Bramble: Winter 2018 print issue is now available.

Greetings from the Editor

I was honored to guest edit this one-year anniversary issue of Bramble. I write this note on another anniversary - the first day of the new year – and despite my best attempts to not make any resolutions, I can’t help but think about what 2018 may or may not bring to my life, this community of poets, the world.

2017 was a challenging year for many of us. While I didn’t want a topical theme for this issue, I did want contributors to think about the notion of “challenge” – what it means to us as poets and as humans, how it informs the words and the way we write. I was delighted by the results, so many (too many!) wonderful poems that came at this (no theme) theme from all angles. I was drawn to those that played well with form – like “Why We Took Away Mom's Car Keys” by Joan Wiese Johannes – and those that caught me off guard – like “Regarding Mary” by Lisa Vihos.  Perhaps because of how challenging a year it was for me, personally, I was especially drawn to those that filled me with a murmur of hope, like Jim Landwehr’s “It Matters.”

I hope you enjoy reading this issue as much as I enjoyed reading all of your work. Keep writing, keep challenging the status quo.

Cathryn Cofell
Guest Editor


Cover Art.JPG

Cover art is "In Motion" by Kimberly A. Blanchette. Kimberly is a Janesville Wisconsin poet, photographer, artist, LGBTQ activist, minister, mystic and motivational speaker; she also has a B.A. in Philosophy.  Kimberly's award winning art has been showcased and published in magazines, national and international art shows and many other venues. For more information please visit:



Sharon Auberle  
           ­­—for Mickey

The above image created by Jeanie Tomasko in collaboration with the poet. Poem and artwork reprinted with permission of Bent Paddle Press.

The above image created by Jeanie Tomasko in collaboration with the poet. Poem and artwork reprinted with permission of Bent Paddle Press.

these things I know —
it’s 7:10 in the morning
when the school bus
passes my house
red sky at dawn
means storms
my grandma said so
life is a banquet
but a sorrow too
and dogs
bless their great hearts
know things we don’t
and for sure I know
that butterfly I saw
that day
in the West Virginia hills
that day they buried you
that bright spring day
when the rhododendron
was bravely blooming
that blue and black
and beautiful butterfly
was you

Sharon Auberle

Sharon Auberle

Sharon Auberle is the author of seven books, four of which are collaborations with other poets.  Most recent is "Dovetail", art and ekphrastic poetry with Jeanie Tomasko.  A Pushcart Prize nominee, Auberle is honored to be currently serving as Door County's Poet Laureate.

The above image created by Sharon Auberle in collaboration with the poet. Poem and artwork reprinted with permission of Bent Paddle Press.

The above image created by Sharon Auberle in collaboration with the poet. Poem and artwork reprinted with permission of Bent Paddle Press.

Sometimes, It

Jeanie Tomasko

And maybe

it will feel like bells
or a slender green reed

or how a prayer should,
even a brusk wind

off the big lake
in November

trees bent half-way
without breaking 

and maybe

it will all come back
whatever it all is

Jeanie Tomasko

Jeanie Tomasko

Jeanie Tomasko has published several books, most recently Dovetail (Bent Paddle Press), a collaboration with Sharon Auberle, and forthcoming from Redbird, dear little fist.  All of her works can be found at


Collaborations from Dovetail, a book of poetry and art by Jeanie Tomasko and Sharon Auberle, reprinted courtesy of Bent Paddle Press. Dovetail is available here


It Matters

Jim Landwehr

Normally, it wouldn’t be
a second thought;
a worm writhing

Read More

In Praise of Challenging Cycles

Patricia Williams

Freed of ice, rivers murmur rippled melodies. Butterflies, befuddled by plum-scent,        
frenzied by desire, cartwheel in the breeze. Gaunt pines survive challenges of time
and weather– old stalwarts, cloaked in new glitter, tease with promise.  

Read More

at the new big wong

Maryann Hurtt

my friend Ben
orders duck soup
sifts through the broth

Read More

There is a French woman

Jackie Langetieg

There is a French woman
who comes each day to the Cafe by my flat. She sits alone,
eyes half closed, lost in thought.

Read More

Why We Took Away Mom's Car Keys

Joan Wiese Johannes

The sun is setting when Mom arrives.
She tells me semis blew past her
and a white limousine rode her bumper

Read More

Things Favorite My Road

Albert DeGenova

glareblind between      
wiper whoosh wipes
polished asphalt wet

Read More

Ma Come Get Me (the Phone Slams)

Bruce Dethlefsen

Frosh football players:  You will be kind to your mother when using this phone to ask for a ride home.  This is not a suggestion.

fed up with players’ rude phone calls
to their folks to pick them up after practice
I taped this mandatory script

Read More

Diary of a Disabled Veteran

Sylvia Bowersox

I miss practicing my ideas
I miss my opinions being safe
I miss leaving my house

Read More


Meridel Kahl

This afternoon I looked at the fraying
elbow of my favorite gray hoodie
the warp threads

Read More

My Life as a Bullet

Sheryl Slocum

I remember heat
from being forged,
then fitting neatly

Read More

The Driftless

Austin Segrest

Never mind that drift’s a thing,
grit the glaciers left behind—
or in this case, didn’t.

Read More


Jason Talbot

Wake, blink, moan, regret,
Stretch, roll, plod, piss, repent,
Brush, wash, splash, dry,

Read More

Wisconsin Pyramid

Michael Kriesel

African swamps still harbor dinosaurs—
brontosaurs and triceratops, mostly.
Cryptozoologists cite coelacanths,

Read More

Regarding Mary

Lisa Vihos

God wanted to come down to try some flesh,
an antidote to formless bliss.
He wanted to get with his creation.  

Read More

The Girl with the Lazy Eye

Ronnie Hess

She thinks she is the night. She reads
the lamp. Dry flutter on the tongue,
the aroma of moss, soft leather

Read More

Plath, February 1963

Linda Aschbrenner

Another snowier morning
   sparklets of light on ice

Read More


Roberto Nicholas Gornet Palombi

Stunned by a previous car    
the deer lay
on the country road

Read More

"Abstract: Dung Beetles Use the Milky Way for Orientation"

Steve Tomasko

What is this glow to you
                       A streak     a blur, 

Read More


Emily Bowles

how you made me
                              [        ]

Read More


James Tate & the Saving Grace of Poetic Narrative

By Kurt Luchs



Is Half a Poet Better than None?

By Cathryn Cofell



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