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Free Verse

Free Verse: Annie Finch

Oct 11, 2019

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 12, 2013 - As our days grow shorter and our nights longer, here’s a little song that won’t lend much comfort or cheer to those disturbed by a nightmare. The rhyme scheme and repetition make this short lyric feel particularly claustrophobic.

Free Verse: Jill Alexander Essbaum

Apr 13, 2019

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 13, 2012 - The worst happens at 4 a.m. -- robberies, food poisoning, drunk dialing, car alarms, insomnia, darkest darkness before dawn. In this break-up poem, the rhymes chime louder as the speaker draws nearer the cock’s crow.

Free Verse: Jeffrey Bean

May 18, 2014
image courtesy of Styx

Richard Newman of River Styx brings his poetic touch to St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon. He regularly selects a poem to appear on this site. It's a free glimpse into the vibrant poetry life in this area. Today: Jeffrey Bean | The Voyeur’s Blues.

This month we’re featuring a blues poem from River Styx’s upcoming anniversary issue. The blues often come in dark shades, and this one makes the speaker compelling and creepy, the scene sinister yet almost sweet.

Jeffrey Bean

The Voyeur’s Blues

Free Verse: Kay Didden

Nov 18, 2013

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon - Some words and names are unsayable, or at least rarely said, because they are powerful. This poem hinges on such a word uttered on rare occasions, and the fact that it is used so rarely gives it all the more power, especially if the word is returned. 

Free Verse: Lee Upton

Oct 17, 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: This poem leaps playfully from image to image, metaphor to metaphor, man to man. Despite the loss and disappointment voiced at the end, I’m not sure the speaker of this poem wouldn’t do it all again. It is an ode to love after all.

Free Verse: Lee Upton

Oct 17, 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 17, 2013 - This poem leaps playfully from image to image, metaphor to metaphor, man to man. Despite the loss and disappointment voiced at the end, I’m not sure the speaker of this poem wouldn’t do it all again. It is an ode to love after all.

Free Verse: Annie Finch

Sep 12, 2013

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: As our days grow shorter and our nights longer, here’s a little song that won’t lend much comfort or cheer to those disturbed by a nightmare. The rhyme scheme and repetition make this short lyric feel particularly claustrophobic.

Free Verse: Robert Wrigley

Apr 11, 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 11, 2013 - Reading this poem is like unwrapping a small gift — we experience the delicate and tactile opening lines, the tension built as we move through it, and surprise and delight by the end.

Free Verse: Robert Wrigley

Apr 11, 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Reading this poem is like unwrapping a small gift — we experience the delicate and tactile opening lines, the tension built as we move through it, and surprise and delight by the end.

Free Verse: James Arthur

Feb 11, 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 11, 2013 - In a few jagged couplets, this month’s poem explores the line between taking life’s forbidden, often dangerous, fruits and ruthless ambition. 

Free Verse: Janice N. Harrington

Oct 17, 2012

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 17, 2012 - Some of the best odes celebrate the ordinary, unlikely, and overlooked. Here’s a particularly unlikely ode by Janice N. Harrington, who also added an extra turn at the end.

Free Verse: William Trowbridge

Sep 13, 2012

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 13, 2012 - The character of Fool in William Trowbridge’s "Ship of Fool" series is sometimes the mythical archetype, sometimes a more modern bumbler, and always a version of us. Here’s a portrait gallery poem that captures some of Fool’s smiles.

Free Verse: Francesca Bell

Jun 26, 2012

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 26, 2012 - The phantom finger in this poem haunts the speaker ­— and possibly the reader as well — for a lifetime, pointing to a darkness we all carry inside us. “Severance” appeared in River Styx #87, our new spring issue.

Free Verse: Joshua Mehigan

Jun 1, 2012

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 1, 2012 - Not many sonnets root for the drunks at homeless shelters, but more should. Though we might first think of the Renaissance painter, or maybe even the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, the Raphael mentioned in the poem is most likely the archangel of healing in Judeo-Christian tradition. This poem first appeared in River Styx #87, the just-out new spring issue.

Free Verse: Shara McCallum

Mar 18, 2012

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 18, 2012 - Some say home is where you hang your hat or where the heart is. For Tom Waits it’s anywhere he lays his head. In “The Death of a Hired Man,” Robert Frost says, “Home is the place where, when you have to go there/They have to take you in.” This month’s poet finds another conception of home — or the next best thing to it.

Free Verse: Alison Pelegrin

Feb 10, 2012

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 10, 2012 - William Carlos Williams famously said "No ideas but in things." It's things, usually small things, that tell us about the world and who we are. This month's poem celebrates them -- specifically things lost, forgotten or buried.

Free Verse: Drucilla Wall

Jan 13, 2012

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 13, 2012 - For the doe in this poem, hunting season ended well before middle age. Who is predator and who prey -- or are we be both at the same time?

Free Verse: Michael Meyerhofer

Nov 15, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 15, 2011 - Despite the horrific things dogs ingest and their barking late into the night and early in the morning, many people love them more than people. Maybe it's because people are worse. This month's poem celebrates and explores man's best friend in the form of an ode.

Free verse: Travis Mossotti

Oct 17, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 17, 2011 - With playoff celebrations, Octoberfest, and the Blues opener all hazy memories, here's a poem that makes ending up in the drunk tank seem fun -- or at least colorful.

Free Verse: Richard Cecil

Aug 15, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 15, 2011 - Our summer begins to dwindle into shorter days and cooler evenings. School has started up again or soon will. This summer's vacations happened too long ago, and next year's seem impossibly far away. As we head into fall, it's a good time to contemplate our place in life--or where we'll be after. This poem kicked off River Styx's newest "Circles of Hell" issue.

Free Verse: Andrew Hudgins

Jun 16, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 16, 2011 - Sometimes it seems we love our family members most when we're not there -- or when one leaves us. Happy Father's Day!

Free Verse: Christopher Todd Anderson

May 18, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 18, 2011 - For obvious reasons, we wanted to include this poem in our upcoming "Circles of Hell" issue of River Styx. Of course, it's also perfect for Mother's Day.

Free Verse: Michelle Boisseau

Apr 18, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 18, 2011 -This month's poem should help usher in spring with all it's tentative and transitory beauty. "Birthday" also casts a sensual yet unflinching eye on our short lives, placing its spring kingdom here on earth.

Free Verse: Melody Gee

Mar 18, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 18, 2011 - As this long winter finally relents, this month's poem celebrates the warmth we make ourselves on a cold morning. Aside from the arresting opening image, I love Melody Gee's hushed tone, the few hard sounds appearing for the most part in the last third of the poem, with the crackling fire, which in the end is also hushed and quiet.

Free Verse: Sara Burge

Feb 15, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 15, 2011 - Even blind poets tend to work primarily with visual images, and the best poems indulge other images as well -- especially auditory and tactile ones. This month's poem, by Sara Burge, deals with scent and its ability to evoke memory, except perhaps in February when so many noses are congested.

Free Verse: Allison Joseph

Jan 14, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 14, 2011 - Allison Joseph's poem, "Thirty Lines About the Fro" takes the form of a modern ode, a tribute poem where the subject is usually directly addressed or personified. We don't see many odes these days, but this one is black and brazen and anything but romanticized.

Free Verse: Stacey Lynn Brown

Nov 17, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov 17, 2010 - Although Missouri was originally a neutral state and not part of the Confederacy, much of our state sympathized with the South and tried to secede from the Union. We should have no trouble, then, sympathizing with this poem by a transplanted southerner who remembers the South as only a southerner could -- steeped in sanctified glory and surrounded by the bones of history.

Free Verse: Rodney Jones

Oct 11, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 11, 2010 - This blues poem by Rodney Jones addresses life and death, religion and several different kinds of music -- all in a short-lined poem that gives a nod to the Italian sonnet. If you don't like Lady Gaga, blame Franz Liszt.

Free Verse: Andy Cox

Sep 20, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 20, 2010 - This month's poem is by Andy Cox. Andy's poems are driven by a strong voice that is wise and wise-cracking and full of heart.

The bent logic toward the end of this poem embraces broken hearts and hard luck, as the speaker hangs on to his childhood talisman rescued from a neighbor's garbage.

Free Verse: Catherine Rankovic

Aug 18, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 18, 2010 - This month's poem is by Catherine Rankovic. Brutal honesty and painful humor usually characterize this writer's poetry and essays. "Hide & Sex" is no exception -- although the savage truth here dresses in the clothes of a children's game, wears several layers of irony and flirts with the sonnet.

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