The Miami Valley Poets
Steve Broidy, editor of this volume, lives in the country outside Cedarville, Ohio with his wife Susan, a sculptor. His chapbooks Earth Inside Them and Necessary Deceptions were published by Main Street Rag, as was a previous collection From the Tower: Poetry in Honor of Conrad Balliet, which Broidy edited. He is an emeritus professor of education at both Missouri State University and Wittenberg University.
Anna Cates is a PhD graduate of Indiana State University, and has an M.F.A. degree from National University. She teaches college writing and literature and graduate education online. Her poetry has been nominated for Best of the Net, The Pushcart Prize, and the Dwarf Stars, Elgin, and Rhysling awards. Her books include The Meaning of Life and The Frog King (Cyberwit Press), The Darkroom (Prolific Press), The Golem and the Nazi (Red Moon Press), The Journey, Love in the Time of Covid, and The Poison Tree: A Peace Play (all Wipf & Stock). She resides in Wilmington, Ohio with her beautiful kitties Freddie and Fifi. She is founder/editor of Pages Literary Journal https://pagesliterary.simplesite.com.
Linda Z. Chernick:
Linda Z. Chernick has been a writer since producing columns for her Springfield, Ohio high school newspaper, with writings published in “The World and I”, Neshama (a Boston literary publication), and others. Turning to poetry, her chapbook The Turning: Poems of Love, Loss and Renewal has been used in a course on grief. Other poems have been published in Ripples, a Yellow Springs, Ohio publication. One of her poems was chosen for a holiday-themed mailing sent to 400 recipients nationwide.
Rita Coleman writes poetry, memoir, and children’s stories in rural Greene County, Ohio. She lives in a farmhouse with her physicist husband, their Pug Zu dog, and their Mini-Satin rabbit. Rita’s poetry books include And Yet (2017) and Mystic Connections (2009). Her full-length poetry collection, In the Near Distance has been accepted for publication by Finishing Line Press. Rita’s poetry readings range from local to Cincinnati venues, and her poems are heard on “Conrad’s Corner” (WYSO-FM 91.3). Rita holds M.A. and B.A. degrees in English Literature and Creative Writing from Wright State University; and she studies with award-winning poet Pauletta Hansel.
Holly Davis taught high school English for a few years before beginning a twenty-year career as a greeting card writer and editor. From there, she moved into another twenty-year career editing books and magazines for artists—most recently working on the magazines Watercolor Artist, Pastel Journal, and Artists Magazine. As a freelancer, she has authored two picture books and written children’s verses. She began writing poetry a few years ago but has only sought publication of her poems in the past few months.
Wendy Dereix is the proud mother of two grown children and is happy to share her life, her love of language and books with her husband of 38 years, Alain. She feels great purpose in promoting the importance of good writing with her middle school students in the South Dayton area, where she has been teaching English for the past 14 years. In her spare time, she loves to hike, bike, cook, and write. She is a member of the Wright Library Poets and is honored to be included in this publication.
Cathryn Essinger is the author of five books of poetry—most recently The Apricot and the Moon and Wings, Or Does the Caterpillar Dream of Flight?, both released from Dos Madres Press. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, The Southern Review, The New England Review, The Antioch Review, Rattle, Ecotone, Terrain and other journals. They have been nominated for Pushcarts and “Best of the Net,” featured on “The Writer’s Almanac,” and reprinted in American Life in Poetry. She is a long-standing member of the Greenville Poets.
Terry Focht, a native of Dayton, has led a long career as both an educator and administrative professional in the field of education, working with students of all ages throughout his 43-year career. Upon his retirement, he decided to devote his time to poetry and short stories, as well as children’s books for his granddaughters. Terry’s work can be seen in over 25 publications. He has works in the University of Kentucky Special Private Collection and in the Cincinnati Historical Museum Special Private Collection. He has two collections of his own: Random Acts of Thought (2016), and I Hope I Find the Wind (2022). Grandpa Street (2020) is his first children’s book. Terry is now retired in Centerville, Ohio with his wife of 55 years, Jan, a talented artist.
David Lee Garrison:
The poetry of David Lee Garrison has been read by Garrison Keillor on “The Writer’s Almanac” radio program and featured by Ted Kooser in his column, “American Life in Poetry.” Named Ohio Poet of the Year in 2014, his most recent book is Light in the River (Dos Madres Press).
Gerald E. Greene writes from Dayton Ohio. He is the author of Kaleidoscope, White Window: My View of African –American Experience; and Turning Losing Forex Trades into Winners (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). His short stories or poems have been published in Guide Magazine, Insight Magazine, Compass Magazine, The Flash Fiction Press, Deronda Review, A Story in 100 Words, Tiny Seed Literary Journal, Glide, Not Far From Me, Jordan Journal Collective, and Mock Turtle Zine. His blog is “Short Stories Rated G” on Facebook.
Joan Harris fell in love with Dr. Seuss at a young age, and has adored rhythm and rhyme ever since. She can’t resist humorous subjects, oblique rhymes, and the satisfaction of nailing a challenging form. She turns sticky notes into poems at her roll-top desk in Huron, Ohio, while her husband and pets are asleep.
Betsy Hughes was one of the founding faculty at the Miami Valley School in 1964, where she taught English for thirty years. She is positive and grateful that she learned from her students more than she ever taught them. Betsy is the author of four books of formal verse, including Breaking Weather, winner of the Stevens Manuscript Competition (National Federation of State Poetry Societies, 2014), and her most recent, The Sixth Sense of Loss (Antrim House Books, 2021), dedicated to her late husband, who was one of the founding fathers of Wright State University, also in 1964.
Raised in Ohio, Artie Isaac lives in Yellow Springs, husband to Alisa, human to Margo (the dog). Artie writes poems and essays. More at PoetryForDogs.com.
Judy A. Johnson:
Judy A. Johnson has lived in Ohio most of her life. Growing up in an Akron Suburb, she began writing poetry in childhood. Professionally, she has worked with words as an English teacher, college reference librarian, and textbook editor/writer. Now retired, she continues to write as a freelancer. In 2006, her collection of meditations, A Week to Pray About It, was published. Her poetry—some of which can be heard on WYSO’S “Conrad’s Corner”—has won local, state, and regional awards. Her website is at judyjohnsonwrites.weebly.com.
Jane K. Kretschman
Jane K. Kretschmann of Piqua, Ohio, retired English professor from Edison State Community College, has worked in print, online and broadcast on radio. Her chapbook, Imagining a Life, was published by FootHills Publishing. Recently her poems appeared in Gyroscope Review, Mock Turtle Zine, NFSPS Encore 2022, and OPA Best of 2022. Edison premiered her readers’ theater Lynching Alabama. Jane participated in Poetry at Hayner: A Mosaic of Voices. Now she’s working on The Epistles of Lydia of Thyatira, the seller of purple from Acts 16; and Scrapping, her southern poems.
Gradually disappearing into the dust, a mind woven of straw memories, plucking one out now and then, hovering over it before it, too, fades away. A woman of strength, weakness, vulnerability, soul and sadness, who travelled far to come here. Her life is transmitted in music, dance, art, human relationships, science and words. Come visit at the Wilmington Writer’s Collaborative in Ohio, or at Tower Poets, Wright Library Poets or via “Conrad’s Corner” on WYSO radio of Yellow Springs. Short stories in anthologies from OWA.
Herbert Woodward Martin:
Herbert Woodward Martin was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and when he was twelve and a half moved to Toledo Ohio, where he attended high school and entered the University of Toledo. He graduated in 1964 and received a fellowship to S.U.N.Y. at Buffalo. After three years, he transferred to The Breadloaf School of English, where he received a M.Lit in 1972. He received his B.A. in poetry from Carnegie Mellon University in 1980. As a poet, he has published 11 volumes of poetry, with The Log of the Vigilante a notable prize winner. Recently he has turned to writing libretti, and has written four with the composer Adolphus Hailstork.
Julie L. Moore:
A Best of the Net and seven-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Julie L. Moore is the author of four poetry collections, including, most recently, Full Worm Moon, which won a 2018 Woodrow Hall Top Shelf Award and received honorable mention for the Conference on Christianity and Literature’s 2018 Book of the Year Award. Her poetry has appeared in African American Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Image, New Ohio Review, Poetry Daily, Prairie Schooner, The Southern Review, and Verse Daily. She is the Writing Center Director at Taylor University, where she is also the poetry editor for Relief Journal. Learn more about her work at julielmoore.com.
Aimee Noel’s essays and poems have been published and anthologized in Witness, Michigan Quarterly Review, Provincetown Arts, Belt, and elsewhere. She is proud to have been Daytonian of the Week in 2020, Ohio Arts Council’s Summer Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown for 2016, and recipient of AAC’s 2020 Individual Excellence Award for poetry. Find her at aimeenoel.net.
Robert Paschell has been writing poetry for most of his life. He sells punny tee shirts on the street in Yellow Springs, including one that says, “I’m a Rhyme-Stoned Cowboy.”
Carol Pohly has lived in Ohio all her life, and in the Miami Valley since 1969. Her poetry draws on her strong connections with nature, people, and spirituality, as well as her experience as a caretaker for her parents during the latter part of their lives. She is a published lyricist, co-author of a book of poetry and photography, and has had poems accepted for publication by Mock Turtle and Vita Brevis.
Janeal hasn’t stopped writing poems since grade school seventy-five years ago. Many are the celebratory, occasional variety. A few verses wandered into her Pendle Hill Pamphlet 380 “A Very Good Week Behind Bars,” made possible by protest of the U.S. war in Iraq, and her From Parsonage to Prison: Collected Poems was published by FGC Quakerbridge of Philadelphia, in 2012. After a career in social work and three decades living in Quaker educational communities, Janeal continues to enjoy producing and sharing poetry in Yellow Springs, Ohio.
MJ Werthman White:
MJ Werthman White is an Ohio poet whose work has appeared in local newspapers, on Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, in The English Journal, Fogdog, The Main Street Rag, The Vincent Brothers Review, Persimmon Tree, the Louisville Journal, among others; and on public radio’s WYSO. MJ was awarded the 2006 Paul Laurence Dunbar Poetry Prize, and in 2012 the Antioch Writers’ Workshop’s Judson Jerome Poetry Prize and scholarship. She was chosen by Billy Collins as adult winner of Borders’ 2009 national online poetry contest. Her poetry collection, How the Universe Says Yes to Me was published in 2017 by Main Street Rag. Her novel, An Invitation to the Party, will be published summer 2023.
by Anna Cates
poetry began in a puddle
an alphabet soup—
evolved from frayed verbs
fins flued in murk
moving toward amphibian
like a stanza
un-hatching in the dark
stretching new legs
reaching toward heaven
in consideration of
like a fern
un-crinkling from black earth
in the cool scent
in metaphor’s perfect musk
After Reading an Old Notebook
by Cathryn Essinger
Last night a little poem came knocking
on the door, lost stanza from long ago.
Of course, I let him in, made him a bed
on the sofa, although it has been years.
I didn’t ask why he had come, although
I had suspicions. I warmed some supper,
put him down for the night. What he
had to say would come in its own time.
There were misunderstandings, certainly,
hurt feelings, silly posturing and pouts.
Still, he had grown—I could see it in the way
he settled himself before asking for a drink.
I look at his sleeping face the way
a mother studies her grown child.
Who is this stranger you’ve become,
and why do you live so far away?
Hello, Ohio/The back roads/I know Ohio/Like the back of my hand. ~Over the Rhine
My New Jersey cousin says it’s boring
to run here in the rural area where I live,
past acres of corn and soybean and canola,
unyielding to variation,
landmarking nothing other than one full sweep
of green. I note each row as I go by,
listen to the prayers whispered by the leaves,
long and short,
which bow when summer heaps on heat
or rustle in praise after fresh fallen rain.
I am not the farmer who’s planted the seeds
or moved among the stalks to measure
the wealth of his work or the ruins of deer.
I know that. I know I haven’t really earned
what blessing this land gives.
But still, it’s not boredom I feel
as I walk the dog along the road
for the umpteenth time,
sun sinking, lavender light spreading its wigs,
gliding over these unflinching fields.