Nostalgia by Bailey Spry


(Thank you to our dear daughter, Bailey June, for sharing her poetry.)

For Jake

Red. The color of your little boots, feet on the wrong legs Poppa called it.

I run down the back steps, the ones dad painted how many times?

Poppas there, on the circular stone at the landing of those worn steps and I leap for him

He’s young with that grin, you know the one

And then he’s gone, I’ve leapt through him and I haven’t held on tight enough

He’s in the next world

The sorrows too great

So I run to the lilacs

There’s comfort there

Although the blossoms haven’t yet appeared

We’ve been awaiting them

As we have every year

Since we knew they were for us

Was this where my romance with plants began?

We are playing in the heart of the lilac bush

The one behind the garage, before dad cut it down

I begged him not to

I understand now what pruning is

I’m almost a botanist

But we are there, now, and you’re wearing your little red boots

And I want to stay there forever with you

In our little lilac home

We have pots and mud balls

We could last 10 years

The season of lilacs

Going out without a coat

Before the last frosts

That dip in the driveway

The one in front of the basketball net

In front of the lilacs

Whose ephemeral blossoms conjure up such sentiment

Of Poppa’s arms, the color purple, and your little red boots

The Love Tree

We rounded the bend in the pines, reached the base of the grass swept hill and were met by her. An evening shimmer of frosty air and the silhouette from a blotted sun announced simultaneously her age and grace. She was here before any of us were a thought. “That tree was my first love”, I said to him without turning. My eyes fixed on the lightning scars, we approached her. “She cradled us in a way no human mother could,” she told us things and confirmed our brightest dreams and deepest fears. She let us carve our names and loves in her skin and sent us home with spirits filled, us, having glimpsed the top of the world from her branches. We’ll mourn her when she’s gone like the grandmother she became. “Unless she remains, when we are gone.”

Bailey June Spry is the first born of Scott and Shawn Spry, born in Pontiac, Michigan, raised in Waterford, Michigan, now living in Kipahulu, Maui. She loves much: her family, Dege O’Connell, friends, digging, planting and harvesting in rich volcanic soil, fine coffee and wine, certain fungi and algae, among many others. May she share more of her beautiful musings with us here in the future. (Below, Bailey in 1996 and 2021)

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Call For Submissions

North of Oxford

Calling all Poets living in Canada and the United States!

From Hiram Larew-



In recognition of 2021 World Food Day and in keeping with the power of poetry to move hearts and minds towards needed anti-hunger actions, Poetry X Hunger and its partners announce an important Call for Poetry Submissions.  Collaborators include the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Liaison Office for North America, the Capital Area Food Bank and, poet Rebecca Roach. 

Held every October 16, this year’s World Food Day is themed on “Our Actions Are Our Future. Better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life.”  Our modern world is putting enormous strain and competing pressures on our agri-food systems. Our collective choices as consumers and producers today impact what tomorrow will look like. World Food Day calls for building sustainable, inclusive, and resilient food systems that deliver enough affordable, nutritious…

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Gun Shy by Jim Daniels

I just preordered this:

Wayne State University Press

4809 Woodward Ave.

Detroit, MI 48201

For more information on the book or to speak to the author, please contact

Kristina Stonehill, Promotions Manager

*For Immediate Release*

DETROIT, MI, May 12, 2021 — The poems in Gun/Shy deal with the emotional

weight of making do. Tinged with both the regrets and wisdom of aging, Jim

Daniels’s poems measure the wages of love in a changing world with its

vanishing currency. He explores the effects of family work—putting children to

bed, leading parents to their final resting places—and what is lost and gained in

those exertions. Childhood and adolescence are examined, through both looking

back on his own childhood and on that of his children. While his personal death

count rises, Daniels reflects on his own mortality. He finds solace in small

miracles—his mother stretching the budget to feed five children with

“hamburger surprise” and potato skins, his children collecting stones and

crabapples as if they were gold coins.

Daniels, as he always has, carries the anchor of Detroit with him, the weight

both a comfort and a burden. He explores race, white privilege, and factory

work. Eight Mile Road, a fraught border, pulses with division, and the echoes of

music, singing through Detroit’s soiled but solid heart, resonate in these poems.

His first long poem in many years, “Gun/Shy,” centers the book. Through the

personas of several characters, Daniels dives into America’s gun culture and the

violent gulf between the fearful and the feared.

Throughout, he seeks connection in likely and unlikely places: a river rising

after spring rain and searchlights crossing the night sky. Comets and cloudy

skies. Cement ponds and the Garden of Eden. Adolescence and death. Wounds

physical and psychic. Disguises and more disguises. These are the myths we

memorize to help us sleep at night, those that keep us awake and trembling.

Daniels’s accessible language, subtlety, and deftness make this collection one

that belongs on every poetry reader’s shelf.


A native of Detroit, Jim Daniels currently lives in Pittsburgh and is the Thomas S. Baker University Professor Emeritus at Carnegie

Mellon. His recent books include Rowing Inland (Wayne State University Press, 2017) and The Perp Walk. He also coedited the

anthology RESPECT: The Poetry of Detroit Music.

Book information:

Available August 2021, 6×9, 96 pages

ISBN 9780814348789, $16.99 Paperback (eBook also available)

More information and cover image download available at:

Made in Michigan Writers Series

available for preorder:

Lunch, Art, and a Read

Beef stew with potatoes, lentils, rice, carrots, green peppers, onions, side salad, a wire sculpture with book “The Uruguayan Woman (but in Spanish).”

Guiso de carne con papas, lentejas, arroz, zanahorias, pimientos verdes, cebollas, ensalada, una escultura de alambre con el libro “La Uruguaya”.

Coffee First, Then Everything Else

I Received this in the mail this weekend. Thanks Diane and g.

About North of Oxford

Brought to you by the publishers of The Fox Chase Review , (2008-2015),  North of Oxford is an international literary journal. Our Name? We reside north of the Oxford Circle @ Roosevelt Boulevard in the Northeast section of the City of Philadelphia.  Submissions are always open. North of Oxford publishes poetry, book reviews, commentary and essays.  North of Oxford has regular contributors of book reviews but is open to new voices. The journal publishes twice a month, reviews are published on the 1st of each month and poetry is published on the 15th of each month.

North of Oxford was founded in July 2016 as a review/commentary/essay journal. The journal expanded to publish poetry in May of 2017. Our editors are open to diverse voices and attempt to publish an eclectic range of reviews and poetry. At North of Oxford we do not sit on submissions and make every effort to respond to submissions in a timely manner. Simply put, we publish what we like no matter the “school” of poetry or type of book.

Our format at North of Oxford is designed to bring the words of poets and authors to our readership in a basic presentation without pretense. We make no claim to be prestigious or desire to be. North of Oxford is dedicated to the presentation of new and established voices in the literary world. North of Oxford is a non-profit literary journal and as such is a non-paying market. All © rights remain with the writers and poets who are published at the journal. In today’s market many electronic and print publications charge to read the publication and charge poets and authors a submission fee. North of Oxford is always free to read and we will never charge a submission fee.

Submission Guidelines

© All rights remain with the writers and poets 

Please read and follow the guidelines. We do not want to know who recommended that you submit to North of Oxford. Let your art stand on its own.  We do not accept PDF files and if included in a submission it will not be read. Do not pre-format your submission, such as page and/or section breaks, etc. The guidelines are simple, follow them.

Poetry submissions are welcome. Please send no more than five poems in word doc with a short bio, (75-100 words),  and jpeg to for consideration of publication. Put Poetry Submission and your name in the subject line of the email.  Poems will be published the 15th of each month. Our response time should be within two months. We do not accept any previously published poems. Simultaneous submissions are accepted, please give proper notice if accepted elsewhere.  Please wait six months after acceptance or rejection to submit new poems to North of Oxford.

Book Review-Essay- Commentary Submissions are open :

Submissions of book reviews, essays, and commentary are welcome. Send your submission for consideration of publication in word doc with any images or photographs attached , Include a brief bio. All submissions are to be sent to:  Reviewers are responsible for submitting a fully edited review for consideration. Put type of submission and your name in the subject line. Reviews, essays, commentary, interviews will be published the 1st of each month

For Book Reviewers- Recently Received Books:  ( Updated on a regular basis)

Books For Review Consideration: 

( Please note: We do not accept pdf files for reviews)

Publishers can send review copies for consideration to :

North of Oxford, 711 Longshore Avenue, Philadelphia, Pa. 19111

Contributing Editors


Diane Sahms, Poetry Editor at North of Oxford is a native Philadelphian. She is the author of four full-length poetry collections: Images of Being (Stone Garden Publishing, 2011), Lights Battered Edge (Anaphora Literary Press 2015), Night Sweat (Red Dashboard Press, 2016), The Handheld Mirror of the Mind (Kelsay Books 2018). Awarded a grant in poetry from the AEV Foundation in 2013, she was named the winner of the Working People’s Poetry Competition- 2015. She has served as Poet in Residence at Ryerss Museum and Library and as Poetry Editor of The Fox Chase Review. More about Diane can be found at: Diane Sahms Website


g cafe 2019

g emil reutter, Book Review Editor/ Site Manager at North of Oxford,  is a writer of poems and stories and on occasion literary criticism. Born in Bristol, Pa. and raised in Levittown he has lived most of his adult life in Philadelphia, Pa. Fifteen collections of his poetry and fiction have been published. He published The Fox Chase Review (2008-2015).  He can be found at  

Regular Contributors of Reviews and Commentary  to North of Oxford

Byron Beynon 2014

Byron Beynon coordinated Wales’ contribution to the anthology Fifty Strong (Heinemann). His poems and essays have featured in several publications including North of Oxford, The Independent, Agenda, Wasafiri, The London Magazine, Wilderness House Literary Review and the human rights anthology In Protest (University of London and Keats House Poets).  He is the author of 11 collections of poetry including Cuffs (Rack Press) and The Echoing Coastline (Agenda Editions).



Lynette G. Esposito has been an Adjunct Professor at Rowan University,  Burlington County and Camden County Colleges. She has taught creative writing and conducted workshops in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  Mrs. Esposito holds a BA in English from the University of Illinois and an MA in Creative Writing and English Literature from Rutgers University.  Her articles have appeared in the national publication, Teaching for Success; regionally in South Jersey Magazine, SJ Magazine. Delaware Valley Magazine, and her essays have appeared in Reader’s Digest and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Her poetry has appeared in US1, SRN Review, The Fox Chase Review, Bindweed Magazine, Poetry Quarterly, That Literary Review, The Remembered Arts Journal, and other literary magazines. She has critiqued poetry for local and regional writer’s conferences and served as a panelist and speaker at local and national writer’s conferences.  She lives  in Mount Laurel, NJ.



greg bem author bio

Greg Bem is a poet and librarian living on unceded Duwamish territory, specifically Seattle, Washington. He writes book reviews for Rain Taxi, Yellow Rabbits, and more. His current literary efforts mostly concern water and often include elements of video. Learn more at



Ray Greenblatt is an editor on the Schuylkill Valley Journal. His book reviews have been published by a variety of periodicals: BookMark Quarterly, Joseph Conrad Today, English Journal, the Dylan Thomas Society, and the John Updike Society. His new book of poetry, Nocturne & Aubades, is newly available from Parnilis Press, 2018. Ray Greenblatt has two books out for 2020: UNTIL THE FIRST LIGHT (Parnilis Media) and MAN IN A CROW SUIT (BookArts Press).


Charles Rammelkamp is Prose Editor for Brick House Books in Baltimore and Reviews Editor for The Adirondack Review. His most recent releases are Ugler Lee from Kelsay Books and Catastroika from Apprentice House.



Occasional Contributors of Reviews/Commentary/Essays 

Tom Block, Hélène CardonaKristina Gibbs , Patricia Carragon, Alex Carrigan, Michael Collins, Alexis David,  James E. Diamond, Mark Eisner,  Jim Feast, Aaron Fischer, Diane Sahms-Guarnieri, Jennifer Hetrick , Karen Corinne Herceg, David P. Kozinki, Neil LeadbeaterRussel Micnhimer, Richard Nester, Robbie Nester, Stephen Page, Maggie Paul, Dana Porreca,  Thaddeus Rutkowski, Michaiah Samples, Samantha Seto,  Larissa Shmailo, Thomas E. SimmonsPhilip Terman, Laura Hulthen ThomasDon ThompsonFrank WilsonCarol Wierzbicki, Marian Frances Wolbers, Michael T. Young, Nicole Yurcaba

Soul, Sand, and Sky

Stephen Page has a flash ficiton story published in “Soul, Sand & Sky: Stories and Poems of the Great Outdoors.” @SmpageSteve tiene una historia de ficción en flash publicada. Available here on Amazon: Disponible aquí en Amazon:

Here is the Story:

Crossing Over

By Stephen Page

            Once there was a thin, widowed, retired man named Jonathan who lived in a small cabin in the middle of a large patch of woods.  Jonathan was sixty-two, but he was in excellent health.  He had vibrant cheeks that beamed from under his clear blue eyes and shiny silver locks that hung low upon his forehead.  

            One fine summer day, Jonathan decided it was time he went on an adventure.  He thought and remembered there was a beach some fifty miles east, one with yellow sand and a periwinkle sea. He used to take his wife there.  Now, somehow, that the place seemed like a dream, like someone else’s memory, a parallel universe. Maybe it never existed. He had to go there to see if it were real.  But, he had no vehicle—no car, no pickup, no motorcycle, not even a bicycle. Many years ago, he decided he would not need one. He would have to walk. That would be no problem for Jonathan, he had been walking daily to the grocer’s for years.    After all, the grocer’s was only a two-hour jaunt, and he really did not want to go anywhere else since his wife died.  He spent most of his time alone, reading in his cabin, or sitting on his porch admiring the diversity of trees and listening to the multifarious song birds.  

            Books were Jonathan’s favorite amusement.  He loved to read.  He always had.  Some of his first memories were of reading books.  Now, more than any other time in his life, since he missed his wife’s companionship, he read incessantly.  He read at breakfast, he read at noon, he read at night.  Books were his life.  

            Realizing that he had not journeyed out of his cabin except to the grocer’s for years, Jonathan decided it was undeniably time he went on an adventure.  It would be a notable adventure, one that would be worthy of writing about. One that would someday become a book. One last great journey. 

            He opened his leather backpack and set it on the kitchen table. He would pack what he needed for a long trip.  He opened his cupboards and fridge, studied the canned soups, the coffee, the bread, meat, cheese, fruit, soda cans, and bottles brimming with water.  He shook his head.  He removed from his bookshelf The Odyssey, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Don Quixote, The Canterbury Tales, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Call of the Wild, Into the Wild, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Tao: The Watercourse Way, The Underground Railroad, and The Trail of Tears.  He neatly stacked them sideways inside the pack so that the largest one would be flat against his back and the corners would not dig into his skin.  He left his beloved copy of Moby Dick on his study desk, only because the pack was now full, swung the pack onto his back, and slipped his arms into the straps.  The pack weighed heavy upon his shoulders.  He went to the front door, took his walking stick, and stepped outside.  

            He nimbly trod the path that led from his porch to the edge of the woods then opened to the dirt road that ran by the woods.  He lightly stepped and skipped along the dirt road heading east, kept to the road it as it ran through an expanse of cultivated wheat, then passed through a ridgeline of mountains. 

            He had not walked even half a mile past the ridgeline into a field of wild grasses when he felt an internal change beginning to take place.  There was tightness in his jaw and in the upper part of his cheeks, a tingling sensation in his scalp, a clearing of his lungs, and a feeling that he was returning home.  His original home. 

After he had plodded along the dirt road for quite some time, his only companions a light plume of trailing dust and his short shadow, he heard a woman laughing.  He stopped.  The laughter continued.  It was a trilling laughter accentuated in short, loud bursts that came from the other side of a hill in front of him.  A Model-A Ford appeared over the hill. The raucous rattle of the engine muffled the woman’s laughter.  A Model-A Ford! Model-As hadn’t been made in over a hundred years. The car bore down upon the spot where Jonathan was standing like he wasn’t even there.  The man in the driver’s seat strained forward, wearing aviator goggles, a leather cap, and leather gloves.  He had both hands firmly gripped on top of the steering wheel.  The laughing woman in the passenger side wore a green dress and a floral scarf and with one hand held down a wide-brimmed hat upon her head.  Jonathan leapt to the side of the road.

            Neither the man nor the woman glanced in his direction as they barreled past, and Jonathan stepped back onto the road and stood in their dust cloud and studied them as they traveled in the direction from which he came.  The woman’s scarf fluttered behind her in the wind.  The car became smaller and smaller as it distanced itself from Jonathan, and long after the sound of the engine faded, Jonathan could still hear the woman laughing—but, that too eventually abated, and the car became a speck then vanished.  He turned and continued on his great adventure.

            After trudging and dragging his feet for a number of uneventful hours, he came to a crossroad. It was a small two-lane paved road with a thin white center line and no shoulders.  He checked traffic in both directions and saw no cars.  Neither were there any houses near the road, only small green hills and fields of waxy lemon trees on the other side of the road.  He strode across the road and halted on the other side.

            The dirt road did not continue.  He looked left and right, then behind him at the distant ridgeline.  Everything was a bit hazy and out of focus.  He studied the dust on his shoes then searched the ground.  His shadow, now having lengthened, was stretching east.  It made him look much taller than he was.  He smiled.  He watched his shadow and moved his arms up and down.   Then he gripped his walking stick by the top handle, pointed it out in front of him, sliced the air with quick slashing strokes, parried with his shadow, stabbed it, chased it, then slipped the stick into a make-shift scabbard he created by forming the fingers and thumb of his left hand into an O-ring against his left hip.  

            He looked west.  The sun was a scoop of orange sherbet melting upon the mountains, the light was diminishing, and the air was beginning to chill.  Mosquitoes rose and the smell of lemons carried upon the dampening air.   

            Jonathan drew the sword from its scabbard in a sweeping motion, then lifted it above him and pointed it toward the crepuscular sky.  He shouted triumphantly.  An echo came back to him from the green hills.  

            The books felt good pressed against his back.   

*This story published in the anthology Soul Sand, and Sky.

The Clarity of Hunger by Cheryl Pappas

“A beautiful collection—as formally inventive as it is emotionally resonant.” – word west press

Cheryl Pappas is an American writer living outside Boston. Her fiction, poetry, and nonfiction have appeared in JukedThe Chattahoochee ReviewHobartPloughsharesSmokeLong Quarterly, and elsewhere.

This item is available for preorder here:

Or, if you want to review it, here is a note from the author:


I have a flash fiction collection (48pp)–my first book–coming out in September with Word West Press, titled The Clarity of Hunger. I’ve just received the digital ARCs and I am looking for people to review the book. If you love flash and you or anyone you know would like to review it, please DM me or email me at know Split Lip takes review pitches (, but there are several other wonderful flash journals that accept reviews.Here is a list of my published stories, some of which are in the collection: so much for considering reviewing my book, and I hope you are all thriving and writing.


Cheryl Pappas


I might add that North of Oxford posts reviews on a monthly basis, here: