September 19-25, 2016: Poetry from John L. Stanizzi and M. A. Istvan Jr.

​John L. Stanizzi and M. A. Istvan Jr.

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​John L. Stanizzi

Bio (auto)

John L. Stanizzi, of Coventry, Connecticut, is the author of Ecstasy Among Ghosts, Sleepwalking, Dance Against the Wall (, and After the Bell, and Hallelujah Time! ( His poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, The New York Quarterly, American Life In Poetry, Chiron Review, Tar River Poetry, Rattle, Passages North, The Spoon River Quarterly, Poet Lore, The Connecticut River Review, Freshwater, Boston Literary Review, and many other publications. He has new work forthcoming in Raintown Review, Off the Coast, and LIPS. John has read at many venues throughout Connecticut, including The Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, RJ Julia Booksellers, and the Arts Café Mystic, and his work has been featured on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac. He is currently an adjunct professor of English at Manchester Community College. He lives with his wife, Carol. Visit John on the web here:

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ​John L. Stanizzi and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Them Belly Full (But We Hungry)

………….for my students at Manchester Community College

My student from Nam speaks hardly any
English, and yet here she is trying hard
to comprehend the nonsense of John Donne
attempting to con a girl with some jive
about a flea. And my boy from Haiti
rolls his eyes with disgust when I bring up
Daddy and Plath and ovens and babies.
I have students from the Dominican,
Ukraine, Puerto Rico, and the good old
U.S. of A, all of them chasing what
they heard was the pot of gold they’d find here.
And I’m sure I see the traces of smiles
when I say that if Jamiaca Kinkaid
can rise up from the ashes, so can you.


M. A. Istvan Jr.

Bio (auto)

M. A. Istvan Jr., an animal dealer based out of Austin TX, has spearheaded a campaign to display zoo creatures in “unnatural” settings. According to Istvan, displaying animals in unnatural settings brings the animal itself into stark relief. “We go to zoos to see animals,” Istvan says. “The problem is that, when placed in replicas of their natural habitat, animals have a tendency to fade into the background—sometimes in the most literal sense. But the days of kids wondering where the lion is are numbered.” Istvan thinks that his new approach will help stimulate a zoo industry whose dwindling over the last decade has meant dwindling resources for animal conservation. “I do not call for a return of the bear back to the cramped cage of the Victorian menagerie,” Istvan insists against detractors. “I envision walruses, for example, in replicas of office mailrooms. Minimal adornment on the animal itself. Perhaps only a bowtie in the case of the walrus.”

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by M. A. Istvan Jr. and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

My Neighbor’s Passing

It was calm outside my window
two days ago. No ambulance
like today. No weeping, hugging,
like now. No lady at my door
informing me, reluctant to open
with morning breath: “Cancer.
It came back. He wouldn’t sleep.
He gave in just now. It was time.
The kids got to kiss him goodbye.”
It was calm outside my window
two days ago. My son, dimpled
with defiance, rolled his ball down
to the road. My neighbor, masked
for oxygen in the truck I knew
him to drive, creaked and groaned
back from bingo with his old lady.
Passing us that peach afternoon
(just after my dash for the ball),
the man gave full-armed waves
behind the glass with tired eyes.
In a tone opposite my frustration,
I said, “Give a wave!” My son
disregarded the ball and stared
dimpleless, dirt-digging fingers
bobbing. Neither wanted it to end,
it seemed. Neither wanted to be
snapped from the snuggle across
distances. And the garage door
descended with slow drama.
I think because this might be
what I would do too, I wonder
if he fixated upon this image
of my son in peach. I wonder
if the image of my staring son
backgrounded even close faces:
wife, kids, grandkids. I wonder
if it glowed through the rucking
of garments nightlong, refusal
to sleep from fear of never
waking (each nodding off
a dropping down a black hole,
the voices and the fan buzz
cutting out each time). I wonder
if it stood through complaints
by grandkids at daybreak: “Mom,
I didn’t want cheese!” “Mom,
today’s the sleepover!” I wonder
if it thrust forth through concern
about the unsaid and the undone,
as he lied in that bed of recall,
eyes more aware than anyone
could know, than soft breaths
and glassiness let on. I wonder
if it reposed through­­ the gurgles,
through their desired decreasing
in frequency and violence,
through the giving in to rest,
the slip of the last breath. I hope
that it gave him comfort if this
happened to be the case. I worry
that it would haunt me to the end.


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