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River Styx

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.

St. Louis Poet Laureate Michael Castro delivers a poem before the ceremonial swearing-in of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen in 2015.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 3:00  p.m., Dec. 28, with "St. Louis on the Air" segment – When Michael Castro spoke in the City Hall Rotunda last month to pass the St. Louis poet laureate torch to his good friend Shirley LeFlore, he beamed.

It was clear that cancer was taking its toll on his body, but his spirit seemed defiantly filled with joy. He smiled big, hugged long and was so thrilled it was as if he was getting installed all over again.

River Styx editor Jason Lee Brown (at left) and writer Adrian Todd Zuniga discussed the magazine’s 2018 Literary Feast on Friday’s show
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

River Styx, St. Louis’ oldest literary magazine, will release its 100th issue this summer. And while that’s a big milestone on its own, the 43-year-old organization has lots to celebrate even beyond the long existence of the biannual publication itself.

That’s according to River Styx’s new editor, Jason Lee Brown, who took the reins back in November.

Michael Castro
Ros Crenshaw

Updated to include Michael Castro's poetry and interview audio, and reaction from poet Shirley Bradford LeFlore.

Except for dotting the “i’s” and crossing a “t” or two, St. Louis has its first official poet.

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: 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: 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: 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.

"Metamorphoses" marathon draws unusual suspects

Aug 26, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 26, 2009 - The themes encompassed in Ovid's "Metamorphoses" play out again and again in great works of art, literature and history.

There's love, loss, betrayal and hubris.

That last one seems particularly poignant to Rep. Rachel Storch, D-St. Louis, whose cell phone battery got eaten right up with all the calls she's been getting about the very recent resignation and guilty plea of state Sen. Jeff Smith on federal charges.