Ben Miller

from Make



While the preceding poetic territory relies on the insistent enigma of the writing process as a source of music, I offer these notes to readers interested in delving further into the minutiae of the text. Generally excluded are identifications of historical figures, place names, and other entities that might be located via obvious Internet keyword searches unless there is a detail to add not readily available to the public and which I deem of importance to understanding what is happening.



A terror that has disrupted my relationship with America—and my family—since I was a child listening to a mother tell bedtime stories based on details of famous mass murders she had learned about from paperbacks carried in her huge purse.

the tide

For me, always, the tide is the gray-green current off Montauk, Long Island.

art that puts hair on my chest

Ref. to tiny snippets of paper found on my shirt during the composing of this poem.


Ref. to the black-and-white film Come Back, Africa (1959) directed by Lionel Rogosin (1924-2000) and starring the mesmerizing Mariam Makeba (1932-2008); notable for its frank depiction of the Apartheid Era in South Africa.

have a good obey

Ref. to the once ubiquitous t-shirt (created by the artist Shephard Fairey: 1970-) featuring OBEY above an image of French wrestler Andre the Giant (1946-1993).


Emotion lacking full emotional content—a feeling preempted by inner obstacles.


gallows rope, good wood ruined, peeling sill paint, roach brother ETC

Stray details of the house I grew up in.


When a yard in an energetic city resembles an abandoned rural property.


Ref. to my father’s habit of tossing aside sections of the Sunday newspaper that collected around his recliner like the inky offal of a disemboweled continuum.


Homage to the curious joy I always experience when reading the name Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957), one of the founders of the art movement known as Vorticism.


w b web

Ref. to prophetic lines spun by poet William Butler Yeats (1865-1939).

swan lake

My great grandfather, Frank Miller, an immigrant from Scotland and a mechanic for the Milwaukee Road rail line, built a cottage on this Wisconsin lake. The place was magic to me. It made me want to run outside instead of hide from a difficult world: cool sandy soil, wildflowers, green lake smell, the whip-poor-will calling from pines.

bow-tie kind

Ref. to the courtly next door neighbor Mr. Hickey who always let pre-teen me in when I knocked on his door upset about events at home or on the playground.

lonnie’s lessons

Tree-climbing 18-year-old red-haired son of the Baptist minister who moved in across the street when I was ten and taught me how to tie a fisherman’s knot.


Ref. to the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa, a summer event sponsored by the state’s largest newspaper that I participated in after I sold my comic book collection to raise funds to purchase a 10-speed Fuji bicycle.

meeting anna

The pink-hat-wearing writer I met in September of 1986 at 19 University Place in New York City, and married on December 9, 1989, in downtown Brooklyn.

Big Nick Nicholas

Saxophone player George Walker Nicholas (1922-1997)—nickname “Deedle dum”—was famous for hosting after hours jams in the 1950s at Harlem’s Paradise Club. I heard him play at St . Peter’s church in Manhattan in the 1990s.

bologna cut in squares and fried

Childhood meal staple I irrationally found more palatable if cut into different shapes before being fried in margarine.

sister dead at 44

For decades my talented sister Marianna Rose Miller (1967-2011) struggled with alcoholism and the effects of sexual abuse that occurred when she was a child.

michael dead at 31

Michael Current (1961-1992), high school classmate and visionary political activist whose work was responsible for the introduction of a gay rights bill in the Iowa Legislature in the late 1980s; he died of a diabetic crisis in Des Moines, the capital.

jack dead at 19

Jack Seier (1964-1983), president of my high school class and songwriter I supplied with lyrics; he drowned in the Mississippi River.


Ref. to three musicians who taught me more about history than any book: Woody Guthrie (1912-1967), John Lee Hooker (1917-2001), Art Tatum (1909-1956).

duck creek, mississippi river…

Bodies of water—Iowa to Paris—that have lectured to me on many subjects.

lawless lawyers

Ref. to my parents, attorneys presiding over a home where no laws existed.



The 22nd draft not cooperating either.


Thanks expressed in a questioning tone to a lovely image that interrupts a text.


When one embarks on a harmless lark that ends up preying on them like a hawk.

don’t forget hair

As with the hair of a corpse, I find that a draft filed deep in a cabinet still continues to grow in a fashion, new lines occurring to me at odd intervals.


Initials of the pianist and composer Leon Russell (1942-2016) whose 1971 album Stranger in a Strange Land is on my Top Ten Supernal Albums list.

Ben Miller’s writing has appeared in Best American Experimental Writing, Best American Essays, Raritan, Salmagundi, AGNI, New England Review, Southern Review, Fiction International, and elsewhere. His awards include fellowships from the NEA and the Radcliffe Institute, as well as grants from the South Dakota Arts Council and the Schlesinger Library. He is the author of River Bend Chronicle: The Junkification of a Boyhood Idyll Amid the Curious Glory of Urban Iowa.

Vi Khi Nao & Jessica Alexander

Vi Khi Nao is the author of six poetry collections & of the short stories collection, A Brief Alphabet of Torture (winner of the 2016 FC2’s Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize), & the novel, Swimming with Dead Stars. Her work includes poetry, fiction, film and cross-genre collaboration. Her collaborative work with Jessica Alexander, That Woman Could Be You, has just arrived from BlazeVOX. She was the Fall 2019 fellow at the Black Mountain Institute.
Jessica Alexander’s novella, “None of This Is an Invitation” (co-written with Katie Jean Shinkle) is forthcoming from Astrophil Press. Her story collection, Dear Enemy, was the winning manuscript in the 2016 Subito Prose Contest, as judged by Selah Saterstrom. Her fiction has been published in journals such as Fence, Black Warrior Review, PANK, Denver Quarterly, The Collagist, and DIAGRAM. She lives in Louisiana where she teaches creative writing at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Adrian Lürssen

from ECO ling

the city silent (2021)

the city silent (2021)

the river (2021)

the river (2021)

taken (2021)

taken (2021)

I am without (2021)

I am without (2021)

he talks (2021)

he talks (2021)

first to speak (2021)

first to speak (2021)

“The history that resides within me speaks not only of actions that have happened once, in the distant past, it speaks of actions that have repeated themselves to the point of erasure. The history that resides within me speaks of trees, rivers, wounds, hands.”

This erasure project (provisionally collected as ECO ling) unfolded in late spring of 2021 — begun on the day I underlined the above passage in Christina Tudor-Sideri’s extraordinary meditation, Under the Sign of the Labyrinth (Sublunary Editions).

The history that resides within me speaks of actions that have repeated themselves to the point of erasure.

Over the past several years, I had begun to realize that the unease I’d felt in the U.S. had a familiar feel to it — a particular rhyming of history. For many white South Africans of my generation who left home during the height of Apartheid, the story —privileged, definitely; naive, probably — is usually a story of leaving that terrible form of erasure behind, for something better. But the unease, violence, division, erasure, and political manipulation of the Trump Age made the old suspicions clear, once and for all. I’d left nothing behind.

In that mindset, early 2021, I began questioning directions in my poetic work. By which forensic process could I free voices (“speaking of trees, rivers, wounds, hands”) from the closed texts of my childhood, from the colonial, post-colonial, and Apartheid-era language and history of my country of birth? I followed various paths to new questions, if not answers.

At the same time, my wife — a designer — had been reading about the cyanotype photograms of English photographer and botanist Anna Atkins while using Northern California sunlight to create her own cyanotype record, on fabric, of the plants and flowers growing in our garden, and collected on our hikes on Mount Tamalpais.

I wanted in on the printmaking action. Especially one focused on recording absence in presence.

At that point, poet and translator Norma Cole and I were more than a year into a meandering, glorious, easy conversation that transpired day after day, almost entirely via texts between us. In counterpoint to the isolation and dread pervading that time, our daily conversation created a world in which we found shelter, and from which came a series of collaborative poems (Briefings) which I then printed in cyanotype.

One day, while waiting for a set of Briefings to dry, I grabbed a copy of Rudyard Kipling stories that I hadn’t opened in years — tales of empire — and tore a page from one story whose title had always troubled me. A Second Rate Woman. I saw ECO in the title and LING in the name — and began a process of erasure using pencil and the chemical paints that, once exposed to sunlight, would turn sky blue.

My work on the remaining erasures occurred daily against the backdrop of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict of May, 2021, and in the larger collection of ECO lings, about two dozen pieces all told, I feel that echo among all the other threads and concerns described above.

Kipling was a regular visitor to Cape Town (later, my childhood home), guest of another champion of empire, Cecil Rhodes, in a residence that is now part of the University of Cape Town.

In 2015, a memorial to Rhodes was removed from the UCT campus after protests by student activists. I do not know what sits in its place.

Born and raised in South Africa, Adrian Lürssen lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. His chapbook, NEOWISE, is forthcoming from Trainwreck Press. Over the years, his poetry has appeared in Fence, Phoebe, Indiana Review, The Bombay Gin, The Boston Review, American Letters & Commentary, Word for/Word, NOMATERIALISM, and places elsewhere. Collaborations with Norma Cole are forthcoming in Second Stutter. On instagram at @adequatic

Sarah J. Sloat

Being Busy
Empty My Chest

Sarah J. Sloat is the author of Hotel Almighty, a collection a visual poetry published in 2020 by Sarabande Books. Born in New Jersey, Sarah has lived for many years in Europe, where she works in news. Her poems, prose and collage have appeared in The Journal, Tupelo Quarterly, Sixth Finch and elsewhere. You can keep up with her at, on Twitter at @SJSloat and on Instagram at @sjane30.

Nance Van Winckel

This Before That
This Before That
The Meteoric Life
The Meteoric Life
The Storied Place of the Story
The Storied Place of the Story
Just Snip the End
Just Snip the End
Nance Van Winckel’s ninth poetry collection, The Many Beds of Martha Washington, appears July, 2021 with the Pacific Northwest Poetry Series. She’s also published five books of fiction and is the recipient of two NEA fellowships, the Washington State Book Award, a Paterson Fiction Prize, Poetry Society of America’s Gordon Barber Poetry Award, a Christopher Isherwood Fellowship, and three Pushcart Prizes. She teaches in Vermont College’s MFA in Writing Program and lives in Spokane, Washington.

Janis Butler Holm & Gina Osterloh

Apples and Bananas

Artists’ Statements
Gina Osterloh: Through the simple gesture of trying to grasp, “Apples and Bananas” is a play on the futility of gender categories, critiquing the absurdity of our gendered expectations. The video is a response to Richard Serra’s 3-minute 30-second film “Hand Catching Lead” (1968), which has a grasping hand–in profile, palm facing camera–repeatedly missing, catching, dropping a piece of scrap lead.
Janis Butler Holm: Gina Osterloh’s “Apples and Bananas” brought home to me that what we perceive to be natural–so natural that we readily consume it–is in fact a weighted ideology, designed to reinforce dominant binaries even as we fail to align with them.
Gina Osterloh’s photography, video, and performance art address symbolic themes and formal elements such as the void, the orifice, and the grid–and encourage a heightened awareness of color, repetitive pattern, and repeated actions. Osterloh’s work is represented by Silverlens (Manila) and Higher Pictures (New York).
Janis Butler Holm has served as Associate Editor for Wide Angle, the film journal, and currently works as a writer and editor in sunny Los Angeles. Her prose, poems, and performance pieces have appeared in small-press, national, and international magazines, including Posit. Her plays have been produced in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.
Bassist/composer/producer Joël Dilley’s original music is heard in TV, film, web, and ambient settings worldwide, including HBO, Discovery Channel, Food Network, and more. His website is
Award-winning songwriter Bett Butler’s poetry and short fiction have appeared in Weave, Feathertale, Voices de la Luna, Amp, and Fabula Argentea. Her website is


Kristin LaFollette

The Accident (2017)
The Accident (2017)
like a cell of your skin (2019)
like a cell of your skin (2019)
Old Bones (2019)
Old Bones (2019)
Kristin LaFollette is a writer, artist, and photographer and is the author of the chapbook, Body Parts (GFT Press, 2018). She is a professor at the University of Southern Indiana and serves as the Art Editor at Mud Season Review. You can visit her on Twitter at @k_lafollette03 or on her website at

Erica Baum

—click on any image to enlarge—


Artist’s Statement

My photographic work utilizes found language and imagery. As an undergraduate I studied Anthropology and I look at my source materials, books, blackboards, card catalogues, player piano rolls, sewing patterns etc. as potent artifacts that can yield poetic information reflecting the circulation and dissemination of information and material in our shared popular culture. I’m thinking about structures and systems and how a playful engagement can yield insights as well as generate new meanings.

Transposing the tradition of street photography, I navigate intuitively framing and partially decontextualizing my subject matter harnessing moments that suggest meanings beyond their original situations.

What interests me are the juxtapositions and sense of history derived from the words themselves even without knowing everything. I want to give you a sense of a particular environment but not in its entirety. The view is oblique and re-contextualized. In this close up immersive situation the viewer can retain a level of awareness, just enough to inform but also to allow a different visual and semantic experience to take hold. The source is familiar and recognizable but the experience is new. It is that tension between something that we recognize, that we routinely encounter and the fact that we can look at it in a different way that creates a strangeness, a difference in which exist multiple possibilities.

While respecting the constraints of a given subject, the page sequence of a book or the reference system of a library, the work suggests a visual meta-language, mixing history and humor to display the disparate, often unheard cacophony of voices present within cultural structures.

Reflecting intimate and direct encounters with familiar actions and objects – opening a card catalogue drawer, opening a book, folding a page – the viewer is reminded that meaningful visual surprise surrounds us if one pays attention.

Erica Baum is well known for her varied photographic series capturing text and image in found printed material, from paperback books to library indexes. She received her MFA from Yale University in 1994 and her BA in Anthropology from Barnard in 1984.

Recent museum exhibitions include Making Knowing: Craft in Art, 1950–2019, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Face à face, frac île‐de‐france, Villetaneuse, France; Anna Atkins Refracted: Contemporary Works, The New York Public Library, New York; The Swindle: Art Between Seeing and Believing, Albright‐Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; Lever le voile, Frac île‐de‐france, Paris; The Arcades: Contemporary Art and Walter Benjamin, The Jewish Museum, New York; Photo-Poetics: An Anthology, Kunsthalle Berlin and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; and Reconstructions: Recent Photographs and Video from the Met Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Recent solo and two‐person exhibitions include A METHOD OF A CLOAK, Square is the Chatter, Galerie Markus Lüttgen, Düsseldorf; A METHOD OF A CLOAK, Klemm’s, Berlin; A Long Dress, Bureau, New York; Naked Eye Nature Morte, Galerie Crevecoeur, Paris, France; AAa:Quien, Erica Baum & Libby Rothfeld, Bureau, New York; The Following Information, Bureau, New York; and Stanzas, Galerie Crevecoeur, Paris. Selected biennials include: AGORA 4th Athens Biennale, Athens, 2013 and the 30th Bienal de São Paulo: The Imminence of Poetics, São Paulo, Brazil, 2012.

Her work is held in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; MAMCO, Geneva; Albright‐ Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Centre National des Arts Plastiques, Paris; FRAC Ile de France, Paris; and Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven and others.


Rick Pieto

Glitch Poems

if my window
past blue arcs
scah 99
drop 3
The Glitch Poems are in the tradition of visual poetry. Each glitch poem contains, at its core, several traditional poems. These conventional poems are improperly mixed and conveyed with – some intentional, some random – visual symbols, numbers and letters. This inappropriate incorporation of visual and literary elements create a text that is poetic but also a site where noise and interference scramble the reliability of the traditional poetic text and its meanings. Furthermore each poem is printed numerous times creating surfaces that produce a density that denigrates the integrity and clarity of the stand-alone traditional poem. Each glitch poem – with its mixture of words, symbols and letters – creates a powerful graphic statement that at the same time hinders the typical act of reading by creating a seemingly illegible surface that sets up innumerable texts that appear as our eyes glance over the page combining words, phrases and graphic symbols into fortuitous new poems.
Rick Pieto is a visual poet and writer living in the Silver Spring, Maryland area. His visual poetry has been exhibited at Rhizome DC and Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, and published in Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, fields, Midway Journal, 805: Lit + Art and Minetta Review. His poetry has been published in The Big Windows Review and Smoky Blue Literary and Arts Magazine. He received a PhD in media ecology from New York University and has taught at Georgetown University and the University of Baltimore.

Ryan Mihaly

Excerpts from “B-Flat Clarinet Fingering Chart”

[G♯/A♭] [Sarcasm]

ryan mihaly

[C] [A split second]

ryan mihaly

[D♯/E♭] [Vision: chaos of birds]

ryan mihaly

[G] [Vision: peace]

ryan mihaly

Currently based in Greenville, SC, Ryan Mihaly is a business manager at a farm-friendly grocery/cafe, a music teacher, a collage artist, and a poet. His work has appeared in 3:AM Magazine, The Adirondack Review, DIAGRAM, Opossum, Asymptote, The Massachusetts Review, and in Ilan Stavans’ anthology On Self-Translation: Meditations on Language. After completing his MFA at Naropa University in 2018, where he was an Anne Waldman / Anselm Hollo fellow, he attended artist residencies in Ireland, Macedonia, and Slovakia, where some of these pieces were written.