Submissions Meet the Editor-in-Chief January 2018 March 2019 May/June 2021 Meet the Associate Editor July 2021 November 2019 January/February 2019 Book Review - Lyn Lifshin's "Ballroom" March 2020 September 2021 May 2020 Book Review: Amy Holman's Wrens Fly Through This Opened Window July/August 2018 Book Review: Kit Kennedy Reviews Heller Levinson September 2012 Book Review - Patricia Carragon Reviews Leigh Harrison November 2012 January 2020 March/April 2022 Book Review - Dean Kostos "Rivering" May 2013 Book Review: Hochman Reviews Ormerod Summer Issue 2013 September 2020 November/December 2018 McMaster Reviews Szporluk July/August 2014 November 2014 Book Review: Wright Reviews Gardner Stern Reviews Katrinka Moore May 2015 Hochman Reviews Ross July 2020 Tocco Reviews Simone September 2015 Simone Reviews Cefola May 2016 Bledsoe Reviews Wallace November 2016 January 2017 May 2017 Wehrman Reviews Dhar July 2017 September 2023 March 2024 May 2019 July 2019 September 2019 November 2023 March 2021 November 2021 WINTER 2022 Hochman Reviews Metras May 2022 November/December 2022 January/February 2023 March/April 2023 May 2023 July 2023

What you want to see

are the cycles,

the processes,

the universe turning

to star dust,

returning as stars,

the old monk said.

Tom Montag's most recent book is SEVENTY AT SEVENTY. He is now 75. His current project is THE OLD MONK POEMS, which he doesn't take too seriously, and you shouldn't either.






Wait! Your summer reading is incomplete unless you've checked out the sexy, sultry (and seasonal) poems in this big, juicy summer issue of First Literary Review-East.   We are particularly happy to feature talented poets from around the world (and, to that end, we have respected the particular spellings from each country).  ENJOY!    

                                                                    -Cindy Hochman, Editor-in-Chief




I'm not as portable as I once was.
                                                        -Bob Heman

Bob Heman has been published on every continent except Antarctica. He lives on the west end of Long Island in what was once the city of Brooklyn.


 What Suits a Nudist?

      What suits a nudist?
  Warm air and obscure sun.
Absence of thorns, mosquitos,
           prurient minds.
 Unpredatory companions.
          Best: privacy,
    when surface to surface
      seams self to Time.
           Wear it well.
                                            -L.S. Bassen

Lois S. Bassen: Finalist for 2011 Flannery O'Connor Award; Fiction Editor for         Reader for, won the 2009 APP Drama Prize & a Mary Roberts Rinehart Fellowship; book reviewer for, the, press1, bigwonderful,, Literary Life blog; poetry in print & online, some awards. View/15_3/poems/bassen.html) Time and Tide, 2012/time-and-tide/ (Feb. '13 w/audio).


Summer: Three Poems


A dog bounding through the swirling smoke of sand stirred by its own running.

A man pulls at the chin up bar; holding his legs, his trainer counts one.

A cyclist hunched over her racer, spine protruding like the teeth of gears.
                                                                              -Jee Leong Koh

Jee Leong Koh is the author of four books of poems. Born and raised in Singapore, he lives in New York City, and blogs at Song of a Reformed Headhunter. His upcoming book is "Infinite Variety."


Strawberry stains

I am always surprised
that people do not mind me
lying over the ripe strawberries
in the fruit aisles
Then I remind myself
very few visualise imagination
-Reena Prasad

Reena Prasad is a poet from India, now based in Sharjah. She has several poems published in a number of anthology collections mostly belonging to kind friends and also in online journals: Carty's Poetry Journal, Indian Ruminations, Indian Review, and in online magazines. Angle Journal carries 2 of her poems in the Spring/summer issue. She has 3 poems in Revista Cuib-Nest-Nido Anv-Nr.15 Martie 2013. Her poems have found place among the winning entries in contests by Writer's Cafe, Ekphrasis India, Poets Corner, and Xpresspublications.









Young oak / slender
limbs / fat-lobed
baggy leaves / silhouette
on sunny barn / small
child stoops / snags a fine
acorn / straightens / casts
uncombed hair into
the shadow
                                             -Katrinka Moore

Katrinka Moore is the author of This is Not a Story and Thief. Her poems have appeared in a variety of journals, including otoliths, Brooklyn Review, The Little Magazine,Web del Sol, 5_Trope, Earth's Daughters, and Georgetown Review.


Rain at My Window

Rain at my window,
Desire in my heart,
One from the clouds above,
And one from my own humanity,
Yet both sound the same —
                                               -Melanie M. Eyth

Melanie M. Eyth enjoys all things artistic! A creative God created us, and it is with great reverence and honor that she seeks to glorify his Name through poetry, dance, painting, and photography.


Jealous Gods

His curls
are gentle, soft,
I'll not compare them with
Apollo's. See Medusa's once
great hair?
                                            -Evie Ivy

Evie Ivy is a dancer/poet who lives in Brooklyn, NY. She teaches the ancient art of belly dancing. She is the hostess of the long-running poetry reading, Green Pavilion Poetry Event. Her poetry and dance events have been seen at the Nuyorican, Tribes Gallery, Bowery Poetry Club, and Cornelia Street Café, etc. Her full-length collection is "The First Woman Who Danced." Her latest chapbook is "Cinquain, My Dear Cinquain."  Besides dance and poetry, her favorite subjects are art and history.  




   Medusa's overbite

I looked past the ripples 
           in the reflecting pool.
Her image replaced mine.
The face of a chiseled goddess,
            framed with fiery red hair, curled
            like a coital knot of snakes.
Her dark eyes burned with desire.
I was seduced.
But, her ruby lips parted, revealing
           a gap between her yellowed buck teeth,
           a darkness, a blackness,
           an abyss.
Reality it seems is only a consensus
           of similar perceptions.
                                                                     -Peter V. Dugan

Peter V. Dugan has published four collections of poetry, Medusa's Overbite , Members Only ,A Cul-de-Sac Off Of Main Street and Eulogies for Dreams. He has also co-edited and formatted the Writing Outside The Lines poetry anthology as well as hosting readings at the Oceanside Library on Long Island.



Hairless to a point
of high heels,
the slow pile drive
of background,
full plank sweaty simulation,
slobbery sloshy
slurpy tongue,
wristing, twisting, fisting,
eyes not on eyes,
long shot, close up,
money shot —
                                           -John Saunders

John Saunders' first collection ‘After the Accident' was published in 2010 by Lapwing Press, Belfast. His poems have appeared in Revival, The Moth Magazine, Crannog, Prairie Schooner Literary Journal (Nebraska), Sharp Review, The Stony Thursday Book, Boyne Berries, The New Binary Press Anthology of Poetry, Volume 1, Riposte, and on line, The Smoking Poet, Minus Nine Squared, The First Cut, The Weary Blues, Burning Bush 2, Weekenders, Poetry Bus and poetry 24. John is one of three featured poets in Measuring, Dedalus New Writers published by Dedalus Press in May 2012. He is a member of the Hibernian Poetry Workshop and a graduate of the Faber Becoming a Poet 2010 course. He was shortlisted in the 2012 inaugural Desmond O'Grady Poetry Competition. His second full collection Chance was published in April 2013 by New Binary Press. John is the Director of Shine, A national voluntary mental health organisation.


Picnic by the sea

Clouds billow on the ceiling.

You make the water from pink flannel bed sheets,
and the burgundy pillows are rocks.

The beach is a fringed blanket.
You scatter seashells,
plastic saucers and cups.

We eat biscuits and grapes.
The teddy bears eat small red hearts
until they are stuffed.

The spoons take a pasta dive.

And I want to keep this moment
in the jar with fireflies
that you free into the night

when the sea chimes
three times.
                                                           -Claudia Serea

Claudia Serea is a Romanian-born poet who immigrated to the U.S. in 1995. Her poems and translations have appeared in 5 a.m., Meridian, Harpur Palate, Word Riot, Blood Orange Review, Cutthroat, Green Mountains Review, and many others. She was nominated two times for the 2011 Pushcart Prize and for 2011 Best of the Net. She is the author of To Part Is to Die a Little (Cervená Barva Press), Angels & Beasts (Phoenicia Publishing, Canada), and A Dirt Road Hangs from the Sky (8th House Publishing, Canada).



The Sea Doesn't Mind When I Cry With My Whole Body

See the lunar curve
of my spine,
how the sole of my foot
cups my head
when I bend backwards.
If I were ghostless
by design,
I wouldn't dream.
If I could feel alive
inside myself,
I would have done it
incarnations ago.
                                                 -Jeanette Geraci

Jeanette Geraci's poetry has appeared in North Chicago Review, Xenith Magazine, Ginosko Literary Journal, Lily Literary Review, Yes, Poetry Magazine, Re:Union Magazine, and The Interrobang. A 25-page excerpt from her lyric memoir, "All The Haunted Places" will appear in the spring issue of Canada's Room Magazine. In addition, she has contributed several original articles to Among other things, she is a yogi, a belly dancer, and a serious dance club enthusiast.



in my rearview
three blocks later
they're still
kissing . . .
                                          - Kanchan Chatterjee

Kanchan Chatterjee is a 45-year-old male executive, working in the ministry of finance, government of India. I live in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, India.


Make Out

Of course, I thought immediately of a question: what do you make this out
to be? There is someone holding a map, or looking at a battle plan, or
inspecting a murder scene. When the teenagers make out, forget the rest,
they are holding a map — think of the first time you fell in love, and how
easy it was to open a map, and how you relied on memory to fold it back
into place but you made a fool of yourself there. But we forgive you; by now,
you forgive yourself. How could you have known? Across the stream is a series
of rocks; beyond the rocks there is a road; the road is covered in tire
tracks and debris. I believe it is Route One.
                                                                               -Ricky Garni

Ricky Garni is a graphic designer and cyclist from Carrboro, North Carolina. His recent work can be found in LIEF, FULL OF CROW, and DISTRICT; his collections of poetry include 2% BUTTERSCOTCH, MY FAVORITE FIFTEEN PRESIDENTS, and DOTS, available via the storefront at:


On a Beach, Night

Necks boasting around each other
like doves. The forest of his pants
stretching before me. Mistaken
snaps. No shooting star, but the moon
nodding approval between passing clouds.
The ocean before us licking our toes.
                                                             -Karen Neuberg

Karen Neuberg is the associate editor of this journal. Please check out her website at:


The Gift of Goals and Pretty Toes

I sit on the dock and God puts a square
of sunlight on my creaseless forehead.
He pushes the wind so the lake water
gently brushes warm ripples on my toes
dangling freely, pretty with the nails painted pink.
I lean back on my palms holding in my
proud head every kindness I have given others
each shiny goal my diligent hard work has won me.
A dark cloud suddenly blocks the glorious sun
a flash of lightning strikes too close for comfort
and when the thunder rolls I fall without grace
down on my knees drawing blood and wooden slivers
that sting as I stumble away, running for my life.
                                                                             -Carol Oberg

[previously published in "Ancient Paths"]

During Carol Oberg's writing career, she has sold the copyright to ten of her poems to BLUE MOUNTAIN ARTS, INC. greeting cards and anthology rights to dozens more. Along with the Ancient Paths poetry, one of her poems will be newly published this fall in THE FOURTH RIVER, a literary magazine from Chatham University in Pittsburg, PA.


Short & Fast

When you are short as I am
Because you have no midriff
As I don't, then you cannot
Be a ballerina. No one will see
You from the balcony;
A dot on stage, a dash or a dot.

Find your place in the world.
Under armpits subway rides
Between Irish Spring and Dove.
Maneuver wiggle slide through
Backpacks; yield empty space.

Proportion and time both keys
In my pocket, jingle, jangle,
Sacred geometry, amass
Algebra, elevate to a higher power.
Spark. A dot, a dash, a spark.
                                                       -Shelley Ann Hainer

Shelley Ann Hainer was the curator of Nexus Gallery Poetry Series, New York City, for its five-year duration. Her poetry has appeared in BigCityLit. In 2008 she created an educational services company that produces interactive entertainment events and programs. Shelley received an Artward Bound Award in 2010 through The Field. Shelley performed her concert poetry song cycle, ‘the rhyme of the ancient,' a feature at Stage Left Studios Selected Shorts Series, March, 2013.


Mahler's Symphony Number One

you gave it a jazz beat on the dashboard
held the wheel with your knees made it bop
you had pulled it off
marriage therapy recovery a degree a few years late so what
you turned it around
you were going to write
you weren't going to forget old girl friends
now you crossed the Manhattan Bridge
someday you'd use it
it sounded right
you'd do something that counted
you parked the car and raced to class
spoke about how you would live
                                                                    -Zev Shanken

Zev Shanken's recent poems have appeared in Jewish Standard, Response, Jewish Frontier, Weathered Pages: The Poetry Pole, Yes, Poetry, Brownstone Anthology and New Verse News. His chapbook, Al Het, is published by Blue Begonia Press, Yakima, WA.


The Good Old Days

That dawn, passing on the synthetic mesc, sliding-diving into the waves, the waves kissing me as I frolicked, covering me like a sheet.
Afterward, exhausted, sprawled on the sand asleep, blistering.
While the three of you, high on the mesc, searched out clams, was it the innards of clams?
And might not one of you, at least once, have shown me the mercy of waking me or
turning me over?
For, suredly (we are talking sun-poisoning, third-degree burns) you'd noticed me as I lay there
In the after (funny as hell) you were all keen on letting me know you'd noticed.
                                                                           -Sam Pirro

Sam Pirro lives on the Upper West Side. He has published (in collaboration with Blind Man's Rainbow) two chapbooks of inter-related prose and poetry.



For the Lost Silver Ring

She’s oiled and baking in the sun when a song leaps out at her from the radio — or perhaps she’s fallen asleep, dreaming it over and over as if scrubbing a dirty corner, the years running themselves round and round, melting like tigers to butter — before the white lace dress, the black ties, the wrapped presents stacked on a table in a corner — before the service, the turning page, the empty rooms— arguing with him in an alley, weaving back and forth, accusing what she still cannot remember — even now.

                                                                     -Sandra Kolankiewicz

Most recently, Sandra Kolankiewicz's poems have appeared in, or been accepted by, Prick of the Spindle, Bluestem, Steel Toe, Rhino, Gargoyle--and of course First Literary Review East. Digital Americana has also taken one of her poems.



as collage 4

many stories
told thru the eyes of the protagonist
who either at the beginning or
the end of the telling
has decided to leave this world
because it has become too advanced
for him
such is the point i have arrived at
early in this scenario
then just before i decide to leave
i take one last look @ the flowers
"somebody's gotta look @ the flowers" i think
as i overhear her tell the children
 after she snaps a group photo with her iPhone
          look @ the beautiful flowers instead i grumble.
                                                                                 -steve dalachinsky

steve dalachinsky, born in brooklyn after the last big war, has managed to survive lots of little wars - his latest book is a superintendent's eyes (unbearable/autonomedia press - 2013)



The implausible stretch of time not fully imagined

Yet, like the seduction of the tide
Among the starfish of the stars
In the vast ocean of what ifs
We fly


For we have just begun
The eternal journey
                                             -Peter Bové


Long Island native, Peter Bové left NYC after 25 years and presently resides in Montauk, where he is working on his latest screenplay. He is a writer/director/producer, who has written, produced and/or directed short and feature length films, documentaries, and countless television commercials. Although he is a producer of the 2003 Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winner and 2004 Oscar nominated: Capturing The
Friedmans, he admits he is in actuality a raconteur poet adventurer.


And Called It Macaroni

Noodle hole spyglass,
eye cocked like a sea captain's
elbowed around a pinkie corner.
One inch away the world opens.
Holding the prism between my fingertips,
I'm a pirate, an astronaut, or Admiral Peary,
peering into the infinity at the end of the noodle,
a kaleidoscope with no stones,
just the collide outside the macaroni,
like a conch to the eye
squeezed into my boyhood.
                                                -Jeff Santosuosso

Jeff Santosuosso is a business executive and poet who splits his time between Pensacola, FL, and Dallas, TX. He's a member of the Dallas Poetry Community and the West Florida Literary Federation. His poems have appeared in Rhyme and PUNishment, HoboPancakes, Pif Magazine, The 2012 Texas Poetry Calendar, Illya's Honey, Red Fez, the Red River Review and other print and online journals. You can find him on Facebook.


The Young Couple

They hardly look at each other
but they are in each other's minds
their faces are beatific
shine like old movie close-ups

the tall gangly boy
holds the short stockier girl
both the same age, the same freshness

you mustn't stare at them
as though disturbingly aware
of something forgotten

even though
the swan on the river
and the dogwood blossom
are suddenly in their faces
like a magic mirror.
                                             -David Francis

David Francis has produced three albums of songs, one of poems, and ALWAYS/FAR, a chapbook of lyrics and drawings. His poems and stories have appeared in a number of US and UK magazines. David is working on a film about his music in New York.



(Phase one dental extractions over two dentists three hours one mouth no teeth)

In the dentist's bathroom mirror
I examine my toothless smile
lips caked with blood and crusted
like Brando's
after the fight in "On The Waterfront."

Cheeks sink into jaws.
my face is old
and Slavic
and my words sound like that toothless woman's
who was buying okra in the Korean Food Market yesterday.

If I were wearing a babushka
I would look like
my grandmother's bubbe
as she scraped vegetables
in Lebedova, only 5 viersts
from Vilna.
                                                 -Alice Twombly

Alice Twombly teaches Seniors at the Learning Collaborative and works for Fordham University, Teach For America. Her poems have appeared in the NJ Poetry Monthly, First Literary Review-East, and other journals. She was a finalist in The Nation-Discovery contest. She has had many one-woman shows of her photography in Northern New Jersey and her photographs hang in homes, restaurants, and businesses in the Metro area.


in al ain

in al ain
arab men

they seemed surprised
that maori
             did the same,

as we pressed noses —
dishdasha to tattoo —
a c r o s s
this oasis in the sand.
                                         -Vaughan Rapatahana


[hongi - Maori for rub noses
dishdasha - traditional Arab attire]

Vaughan Rapatahana is Mâori,who lives in Hong Kong, with a house in Aotearoa. Wife from Philippines - where they also have a home. Has lived in many places - from the Republic of Nauru to the U.A.E to P.R. China and Brunei Darussalam. Published in variety of genre worldwide. Two poetry collections published 2011 - Home Away Elsewhere (Proverse Hong Kong) and china as kafka(Kilmog Press,Aotearoa.) Published 2012 -critique of English language agencies - English Language as Hydra (Multilingual Matters, U.K) and part-collections, Karon Beach and Bride Price Two (Good Samaritan Press, Thailand.) Toa - a novel (Atuanui Press, Aotearoa) due 2013.


Mandatory Briefing

Water temperature below 2 degrees Celsius.
Deception Island is an active volcano.
No military vessels allowed. No food ashore.
Call out, "plastic bag, tissue!" Watch for shooters —
ice that springs up from beneath the water.
Penguins have the right of way.
They waddle like overweight people, steal rocks from other nests.
The older chick will prevail in a scramble competition. Elephant seals
are grumpy when molting. Giant petrels projectile vomit up to six feet.
Waterproof yourself. Send a postcard to yourself. Lose your heart
in a most (un)scientific way.
                                                          -Mark McKain

Mark McKain's work has appeared in The New Republic, Agni, Subtropics, The Journal, American Letters & Commentary, Green Mountains Review, and elsewhere. He was recently awarded a Writing Fellowship at Vermont Studio Center and teaches screenwriting at Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida.


Tulsa Bound

On the road five days a week
Destination Calgary, Cleveland, Kansas City, Reading
Living in hotels and eating in chain restaurants
I centralize my life to join audit teams at an array of businesses
In my first real job with a local oil company
That has embraced decentralization
For a year and a half I unearth new cultures
Drink in dry towns and learn to dance the Two Step and Cotton Eyed Joe
Experience Tulsa's harsh heat
Nearly a century after my paternal grandfather landed in Oklahoma's Indian Territory
Where he renounced his allegiance to the King
I swear off work with conformists and plot a move to Italy
                                                                             -Amy Barone

Amy Barone wrote the poetry chapbook, Views from the Driveway, from Foothills Publishing. Her poetry has appeared in such literary journals and anthologies as Avanti Popolo, Gradiva, Maintenant, Philadelphia Poets, Wild Violet and Apiary Magazine. A Bryn Mawr, PA native, Amy lives in New York City where she works as a business writer and social media consultant. She is a Board Member of the Italian American Writer's Association and participates at readings in New York City and Philadelphia.


Adventures of Her Handbag

All packed for her trip to Mars except her 4x5 handbag. Clock sings one hour left. Lipstick, eyeliner, tissues of satin — pink and blue — to cry joyful tears at the wedding. Shiny magic flute gifted from Mozart. Sneakers from Jesse Owens. She spies a half-eaten hotdog and stuffs that into her sneaker. Shoves in 4x6 foot mirror. Still plenty of room. She pushes in her pet parrot, admonishes the bird to shut up during flight. Her parrot whimpers. She crams a carrot into its beak. She piles ebony DVD player on top of red Prada shoes that cry, "Take me, take me." Grandfather clock sings 2 minutes left. She zips her bag, Opens the door and strides to her rocket ship.
                                                                      -Juanita Torrence-Thompson

Juanita Torrence-Thompson is a poet, speaker, columnist, instructor, actress, and Editor-in-Chief/Publisher of award-winning MOBIUS The Poetry Magazine. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee for poems in Breath-Life (Scopcraeft Press). New York and African Tapestries (Fly By Night Press), is a Many Mountains Moving Poetry Award finalist & Small Press Review "best pick". Talking With Stanley Kunitz (Torderwarz 2012). Forthcoming book #8: The Secret Life of Scrambled Eggs (Torderwarz). Her award-winning poetry is published in 15 languages. Her poetry, short and children's fiction and feature articles are published in Canada, Europe, Australia, U.S., online & in her newspaper poetry columns. Recent anthologies: Forgotten Borough, The Cento & Brevitas. She reads in Singapore, Switzerland, South Africa, Canada and the U.S. Website:


Bird in Space

(after the sculpture by Constantin Brancusi)

Onward it urges its wings
with featherless quills
tracing circles around the sun
at a particle's speed
revelation's warp and spin
quantum leaps, jumps
from one dimension to the next
out of the reach of gravity
beyond the crawl of time
onward it urges
to journey's end
its destiny in space
beyond the sun.
                                                     -Neil Ellman

Twice nominated for Best of the Net, as well as for the Rhysling Award from the Science Fiction Poetry Association, Neil Ellman lives and writes in New Jersey. More than 700 of his poems, many of which are ekphrastic and based on works of modern and contemporary art, appear in print and online journals, anthologies and chapbooks throughout the world.


The Timing

[the timing] you said, I grew up insulted.
Selling peanuts at ball games, I never went
up through clouds
to find you
I never went anywhere
but with my hands wringing
making angel wings find you
the sodden silence thick with mercury
falling, ball dropped, winds gathered
daisies circling my neck too
the stands flattened the crowds, crows calling
in circles, hand gripping hand
I couldn't find you, I couldn't fly
I had to run.
                                                           -Rebecca Gimblett

Rebecca Gimblett is a vagabond poet. She currently resides in Ireland, but wants to write herself into at least ten other worlds. She has been previously published in Bare Hands Journal for both her photography and poetry, and was longlisted for The Fish Flash Fiction Prize 2013.


Baseball Haiku

Jeter's tush
           eye candy
           on the run

boys of summer
baseball diamonds
are a guy's best friend

some guys play ball
some guys play the field
some guys do both

season tickets
The House That Ruth Built
gets richer

bottom of the ninth
line drive to center field
Yankees win!
                                                -Patricia Carragon

Patricia Carragon's work can be found online and in journals:, Rogue Scholars, Poets Wear Prada, Best Poem, Big City Lit, The Toronto Quarterly, Word Poetry Salad, Marymark Press, Ditch Poetry, Lips, Chantarelle's Notebook, Clockwise Cat, Luciole Press, Eviscerator Heaven 4, Flutter, Up the Staircase, Battered Suitcase, 6S, Beatnik Cowboy, Times Square Shout Out, New Verse News, Inertia, Symmetry Pebbles, Soul to Soul, Mobius the Poetry Magazine, CLWN WR, Maintenant 4, Mad Hatters' Review, Inscribed, Live Magazine, Tamarind, Riverfront, Soul Fountain, Nomad's Choir, the Park Slope Poetry Project's Erato, SOS ABC NO RIO's Stained Sheets, Poet-To-Poet's Medicinal Purposes, Asbestos, Where You Live, What Happens Next, and more. She is the curator of the Brownstone Poets reading series and the editor-in-chief of its annual anthology.