Elegy for Bill Shively

for Bill: Poet, Teacher, Friend

June 27, 1952 — September 28, 2014

This is a drink for Bill Shively,
one of the several poets we lost last year,
mine wine but his beer — or sake —
if he could clink my glass
from wherever he went.
Who was one of us
during the old days,
though he’d long since
moved to Oregon
to teach special ed kids,
taking his hat worn at a rakish angle
and his Chicago-style cool.
Who incorporated a whole country,
“Guanabana,” with boundaries
the periphery of a table for four
at the Comet Tavern one night.
It was a small country.  You had to leave
it to go to the bathroom,
but still, the treasury could afford
another round of beers for all citizens.
Who had a goat roast each summer
in Oregon.  I drove down once,
camped in his dusty backyard,
sang my poems from a makeshift stage
set among roaming chickens.
Who said, I can stand the heat.
I just don’t like the kitchen.
Time burns, he told us,
and it burned him.
He wrote to me from Japan,
I miss the U.S. of US.
And we found, at his memorial
in Seattle, though we’ve all gone
on to our separate destinies,
that we are still an us.

—Judith Roche

All Fire  All Water, published by Black Heron Press in 2015, is Judith Roche’s fourth poetry collection. Her third, The Wisdom of the Body, won an American Book Award. She has published widely in various journals and magazines, and has poems installed on several public art projects in the Seattle area. She co-edited First Fish, First People: Salmon Tales of the North Pacific Rim, which also won an American Book Award. She has conducted workshops around the United States and has taught at several universities. She currently teaches at Richard Hugo House Literary Center in Seattle. She is a Fellow in the Black Earth Institute, a progressive think tank exploring the links between nature, spirit, and social justice.


Bill Shively was a performance poet and spiritual leader in the arts scene of the Pacific Northwest for the last 35 years. In the 1970s he moved between New York City and San Francisco, where he learned “the importance to create and perform rather than write and publish.” For several years in the 1970s he hosted the open mic series at the Sacred Grounds Café near the Panhandle a few blocks off Haight-Ashbury. In 1981, Bill was a founding board member of the Red Sky Poetry Theater, Seattle’s longest running weekly reading series, originally based in the Pike Place Market. Emphasizing performance over publication, Red Sky also featured music including The Bill Shively Band. He was the first and only “editor” of Open Sky, an “assemblage” style zine in which every contributor simply sends in 400 copies of their piece which is then compiled and bound. While in Seattle, Bill also created SkyViews magazine, which started out as a monthly newsletter with guest editors. During the mid-80s he lived for a few years in Kyoto, Japan where he hung out with Cid Corman, edited the Kyoto Journal and performed with Red Sky associate saxophonist Michael Monhart. For the last two decades Bill lived in Newberg, Oregon, with his life’s love Anna Laakso, where he taught special education in the public schools. During that time he participated in every poetry venue in Poetland, and continued his musical collaborations with Stan Cassels, Leuth Bartels, Toni Santos, Ray Coffey and Martha Armstrong, among others. For many years he and Anna hosted the legendary GoatFest at their home in Newberg.

—Casey Bush, Portland, Oregon

Published in Raven Chronicles, Vol. 21, 2015.

Where Good Night and Shut Up Sound the Same

The crows settling into the trees
make a deafening racket as if
outraged by the sun going down
by the damp chilly night coming on
though with reason to fret even so
further shouting more carrying on
endless others to share the complaint
what about me they cry as if
sent to bed hungry when all it is
slim pickings a sorry bellyful of
stale moldy bread scattered French fries
with some stupid dipping sauce
upsetting their delicate stomach
stuffed with crickets baby birds maggots
as they natter and groan on and on
getting it all off their chest
is this all we get where’s the sun gone
spiral down in a deepening gloom
where good night and shut up sound the same
where leaning in holding tight they fall silent
as one then the next dozes off

—Paul Hunter

For the past twenty-one years Paul Hunter has published fine letterpress poetry under the imprint of Wood Works, currently including twenty-six books and over sixty broadsides. His first collection of farming poems, Breaking Ground, 2004, from Silverfish Review Press, was reviewed in the New York Times, and received the 2004 Washington State Book Award. Other farming poems collections followed from Silverfish Review Press: Ripening, 2007, Come the Harvest, 2008, and Stubble Field, 2012. He has been a featured poet on The News Hour, and has a prose book on small-scale, sustainable farming, One Seed to Another: The New Small Farming, published by the Small Farmer’s Journal, 2010.

Published in Raven Chronicles, Vol. 21, 2015.

Cooking with Charlie

by Thomas Hubbard

Charlie Southerland, a vice president in Arkansas’ state-wide Poets Round Table, cooks barbecue in a region where barbecue is a high art form, in a state where it approaches religion. But he built the business in Enumclaw, near Seattle, years ago. He lived and worked in the area for seventeen years.

How he learned the art of barbecue, developed it into a business, and then moved it lock stock and barrel to the north central Arkansas village of Viola, amounts to a full-blown saga. A highlight of Charlie’s early years in Dexter, Missouri, was learning to cook in the Boy Scouts, at bivouacs and campouts with his friend, Bruce Vancil. Later, after they were grown, Bruce taught him how to cook barbecue. By then Bruce was plying his trade at the Hickory Log Restaurant, in Dexter. (Bruce now owns a chain of BBQ restaurants in Missouri and Arkansas.)

From Dexter, Charlie moved to a small town in Louisiana where he cooked at grocery store fronts and catered.

Next, he relocated to Enumclaw, Washington, where he continued catering. Charlie has provided barbecue for such divergent gatherings as Jewish weddings on Lake Union, luncheons for Weyerhaueser and Burlington Northern, and for the Roy Rodeo, the King County Fair, and the first Gay Rodeo in King County. He once traded barbecue with Sholdt Jewelers (Brian Sholdt’s wedding) for Charlie’s and his wife’s wedding rings.

Charlie enjoys talking about poetry as much as he enjoys barbecue. “I write free verse as well as formal poetry,” he said, “but I’ve been concentrating on formal poetry for about three years now. It seems to make my free verse better.” Perhaps concentrating makes everything better.

He won the most humorous poem award (a sonnet called “Farm Girl”) in the 2013 Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest at the Great River Shakespeare Festival, and has been published in The Rotary Dial (a literary magazine friendly to formal poetry). Charlie’s poem, “Eclipse,” appeared in the Autumn, 2014 issue of Trinacria magazine, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Poetry Prize by Dr. Joseph Salemi, publisher of Trinacria.

However, life has delivered Charlie some hard knocks too. Returning to Enumclaw from a Missouri turkey hunting trip one night, he stopped at an accident site involving a fatality and some serious injuries, and got out of his vehicle to help. “An old woman came barreling along the highway,” Charlie recalls, “she hit me, tearing my right leg off.” The insurance settlement was large enough that he could purchase a two hundred and forty acre farm near Viola, in Fulton County, Arkansas, and that’s where he still cooks barbecue today.

Charlie Southerland hopes his “Cooking Ribs with Charlie” sonnet sequence will help anyone desiring to barbecue ribs.

Cooking Ribs with Charlie

You start with spare ribs only, good and fresh.
Sometimes they’re vacuum packed, but that’s alright
because at Walmart they are reddish flesh.
There shouldn’t be a sour smell or sight
of mold. You turn them gut side up and strip
the membrane, trim the flap, and cut the fat
away, because nobody likes it, flip
the slab and wipe it down with brine then pat
it dry, apply the spices evenly
and let it set refrigerated.  Start
the grill with oak briquettes, then leniently
you lay the hickory and cherry heart.
Resist the urge you have to stroke and poke.
You wait until you see the Papal smoke.

Before you start to cook the ribs, a note
or two about success—make sure the fire
is banked against one side, the creosote
won’t build upon the grill.  I like the pyre
a little hot to start, then let it cool
a bit.  Then place the ribs just opposite
away from heat and close the lid.  The rule
I follow is to set the damper right
above the meat so all the smoke can jam
the rub or brine and heat the bones which cooks
the meat with slow convection, not the wham
of charring burgers, dogs or brats. One looks
for rigor, stiffness, tenderness, and feel.
Don’t let the amateurs screw up the deal.

You take the ribs out, cut the chine-bone off.
It lets the ribs more evenly take heat.
You place the bone side down, not up, they trough

the juice and cook all wrong, so lay them neat
just like I said, then place the chine bone near
the skinny side to shield the smaller bones
from too much fire, so they won’t shrink or sear
too fast.  Then turn off all your telephones.
For three some hours, give or take, don’t let
a soul distract you from this work of love
you make.  Bring up the temperature and set
the damper right; don’t let it get above
two-forty.  Check them every hour.  Buy beer
and call me over when they’re done, you hear?

—Charlie Southerland

Published in Raven Chronicles, Vol. 21, 2015.

The New Economy


Tao Yuan Ming,
your house survived
fifteen hundred years of
wind, rain, drought,
fire and floods.

This past century of
the long march, years
of Chairman Mao, the
Gang of Four and
the Cultural Revolution only
to succumb to the
economic revolution
that promised prosperity
to the provinces.

Your house and village
now demolished
and a half finished, empty
block of apartments
erected in its place.
A cold wind rattles
through the empty halls.

—Dennis Maloney


Dennis Maloney is the editor and publisher of the widely respected White Pine Press in Buffalo, NY. He is also a poet and translator. His works of translation include: The Stones of Chile by Pablo Neruda, The Landscape of Castile by Antonio Machado, Between the Floating Mist:Poems of Ryokan,and the The Poet and the Sea by Juan Ramon Jimenez. His book Listening to Tao Yuan Ming is forthcoming from Glass Lyre Press.


Published in Raven Chronicles, Vol. 21, 2015.

20015 Pushcart Prize Nominations

The editors of Raven Chronicles nominate the following writers for their work which were published in Raven Chronicles, A Journal of Art, Literature &  The Spoken Word,  Vol. 21, Laugh. Laugh? Laugh! issue:

  1. Susan J. Erickson, “Elizabeth Barrett Takes Up Tweeting”— poem, pg. 34.
  1. Vince Gotera, “How to Write a Sestina”— poem, pg. 42.
  1. Paul Hunter,“Clownery”— poem, pgs. 72-73
  1. Tiffany Midge,“Sex, Love, and Frybread”— fiction, pgs. 36-41.
  1. Theodore C. Van Alst, Jr., “Bumblebee and The Cherokee Harelip”— fiction,  pgs. 54-59.
  1. Vladimir Vulović, “Borka”—essay, pgs. 12-15.

Continue reading 20015 Pushcart Prize Nominations