[11] Winter 2012



America’s National Treasure, Pulitzer Prize Poet Rae Armantrout

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Window, Cellar, Hallway, Bricks, Porch, Laurie Patton

Dark Olympics, We Have Ways of Making You Talk, Rich Boucher

Crossing the River, Karen Terrey

Meeting Mother, Joseph Wade

Wicked Funeral, Michael O’Connor

Equinox, Tideland, Marc Berman

The daughter, The Daughter and the Blown Down Tree, Alison Hicks

The Mango Tree, Earth, Epileptic, My Grandmother’s Geese, Zakia Khwaja

Riding, Riding, Holding Tight, Byron Matthews

Just Another Love Story and Photograph of Kyoto Snow Umbrella, Sean Lotman

Dining with Lysistrata, Anne C. Coon

Elegy for a Dying Colleague, Charlotte F. Otten

My Breasts Are A-okay, Jill Klein

Unfinished, Gray Scale, Winter’s Yearning, Diorama, Late March, Richard Schiffman

Escapees out Bedroom Windows, Keith Vosseller

Dedications, Norman Minnick

Father, Mother, and Child, Six Miniatures, Antoinette Constable

Phoenicians, Della Francesca, Hilary Sideris

Grief, Alz, Patricia McKernon Runkle

A Prayer, Nothing More, Judson Simmons

Underground American, John F. Buckley/Martin Ott

Velocities, Tyrel Kessinger

Nano Songs, Black Shine, Ken Fifer

Micro/Macro, Layered, Artist Larry Mitnick


The Parade After the War, Jesús José Silveyra Tapia

Apple Pie, Amy Ellis

A Night in Atlantic City, Sam Katz

Yellow Daffodils, Jason Fisk

Back in Berkeley, Carolyn Light Bell

Chopin’s Heart is Buried Beneath a Pillar in Warsaw, Theodosia Henney

Ymir, or The Gap Between the Worlds, Cassandra Rasmussen

Pork Today, Haden Verble [Release Date, 3-1-2012]


Tears of an Entertainment Professional, Ron Darian

Ceremony, Brittany Allen

The Child Statues of Eva Van Wyck, Patrick K. Sung


Meet Chris Manders


On the Cutting Edge, An Interview with Dave Ravenberg and Jesse Staley, Website Designers, conducted by Luke Hawley


Our National Treasure, Rae Armantrout, is a professor of writing in the literature department at the University of California at San Diego. She has also taught at the California College of Arts and Crafts, Bard College, Naropa University, San Diego State University, and San Francisco State University.

Armantrout’s tenth book of poetry, Money Shot, was published by Wesleyan University Press in February 2011. Her previous poetry collections include Versed (Wesleyan 2009), which received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, and was a finalist for the National Book Award; Next Life (Wesleyan 2007), which was selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the best poetry books of 2007; Up to Speed(Wesleyan 2003), also selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the best poetry books of the year in 2003; and Veil: New and Selected Poems (Wesleyan, 2001), which was a finalist in the Poetry category for the 2002 PEN Center USA Literary Awards. She has been published in many anthologies, including The Oxford Book of American Poetry and Scribner’s Best American Poetry of 1998, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2007, 2008, and 2011, and in such magazines as Harpers, The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Chicago Review, and the Los Angeles Times Book Review. She has also received awards from the Guggenheim Foundation (2008), the Fund for Poetry (1999 and 1994) and the California Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship (1989). Her collected prose was published in 2007.

Armantrout was born in Vallejo, California, and earned her A.B. at University of California at Berkeley (1970), and her M.A. at San Francisco State University (1975). She lives in San Diego, California.

Brittany Allen is a New York-based writer and actor. Her non-fiction has been previously published in the New York University annual, Mercer Street. She works as a resident artist with the original-work-powered theater collectives Rescue Agreement and The Glacial Company. She is also Prose Editor for the New York University student literary magazine, West 10th.

Carolyn Light Bell’s work has appeared in Big Muddy, Blue Buildings, Croton Review, Great Midwestern Quarterly, Kansas Quarterly, Limestone, Louisiana Literature, Milkweed Quarterly, Minnesota Memories, Minnesota Women’s Press, Northern Plains Quarterly, The Paterson Literary Review, Phoebe, Reform Judaism, Response,RiverSedge, Tales Of The Unanticipated andWest Wind Review. She is a practicing photographer and educator in the Minneapolis area.

Marc Berman began writing on airplanes while traveling from his home in western Massachusetts on business trips. He is chairman of The New England Public Radio Foundation and a lecturer at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is a native of Boston.

Rich Boucher is a past member of the five national poetry slam teams (Worcester, Massachusetts (x2), Washington, D.C., Wilmington, Delaware and Albuquerque, New Mexico. Rich has published four chapbooks of poetry and for seven years hosted an open reading and slam in Newark, Delaware. Since moving to Albuquerque in March of 2008, Rich has been performing and writing steadily in the Duke City and is a regular contributor/editor and audio archive curator at localpoetsguild.wordpress.com He is also an educator, adventurer and desert compound prophet. Rich’s poems have appeared in Adobe Walls: An Anthology of New Mexico Poetry, Fickle Muses, The Rag, Menagerie, Clutching at Straws, Shot Glass Journal, Mutant Root, The Mas Tequila Review, Borderline and The Legendary.

John F. Buckley lives in Orange County, California. His work has been published in a number of places, one of which nominated him for a Pushcart Prize in 2009. His chapbook Breach Birth was published on Propaganda Press in March 2011. His poems in Grey Sparrow are part of Poets’ Guide to America, a collaboration with Martin Ott, which will be published by Brooklyn Arts Press in 2012.

Amanda (Mandi) Casolo, Manuscript Editor for Overwatch by Allen Gray, is currently employed at Yale University Press. She graduated with a BA in English literature with a concentration in creative writing in 2010 from the University of Connecticut and was a fiction editor for the nationally award-winning literary journal, Long River Review.

Antoinette Constable was born and raised in France. She is a registered nurse with British and American nursing degrees and ran her own catering business. Her work has won the PEN First Prize for Poetry, as well as the Ann Stanford Award from the University of Southern California, and it has appeared or is forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly Review, Amoskeag, Barnabe Mountain Review, Bay Area Poets Coalition, Bitter Oleander, California Quarterly (CQ), The Chaffin Journal, Compass Rose, Controlled Burn, Denver Metropolitan State Magazine, Foothill Magazine, Gargoyle Magazine, The Healing Muse, Left Curve, Louisville Review, The Old Red Kimono, POEM, Psychological Perspectives, Southern California Review, Southern Humanities Review, Unitarian Newsletter, Unitarian Universalist Anthology and Verdad. Her poem, “You Dream that the Word Hope Is Written on the Door,” was published in the anthology of Master Classes with David St. John in 2003 (Arctos Press).
Anne C. Coon’s poetry has appeared in numerous journals, including Redactions, Provincetown Arts, Nimrod, The Baltimore Review, The Lyric, Proteus, Northeast Corridor and in the McGraw-Hill anthology: Literature: Reading Fiction, Poetry, Drama and the Essay. Her books include Henry James Sat Here (The Old School Press, Bath, UK); Via del Paradiso (FootHills Publishing); Daedalus’ Daughter (FootHills Publishing); and Discovering Patterns in Mathematics and Poetry, co-authored with Marcia Birken (Editions Rodopi, Amsterdam).

Ron Darian is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. He has spent the bulk of his professional career in the entertainment industry. He began his stage career in the original Broadway production run of Grease and then moved on to stand-up comedy, performing at colleges and clubs across North America.

Amy Ellis is an undergraduate at Longwood University pursing a B.A. in Creative Writing with a minor in Children’s Literature. She is currently an assistant editor for Barrelhouse Magazine. Her poems and short stories have been in Buffalo Creek Review,Eclectic Flash and Prism Review.

Ken Fifer, a Professor of English at Penn State University, Berks campus, has published four collections of poetry, the most recent being After Fire (March Street Press). His poems, and his translations of contemporary Turkish poetry, have appeared in many journals in the United States and abroad, including Barrow Street, New Letters, Ploughshares and The Wolf (UK). He has a Ph.D. in English Language and Literature from The University of Michigan. He has new work in the current issues of Crab Creek Reviewand Silk Road and in the new anthology, Bigger Than They Appear: Anthology Of Very Short Poems.

Jason Fisk is a husband, a teacher, and a father of two. He is the author of Salt Creek Anthology, a collection of micro-fiction published by Chicago Center for Literature and Photography; the fierce crackle of fragile wings, a collection of poetry published by Six Gallery Press; as well as two poetry chapbooks, The Sagging: Spirits and Skin, and Decay, both published by Propaganda Press. For more information, feel free to check out: http://www.JasonFisk.com

Luke Hawley lives in the cold of Minnesota with his wife, two small kids, border collie, and mother-and-son cats. He moonlights as a songwriter and otherwise spends his time writing, growing a beard, and building bookcases out of old windows. He has had work published in Hobart. He has completed his MFA at the University of Nebraska. His thesis was a collection of short stories and accompanying songs entitled The North Woods Hymnal. He’ll gladly print a copy for you.

Theodosia Henney is a queer lady from a conservative state. She would like to spend the night in a museum or a library, and enjoys goat cheese on almost anything. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Vestal Review, the Allegheny Review, Ghost Ocean Magazine, Rhino, Burner Magazine, Damselfly Press, Rattle, Dirtcakes, Blossombones, Broad! and Gertrude.

Alison Hicks’s work has appeared in California Quarterly (CQ), Eclipse, Fifth Wednesday, Gargoyle, Gulf Stream, The Hollins Critic, The Ledge, Main Street Rag, Milk Money, Pearl, Peregrine, and Softblow, and is forthcoming in Whiskey Island and Diverse Voices Quarterly. Her books include a full-length collection, Kiss, now out from PS books, and a chapbook, Falling Dreams (Finishing Line Press 2006). Her novella, Love: A Story of Images (AWA Press, 2004), was a finalist in the 1999 Quarterly Westnovella competition. A two-time recipient of Pennsylvania Council on the Arts fellowships, she is founder and director of Greater Philadelphia Wordshop Studio, which offers community-based creative writing workshops.

Sam Katz was born in Korea and grew up outside of Philadelphia. He earned a degree in economics from Brandeis University and an MFA from The New School. Currently, he lives in Brooklyn where he reads for One Story and works as a freelance writer. Sam’s short fiction has or will soon appear in Boston Literary Magazine and The Good Men Project.

Tyrel Kessinger lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with his wife, two dogs, cat and all the other makings of a fairly normal life. He is the recipient of the 2011 Literary LEO Award and has been published in numerous journals and magazines. He is also a Contributing Editor for Black Heart Magazine.

Zakia Khwaja obtained an M.B.A. in marketing and finance from Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad, Pakistan. She went on to earn an M.A. in English from the University of Rochester. A lot of her poetry focuses on cultural topics and social and political issues. Her moved to the U.S. when she married in 2005. Prior to becoming a homemaker, she worked as a teacher and research assistant. She has also held positions as a microfinance consultant, network coordinator and capacity building specialist for the non-profit organization The Pakistan Microfinance Network.

Jill Klein has been raising teenagers and volunteering for the past several years after an earlier career as a commercial banker. She grew up in Kansas, then the Pacific Northwest, then moved to California to go to Stanford University (sight unseen). As often happens, she stayed, and loves her engineering husband and adopted home in the heart of Silicon Valley. She has poems published, or forthcoming, in San Pedro River Review and The Centrifugal Eye.
Sean Lotman is a native of Los Angeles. He moved to Tokyo in 2003 and has since spent considerable time traveling in Africa, India and the Middle East, developing his literary voice. On the way he picked up a camera or two. I Do Haiku You is a hybrid of these pursuits—writing, photography and travel, in what he hopes will be a lifelong endeavor. Sean lives in Kyoto, Japan. Please check outwww.idohaikuyou.com for more of Sean’s work.

Chris Manders grew up in the Yarra Valley of Victoria, Australia. He has traveled extensively in Europe and Africa, living abroad for almost five years. His portfolio offers varied and unique images from these regions of the world. Please visit: http://ccmanders.redbubble.com to view more of his photos.”

Annam Manthiram is our volunteer Associate Editor at Grey Sparrow. She is the author of the forthcoming novel, After the Tsunami (Stephen F. Austin State University Press, 2011) and a short story collection, Dysfunction, which was a Finalist in the 2010 Elixir Press Fiction Award and received Honorable Mention in Leapfrog Press’ 2010 fiction contest. A graduate of the MA Writing program at the University of Southern California, Ms. Manthiram resides in New Mexico with her husband, Alex, and son, Sathya. URL: AnnamManthiram.com

Byron Matthews left Iowa for graduate school in North Carolina, later gave up a tenured faculty position in Maryland to make furniture for ten years in Santa Fe. He lives now in the mountains east of Albuquerque, New Mexico, with his wife, a cellist, who encourages his poetry because it’s finally something that does not involve large quantities of tools and equipment.

Norman Minnick’s first collection of poems, To Taste the Water, won the First Series Award and was published by Mid-List Press. He is the editor of Between Water and Song: New Poets for the Twenty-First Century (White Pine Press). He has an essay on Robert Bly forthcoming in The Writer’s Chronicle.

Larry Mitnick is an Architect and Associate Professor at the University of the Arts, Philadelphia College of Art and Design. He is also a Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania, Department of Architecture and has served as a visiting critic at Harvard University, Lehigh University, New Jersey Institute of Architecture, Internationale Somerakademie Fur Bildende Kunst of Salzburg, Austria, and Ecole Polytechnique Federale of Lausanne, Switzerland. He has exhibited architectural projects, paintings and graphic work on three continents. Mitnick studied architecture at the Cooper Union and at Harvard University, Graduate School of Design.

Michael O’Connor was born in Hartford, CT and graduated from the University of Connecticut. After spending some time in Ireland and Prince Edward Island, he returned to New York City to pursue screenwriting. After several successes in the film industry as a writer and independent film producer, Michael turned his writing to non-fiction historical works on the Second World War, publishing articles for the Centre de Recherches et d’Informations sur la Bataille des Ardennes. He has maintained deep interest for poetry, being influenced by Robert Frost, William Butler Yeats and James Joyce. Michael was most recently published in the Irish Examiner. He currently resides in the Boston area.

James S. Oppenheim was born in Washington, DC, raised in Mongomery County, Maryland, schooled in Oxford, Ohio and has been a resident in half a dozen Maryland towns. Jim has published in Equus, The North American Review, The Washington Post, and Firehouse Magazine, worked as managing editor of the University of Maryland graduate literary magazine, Ethos. He has also had a life in music, producing one album and playing venues from cabin porches in West Virginia to bars in Florida. Today, he finds himself in Hagerstown, Maryland as a photographer, singer/songwriter, and the editor of a blog, Oppenheim Arts & Letters, devoted to the understanding of political conflicts and small wars, art, culture, and language.

Martin Ott is a former U.S. Army interrogator and lives in Los Angeles, where he writes poetry and fiction, often about his misunderstood city. He has appeared in more than one hundred journals and anthologies and has optioned three screenplays. His book of poetry Captive won the 2011 DeNovo Prize and will be published by C&R Press in 2012. His poems in Grey Sparrow are part of Poets’ Guide to America, a collaboration with John F. Buckley, which will be published by Brooklyn Arts Press in 2012.

Charlotte F. Otten’s poems have appeared in many journals, among them Southern Humanities Review, Texas Review (Special Poetry issue), Manhattan Poetry Review, Interim, Free Lunch, Quiddity (two of her poems printed in Quiddity were read for an NPR station in Springfield, Illinois), Poems From Aberystwyth and The Healing Muse (medical-poetical). Her book of poems, January Rides the Wind, received three starred reviews and was selected as a “Best Book of the Year” by the Bank Street College of Education and Booklist. She is the editor of the Book Of Birth Poetry (Virago; Bantam).

Laurie Patton earned a B.A. from Harvard University and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and serves as Professor of religion at Duke University. She has also worked as a Fulbright scholar in both India and Israel. Her poems have also been published in Nimrod International Journal, Calyx, CCAR Journal, Compass Rose, Confluence, Fox Cry Review, Kerem, Phoebe, Plainsongs, Red Wheelbarrow Literary Magazine, Schuylkill Valley Journal of the Arts, Studio One and Women’s Torah Commentary (United Reform Judaism Press).

Cassandra Rasmussen is a student pursuing degrees in History and Literature and in Folklore and Mythology at Harvard. Had she been born in the seventh century, she would have liked to have been a skald, a Norse storyteller. Instead, she weaves myths into her writing. She is a staff writer for a Harvard undergraduate literary magazine Tuesday, for which, among other things, she wrote “The Old Gods Live Still,” an exploration of the exchange between English and Gaelic. She has also written for the Harvard Crimson’s Fifteen Minutes magazine and for the Stories for Orphans program. When not at school, she lives in Florida with a loving family filled with storytellers and story-listeners alike.

David Ravenberg holds an MFA from the University of Nebraska is an online web designer.

Patricia McKernon Runkle holds a B.A. in psychology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and a master’s degree in theological studies from Harvard Divinity School. She writes music and lyrics; three of her collaborative choral works have been published by Boosey & Hawkes. For fifteen years, she worked as a freelance writer and editor. Poems have been published or are forthcoming in decomP, Frogpond, Modern Haiku, Salamander and the New Jersey anthologies The Final Lilt of Songs and Off Line.

Richard Schiffman is a writer based in New York, and a former journalist for National Public Radio. He is the author of two biographies: Mother of All, and Sri Ramakrishna, A Prophet For the New Age. His poems have appeared or are upcoming in Alaska Quarterly Review, Poetry East, The North American Review, Southern Poetry Review, 32 Poems, Rosebud, Valparaiso Poetry Review, The New York Times and many other journals. His “Spiritual Poetry Portal” can be found at http://multiplex.isdna.org/poetry.htm.

Hilary Sideris is the author of The Orange Juice Is Over (Finishing Line Press 2008) and Baby (Pudding House Press 2009). Her poems have recently appeared in Arts & Letters, Barrow Street, Connecticut Review, Confrontation, PMS, Poet Lore, Salamander and Tar River Poetry. Her chapbook, Gold & Other Fish, is now available from Finishing Line Press. She works as a staff developer in language and literacy programs at The City University of New York.

Judson Simmons is a graduate of the Sarah Lawrence College Writing Program, and holds a B.A. in Writing from the University of Houston. His chapbook, The Hallelujah Hour, was published by Amsterdam Press this year. His work has appeared in Evergreen Review, Folio, Pebble Lake Review and other journals.

Jesse Staley loves the arts, and while he may not be a writer he has a deep appreciation for the art and craft of telling a story. In addition to the technical help with the Grey Sparrow website, he runs Simon & Bennett, Inc., an advertising agency specializing in digital media and communications. His business partner, Dave Ravenberg, is the true artist of the two, but Jesse contributes with the more technical side of web development and business operations. Jesse expresses his artistic side in the form of ceramic art, photography, and writing music. He is happily married and is the father of four, one son and three daughters, with the most recent addition having arrived a week before Christmas 2011.Recently, Dave and Jesse started bupbup media, a small studio that will specialize in children’s books and animation.

Tim Stobierski is a recent graduate of the University of Connecticut. While a student, he worked for two years on the universities’ literary journal, The Long River Review. This past year he served as the Creative Non-fiction editor, and this summer is interning at Yale University Press in the Acquisitions Dept.

Patrick K. Sung was born in 1987 in Seattle, Washington. His first short story, “Blue Lily of the Nile,” was published by Literary Laundry in March 2011. Selected other works can be found in the collection Story.Book, published by Unbound Press. He currently writes in California.

Jesús Silveyra Tapia (El Paso, Texas, 1980) is a short story writer living in Ciudad Juárez. His work has been published in the USA, México and Chile. He received the Punto de Partida short story award by the UNAM in 2010 and the 9th Annual 101 Fiction by the Boise Weekly in 2011. He’s currently working on his first short story collection.

Karen Terrey teaches creative writing at Sierra Nevada College and at Tangled Roots Writing in Truckee, CA. She also serves as poetry editor for Quay, a literary journal. She earned her M.F.A. from Goddard College and received a Sierra Arts Endowment Grant in 2009. Terrey blogs at http://www.karenaterrey.blogspot.com

Haden Verble studied with Lee Abbott at the Kenyon Review Writers’ Conference. She has published many non-fiction pieces and has written over 50 television and educational videotape scripts. Author Verble lives both in Kentucky and in Windsor, England.

Keith Vosseller is an Associate Professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Drexel University. As a member of the “New Philadelphia Poets” writers’ group, he’s performed readings at various bars and bookstores in Philadelphia. His background in science often influences perspective and language in his writing. He’s a blues/jazz pianist and performs on the street with the guitarist Bill “gangster of love” Conway.

Joseph Wade is attending Brooklyn College for a creative writing BFA. He got his start at Harrisburg Area Community College after being told to send a story to the college journal by Professor Joan Weaver. Since then, Joseph has had help from professors Damatto-Beamesderfer, Simmons, Cockeram, Stumphy, DeYoung, Humphrey and Phillips. He’s also attended veteran-oriented workshops at NYU and Columbia University. Look out for Joseph’s chapbook in the future (fingers crossed). More information can be found at http://www.josephwade.com

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