Thursday, December 30, 2010

Blue Lake Review

Blue Lake Review has just accepted my new poem "Following the Thread" for publication in their March 2011 issue. The poem is part of an ongoing chapbook collaboration of love poems and artwork with my better half, Staci M. Cole.

Monday, December 27, 2010

This Week's Poem

Historic Scenes

I drive across a covered bridge, failing,
planks loosening beneath my weight,
all manner of tree russet and gold, shedding,
praying for a little less permanence.

The road winds around abandoned barns
wearing name plates and birth dates.
Perfect square plots of earth the state cannot sell,
that so few people visit still the scents
of horses and musket fire endure.

I see a wheel smoothly
carting river water in circles,
toward me and away.
A silent wheel
a boy of five might see
very differently
being acclimated to the deafening
marvels of science.

The White Mountains loom overhead,
dip below the tree line and reemerge, unchanged.
They’ve forecasted an early snow this year.The morning sky could hardly be darker.

-published by The Heartland Review and in my chapbook, A Pure River

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Winter Issue of 322 Review out now!

The winter issue of 322 Review is out now! The full issue is available online. Click here! It contains my poem "The North Sea"...

Monday, December 20, 2010

This Week's Poem

Farmer’s Almanac

Once again like clockwork gray days
of rain recycled from April.
Maple boughs glassing over.
Children stiffening their limbs
for recycled lessons.
Neighbors predicting thunderclaps
moments after they strike.

Glimpses of what will be lost, again,
tugging at the day’s shortening sleeves.
Already there is talk of rebirth
before a single tree
has shaken free of color.
And talk of gardens,
everything next to plant.

Wet matches.
Lurching furnaces.
It has been written
we must board the night bus to Gloucester.
There is no such bus this time of year.
It seems we have a long wait, again,
in the rainwith wet matches.

-published by Offcourse Literary Journal and in my chapbook, A Pure River

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Show and Tell Gallery podcast

The podcast of last Monday's Show and Tell Gallery is now available HERE. It's broken into two podcasts, and Part II includes myself and friends A. Moltkov, Mark S. Strizan, and Rick J. Give it a listen!

Monday, December 13, 2010

This Week's Poem

A Brief Respite

When the battle dies it’s as if
oceans have calmed,
the world has balanced
evenly upon its spear tip.
The dead gather their organs and go about
washing themselves from the grass.
Crows, cicadas, rains return.
People walking empty streets
who hear from behind
their names mysteriously whispered
turn to find everyone they have ever kissed.
In a moment’s order
poems gasp for one free breath-
relieved of the burden of choosing
who next to vanish and which midnight street to people.

-published by Third Wednesday

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Show and Tell Gallery Tomorrow

This week's Show and Tell Gallery will be a full 3-hour open mic, without the usual featured reader segment.

Come join us for a wide variety of poetic voices!

When: Monday, Dec. 13
Where: Three Friends Coffee House
201 SE 12th, PDX

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Carcinogenic Poetry

Carcinogenic Poetry has just published three of my poems. Follow the link to read them!

"Who will lay flowers", "I cannot keep this poem", and "The Rhetoric of Silence" are now on the main page of their site.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Open Poetry Reading in Hillsoboro

This event is open to all in the community, allowing local poets an opportunity to read their work and receive feedback from other poets and community members. I'll be participating in the mic and discussion.

When: Tue, December 14, 7pm – 8pm
Where: Walters Cultural Art Center Gallery
527 East Main St Hillsboro, OR 97123

Hillsboro Community Arts fosters the arts through entertainment, education, experience.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

December's Stonehenge Studios Reading

December's Stonehenge Studios reading will feature Henry Hughes and David Hargreaves at 7pm, followed by an open mic. Fellow poets, including A. Molotkov, and I frequent this popular, serious-minded reading and open mic series, and I hope to see you there!

When: Sunday, Dec. 12, 7-9pm
Where: Stonehenge Studios
3508 SW Corbett Ave, PDX

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Caper Literary Journal

Caper Literary Journal has accepted for publication two of my poems for their February 2011 issue. "At Exactly Three" and "I tend to leave splinters" will be displayed alongside the strong work they publish.

Notes on the journal: Caper Literary Journal will be launching a small press in 2011, publishing e-chapbooks and some full-length books. They will also begin accepting work for a Global Words project, which will print work by authors from around the world or who write about cultures and between-cultures.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Heavy Hands Ink

Heavy Hands Ink has accepted for February 2011 publication my poem "A Strange Place". The editor, Maxwell Baumbach, said "this piece packed a great deal of punch", and I am happy it's found a home with a strong print/online journal.

Heavy Hands Ink's print issues are available at and free pdf versions are available online. I'll let you know when the issue with my poem is out!

Monday, December 6, 2010

This Week's Poem

Common Enemies

A russet moon hanging crescent
with its sharper tip nearly touching earth
is only half the story.

The obvious symbol, the dotted line
cut around to paste
its romantic shape upon flags.

I wonder if school children here
slip into the hands of crushes
multi-colored half-moons,

as we might snowflakes or hearts
with arrows half-piercing
or our virginal hands

when the adult world’s eyes
are diverted by war.
War, with its common enemies.

War with its silent nods of resignation.

I am praying to this moon tonight
as I would any other.
Listening to American jazz

on Damascus radio.

-published by The November 3rd Club

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Lines and Stars Best of 2009-2010

Lines and Stars is presently anthologizing a Best of 2009-2010 chapbook, and they have selected my poem "In the Wilderness Between" for inclusion! They originally published this poem in 2009. I'll send an update when the physical chapbook is out!

Lines + Stars began as a means of establishing a new creative forum in Washington, D.C., a city that all-too-often coasts solely on its more mechanistic pursuits.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Poetry Reading in Hillsboro video

Here is a video taken at last night's Hillsboro reading, where A. Molotkov headlined a beautiful reading and discussion, followed by an open mic.

Word Salad

My poem "Two Rivers" has just been published in Word Salad. Click here to read my poem and the Spring 2010 issue!

Monday, November 29, 2010

This Week's Poem

The Poem Tells Us Death
To Gottfried Benn

The poem tells us
death’s geometry
is not round like earth,
supple and cold like endless sea,
but plotted upon contiguous
right angles, drained of abstraction
into sharp corners and red alleys,
a razed mountain
and human rubble,
all organs and cavities and words,
a pure mathematics.

An expression of love
in copper transit,
itself labored over like a poem,
his many graveyards
know no shadow or ghost.
Where is the vacuous depression
expected of darkness
and the vicious emotion
bound to its description?
His world writes
between wintry doctor’s hands.

Silence the symphony!
the poem tells us,
and weave a landscape
of precise incisions
and dull spoons,
of colorless blood
and knives like flowers
thrown amongst the summer-faced children.

Carve the dawn in language
and translate it unevenly
so both living and dead
can read the same day

and ending us in twilight,
mince me, this demanding poem,
and drink me like sand
in your ripening garden.

-published by Ken*again

Friday, November 26, 2010

Poetry reading, discussion, open mic

A. Molotkov, a Portland writer and a co-founder of the Inflectionist poetry movement will read and discuss his work at Hillsboro Last Monday Poetry Group. Questions and challenging views are welcome. Followed by an open mic session. Hope you can come, join the discussion, and read your poetry. I'll be participating in the open mic and discussion...

When: Monday, Nov. 29, 7-9pm
Where: Hillsboro Last Monday Poetry Group
135 SE 3rd Ave, Hillsobor, OR

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Cirque- A Literary Journal for the North Pacific Rim has accepted my poem "Sleepless Harbor" for publication in their Winter 2010 print edition! "Sleepless Harbor", composed in Iceland, beings with these lines from Elizabeth Bishop:

“At four o’clock
in the gun-metal blue dark
we hear the first crow of the first cock”

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Praise for A Pure River

"John Sibley Williams' chapbook A Pure River is what I consider a perfect glimpse into his quiet yet somehow expansive style. What is most striking is how much space seems to exist in each poem. As a set of poems centered around themes of travel through the American landscape, Williams quiet measured breath and concise use of line and language accurately recreates the feeling of standing on some lonely stretch of road with nothing but the wind, the impenetrable vista and one's own heartache as companions."

-Chris Cottrell, former editor of Portland Review

Monday, November 22, 2010

This Week's Poem

Black and White

All day I gawked and awed,
tracing the Guadalupe Mountains from the horizon
as one might cut along a paper’s perforation,
embarrassing myself before the sun and vultures,
and not quite content to look
yet too cowardly to touch and cry.

Later, the tin and dust motel
showed some black and white cowboy film
and I wondered if this is how the soul moves.
Indifferent to the vast colors, beauties,
rattlers and hungers and savageries,
a sole rider kept to his purpose
as if one with everything he failed to see,
as if he did not need to see
and simply was.
And other lone horsemen wandered by, unhesitant,
none pausing, gawking, or scribbling notes
(they did not need to remember).
At times a slaying, at times a silent passing.
It made no difference to hills, horses, men.
One set of eyes could capture an entire landscape,
reaching so far beyond night
it almost touched morning again.

-published by San Pedro River Review and in my chapbook A Pure River

Friday, November 19, 2010

322 Review Acceptance

322 Review, a journal of provocative poetry and art, has just accepted my poem "The North Sea" for publication in their forthcoming Winter 2010 issue! I'll post when it's available online for public consumption...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Moonstruck Featured Reading

I will be headlining Moonstruck Cafe's poetry event in January, which is a wonderful and eclectic poetry series hosted by Joan Maiers. This month is William Stafford's birthday, so this event will include a mic after my reading with local poets reading their favorite Stafford poems. I'll include a few in my reading also. Please join us for a wonderful evening of poetry, celebration, and chocolate!

When: January 16, 2011 @ 6:30pm
Where: Moonstruck Chocolate Cafe
45 South State Street
Lake Oswego, OR 97034

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Paper Tiger meets Figures of Speech reading/mic

Figures of Speech hosts Steve Williams and Constance Hall will be performing together at the Paper Tiger. There will be an open mic following the reading, which I and fellow poet A. Molotkov will particpate's our first venture to our friendly city to the north, Vancouver. Come join us!

When: Thursday, Nov. 18 at 7pm
Where: Paper Tiger Coffee Roasters
703 Grand Blvd Vancouver, WA 98661

Monday, November 15, 2010

This Week's Poem

From Under a Sari

I have slipped you, this single poem,
over her bare brown toe
as a third silver ring,
one I cannot remove as easily.

Why, she asks in her sleep, my toe?
Why not another swirling gold bracelet
or fourth eye, something grandchildren
can tug and kiss and remember in their age
indecipherable from my memory?

But of the wisdom a simple trinket bestows
I know little
and dare only what few will see-
this ornament of words
that may, I fear,
hang from her like a cross.

No, it is simpler still.
I’ve not the courage to inspect
the world still hidden
that heaves and dreams on this bench
like living soil,
with only roots exposed.

Where best to lay a poem
than upon what stretches deepest
and, unseen, absorbs from those dearest
all tomorrow’s fallen tears?

-published by Arlington Literary Journal

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Stonehenge Studios Open Mic

I'll be participating in the open mic portion of the monthly Stonehenge Studios reading series along with fellow friends and poets A. Molotkov and David Cooke.

When: Sunday, Nov. 14, 7-9pmWhere: Stonehenge Studios @ 3508 SW Corbett Avenue , Portland, OR

Featured readers are John Morrison and Jess Lamb.

Monday, November 8, 2010

This Week's Poem


I speak with all the accents
of the people I have loved-
the warriors and the panicked,
the native and the exiled,
the lovers
of wisdom and of ignorance,
the speakers and the listeners,
those who bleed blue from wounds
and those who by endless night and saber
slaughter the rest like sheep,
those who have returned love
and those who left me upon its shore.

I am still coming of age
in their contradictions
and I find nothing of death
lumped in my one throat,
that never forgets
its thousand dead dialects.

-published in Tertulia Magazine

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Exercise Bowler Publication

Exercise Bowler has accepted my poem "The Torch" for publication in their Spring 2011 issue due out in March! "The Torch" begins with a plea to Kabir, the great Persian poet, to:

Tell me just enough of the truth
that I continue battling up the mountain,
just enough and no more

water, so I still thirst,
love, so I still desire,

shadow, so I still weep.

Exercise Bowler: The name of a 1946 performance at the Arts Theatre in London about Army life in World War 2 and the harsh realities the soldiers face upon returning home.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ken*again accepts 2 poems

Ken*again has accepted two of my European poems for publication in their Spring 2011 issue! They've previously published other poems from this collection (titled "The Longest Compass" and presently submitted to chapbook publishers), and I'm happy that "The Dead in the Castle" and "Varied Views From the No. 29 Tram" have also found their way into its pages...

ken*again is a quarterly, nonprofit e-zine presenting ahearty, eclectic mix of prose, poetry, art and photography:accessible, obscure, soothing, disturbing.Wrap your mind around a good read.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Psychic Meatloaf Issue 2 now available online!

The online version of Issue 2 of Psychic Meatloaf: Journal of Contemporary Poetry is now available! Three of my poems are in this issue! Click HERE to read the issue! The print edition will be out in about a week...

Psychic Meatloaf publishes free-verse and experimental poetry that is quirky and imaginative, with a strong sense of artistic value.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Scapegoat Review Fall 2010 issue out now!

The Fall 2010 issue of Scapegoat Review is out now! Click here to read the issue!
It contains two of my newer, shorter poems: "Three loons perched" and "I tend to leave splinters embedded in my skin".

Monday, November 1, 2010

This Week's Poem

I Say I Sing

You are the one
I’ve harbored in light.
You, arrived from another city,
Americanized in my dawn
and salt promises
that you are the one
of gold
I say I sang
decades to unearth,
real now together
under this flagless sky
I say I will sing
until the sadness spills
from this noiseless street
and rises, a new nation,
under both your gods
and mine.

-published by Spectrum

Sunday, October 31, 2010

3 Poems in Tertulia Magazine- out now

3 of my poems have just been published and are now available at Tertulia Magazine. Check out the poems and support the press!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Willows Wept Review Issue Nine out now!

Issue Nine of Willows Wept Review is now available online. My poem, Rebuilding Over and Again, is in this issue. It was composed many years ago based on experiences in Iceland. Give the new issue a read HERE.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

2011 Northwest Poets' Concord

I will be reading at the 2011 Northwest Poets' Concord, a yearly event sponsored by Eastern Oregon University and the Lane Literary Guild. The specific time of my reading is TBA, but it will be a scheduled 10 minute reading. The conference details are below. Other scheduled readers include Oregon State Poet Laureate, Peter Sears, and Penelope Scambly Schott, Oregon’s Senior Poet Laureate.

When: May 7-9, 2011
Where: Hallmark Inn and Resort, Newport, OR

Contact organizer Dr. Ellston at 541.563.6263 for more information.

On May 7-9, sixty poets along with students from Eastern Oregon University and Newport High School will gather at the Hallmark Inn and Resort in Newport for the second annual Northwest Poets’ Concord, sponsored by EOU and the Lane Literary Guild. From 3 p.m. on Friday, May 7 until noon on Sunday, May 9, three sessions will run simultaneously each hour. The Concord culminates in a Book Fair on Sunday morning from 9 to noon where participating poets will be available to sign their books.

Sessions on Friday begin at 3 p.m. and are free and open to the public. These include presentations on myth, on beginning to write poetry late in life, on poetry and the Oregon wilderness, and on what poetry is “about.” At 5 p.m. Henry Hughes and David Hargreaves from Western Oregon University will give the keynote presentation on “Pale Imitations and Stolen Gold: What Poetry Takes from Itself” to be followed by Wine Tasting with the Nehalem Winery.

The public may also attend presentations all day Saturday for a $10 admission fee, payable at the door. This includes admission to a selection of twenty-one presentations and a reading by the Newport High School students. Saturday presenters include renowned Oregon poets Ellen Waterston, Eleanor Berry, Clements Starck, Peter Sears, Bill Siverly, Barbara Drake, Robert Davies, and Penelope Scambly Schott, Oregon’s Senior Poet Laureate. These sessions begin at 8:20 a.m. and run until 6 p.m. For local quilters, at 11 is a session on writing poetry inspired by quilts.

Monday, October 25, 2010

This Week's Poem

Blissful Democracy

Today the newspapers don’t speak
of one culture swallowing another.
Brothers are guiding their younger sisters
by the hand through city traffic.
Husbands are facing their wives in cafés
and listening, earnestly,
while radiant olive-skinned waitresses
stoop to collect shattered glasses.
I am sorting through a sea
of fruit carts in Monastiraki Square,
shadowed by an older democracy,
selecting those bruised
and most affected by the deep heat,
leaving those ripe for a less yielding day.

-published by Offcourse Literary Journal

Monday, October 18, 2010

This Week's Poem

Keep Driving

Fluent in the dialects of skyline
two empty silos raise like Braille
above the babbling wheat earth
and pause for a moment upon an early frost
spread evenly across its mother’s lap,
a winter in tow,
furious wingbeats of sun
grown desperate in the long-plowed furrows,
all elements reading each other knowingly,
as an experience feels itself shift to dream,
all silently mouthing in a united cloud of breath:

keep driving, dead man,
farther west the chill has yet descended.

-published in Concho River Review and my chapbook, A Pure River

Friday, October 15, 2010

Portland Alliance

The Portland Alliance has accepted two of my more political/social poems for an upcoming issue! At Daybreak and Revolution will be published in their December issue.

The Portland Alliance is the city's oldest alternative progressive newspaper. The Alliance reports on the issues ignored or distorted by the corporate-dominated mainstream press, asking the hard questions you won't hear on the evening news or read in your daily newspaper.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Third Thursday Poets performance- Feb. 17, 2011!

John Sibley Williams, A. Molotkov, David Cooke, Ragon Linde, and Carrie-Ann Tkaczyk will be performing a multi-media blend of poetry and music for the Third Thursday Poetry Series.

When: February 17, 2011

Where: Brigadoon Books
3600 River Road
N Keizer, OR 97303

What: A multi-genre performance mixing contemporary poetry from three Portland poets with worldly, experimental music.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Figures of Speech Reading Series- Mark Your Calendars!

I'm honored to be a part of the monthly Figures of Speech reading series, sponsored by Oregon State Poetry Association.

I will be a featured reader in that long-running series on:
Tuesday, May 17 at 7pm
100th Monkey Studio- 110 SE 16th Ave, Portland, OR.

Come join us and mark your calendars THIS far in advance!

Monday, October 11, 2010

This Week's Poem

Those Washed By the Sea

I am the first to tumble gray
through the ruddy pallor, the unmistakable
grin with its long, delicate tongue
forked veins I accept rounded,
dull into me.

Gulls, terns, unpredictable ravens.
Exchange your writhing catch,
your half-digested insects, your feathers,
for a word or two on your beauty
and your praiseworthy, insistent pecking
this dawn from my palm.

Of the newborn suns I’ve known
pristine as newly-awakened kisses
and slow memories of four-handed pianoing,
the one catching this fiery black sea crest
will not fade like a clown’s joy
nor a tree’s steady reflection,
for I am two steps behind it
and cannot outstretch my arms.

I cannot see myself in the erupting rebirth
so how can it pass on to the next?
How can it pass into disappeared friends
like a wind-struck flag
like certainty?

Blood crusts the tattered rags
dawn gives me to cleanse it.
Dried, all fluids gray and leave echoing rings.
Those washed by the sea
are no exception.

-published by Seven Circles Press

Saturday, October 9, 2010

LEVELER poem out

Check out my poem "Some Notes Beginning With Winter", which is headlining LEVELER Poetry Journal this week!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Walt Whitman Project

Some 50 readers will present a staged reading of Whitman’s poem “Song of Myself.” Images relevant to the 150th anniversary of Whitman’s book Leaves of Grass will be projected onto the walls. I will be reading section 4 of the epic poem.

When: Wednesday, October 20, 6:30-8:30pm

Where: Pacific Northwest College of Art
Swigert Commons, PNCA Main Campus Building
1241 NW Johnson St.

For more info on the event, click here.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Show and Tell Gallery Mic

Fellow poets and I will be reading at the open mic for Show and Tell Gallery next week!

When: Monday, Oct. 18, 7-9pm
Where: Three Friends Coffee House
201 SE 12th Ave, Portland

Their site:

Monday, October 4, 2010

Stonehenge Studios Reading and Open Mic

As every month, I will be participating in the Stonehenge Studios open mic. It's a beautiful venue with great opportunities for a subdued, less-cafe style poetry forum and conversation. Come join us!

When: October 10, 2010 from 7-9pm
Where: Stonehenge Studios
3508 SW Corbett Avenue, Portland

This Week's Poem

An Aftermath

There is a car
exactly like mine
where I parked.

The key will not open.

There is a word she once said
I knew would change

I am afraid to remember.

There is a child
whose unseeing brown eyes
like me would perceive only silhouettes

and whose vanity would tremble
while releasing all he thought
he held.

He is the door I cannot enter.

-published by Wilderness House Literary Review

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Night of the Living Bards Live Poetry Competition

Fellow Inflectionist poet A. Molotkov and I will be participating in a live poetry competition called Night of the Living Bards: an evening of debauched intellectualism and live storyelling and poetry contests in the Welsh tradition. More info at:

When: Thursday, October 7. The event is all evening but the poetry competition runs from 9-11pm.

Where: The Buffalo Gap, 6835 S.W. Macadam Avenue, Portland, OR

Please join us for what is guaranteed to be a strange and interesting time!!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Scapegoat Review

The Scapegoat Review has just accepted two poems for publication! Both "Three loons perched" and "I tend to leave splinters" are brand new, shorter, more image/concept-based poems and part of a series I'm composing and compiling toward a full-length collection titled Syllables From Our Conversation. Let you know when the issue is officially released!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

KMUN Coastal Radio Interview This Friday!

I'm excited to invite everyone to listen on their radios or online to KMUN 91.9 fm or KTCB 89.5 fm this Friday (October 1) from 3-4pm (PST). To listen online, click here.

The radio show ARTS- Live and Local!, which hosts a variety of writers and musicians in 10 minute interview segments, has invited me on as a guest! I'm not sure the exact time slot but I'll be interviewed somewhere in that hour span. I'll likely read a short poem and answer questions from host Carol G. Newman and call in guests.

I'll try to get the word out about the next day's music and poetry event, Chasing the Sun Off the Edge- a 3-hour blend of poetry and music created by A. Molotkov, Regan Linde, David Crosse, Carrie-Ann Tkaczyk, and I. This event will be held at Beach Books in Seaside, OR from 5-8pm, as part of their Art Walk. Please tune in to the interview and join us there, if you're on the coast!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

From St Johns Booksellers reading

LEVELER Poetry Journal

LEVELER Poetry Journal has just accepted for publication my long poem "Some Notes Beginning With Winter". It will include a section with editorial comments on how their process worked for the poem, allowing for a dialog between editor, author, and reader...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Rosebud acceptance

My new poem "Beneath the long shadows of crosses and crows" has just been accepted for publication by Rosebud. This poem brought our poetry reading yesterday at St Johns Booksellers to a close, with its final lines:

I want to write nothing,
so much nothing the entire audience
explodes in Ozark flowers.

This Week's Poem

Stillborn Calf

There was a moment
human hands taught it fiery touch.
A moment of light.

With eyes like sea floor
glued in a milky blue haze,
up, staring up at us,
we might from our captive lives
consider the expression
boundless sky, freedom,
unhinged and carried down into us
in all its inevitable kicking
scratching weeping-
the birthing pains like a fear
of pure light
from the interconnectedness
of familiar darkness-

then like a rusted gate
swinging shut,
its opaque tongue rolling over and over
the same trembling lip,
perhaps tasting a nectar,
a hemlock,
one ecstatic chance of existence
drowned in the moon vineyards
like a temporary pause in love
consummated within the grinding
of iceberg and a light becoming itself
seen in a moment of beautiful fire
that rises through the blue sea haze
into a cobalt, teal, a sun
rising within its infant mew,
growing stronger into a shudder,
a song,
then a scythe for the Autumn harvest.

-published by Amarillo Bay, and part of my chapbook A Pure River

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Review of A Pure River in Offcourse Literary Journal

Editor Ricardo Nirenberg has published a review of my debut chapbook, A Pure River, in the Summer 2010 issue of Offcourse Literary Journal. Read it here first!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Summer 2010 Third Wednesday

The Summer 2010 issue of Third Wednesday is now out! I have two poems in this issue, and it's my second time publishing with Third Wednesday, so I'd like to support them as much as possible...check them out!

This Week's Poem

Not Even Names

left night’s sleepless wake

but forgetting
what is still being said

and an open mouth
expecting to be filled

and a homeless dog
pawing up earthen roots dark

yet no darker than morning’s,
haunting the borders

of a virgin cemetery
we may as well call a garden,

not even names
to lose oneself in.

-previously published by Literary Tonic

Friday, September 17, 2010

Show and Tell Gallery Podcast!

Monday's Show and Tell Gallery open mic at 3 Friends has included a podcast of the event on their website. It's broken into two sections for easier listening. Section two begins with my friends A. Molotkov and Leah Stenson, followed by my performance. Give it a listen at

Other Rooms Fall 2010

The Fall 2010 issue of Other Rooms is now available, which includes my poem "Tonight I have finally broken the spines"...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Houston Literary Review

The Houston Literary Review has accepted for publication two of my poems for their October 2010 issue! "Reykjavik"- based on observations in an Icelandic pub, and "A Strange Place"- a metaphorical poem about travel and what we bring or don't bring back with us.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

This Week's Poem

Rainy Season

Rain-pregnant, the unpierced palms
of maples cup halos,
little light tricks of sun
language deems halos.
Those nibbled by worms, moths,
dribble water down upon my forehead,
what my language names restoration.

We’re just outside Vienna in the hills,
christened hills because nearby
there are higher mountains.
We’re speaking of the future
to differentiate it from the past
and our hands are tightly locked
because the earth is slipping away.

-previously published by White Whale Review

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Day at St Johns

Just returned from a fun time as part of the Saturday Art Walk in St Johns. Tola and I had a table outside St Johns Booksellers to promote our upcoming reading and our work and had a few interesting conversations with passersby and a few important people in the local poetry community. And what a beautiful day to spend outside!

Open Mic this Monday

So, two open mics in a row! I'll be reading at the open mic at Three Friends Coffeehouse (201 SE 12th St., PDX) on Monday, 9/13 from 7-9pm. They were on summer haitus for two months, so I look forward to performing there again.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Naugatuck River Review

Naugatuck River Review Summer 2010 is out now! I'm honored to have my poem "At Thirteen" in its pages alongside many wonderful poets!

Stonehenge Studios Open Mic

On Sunday, Sept. 12, from 7-9 pm, I will be attending this month's Stonehenge poetry reading and open mic. It's a new venue but a very classy establishment with serious-minded poets of all ages. Come join us!

Stonehenge Studios is at 3508 SW Corbett Ave, Portland.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

An Evening of Poetry and Music

Saturday 10/2/10 (5-8pm) at Beach Books in Seaside, OR: A poetry and musical experience featuring five local artists. Three Portland poets will weave their work into a tapestry with full musical accompaniment.

A. Molotkov is a writer, composer, filmmaker and visual artist. Although he has been writing fiction and poetry for over 25 years, his more recent involvement with other art forms allows him to approach the creative process from various angles, with individual parts contributing to a greater whole. Molotkov is the author of several novels, short story and poetry collections and the winner of the 2008 E. M. Koeppel Short Fiction Award for his short story “Round Trip”, which was nominated for a Pushcart. His fiction and poetry has appeared in or accepted by the Hawaii Pacific Review, Peralta Press, Acquillrelle, Gival Press, Epicenter, Suger Mule and elsewhere. His debut CD “Can You Stay Forever”, an ambitious project utilizing 15 musicians, has received glowing reviews. A. Molotkov is quickly becoming known in the Portland poetry community for his exceptional skills at oral presentation. In February 2010, Molotkov spearheaded a one-hour performance “Love Outlives Us” presented by the Show and Tell Gallery and repeated on KBOO in June.

John Sibley Williams is a poet and book publicist residing in Portland, OR. He has a previous MA in Writing and presently studies Book Publishing at Portland State University, where he serves as Acquisitions Manager of Ooligan Press and publicist for Three Muses Press. His poetry was nominated for the 2009 Pushcart Prize, and his debut chapbook, A Pure River, is forthcoming from The Last Automat Press. Some of his over 100 previous or upcoming publications include: The Evansville Review, Ellipsis, Flint Hills Review, Euphony, Open Letters, Cadillac Cicatrix, Juked, The Journal, Hawaii Review, Cutthroat, The Furnace Review, Red Wheelbarrow, Aries, and River Oak Review.

Before landing in Portland, Carrie-Ann Tkaczyk lived all over. She learned kickboxing in Turkey, faced-off with a rhino in Nepal, discussed the weather with Queen Elizabeth, and was chastised by Mother Theresa in India. Portland has been her home for ten years. For the last four, she has been collaborating with members of her writing group, The Guttery. Some of her readings have been published by The Oregon Literary Review and Show and Tell Gallery as well as featured on the site Love Outlives Us. She writes novels about what happens when the will of the individual and the collective muscle of a culture clash. Her latest novel, Only Ghosts, is about the changes to a village in Nepal during the democratic movement of 1990.

David Cooke was raised Catholic in Oakland, California, and now lives in Lake Oswego, Oregon. His debut poem Edges won the Ruth Stone Poetry Prize and was nominated for a 2010 Pushcart Prize. His work appears in Flatmancrooked, Hunger Mountain, A River & Sound Review, and in performances at the Blackbird Wine Shop, Show and Tell Gallery, Stonehenge Studio, and KBOO’s Talking Earth. He is also known as The Lawn Guy throughout Portland and Lake Oswego for his lawn maintenance business. Much of his current work is included in his forthcoming chapbook, Discretion.

Ragon Linde is a musician specializing in eclectic jazz. He plays the guitar, drums, and bass. Ragon moved to Portland in 2006 from Tulsa, Oklahoma where he lived most of his life. While in Oklahoma, Ragon played in a wide range of musical groups over the last 35 years whose styles included big band, psychedelic jazz, heavy metal, acoustic folk, classical, and western swing. Much of his work has been recorded and his latest album of work titled My Own Private Jihad can be found on his MySpace site,

Monday, September 6, 2010

This Week's Poem

Gregor Samsa

And when metaphor exhausts of signifying the tangible?
Of transposing enigma upon dove, cloud,
hands and their wringing or their steeples?
Instead demanding through impotence
it denote nothing?

Bliss. Apocalypse. No, we’re merely crying over cobblestone
and walking nowhere, cradling fire and flowers.
No longer fire and flowers but a bored,
half-lit cigarette and a series of blossoms
that have readopted impermanence. Naked.
Objects alone.

And our fathers are suddenly not gods
and mother’s milk dried three decades ago,
leaving only her arms.
And we’re left suckling tirelessly at the sun
but burn our lips without tasting.
And dreams distance themselves
from the lovers dreaming them,
who are interpreting their days apart
as a sweater’s threads,
but left without language for each other
find nothing worth unraveling.
And that kiss sizzles off my cheek,
is cold as words seeking purpose,
and we upon waking remain ourselves
and the roaches, unglorified, are roaches
scurrying unseen beneath our bare feet.

-published in Other Rooms

A Pure River at St Johns Booksellers

My chapbook A Pure River is now available at St Johns Booksellers! The wonderful staff there, most notably Nena, placed it on the first shelf when you enter. How very exciting. So now you can find a copy in Powell's and St Johns!

20 Minutes in Portland anthology

My poem The Face Upon Which Faces Appear has been selected for and published in The Portland Review's special edition titled "20 Minutes in Portland", presently on shelves throughout the area. It's particularly special because the editor, Chris Cottrell, specifically chose local poets who are working hard for other poets, who are striving to keep the Portland literary community thriving, and it is an honor to be included in such an esteemed list...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Pure River on Matador Radar

I've been corresponding with David Miller, Senior Editor of Matador Network- a wonderful creative travel website. He's included a brief mention of A Pure River on Matador Radar!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Centrifugal Eye Book Review

The August 2010 issue of The Centrifugal Eye includes a book review of "River Poems: An Anthology of Poetry on the Allure of Rivers", which included my poem Two Hometowns on the Same River. On pgs. 93 and 94, this review references Two Hometowns! An excellent article all around, and I'm pleased to see my poem referenced twice!

This Week's Poem


Forever and an hour my headlights swallow
figures not defined enough to wear “tree”
sprouting from a darkness that is not quite nothing.

-published by Eclectica Magazine

Friday, August 27, 2010

Thursday, August 26, 2010


My hometown weekly newspaper, The Town Crier (in Wilmington, MA), just published a 2-page interview with me beginning on the front page! Titled "Poet Navigates 'A Pure River'", it deals with my writing process and history, my passion for poetry, and the impetus and hardships behind my new chapbook, A Pure River. I'm honored and humbled that so much space was devoted to the article! Unfortunately, the paper does not have an online presence, so I cannot link it here. But if you're from MA you can easily find it!

Third Wednesday Acceptance

Third Wednesday has accepted two of my poems for publication in their next print issue- Portrait of My Grandmother and Baltic Covenant. Of Baltic Covenant, the editorial board said, "Each word is carefully weighed and set in place and invites return."

Monday, August 23, 2010

New Address for Pre-Orders

My mailing address has changed for all chapbook orders or communications. Please send all mail to:

John Sibley Williams
5142 SW Slavin Rd, Apt 82
Portland, OR 97239

Upcoming Poetry Reading at St Johns Booksellers

Saturday 9/11/10 (10am-noon)- Market Day Poetry Table: Portland poets John Sibley Williams, A. Molotkov, and Shawn Austin will be reading and discussing poetry at a Market Day poetry table in front of St Johns Booksellers (8622 N. Lombard St, Portland).
Sunday 9/26/10 (2-3pm)- Poetry Reading: All three poets will give a free poetry reading at St Johns Booksellers.

John Sibley Williams is a poet and book publicist residing in Portland, OR. He has a previous MA in Writing and presently studies Book Publishing at Portland State University, where he serves as Acquisitions Manager of Ooligan Press and publicist for Three Muses Press. His poetry was nominated for the 2009 Pushcart Prize, and his debut chapbook, A Pure River, is forthcoming from The Last Automat Press. Some of his over 100 previous or upcoming publications include: The Evansville Review, Ellipsis, Flint Hills Review, Euphony, Open Letters, Cadillac Cicatrix, Juked, The Journal, Hawaii Review, Cutthroat, The Furnace Review, Red Wheelbarrow, Aries, and River Oak Review.

A. Molotkov is a writer, composer, filmmaker and visual artist. Although he has been writing fiction and poetry for over 25 years, his more recent involvement with other art forms allows him to approach the creative process from various angles, with individual parts contributing to a greater whole. Molotkov is the author of several novels, short story and poetry collections and the winner of the 2008 E. M. Koeppel Short Fiction Award for his short story “Round Trip”, which was nominated for a Pushcart. His fiction and poetry has appeared in or accepted by the Hawaii Pacific Review, Peralta Press, Acquillrelle, Gival Press, Epicenter, Suger Mule and elsewhere. His debut CD “Can You Stay Forever”, an ambitious project utilizing 15 musicians, has received glowing reviews. A. Molotkov is quickly becoming known in the Portland poetry community for his exceptional skills at oral presentation. In February 2010, Molotkov spearheaded a one-hour performance “Love Outlives Us” presented by the Show and Tell Gallery and repeated on KBOO in June.

Shawn is a founding member of the artistic movement called, “Inflectionism”. He is also co-founder of the Portland based poetry meetup group “The Moonlit Poetry Caravan”. He credits history, art, his work in the Field of Mental Health, and the climate of the NW as major influences that come peeking out of his writing.

This Week's Poem

Still the World

Why fret the vastness of the world?
Trample endlessly its belly, hungering
for its thighs. Embrace there a sun,
sweat it out, dreaming of frost.
Return full-circle
to kiss the winter dew of its forehead.
It amounts to the same
if never you broke the landscape
of your semi-circled arms,
the digested minutia of your home
spun in earthworm time,
regretting the absence
of foreign suns and frosts.

Still the world
fits snugly an eye socket,
is the size of the last dime
in your pocket
you’ve been saving
to quench your thirst.

-published by Paradigm

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Pure River now in Powell's

My debut chapbook, A Pure River, is now available in Powell's, both physically and online. For the former, you'll find it at Powell's on Hawthorne. Use this link to find it online. It should be at the main Burnside location soon enough...

So next time you're there, and if you are hopefully you're visiting the small press section anyway (they always need your love and support), take a look...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Scrambler

The August 2010 issue of The Scrambler is now online, including my poem "Equinox".

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tonight I have finally broken the spines

Other Rooms Press has just accepted for publication my poem "Tonight I have finally broken the spines", part of my series titled Syllables From Our Conversation, which is on its way toward a book-length manuscript. Syllables is an experiment in shorter poems without titles, mostly conceptual instead of narrative, which taken separately are syllables within the words of an ongoing conversation. "Tonight" is one of the first to be published and should be available at Other Rooms later in August.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

More Praise for A Pure River

We are told a picture is worth a thousand words. In his collection of travel-based poems, A Pure River, John Sibley Williams proves that the right words can paint a thousand pictures. Each poem in this collection is a snapshot capturing both the landscape and emotion of Williams’ cross-country travels. His observations of rusted boxcars, abandoned barns, and monuments atop bridges become entry points into the scenic highways of human existence. Williams invites readers to leave behind their travel brochures and venture with their hearts to destinations not found on most postcards.

Williams’ writing is filled with vivid descriptions, but it is never ostentatious. His poetry begs to be savored. Readers will enjoy how he can take an event as mundane as watching a black and white cowboy film in his hotel room and turn it into an exploration of the soul’s movement. If cameras could capture images the way Williams captures them with words, no one would dread the question “Would you like to see the pictures I took on my trip?”

-Vinnie Kinsella, editor of Four and Twenty

Monday, August 16, 2010

Two Poetry Acceptances Today

Some wonderful news on a smoldering summer day...two of my poems have been accepted for publication by two different journals!

The Scrambler, an e-zine and micro press, will be publishing my poem Equinox very soon, and Tipton Poetry Journal will be publishing Et Cetera, a poem previously published, so I'm particularly excited that it's found more than one home...a good day, indeed!

This Week's Poem

I’m Reading Sunday’s Headlines That Call for Things Like Justice

I want stone
or a word for stone-
you can’t have both.

And though my childhood
spent chucking stones at
lakes, factories, friends

bled many mouths,
they have forgiven
or forgotten me

and in forever recounting to new
lovers, bartenders, friends
the sins acquired these first thirty years,

the repetition- stone stone stone-
has regressed to word
the smooth reality of stone

and the weighty joy in singing
silently my hands’ actions-
whatever their consequence.

-published by The New Verse News

The Books are Here!

My chapbook, A Pure River, is officially out! Thank you everyone who pre-ordered a copy; they are in the mail. And review copies have been mailed, so I look forward to a gentle media breeze. I have already been approached by my hometown newspaper, Town Crier (Wilmington, MA), for an article, which I'll post info on once it's been published...

Copies can be ordered from The Last Automat Press or directly from me via check or paypal.

Monday, August 9, 2010

This Week's Poem

Surely I’m Convinced

a word understood must have been uttered aloud.

a word uttered must travel vast distances
to define itself.

one word will some day imbue
the rest with meaning.

Surely I’m Convinced

the winter wind speaks
to one person at a time,
and just now I possess its conversation.

the snow owl communicates with god
through its wake of rodent bones and fur.

utter silence has no counterpart.

-previously published by Open Letters & Unfettered Verse

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Stonehenge Studios reading this Sunday

This Sunday, August 8, a few friends and I will be performing at an open mic via Stonehenge Studios!

Where: Ross Island Cafe, 3508 SW Corbett Avenue, Portland
When: Sunday, August 8, 7-9pm

Monday, August 2, 2010

Further Praise for A Pure River

"Williams employs an austere selection of metaphoric language that serves to intensify his imagery and reveal layered meanings. What furthermore makes him an accomplished poet is his ability to summon fresh redolence out of old images, skillfully evoked in poems such as A Certain Pasture Near Gettysburg and Farmer?s Almanac. In the same vein, Traveling Through the Rust Belt and Idaho, Moments After Sunset are exemplary of what succeeds in poetry through their resiliently subtle power of pastoral, if not stark and lonely imagery -- the very kind that recalls great poets such as James Wright and Walt McDonald.
I have been reviewing works of poetry for over ten years, and I find John Sibley Williams chapbook among the best. It thus comes with my highest recommendation."

-Jeff Alfier, editor of San Pedro River Review

I would like to thank everyone, editors and poets alike, who have been so kind as to read and review A Pure River. I'm overwhelmed by the kind and perceptive responses, many of which I have posted here. For those who are interested in purchasing a copy, they are due out in a few weeks. Please email me at for more info or to contact me. I have set up a paypal account for payments ($12 including shipping) or check, money order, or cash via postal mail (address 5160 SW Slavin Rd, Apt 61, Portland, Or 97239). Or they can be purchased directly from the publisher, The Last Automat Press.

This Week's Poem

The Day Before

Today is no different
and will pass without a word,
will holler and vanish in a storm cloud
that in a season
will return us calm tides and birds.

The shells spiraling toward center
could as easily be heading away.
Is that not reason enough to rejoice?


What low tide lays bare
might not be expected
but someone once pitched
everything we find here into the sea,

making this act of rediscovery
its own strenuous abandonment.


If we could not remember
the day before
would the waves speak
a less weighty dialect?

Without history would its torchbearers
pine like the rest of us
for definition
and for an image of ourselves

Without love’s deeds and its failures
would I be left wondering alone by the sea
why the severity of my hands?

-published in Arlington Literary Journal

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Willows Wept Review Summer 2010 out!

Issue 8 (Summer 2010) of Willows Wept Review is out now! Two of the poems they published are part of my upcoming chapbook, A Pure River, which is a collection based on experiences during a cross-country drive. So to get a sneak peak of the book, check out Willows Wept!

Baptismal involves a southern Baptism upon a riverbank, where vultures are calling the dead one way, religion the other. South Texas Shadow is a strange blend of person and landscape, as often one defines the other...

Friday, July 30, 2010

Euphony Spring 2010 out!

Euphony's Spring 2010 issue is out now! This issue contains my poem "It is not you".

Euphony is a non-profit literary journal produced biannually at the University of Chigago.

Praise for A Pure River

Praise for A Pure River is rolling in. I'm excited that so many poets and editors have shown such interest in my chapbook and have provided such glowing reviews!

Here's what people have said:

"John Sibley Williams is undoubtedly one of the most significant new voices emerging in the 21st century. He represents poetry as it is supposed to be, with all the lessons of the past’s masters and a fresh flavor of a modern mind. Williams is intensely at home with half-objects, things almost said, entities that exist between reality and interpretation, fact and perception, memory and metaphor. The skillful ambiguity of his work is a dreamfiled for a sophisticated contemporary reader accustomed to inhabiting text and finding their own place within it, where interpretation contributes to a unique dialog between the poem and the reader. It is the poets like John Sibley Williams who remind us that there are mental and semantic fields yet to ponder, despite the millions that have already self-exploded from overexposure. In his capability to combine the minute exploration of the texture of being with a general compassion for the humankind it its many manifestations, Williams reminds us of such voices as Paul Celan, Paul Eluard and William Stafford. With this wonderful chapbook, he instantly becomes a literary phenomenon to reckon with."

-A. Molotkov, 2009 Pushcart Prize nominee and author of the novel everything

"John Sibley Williams is a poet of rare skill. Precise, spare, vivid; his images sneak from the page into the memory. Even when he’s describing abandoned towns, deserted roads, Williams sketches the rust belt, the desert, the Midwest, with aching beauty. An outsider with the eye of a poet, he catalogues his surroundings with accurate and playful detail. “People…define bad water/ as all rivers never crossed,” Williams says, but he isn’t afraid to cross the river and see what lies on the other side. His poems are one part travelogue, one part love-letters to America. He asks, “Would I too prefer to live slowly/ like how a child learns to speak/ than rush through a novel’s breadth before noon/ without recalling a single character’s eyes?” The answer is a resounding No! Williams takes his time, all the while searching for that “pure river.” Buy this book; beat the rush before Williams is the name on the tip of everyone’s tongue."

-CL Bledsoe is the author of _____(Want/Need) and Anthem and the editor for Ghoti Magazine.
"John Sibley Williams is truly gifted and well deserving of the awards and recognition his poems have garnered. He genuinely touches and inspires the heart of the reader through vivid images of the places he has been and chronicled so effectively. It has been my privilege to read, contemplate, and thoroughly enjoy A Pure River."

-Anita Lanning, Vice President of Central Oregon Writers Guild
"A Pure River is a travelogue through the archaisms and illusions of American society. John Sibley Williams's beautifully-cast rhythms refresh dry landscapes and display a discerning -- and buoyant -- intelligence that turns scenes of isolation into small planets with their own gravitational pull."

-Jerry Bradley, poetry editor of Concho River Review and author of Simple Versions of Disaster & The Importance of Elsewhere
A Pure River is a walk inside perceptions, a view into forever, with poetic scenery, emotion, and heart. This collection is a sojourn into the past and a trip cross-country; an experience of the soul.

-Deborah Stinson, editor of Unfettered Verse

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Paypal option for Pre-order of my chapbook!

I've created a paypal account to make pre-orders of my chapbook easier. The paypal email is! Order now and often!

If you would like to order a copy, please send payment of $12, which includes shipping, to via paypal or to address below. Also, feel free to contact me via email or phone. I would be more than happy to sign any copies you order, if you let me know. In a few months, once it hits shelves, you'll be able to order it directly through the press (

Thank you so very much for your consideration and support. If it weren't for the friendship and support from you all over the years, I wouldn't be anywhere near where I am today.

John Sibley Williams
5160 Sw Slavin Rd, Apt 61
Portland, Or 97239

Review of my forthcoming chapbook, A Pure River

"John Sibley Williams is undoubtedly one of the most significant new voices emerging in the 21st century. He represents poetry as it is supposed to be, with all the lessons of the past’s masters and a fresh flavor of a modern mind. Williams is intensely at home with half-objects, things almost said, entities that exist between reality and interpretation, fact and perception, memory and metaphor. The skillful ambiguity of his work is a dreamfiled for a sophisticated contemporary reader accustomed to inhabiting text and finding their own place within it, where interpretation contributes to a unique dialog between the poem and the reader. It is the poets like John Sibley Williams who remind us that there are mental and semantic fields yet to ponder, despite the millions that have already self-exploded from overexposure. In his capability to combine the minute exploration of the texture of being with a general compassion for the humankind it its many manifestations, Williams reminds us of such voices as Paul Celan, Paul Eluard and William Stafford. With this wonderful chapbook, he instantly becomes a literary phenomenon to reckon with."

-A. Molotkov, 2009 Pushcart Prize nominee and author of the novel everything

Monday, July 26, 2010

I'll be presenting to Central Oregon Writers Guild!

Wow, what an opportunity!

I've been invited by Central Oregon Writers Guild to read my work and give a presentation on the art of poetry and its composition on July 28, 2011! This is quite an honor and the most significant event I have yet led or participated in. Of course I am a bit intimidated, but I have a year to figure out what little ol' me can 'teach' a large, respected group of local authors.

This Week's Poem

Left Hand

It reaches out to shake
but retreats, shyly,
good for little more
than keeping writing paper still
when someone throws open a window
or balancing a ladder
or pivoting a gravedigger’s shovel,
acts of supporting inertia,
fending off wind and gravity.

Since birth, a series of retreats,
little hopes ground to pulp,
until like a marionette only half-stringed
you finally meet a beautiful woman
who extends her left hand
and you smirk disdainfully
and offer your right.

-previously published by Barnwood International

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pre-Order of A Pure River!

Dear Friends,
I am very excited to be able to share some wonderful news with you. My new book, A Pure River, is being published by The Last Automat Press this fall. The book is a collection of poems based on experiences during my cross-country trip a few years back. I believe it has much to say even to those who don’t traditionally enjoy poetry, as it spans the emotional and physical landscapes of over a dozen states.

At this time I am able to accept pre-orders for copies of A Pure River and would be honored if you would like me to reserve one (or more) for you. I am confident that you will enjoy it and would be very grateful for your support.

If you would like to order a copy, please send payment of $12, which includes shipping, to my physical address below. Also, feel free to contact me via email or phone. I would be more than happy to sign any copies you order, if you let me know. In a few months, once it hits shelves, you'll be able to order it directly through the press.
Thank you so very much for your consideration and support. If it weren't for the friendship and support from you all over the years, I wouldn't be anywhere near where I am today.

John Sibley Williams
5160 SW Slavin Rd, Apt 61
Portland, OR 97239

Debut Chapbook!!

I am excited to announce my debut chapbook, A Pure River, is forthcoming later this year from The Last Automat Press. It's based on experiences during my cross country trip three years ago. The contract is signed, proofs proofed, and blurb requests sent out. However, if you're interested in an advanced screening of A Pure River, please let me know. I'd love for it to reach the hands of all interested readers.

I am also seeking blurbs and reviews, so let me know if you'd like a first glimpse!

Monday, July 19, 2010

This Week's Poem


Iron sky, grinding clouds,
piecemeal memories broad and porous
worked over again upon the loom.

Clockwork of sunset-
still my feet and still
edgeless night.
I am tomorrow’s rearview promise-
more canvass
more canvass more dreams
more time to listen to my song
misinterpreting each note.

-previously published by Counterexample Poetics

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sleet Magazine out now!

The Summer issue of Sleet Magazine is out now, including my poem "Cross, how comfortable you are". Check it out:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Willows Wept Review

Willows Wept Review just accepted four of my previously published poems for their online poetry journal!

Willows Wept Review is an online literary journal that publishes seasonally themed writing that explores, celebrates, and/or problematizes the relationship between human beings and the natural world.

Being seasonally-themed, Willows Wept will publish my poems "South Texas Shadow" and "Baptismal", which both come from experiences during my cross country drive 4 years ago, in their Summer 2010 edition (scheduled for July), "Rebuilding Over and Again", based in Iceland, for Fall 2010 (released in October), and "Winter", could have been written anywhere but is quite New England-based to me, for Winter 2011 (released next January).

Monday, July 12, 2010

Love Outlives Us

Below is a link to a wonderful multi-media performance by my friends from Moonlit Poetry Caravan and The Guttery (local Portland writing groups). Unfortunately schoolwork barred me from participating, but it's a very unique performance including poetry and music...

Monday, July 5, 2010

Tuesday: An Art Project

Just returned from a wonderful 4th weekend with my love's hometown of Boise with fantastic news!

My socially-aware poem "Cutting Along the Edges" will be published in the Fall 2010 print issue of Tuesday: An Art Project. Their Spring issue contains work from such names as Franz Wright, so I am excited to find my work in it's fine pages!

"Cutting Along the Edges" is a statement about the distance between real and televised feelings about the suffering of others, about how I (and nearly everyone) speak of atrocities and far-away pain as if it were out own, as if we were all connected, yet we are at heart unmoved...perhaps the act of talking about feelings replaces the feelings themselves...

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Inflectionism begins

Inflectionism, a collective of three Portland poets (A. Molotkov, Shawn Austin, and myself) with a new outlook, perspective, and goal for contemporary poetry, is beginning to take roots. After a brainstorm and website development meeting that weaned well into the AM, a structure and aims were born. It's a very exciting concept whose implementation will be rewarding...Here's what we have so far:

Inflectionism is a poetic movement that grew out of discussions among three Portland poets who were seeking a more organic poetry that respected both poet and reader, both words and interpretation . We don’t seek to control the definition of Inflectionism but to encourage other poets to make up their own definitions. Our definitions are merely roots.

White Space

The concept of white space involves far more than the physical strategy- striking a healthy balance between black and white, text and vacancy. Words themselves require room to breathe. Images should remain wet cement. Concepts and emotions reside in the gray area of interpretation, the interplay of meaning and translation. In other words, the substance of poetry develops from achieving a delicate balance of text and not text, of stating what you mean without stating your intent, of white space not just around but also within the words you use.

Inflectionism does not support ambiguity for its own sake, much like art for art’s sake. At heart, poetry is an intimate conversation between the writer and reader. Beyond that, it accepts the reader’s part in the process and encourages connections deeper than mere recognition, understanding, and response. Too much poetry, perhaps most, seems composed with the audience’s reaction in mind. Keep the audience in mind, surely, but why dictate its response? If every reader has the same experience of a poem, the poet has failed at one of the most fundamental tasks of writing- to encourage dialogue, not demand attention via diatribe.

Inflecting suggests grasping what has come before and redefining it, refocusing it, placing it upon a different point in the arc thereby changing its trajectory. No poetic movement has wrongly defined the art of writing; they all provide philosophical stances and unique foundations upon which to build a real relationship with a reader. Inflectionism solicits readers to actively participate in a poem, to recreate each poem with every reading, and to recognize white space exists to nourish the poem with their experiences and their voices. And we seek writers and artists who yearn to communicate, not impart; to celebrate interpretations; to speak and to listen.

—- John Sibley Williams

The Experience

Inflectionism is an artistic movement that envisions art as being a social interaction. Just as social interactions seek a balance, art too should seek a communicative balance with the viewer. And it is this observer, which is the core human element essential to the creative process. What draws people together are shared experiences. Therefore inflectionists see art as a shared experience and relationship. A cross-cultural bridge, between peoples, between times, and worlds.

Consequently, inflectionists draw importance on proportionately utilizing a nonlinear approach. This is in an effort not only for art to bridge a gap, but also to keep the bridge alive and moving as all experiences and relationships do. A poem should be just like that bridge. Just like a simple park; where you might say, “I have been here many times before, but never with this weather.” Inflectionists seek to free up the hidden potential behind words, allowing their relationships to wander and be dynamic; like a bird hoping on branches causing movement to be experienced in many other areas of the tree.

Inflectionism does not seek artistic self overindulgence, it also recognizes the core concentration and authencity of an experience, but does utilize elements of a poet’s subconscious. The subconscious is seen as a conduit point. An intuitive point in the work where the author trusts his own perspective to spark a thought, create a stimuli, and present a space to mull over an experience. The approach seeks to maintain an “Inflectionist Balance”, a boiling point of integrity, a genuineness of personality, a dynamic point at which truth can resonate off of the paper.

Seemingly, the responsibility of a good poem should invite the unique perceptions and participation of a reader. It should create an environment filled with choice; an environment, for the reader to step into and participate by drawing on their own consciousness to fill in the gaps. The observer can move throughout the rooms of a poem, explore, and discover areas at their own leisure.
—-Shawn Austin

A Dialog

Instead of defining itself from scratch, inflectionism seeks to define itself as an extension of the pre-existing art. Inflectionist poetry is just one branch of the creative approach that is referred to as Inflectionism.

The literary tradition is as ancient as our capacity for verbal communication. Through ages, most of the core human concerns have remained the same, although our ability to analyze and discuss them has evolved. Poetry has remained essentially the same in that it elicits our reaction by appealing to those concerns indirectly. Yet, it has become more complex as our self-awareness grows, as new works create a precedent for approaching the same universe of discourse from slightly different angles. Inflectionist poetry builds on the most compelling precedents to create precedents of its own.

Although art does not follow a pre-set formula and each artist’s methods of expression are by necessity unique, there are certain tendencies that one identifies and adheres to if one approaches one’s creative output analytically and with a sense of responsibility to a greater whole. Inflectionist poets are in general defined by the following tendencies:

Poetry does not teach or explain. It asks questions and lets the reader answer them.
Poetry leaves space for the reader to come to their own conclusions.
Poetry seeks to represent the type of human interaction that causes a positive spark, an epiphany, a sense of growth
Poetry does not rely on any special knowledge on the reader’s part, be it political, geographical, historical, etc.

A perfect poem is like a room into which the reader is invited with a soft word. This room contains wonders the reader can explore on their own. The poem does not seek to become its own tour guide by over-explaining its meaning and beauty. The poem respects its topic and treats its reader with empathy, attempting to enrich the reader’s experience. A perfect poem works as well today as it would in the future or the past.

Inflectionist poetry is both new and familiar. It examines core human realities and gently pushes the reader to engage in a mutually defining interaction with the world.

—A. Molotkov

Gloom Cupboard out now!

Issue 121 of Gloom Cupboard is now up at Check it out! It includes one of my poems...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Now Culture

Now Culture has just accepted my long poem "Answering Where?" for publication! I am excited about the venue, as Now Culture, though small, is uniquely strong and published incredibly dynamic work. Below is a description of the process I used in the creation of this poem, to be included in the magazine...

To me, there is a difference between fact and truth in poetry, as there is in all creative forms. Most importantly in a narrative framework, actual facts can get in the way of, even become obstacles against, the honesty of a situation. It is the truth behind something that people relate to, not the thing itself. Therefore, I usually take a personal truth or nagging question and try to create a personal (conceptual or visceral or both) experience that others can grasp intuitively. If a location or specific occurrence is involved, the reader need not have lived it to understand the truth behind it. In fact, I need not have directly lived it. I tend to start with an honest, emotional experience and create facts to support it, hoping the poem resonates universally.

“Answering Where?” is a perfect example. While I was living in Vienna, a friend who recently returned from Morocco related a specific scene to me:

Imagine evening is breaking into night, with neither sun nor moon claiming dominance, just colors, and you are mid-city Casablanca, alone and lost amid unknown languages and an unstudied culture, just wandering, and you turn a dusty corner to find what seems like a mile of refuse aflame. The smoke pours up into the sky, masking the claustrophobic buildings. People walk around it as if were a puddle or a dead dog, or they stoke it with the day’s household garbage, and kids swarm it like a playground, tossing things into it. The city has no garbage collection, so the people simply pile it in the street and periodically set it ablaze. It was rather beautiful.

Her description haunted me. I could not shake it. So I put myself there and began writing the scene in colors and sounds and silences that may or may not accurately reflect the facts, but hopefully reflect the situation’s honesty. From my own journeys abroad, I stole the fear of the unknown, the loneliness and yet the wonder of languagelessness, that sense of otherness and the people I have encountered that embody it, and the moon, which seems to be what all travelers look to for solidarity, for a stable foothold connecting them to home. From my friend, I stole the narration. And from Hafiz, I stole the mood that seemed most appropriate, that resonated with me— that beauty inherent in the other version of our world.

This Week's Poem


Slipped beneath my wiper
an invitation to festivities
held in the empty factory
I just left
where once mirrors were assembled.

-previously published by Four and Twenty

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Another acceptance today!

Naugatuck River Review just contacted me regarding my poem "At Thirteen", which will be in their Summer 2010 print edition! What a weekend for poetry, on and offline. Just returned from Mt Hood, where Staci and I (and our furry boy Dillinger) spent her birthday, to find two acceptances from such great journals...

Cross to City- Gloom Cupboard

Just received confirmation that my poem "Cross to City" will be published soon at Gloom Cupboard! This poem was written in Brighton, MA, while at a writers conference I noticed the adjacent city building (I believe a courthouse)still had the steeple from when it was church, not all that long ago. I began wondering about the differences and similarities between the two types of parishners that would frequent either establishment, perhaps both...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Ellipsis 2010 out now!

The 2010 issue of Ellipsis just hit the shelves! It's a beautifully-designed print edition, and I'm honored my poem "Psalm One" is included. For guidelines and magazine info, see Now I need to find a home for "Psalm Two"!

Hawai'i Review- Winter 2009 out now!

Hawai'i Review's Winter 2009 issue is now out! You can purchase copies or learn about the magazine at My poem "This Other Island" is in this issue. It was composed in Santorini, as the island's landscape hinted in many respects at Iceland's volanic atmosphere. Funny, there are some places that remain with you, and wherever you travel little remembrances, almost like mirrors, peek out from behind each tree, each hill, each memory...

This Week's Poem


Drunk on assembling the scattered shards
green beer and blue wine

and transparent water my fingers
work to have something to fill.

-published by Bijou Poetry Review

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sleet Magazine

Friends, I am excited this beautiful Saturday morning as Sleet Magazine has accepted my short poem "Cross, how comfortable you are" for publication in mid-July. I'll post the direct link to the poem once it is available!

Monday, June 14, 2010

This Week's Poem

Et Cetera

Within this Alpine valley
endless fields of wild flowers,
wild flowers without names,
and within the field I,
within me a heart
level with the bedrock
encountering the roots of color-
ful flowers,
within my heart hands
hollowing out valleys
and constructing mountains
and plucking from them both
flowers without names.

-previously published by The Evansville Review

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Furnace Review

The Furnace Review has just accepted my poem Manners of Distortion for publication in their Summer 2010 issue. I'll post when it becomes available online!

work with Three Muses Press begins

My internship with Three Muses Press began today with an exciting new challenge. To market a new novel, Morgan's Pasture by Wallance J. Swenson. I truly look forward to working on my first small press marketing campaign, as it may end up being the element of publishing I choose to focus on. The more I consider the need for small presses and their underrepresentation in public spheres and reading habits, the more I want to help change that in whatever small way possible. But it's time to crack open the novel.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Blue Moon Literary and Art Review

Great news! Blue Moon Literary and Art Review has accepted two of my poems for future issues. "Two Rivers", written about the Danube and Seine rivers for Paul Celan, will be in Blue Moon's Fall/Winter 2010 print issue and "Equinox", an imagistic love poem, will be in their Spring 2011 print issue.

For more information on or submission guidelines to Blue Moon, an interesting publication I recently discovered, please visit