My Body Is Mine

by on Nov 17, 2017

(Watch Jade Anouka’s video of “My Body Is Mine” on YouTube)


Jade Anouka is an actor and poet. She has performed her words around London and New York including featured spots with Apples & Snakes, Farrago and the Southbank Centre. Her first collection Eggs On Toast is published though Poetry Space and available to buy at

at the port

by on Nov 16, 2017

she sits
at the port
at low tide,
scarred and
scared and
crying under her breath:

rain was meant for dancing.


Erin Leigh holds a BA degree in English Communication and a master’s in Liberal Studies with a concentration in English, and teaches post-secondary writing, research, and literature courses. Her writing has most recently appeared in *82 Review, Belle Rêve Literary Journal, Right Hand Pointing, and Tower Poetry.

A Night So Beautiful We Had To Burn Down the Senator’s House #25

by on Nov 15, 2017

How often
we act out
the play

in our heads
& then polish
the scene

so it can happen
even brighter
in real life

& when it’s dark
& we want fire
for the world

to see us
our naked anger
we end up

the whole county
on fire.


Darren C. Demaree’s poems have appeared, or are scheduled to appear in numerous magazines/journals, including the Diode, Meridian, New Letters, Diagram, and the Colorado Review. He is the author of six poetry collections, most recently Many Full Hands Applauding Inelegantly (2016, 8th House Publishing) and is the managing editor of the Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry. He currently lives and writes in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children.

Issues 14, 15 & Beyond

by on Oct 11, 2017

Please remember the deadline for submissions for Issue 14 is this Friday October 13, and we plan to start Issue 14 the week of October 23 November 13.

Issue 15 is going to be a micropoetry issue (similar to our first issue). Please adhere to the general submission guidelines, but for this issue, we would like to see micropoetry, microfiction, videopoems based on micropoetry, and artwork that works with this micro theme. We’re defining micro along the lines of the Twitter model, and ask that all submitted writing be tweetable. That doesn’t mean you need to be on Twitter, it just means we’re setting a 140ish-character limit for each submitted piece. There’s more on the submissions page.

The deadline for submitting to Issue 15 will be January 5, 2018, and we will plan to start the issue the week of January 15.

And then, that will likely be it.

I love running Gnarled Oak. It has been a blast, and I have learned so much and met so many wonderful writers and artists, but life is taking over and increasingly I find I don’t have the headspace to keep this going at the moment. I also find myself chomping at the bit to focus for a while on my own writing again. And I want to read (and try to review) more chapbooks. I may change my mind and this may just be a hiatus, but I think, for now anyway, it is near time to bid Gnarled Oak farewell. I hope you’ll send us your best micros/shorts to help close this thing out in fine style.

Issue 13: Once Upon a Linear Time—Summary, Contents & Editor’s Note

by on Oct 9, 2017


Issue 13: Once Upon a Linear Time (Aug-Sep 2017) is an unthemed issue featuring poetry, prose, videos, and artwork from writers and artists around the world.

Read online | Read the PDF (click to read online, right-click & save-as to download)


first day of school — Anthony Q. Rabang

Once Upon a Linear Time — Marianne Paul

Before We Stepped Outside — James Croal Jackson

Trees and Names — Clyde Kessler

Saving Face — Mary McCarthy

Natural Light — Anna Kander

In the Temple — Marie Craven

Boat — Olivier Schopfer

abandoned home— Billy Antonio

On the Way to the Ocean — Marianne Szlyk

Three Poems — Tara Roeder

There Must Have Been Starfish — Jeanie Tomasko

summer heat — Mark Gilbert

into the night — Marianne Paul

Hollow — Steve Klepetar

Skeletons — Alixa Brobbey

Bad News — Helina Hookoomsing

parachute silks — Debbie Strange

our tracks — Marilyn Fleming

At the Edge of the Forest — Ben Groner III

Growing Alone — W. Jack Savage

In the Wadi — Devon Balwit

In Homage to Those Who Metamorphose
 — Sarah Bigham

Death Meditation — Marie Craven

country road — Jennifer Hambrick

Editor’s Note

I tend to say yes when volunteers are needed, which is how I wound up coaching soccer and leading a Cub Scout den (and getting way behind on Gnarled Oak). I did both of those things growing up and now that my son is old enough for these sorts of activities, I’m happy to help make them happen for him. It’s fun.

As a Cub Scout leader, I had the pleasure of taking a bunch of first grade boys for a nature walk last week.  Being quiet to listen for birds was tricky, but they discovered so much: rocks, caterpillars, mushrooms, dragonflies, fish and turtles. It was a joy to see these kids look beyond the playground and themselves to the natural world that exists even in one little pocket of the suburbs.

It’s a beautiful thing to open your eyes on what is old and all around in such a way that it all seems new. Seeing things through their young eyes was a gift, and it made me think of Gnarled Oak (because I was running late) and how through it we experience so much made new.

And I’ll leave it here because this issue ran so late. So, without further ado, let me just say thank you to our contributors for their work and our readers for their time. See you in a few weeks for an October issue that will hopefully be more on time.

With gratitude and thanks,

James Brush, editor
Oct 2017


Gnarled Oak — Issue 13: Once Upon a Linear Time: Read onlineRead the PDF (right-click/save-as to download)

country road

by on Sep 25, 2017


country road
even if we never
get there


A Pushcart Prize nominee, Jennifer Hambrick is the author of Unscathed (NightBallet Press).  Her poetry has been published in dozens of literary journals and anthologies worldwide, including the Santa Clara Review, Third Wednesday, Mad River Review, and Modern Haiku, has been translated into five languages, and has won prizes in numerous international competitions.  A classical singer and public radio broadcaster, Jennifer Hambrick lives in Columbus, Ohio.  Her blog, Inner Voices, is at

Death Meditation

by on Sep 22, 2017

(Watch Marie Craven’s video “Death Meditation” on Vimeo)

Editor’s note: From a poem by Ann Thompson. Full credits at Vimeo.


Marie Craven (Queensland, Australia) assembles short videos from poetry, music, voice, stills and moving images by various artists around the world. Created via the internet, the pieces are collaborative in a way that belongs to the 21st century, with open licensing and social networking key to the process. In 2016 her video ‘Dictionary Illustrations’ was awarded best film at the Ó Bhéal Poetry-Film Competition in Ireland. To see more:

In Homage to Those Who Metamorphose

by on Sep 21, 2017

Lithe and tanned, tattooed and bandana-ed, he caught every eye in an evening class of adult learners sharing notes and dreams plus breath mints and chips from the snack bar two stories below.

He tracked the action with a non-blinking gaze and shared deep-exhaled ideas, throaty words caressing the room–life truths from a biker Yoda in boots.

One evening toward the end of May he told the hushed room of imprisonment for violent offenses; anger management classes; parole; loss of parental rights; drug abuse; total, utter, visceral despair; and hate–mainly for himself, but directed at others.

You wouldn’t have liked me very much then, he said, striding out the door, leather-clad, helmet in hand.


Sarah Bigham teaches, writes, and paints in Maryland where she lives with her kind chemist wife, their three independent cats, an unwieldy herb garden, several chronic pain conditions, and near-constant outrage at the general state of the world tempered with love for those doing their best to make a difference. Find her at

In the Wadi (after Armor by Cristina Troufa)

by on Sep 20, 2017

Armor by Cristina Troufa

In the Wadi

Just beneath my skin sits a wadi of thorns;
a fissure deepening as the years rage through.

If you would travel there, protect yourself.
Carry water for when the sirocco desiccates,

a blanket for the midnight chill. Adapt
to the granular, the sere, alert to the biting

things that live in the cracks. Meet each
directly. In time, like any who complete

a quest, you will be rewarded with a lush
bloom, a small season of furious reprieve.


Devon Balwit writes and teaches in Portland, OR. She is the author of five chapbooks, which, along with her poems, can be found if you look for them. When not writing, she is her dog’s best friend.

Cristina Troufa is a Portuguese artist born and based in Porto, Portugal. Cristina holds a Licentiate Degree in Painting (1998) and a Masters Degree in Painting (2012), both in FBAUP (University of Fine Arts of Porto). Since 1995 she has participated in collective and individual exhibitions, in Art Galleries and Cultural Spaces of Portugal, France, Spain, Italy, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Taiwan England and USA.