Now Celebrating 21 Years of Anthology and 20 Years of Chapbook Publication  

The Hudson Valley Writers' Center
Sleepy Hollow, New York


February 2012

In this issue...

Poems from new collections by members of the
Slapering Hol Press advisory committee

The 2012 SHP Chapbook Competition is Open for Submissions!

A Brand New Review for Wagner's No Blues


The Hudson Valley Writers' Center
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Poems from New Publications by the
Slapering Hol Press Advisory Committee

Into Something Rich and Strange
By Meredith Trede from her new book Field Theory

Waiting like Irish monks on their sea bound skellig
         to see the sun dance over the horizon on Easter morn
                  The great arcing possibility in the night of the mind
when anything can be imagined but the will of time

Walking backwards, dressed in white, strewing rose petals
         to carpet the Host’s way through a May Day procession
                  Sins of omission—hubris of insincere modesty,
boasting skill with
and gilt—commission

Lines of long untended fruit trees, some mere stunted sticks,
         some fruitful by chance or by grace of better-bred stock
                  Wild almonds in harvest yield cyanide, death camp
poison gas, leach ore to gold, marzipan flowers

Gull screech and flap, eggs stolen by Lent-wasted men,
         fast and prayer lighting eyes, paring flesh and sinew
                  Sanctity of sacrifice against pride in deprivation
occasions of sin through a particular friend

Jubilant late-lit night passing summer solstice, the flare
         and falter of fireflies in children’s jars, the fairies’ amends
                  Old women’s wisdom tolls: when the good Lord
closes one door, he most always shuts another

Scrivening to a philosopher’s stone for a turn of word
         for renown, base to gold, elixir of immortality
                   Worshiping scripture and the script, bending
piety to blasphemy in idolatry of the word


Meredith Trede’s latest book of poems, Field Theory, was published by Stephen F. Austin State University Press (2011). She is one of the founders of Toadlily Press. Her chapbook, Out of the Book, was in Desire Path, the inaugural volume of The Quartet Series published by Toadlily Press.
Journals that have published her work include Barrow Street, Blue Mesa Review, Gargoyle, and The Paris Review. She has been awarded residency fellowships at Blue Mountain Center, Ragdale, Saltonstall, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in Virginia and France and a grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts.




Splitting Wood
By Margo Taft Stever from her new chapbook The Hudson Line

It was the thought of his entering
their infant’s room that drove her.

She remembered his face the first time
she saw him. Now, half gone from whiskey,
eyes hooded like a hawk’s,
he said he’d kill the children when he woke.

The neighbors heard it,
the screams. They heard.

His workman’s hand,
his gnarled hand dangled down.
The knife lay by the bed.
She slipped from the covers
while he slept, placed her feet
on the floorboards just so.

The dogs barked outside, snapdragons,
flowered tongues, and all the wired
faces of the past strung up. The ax
hung on the porch, woodpile nearby,
each log plotted, uneasily entwined.
The children’s tears were rain,
tears were watering the parched hills.

The wild moon foamed at the mouth.
The wild moon crept softly at her feet.

The arms that grabbed the ax
were not her own,
that hugged it to her heart
while he slept were not hers,
the cold blade sinking in his skin.
She grew up in the country splitting wood.
She knew just how much it took
to bring a limb down.


Margo Taft Stever is the founder of The Hudson Valley Writers’ Center ( and founding editor of Slapering Hol Press. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including The Cincinnati Review, Webster Review, New England Review, and Rattapallax, among others. Her articles, essays, and reviews are found in the CT Review, Minnesota Review, Rain Taxi Review, Poets & Writers, and elsewhere. She read her poetry at the 2010 Geraldine Dodge Poetry Festival, The Blacksmith House, the Shanghai International Studies University, Folger Shakespeare Library, and at many other places. Her book Frozen Spring was the winner of the Mid-List Press First Series Award for Poetry (2002). Reading the Night Sky (Introduction by Denise Levertov) won the 1996 Riverstone Poetry Chapbook Competition. Her new chapbook, The Hudson Line, was published in January, 2012 by Main Street Rag Publishing Company.



Museum of Motion
by B.K. Fischer from her new novel-in-verse Mutiny Gallery

Idling in the fire lane, she pulls him out
of school on Tuesday before lunch.  Bears

right at the bank, merging with westbound
traffic as it nudges across the span toward

Rockland, a massive MTA Zamboni lifting
each slab of the barrier to make room

for rush hour the other way.  Out of town,
out of reach of a thousand hourly acts:

stir, soak, sort, soothe, rinse, sign, stretch
another plastic liner over the pail, separate

paper and glass, compost the scraps. 
Buy the right amount of milk to prevent

superfluous trips and spoilage.  Out
of town, out of fear.  No more minutes,

only miles, breaking it down into distance: 
five, ten, fifty.  Shot, jigger, fifth.  Flare,

jack, spare.  Make like a banana and.  Like
a prom dress.  She watches the rig close in

in the rearview, signals left.  Left.  She
tells him not to worry about forgetting

his spelling binder, permission slip, new
blue gloves.  We’re going for a drive. 


B.K. Fischer is a poet, critic, editor, and teacher.  Her book Mutiny Gallery won the 2011 T. S. Eliot Prize and was released by Truman State University Press in October 2011.  Her poems have appeared in The Paris Review, Boston Review, The Hopkins Review, Ekphrasis, Southwest Review, Western Humanities Review, FIELD, Literary Mama, Westchester Magazine, and other journalsHer first poetry manuscript, The Anatomy Archives, was a finalist for the 2009 National Poetry Series, and has also been shortlisted for the FIELD Prize and the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award.  A monologue from the collection was performed as a play at the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art in Peekskill, New York, in January 2008.  She is the author of a critical study of the intersections of visual and verbal art, Museum Mediations: Reframing Ekphrasis in Contemporary American Poetry (Routledge, 2006), and a frequent contributor of review essays to Boston ReviewShe holds a B.A. from the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars, an M.F.A. in poetry from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in English and American Literature from New York University, and has taught writing and literature at Columbia, NYU, and Marymount College.  Fischer is co-editor of Slapering Hol Press and teaches at the Hudson Valley Writers’ Center in Sleepy Hollow, New York, where she lives with her husband and three children.


Let Slapering Hol Press Kick Start Your Poetry Career:
Submit to the 2012 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 22st 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 $15 reading fee. Poets may submit more than one collection, but a $15 reading fee must accompany each entry. Publishing with SHP has transformed the lives of many of our authors - 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 more information

and for complete submission guidelines.


A Quick New Review:
No Blues This Raucous Song

A Micro Review by
Benjamin T. Lambright

This review was originally published on the blog

Lynn Wagner’s No Blues This Raucous Song sings in a cacophony meant to be heard by everyone. In tuning our ears to single voices within this collection we find a great depth and diversity that carries her song as long as we’ll let it.

Wagner moves through blues, religious life, home life, ex-lovers, a myriad of other topics, and a fishing trip with Elizabeth Bishop that is not too missed.

This collection draws inspiration from a wide variety of places. In “Two Hundred Cubic Feet and Fragiles” she ventures into “the hollows of the house” and sort of sad escapism to found in keeping a perfectly clean home. “Yesterday,” writes Wagner, “she Easy-Offed the oven,/knelt down and sponged the disasters free.” However, her examinations more complex than most poets’ work on domesticity and deserve careful examination. Despite the bleak outlook in “Two Hundred Cubic..” there are lines to carry us through the day in the same way they might carry the speaker: “Her refrigerator is a hallelujah of light./ Every outlet in the house is empty.” The speakers’ escape, although temporary, seems on the edge of rapture.

While “Two Hundred Cubic” dwells on a sort of cage, “Can I get an Amen” revels in escape. Wagner sends streams of church-filled blues down in a rhythmic hymn of salvation. “In my belly/ or maybe just my black soul. What is spirit/ save the righteous heat and glow where I feel it/ most[…]” If you give Wagner a chance, her heat and insight will elevate you  again and again.

Five Hallelujahs

These are officially micro reviews. So I should be closing this right now. But, this is also the most beautifully made book I’ve ever owned. Thy copy I have is #156 of 500.

The pictures don’t do it justice. But I’m a writer, not a photographer.


It was hand stitched by vince tripi, printed in a rather unique typeface called “Pastonchi.” The flyleaf is Pearlized Gold, and the text pages on are a shimmering stock called Starwhite Flash. All of these elements combine with Wagner’s poetry to create a book that is a pleasure to own.

There is something in this that makes me think this type of bookmaking could sustain local booksellers in the face of the digital age.

Benjamin T. Lambright work has appeared in The Central Review, The North Central Review, Dexter magazine, bathroom stalls, the backs of highway billboards, under bridges and other, stranger, places. He is pursuing an MFA in creative writing. He reviews the chapbooks. Do to a clerical error he became managing editor of The Greatest Lakes Review and the fiction editor for Temenos. He sleep in a fortified bunker somewhere under Mount Pleasant, Michigan.


The Hudson Valley Writers' Center staff is:

Frank Juliano - Executive Director
Ryan J. Conatti - Slapering Hol Press Managing Editor/Assistant to the Director/Office Manager

Nicole Testa - 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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