north of oxford poetry

The Child Who… by Maria Keane

ant trail 2
The Child Who…
I am the child who smells earth after rain,
who watches trails of ants that go nowhere,
who plucks the air just after
the monarch leaves its milkweed.
Who kneels in moist wells
of fern below
a ceiling of leaves
beneath a bruising sky.
Tangled in a thin layer of dust
I watch the falcon glide
above the mottled hologram of earth.
I dig small hollows in the shadow of the oak
that cover the limp green garden snake.
The Child Who…
I am at the velvet edge of exploration.
I listen to beats beneath the earth
separating groves of blood roses.
My garden dance
becomes redundant.
I look beyond a patch of grass with stringy roots.
where uncertainties never pierce the spine.
The sun is winking between the clouds.
I shrug off origami cranes attempting flight.
                                          Thin promises  of paper,  my blueprint.
Maria Keane, visual artist and published poet, served as Professor of Fine Arts at Wilmington University, New Castle Delaware from 1984-2009.  Her book of poetry, Being There, is being published in October, 2018 by Page Publishing, N.Y.  She was awarded a Professional Fellowship in Works on Paper in 1997.)

The Teacher by Joan McNerney

The Teacher
Had hoped some would leave,
rise above dirty factory gates
past plumes of smoke spewing
from the cement plant.
Occasionally when discussing
great American novels, the walls
shook. Ravines were being blasted
for more rocks to crush into powder.
She wished they would not become
clerks for soul-less chain stores or
cooks in fast food joints where
smells of burning grease lingered.
What was the use of teaching literature
and poetry to these teens who would
soon grow listless?  Their spirits ground
down like stones in the quarry.
Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze, Blueline, and Halcyon Days.  Four Bright Hills Press Anthologies, several Poppy Road Review Journals, and numerous Kind of A Hurricane Press Publications have accepted her work.  Her latest title is Having Lunch With the Sky.

Dry Spell by Ann Christine Tabaka

Dry Spell
Fissured mud,
dry, hard, gray.
So many interlacing
fingers reaching out
in every direction,
crumble to the touch.
Arid summer,
sucking the breath from life.
Languishing thirst.
Wilted flora bow their heads.
Fallen warriors lack resilience
to withstand the furnace blast.
Parched earth,
crying out for sustenance.
No clouds in sight.
Not a drop of compassion
to be found.
Cruel season of drought,
unexpected curse.
Farmers pass their hats
and lay low,
hands folded in prayer.
Rotted fruit.
Tiny shrunken globes of despair.
Shrunken heads
hang limp and forlorn
upon dying hosts.
Time stands still.
Torrid air strangles all
within its grasp.
I exhale the dragon
from my lungs.
Scorched clay drifts from my hand,
dispersed into the atmosphere.
Well of hope, dry as dust.
Foreign to some years,
a vengeance in others.
All promise lost,
walking away
faces turn upward
in disbelief,
as forgiveness rains from the sky
Ann Christine Tabaka has been published at:  Pomona Valley Review, Page & Spine, West Texas Literary Review, The Hungry Chimera, Sheila-Na-Gig, Synchronized Chaos, Pangolin Review, Trigger Fish Critical Review, Foliate Oak Review, Better Than Starbucks!, Mused, The Write Launch, The Stray Branch, The McKinley Review, and Fourth & Sycamore. She lives with her husband in Delaware, USA.

2 poems by Len Krisak

Mourner’s Candle
The tall glass cylinder wears David’s star,
The corpse’s body thought of as a wick.
(A flame stands for the soul). Too weak to char
The flesh, this Hebrew fire flaps at Heaven,
Reminding us that shiva translates seven.
As it burns, the days are passing quick.
And yet it seems too little and too late
For what its fire would commemorate.
For one brief week, subsiding inch-by-inch,
The timid blaze is tasteful with respect.
What is it then that makes me want to flinch
Each time I see this flame, to re-direct
My gaze?  These candles make such meager lamps,
Yet by their light, I see the chimneyed camps.
While sparse November leaves leave limbs half-flocked,
Earth eats the burden of her dust—a mouth
In which the urn of ash is pocketed.
So taught, I pocket, too, the folded check
That notes how much half of her life was worth.
(Half his as well—her mate much put-upon.
Six years now that my father has been gone.)
She left a dirt-floor school-house/barefoot south,
Left there a black sheep brother, half redneck.
She’d plotted from the day she’d given birth,
But never planned this gift her going gave:
Ghiberti’s doors and Canaletto’s views
Await the sexton’s shoveling in the grave,
And it only remains to book the cruise.
Len Krisak has published 9 collections of poetry. His poetry has recently appeared or is forthcoming in The Antioch Review, The Sewanee Review, The Hudson Review, Raritan, The Southwest Review, The Oxford Book of Poems on Classical Mythology. He has received the following honors: Richard Wilbur Prize; Robert Frost Prize; Robert Penn Warren Prize; The New England Poetry Club Book Award. Krisak is also a four-time champion on Jeopardy!

Most Read Poets of 2018 at North of Oxford

The following list consists of the 15 most read poets as of December 2018 determined by readership at North of Oxford.


A Poem by Kristina Krumova

Byron Beynon 2014

3 Poems by Byron Beynon


2 Poems by Lilah Clay


Voices by Linda Stevenson


Uncle by Michael A. Griffith

Byron Beynon 2014

In the Mirror by Byron Beynon


Winter Tune-up by Charles Rammelkamp


Lectures on Poetry by M.V. Montgomery

Writer's Photograph

One day, her hands became birds by Arlyn LaBelle


Temple of Jupiter by Jeffrey Cyphers Wright

author pic

Bait by Daniel Casey

ed c

2 Poems by Edward L. Canavan

John D Robinson

2 Poems by John D Robinson


2 Poems by Carl Kaucher

tony w

Leave by Tony Walton



A Poem by Kristina Krumova

blood on paper

Image by Diane Sahms-Guarnieri

Yesterday – the blood from my nose is flowing upwards
I can see    the floor is covered with stillness
Today – the dropped napkin is soaked with    us
notes collapse into noise
Yesterday – “To hell with your writing!”
the pencil is not just for    scribbling
Yesterday again – are you screaming insanity in my ears
your wrath and my malice screw each other so hatefully
Yesterday again – you are not there
you are not here, I’m not there, we    fled far away
Yesterday again – blood is dripping on your pages
your/my    pages, yours/mine
Yesterday – the blood from my nose drips upwards
Again – the pencil is good for killing too
Today – is not tomorrow’s yesterday, because    all of our tomorrows emigrated
Today – you are the tenth man with whom I die forever
Today – my gravity kept a minute of silence because    each
Yesterday – we will remember tomorrow



Kristina Krumova is 29 years old and she lives in Sofia, Bulgaria. She has a Master’s Degree in “Contemporary history” from Sofia University and she was an Editor at New Social Poetry Magazine, Bulgaria. Kristina Krumova works as a freelance editor and she’s preparing her first poetry manuscript.



2 Poems by Seneca Basoalto


I live in venerable skin of temple, fermented and collapsing,
damned and haunted by the eradication of how all at once
you existed
alabaster emblem coughing and leaving earthquakes
along the potholes and sidewalk weeds,
you snuff the paparazzi,
pelicans and pecans invading chin and belly – a bellow
of monologue stampeding the ball of your fist like Capote
and priest, empty pizza trays lodged like lust
inside the pockets of your cheeks, decaying teeth
as one by one you lost Leo sunrise and moon in Cancer,
baritone and cocoa barrage, the alphabet of erotic timing
comforted by squirrels under sleepy hollow banks,
the way you suckled on woven fabric in a farmhouse –
I authored my worth from how stiff your bones became
when your fingers were plump and turned air to plums,
and I puckered my strep throat to siphon your life like maple
from stumpy legs that knotted roots with the libertine,
I did everything to deserve how traumatic this all became.


Unknown Things
I stared into his wake, and I did not dare to see anything else –
Here lies involuntary fear, the earth converging around
both births and an inactive set of lungs from a
clandestine pauper who bites, who squeezes
stumpy hands around breasts like he would an old orange –
metre of black felicity and elbows, all of which
you forgot
Deign the freckles of deity – the resulting ash on a crown
of monsters swaying and seizing the rotation of every sound
you make – your throat echoing into the waves of the ocean
My love becomes salt. My words become dry.
my heart becomes residue of sand and sediment
prophesying your complaints into correlation with
my sentiment as if those strings were attached
at the hip (or the groin) staging blocks of melted
Parisian candle wax along the downtempo trod of
inebriated flat feet that have no sense of direction and
are connected to a body with no concept of distance
I live far from famous graves and avoid the oral fixation
to lozenge on a tongue that could impregnate me
through all seven layers of death and spirit, four
little flower petals pressed like algebra between the
pages of a soiled book
I muffle the sigh of my love, as it is filled with unknown things.

Seneca Basoalto is a student of Psychology and Philosophy with over 24 years of published creative writing experience. Having a background in the backstage music/movie scene – she’s congregated a myriad of strange experiences and used them to fuel her insightful writings. Seneca’s defiant edge and chimerical psyche instigates self-reflection in the eyes of readers. Her Iberian lineage can be seen influencing the attitude and magnetism of her diverse range of work. Some of her works include philosophical essays featured through SNHU, a collection of poems included in a Love Anthology released by Z Publishing, a book of love poems titled Captain & the Scientist for sale through Barnes & Noble and Amazon, Therapeutic Writing Program Coordinator for A.R.I.A., as well as poetry collections published through Glasgow Review of Books, Words Dance, Barrow Street, and The Moth. Currently she is a submission reader for Frontier Poetry.