Apartment | Wheeler Light

Image: Nathan Dumlao

You open the apartment door and it is just wood. Wood behind the door. You need to enter your apartment. To sleep. To work. To clean. You burrow into the wood with a small drill bore. You carve a desk inside the wood. You leave legs of the wood in each corner of the room so the wood roof doesn’t collapse on you, crushed by mahogany in the night. You wake one day and it is raining paper. A hole has split in the wood from all the paper where it was leaking from the bathtub upstairs. The paper is covered in all your upstairs neighbor’s poetry. Your upstairs neighbor is always so loud, crying for whole weeks at a time. Your neighbor is so loud the sound bleeds through the mahogany. The mahogany is now spilling into your bed, your bed you carved yourself out of the desk, the desk which appeared behind the door, the apartment which was drowned in poetry. The future that is always words.

Wheeler Light is an MFA candidate at the University of Virginia. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Hobart, Pretty Owl Poetry, The Penn Review, and Broadsided Press, among others. His work can be found at www.wheelerlight.net


This poem is from South Broadway Press’ new anthology, Dwell: Poems About Home. Purchase here.

Tell It Slant | Cortney Collins

Image: Chris Bair

My family grew corn in the heartland, but I’ve never seen it quite like this:

Angelic, husk-winged, guarding every shard of bone hidden in the soil. 

How is it that I didn’t know I had thousands of angels? They were with me all the time. 

I remember going out into the fields with my grandpa, crossing into the humid network, stalks sending out messages to each other across droplets of August air. 

I could hear their choir, their low and incandescent hum, the sway of bass clef notes rocking me to sleep in the farmhouse.

Emily Dickenson advised us all to tell the truth slant, and I remember this is what hailstorms taught the fields. The slant truth seemed tragic, in a way, as if nothing stays upright or rooted for long. Not even cornstalks.

Not even families. 

Not even farmhouses, burned to the ground long after they’ve become vacant, when the small town fire department needs a fire to practice on.

Something is always missing.

Maybe it’s just a three-hundred-sixty degree view, the ability to see that everything is overflowing, 

all the time.


Cortney Collins lives on the Front Range of Colorado with her two beloved feline companions, Pablo (after Neruda) and Lida Rose (after a barbershop quartet song in The Music Man). She is the founder of the pandemic-era virtual poetry open mic, Zoem. Zoem produced an anthology of its poets’ work, Magpies: A Zoem Anthology, of which she is co-editor. Her work has been published by South Broadway Press, 24hr Neon Mag, Amethyst Magazine, Sheila-na-Gig, Back Patio Press, and others. Cortney considers herself a poet secondarily; her first calling is encouraging others’ beautiful words in community. 


This poem is from South Broadway Press’ new anthology, Dwell: Poems About Home. Dwell will be available to purchase August 1st, 2022.

Poetry Anthology Partnering With Village Institute

South Broadway Press is partnering with the Village Institute to raise money for their operations. To do this, we have created an anthology of poetry entitled “Dwell”, which we will be providing copies of to supporters who donate $20 or more.

You can find the link to the fundraiser here!

The Village Institute is a live/learn/work center designed with and for refugee families in Northwest Aurora. As it says on their website, they “help families build wealth, worth, and wellbeing by bringing housing, language learning, job readiness workshops, and mental health services all under one roof.”

“Dwell” is an anthology of poems about our personal and collective identity of home. It is a full-length collection of over 35 poets meditating on themes of love, immigration, grief, homelessness, and impermanence, among other topics. The anthology features the work of such poets as Caleb Ferganchick, Abigail Chabitnoy, Crisosto Apache, Aerik Francis, Wheeler Light, Said Shaye, Liza Sparks, Zack Kopp, Jessica Rigney, and many more.

Thank you to LiveWork Denver, who provided a generous grant to make this anthology a reality. In line with the mission of this book, LiveWork Denver does incredible work to create access to homeownership for folks who may otherwise feel ownership is out of reach, including facilitating opportunities in community housing, co-buying, cooperatives and live/work spaces.

Thank you for your support. All donations and shares are very appreciated!

Editor Interviews | Terra Iverson

Terra Iverson is thrilled to be on the South Broadway Press editing team.

Originally a businesswoman, her passion has always been in the written word. Ink is an art form, painting your world in the minds of others. The meaning of a word, the structure of a stanza, the moment when you forget who you are because it is all so powerful. Terra loves those moments. She’s often found reading nearly everywhere she goes, even while walking, which she doesn’t recommend.

She has experience as an editor in publications such as Obscura. Terra has had her poetry and play scripts published in Project Yes and Obscura. Terra is also currently working towards publishing her collection of short stories, artwork, and poems. A Colorado native, she resides in a small mountain town with her husband and their two sons.

You can follow Terra on Instagram @terraiverson.

It’s so much easier to see the world in black and white. Gray? I don’t know what to do with gray.

Garrus Vakarian, Mass Effect 2

What does this quote mean to you?

The human mind tries so hard to fit everything into a category; to choose a side. Is this black, is it white? Does this fit into this box or that? It’s hard to do, but I want to see the gray, the opaque place where most of us truly dance. It’s difficult to walk through, even harder to write about, but when I hear or read something and it burrows its way into my soul, I want to honor it. Even if I don’t know what to do with it, even if it’s “gray”, I still want its company.

What books have made an important impact on you and why?

I’m not sure how I could possibly sum all the stories I’ve consumed into a simple list. I love adventure, I love conflict, romance, places, and characters. I feel like at the end of a good book I’ve made actual friends. I nearly weep when I’m finished, saying goodbye. I spent so much time with these stories, they influenced me, help build who I am. As a very young child, I slept every night with a book called Baby Dear. Where other children may have had a stuffed bear, I cuddled a book for comfort. Today, I read books to my children about dragons, wizards, dinosaurs, and blueberries. So perhaps these are the books that impact me the most, the ones that start myself and others down the path of discovering the worlds hidden between the pages.

What is the value of writing and art in the current state of the world?

Art is culture. Without it, society has no soul. Without art, would we truly be living? When humanity was stuck inside, faced with unsurmountable darkness, we turned to art. We turned to paint, to photos, to music, and to words. We latched onto our soul and held on for dear life.

How have writing and art helped to form the person you are today?

My art and writing gift me a way to share myself with others.

As a child, I was consumed by other peoples’ worlds. I lived in those worlds so I could walk through a broken home and many difficult and defining moments. I escaped into the imagination of others. It let me pause, breathe, and be someone else, if only for a moment.

As I grew, I started creating my own worlds, places where my mind could wander. Places where my feelings and my soul could be safe. I learned that through paint, photos, and writing I could explore that inner world and also share it with others. It’s so fascinating, so vulnerable, so beautiful, and so freeing.

What is something that matters to you?

Connections matter to me, the threads of emotion that bind people together as well as the commonality and differences we all share. There are so many people, places, and principles in this universe that have had a hand in shaping me into the person I am. My family, my husband, my kids, and my friends have all helped me to walk through this world with kindness, determination, love, joy, hope, and peace. I also value art, community, health, an adventurous spirit, and freedom.

Want to get to know our other editors? Read more Editor Interviews here.

Carrying stones | Jane-Rebecca Cannarella

Image: Tom van Hoogstraten

Erin told me her face was falling. We sat on a motel bed in downtown Anaheim, each of us with stones inside our bodies where organs used to be. Hand to her face she placed her fingers at her jaw and said, it’s sagging. Like a landslide.

Our foundations were made from the gulfs created in the void of saltwater and sun; we were grown from the melting glaciers. Skeletons shaped from every piece of rock we had once picked up from the tongue of the shore because we thought it was pretty, replacing the bone until we were both ambling monuments.

In the motel in downtown Anaheim, we cracked geodes against one another with enough force to break them open to see if our guts were quartz. The same sort of rock scientists on playgrounds smashing stones to see if there were hidden crystals, only we were older, and our shared insides didn’t carry crystals…as we found out. Sharp fragments splintered and dented the cold bedcovers, rock people applying pressure as a kind of embrace.

And her face was falling like how Venice is sinking, and the world is impermanent, so we split our skin open to find anything secreted from the soft outsides. The shells of our exteriors thawed like those candles whose wax peels away to reveal tiny gems, but really, it’s just a trinket more like trash than treasure.


Structures like bones crease into putty like how memorials fall and become their own grave markers, and on a floral smoke-smelling comforter in a strip mall in Anaheim, I ease into the rock rain of my own face and the spring that found itself seeping out of the remains of my body. Our mingled landslide faces and surfaces liquified with only the memory of boulder bodies and gritted organs left in our wake.

Tomorrow we’d go back to carrying our stones.


Jane-Rebecca Cannarella (she/her) is a writer and editor living in Philadelphia. She is the editor of HOOT Review and Meow Meow Pow Pow Lit, and a former genre editor at Lunch Ticket. She’s the author of Better Bones and Marrow, both published by Thirty West Publishing House, The Guessing Game published by BA Press, and Thirst and Frost forthcoming from Vegetarian Alcoholic Press. 

The Artist’s Prerogative | Gracie Nordgren

Image: Sergio Rodriguez

His name was Pietro Ludivicci, and he was in love with symmetry.

            Those statues of his were carved with a delicate accuracy, angels and saints poised to bless or condemn, their pale faces set in expressions of aloof piety. That marble virgin of his was housed inside the chapel, the object of awe among the townspeople. For the sculptor had rendered the stone folds of her clothing as soft-looking as fabric.

            The flawless beauty of Ludivicci’s creations was rivaled only by the appearance of the sculptor himself. With his tight curls, regal nose, cherubic lips, and mahogany eyes, it was as if he were the personification of the suppleness of youth. How lovely, this Pietro!

            Of course, the young women of the town were hopelessly taken with him. Why, even the mayor’s wife fondly referred to him as her first love! A cacophony of tokens, flowers, letters, and gifts took up permanent residence outside his door. In the marketplace, women would tarry and stare, and those bold enough to proposition him always received the same answer: a curl of the lip, and a flat “I’d rather not”. You see, Ludivicci was a paramour of human beauty- and perfection his muse. How could he settle for anything else in a lover?

            These harsh rejections were hard on the ladies of the town. Many would weep, and some would pull at their hair. Young Viola, who cleaned the sculptor’s apartment, witnessed countless of these spurnings. In the smoky bars, her father, the innkeeper, and the older townsmen would snidely remark that Ludivicci may as well wed one of his statues.

            There came a day, as the harvest-season came round, that the sculptor unexpectedly stopped accepting commissions. For seventeen days on end, he vanished from the eyes of the community. Circulating whispers suggested illness, or even his death. Viola of course knew that the artist was not dead at all. He had thrown himself into his newest project.

Ludivicci the recluse remained shut up in his apartment, his door opening only to receive the bread and wine he paid Viola to purchase for him. During these visits, the girl caught glimpses of a form standing in the center of his room- a new statue, perhaps? Alas, she could never get a good enough look, as the sculptor would pay her what was owed and then slam the door with a force that made the frame creak.

The longer Pietro Ludivicci was in isolation, the more fanciful the rumors about him became. He had certainly lost his sanity, most agreed. Signora Columbo swore she had spotted him at the temple, worshipping the pagan gods! How could he have fallen so far? Poor Pietro! A red-cheeked and mortified Viola confessed to her sister as they lay in bed one night that she had caught the sculptor cradling what seemed to be the face of his passion project and kissing its lips!

Months passed before Ludivicci was spotted in public again. He looked certainly worse for wear, with dark shadows underneath his eyes, an unkempt beard, and his shoulder-length hair hanging in an unruly tangle.

His sculpting seemed to be abandoned as a thing of the past, as he had emerged from his isolation with nothing to show for it. If one would catch him walking about in town or marketplace and inquire about his work, he would stare back with haunted, glassy eyes and mutter something about having more important matters to pursue.

No one quite knew where the woman had come from. The way the innkeeper told it, she had knocked upon the inn’s door late one night (the night before Ludivicci returned to society) and requested residence. Said her name was Giana Aldi. She had paid him handsomely for room and board from a fine leather coin purse that hung from her waist. She was a painter, this woman, who wished to work undisturbed within the rooms. Why is it that this town is the place of so many fussy artists? The innkeeper bemoaned to his wife and daughters as they, dazed and recently roused from sleep, stumbled to prepare a room.

Soon enough, the town forgot their fascination with Ludivicci in favor of the mysterious Giana Aldi. It was if she had been carved from marble, as such flawlessness seemed unnatural. Smooth dark locks flowed down her back to her waist, and large black eyes were framed by heavy lashes. They seemed to see into one’s heart, and one couldn’t help but feel naked and exposed under her gaze.

She was stern and dedicated to her art with a borderline religious fervour. Her neighbors took notice, with news of her traveling within hours. Who was she? Perhaps she and Ludivicci would be the perfect match for one another. Two kindred spirits, parallel in looks and practice.

Evidently, Ludivicci was enthralled by her as well. Every evening, he would stand at her balcony, wildly waving bouquets of flowers, imploring her to come down and speak to him. No one ever saw Giana Aldi do so much as open her window. Late into the night, the sculptor would cry, shout, and even sing love poetry! Poor Ludivicci was in such a state of ruin by the seventh night, yet he persisted. Having enough of this, the innkeeper accosted him on the street, ordering him to give it up at once! Ludivicci, likely emboldened by the wine running through his body, declared that he would never stop his pursuit until he heard word from the lady herself.

It is said, and there have been several witnesses to this, that Giana Aldi appeared on the balcony then. Leaning over its edge, raven hair spilling over her shoulders, her disdainful shout could be heard by all:

“I’d rather not!”


Gracie Nordgren is a Creative Writing student at the University of Colorado Boulder. She enjoys daydreaming and pomegranates, and would very much like to travel to Venus. Her work has appeared in Kalopsia Literary Journal, The University of Colorado Boulder Honors Journal, and Cathartic Youth Literary Magazine, among others. 

Outrageous as Flowers | Amy Wray Irish

Image: Ida Andersen Lang

Oh poets and their peonies!
“As big as human heads”
Jane Kenyon exalts, her pen
heavy with extravagant
language, enormous
metaphors as big as life.

The perfume of such heady
description smothers me,
face-first in the reproduction
of perfumed pistol and stamen.
Yet it keeps the real makings
of this craft at a distance.

Amongst poets, there’s a secret
censorship of creation
surrounding their beloved peonies—
afraid too close they’ll catch
the inner workings of such art.

Aware they’ll see, let’s be honest,
the ants. Mary Oliver admits
they exist. That something dark
and alien spiders
across this beauty.

She knows that a necessity for budding
is this cutting, this eating.
Knows that the cataract
of leaves covering the bud
must feed the hungry
just enough. Must just
hold back the swarm
to unlock the flower’s form.

These thousand tiny bites
release a poem as well.
The flowering depends on it
yet can also kill.
So we unleash the ants
but prevent such furtive legs
from going too far within.
Allow the justice of devouring
so that the exquisite sweetness
opens.

Inside any creation
is a little taste
of destruction.
To pretend
otherwise would be
outrageous.


Amy Wray Irish (she/her/hers) grew up near Chicago, received her MFA from the University of Notre Dame, then fled the Midwest for Colorado sunshine.  She has been published in Spit Poet Zine and Thought for Food; she has work upcoming in Progenitor and Chiaroscuro.  Her third chapbook, Breathing Fire, won the 2020 Fledge Competition and is now available from MiddleCreek Publishing.  For more information go to amywrayirish.com.

Dingle Bay, Summer 2012 | Sean Woodard

Image: Xulong Liu

Along the cliffs of Ceann Sibéal
herds of sheep graze, weighed
down by crimped fleece.

Rough-hewn Celtic crosses,
slathered in dust and moss,
peek out from brittle underbrush.

A boat slices through still bay waters,
inboard motor stirring up foam
as the throttle is revved.

A gray dorsal fin approaches the vessel.
With a barrel roll and flick of his flukes,
Fungie the bottlenose dolphin launches

into the air, slips back under the surface,
and reemerges to nuzzle starboard
and port sides with his rostrum.

The Ring of Kerry is bathed in gold
as Dingle’s red and white lighthouse guides
Fungie back to the bosom of the Atlantic Ocean.


Sean Woodard (he/him) is a doctoral student at the University of Texas at Arlington. He also serves as the film editor for Drunk Monkeys. His creative works has appeared in NonBinary ReviewThe Cost of Paper Vol. 4, and Found Polaroids, among other publications. You may follow him at http://seanwoodard.com, Twitter @seanwoodard7326 and Instagram @swoodard7326.

Book Review | The Eden of Perhaps by Agnes Vojta

Reviewed by South Broadway Press Editor, Brice Maiurro

Agnes Vojta’s full-length poetry collection, The Eden of Perhaps, finds itself welcomed into a lineage of poets existing in liminal spaces. In an early poem in the collection, What If, Vojta asks the reader “what if the answer is not here/there, either/or, but both, between, and?” In our society, plagued by othering, perfectionism, and divisiveness, Vojta’s poems continue to ask the right questions all throughout the collection.

I believe it is often the work of a poet to consider grey space. This may feel contrary to what someone thinks of when they think of a poet, self-assured and convicted, preaching their gospel or anti-sermon to an enraptured audience, but there is often more truth when a poet brings along a healthy sense of humility. Poets like John Brehm speak to and curate collections on impermanence. In a 2020 episode of the podcast Between the Covers, Pulitzer Prize recipient Natalie Diaz encourages the acknowledgement of not understanding, or even misunderstanding. Ocean Vuong, in his poem Someday I’ll Love Ocean Vuong shares with the reader “the most beautiful part of your body/ is where it is headed.” Many great poets have learned to walk the tight rope of transition, to balance on the line of maybe.

I was particularly stricken by Vojta’s poem, Atonement:

Sometimes I wish I belonged
to a religion that practices confession.

I can walk in the forest and confess to the trees,
kneel by the river and whisper to the water,
stand in the field and shout to the sky –
but who will pronounce me shriven?

I have to prescribe my own penance,
whip my body to exhaustion to drown out
the mind’s self-flagellation,

and wait for the unpromised peace.

Being raised Catholic, I am no stranger to this attitude of religious penance that Vojta brings forth in the four short stanzas of Atonement, but though she mentions at times she longs for this space of confession, she ultimately settles, or unsettles, in the uneasy space of waiting “for the unpromised peace.” Vojta’s style at times reminds me of the beloved American poet Mary Oliver. An iceberg—in the sense that often below the surface of the deceptively simple words is ten secret tons of depth. Vojta is something of an iceberg herself. In Atonement, she seems to remind us that religion may present us some feeling of closure, but where a truth lies is in understanding that no peace is promised. These are the words that could shake a world free of the imprisonment of ignorance and return us to a shared experience of unknowing.

The book is brimming with bop after bop. In Seeds of No Return, Vojta, in a kind of magic, bans “the word never” from her mind. In Accomplished Hamster, Vojta manages to turn the cute allegory of a hamster on its wheel into a dark social commentary on hopelessness. Vojta’s poems are no stranger to humor, but they wield it like a knife. In Greeting Cards They Don’t Make, Vojta stands on her soapbox to announce the world’s lack of a greeting card that appropriately states inside “I hope the bastard rots in jail.”

It seems to me that Vojta must live her life as a student to poetry, often passing through the world with dreamer’s eyes. Finding compassion in the dying words of the Mars rover, Vojta creates a beautiful eulogy for a robot in My Battery is Low and It’s Getting Dark. Vojta hoists a feminist fist of dissent that RBG would applaud throughout the collection, including a disruptive reworking of such classic, albeit dated, fairy tales as Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty.

 What’s refreshing about Vojta’s Eden of Perhaps is that it is, in fact, a collection. The poems are in conversation with each other, coming together like a multitude of seeds in the juiciest most pungent pomegranate you’ve ever eaten, unapologetically dripping all over the blueprint of a broken society.

Having read Vojta’s poems, I find myself more willing to say “I don’t know” as I move through my daily life, and while this may sound like some kind of defeat to some, for me it’s a nice walk through the garden in an imperfect Eden that feels more real than anything that they are trying to sell us.

              The Eden of Perhaps was published by Spartan Press and is available for purchase here.