Now Celebrating 23 Years of Chapbook Publication  

The Hudson Valley Writers' Center
Sleepy Hollow, New York


April 2013

In this issue...

- A Poem from our 2012 SHP Chapbook Contest Winner
        - A Disturbance in the Air by Michele Poulos

- Poems from our 2012 SHP Chapbook Contest Finalists
        - Girls, Birds by Audrey Henderson 
        - If They Have Ears to Hear by Terry Lucas       
        - A Whole Set of Words Not to Use Around Children by Karen Skolfield
        - The Graveyard Shifts by Brandon Whiting

- The 2013 SHP Chapbook Competition!
    - Now featuring online Submissions

- In Memoriam...
    - Kentaro Fujioka
    - Anneliese Wagner
    - James Laird
    - Brenda Connor-Bey

Slapering Hol Press
at The Hudson Valley Writers' Center
Philipse Manor Railroad Station
300 Riverside Drive
Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591


2012 SHP Chapbook Contest Winner!

A Disturbance in the Air by Michele Poulos

Last year’s winning chapbook manuscript is Michele Poulos's A Disturbance in the Air. The mysterious poems in this collection take us from Greece to New Orleans, and places in between. Despite the changing landscape, each poem addresses themes of suffering, ecstasy, and transcendence with a crystalline sensuality. In “The Golden Age of Herbalists,” Poulos concludes, “in his hands a garden, an herbal / he would pen against sickness, soreness, wounds, / the formulas behind the labyrinth of green / unfolding before him.” Reveling in the quantum world of past, present, and future, the chapbook’s stunning last poem, “The White Rabbit,” ends by returning to the beginning, “Let me take you back through the fields, / you who never turned from me, / who held violets in your mouth.”

The Golden Age of Herbalists
            By Michele Poulos

When he throws a fist of parsley into the pond,
                the man believes the ailing fish will heal. In 1540,

        William Turner studied plants for the resolve
                        within each one: wolfberry for scars;
lye from gentian roots to clean cloth;
        cardamom to soothe snake venom.

As a boy, he had found his mother on the kitchen floor,
        body bent in half, coughing, eyes watering

        and locked on a distant plane. He fed her evening
primrose oil and the immense choke loosened;
                she breathed once again.

They were more than simples to heal bones
        and cure diseases -- he studied their moods, their networks of
be seed, be influence. You, who are always trying.

        When he finally took to the countryside, he carried
                a sack and a knife, dusk settling

on leaf-points as if in the summer months
                their passions were precisely edged.
        Standing alone in the meadow, he knew everything.

he caught sight of was in the dying
               and would die before he would, yet he held

                        in his hands a garden, an herbal
        he would pen against sickness, soreness, wounds,

the formulas behind the labyrinth of green
                                unfolding before him.


Michele Poulos’s poems and fiction have been published or are forthcoming in Best New Poets 2012, The Southern Review, The Southern Poetry Anthology, Vol. IV: Louisiana, Crab Orchard Review, The Hollins Critic, Copper Nickel, Sycamore Review, and other journals. Her essays and book reviews have been published in Blackbird and Stone Canoe.





Poems from the 2012
SHP Chapbook Competition Finalists

Dear Mr. Butler
            By Audrey Henderson

Please remove the everlasting light bulb.
It casts a sterile glow on your small plot of land.
Please also be informed that a thief can now insert
his crowbar into the seam of your doorjamb
without the aid of a Bic lighter. He need not trip
on the threshold as he removes your stereo equipment
nor tread on the tatters of moth wings. When I look down
on your cold square of illuminated asphalt Mr. Butler
I sigh and think-- oh, how lonesome and pointless.
On autumn evenings a bright, unnatural mist
hangs over the entire valley, on account of your bulb,
and all the time you are not there.  Do you know
Mr. Butler that photons emitted from your light
have reached the constellation of Andromeda
where they believe you are the only god of a faded sun. 

AUDREY HENDERSON’s work has appeared in the short story collection Tales to Tell (St. Andrews Press). Originally from Scotland, she was a frequent contributor to BBC Radio Scotland and graduated from the University of Edinburgh. Her work is forthcoming in Magma, The Midwest Quarterly, Tar River Poetry, and elsewhere.


In This Room
            By Terry Lucas

A long-playing record is turning on the turntable.  For some time,

speakers have been faithfully amplifying the scratches residing behind Art,

or Miles, or Freddie, with a metronomic ticking, the needle

bumping up against the label, sending the tone arm veering

back across the smooth gap like a saxophonist swaying on stage, or a drunk

driving a black-iced road on a new moon night, searching for the centerline—

but these are mere thoughts in the mind.  From another room

there might be the moaning of lovers over the hiss of knees caressing satin sheets.

And who is to say which is more holy?  Heaven’s music or Hell’s static

electricity?  The arm holding the needle in the groove,

legs rising and falling out of time, moonlight flushing the dry flesh

of curled leaves blowing across the road that has tangled itself in the hills

like a necklace in my mother’s long hair fanned out on my father’s pillow.

And what am I but the valley between them?  A watershed of snowmelt

and shade.  A cry from one far peak to another, an avalanche of sound

echoing between the walls of yet another room,

where a trembling index finger is lowering the stylus,

aiming the needle for the edge of a black vinyl record.


TERRY LUCAS's poems have appeared in Green Mountains Review, Grain Magazine, and Solo, among many other journals.  He has recent or forthcoming work in Best New Poets 2012, Great River Review, and A Clean Well-lighted Place.  Terry is an MFA poetry graduate of New England College and Associate Editor of Trio House Press.


            By Karen Skolfield

Ticks the size of sparrows
and the mosquitoes so big they carry off babies.
The locals say this proudly.
Perhaps they didn’t like the babies much.
Or the locals learned to love the mosquitoes more,
how they tamp down in the grass,
wait out the storm.
How their bodies turn into clear vases
as they decanter the little jewel of blood.
How mosquitoes hover around the ear, asking questions.
How they don’t mind if the answers never come.


KAREN SKOLFIELD is a contributing editor at the literary magazine Bateau and her poems have appeared in Cave Wall, RATTLE, Tar River Poetry, Verse Daily, and others. Her manuscript, Frost in the Low Areas, won the First Book Award for Poetry from Zone 3 Press and will be published fall 2013.

Visit her online at:


 Sisyphus in Cincinnati
            By Brandon Whiting

When he’s out of work he’s getting stoned,
            getting drunk, getting stone-drunk; he’s binging,
            purging, spilling his guts out

in drunken emails. When he’s working, he’s confessing
            his guilt to the gods; he’s forgetting a name,
            a face; he’s begging for reprieve,

for a new trial—anything. When he’s not working,
            he’s climbing down the raked stage, retracing
            his steps, rehearsing. Soon they’ll see.

Soon, he thinks, they’ll reward my efforts and let me go,
            but the gods have already forgotten his name,
            his face, there are so many of them now.

    Originally published in Tar River Poetry

BRANDON WHITING holds a degree in Creative Writing from the University of Cincinnati, where he lives with his wife, Ayca, and his pug, Liddie.



Let Slapering Hol Press Launch

Your Poetry Career:
Submit to the 2013 SHP Chapbook Competition Today!

If you are a writer who has not yet published a collection of poems in book or chapbook form and you have a manuscript 16-20 pages long, Slapering Hol Press, the small press imprint of The Hudson Valley Writers’ Center, invites you to participate in our 23rd annual poetry chapbook competition.

Individual poems can be previously published, but poems should not have been published as a group in any form, including self-published collections. Each manuscript should be accompanied by a $20 reading fee. Poets may submit more than one collection, but a $20 reading fee must accompany each entry. Publishing with SHP has transformed the lives of many SHP authors by opening doors for fellowships, graduate programs, and even book deals. Slapering Hol Press has earned a solid reputation and sustained an enduring tradition of discovering strong voices in contemporary poetry over the last two decades.

Click here for complete submission guidelines
and to submit your manuscript online.


In Memoriam:

Kentaro Fujioka


Amy Lemmon with Kentaro Fujioka at his exhibition at The Nippon Club in front of the art (paper with acrylic) used for the chapbook cover of Enjoy Hot or Iced: Poems in Conversation and a Conversation (left); cover image of Enjoy Hot or Iced: Poems in Conversation and a Conversation featuring Kentaro's work (right).

Kentaro Fujioka gave Slapering Hol Press permission to print his painting, “Elements,” on the cover of the SHP chapbook, Enjoy Hot or Cold: Poems in Conversation and a Conversation, by Denise Duhamel and Amy Lemmon. Kentaro could light up any room he entered with his brilliance, his warm smile, and kindheartedness. He earned a Masters in Engineering at Chiba University, Japan. He moved to New York City to pursue his career in fine arts and studio painting at the Arts Student League of New York. He was principally interested in exploring materials, both conventional and non-conventional. He lived in Long Island City. He died in January, 2013. Fujioka once stated, “I believe in the strength of the dialectic method, for example, of art and nature, construction and deconstruction. I always work on two opposite things at once. In some cases, I try to push the contradiction further. My bicycle is a practical tool for transportation, but I also use it as a drawing tool.”
                                                                                                                - Margo Stever,
                                                                                                               SHP Founder & Co-Editor


Anneliese Wagner

Hot September Day
            By Anneliese Wagner

Sage dries in the oven, the smell
of Thanksgiving. This will be
the first one without you. A chill before
rain slips over my arms, as if such
news offers comfort. I woke from a storm
of sleep with no trace
of dream, no dream of us. Nothing.
A cup of coffee. Out there the world
hangs. One last splat
of drops and I think of December: rock-
salt dissolving himalayas of ice
from my doorstep, the relief from heat.
You never coming back.


Anneliese was born in 1929 in Heinsheim, a small town just west of Bavaria in Germany.  On the eve of World War II, Anneliese and her parents were among those fortunate enough to flee to New York. Being a “Survivor” was a very important part of Anneliese’s identity; she never forgot that many of her relatives did not make it out of Germany.

Anneliese spent the remainder of her early years living in the Bronx, and attended public schools, including Taft High School. She was the first member of her family to attend college, and graduated from NYU in 1951.

In 1953 she married Bob Wagner, moved to Hartsdale, New York, and had two daughters, Elise and Carrie.

Anneliese went back to school to study for her Master’s Degree in Poetry when her daughters were teenagers.  She received an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College in 1975. Anneliese went on to have a very successful career as a poet and teacher of poetry, memoir writing and literature. She taught at Sarah Lawrence, SUNY Purchase, Pace and Bucknell. Her accolades as a poet included winning the Eileen W. Barnes Award in 1983, and receiving fellowships from Yaddo, MacDowell, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her poems have been published in many journals, including Chelsea, Kenyon Review, and The Paris Review. Her books include Murderous Music (1995), Fish Magic (1989), and Hand Work (1983).

Anneliese was very proud of being a founding member of The Hudson Valley Writers Center. She loved to travel, and was a true film buff.

For the last twenty years of Anneliese’s life, she fought a valiant battle with Parkinson’s disease.  She continued to write poetry as long as she was physically able.
                                                                                                                - Elise Wagner

James Laird

James Laird, who lived in Philipse Manor, was the designer of Slapering Hol Press chapbooks for about a decade and served on the board of directors of The Hudson Valley Writers’ Center. He created the Slapering Hol Press logo which is in continued use. His creativity and light-hearted spirit were always appreciated by those who had the opportunity to work with him. Jim was a graphic designer with a baccalaureate degree from Kent State and a Masters from Syracuse University. He died on January 26, 2011, at the age of 78.
                                                                                                                - Margo Stever,
                                                                                                               SHP Founder & Co-Editor


Brenda Connor-Bey

Brenda Connor-Bey was a supporter, together with her husband, Jim Miller, of The Hudson Valley Writers’ Center. Whether in her output as a poet or in her outreach as a literary ambassador, she represented the Writers’ Center at its best. She served invaluably on our board, and on our Slapering Hol Press Advisory Committee.

Brenda also studied in Writers’ Center workshops and, most irreplaceably for HVWC students, she taught at the Center as well.  Brenda also traveled and taught throughout the region, inspiring young people with her visionary Learning-to-See workshops and her readings.
She is also remembered for her service as inaugural Poet Laureate of the town of Greenburgh.

Last August, Brenda died at age 68. We miss her wisdom and insight, her humor and grace. And though we miss her voice, we remain grateful that, in her poems, it will ever ring clear.
                                                                                                                - Jo Ann Clark,
                                                                                                               HVWC Executive Director


The Hudson Valley Writers' Center staff is:

Jo Ann Clark- Executive Director
Ryan J. Conatti - Slapering Hol Press Managing Editor/Assistant to the Director

Liz Kaplan - Administrator

Let us know what you think! Feel free to contact us with any comments, questions, or suggestions! 

The Hudson Valley Writers' Center is located in the Philipse Manor Railroad Station in Sleepy Hollow, New York. Follow the Metro North signs to the station from Route 9, near Historic Hudson Valley's Philipsburg Manor. For more information, call us at (914) 332-5953 or visit our website, Our programs and events are made possible, in part, by grants from the Bydale Foundation, the David G. Taft Foundation, Maslin Foundation, Eileen Fisher Foundation, the Thendara Foundation, and the William E. Robinson Foundation; with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts; and by the Basic Program Support Grant from ArtsWestchester with funds from Westchester County Government.

The Hudson Valley Writers' Center, Inc. (HVWC) is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1988 with a mission to advance the art and craft of writing by encouraging writers and readers at all levels to participate in and enjoy the literary arts. HVWC is a not-for-profit, IRC section 501(c)(3) organization. Contributions in excess of value received are deductible for Federal Income Tax purposes

Wine for all HVWC & SHP Readings and Events has donated courtesy of Grape Expectations in Tarrytown. Stop in for your favorite bottle today and tell them that the Hudson Valley Writer's Center sent you!
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