Bramble Fall 2018 now available.

Note from the Editor

True Confessions. Didn’t you love the magazine when you were a teenager? But could a confession not be true? Wasn’t the implied premise of True Confessions that much of what passed for content was indeed fake news? Do I start out my “Note from the Editor” at my peril?

True confession – this is the first time I have edited an anthology of poems. I thought it would be easy. It wasn’t. And yet it was. There were some poems that spoke to me immediately, where I issued a sigh almost of rapture. “Yes, that’s it, that’s the idea,” and “Gosh, I wish I could have written that.” You won’t find them in this collection. Just kidding.

I reread these submissions many times. Sometimes I would lean toward one of several submissions by a poet, then change my mind.

What was I looking for? In the spirit of the late Donald Hall, I was hoping to prompt poems that could speak to young and old, but not in a necessarily cute or obvious way. I was searching for versatility and a sense of wonderment – in the natural world, in memory recollected, in the ordinariness of our daily lives. I was also glad to find playfulness and humor, and an attention in some cases to form.

As for the essays and the cover art, I asked my former colleague Randall Berndt to consider being Bramble’s artist. True confession – I own one of his paintings. Apart from Randall’s mastery, it’s his whimsy mixed with utter seriousness that I fly to, his erudition. I didn’t realize he had been experimenting recently with both word and image, a respect for multiple art (as in poetry) forms that is utterly in keeping with this edition of Bramble. What an unexpected coming together of intent.

It reminds me of a true story – when I was teaching English in France a dozen years ago, I asked some of my students to pick a favorite painting and explain what they liked about it. One engaging young fellow chose a Magritte rendering of clouds within a picture frame. My student said he thought it was fun. I had been hoping for more recherché English adjectives to indicate he had been learning something. I gave him a postcard of Magritte’s “Ceci n’est pas une pipe,” mentioning to him that perhaps Magritte meant not a pipe but art. Randall has shown me the lie in my line of reasoning. Of course, it is a pipe.

In synch with Randall’s essay is Amy Ludtzke’s, about how The Friends of Lorine Niedecker inspired several Fort Atkinson murals quoting Objectivist poet Lorine Niedecker. The projects show how poetry and art belong together – as urban beautification, teaching tools, sheer magic.

What a joy it has been being editor of this edition. Thanks to the poets who contributed, to Christina Kubasta and Tori Grant-Welhouse for their editorial and technical guidance, and to the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets for its support of this endeavor.


Journalist and poet Ronnie Hess began her broadcasting career at Wisconsin Public Radio. In the 1980s, she was a reporter/producer for CBS News in Paris, before returning to public radio in the Twin Cities and Chicago. She is the author of five poetry chapbooks and two culinary travel guides, Eat Smart in France (2010) and Eat Smart in Portugal (with Joan Peterson, 2017). She lives in Madison, Wisconsin. Her webpage is

Ronnie Hess
Guest Editor


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Cover Art is from Randall Berndt’s From the the Homage to Famous Artists Series: Magritte's Garden. The painting is based on Le Thérapeute or The Therapist by René Magritte. (See Randall’s essay below.)

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Of Words & Images: A Short History

By Randall Berndt



Something There is That Loves a Wall: A Bramble Conversation with Amy Lutzke of The Friends of Lorine Niedecker


Managing Editor: C. Kubasta
Layout/Design: Tori Grant Welhouse
Bramble Logo: Bobbie Lovell