The Smoking Poet

Puttin' On the Dog: TSP Celebrates 5
The Winners' Circle
A Good Cause
Kalamazoo and Beyond
Talking to David Small
Talking to Derick Burleson
The Poetry of Derick Burleson
The Art of Sniedze Rungis
Talking to Kip Kreiling
NonFiction II
Fiction II
Poetry II
Cigar Lounge
Andris' Blue Note
Zinta Reviews - Prose
Zinta Reviews - Poetry
Jeanette Reviews
Kate Reviews
Links and Resources
Submission Guidelines
Marketing, Advertising and Donations
The Editors

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

So much cause for celebration! The Summer 2010 issue of The Smoking Poet, marking the beginning of our fifth year of publication, is brimming with newness. Brimming with creativity. Brimming with talent, passion for new ideas, and encouragement for forward movement. Wherever you dip in first, you will find something you’ve never found in TSP before—and we are pretty sure you will be as moved, as surprised, as impressed, as inspired as we have been.

Winner’s Circle: our third annual short story contest has concluded, and our winners are: First Prize to Christopher Allen with “Red Toy Soldier,” Second Prize to Lydia Suarez with “Blue Book Revisions” and Third Prize to Dave Donelson with “Blind Curve.” We had more entries than ever before, from all points of the globe, and our thanks to Kevin Morgan Watson of Press 53, who did the final judging of our top ten. Some of those top ten will yet be appearing in future issues of TSP.

In A Good Cause, Amy Totsch reminds us of the good in our youth. When taking up a cause in Chicago, they form a Pact and make great things happen.

Our feature author, in another meeting with the Book Mavens, is David Small. David talks to us about Stitches, his groundbreaking graphic memoir in which the super hero is not a caped wonder, but the wonder of a boy with the endurance and creativity to survive a nightmarish childhood.

Another boy wonder is Kip Kreiling, who spent most of his childhood in foster homes, juvenile homes and eventually behind bars. Today, he is a successful businessman and devoted husband and father, working to give inmates and kids gone wrong a new hope for change. His book is The Imposter? How a Juvenile Criminal Succeeded in Business and in Life

And then there is the voice of Derick Burleson, from the far north of Alaska, with poetry that will melt the ice in any heart. Read our interview with Derick and then move to a page of his poetry. His words bring heat.

Our feature artist is Sniedze Rungis, who talks to coeditor Jeanette Lee about her powerful images of a woman in torment, and about women objectified and dehumanized in contemporary society, drawing parallels with the dehumanization of Nazi Germany.

Don’t miss our new page, Kalamazoo and Beyond. While past issues have often showcased art that is international, with writers and artists from across the world, this is a page devoted to local artists and those who support our community of arts in southwest Michigan. Watch for it as a regular feature. Sometimes the best place you can go—is home.

Yet I have always had more than one home. My heritage is rooted in Latvia, a country on the Baltic Sea. I have traveled to and from Latvia since I was 15 years old, and I will be traveling there again very soon. On that first visit a long time ago, I met another 15-year-old, Andris Silis, and we have been lifelong friends ever since. It is my special pleasure to introduce Andris as our new music editor. Andris’ Blue Note will appear in two languages: Andris’ essay and music reviews in Latvian at top, and my translations into English at bottom.

Not done yet! Three more bright, new faces among our editors! Mick Parsons, or Papa Mick, has lit up a stogie and has now entered the Cigar Lounge. He is making it his own and invites you to come by and relax there with him—you don’t even have to inhale. And, Paula Lemar is our new nonfiction editor, inviting you to keep her busy with your creative essays and memoirs. A warm welcome to Kate Lutes, our intern co-editor for TSP's fall issue.

Joannie Kervran Stangeland is our poetry editor, her fine choices appearing in our poetry pages. Jeanette Lee, our intern from Kalamazoo College, and coeditor for the summer, well, she has made my life at TSP great fun—sharing the literary load/lode.  Thank you to both of you.

As always, we offer you fiction, nonfiction, poetry, links and resources that are ever expanding. Book and music reviews will be added throughout the summer—so put on your straw hat, sit in the cool shade of a favorite tree, and read. And keep coming back to read more. There are few such pleasures.

With a good word,


Zinta Aistars




Book Reviews

Exiliana, poetry by Mariela Griffor


The Help by Kathryn Stockett


The Imposter? How a Juvenile Criminal Succeeded in Business and Life by Kip Kreiling


The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini


A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines


Never Night, poetry by Derick Burleson


Octopus Moons, Vol. 1, poetry by Jeffrey Woolf


Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See


Stitches by David Small


A Wayfarer in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania by E.C. Davies


Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open, poetry by Diane Seuss


Women, Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Anything by Geneen Roth



Music Reviews

Bare Bones by Madeline Peyroux


If On a Winter’s Night … by Sting





Star boat by Sniedze Rungis

THE SMOKING POET is raising funds to become an LLC, a limited liability company, so that we can begin taking in revenue from appropriate ads and, from that revenue, to pay our hardworking editors and excellent writers. Thank you to all our writers, editors and readers. You are helping us grow. You are helping us continue to develop a place where we can help your art shine.

Please visit our Marketing, Advertising and Donations page to learn more.

We appreciate your gift.




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