A Good Cause
Feature Author Interview: Agate Nesaule
Poetry II
Poetry III
Fiction II
Fiction III
Cigar Lounge
Z's Reviews
J. Conrad's Reviews
Links & Resources
Submission Guidelines
Second Annual Short Story Contest Guidelines
The Editors

Welcome graphic

A fine cigar and good literature two of life’s most enduring pleasures.”


Spring is traditionally the time of new beginnings—or perhaps more accurately, a time when that which has grown dormant, comes to life again. And not just as it was, but renewed, stronger, with the evidence of growth. Not all awakes with a new spring. Some hibernation becomes death. That, too, is as it should be. We leave behind what no longer serves us well, or what holds us back. We prune so that new life can thrive.

You’ve heard of growing pains? I’ve found that sort of pain to be the realest ache of all. There are times that we have lived our lives in one direction for so long, and with such intensity and determination, that to change course can feel, initially, very awkward.

As this winter season moves into a reluctant spring, The Smoking Poet invites you to consider the season of growth. Growth? Now? We look around us—and wherever you might be, good reader, you no doubt see dormancy, an ailing economy, a too-long abused and neglected environment, a society become lax in its values, even in its ability to care. More than ever, growth seems difficult, if not impossible. More than ever, growth is necessary.

I believe the first and most important element of growth is hope. For the effort required to push that seed above the hard crust of ground, hope is that breath of life that gives us the required strength. Hope makes pushing through the growing pains worthwhile. With hope as our banner, we bring you the spring issue of The Smoking Poet. Jay Peasley has illustrated our pages with images of the hope of spring, from moments of quiet contemplation to the pushing forward with the golden brilliance of a daffodil. Peasley’s essay, “Less Carbon: It’s What’s for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner,” provides us a recipe for living with respect for the earth, leaving the smallest carbon footprint possible. He’s done it. Can you?

Colin Smith in his essay, “Human Trafficking An Affront to Global Community,” looks hard at what should be pruned away. It is the ugly, rotten root of what has robbed humanity of compassion at the cost of our most vulnerable women and children.

As always, you’ll find our poetry, short stories, a novel excerpt by R. A. Evans, and the smoky ambiance of the Cigar Lounge, places to spend time, learn from the insights and experiences of others, or simply take a moment to relax and reflect. Our feature author in this issue is the remarkable Agate Nesaule, a Latvian author who came to the United States as an immigrant during World War II, but still struggles with growing pains of moving beyond the abuse of war and her fellow man in her new novel, In Love With Jerzy Kosinski. We will continue to post book reviews throughout the spring season, so be sure to check back regularly.

Want to be a part of the change? Note a call to action on “A Good Cause.” After all, we are all in this together. This particular fundraiser is to benefit multiple sclerosis, and this particular bike rider is Lorena Rutens, my daughter. So, if you wish to buy favors with the editor ... hey. Works for me. Watch for this page, A Good Cause, to be a regular with us. We will be featuring a new way to get involved, do your part, and make the world a better place in each issue. It begins with you, and me, and you, and you, too.

Don’t forget about The Smoking Poet’s Second Annual Short Story Contest!

With a good word,


Zinta Aistars

TSP Editor-in-Chief


PS The Smoking Poet is now on Twitter!


Contributors Spring 2009


Issue #10

Photo courtesy of Jay Peasley

The Smoking Poet’s Second Annual Short Story Contest

Deadline is May 31, 2009 - see guidelines!


First Prize $200

Second Prize $100

Third Prize $50

Book Reviews


A Brief History of Time (poetry) by Shaindel Beers (forthcoming)


Borderline by Nevada Barr


A Cure for Suicide (poetry) by Larissa Shmailo (forthcoming)


A Woman in Amber: Healing the Trauma of War and Exile by Agate Nesaule


Forms of Intercession (poetry) by Jayne Pupek


Going to See the Elephant by Rodes Fishburne (forthcoming)


In Love With Jerzy Kosinski by Agate Nesaule 


Influencer: The Power to Change Anything by Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, et al


Lines of Wisdom, edited by Martin Hughes and Beth Hall


Refusing Heaven (poetry) by Jack Gilbert (forthcoming)


Rosies Daughters: The First Woman To Generation Tells Its Story by Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett (forthcoming)

Cigar Lounge

The Customer ― poetry by Sean Robertson


Kristoff maduro ― cigar review


Wouldn’t Trade Tom’s ― tobacconist review


Opus X ― cigar review

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