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Talking to Sherry Ackerman
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The Editors

“Words that turn the page to flame.”

And the years zip and zoom by, melting in the swelter of summer before the next season arrives. Just this past April 28, we—the fans, the readers, the writers, the staff of The Smoking Poet—gathered in our home town of Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA, to celebrate our fifth year of publication. We gathered at The Wine Loft, and the place was packed, every seat taken, and listeners lining the walls. A dozen writers read their work, and many more approached the open mic later in the evening. What a glorious evening it was!

Now what? Onward and upward! Another issue presented to you here, brilliant with the art work of Brent Spink, rich with the fiction, nonfiction and poetry of our fine writers. Feature writers include Sherry Ackerman, talking to TSP about The Good Life: How to Create a Sustainable and Fulfilling Lifestyle, and Daiva Markelis, sharing thoughts on her memoir of growing up Lithuanian in the United States, in White Field, Black Sheep.

Yet nothing stays the same, no, not even TSP. As we enter our sixth year, we take a moment to reflect on our past many pages. Our literary field of plenty will surely only grow more lush. We so enjoy the work so many of you send us, from all corners of the world, and we will keep printing here the very best. We plan to expand also on book reviews, music reviews, and social commentary such as A Good Cause. We will be making more room for what we do best—providing a stage for fine literature—and closing down the Cigar Lounge after this issue.  Our nod of gratitude to Mick Parsons, Cigar Lounge editor, for overseeing many smoky issues of TSP.

Selfishly, we are also combining the coming fall issue with winter. As much as I, TSP’s editor-in-chief, love this magazine, it has required a great many hours to maintain and publish as a quarterly. In result, my own creative writing has had to smolder on the back burner. We will temporarily go to biannual publication with the next issue—but expand the pages of these issues. Look for more: more fiction, more nonfiction, more poetry, more art.

Keep up with our news on Facebook and on Twitter. We will keep you updated on deadlines, new themes, the occasional contest, and more fresh ideas for more years of a smokin’ literary magazine. We are here because you are.


With a good word,

Zinta Aistars

TSP Founder and Editor-in-Chief





The Blue Note


Kontrabass by Andris Sīlis, translated by Zinta Aistars


Book Reviews


A 1,000-Mile Walk on the Beach: One Woman’s Trek of the Perimeter of Lake Michigan by Loreen Niewenhuis


Bright and Distant Shores by Dominic Smith

The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love by Kristin Kimball

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton

The Feast Nearby by Robin Mather

Forest Song: Finding Home by Vila SpiderHawk

A Good Life: How to Create a Sustainable and Fulfilling Lifestyle by Sherry Ackerman

Grief Suite: Poems by Bobbi Lurie

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

In the Palms of Angels by Terri Kirby Erickson

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver

Radiance by Rick Chambers

Skeletons in the Swimmin' Hole by Kristi Petersen Schoonover

Water the Moon by Fiona Sze-Lorrain

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson

White Field, Black Sheep by Daiva Markelis


... and many more reviews posted throughout the season.

Best viewed with Internet Explorer.

Milkweed, oil painting by Brent Spink


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. We are also raising funds to publish an anthology commemorating our first five years, collecting in print the best of our best.

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.


Summer 2011 Issue #19




Oil painting by Brent Spink

ŠAll materials, print, artwork and photography on this site are copyrighted and not to be reprinted without written permission by The Smoking Poet.

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