Protective Coloration / David Jibson

ProtectiveColorationCoverIn this splendid collection of engaging and unmistakably American poems, David Jibson manages to find beauty in utterly unexpected places: piled up on a back shelf at the Salvation Army Store, for example, or strung along the bedraggled length of the Ohio Turnpike—or perhaps in the lovely, tentative dance of a blind woman learning to walk with a white cane. Along with a faint echo of Ted Kooser or Billy Collins at their conversational best, you’ll be captivated by Jibson’s own irresistible voice: that of a witty, insightful observer of the astonishments that surround us.

Marilyn L. Taylor / Wisconsin Poet Laureate, Emerita

To read David Jibson’s poems is like leafing through a pile of photos of your life and suddenly rediscovering feelings and events you had forgotten or never knew. Each snapshot is replete with carefully selected images organized to create unity and fulfillment. His poems range from trivia to exotic, from people we recognize to those we would like to meet. Topics include science, religion, philosophy, history, music, art, and (the requisite for all good poetry) basic old-fashioned entertainment.

Lawrence W. Thomas / Founding Editor of Third Wednesday Magazine,
Honorary Chancellor, Poetry Society of Michigan

Protective Coloration

The Walking Stick is indistinguishable from his habitat,
as is the Dead Leaf Butterfly, the Pygmy Seahorse,
the Tawny Frog-mouth of Tasmania and the Giant Kelp-fish.

So it is with the poet of a certain age hidden in a corner booth
at the back of the cafe as quiet as any snowshoe hare,
as still as a heron among the reeds.

To Have and Have Not

In the balcony rows where the lovers sit
it’s not so far from heaven
where the beam from a projector
slices the darkness and we,
playing at Bogie and Bacall,
splash ourselves up on the screen,
an etching of a former world,
where we wish we could
live out our lives in two dimensions
in the deep shadows of a darkened theater,
the objects of every envy.

Available Now from Kelsay Books and Amazon:

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You’re in the Wrong Place / Joseph Harris

(Wayne State University Press, September 15, 2020)

YoureInWrongPlaceCoverIn a thrilling interconnected narrative, You’re in the Wrong Place presents characters reaching for transcendence from a place they cannot escape. Charles Baxter stated that “Joseph Harris has a particular feeling for the Detroit suburbs and the slightly stunted lives of the young people there…You’re in the Wrong Place isn’t uniformly downbeat-there are all sorts of rays of hope that gleam toward the end.”

The book, composed of twelve stories, begins in the fall of 2008 with the shuttering of Dynamic Fabricating-a fictional industrial shop located in the Detroit suburb of Ferndale. Over the next seven years, the shop’s former employees-as well as their friends and families-struggle to find money, purpose, and levity in a landscape suddenly devoid of work, faith, and love.

Vivid, gritty, and original; You’re in the Wrong Place is a love letter to the city of Detroit. A terrific book. (Julie Schumacher Thurber Prize–winning author of Dear Committee Members)

These stories come to us from the front lines of urban decay and renewal, telling us news that stays news. The book is compassionate in its understanding of an entire population group that is proud even in defeat, and the writing often rises to wonderful eloquence. This is a very powerful book. (Charles Baxter author of There’s Something I Want You to Do)

Like the city they struggle to live in, the Detroiters in Joseph Harris’s short stories lead lives ravaged by loss-lost jobs, lost homes, lost loves, lost lives, lost dignity, and lost worlds. And yet even among ruins, with the help of Harris’s artful prose and redemptive imagination, his characters salvage fleeting moments of makeshift grace. Here is a new voice worth listening to. (Donovan Hohn author of The Inner Coast)

Author Bio: Joseph Harris is the author of the story collection You’re in the Wrong Place (Wayne State University Press, 2020). His stories have appeared in Clackamas Literary Review, Midwest Review, Moon City Review, Great Lakes Review, Third Wednesday, Storm Cellar, and have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He lives in Oak Park, MI.

Story that first appeared in Third Wednesday: “Easter Sunday.” Third Wednesday Vol. X, No. 1. Winter 2017.

Purchase At:  Wayne State University PressBookshop, Indiebound, Barnes & Noble, & Amazon.

Opposite the Direction We Are Traveling / Phillip Sterling — Poetry Society of Michigan

See Phillip Sterling’s poem, “Opposite the direction we are traveling” in From his book, Animal Husbandry.

Phillip is an associate editor for poetry at 3rd Wednesday Magazine.

Opposite the Direction We Are Traveling / Phillip Sterling — Poetry Society of Michigan

Third Wednesday Poetry Contest



We’re pleased to announce that our judge for this year’s contest is Joy Gaines-Friedler. Joy has taught as a guest instructor at Wayne State University, Michigan State, Frostburg State University, and at the Lapeer Correctional Facility for the Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP) through the University of Michigan where she worked with male “lifers.”

Twenty years a professional photographer Joy sees poetry as a natural extension of the photographic art form: both use images, contrast, tensions, a kind of rhythm and tone to convey what language alone, cannot. You can find Joy’s complete bio and links to her books and individual work at

Random Saints / Joe Cottonwood

Random_Saints_72Random Saints by Joe Cottonwood
Publisher: Kelsay Books, May 2020

available at Kelsay Books and from  

In “Officially Licensed Poet,” the speaker says to the poet ‘I don’t really like poetry but I like your stuff.’ I really do like poetry and I like Joe Cottonwood’s stuff too. If I were asked to choose a book to encapsulate late twentieth century early twenty-first century life as told by a humane and gifted observer, Random Saints would be my pick. Cottonwood is a master story-teller. Put a log on the fire, pull up a comfy chair, open the book. Prepare to laugh, prepare to cry, prepare to feel better about the human race.
Donna Hilbert, author of Gravity: New & Selected Poems

I have to say HOLY WOW. This whole thing knocked me over. Joe Cottonwood is a poet of uncommon perception. His work is direct, embodied, and authentic. Each poem is packed with the real wealth that comes of close observation and hard-won wisdom, carved down to the essence. Let Random Saints show you how the “grinding of the earth creates a diamond.” Then grab a few extra copies. You’re going to want to share this book. 
— Laura Grace Weldon, Ohio Poet of the Year 2019, author of Blackbird

Joe Cottonwood’s humanity illuminates his beautiful poetry, unfailingly drawing us into kinship with our fellow beings—two-legged and otherwise—in ways that surprise and delight. His writing proves the power of simple words and everyday experiences. I was honored to publish so many of these pieces in The MOON magazine.
— Leslee Goodman, publisher of The MOON magazine

JoeJoe Cottonwood is a carpenter by day, poet by night. He lives under redwood trees in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California.

We Bury the Landscape / Kristine Ong Muslim

KMuslimWe Bury the LandscapeWeBurytheLandscape
ISBN 978971542929-0
120 pages
Cover by Nadya Melina Nievera
Release date: October 25, 2020
Publisher: University of the Philippines Press

Click cover for link

It isn’t everyday a book offers two very different ways of reading. The first: intensely personal, sometimes bewildering and yet rigorously demanding in terms of creative participation, and the second: intellectual, research-based and analytical, but also a call to a communal multi-genre artistic experience. These two different methods are on offer in Kristine Ong Muslim’s collection of micro fictions We Bury the Landscape, an assemblage of very short ekphrastic pieces.”
Michelle Bailat-Jones in Necessary Fiction

Although the relationship between painting and prose is certainly essential to fully experiencing this collection, the collection is more than an exhibition or exercise in ekphrasis … Muslim’s collection-exhibition chronicles the process in which the things we drown, discard, and bury are exhumed and continue to haunt us even after we have buried them again.”
Hayes Moore in A cappella Zoo

Conceptually, this is one of the most unusual books I have ever read. We Bury the Landscape, by Kristine Ong Muslim, is a collection of 100 mini-stories based on works of visual art—paintings for the most part, but also drawings, and one photograph …. The pieces themselves reflect the surrealism of the selection. They are flights of the imagination, untrammelled by pedantic considerations of plausibility. In effect, they are more in the nature of prose poems, where the language is every bit as important as the content.”
Colman O Criodain in Gloom Cupboard

It’s not the talking that is significant but the stories themselves that are important. We must accept the things we most want to query. All of which suggests that one strand of the weird invites us to reconsider entirely how we tell stories and how we understand them. I’ve been thinking about this every time I come back to Kristine Ong Muslim’s We Bury the Landscape.”
Maureen Kincaid Speller in Weird Fiction Review

[We Bury the Landscape is] filled with an uncanny wisdom about what terrifies us most in life and death—a knowledge so nonchalant and startling each poem proves only to reveal truths about each of us, about our humanity.”
Susan Yount in Rebellious Magazine


Landscape with Grenade
      after Cliff McReynolds’s Landscape with Hand Grenade / oil on panel, 1972

GrenadeWhen the little people discovered the grenade on their valley, they did not know what it was so they prayed to it, tilled the land, and planted their tiny sacred crops around it as if it were some sort of shrine. Something so big and black with a curious contraption on one end had to beget miracles. So for months and months, they sang to it, asking for whatever it was little people desired in their little hearts. When nothing happened and because they were cowardly, they slit the throats of innocent animals in sacrifice. And when nothing happened still, they pelted the grenade with small stones. The grenadegod, of course, would not budge.


The Spider
           after Odilon Redon’s The Crying Spider / charcoal, 1881

CryingSpiderYour own family betrayed you the day they mistook you for a spider. Your mother caught you balancing a coffee mug on your fourth leg while sewing a button onto your coat with your two inborn hands. She told the family doctor you were “not quite right.” Another day, spying through the half-opened door, your kid brother watched you spin a web on the bedroom ceiling. Turning around, you lock eyes with him. He screamed. You didn’t get a chance to lick your achy joints and explain to him that it is normal to spin a web, to trap insects. Afterwards, your brother had to be sedated. For two years, he had the same bad dream. Your father, saddled since birth with pretending to be human, blamed you. When at last you had the sense to run away from home, nobody reported you missing. Your family must have assumed that anyone with eight legs must travel farther, go places no one else can. Most days, you wish that were the case.

Revenge of the Goldfish 
     after Sandy Skoglund’s Revenge of the GoldfishGoldfish / art installation photograph, 1981

It started when my sister and I painted the bedroom walls an incestuous blue. At first, only two appeared, seeped through the walls. Goldfish. All fat lips and yellow-orange ugliness, squiggling as if they had the right to materialize. One landed near my sock drawer. The bigger of the two settled on top of the blue lamp. The fish wheezed as they died, waiting for water. It got worse each day. In a week, goldfish poured from the ceiling, the unadorned walls, the dresser mirror, under the blue bed. Hundreds. Their husks dropped on the floor. Even in our sleep, we could hear their gasps. We trod on their bodies as we dressed for work, back to the world that did not know what we had to endure inside this little room. We only collected them when we could no longer stand the smell, that pungent, moldy odor of decay. We talked of moving out, although by the time there was gurgling in the bathroom pipes, we knew it was too late.