February 23 – March 1, 2015: Alisa Velaj and Joan Annsfire

Alisa Velaj and Joan Annsfire

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.

Alisa Velaj

Bio (auto)

Alisa Velaj (born 1982, Vlorë, Albania) is an Abanian poet whose work has appeared in a number of international magazines, including “Blue Lyra Review”, “One title reviews”, ‘The Cannon’s Mouth’ (UK), ‘The missing slate’ (UK), ‘The Midnight Diner’ (USA), ‘Poetica’ (USA), ‘Time of Singing’ (USA), "Canto" (USA), ‘Enhance’ (USA) “Ann Arbor Review” (USA) ‘The French Literary Review” (UK), “SpeedPoets” (Brisbane, Queensland, Australia), “LUMMOX Poetry Anthology 3” (USA), “Erbacce” (UK) and "fourW twenty-five Anthology" (Booranga Writers’ Centre, Australia) and Knot Magazine (USA). She also has works in forthcoming issues of “Poetica” “Otter” and in the Anthology by Mago Books.
Alisa Velaj has been shortlisted of the annual international erbacce-press poetry award in June 2014. She is also shortlisted in the Aquillrelle Publishing Contest 3 in January 2015. Her poems are translated into English by Ukë Buçpapaj.

The following work is Copyright © 2015, and owned by Alisa Velaj and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Sunset and the Lumps

Of what was it I was thinking?
So the meaning escapes.

An excerpt from Metaphors of a Magnifico by Wallace Stevens

The first man said that the sunset was visiting the city
Together with one or two lumps
The second man said that the lumps had arrived at sunset
The third man spent one full day thinking only about the lumps
Then he spent a full winter night thinking only about the sunsets
Afterwards he thought about both the sunsets and the lumps
At the end he concluded that the first two men were wrong
He also denied to have thought about them…

Joan Annsfire

Bio (auto)

Joan Annsfire is a poet, writer and retired librarian who lives in Berkeley California. Her poetry chapbook, “Distant Music,” was recently published by Headmistress Press. Her poetry has appeared in the following anthologies: and “99 Poems for the 99% Anthology,” “The Times They Were A- Changing:Women Remember the 60s & 70s,” “Milk and Honey,” edited by Julie Enszer, “The Other side of the Postcard” edited by devorah major, The “Queer Collection,” 2007, edited by Gregory Kompes, “The Cancer Poetry Project Anthology” edited by Karin Miller and ,“The Venomed Kiss,” edited by Anita M. Barnard and Michelle Rhea as well as online in Counterpunch’s “Poet’s Basement,” “Lavender Review,” “ OccuPoetry,” ” The SoMa Literary Review,” and in literary journals such as The Harrington Lesbian Literary Quarterly, Sinister Wisdom: (many issues), The 13th Moon, Bridges and The Evergreen Chronicles.

The following work is Copyright © 2015, and owned by Joan Annsfire and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Covering Ground

From inn to train station,
the days rolled over the rails:
Copenhagen, Innsbruck, Barcelona,
names bleeding together as, at each stop,
we lifted our packs to begin again.

Strangers in train compartments
offered us bread, cheese, snippets of their lives,
and we listened ravenously
because we were young, our baggage light,
the tracks enticingly infinite,
we moved with quick certainty
and vowed to stay as long as our money lasted.

A map in my pocket, a stash in your shoe,
the months unwound and there was always
another cathedral, another fountain.
We had reasons, plentiful as unlived years,
to love a life without borders.

Winter brought cold nights in seedy hotels
without heat or hot water
where plumbing shrieked and visitors
came and went at all hours
as if pulled by strange, internal tides.

We used our room bidets as urinals
and learned to ask for extra blankets
in several languages.

Road weariness crept in slowly
like the damp of British parlors where we took tea;
perpetual observation made us feel
more like voyeurs than participants
in our own lives.

Back on familiar soil, we went our separate ways;
I opted for California,
you retreated to the Midwest;
later, I heard that, once home,
you never dared step
aboard a plane again.

Yet, I continue to scour the earth
searching to regain the elusive prize
we claimed so casually in our wanderings,
that intense, immeasurable hunger
that was somehow lost
in transit.




Subscribe to our weekly Newsletter: