Poetic Voices Without Borders
edited by Robert L. Giron

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2006 Writers Notes Magazine Book Award—Notable for Art
2006 Independent Publisher Book Award—Honorable Mention for Anthologies
2006 Honorable Mention-Eric Hoffer Award

2006 Independent Publisher Book Award for Anthologies

2006 Benjamin Franklin Award for Poetry/Literary Criticism

2006 Writers Notes Magazine Book Award for Art: Poetry

2005 ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year Award for Anthologies

2005 Pushcart Prize

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Special to The Montserrat Review
Grace Cavalieri’s best reading in 2005:

Includes: Poetic Voices Without Borders

“This eclectic collection, arranged in alphabetical order by poet, reveals styles and subject matter vary from the absurd to the insightful. In a world of informational white noise, throwaway music and stories, ephemeral art—a world where poets mostly speak among themselves—this might be one collection that gets the man on the street listening again.”
Writers Notes Magazine

..."The book is edgy with a literary inclusiveness that speaks to almost every reader, though the explicit language and/or sexual orientation of a few poets will offend some. A quick read of the biographies, however, may circumvent that problem....voice, clear and powerful, is the central element. Some voices are sweet and lyrical; others, deep and rich. Some smooth; others grate. Each voice is unique, yet together they create oneness even as they individually represent societal diversity.

...That every poem contains an admirable quality—even those I didn't warm up to—speaks to the poets' skills.

...Books of poems no longer sit on bedside tables, but they should. Traditionally designed for quiet moments when one has the luxury to see through other's eyes, poetry is too often consigned to classrooms and summer vacations. A poem, like a glass of wine, is a small indulgence one should afford more often, and Poetic Voices Without Borders offers a delightful first slip."

—Lucinda Farrokh, LareDOS: A Journal of the Borderlands, October 6, 2005.

GALATEA RESURRECTS, #2 (A Poetry Engagement)
Galatea Resurrection

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


"...By far, the strength of the anthology is the individual poems that are included. I was delighted to see two poems by Jewelle Gomez, and poems by Jeff Mann, Jeff Walt, Shane Allison, and Louis E. Bourgeois in the anthology. These are contemporary poets that delight me; I enjoyed finding their work included here. I discovered new poets, too. Gabriella Belfiglio in Instructions After Death writes,

'Save one part of the firewood of my body-
You choose:

hand, nipple, elbow, spleen, heart, clitoris.'

Her instructions continue for eight sections and conclude, "And with a seed of your favorite tree, bury me." Cathleen Calbert's contribution, Companionate Marriage, resonated with my experience in these lines,

'Seriously, can one ever hope

for better than serial monogamy?

In any case, we're able to conjure

lust occasionally as affectionate equals

although you rarely do the dishes

(or dust or vacuum), and, I confess,

you're the one I'm rudest to.'

Kim Roberts' poem, The Back of My Hand, takes us on a ride through eastern Europe and Russia and then returns us to the glove compartment where maps are resting "like the blue veins/that map / the back of my hand." The poems selected for the anthology are delicious and each page seems to yield a new delight. On the strength of the poems and the poets included in the anthology alone, Poetic Voices Without Borders achieves in the simplest goal of any anthology: to delight its reader...."

This international anthology crosses borders in many metaphorical senses. The edgy collection includes poetry by nearly 150 poets from six continents written in English, French, and Spanish.

Sample work by the following is on this page:
Jim Elledge, Gretchen Fletcher, Jewell Gomez, Joy Harjo, Jaime Manrique, E. Ethelbert Miller, Richard Peabody, the late Hilary Tham, Gloria Vando, G. Tod Slone, and Marta López-Luaces.

The poets included in the anthology are listed below in alphabetical order.

Alenier, Karren L. (USA)
Al-Jundi, Assef (Syria/USA)
Allison, Shane (USA)
Ambroggio, Luis Alberto (Argentina/USA)
Amen, John (USA)
Antler (USA)
Armendariz, Rosanna (USA)
Bailey, Scott (USA)
Ball, Sally (USA)
Baysans, Greg (USA)
Belfiglio, Gabriella (USA)
Belin, Mel (USA)
Ben-Kotel, José (Chile/USA)
Benton-Floyd, Morrigan (USA)
Bernal, Leonel P. (Cuba/USA)
Berroa, Rei (Dominican Republic/USA)
Bieler, Linda (USA)
Blazek, Larry (USA)
Bolton, Jeanell Buida (USA)
Bolz, Jody (USA)
Bourgeois, Louis E. (USA)
Buck, Janet I. (USA)
Calbert, Cathleen (USA)
Cardenas, Brenda (USA)
Carpenter, Carol (USA)
Carrión de Fierro, Fanny (Ecuador)
Cavalieri, Grace (USA)
Cellini, Don (USA)
Conlon, Christopher (USA)
Corn, Alfred (USA)
Corwin, Nina (USA)
Curran, James (USA)
Curtis, G. L. (Ireland)
Darling, Jill (USA)
Douglas, Mitchell L. H. (USA)
Elledge, Jim (USA)
Evans, J. Glenn (USA)
Figuroa, Manuel (USA)
Finch, Steven (Switzerland)
Flannery, Maureen Tolman (USA)
Fletcher, Gretchen (USA)
Freireich, H. Susan (USA)
Gardner, Mary L. (USA)
Garza, Efraín (Mexico/USA)
Geyer, Bernadette (USA)
Gilgun, John (USA)
Giron, Robert L. (USA)
Godoy, Juan M. (Spain/USA)
Goldman, Paula (USA)
Gomez, Jewelle (USA)
Gonzalez, Rigoberto (USA)
Grey, John (Australia/USA)
Grossberg, Benjamin Scott (USA)
Guerrero, José M. (USA)
Gwiazda, Piotr (Poland/USA)
Hardy, Myronn (USA)
Harjo, Joy (Muscogee Nation/USA)
Harjo, Suzan Shown (Cheyenne & Hodulgee Muscogee Nations/USA)
Hefko, Daniel (USA)
Hilsen-Bernard, Wendy (USA)
Hinton, Laura (USA)
Holland, Walter (USA)
Huggins, Peter (USA)
Jacob, Lucas J. (USA)
Jenkison, John (USA)
Jordan, Fran (USA)
Joysmith, Claire (USA)
Jules, Jacqueline (USA)
Kester, Gunilla Theander (Sweden/USA)
Klappert, Peter (USA)
Klawitter, George (USA)
Koch, Randy (USA)
Kramer, Teresa Joy (USA)
Lader, Bruce (USA)
Larkin, Mary Ann C. (USA)
Lee, Daniel W. K. (USA)
Lehmann, Gary (USA)
León, Raina J. (USA)
Lifshin, Lyn (USA)
López-Luaces, Marta (Spain/USA)
Luczak, Raymond (USA)
Manchester, Steven (USA)
Mann, Jeff (USA)
Manrique, Jaime (Colombia/USA)
Mayo, C. M. (USA)
McCombs, Judith (USA)
Meyerhofer, Michael (USA)
Michael, Colette (USA)
Miller, E. Ethelbert (USA)
Moffi, Larry (USA)
Mohring, Ron (USA)
Montesi, Albert (USA)
Murphy, Kay (USA)
Murray, Victoria Bosch (USA)
Neisser, Yvette (USA)
Nkulu-N’Sengha, Mutombo (D.R. of the Congo/USA)
Pantano, Daniel (Switzerland/USA)
Pastoriza Iyodo, Benito (Puerto Rico/USA)
Peabody, Richard (USA)
Penha, James (USA)
Pobo, Kenneth (USA)
Potter, Adrian S. (USA)
Pourroy-Braud, Emmanuelle (France/USA)
Proitsaki, Maria (Greece/Sweden)
Reevy, Tony (USA)
Rivera Cohen, Maritza (Puerto Rico/USA)
Roberts, Kim (USA)
Roberts, Peter (USA)
Robinson, J. E. (USA)
Rodriguez, Irving (Puerto Rico/USA)
Ross, Joseph (USA)
Ross, Marianne (Austria/USA)
Saba, Mark (USA)
Salazar, Jhoanna Calma (The Philippines/USA)
Salum, Rose Mary (USA)
Schneeloch, V. Jane (USA)
Scotcher, Keith Richard (England)
Shapiro, Gregg (USA)
Shapiro, Marian Kaplun (USA)
Shulklapper, Lucille Gang (USA)
Sklarew, Myra (USA)
Slone, G. Tod (USA)
Smith, J. D. (USA)
Sool, Reet (Estonia)
Speer, Laurel (USA)
Strasser, Judith (USA)
Stryk, Dan (USA)
Sweet, John (USA)
Tandeciarz, Silvia R. (Argentina/USA)
Tham, The late Hilary (Malaysia/USA)
Tombe, Sheila (Northern Ireland/USA)
Vando, Gloria (Puerto Rico/USA)
Wake, Shelley Ann (Australia)
Walders, Davi (USA)
Walker, Amelia (Australia)
Walt, Jeff (USA)
Warren, Charlotte Gould (India/USA)
Whittenberg, Allison (USA)
Wilcox, Fred A. (USA)
Williams, Jill (USA/Canada)
Winans, A. D. (USA)
Wormwood, Ernie (USA)
Wozek, Gerard (USA)
Wright, Helen E. (USA)
Yakovina, Katharina (Ukraine/Russia)

Sample Work

Mister on the Angels
by Jim Elledge

Every angel is terrible, he
told Mister. Mister agrees. He found one
dancing a striptease on his martini
glass, one on his pillow sparkling and clean,
one in his medicine chest mirror who
blew him kisses. He’s forgotten the rest
though he described each in a notebook so
he could recall their faces, but it’s lost.

Terrible all right because their beauty
isn’t theirs—nor their breath, nor their steps here
to there; because, stepping out of a frieze
of stars, they bring word—sword-sharp and bright—
no one wants or even gets ’til it’s clear
that it’s too late for mercy or for flight.

Copyright © 2005 by Jim Elledge.

My Father Typing
by Gretchen Fletcher

The portable Royal’s keys clacked
on the back porch
where my father sat shirtless,
sweat running in rivulets down his chest
and beading on blonde hairs around his nipples
as he agonized over each word
he would deliver the following Sunday
from the pulpit – words pounded out
with two-fingered efficiency –
fingers whose clean short nails I can see
twenty years after his death
- They say one’s nails continue to grow –
I put the picture from my mind
to see him as he was when
I came home from school.

“Shhh,” my mother says.
“He’s writing his sermon.” I go
behind the walls of my own room
where I wish he were
saying all those words to me.

Copyright © 2005 by Gretchen Fletcher.

for Ferron, for Joan Armatrading, for Janis Ian (2004)
by Jewelle Gomez

There is an edge
your voice
drops over
becoming sand
infinite particles
distinct and indistinguishable
shifting beneath me.

Not melody or motion
sound or muscle
but you
sifting down
hourglass or wind
until you are concrete

Only then the words
wrap around
and open
against my skin—
moths fluttering dust.
I gasp
sound seeps in
bonding with the
pulse of blood inside.
Improbable pairings
conclude in places I
never expected to be
or be seen.

A song set out
net or kite or
a mist in the air
I breathe.

Copyright © 2005 by Jewelle Gomez.

Navigating the Warning
for Reggie
by Joy Harjo

From eternity to never is a river
Of renegade stars
Home-starved planets
Past the stream of thinking-without-direction:
That’s where it comes from—
You’ll have no exact address in the mess of humanness
And go down in the punch of red history and earthly cowboys.
The body is a helix
Of the dreams of ancestors
Cultivate the wisdom here, in molecular funk and grease
Navigate swiftly
Beyond the scurry of the mind having a drink
With friends at the café
Beyond the limb of knowledge thick with crows
Perched on a broken overhang
Over crashing fresh waters,
Beyond time.

Copyright © 2005 by Joy Harjo.

by Jaime Manrique

I made the kites
myself using
onion paper
the color
of dream

With the arrival
of the trade winds
in December
I flew kites at dusk
in Recostadero Park
where Barranquilla’s
sweethearts met.

The days
flew by
like kites
in the wind.
At night,
exhausted from kite-flying,
I lay in my bed
neither boy nor man
and night-dreamed
with a kite that flew
all the way to the bloody
moon of the tropics
while below,
on planet earth where
I lived,
all the glaciers melted
all the seas overflowed
and the African continent
went up in flames.

Copyright © 2005 Jaime Manrique.

The Games Children Play
by E. Ethelbert Miller


Their teasing stain my shirt. Their looks throw punches at my head.
I hate school. I dodge and run. Maybe I should kill someone.
I keep a notebook filled with doodles. They say I’m talented and have
a gift. They say I might make a name for myself. I carve my name into
my desk. I make a name for myself. I’ve got a smile for every newspaper
in the world.


Open the school door.
I’ve got two bags
and three guns.


Point and shoot. Point and shoot. That’s all I do. I’m playing tag with
bullets. I’m it. Rebecca who thought I was crazy looks up from her book.
A few days from now reporters will talk about her courage and how
she managed to survive. After she said she didn’t love me I kept missing
her. I miss again.


Is this paint, chalk or blood on my hands? Maybe it’s sweat.
I feel like I just
left the gym after making the winning shot.

Copyright © 2005 by E. Ethelbert Miller.

Military Fantasia
by Richard Peabody

War Movies never get it right

The audience would never stomach the truth.

At Agincourt
the outnumbered English soldiers
were surrounded by bodies of the slain
to a height of 18 deep.


They climbed atop the piles
and continued to bludgeon
and swing their swords and axes
at the demoralized French cavalry.

Bloody Lane.
The first four lines of
Confederate infantry
simply vanished in the grapeshot.

At Verdun
the pigs consumed
the dying and the dead.

Pigs will eat anything
including their young.

Private Ryan is praised for accuracy
yet most soldiers were killed by
the bones of their blown apart buddies
piercing their skin as shrapnel.
Jaw bones, arms, feet,

Omaha Beach
bloodier than Hollywood
could ever hope to imagine.

And still we find ways
to send our children to war.

Those who live by the sword
die by the sword.
And that's too good for them.

Those who don't live by the sword
also die by the sword,

too frequently for my liking.

Copyright © 2005 Richard Peabody.

What Moves Us
after Kathleen Raines
by the late Hilary Tham

The brain drives the body.
Within the brain rests a cauliflower,
cauliflower that images an oak.
An oak, occupying space, spreads
elongated fingers into the blue of sky,
roots its toes into dark interstices of earth
mirroring its branches,
branches that bear acorns green
as early lemons.
Within the lemons—captured sunlight;
within a courtyard of stone walls.
Within the walls, a well
holding darkness
and water.
Within the water, memory
of church bells and sky;
within the memory of sky, the whiteness
of clouds that glide high above
the bodies of humankind
toiling in the fields of sun-warmed grain,
silvery olives and ripening grapes—
San Giovese —sangre di Giove
the blood of Jove grapes.
Within the blood, the throbbing
need for love and light
rising up through the branching veins
to the brain.
Within the brain, the compressed soul—
soul folded over and under and into itself
taking in stone walls, well, water,
trees: lemon, oak, olive.
Soul unfolds and stretches
light as wind and moves
silently across the world.

Copyright © 2005 Hilary Tham.

Bicoastal: The Sell Date On My Life Has Expired
By Gloria Vando

I dream I’m in New York City,
wake up in California, walk
into the wall. I turn right to
go to the bathroom, walk into
a closet. I’m out of toilet
paper, even though I bought 12
rolls at Safeway 5 days ago.
I turn on the cold water, scald
myself. It’s five a.m. I’m out
of milk, the eggs are three months old.
Vital files have vanished from my
computer. I hear it dial unfamiliar
staccato notes. No DSL.
The signed Karl Shapiro on my
bedstead is by Martín Espada.
The clothes in my closet are two
sizes too small, my favorite
jacket is gone. Where are my shoes?
I’m afraid to drive the car—it’s
a hybrid. I drive north, wind up
in Baja with strangers, who look
familiar. Back home, my husband
storms into the living room. “Can’t
find my watch, can’t find my wallet.”
A mere trifle. I can’t find myself!

Copyright © 2005 Gloria Vando.

En français:

Panégyrique pour l’emmerdeur
—Poème dédié à Steak Hâché—
par G. Tod Slone

Il parle quand il faut pas parler.
Il opine quand il faut pas opiner.
Il critique quand il faut pas critiquer.
Ça déprime, ça fulmine, ça sourit ni aux cons ni aux chafouines !

Il touche aux icônes qu’il faut pas y toucher.
Il questionne les règlements qu’il faut pas questionner.
Il met au défi les chefs qu’il faut pas mettre au défi.
Ça secoue, ça éclate, ça rend pas hommages aux ploutocrates !

Il n’applaudit pas quand il faut applaudir.
Il part quand il faut pas partir.
Il boit beaucoup quand il faut pas boire du tout.
Ça brasse, ça culmine, ça fait jamais bonne mine !

Il gueule quand il faut pas gueuler.
Il écrit quand il faut pas écrire.
Il réfléchit quand il faut pas réfléchir.
Ça rouspète, ça proclame, ça s’en fout des vedettes quidams !

Lui, tu sais, n’est peut-être qu’un simple poète maudit !

Copyright © 2005 by G. Tod Slone.

En español:

por Marta López-Luaces

desde el Bronx
a mi ciudad

desde los ojos
de esta niña negra
a mi mirada.

desde Africa
a Sudamérica

desde la esclavitud
a la posmodernidad

desde nuestro inglés
a nuestra marginalidad

desde su brasileño
a mi mal gallego

desde este español
a su voz ¿E voce que faz aqui?

desde la inocencia de una palabra
a la memoria de una raza.

Copyright © 2005 by Marta López-Luaces.


How often have you picked up a journal or anthology of poetry hoping to find something new and instead find that the voices or styles in the volume are pretty much the same? I’m not trying to suggest that journals or magazines should not have a set style they are trying to promote; however, when I began thinking about putting an anthology of poetry together over a year ago, I wanted to do something different. I wanted to create an anthology that would not necessarily fall into some predetermined category or style. Instead, I envisioned a collection of poetry that would literally transcend borders, on a variety of metamorphical senses, which would use poetic voices to do it.

First, being trilingual (English/Spanish/French), I knew that I wanted the anthology to represent the three major languages of North America but which also happened to be part of my cultural heritage, even if on my father’s side of the family I am a fifth generation American. To include original poetry written in these three languages by Americans or others speaks to my second reason for the anthology; that is, to encourage the reading and writing in these languages. Though I grew up hearing English and Spanish spoken in family situations, it is sad to say that I am one of few in my family who have continued to maintain Spanish fluency. Knowing at a very young age that languages fascinated me, I eventually picked up French in high school and college and have re-cultivated it since I discovered very distant French Giron cousins in Lorraine, France in 1996. Finally, the third reason for this anthology was to give poets an opportunity to voice what they have to say, be it personal, social, or political.

I knew I wanted to reach beyond the ordinary. When I first heard Grace Cavalieri’s poem This Is Everything I Did Not Want to Feel (in the voice of Mary Wollstonecraft 1759-1797), it intrigued me because here is a fine example of a poet who is speaking in a voice from the past and who is transcending the border of time.

I wanted a crescendo of women
Saying: There is enough for all ý
We will walk through the dark of this house.

Words will seep through the walls. We are able.
There is a light on the hill we can walk through.

Women everywhere are aching.

I would preach a ballad from the roof,
Sing to the mermaids and children,
Cross limbs with scholars,
Leave footprints in the snow,
Write the weeds of our history,
Bring our pieces together. That is what I wanted.

Whereas it is not uncommon for poets to take on the persona of another person, it perhaps is a bit less common for poets to speak for someone who is dead and who is not close to our own time period. This reminds me of a poem I wrote about my maternal grandmother’s encounter with the bandit Pancho Villa near the Río Grande years after she told me her story. However, what Cavalieri has accomplished not only in this poem but also in her collection from which it is a part is to give the deceased a voice in the present so that we might be able to better understand the person and time in which she lived.

In keeping with this transcending of borders, Assef Al-Jundi’s poem Spiritual What If asks about the brutal effect of religion upon people or perhaps the abuse by people of the spiritual because it is impossible to separate religion from culture and politics, or simply money and power. In Greg Bayans’ poem In Which We Serve we are confronted with the complexities of religion and sex.

In this anthology there are numerous examples of poets who report the present with all its complexities in terms of gender (see Shane Allison’s Lavender Wedding), place (see Rosana Armendariz’s Transplant or Jaime Manrique’s Return to the Country of My Birth), war (see Mel Belin’s Hunger or Steven Finch’s There / Here), aging (see Jeanell Buida Bolton’s To My Children), relationships (see Cathleen Calbert’s Companionate Marriage or Jeff Walt’s poems), cultural and social struggle (see Brenda Cárdenas’ poems or Jewelle Gomez’s Running Home from School or the work by Joy Harjo or Suzan Shown Harjo), death (see Gary Lehmann’s Reporting from Fallujah or Marianne Ehrlich Ross’s Numbers), personal identity (see Allison Whittenberg’s Passing as a Mulatto), music (see A. D. Winans’ Pure Jazz or Dan Stryk’s Saxophone), art (see the work by Paula Goldman or Don Cellini), in short, life in general, but with an edge.

What the poets in this anthology have in common is that they are willing to take a risk to say what needs to be said, and I hope this anthology has given them the platform in which to say it well, without someone placing them into a category or market because they are male, female, straight, gay, white, black, Native American, liberal, conservative, religious, non-religious, pro-war, anti-war, young, middle-aged, old, American, Latin American, European, Asian, African, Australian, rich, poor, widely published or an emerging poet.

Back in 1979 when I studied comparative literature and criticism, I vowed to stress as a poet and a future publisher that it is essential for readers to recognize the value of a work, which should be the center of any literary criticism, and to let the work speak for itself.

Et voilà, I invite you to read these poems which I’m sure will captivate you.—RLG
Copyright © 2005 by Robert L. Giron.

Artwork for bookcover: Conversation Peace © 2004 by Joel Traylor JetGallery.com

Helpful Sites:
Bibliothèque Nationale de France
Alliance Française
Alliance Française-DC
Embassy of France in the United States

Instituto Cervantes, Spain
The Hispanic Society of America
The Spanish Embassy
The Cultural Institute of Mexico in Washington, DC
Spanish Language Cultural Centers