Constance Brewer – Editor
Constance Brewer likes Tuxedo cats, Whiteline woodcuts, and Welsh Corgis most of all. She reads widely on things like fantasy, mythology, science, and crafts. Her poetry can be found in Door is a Jar, Anti-Heroin Chic, Sheila-Na-Gig, Montana Mouthful, Rappahannock Review, Harpur Palate, Crafty Poet II: A Portable Workshop, The Nassau Review, and the New Poets of the American West Anthology among other places. She is the author of the book, Piccola Poesie: A Nibble of 100 Short Form Poems. Constance has an MFA from the University of Buffalo (NY) and is the recipient of a Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship Grant in poetry. A former US Army officer with the Corps of Engineers, she misses blowing things up for her country. You can find out more on her website, Life on the Periphery.
Her poetic influences include poets Dorianne Laux, Tracy K. Smith, W.S. Merwin, Nick Lantz, Carl Dennis, Rudy Francisco, Ocean Vuong, Naomi Shihab Nye, Marie Howe, and Charles Wright. Constance is a fan of free verse but does enjoy a well-rhymed form poem. As an editor, she prefers attention to detail and poetic craft. Poems that resonate, offer a new look on a common theme, and show awareness of language will always get her attention. She loves poems that incorporate science and cosmology—both physical and religious. Don’t forget to nail that ending!
Elya Braden – Assistant Editor
Elya Braden was born a poet, singer/actor and artist, but took an eighteen-year hiatus from her creative life so she could play “Let’s Make A Deal” as a business lawyer and entrepreneur. She is now a writer and mixed-media artist living with her husband, the brilliant short story writer and artist, Jon Pearson, and their cats, Phoebe and Luka, in Channel Islands Harbor, near Ventura, CA. Elya is the author of the chapbooks Open The Fist (2020) and The Sight of Invisible Longing, a semi-finalist in Finishing Line Press’s New Women’s Voices Competition (March 2023). Her work has been published in Calyx, Prometheus Dreaming, Rattle Poets Respond, Sequestrum, Sheila-Na-Gig Online, The Louisville Review, Third Wednesday, and elsewhere. Her poems have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and have received several Best of the Net nominations. www.elyabraden.com.
When she’s not writing poems or to-do lists or pasting collages, Elya is usually reading: poems, politics, business news, or the Sunday funnies, or listening to literary fiction or personal development books on her Libby app. Her poetic influences and favorite poets include Ellen Bass, Eduardo Corral, Natalie Diaz, Mark Doty, Ada Limón, Adrienne Rich, Rumi, Rilke, and Dean Young. She is drawn to poems that illuminate the ordinary, open windows to new worlds, or excavate the past for emotional/psychological revelations, with vivid images and concise language.
Betsy Mars – Assistant Editor
Betsy Mars works as a substitute teacher but her real dedication is to poetry. Her work has been published in journals such as Sheila-Na-Gig, One Art, Sky Island, and MacQueen’s Quinterly. In 2019 she founded Kingly Street Press. She received nominations for the Pushcart Prize and for the Best of the Net in 2021. Betsy is involved in several artistic collaborations and is increasingly experimenting with photography. Her photos have appeared in Praxis, Spank the Carp, Redheaded Stepchild, and as the prompt for the Rattle Ekphrastic Challenge in March 2019. She wrote the collection Alinea, (Picture Show Press) and co-authored In the Muddle of the Night (Arroyo Seco Press) with Alan Walowitz.
Her taste in poetry is eclectic, running the gamut from Lewis Carroll to Emily Dickinson, e.e. cummings, John Donne, Kwame Dawes, Jane Kenyon, Ada Limón, Ilya Kaminsky, and beyond. The absurd and the profound (separately and together) please her. Though she appreciates a good, depressing poem as much as the next person, she also longs to be amused and uplifted.
Past Staff Members:
Hanna Pachman, Assistant Editor
Joshua A. Colwell, Assistant Editor, Social Media Manager
Kathleen Cassen Mickelson, Co-Founder and Editor
Constance Brewer and Kathleen Cassen Mickelson
Current Feline Editors:
Lorenzo the Tuxedo cat
BIO: Lorenzo de’ Magnificat is a rags to riches story. Rescued from Cat Slam (a shelter), he elevated himself to star status with a flick of a paw. Lorenzo created such bestsellers as Door Darting for the Ultimate Beginner, Shredding a Cardboard Box the Proper Way, Conquering My ‘Nip Addiction: A Memoir, and Meowing for Breakfast at 4:00 A.M. Dislikes include squirt guns and people that fail to worship him as a god. He has many hobbies. Professional door darting, surveying the world from a sunny window perch, and reenacting Shakespeare—favorite quote: I’m dying for food, so let me have some. Orlando, As You Like It, Act 2, Scene 7. You can reach Lorenzo through his minion, Constance, or on his social media platform, Caterwaul.
Harper the Pyrenees Peluche cat
BIO: Harper is descended from cats who accompanied Saint Giles when he arrived in La Vall de Núria in Catalonia around 700 AD. She was discovered in a suburb of East LA where her talents were being squandered and she was wasting away in anonymity. The author of groundbreaking literature written under a pseudonym to protect her privacy, her favorite books are To Kill a Mockingbird and Of Human Bondage. Favorite activities include…just kidding. She is opposed to activity. Named after Harper Lee, she craves nothing more than justice and equal access to the dry food bowl. In the same vein, she tries to remember that “A man [cat] may learn wisdom even from a foe” – Aristophanes.
Train the Ginger cat
Train was destined for greatness from the moment he was marked with a kiss to differentiate him from his littermates. Though the lipstick soon wore off, his conviction of his distinction never did. Nevertheless, to his dismay, he is often mistaken for his brother Thorpe. Or a very large caramel swirl candy such as one might find at the five-and-dime in times past. Upon arrival in his new domain, he was given the more formal name of Coltrane, and like his namesake, he has undertaken a quest for universal truth.
Confined to the house due to an increase in undesirables in the neighborhood (i.e., coyotes) he can often be found at the magic ceramic fountain or at the desk drinking from his sparkly cup while contemplating the passing seasons. He is very attentive to claw maintenance, the better to shred any paper daring to come out of the printer. Train also enjoys a bit of catnip now and then to stave off the boredom of his days while he awaits your submission…I mean, submissions.
He takes his responsibilities seriously, mindful of this ancient inscription found on a royal tomb at Thebes, Egypt: “Thou art the Great Cat, the avenger of the gods, and the judge of words.”(sic) Please contact his mother/food server/water bearer/scribe/personal photographer/window opener/comfort object Betsy Mars with questions or requests for autographs or product endorsements.
Thorpe the Ginger cat
Along with his brother, Train, Thorpe, (or Orangethorpe, after whom a major LA thoroughfare is named), was plucked from the furry, squirming masses when he was just a kitten thanks to his intelligent face and unusual kinked tail. Legend has it this rare feature indicates that a cat is descended from breeds who resided in royal household where their tails served as ring holders.
Thorpe is inquisitive and thinks outside the box. Or, more often, in the box. A cat of many talents, he is a determined and gifted couch shredder. Despite his wary and shy demeanor, he is in fact a risk taker and adventurous eater. Interests include bonsai and flower rearranging, tasting things, and yarn(s). He can often be found at the top level of the 3-tiered climbing structure awaiting an opportunity to deploy his expert safe-cracking skills on the treat bin. Unlike fog, he literally does come in “on little cat feet,” often taking household members by surprise with his stealth.
Thorpe is the author of several books, including Golf Club Covers and Other Fetishes and the inspirational bestseller, Take a Leap: Objects are Closer Than They Appear. He favors poetry that you can really sink your teeth into, but can also appreciate a clever limerick. His favorite author is Thomas Pynchon though he admits he did not understand Gravity’s Rainbow. He also likes Bass. I mean, Ellen Bass.
Contact Head of Cat Maintenance Betsy Mars with inquiries, though Thorpe prefers to leave public appearances to Train.
Phoebe the Russian Blue
Phoebe (named after Holden Caulfield’s little sister) was rescued from the sunbaked wilds of Simi Valley, CA to dwell in a paradise of shimmering water, palm trees, and an abundance of winged creatures who tease and torture her through glass and screens. Of uncertain parentage, she nonetheless bears the distinctive traits of her Russian Blue ancestors with her regal bearing, her luxurious silver coat and ringed tail, brilliant green eyes with yellow rims, mauve paws, and a natural “smile” that belies her deep longing for St. Petersburg in snow and the distant tinkling of sleighbells. A young poet (just 2 in human years), she recently released her first chapbook: Sharpening My Claws on the Switchblade of Your Soul, a tribute to her favorite poet—Anna Akhmatova. Meanwhile, she’s working on her rags to riches memoir tentatively titled: Dominatrix in Training or Kiss and Nip. An avid shredder, oops—reader, of books, her favorite quote is: “Beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. God and devil are fighting there, and the battlefield is the heart of man.” ~Fyodor Dostoevsky
Luka the Tuxedo cat
Luka (meaning “bringer of light”), embraces their gender-neutral name and prefers the pronouns she/they, as she contains multitudes. Their regal bearing, chin lifted/tail raised, and their instant dominion of any room they enter, reflect their lineage of being worshipped in Ancient Egypt as deities. Luka identifies most closely with Hathor, the Egyptian goddess of love, as she loves everybody and lives to cuddle. In bed at night, Luka dances to the music of the stars on the sleeping humans’ feet and legs, then kneads any exposed arms with paws (and claws!).
Luka was rescued from a rough riverbank cat encampment in Ventura County. Luka’s humans were on the verge of adopting the wrong cat until Luka love-bombed them with wriggles and kisses and jade-green eyes. Moments later, the wrong cat was back in his cage, and Luka was heading home to meet new big sister, Phoebe.
Only a year-and-a-half old, with a short attention span, Luka scratches haiku in the litter box and, occasionally, on the windowsill when riled up by chittering birds outside the oh-so-annoying glass. One of Luka’s new haiku, just up on animalia.com, has received widespread acclaim:
carry tasty tidbit far
teeth empty air — snap
Luka’s favorite poets (and cat-vocates) are T. S. Eliot, Christopher Smart, Edward Lear, Charles Baudelaire, Emily Dickinson, and Jane Hirshfield.
Editors Who Have Crossed the Bridge:
CoCo the gray Tuxie
Max & Merlin, the Pembroke Welsh Corgis
Ruby the Irish terrier
Truffles the mini doxie
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