About Us

We met while attending Spalding University's MFA program. To give back to the poetry community, support other poets, and keep ourselves immersed in poetry, we decided to start a blog that focused on poetry book reviews and interviews.

You won't find any scathing reviews here. We write about what we love. We each have a focus and tend to select books based on that. For more information about what we focus on, see the biographies below.

Regular Contributors

Anthony Fife and his family
Anthony Fife lives in Yellow Springs, Ohio, with his wife, fiction writer Lauren Shows, and their daughter Lucy.  Anthony accepted his B.A. and M.A. in English from Morehead State University and his M.F.A in Poetry from Spalding University.  Anthony teaches English at Clark State Community College and Sinclair Community College. Anthony’s taste in poetry is broad, but his main interests include personae poems and character sketches; in short, poems that place the focus primarily on a person, and don’t let them get away with anything.

Barry George
Barry George's haiku and tanka have been published in more than 50 journals and twelve languages. His poems appear in such anthologies as A New Resonance 2: Emerging Voices in English-Language Haiku; The New Haiku; Haiku 21; Streetlights: Poetry of Urban Life in Modern English Tanka; Kamesan's Haiku Anthology on War, Violence, and Human Rights Violation; and Bigger Than They Appear: Anthology of Very Short Poems. An AWP Intro Poets Award recipient and Pushcart nominee, he has won numerous international Japanese short-form competitions, including First Prize in the Haiku Society of America's Gerald R. Brady Contest. He is the author of Wrecking Ball and Other Urban Haiku and The One That Flies Back, a chapbook of tanka. His main interests are haiku and tanka, along with other poetry exploring our relationship with nature and the Earth.

Karen George

Karen George retired from computer programming to write full-time. She lives in Florence, Kentucky, and enjoys photography and visiting museums, gardens, cemeteries, historic towns, and bodies of water. She is author of five chapbooks and two poetry collections from Dos Madres Press: (Swim Your Way Back, 2014) and (A Map and One Year, 2018). You can find her work in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Verse Daily, America, Heron Tree, Juniper, Ekphrastic Review, and SWWIM. She holds an MFA from Spalding University, and is co-founder and fiction editor of the journal, Waypoints. Visit her website: https://karenlgeorge.blogspot.com/. Here on Poetry Matters, Karen tends to review books grounded in the natural world, or ones that haunt her long after she's read them.

Nancy Chen Long

Nancy Chen Long is the author of Wider than the Sky (Diode Editions, 2020), which was selected for the Diode Editions Book Prize, and Light Into Bodies (University of Tampa Press, 2017), which won the Tampa Review Prize for Poetry. Her work has been supported by a National Endowment of the Arts in Creative Writing fellowship and the 2019 Poetry Society of America Robert H. Winner Award. You’ll find her recent and forthcoming work in Copper Nickel, The Cincinnati ReviewTar River PoetryThe Southern Review, Smartish Pace, and elsewhere. For reviews and interviews here on Poetry Matters, Nancy tends to gravitate towards emerging poets, those who have written their first or second full-length book. nancychenlong.com

Julie Ramon
Julie Ramon is an English instructor at NEO A&M in Miami, Oklahoma. She graduated with an M.F.A from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. Among writing, her interests include baking, sewing, traveling, and garage sales. She is also a co-organizer of a poetry series, Downtown Poetry. She lives in Joplin, Missouri with her husband, son, daughter and baby on the way.

Melva Sue Priddy
Melva Sue Priddy, a native Kentuckian, earned degrees in English/Education from Berea College and The University of Kentucky, before earning an MFA. Her poems witness survivance and growth, bringing to light truths that arise out of felt experience. In addition to poems, she creates gardens, quilts, and some rustic woodwork. Her poetry can be found in ABZ, Accents Publishing’s LexPoMo, Blood Lotus, The Louisville Review, Poet Lore, Motif Anthologies, The Single Hound, and Still. Melva’s interest in poetry, while broad, gravitates to lyrical and narrative poems of people and place with voices that speak of the common extraordinary.

Rosemary R. Royston
Rosemary R. Royston lives with her family in the foothills of the Southern Appalachian mountains. She holds a AB in English from UGA, and an MFA in Writing from Spalding University. Her poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Split Rock Review, Southern Poetry Review, Appalachian Heritage, STILL, KUDZU, *82 Review, and other journals. She is the author of the chapbook, Splitting the Soil (Finishing Line Press), and a county representative for the North Carolina Writers’ Network. She teaches poetry courses in both the college setting and in the continuing learning setting. Her review and interviews here focus on poetry that is grounded in nature, the grit of life, and often the experiences of women (with a slight bias towards the narrative). Previous book reviews have been published in Prairie Schooner, Appalachian Heritage, and STILL.

Cole Bellamy
Cole Bellamy is a writer and educator from Tampa, Florida. He is the author of three collections of poetry: Lancelot’s Blues, The Mermaid Postcard, and American Museum, and his work has been featured in The Louisville Review, Penumbra, Defenestration, and most recently in Muse/A.  He teaches creative writing at the Morean Arts Center, and blogs about Florida history, nature, and culture.

Guest Bloggers

Joel Nelson
Joel W. Nelson spent most of his childhood in the sub-Saharan countries of Burkina Faso and Cote d'Ivoire. He has an MFA in Poetry from Spalding University and lives with his wife and son in Louisville, KY. His poems may be found in the Bellevue Literary Review, the Found Poetry ReviewThe Louisville Review, and A Narrow Fellow.

Barbara Sabol
Barbara Sabol lives in the Great Lakes area and has an M. A. in Communication Disorders, an MFA, and a BA in French. She is the author of two chapbooks: Original Ruse (Accents Publishing, 2011) and The Distance Between Blues (Finishing Line Press, 2012). Her poems have appeared in a number of journals, most recently The Examined Life, San Pedro River Review, The Louisville Review, on the Tupelo Press Poetry Project web site, and in the collection, Bigger Than They Appear: Anthology of Very Short Poems (Accents Publishing).  An essay and book review/interview have also been published in Public-Republic.  Barbara believes that poetry, beyond its aesthetic value, is a vital tool for healing and transformation, and that when poetry lives and breathes in our larger communities, it becomes an agent of change. To that end, she created and hosts a poetry reading series―Third Thursday Poetry Reading–in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, where she lives and works as a speech therapist.  Barbara’s inspiration for writing is shaped by the natural world, perfect metaphor for our sensate lives.

Previous Contributors

Caroline LeBlanc
Caroline A. LeBlanc's poetry and essays have been published in the US and abroad. In 2010, Oiseau Chapbooks published her manuscript, Smokey Ink and a Touch of Honeysuckle. After thirty years, in 2006 Ms. LeBlanc closed her practice of Jungian psychotherapy to pursue her studio/fiber art and writing, including a literary exploration of her Franco-American heritage. She has a BS and MS in nursing as well as a MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University. Her experiences as a military family member and former Army Nurse inspired the Writing For Your Life© programs which she offers to soldiers and their families at Fort Drum, NY as well as veterans in Albuquerque, NM.  A graduate of the Marion Woodman Foundation Leadership Program, Ms. LeBlanc offers groups which explore connections among personal dreams, myth, the body and creativity.

JoAnn LoVerde-Dropp

JoAnn LoVerde-Dropp's poetry and short stories take place in the slivers of land between waking and dream consciousness. Her life consists of missed highway exits, teaching freshman composition, technical writing, and special topics at Southern Polytechnic State University, and serving on the board of directors for The Georgia Writer's Association where she is the poetry workshop facilitator. Her poems have been published by Gargoyle magazine and Accents Publishing. Other published interviews include authors Terry Kay and Chris Mattingly.  She is a graduate of the State University College of Brockport in New York, Roberts Wesleyan College, and Spalding University. For book reviews and interviews, JoAnn focuses on writing that echoes the soft knock from parallel universes, past lives, the paranormal, and the fantastic.