What’s New

I am thrilled to announce that Cynthia Benson’s collection of short stories, ALL VISIONS OF BLIND LOVE, has won First Prize in the Compilation/Anthology category at the San Francisco Book Festival. It is available for purchase on amazon.com if you are interested in obtaining a copy.

Dragonfly Press has nominated Cynthia Benson’s ALL VISIONS OF BLIND LOVE for an IPPY in the Short Story Fiction Category.

Longtime Dragonfly Press contributor, Margaret Luongo, has recently had her short story collection, HISTORY OF ART, released by LSU Press and will be giving a signing in LA on March 31, at the AWP conference.


Lent in the Age of AIDS by Calder Lowe has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Read more here.




Hey all you lovely participants and adored audience, Flash Fiction Forum got a lovely write up in the Metro! Thanks for being a part of it over these past two years! Read it here!

You do not have to listen but do just click the link so P&P thinks I have friends in high places:

Here is my reading on the Politics & Prose YouTube page:

Theater reviews for the Contemporary American Theater Festival by Grace Cavalieri.




The Light On His Feet won an Honorable Mention Award at the New England Book Festival




Robert S. Pesich-sm



Show dates are: February 11- June 7, 2015
On view in the Lobby Gallery

Reception and reading
Sunday, March 1, at 2 p.m.
Gemperle Gallery

A reading of poetry and prose followed
by a reception for the artists and writers

250 N. Broadway, Turlock, CA 95380
Carnegieartsturlock.org (209) 632-5761

Wednesday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Fridays 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.


The Great Midwest Book Festival awarded THE LIGHT ON HIS FEET Runner-Up in the compilations / anthologies category.



Grace Cavalieri reads her poems at a publication party for the new issue of the Little Patuxent Revue at Oliver’s Carriage House in Columbia on Saturday, Jan. 24, at 2 p.m.

Grace Cavalieri’s elegiac new book of poems, ‘The Man Who Got Away,’ mourns her lost husband

By Geoffrey Himes, Baltimore City Paper, January 13, 2015

cavalierigraceIn the sunroom of Grace Cavalieri’s Annapolis home, a sepia photo of a U.S. Navy pilot sits atop a hand-crafted Nakashima table. In the picture Ken Flynn sits in his airplane’s cockpit, his goggles pushed up on his head, his grin brimming with the confidence only a 22-year-old can have. That photo is the subject of ‘1952,’ a key poem in “The Man Who Got Away,” the impressive new book of poetry from Cavalieri, two-time winner of the Allen Ginsberg Award and acclaimed host of a radio show, “The Poet and the Poem.”

“This would be before you were on 9 carriers/,” the poem says, “Before exile to Viet Nam/ Before your children surrounded you like stars/ Waiting for your kiss/ Before the Autumns of our lives/ Before there would be no Autumns.”
This book is Cavalieri’s “small paper monument,” in her words, for her husband Flynn, who died on Jan. 15, 2013. But the volume is also a guidebook for anyone coping with the dislocations of loss. For in the wake of death or abandonment, we find ourselves moving involuntarily between the realms of the past, present, future and imaginary. What Cavalieri proves especially good at is capturing the willy-nilly fluidity of those transitions.

This poem, for example, begins with Flynn’s photographed smile from 1952, but it slips almost imperceptibly into the 1960s, then ’70s, then 2000s, then now, when there is “so much sun outside without you,” and then back to 1952. But the photo’s beaming optimism is now revealed as “a moment that could not last,” for the future he was looking forward to is the narrator’s past, and she is left alone with the evidence that all things are transient, even the most important person she had ever known.

“That was the first poem I wrote after his death,” Cavalieri says. A short woman with dark bangs and wide eyes, she leans forward at her dining-room table in a bright red pullover and black denims. “But after that a lot of them came right away. After the weeks of visitors were past, I’d sit in that sunroom, eat breakfast, and look at that photo. It was very easy to start talking to the photo and say, ‘There you are,’ and the poem just came out. Whenever I’ve tried to read it in public, I can never get through the last part without stopping, so I don’t even try anymore.”

Cavalieri has been a large presence in the Baltimore-Washington poetry scene for almost five decades. In the early ’70s, she taught poetry at Antioch College’s Baltimore, Columbia, and Washington centers and later at Maryland’s Glen Echo Park. She has written 26 produced plays and 17 books and chapbooks of poetry.

She was an original staff member of WPFW-FM, the nonprofit Pacifica radio station, when it opened in 1977. The station provided a home for her weekly, hourlong program, “The Poet and the Poem,” which still mixes interviews with readings. After 20 years at WPFW, the show has been sponsored by the Library of Congress ever since. She has lived nearly half her adult life in Maryland.

Her companion at many a reading and literary event was Flynn, the Navy pilot turned anti-war activist, champion swimmer, and successful sculptor. The couple’s daily swimming regimen sparked another key poem in the book, ‘Fixation.’ “I plunge under the water and pretend Ken’s in the lane next to me . . . ,” she writes, “where it is shining ribbons off the bottom.”

In a moment the poem is no longer in the Naval Academy pool; it’s in Key West on a past vacation with the narrator’s husband. There is conch soup, hibiscus flowers, and tequila at sunset, but suddenly “a sound breaks my trance and I realize that it’s coming from my own throat/ Like the clacking the cat makes when watching the birds outside/ It’s caught like a squeal under water a squeezed sob and I climb out/ And I rush past midshipmen who’re laughing and telling their jokes and complaints.”

It’s a remarkable poem, because it reveals how easily we can slip into a comforting memory only to be rudely grabbed back by the present, forced to gulp down its cold air after spitting out the chlorinated water of the past.

“Swimming was a big part of our lives,” Cavalieri says. “I could show you the boxes of Ken’s medals, and Key West had our favorite pool. After he died, I kept swimming at the Naval Academy. One day I was under the water, and I heard someone sobbing. I looked around to see who it was, and it was me. I had been in one realm, but suddenly I was in this realm.

“That’s one of the advantages poetry has over prose: It can move back and forth between worlds more easily because it isn’t as grounded as prose. I wasn’t interested in just remembering; ‘remembrance’ is a Hallmark word. But where the past meets the present is a profound place.”

The past meets the present in yet another way in this book. The 34 new poems that Cavalieri has written since her husband’s death are joined by 24 previously published poems about him. “I started going through my old books just to be with him again,” she explains. “Then it hit me: ‘Hey, these poems aren’t bad; they really say something about Ken.’ When I put those old poems next to his death, they started to live again but in a different way.”

She insists that writing is no substitute for grief. Because writing is always looking for bridges between the mind and the spirit, it always short-circuits the purely emotional catharsis that true grief requires. But those bridges are invaluable when you’re trying to find your way back from grief to a livable daily life, when you’re trying to move from realm to realm without falling through the cracks.

“I wish I could say that writing was my salvation,” Cavalieri says, “but in fact writing was what I did instead of grieving. Yet writing was a way I could rekindle a life. Writing provided tethers to the world. Here you are, after a death, without any support, any hydraulic system—where do you turn?

“Well, you can trust language to say something that makes sense, at least for that day. And for me writing is a habit, I’m always jotting down lines; even in the hospital I was scribbling notes about the nurses and life-support machine. Most of my life I’ve been getting up every day at 5 a.m. to work on poems. So I kept doing that.”

See more reviews at the City Paper website >>

Calder Lowe’s prose collection THE LIGHT ON HIS FEET has won both the First Honorable Mention in the New England Book Festival and the Runner-Up Award in the Great Midwest Book Festival in the category of Compilations/Anthologies.

Grace Cavalieri has compiled her choices for the Best Books of 2014. Check it out here!

Lara Gularte, a contributor to our August issue of DNA Ezine, is the featured poet in the Autumn issue of The Bitter Oleander: A Journal of Contemporary International Poetry and Short Fiction. An excerpt from her lengthy interview can be found here.

The following link is to Grace Cavalieri’s interview with our current Poet Laureate of the United States, Charles Wright, which was funded by Dragonfly Press, referenced at the conclusion of the program. The interview can be heard on the second page of the Library of Congress site.

DNA Ezine contributor, David Ebenbach, was recently interviewed by Heather Fowler on Fictionaut’s Writers on Craft.

Read the interview here!

Dragonfly Press has just nominated Michael J. Vaughn’s EXIT WONDERLAND for an IPPY in the Best Adult Fiction E-Book category.

Grace Cavalieri, host of “The Poet & the Poem” program on Public Radio broadcast from the Library of Congress, and columnist for The Washington Independent Review of Books, has selected Calder Lowe’s THE LIGHT ON HIS FEET as a September Exemplar in the category of Best Prose by a Poet.


Michael J. Vaughn’s novel, Exit Wonderland, will be available on September 3rd, for free download on Amazon.

2014 San Francisco Book Festival Awards

May 17th, 2014


“Taking it Home” – Runner Up in Best Unpublished Story Category


“The Emptying” – Honorable Mention in Best Unpublished Story Category

Both stories are included in The Light On His Feet.



book-cover-frozen-musicDragonfly Press has released its first Kindle Ebook on Amazon: Frozen Music, by Michael J. Vaughn.

Michael J. Vaughn is the author of thirteen novels, most recently a 20th anniversary re-issue of his popular choral novel, Frozen Music, from California’s Dragonfly Press. As a tenor in San Jose State’s concert choir, he performed all of the pieces featured in Frozen Music…
Continue reading >>

View on Amazon

Grace Cavalieri, our former TMR Book Reviewer and recent Contributor to our DNA e-zine, is a Judge in the 2013 Marfield Prize for Writing in the Arts.

Read Grace’s full article here.


I just received word from the 2014 Los Angeles Book Festival that our Dragonfly Press anthology won Runner-Up status in the Anthology/Compilation category. Kathie Isaac-Luke’s book of poems, CHRYSALIDES, (Dragonfly Press), also won a Runner-Up award in the Poetry category, and HOLDING THE LIGHT IN YOUR ARMS, my book of poetry and stories released by Jacaranda Press, won Honorable Mention in the Anthology/Compilation category. To put it bluntly, we “cleaned up.” Kudos to all of you who contributed to making THE CALL the winner that it has proven to be and to Kathie for receiving such a richly deserved acknowledgement of her poetic gifts.

Please visit the Book Festival site for more information.

Grace Cavalieri, former Montserrat Book Reviewer, received AWP’s prestigious George Garrett Award.
This is a huge honor she has had conferred upon her and a richly-deserved one.