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Pushcart nominee: Jose Padua. Gin and the River.

29 Nov

Six of our beautiful writers have been nominated for the 2013 Pushcart prize. Over the next week, we will feature each of them, along with the nominated work.

Today’s nominee is Jose Padua. His poetry, fiction, and non-fiction have appeared in Bomb, Salon, The Weeklings, and many other places. He was a featured reader at the 2012 Split This Rock poetry festival. He and his wife, the poet Heather Davis, write the blog Shenandoah Breakdown.


Gin and the River

If the river could speak like gin,
the greater the flow the more
the woods that surround us
would sound like stray dogs,
the more the water flooding
the banks would warm us rather
than chill us like a scene in a scary
movie. If the river could speak like
gin, the closer we’d be to Asia, the
continent, not the Italian actress, but
maybe her, too. We’d be close
enough to walk to the Great Wall
and then we’d walk the Great Wall,
gazing out at the hills of northern China
and southern Inner Mongolia, walking
and gazing until our feet get sore or
until someone calls us and tells us
it’s time to come home. If the river
could speak like gin we’d come
to the river more often with juice
and tonic and lemons. We’d bring
the knife and we’d cut the lemons
into wedges right there, savoring
the sting of lemon juice on our fingers,
then licking our fingers and making
funny faces that last as long as the wait
between the lightning flash and the thunder.
And then we’d drink the river, even though
it isn’t really gin, because the river spoke
to us, because it acted like gin. Because
when the river speaks to us like gin we
believe it more. We pull our glass tumblers
down from the top shelf and we walk—
through a darkness so thick we have to
push it aside with our hands and kick
it away with our feet—to the river,
ready to go crazy like static on the
radio, ready to drink until everything
in space is dark again, until our
fingers feel numb with the power.




The Fall Pea River Journal is now available.

27 Nov

And we are so excited to share it with you.

176 pages of beautiful work: 73 new poems, five stories, a creative nonfiction essay, photographs and a folio, and an intertext from the letters of John Keats.

Just ten dollars. Go get yours.


our top 11 posts: poems and interviews you chose

3 Nov

We’ve been here for a year now, and we’ve shared work we believe in, artists and writers who matter, work we love and know you’ll love, too, if you just know it exists. We’re happy you’re walking this path with us.

And as we complete work on the Remaking Moby-Dick special issue and start preparing our late-fall regular issue of the Pea River Journal, we’re reminded of what you’ve loved the most at PRJ in 2013.

Everybody else has a top ten. We have a top 11:

Robert Gray, “Humidity”

Robert Gray, “The Day I Was Born

Grant Clauser, “Objects in Motion

Robert Daniels, “County Employee

Weam Namou, “A Mentor

Joseph Sentrock Perez, Stay Fly

Cheryl Dumesnil, “It’s not the Holy Spirit

Rita Patel, interview

Remaking Moby-Dick call

Jeff St James, “Bush Soul

Molly Gaudry, interview

If you missed any of them, please go read or view them now. And let us (and the artists) know what you think.

And, of course, more is on the way. We are seeing the light at the end of the Melville tunnel and starting to hear the hum and churn of the river again.

sean readingweam

Ingenstans. A short film by Talan Memmott.

24 Aug

Poem. Cheryl Dumesnil. It’s not the Holy Spirit.

8 Jul

It’s not the Holy Spirit


letting up out of an oil-slicked puddle

between the tracks on 9th Avenue,


that manic, feathered flashing toward

the N Judah’s windshield. It’s only


a rock dove, tail fan splayed, pewter

wings spread wide, reversing direction


mid-air. But tell me, what better prayer

than this: the near miss, the heart


shocked awake, that bird rising over

soot-drenched buildings, gated doors.





quit walking around with a grave

27 Apr



I offer it all/ the worn, dry, slabs of my voice

20 Apr


but the night outside is wild.

17 Apr

The night is calm in our rooms,

where the echoes of all footsteps rest

like sunken leaves in a pond,

but the night outside is wild.

A Winter Night, Tranströmer


The stain of this moment spreading out forever,

16 Apr

transtromerisland life


We milked the cosmos secretly,

15 Apr


Badger, Party of 7


james (w) moore

poems, and the poet who poems them

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

(Somewhat) Daily News from the World of Literary Nonfiction

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Beth Gilstrap

Writer * Editor * Educator * Weirdo

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(The poetry blog of Grant Clauser)

Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics

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Largehearted Boy

a roominghouse for the servants of the duende