Issue 11: Natural Outlaws (Jan-Feb 2017) is an unthemed issue featuring poetry, prose, videos, and artwork from writers and artists around the world.
Natural Outlaws — Melissa Fu
The Past Is Not Where I Left It — Stephanie Hutton
The Teenager Who Became My Mother — Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto
In the Feet of a Refugee — Frank Eze
In Merciless Air — Steve Klepetar
Sometimes the Water — Marie Craven
In the Clouds — Cui Yuwei
kite festival — Anthony Q. Rabang
There Was a River— Micki Blenkush
I Have Me Some Hobbies — Paul Beckman
Journey — Olivier Schopfer
a boy draws a bird — Nicholas Klacsanzky
The Boy by the River Told — Matt Dennison
Dis-Spelling — Mary McCarthy
fistfuls of hair — Marilyn Fleming
Carried Away — Micki Blenkush
Hats Off — Betsy Mars
Scattering in Harmony — Tony Press
frost-filigreed — Debbie Strange
Grief’s Engine is a Flower — José Luis Gutiérrez
The Sound of Taste — Steve Klepetar
Poem for Rent — Marie Craven
The Road Dreamers Take — Robert S. King
beneath the surface — Marianne Paul
their affair — Deborah P. Kolodji
The Next Generation of Stones — Amy Kotthaus
When My Youth Catches Up with Me — Robert S. King
And When — Chumki Sharma
Have Made It — Matt Dennison & Michael Dickes
In a fit of helpfulness, I volunteered to be an assistant coach for my son’s t-ball team. Having no experience with t-ball, baseball, or athletic coaching didn’t stop me, but now on the eve of the first practice, I realize I have no idea about any of this: my sports were soccer and swimming, and my coaching was academic (high school debate).
I start flipping through the literature books in my classroom looking—as all reasonable people do—to poetry for guidance and come upon “Casey at the Bat” by Ernest Lawrence Thayer, “Analysis of Baseball” by May Swenson, and a personal favorite “Slam, Dunk & Hook” by Yusef Komunyakaa. Good stuff but probably not much help with the mechanics of coaching little kids. Still, where would we be without poetry?
Not without a sudden lesson plan to coax a bunch of hardened teenage boys to write poetry about their favorite sports and surprise themselves by how much they enjoyed doing it.
And certainly not here at the end of this latest issue of Gnarled Oak. Which brings me back round to coaching t-ball but mostly the trying-new-things aspect of it. Poetry was a new thing once (and remarkably, still strikes me as such though I’ve been at it eight years now). So was starting up this journal that still feels new to me. May all good things in life always feel that way.
With gratitude and thanks,
James Brush, editor