The Broadkill River Press

A Small Press Dedicated to Big Thoughts



"Thank you so much for The Table of the Elements, which I'm enjoying more than any poetry I've seen in a long time.  (I'm on my second reading now.)  It's original, unselfconscious, deep, often very witty.  It's also sensuous and erudite.  If it isn't nice, I don't know what is. . . .There are poems in here that touch on things that have always been important to me, and some that jog my long, old memory in some ways I can't pin down yet. . . . I'm impressed and entertained."
                                                       -- James Alexander Thom 

J.T. Whitehead's Table of the Elements is alchemy, boldly discovering and rediscovering the natural world. These poems recast the periodic table of elements, and raw natural resources such as salt and oil through the poetic eye. Whitehead reminds us that nothing is ever as it appears, that mankind may be gifted at naming elements, and wielding natural resources, but their stories, their histories, and their mythologies, personal and universal, transmute us all.

                                                       -- Scott Whitaker

                                                             Book Review Editor, The Broadkill Review

                                                               and Member, National Book Critics Circle


J. T. Whitehead brings to this monumental collection all the gifts we would expect of any poet worth his sodium:   Music, Imagery, Form (traditional and free), Sensitivity, Passion, Humanity, The World, The Self.  What he adds to those . . . what is lacking in so much of the mediocre volumes heaped upon us today . . . is INTELLIGENCE!  A World Class Intelligence.  That which envelopes experience, orders and reorders it, penetrates and invades it, not eschewing syllogistic reasoning or immersion in the knowledge and wisdom of the great geniuses of the past, and the application of this great inquiry to the particularities of his life and ours.   What poets of permanent interest have possessed intelligence of such dimensions?  Eliot springs to mind.  John Donne.  Yeats.  Blake.  Dante. Joyce (in his great poem, Finnegans Wake). Shakespeare. Rilke. Whitman.  Horace.  Pope.  Homer.  There are others, but you get  the idea.  We are talking about Poets of DIMENSION.

          Do not be scared off by this.  All those I have mentioned have ultimately demonstrated the greatest clarity of vision and expression.   J.T. brings to language the quintessential precision and clarity of the Legal Mind,  enriched by the Poetic Imagination: a Bicameral Creativity.  Accept the challenge.  Prove yourself the equal of it.

         Buy the Fucking Book!

                                                       --Gerald Locklin


J.T. Whitehead’s The Table of the Elements gives us proof that poetry is found in all things, and we are engulfed in it. His poetic vision takes our arrogant assumption of the inanimate world, and turns it on its head. This collection of poems declares to the reader: you and I do not master the elements, the elements master us. In a time when it becomes clear that mankind has done nothing to deserve a planet so full of wonder and grace, these poems remind us that we are nothing but the stuff we, ourselves, take for granted and waste. Here, poetry documents the folly and mayhem of our physical journey. While we squander our lives, Whitehead reminds us that the solids, gases, molecules and atoms of the universe patiently await our unavoidable return.

                                                                         -- Richard Vargas, author of Guernica, revisited,                                                                   publisher/editor ofThe Más Tequila Review


Sid Gold is a quintessential American poet. Unlike many of his contemporaries he is a pioneer, a conqueror, who keeps expanding his artistic universe. Read this book, read again his previous poetry collections and you will agree: Sid Gold is a master!

                                       --Lyubomir Nikolov, Author of Unreal Estate


Sid Gold’s poems are both streetwise and deeply compassionate. Going against the grain of our wish-fulfillment culture, they look to the unlovely and dilapidate; many of the characters we meet in them have survived setbacks, while some are on a collision course with reality. These are poems about coming to terms, and about finding—as we cast off ego and delusion—what will suffice: “the crisp leaves/of November stirring in the wind/the knife blade slicing through the day-old loaf.” Gold’s generosity of spirit recalls Whitman, William Carlos Williams and Gerald Stern; at the same time, the artistry and seductive elegance of his poems distinguishes him from most chroniclers of contemporary urban life. He is, as the book’s title suggests, “good with oranges.”

                                       --Robert Herschbach, Author of Loose Weather


Sid Gold’s Good with Oranges offers us an unflinching view of the world. The voice in these poems is as clear and direct as the truths they lay bare—truths spanning from our deepest individual desires to the public narrative of our shared human history. Often the two are present in a single moment, juxtaposed in such surprising ways that we are forced to reexamine what we thought we knew...and find ourselves changed in the process.

                                      --Holly Karapetkova, Author of 

                                          Words We Might One Day Say



Contents Under Pressure is a beautiful story collection by a writer whose wisdom and compassion illuminate every page.  Ellen Prentiss Campbell understands how her vividly drawn characters can love and hurt each other simultaneously, and she probes into the recesses of their hearts.  Altogether a pleasure to read.

                                              — Lynne Sharon Schwartz


Ellen Prentiss Campbell’s Contents Under Pressure is an aptly named book, indeed. These stories crackle with tension, delivered in language with the concision and precision of poetry. Never predictable, always insightful, and often breathtakingly acute, Campbell is a writer to watch. 

                                              — Rose Solari, author of The Last Girl  and

                                                        A Secret Woman 


Winner ! 
Best Book of Poetry 2014!  
National Federation of Press Women

Winner ! 
Best Book of Verse 2014!  
Delaware Press Association

Irene Fick’s first book has stolen my heart with its clear sweet lines, and lack of artifice. Here’s poetry that doesn’t need to persuade, for its presence in the world emerges from a genuine source with immediate connectivity. The title of the book is straightforward, yet it’s rare to create the right story in the right form with themes laid out in a unified vision. Fick is a writer of observation, but more, of felt life. Once you enter her currents of thought, there’s no going back or stopping. To be able to show hard glimpses of reality with beauty and truth is a gift many poets have not achieved. As for fear, age, dementia, illness and death, Fick turns them over to the angels of language where they belong—and they could not do better. I am permanently touched by this book.

                                                  —Grace Cavalieri, Producer/Host, 

                                                          “The Poet and the Poem from 

                                                                the Library of Congress”


Fick focuses her journalist’s eyes on her childhood (in an imperfect Italian family in Brooklyn) and her adulthood as though she wanted to be sentimental, but instead nails down her observations with sharply delineated details. Entering the domain of poetry, she combines words in novel combinations, often juxtaposing one truth against another with fresh vision, originality, and regard for the innate music of good free verse. One sees ever the sense of discovery, uncovering truths without need for fancy phrases, pretty devices or four-letter words, because, poem after poem, the perceptions and combinations are right on target. 

                                                 —Elisavietta Ritchie, Author of 

                                                         Tiger Upstairs on Connecticut Avenue


Dogfish Head 

Poetry Prize 


Peregrine Nation


Lucian Mattison

Lucian Mattison writes poems that travel across continents and griefs, bi-cultural, speaking between languages, his is a broad geography from pool halls to the dim lights of Argentina, he brings us through the alleyways of lost loves and the bar tables where we count our losses, but always with some sense of hope, some far away music calling us as when he urges "hear my voice inhabit/a familiar melody, as if/ I’ve lived my entire life somewhere else/ in a second tongue."

                                                       -- Sean Thomas Dougherty

In semi-documentary dramatic scenes, Lucian Mattison tells stories about a specific locale, a Peregrine Nation that I can think my way into, or sink into--an outlier’s view of Argentina. His scenes remain in the mind because each line of poetry, as Ezra Pound recommended, is written “at least as well as prose.” Mattison’s poetry masquerading as prose is generally straightforward but delivers sudden fillips that transpose the reader to another level. He is a scrupulous poet who will engage readers with his bright, spontaneous, clear, never-strained, uncluttered , new voice.

                                                      -- Larry Woiwode

Lucian Mattison stamps our passports and welcomes us to the Peregrine Nation, a region in history both personal and shared. Although the poems take us all over Chile and Argentina, we never feel welcome in either. Rather the Peregrine Nation seems to be a kind of Nowhere Land for those "not completely gringo or Argentinian." By oscillating between poetic strategies, between shorter lyrics and more narrative poem, Mattison formally enacts this juxtaposition, creating a poetry that all outsiders will find welcoming.

                                                      -- Gerry LaFemina

Featured Books 
Summer 2015

Brand New!

Exquisitely made, lyrical, yet unpretentious, Mary Ann Larkin’s On Gannon Street evokes the complexities of a black neighborhood and its relationship with a sole white resident, with all the poignance of a novel, but with a gifted poet’s miraculous economy. We know these characters, their dreams, frustrations, acts of ordinary kindness, in all four dimensions, but above it all there’s a visionary fifth dimension hovering, showing a wisdom and imagination of the highest order, making Gannon Street a place not to be missed in anyone’s tour of America.

                                                             -- Alan Feldman,

                                                                    Author of Immortality

Recent Additions to Our Catalog

Nominated for the 2014 National Book Critics Circle Award!

Howard Gofreed's Postcard from Bologna contains personal poems with both violence and ache at their center. Gofreed looks war, loneliness, and age in the face and dares to keep on going. There's courage in these poems, and humor too, and Gofreed doesn't back down from a fight. "There will always be hostages," he writes about Iran and his own health, and he's right; sometimes the hostages of our horrible acts are our loved ones, and our own damaged hearts.

                                                         —Scott Whitaker

                                                                Author of The Black Narrows


Howard Gofreed’s voice is egalitarian and inviting, each poem an invitation to overhear a man reflect on his experiences – war, children divorce, lustings, the past, the everyday comings and goings – in a tone that is often wryly comic and sceptical but always empathic.

                                                        Merrill Leffler

                                                                Author of Mark the Music

H.A. Maxson's Lemon Light is a resounding addition to an already fine body of work. There is many-angled and moving clarity here, a plain-spokenness shot through with illuminating nuance. Any one of these poems can have the reader saying, "Yes, this is it exactly."

                                                    —Thomas Reiter

                                                           Author of Catchment: Poems

Clear, lively, and often stunning in their language, the poems in H.A. Maxson’s LEMON LIGHT  surprise us with images like this: “I have held the ankles of the voracious upside-down man as he chewed through rock and root for the last time.” That’s a brand new look at a post-hole digger, and whether the subject is muskrats, King Croesus, or  Assateague ponies, Maxson’s particulars are exact and gratifying. He is that rare poet who lifts the world out of the commonplace for the reader’s astonishment.

                                                  —Brendan Galvin 

                                                          Author of Ocean Effects: Poems

I don't know if Buck Downs leads a charmed life—literally—but there's something exceedingly lucky—felicitous—happy—about the way he lays down these poetic telegrams of twenty-first-century experience in Charmed Life. The reader swoops along on Downs's burst of coy and cunning language, "drifting like old- / fashioned / radio signals" through the perennial—but here freshly revivified—territories of love, sex, music, everyday living. These poems will charm your socks—hell, maybe even your pants—off: "don't change / your mind / for me, // not if / you grind / for me." 

          —Mark Scroggins

                  Author of Red Arcadia


I like the voice of the teacher evident in this collection, a teacher aware he is walking with his children (and his readers) to points of growth which are also points of no return, moments when familiar realities feel fundamental and life-sustaining, though they also seem to usher each of us off into our own privacies. Often it’s the haiku in this collection that present these moments most magically; for instance, “Cicada shell/I find her college photos/in the trash can.” Or, “just noticing/the countless scratches –/wedding band.” Or, “only brown moths/around the last zinnia blooms/our breath visible.”

—David McAleavey, 

    Author of Holding Obsidian


In Brackish Water, Michael Blaine navigates the complicated habitats of desire, marriage, fatherhood, and loss. He reminds us that “[r]eal isn’t enough”—that something more must be “added to make/the eye believe.” Blaine’s poems, in effect, become a kind of tide themselves, carrying the reader from Rehoboth Bay to as far away as the Gulf of Mexico and Haiti. And yet, the spare imagery of these finely crafted poems—the silky muck, the tractor discs, the rock and shale—keeps us firmly rooted in the earth. Blaine’s remarkable collection affirms our shared consciousness, and in the end, he shows us it is possible to sift among the wreckage, “to pick up and rebuild/what [is] salvageable.”

                                             —Amanda Newell, Author of Fractured Light


In "Brackish Water" Michael Blaine's haiku often startle with a surprising jolt in line three. His ekphrastic poems peer  beneath the paint deep into the underlying metaphor. Whether he is celebrating being a father, a husband or a teacher, his images are hard and clear and they make his old, old subjects sparkle in new light. 

                                             —H. A. Maxson, Author of Lemon Light

Franetta McMillian's poems are deliciously awash in the (often overlooked) inherent musicality found in the word, and in an infectious, riveting, and unabashedly singular vision. You cannot help but follow these rhythmic narrative journeys. You want to know where the poems are going -- what you will see, hear, and feel on the way. You'll also want to revisit each poem's questions and/or implications. I often found myself thinking of a line from another poet—Rainer Maria Rilke— "Love the questions like locked doors."Ms. Mc Millan's work is a reminder that there are still infinite linguistic songs to be sung—what Patti Smith dubbed "a sea of possibilities." Let this fine volume into your heart.

—Reuben Jackson, Author, 

                                                                                               fingering the keys and

                                                                                                Host of "Friday Night Jazz" 

                                                                                                  Vermont Public Radio 


Franetta McMillian writes in a language both clear and meditative, tackling subject matter as wide ranging as the title of her work suggests. She evokes the imagery of everything from popular television shows to vehement bigotry, and each time provokes the readers to challenge their perceptions on the matter. This poetry is not preaching, nor is it pushing boundaries for the sake of it—McMillian engages in a deep exploration of her various subjects with each line, and that sort of depth can't do anything but force the audience to think in a new way. 

                                   —Joshua D. Isard, Director 

                                          MFA Program in Creative Writing, 

                                               Arcadia University


Long-time government writer Susanne Bostick Allen advises that “[r]ed is vital to our mission” and “[b]eige has practical applications”, but “the sentences are up to no good”. She chastens bureaucracy with understated humor, then escapes to clear-eyed remembrance of childhood visits to relatives in rural Alabama. Highway 78 cogently contrasts both ways of life to reveal a life well examined and honestly reported.

        —Howard Gofreed, author of 

               Postcard from Bologna

From the rich bottom land of Alabama to the slick highways circumventing Washington D.C. ,  Susanne Bostick Allen takes us on a sojourn of unsentimental power with her skillfully balanced poetry. The subtext is a woman's identity, probing into corners with intelligent humor. Allen's calm observations become poetry as the rhythm of language governs narrative, and  we then enter an extended map of a poet's fine senses.
                                               —Grace Cavalieri,  Producer/Host

                                                       "The Poet and the Poem

                                                            from the Library of Congress."


Dogfish Head Poetry Prize 


In "Necessary Myths" Grant Clauser focuses on little things that together gather energy to create a strong sense of place and drama. In his short poem, "Yin Garden," this: "And somewhere out in the yard/the dandelions wound their tails/around their neighbors’ throats/killing off the wild sage/then launching their feathery/seeds into the wind." This is what we experience in poem after poem, this energy, this changing, this launching. It is a well-wrought collection, and I am pleased to recommend it.

—Harry Humes, author of Butterfly 

    Effect and Underground Singing

Grant Clauser knows where the bodies are buried (or not buried). At times startling and unflinching, his poetry confronts the worst in us and along the way discovers language freshly marked by compassion. “Twitter loves a failure,” he writes with characteristic directness and wit. He finds sources of renewal in images of streams, rivers, and the “gossiping” of springs—and speaks up boldly, memorably, and disarmingly for the guilty and the innocent alike.

—Lee Upton, Author of 

    Swallowing the Sea: On Writing & Ambition, Boredom, Purity & Secrecy

A beautiful collection of clear, grounded, surprising and moving poems about creating friendships and letting go loved ones, taking in whatever good there is to be had, and cutting out the damaged parts, and letting them go. Never over-poetic, simply graceful, smart, and necessary.

--Heather Sellers

   Author of Georgia Under Water

So fine to have Ms. Gaines-Friedler’s poems in the world — recording as they do with grace and proper gravitas the shift between generations, seasons, those watershed moments that move one day irretrievably into another.

--Thomas Lynch
    Author of Walking Papers

Like the bird that ‘curves its tiny bones around the twigs of wobbly branches,’ these poems adapt to and ride the most fierce and fragile of circumstances. Whether from the nursing home or the broken relationship — and with humor and forgiveness — the poems in Dutiful Heart bloom where they are planted. Joy Gaines-Friedler’s tender work reminds us to stay tethered, to keep refilling the feeder and always bring ‘something sweet for the table.’
–Terry Blackhawk, Author of The Dropped Hand

Pulitzer Prize 


Speed Enforced by Aircraft

poetry by

Richard Peabody

Peabody's latest collection of poetry is a testament to the many facets of his career. Though Peabody is a writer, poet, publisher, editor and long-time literary maven who has dedicated a large part of his own life to promoting other writers, especially young and/or emerging writers, this one-time wunderkind of American letters’ own style has matured and his work has taken on a depth and complexity, and the richness of a fine vintage.  -- The Publishers

Constructing Fiction is a gift to the young or would-be writers of short stories and novels. In plain, no-nonsense prose, Jamie Brown takes the reader for a walk through the world of fiction writing—avoiding the alleys and dead-end streets that so often lure new writers with promises of shortcuts. Here is advice that all writers—those young in the work, and old hands—can actually use.                     — H. A. Maxson

Constructing Fiction is a must for green writers looking to cut their teeth with short fiction, especially for those who over-think their prose, their process. From notes on character names to telling the author to trust the subconscious and “to get out of the way,” Brown, like Frank O'Hara, dares the writer to go “on your nerve.”

                          — Scott Whitaker (NBCC)




The Year of the

Dog Throwers

a collection of poetry by

Sid Gold

Sid Gold is a teacher of writing, and a poet as well.  That Sid Gold should come to poetry is a remarkably apt occurrence, for few people are quite so excited by words and their meanings as is the Harlem-born, Bronx and Manhattan-raised Gold.  Words, words, words, words.  Sid talks, and there is a danger in talking for most poets – the danger that they will have given as deep a consideration for the verbal as they do to their written language.  In this, Gold is a sort of amphibian, able to breathe in two mediums…But where he may be, on the one hand, conversationally-speaking, broad-ranging and effusive, to say nothing of excitable and plangent, his poetry is finely-tuned, striking exactly the chord he seeks to strike with a minimum of effort.  It is as if all of the words that bubble out of him are part of the creative fermentation process, so much excess verbiage, and somehow, what is left (on the page) is high-octane language. Merrill Leffler (Dryad Press) calls him “an urban storyteller whose poems….ride the back of a rhythmic jazz-like line.  What may seem conversational is deceptively lyrical, nearly every poem a deliberate — and deliberative — riff in an assured, distinctive voice…”


Poetry by 

Kelley Jean White

Chapbook Number Two in The Key Poetry Series

Kelley Jean White’s poetry crackles with electricity. There is science here, math, the bones of the dead, Bach, and the music of despair which is a radio filling a boxcar. White’s poems are tense, strong, full of big, jaunty, precise language that evoke the range of human loss, spiritual, emotional, sexual. Whether she writes about the loss of childhood memories or our mundane world of gasoline prices and nap-weary adults, White brings energy, immediacy and power.

    — S. Scott Whitaker

         (National Book Critics Circle)

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