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Updated: Feb 9

I, who came back from the depths laughing too loudly,

Become another thing;

My eyes extend beyond the farthest bloom of the waves;

I lose and find myself in the long water;

I am gathered together once more;

I embrace the world.

~ Theodore Roethke, from The Long Waters


We read a lot of poems as we put together each issue of Hole In The Head. Five of us, Bill Burtis, Nancy Jean Hill, Marilyn A. Johnson, Mike Bove and I read an average of 400 to 500 poems for each issue. I'll be honest, sometimes I don't much like reading poetry outside of the selection process for the magazine. I know, I know...

So when my friend, the poet Steve Langan suggested I read the long poems of Roethke, I thought...really? I read the Collected Poems over and over when I was in grad school nearly 50 years ago. Surely I took every thing I could take from them all those years ago. I put Roethke in the been there, read that file with so many others who had once meant so much to me.

But I didn't want to lie when someday (soon) he asks me what I thought. So I picked up the Collected Poems, which cost me $3.95 way back then and began reading.

Once again I was reminded that great works of literature and art continue to give through the years. And it's different depending on my life's situation. I'm 71 now and a thoroughly different person than the grad student who put down $3.95 for the book. Roethke and others speak to me in poems that speak in a different voice today, no better nor worse. What I need today.

I'm so grateful for the reminder. You might want to dust off some of those books you believe you've already squeezed everything worthy from them years before.


This issue marks the start of our 5th year in existence. I really never thought we'd get here, never thought we'd find readers, poets and artists to sustain us. And here we are, Ground Hog Day again. Here are the previous Ground Hog Day covers:

Paul Brahms, v1n1

Eva Goetz, v2n1

Ed Valfre (go to the issue to experience the full video) v3n1

Jo Richardson, v4n1


Cover art this issue provided by Mary Curran.


My friend and fine prose poet, editor, and teacher, Peter Johnson has made his book, Observations from the Edge of the Abyss, available online at no charge. What? It's true and it's good!

Peter is a lifelong Buffalo Bills fan so be gentle.


This map shows the location of our readers in the past year.



As always, thank you to the entire staff here at Hole In The Headquarters: Tom Bruton, Bill Burtis, Jere DeWaters, Michael Hettich, Nancy Jean Hill, Marilyn A. Johnson, and our new associate editor, Mike Bove.

I've planted a few "errors" throughout the issue. Please let me know if you come across any.


If you like what you see, hit that big donate button on the cover. Whatever you donate is greatly appreciated.


Here's what I've been listening to.

We come in the age's most uncertain hours

and sing an American tune


We'll be back on May Day. Stay safe, be optimistic, grateful, and don't stop working for the good.

Updated: Jan 31

Alone Among the Many

Take a table near the window.

See through it—

although the glare may cut

your eyes in half.

See to it—

that you might eat when they eat.

Listen in—pick up some new jokes.

Don’t skimp on dessert.

It’s fun to watch the trash walk by,

licking their dry and swollen lips.

Observe when to use which fork—

and realize when the time is right

to grab a knife.

Ask for the toilet.

Then walk into the kitchen

hoisting a glass of champagne.

Three toasts and four cheers

for the sad sack hanging over the fryer.

Wipe the grease from his nose,

bandage his burned hands,

and burnt-out brain.

When the rest of your party

decides to join you,

don’t be shy.

Simply pull a chair out

from under the nearest moron.

For it was him!

He who was foolish enough

to ask you for your salt.

Insomniac Blues

A thunderclap,

or possibly just a crash

a few streets over,

and then a hundred dogs go off,

and off,

until quiet returns,

but it’s hard to go back

when disaster has already struck.

Is this all without bearing?

Should I just quiet down?

Will you swear it isn’t so?

You hear that?

It’s those dogs again.

Goodwin Anderson writes poetry because he only has a short while between pulling shots of espresso to finish a long-untouched screenplay, and poems are what come to him while constructing a cappuccino. Someday he might finally, in his lifelong quest, discover the greatest album he's never heard, which he'll tell his friends and loved ones about. Someday he might put his film degree back to good use. But for now he loves writing poetry.

Updated: Feb 11

in the house


I think that writing is music

I kept quiet


An artist, poet, and freelance writer, J.I. Kleinberg lives in Bellingham, Washington, USA, and on Instagram @jikleinberg. Her visual poems have been published in print and online journals worldwide. They were featured in a solo exhibit at Peter Miller Books, Seattle, Washington, in May 2022, and are forthcoming in the Triple Series from Ravenna Press.

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