
Priscilla Webster-Williams, “When Autumn Days Turn Orange”
Eric Weil, “Under the Sentry’s Eyes in Edenton, NC”
Zachariah Claypole White, “Collins Creek”
Gena Williams, “Estate Sale”
Emily Wilmer, “Winter Interlude”
Nancy H. Womack, “Beyond”
Nancy Young, “Laying Down Time”
Laura Younger, “November”



Kakalak 2020 Contributors


Anthony S. Abbott (Davidson, NC), Professor Emeritus of English at Davidson College, is the author of seven books of poetry and two novels. In 2020, he was elected to the NC Literary Hall of Fame.

J.S. Absher (Raleigh, NC) has won the Lena Shull Book Award, for Mouth Work, and the Clinton Larson Poetry Prize from BYU Studies Quarterly.

Kathy Ackerman (Polk County, NC), author of A Quarrel of Atoms, Coal River Road, and three poetry chapbooks, is Dean of Arts and Sciences at Isothermal Community College.

Melanie Aves (Indian Land, SC) artist and writer, contributes to The Carolina Gateway; co-authored several books, including Interior Designer’s Showcase of Color and Comfort Colors (Rockport 1994-1999) and authored Newport Beach: A Photographic Portrait (Twin Lights, 2001).

Pam Baggett (Cedar Grove, NC) is the author of Wild Horses (Main Street Rag Publishing Co., 2018). Recent work appears in Cider Press Review, Plainsongs, and Tar River Poetry.

Dorothy Baird (Chapel Hill, NC), former teacher and editor, is author of Indelible Ripples (Aldrich Books, 2017).

Don Ball (Raleigh, NC) is a retired English Professor from Wake Technical Community College, editor, and creative writing teacher. His poems have appeared in Kakalak, Tar River, and Pinesong.

Joan Barasovska (Chapel Hill, NC), author of Birthing Age (Finishing Line Press), cohosts a poetry series at Flyleaf Books and serves on the Board of the North Carolina Poetry Society.

Christina Baumis (Goose Creek, SC), captured the photograph “Beaufort, SC1” along waterfront park after an enjoyable day dragonboat racing in Beaufort, SC, with her Awakened Dragons teammates.

Lynn Bishop (Charlotte, NC) practiced law in Charlotte from 1975 until she retired in 2019. Now she’s trying to write poems!

Cheryl Boyer (Waxhaw, NC), author of Counting Colors: a journey through infertility (Kelsay Books, 2018), eats dark chocolate daily and often subjects her family to her pen or lens.

Mary O’Keefe Brady (Briarcliff Manor, NY) is the author of Time Out (Finishing Line Press, 2015). Her poems have appeared in the Peregrine Journal, Bear River Review, Kakalak, Pinesong, and elsewhere.

Norma Bradley (Asheville, NC,) has poems published in The Avocet, Snapdragon, Jewish Literary Journal, Great Smokies Review, and From the Listening Place. Her chapbook Journeys is forthcoming.

Doris Thomas Browder (Rock Hill, SC), author of Searching for Maypops (Finishing Line Press, 2015) and Scent of Tangerine (Lulu.com, 2019), is a retired teacher.

Joyce Compton Brown (Troutman, NC), author of two chapbooks, Bequest (Finishing Line Press, 2015) and Singing with Jarred Edges (Main Street Rag Publishing Co., 2018), spends her time in Troutman trying to be creative.

Les Brown (Troutman, NC) has art, poetry, and short stories in several journals. He is a Pushcart nominee and author of A Place Where Trees Had Names (Redhawk Publications, 2020).

Kathleen Calby (Hendersonville, NC), former freelance corporate writer (how she learned brevity), is now a tutor, singing bowl performer, avid gardener, editor, and creative writer—much more satisfying. She was published in Kakalak 2019.

Barbara Campbell (Charlotte, NC) has had poems published in Rattle, Kakalak, Poet Lore, The Southern Poetry Anthology, NC, the NC Literary Review, and other journals.

Glenn Cassidy (Albany, NY) formerly of Carrboro, teaches public policy at the University at Albany. His short story “Hearts and Minds” is in the anthology Aftermath (Main Street Rag Publishing Co.).

Kenneth Chamlee (Mills River, NC) has two prize-winning chapbooks, Absolute Faith and Logic of the Lost, and his poems have appeared in The North Carolina Literary Review, Cold Mountain Review, Ekphrasis, and many others.

S.L. Cockerille (New Bern, NC) is an award-winning poet who’d rather sit on the front porch than most anything else.

Joy Colter (Rock Hill, SC) has been writing poetry her whole life. Her other interests include playing piano and singing in several church choirs, cooking, reading, and line dancing.

Barbara Conrad (Charlotte, NC) authored The Gravity of Color, Wild Plums and There Is a Field, and is editor of Waiting for Soup, an anthology for those experiencing homelessness. Her subjects include ironic takes on life to hard truths on social injustice.

Julie Ann Cook (Rock Hill, SC)—boymom and author of Love Like Weeds (Main Street Rag Publishing Co., 2013)—masterfully overbooks her nonexistent free time. Sometimes, she writes and makes art, too.

Beth Copeland (Creston, NC) is the author of Blue Honey, 2017 Dogfish Head Poetry Prize winner; Transcendental Telemarketer; and Traveling through Glass, 1999 Bright Hill Press Poetry Book Award winner.

Cherie Cox (Charlotte, NC) is a published poet, essayist, and short story writer. She previously practiced law and wrote for the Hickory Daily Record.

Susan M. Craig (Columbia, SC), writer and artist, writes every day. Her poetry has appeared in various journals, and two of her short stories are prize winners.

Steve Cushman (Greensboro, NC) has published three novels and a short story collection, Fracture City. His debut poetry collection, How Birds Fly, won the 2018 Lena Shull Book Award.

Jane Craven (Raleigh, NC) was born and raised in North Carolina. Her book, My Bright Last Country, won the Vern Rutsala Poetry Prize and will be published by Cloudbank Books Fall, 2020.

Debra Daniel (Columbia, SC) is the author of The Roster (AdHoc Fiction), Woman Commits Suicide in Dishwasher (Muddy Ford Press), Downward Turn of August (Finishing Line Press), and As Is (Main Street Rag Publishing Co.).

Heather Dearmon (Columbia, SC) has appeared in many publications, such as Fall Lines, and soon in Free State Review. She’s the author of water unto light (Finishing Line Press, 2014).

Kelly DeMaegd (Presque Isle, MI) is a Pushcart-nominated poet. Her first book of poetry, Wish and Spit was a finalist in 2017’s Main Street Rag Book Competition.

Mary Alice Dixon (Charlotte, NC) has recent work in The Mythic Circle, The Main Street Rag, Stories Through the Ages, That Southern Thing, Stonecoast Review, and elsewhere. She volunteers with hospice.

Sue Weaver Dunlap (Walland, TN), retired English teacher, authored The Story Tender (Finishing Line Press, 2014), Knead (2016, Main Street Rag Publishing Co.), and A Walk to the Spring House (Iris Press, 2021).

Evelyn Eickmeyer-Quiñones (Rock Hill, SC) is an accomplished photographer, published poet, and author. Her solo photography show, “Ojos Abiertos/Open Eyes,” was well received on Long Island, New York.

Nadine Ellsworth-Moran (Augusta, GA), a working minister, has poems published in Structo, Post Road, and others. She is the 2020 Forum Prize winner for the Poetry Society of SC.

Terri Kirby Erickson (Pfafftown, NC) is a native North Carolinian. She is the author of six full-length collections of poetry, and her work has been widely published.

Rebecca Ethridge (Asheville, NC) is a poet in UNC Greensboro’s MFA and writing tutor at A-B Tech Asheville. Her poetry can be found in Cold Mountain Review, Kakalak, The Alembic, and elsewhere.

Janice Moore Fuller (Salisbury, NC)—Professor Emerita at Catawba College—has published four poetry collections. Séance won the Oscar Arnold Young Award for best North Carolina poetry book.

Michael Gaspeny (Greensboro, NC) has a novella in verse, The Tyranny of Questions (Unicorn Press), which dramatizes a suburban mother’s struggle to save her soul in the 1960s. His chapbooks are Re-Write Men and Vocation.

Terri Greco (Chapel Hill, NC) is a poet and psychotherapist. Her poems have appeared in various online and print journals/anthologies, including The Main Street Rag, and forthcoming from Jacar Press.

Anne Waters Green (Hendersonville, NC) is happy to again be published in Kakalak. She is especially excited the poem selected is “Aphasia”—which honors her brave and accomplished sister, Peggy Waters Rowland.

Bill Griffin (Elkin, NC) struggles to lay down the pen, lay down the camera, kneel at the altar of calyx, corolla, stigma, anther. Attention is the beginning of devotion. [Mary Oliver]

Janis Harrington (Chapel Hill, NC) won the NC Poetry Society’s Lena Shull Book Award for her collection Waiting for the Hurricane. Her poems have appeared in journals and anthologies.

Lisa Hase-Jackson (Charleston, SC) is author of Flint & Fire (The Word Works, 2019) and Editor in Chief for South 85 Journal.

Mary Hennessy (Raleigh, NC) has poems appearing in many journals and anthologies. Poetry is the only thing that makes sense to her anymore.

Jo Ann Hoffman (Cary and Beaufort, NC) is the author of the non-fiction narrative, Angels Wear Black, as well as short fiction and numerous poems in a variety of literary journals.

Culley Holderfield (Durham, NC) writes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. His work has appeared in a variety of publications, including Kakalak 2016, Floyd County Moonshine, and Amarillo Bay, among others.

Charles Israel, Jr. (Charlotte, NC) is the author of the chapbook, Stacking Weather (Amsterdam Press) and has had poems in Field, Crazyhorse, Nimrod, Slipstream, and North Carolina Literary Review.

Karen Luke Jackson (Flat Rock, NC), author of GRIT (Finishing Line Press, 2020), is a Courage & Renewal facilitator, spiritual director, and devoted grandmother.

Arnie Johanson (Durham, NC), Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Minnesota State University, retired to Durham in 1999 and began writing poetry. His work appears in several journals and anthologies, and he has published three chapbooks, most recently A Trunkload of Ephemera (Finishing Line Press, 2015).

Kelly Jones (Tabor City, NC), recently named a mentee in the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series, is an arts education coordinator for Columbus County Schools.

Jeanne Julian (New Bern, NC) is co-winner of Reed Magazine’s Edwin Markham Prize in 2019, and the author of Like the O in Hope and two chapbooks.

Caroline Kane Kenna (Huntersville NC), poet and essayist, is published in several editions of Kakalak and anthologies including For the Love of Baseball. Currently, she is president of Charlotte Writers’ Club.

Kathryn Etters Lovatt (Camden, SC) earned her M.A. in English and Creative Writing from Hollins University and continued studies at Hong Kong University.

Sandra Marshburn (Edisto Island, SC) has been writing poems for years and can’t stop. Her latest chapbook is A Tale of Water, and this is her fourth appearance in Kakalak.

Mary E. Martin (Rock Hill, SC), poet, dancer, and teacher at Winthrop University, has appeared in many journals, including The Kansas Quarterly, The Journal of the American Medical Association, and The Southern Poetry Review.

Preston Martin (Chapel Hill, NC) has published poems in numerous journals and anthologies, including Every River on Earth: writings from Appalachian Ohio (Ohio University Press), New Ohio Review, Snapdragon, and Kakalak.

Katherine H. Maynard (South Burlington, VT) teaches Humanities at the Community College. Her poetry has appeared in St. Katherine’s Review, Sojourners, Kodon, His, Lament for the Dead, and Welcome Home.

Terri L. McCord (Greenville, SC), South Carolina Arts Commission literary fellowship recipient, teaches visual arts and writing. She authored In the Company of Animals, The Art and the Wait, and The Beauts, and had poems nominated for a Pushcart and “Best of the Net.”

Jack McGregor (Columbia, SC), professional musician/songwriter, retired from a career in television production. Photography is a lifelong passion. He’s married to author Debra A. Daniel.

Barbara Rizza Mellin (Winston-Salem, NC), is an award-winning painter, printmaker, and writer. Her art has been exhibited at universities, museums, and galleries throughout the U.S. and internationally online.

Jeff Miles (Greensboro, NC) writes poetry and fiction. His work has appeared in International Poetry Review, Southern Poetry Review, Carolina Quarterly, and other small magazines and anthologies.

Kathy Nelson (Fairview, NC) author of Cattails (Main Street Rag Publishing Co., 2013) and Whose Names Have Slipped Away (Finishing Line Press, 2016) is a candidate in the Warren Wilson MFA Program.

Ione O’Hara (Davidson, NC)—Tootsie—is author of A Passing Certainty. Since retiring from teaching English as a Second Language, she has tutored privately and has facilitated poetry workshops.

DL Pearlman (Norfolk, VA) won the 2019 Dogfish Head Poetry Prize for his book Normal They Napalm the Cottonfields and teaches at Tidewater Community College in Chesapeake, VA.

Sarah Pross (Seymour, TN) lives in East Tennessee with her dog Charley and is a partner at GCM Consulting, LLC. Her poetry has appeared in Kakalak and Cathexis Northwest.

Lisa M. Pursley (Swansboro, NC) has been featured in Floyd County Moonshine, Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Pine Mountain Sand and Gravel, and will be in the upcoming The Next Chapter.

José H. Quiñones (Rock Hill, SC) thanks Kakalak for sharing his first foray into professional photography. He is an Information Technology professional for a large medical system and avid gardener.

David Radavich (Charlotte, NC) recently published the narrative collection America Abroad: An Epic of Discovery (2019). He’s working on a Journal of the Corona Year.

Glenis Redmond (Mauldin, SC) is a national touring poet and teaching artist, author of What My Hand Say, and winner of the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award and Governor’s Award for the Arts, South Carolina.

Judith Cummings Reese (Charleston, SC), retired teacher, has led poetry and memoir writing critique groups at Edgar Allan Poe Library, Sullivan’s Island, this past year until the Voracious Virus.

Jonathan K. Rice (Charlotte, NC) has authored three chapbooks—Killing Time (2015), Ukulele and Other Poems (2006) and Shooting Pool with a Cellist (2003), all published by Main Street Rag Publishing Co.

Pat Riviere-Seel (Burnsville, NC) is the author of three poetry collections, including Nothing Below but Air and The Serial Killer’s Daughter, which won the Roanoke-Chowan Award. She lives in the woods in Yancey County.

Peggy Rowland (Mount Pleasant, SC) learned to paint with her non-dominant hand after a stroke 20+ years ago. Painting has been a wonderful activity since.

Susan Shaw Sailer (Morgantown, WV) has published several books, including The Distance Beyond Sight, The God of Roundabouts, and Bulletins from a War Zone.

T. Parker Sanborn (Huntersville, NC,) poet, photographer, and chemist, foremost enjoys the creative process. His work has appeared in Kakalak, moonShine review, Iodine Poetry Journal, and The Main Street Rag.

Jane Seitel (Apex, NC) has published some poems. She teaches at Olli Duke. She loves her students. She thanks Winnie the rescue for her enduring doggy-ness. Everything else is commentary.

Martin Settle (Charlotte, NC) has published Teleology of Dunes and Coming to Attention: developing the habit of haiku (Main Street Rag Publishing Co., 2015, 2016), The Backbone Alphabet (Xlibris, 2017), and Maple Samaras (Wild Leek Press, 2018).

Jane Shlensky (Bahama, NC), author of Barefoot on Gravel (Finishing Line Press, 2016), twice had poems nominated for Pushcart Prizes. A retired teacher and active musician, her work is found in sundry anthologies and magazines.

Trish Sheppard (Beaufort, NC) is published in Shoal, KYSO Flash, Kakalak, and Flying South. An NCPS finalist Poet Laureate, she received an honorable mention in Palm Beach’s Ekphrastic Poetry Contest. Her jewelry presented in Tokyo, Japan.

Sherry Siddall (Chapel Hill, NC) has work appearing in past issues of Kakalak, as well as Tar River Poetry, Pinesong, and The Southern Poetry Anthology Vol. VII, NC.

H.R. Spencer (Chapin, SC) is a poet whose childhood in the salt marshes and coastal rivers is reflected in his poetry. His last book was The Color After Green (Finishing Line Press, 2019).

Jenny Van Stone (Charlotte, NC) is an interior designer, writer, and sun-seeking seed based.

Caren Stuart (Sanford, NC) is an award-winning poet, well-published fiction writer, artist/maker/sole proprietor of “convoluted notions” jewelry and altered art creations, adoring wife, mom, and friend.

Lynne Santy Tanner (Rutherfordton, NC) paints professionally and serves as The Rutherford County Arts Council choreographer. She would like to thank Cathy Smith Bowers for the title An Abiding Image.

Abigail K. Taylor (Morganton, NC), performer and founder of improv comedy collective Morganton Improv, lyricist, and vocalist for WNC-based band Fantømex, teaches screenwriting at Western Piedmont Community College.

Richard Allen Taylor (Charlotte, NC), former co-editor of Kakalak, is the author of three poetry collections, most recently Armed and Luminous (2016), published by Main Street Rag Publishing Co.

Brittany Taylor-Driggers (Lancaster, SC) teaches studio art and art history as an assistant professor at the University of South Carolina, Lancaster. She lives with her husband and two sons.

Melinda Thomsen (Greenville, NC) has a full-length poetry collection, Armature, forthcoming from Hermit Feathers Press. She lives with her husband, cats, and chickens and teaches English at Pitt Community College.

Betsy Thorne (Columbia, SC), author of Measured Words (Main Street Rag Publishing Co., 2019) is a member of the Community of Writers. Her work has appeared in Yemassee and Fall Lines.

Lucinda Trew (Charlotte, NC) is an award-winning speechwriter, poet, and essayist. Her work has been published in various journals. She holds degrees in journalism and English from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Mark Vogel (Boone, NC) lives in a Blue Ridge holler with his wife, Susan Weinberg, an accomplished writer. He is an Emeritus English Professor at Appalachian State University, Boone.

Kathryn Waller (Lancaster, SC) is a multidisciplinary artist exploring the crossroads of spoken and visual metaphor. Her previous work appears in Kaaterskill Basin Literary Journal and on the cover of Stoneboat.

Rebecca Warren (Greensboro, NC), recipient of numerous poetry awards, is manager of Sweetgum Puppets, LLC. Her chapbook, Prayers for Someone Else (Hour Press, 2003), won Ruah’s 2002 poetry prize.

Priscilla Webster-Williams (Durham, NC) portrays the impact of illness on her family during the 1950s tuberculosis pandemic in her book The Narrative Possibilities of Coral (Main Street Rag Publishing Co.).

Eric Weil (Raleigh, NC) has three chapbooks in print, one from Finishing Line Press and two from Main Street Rag Publishing Co.

Zachariah Claypole White (Chapel Hill, N.C.) manages the independent bookstore Flyleaf Books. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including the Albion Review, Scalawag, and Sunspot Literary Journal.

Gena Williams (Lenoir, NC), taught elementary school and community college classes in South Georgia. She says poetry comes “almost easily” in the beautiful Appalachian foothills.

Emily Wilmer (Alexander, NC) has been published in a variety of journals and received a Pushcart Prize Nomination in 2019. Her chapbook, Shaft of Light, was published in May.

Nancy H. Womack (Rutherfordton, NC) is a retired educator whose poetry has appeared in various journals and anthologies, including previous editions of Kakalak.

Nancy Young (Fuquay Varina, NC), author of the novels Seeing Things, Hearing Things, and Sensing Things, and the chapbook The Last Girl Standing, is a former college educator, newspaper editor, and reporter.

Laura Younger (Alexandria, VA), government plod, scribbles in her spare time. She has been published in Yin Yang (Old Mountain Press), Wish You Were Here (Old Mountain Press), and Kakalak.

To see the First, Second and Third Place finishing poems,
order a copy of Kakalak 2020 today


Honorable Mention: Kathleen Calby


We would gather the overripe
Empires marooned in orchards,
hear their plop as we tossed
them in buckets that once
held five gallons of paint. Now,
we harvested the end of summer.

Yellow jackets buzzed about us,
sometimes swarming the apples
we wanted. We would kick
and scatter them, warning the kids
away as we picked our gelt.
But the small ones would
return, running in circles,
fly around us. Hum and buzz.
Shriek and squeal. Sun heating
our necks at the collar trace.
The honeyed smell of fruit rot
rising from the ground. Underfoot,
so slick, once, I slipped.
Someone grabbed my arm,
and we laughed as he pulled
me back from the mush.
This was the start of our fall.

For the day’s sweat covered
us, and we could have drunk
that too. All in our twenties,
bandanas and cutoffs. Lugging
our pails back to the press, we could
smell the sweet juice running
as one man or another turned
the wheel a hard crank to the right
and again to the right and again.
Beers in the cooler nearby.
But we waited as our labor poured,
filling jugs and jars homeward bound.
The amber this day held.


Honorable Mention: Steve Cushman


In this dream we’re together
again, walking the Jolly Roger
Fishing Pier at Topsail, seagulls
hovering for their chance at
discarded fish or bait. My father
reaches over, takes my hand in his.
I ask if we can go fishing, prepared
for his usual answer, Next time,
sorry, we didn’t bring our poles.
But he pulls two tiny fishing poles
from his back pocket, holds them
toward the sky where they grow,
like flowers in his hands. The bait
is in the right breast pocket of his
work shirt and then we’re the only
two on the pier and we pull fish after
fish over the side, the most beautiful
specimens you ever did see. Gills
flecked with shades of rainbows.
He shows me how to remove a hook
without damaging the fish’s mouth.
His hands are not calloused, like usual,
but as soft as the lightest pillows.


Honorable Mention: Glenis Redmond


for my Big Brother, Willie

Before teaching me to run,
you taught me how to listen.
Remember when I didn’t want to buy track shoes for tryouts?
I just wanted to run in my old Chuck Taylor’s.
I asked you “what if I ain’t not any good?”
You said, “trust me.” I did.
We went to Sam Wyche’s:
bought pearl white Pumas.
You taught me how to tighten my cleats.
How to walk in like I owned the place
even when we didn’t have what mama said,
“a bucket to piss in or a window to through it out of.”
You taught me how to be humble.
How to pitch my weight forward.
How to anticipate the gun.
How to get on my mark: Ready. Set. Go!
How to come out of the blocks low and early.
How to stay in my own lane.
How to fall, but
how to get back up.
How to ignore haters,
but definitely talk trash if needed.
So, when some white runners on Southside’s
Track Team called me: nigger.
You had already taught me this pocket-ready reply.
I’m not a nigger. I’m a negro,
when I become a nigger, I let you know.
You taught me how to stay focused on the finish line.
How to be propelled by the wind.
How to kick at the end.
How to respect what God gave me:
fast twitch muscles with a need for speed.
How to race against the clock.
How to win.
How to lose and not think my life was over,
because tomorrow there’s another race.
How to know that track is a sport,
but also a philosophy.
How to run and not get weary
How to put one foot before the other.
How to lean into life: Head first.



Art Contest winner is on the cover. Other runners up listed below.


Second Place: Kathryn Waller, “Rose Hips and Red Clover 1”









Third Place: José H. Quiñones, “Spring Tree, Charlotte, NC”









Honorable Mention: Debra Daniel, “Umbrellas”









Honorable Mention: Peggy Rowland, “Boy on Carousel”









Honorable Mention: Brittany Taylor-Driggers, “Garden”