Author: North of Oxford

A journal of book reviews, commentary, essays and poetry.

Meet the New Poet Laureate of the United States – Joy Harjo

Joy Harjo, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2019-

Joy Harjo, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2019-
Photo credit: Shawn Miller

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden appointed Joy Harjo as the 23rd Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress on June 19, 2019.

Learn more about Joy Harjo . Here is the link to the Library of Congress official announcement:


From Our Editors

Recent releases from our editors here at North of Oxford. We thank all for supporting our work.

Hand Held Mirror of the Mind

The Handheld Mirror of the Mind


Stale Bread and Coffee


America by Tim Suermondt

In my dream I tell Sartre I didn’t like
the way he treated Camus.
He removes his glasses and in an almost
whisper says “I’m sorry.”
“That’s good enough for me,” I say
and we walk down St. Germain-des-Pres
like old comrades on a beautiful day.
He puffs on his pipe and says “I love
Americans,” a half smile sincerely made.
I don’t say a word but I remember
when the entire world would have agreed,
when the entire world would have celebrated.
Tim Suermondt is the author of four full-length collections of poems, the latest one THE WORLD DOESN’T KNOW YOU. His fifth collection JOSEPHINE BAKER SWIMMING POOL will be coming out from MadHat Press in January 2019. He has published in Poetry, Ploughshares, The Georgia Review, Prairie Schooner, North of Oxford, Bellevue Literary Review and Plume, among many others. He lives in Cambridge with his wife, the poet Pui Ying Wong.

2 Poems by Christopher Barnes

“Putting You Through Now, Caller.” (1)
“Thirkell confided she’d bargained, hobbled away,
Fingers crushing that suitcase,
Something taut in her eyes.”
“Guess she’s on the plane,
An age-encrusted face glimmering in a window.”
Putting You Through Now, Caller.” (3)
“Beth has a stark-mad warp –
Might-a-gored him anyway.
Kitten heels and blighting scrutiny.
Airless confidants once.”
“Retrace that freeloading…you at the wheel –
Pearls hustling on Cadillac seats.”
Christopher Barnes is a Newcastle, UK poet. His poetry has been published widely and he has performed his poetry at numerous venues. His collection, Lovebites, was published in 2005 by Chanticleer Press. Barnes is also an art and literary critic.

Burning Coal by Cameron Morse

Burning Coal
Early morning I toast between kitchen
counter and cast-iron stove. My eyes sink
into the chimney hole’s orange glow.
Pale flames wrapped like cellophane
around the black rock meteorite of coal.
Heat lavished upon my thighs in chill
February rain, misting kittens, furry rain,
my mother-in-law calls it, kneeing
the washing machine onto the balcony
where it can drain. Between the stovetop’s
cavern and the counter’s aluminum trim,
I slump the way he did when he harkened
to an earthen jar in morning murk
after his second or third hospitalization.
His wife hid plastic jugs amid crates
and mops out the balcony window.
I must admit I snuck a sip now and again,
wanting to know what it felt like
to be him, the man who was my father-in-law.
Even now I have no idea.
Cameron Morse has been published in numerous magazines, including New Letters, South Dakota Review, TYPO, and Bridge Eight.  His first collection, Fall Risk, won Glass Lyre Press’s 2018 Best Book Award. His second, Father Me Again, is available from Spartan Press. Coming Home with Cancer is coming out this summer in Blue Lyra Press’s Delphi Poetry Series.

Tin Roof by Hiram Larew

Tin Roof
When I was 17
           apples were busheled in baskets —
           and I was the straw under those red round spirits
All the light coming in
            was planked and slanted across them
            and every wasp in the world
            hovered just above them.
Whatever apples were
            I wanted to be.
            And in a way
When I was 17
           apples ate me —
What was to become my heart
           was only some wild weedy row in a orchard out back.
And any sheen reflecting off their skins or the barn’s tin roof
             was all that I wanted to be.
When I was 17
           with every seed buried deep inside
           even my gangly gaze was humming.
And somehow I knew before tasting anything
            tartly sweet
            that that was what I wanted to be
            right there
            in the baskets.
Hiram Larew is a global hunger specialist.  His poems have appeared recently in The New Ulster, Lunaris Review, Voices Israel,Hedge Apple, and Contemporary American Voices.  His fourth collection, Undone, was published in 2018 by FootHills Publishing.  On Facebook at Hiram Larew, Poet and at Poetry X Hunger.

Burden by Michael A. Griffith

Two old men rattle-off prayers
with Brooklyn accents, racing the priest.
Young family two pews back seek
guidance, solace, and time.
The homily over, the body
and blood served, good-byes, well wishes.
In a back pew a woman has fainted
from the heat and her heavy 9th month.
The family stops to help, the old men
sidle by with quick prayers.
The priest is summoned and he
is quick to help but not to comfort;
he knows this woman, knows her
sins, knows she came for more than prayers,
more than he can give her now.
The woman wakes and blinks
and stutters and apologizes.
Her baby stirs within feeling
more a burden than anything else
in the hot church this August day.
The priest ushers the family
to the door, turns, goes back to the woman,
looks down into her damp eyes, around her pale
face, to her dry quivering lips and whispers her name.


Michael A. Griffith began writing g poetry after a disability-causing accident. His chapbooks Bloodline and Exposed were released in fall 2018. Mike was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in October 2018. He lives near Princeton, NJ and teaches at Raritan Valley Community College.

Michael A. Griffith (@AuthorMGriffith) | Twitter