Hunger Mountain - Vermont College Journal of the arts


Time Expanding the Air Forcibly
Loud Morgue

three poems
by Sam Ross

Vagabond Nurse

a poem
by Laura Rodley

A nurse is a good person to be
with a vagabond heart,
you can love a stranger instantly,
place your hands lovingly, true love,
upon their body to wash them, bathe them,
soothe them, feel their pulse, ask that
your good energy pass into them…


a poem
by Gary Moore
Visit with Gary Moore
Word music inspires me with a charge nearly as enticing as the erotic. I often start with a line or two whose concepts attract me, but I don’t stay with a start if I don’t hear an internal rhyme or assonance to allure me, and the next thing you know I’m on some far galactic cliff or indifferent ocean shouting Help or Alleluia

Salvia and Vigil

two poems
by Paul Carroll
Visit with Paul Carroll
Contrary to the good advice of my mentors, I do not write regularly. If I did, I would end up stringing some pretty words together, signifying nothing. Instead I wait until an idea visits, stays a while, and then refuses to leave. That can take weeks or months. In the meantime, I look for ideas…

Interview with a Blacksmith and These Gifts (Letter to Brooklyn During War)

two poems
by Chris Featherman
Visit with Chris Featherman

Both “These Gifts” and “Blacksmith” I wrote several years ago while living in Spain. I wrote the first drafts of “These Gifts” in response to witnessing, and then participating in, the anti-war demonstrations in Barcelona just prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq…

Mirror, Mirror

by Ellen LaFleche
Winner of the Ruth Stone Poetry Prize, selected by Dorianne Laux
Visit with Ellen LaFleche

There is a wonderful story behind the inspiration for this poem. A few summers ago, I took my family to a minor league baseball game so we could see the future stars of our favorite team. And after the umpire told the teams to “play ball,” a group of nuns came trotting out of the dugout! True story. The Mother Superior walked to the mound and threw out the ceremonial first pitch. It was a wonderful moment—a crowd hushed in reverence, the elderly nun winding up, her long robes whipping in the wind, the catcher kneeling to receive the ball…

Prayer for What Disappears

by Emily Pulfer-Terino
Runner Up in the Ruth Stone Poetry Prize, selected by Dorianne Laux
Visit with Emily Pulfer-Terino

When a friend of mine passes, I tend to read a lot of elegies; I try to ground my experience in an understanding of the enormous ranges of grief. Re-reading Hayden Carruth’s Poem “Ray,” about writer Raymond Carver, and thinking of my friend Chad, a writer who had recently died, I decided to try to respond to Carruth’s poem…

Reading the Flamingo’s Smile

by Sandra Stone
Runner Up in the Ruth Stone Poetry Prize, selected by Dorianne Laux
Visit with Sandra Stone

Think this: there are some faces that stop you in your tracks. If you’re a writer, you’re already on it inventing narrative for the face. If you happen in another part of your life to rummage in flea shops looking for you have no idea—stop! We’re compatriots….

Divination, Sky

by Wendy Miles
Special Mention in the Ruth Stone Poetry Prize, selected by Dorianne Laux

A spool of smoke unwinds across the sky.
Crow clack, cicada, bodies open to the sky.

In 79 AD ash and roasting heat seal an envelope
around Herculaneum; they look but find no sky…

I Make Easy Emptiness and The Antelope Tree

Two Poems
by George Kalamaras
Visit with George Kalamaras

I remember well my inspiration for “The Antelope Tree.” I was walking in the early evening on an old gravel road in Colorado a couple years ago when I came upon this pine tree containing the leg bone of what appeared to be a deer. Not five minutes before, I’d seen a lone doe grazing on Sheep Mountain Road. As soon as I saw the discarded leg, I thought, mountain lion. I later heard from my friend, Sue, that sometimes the big cats will cache a bone in a tree. I feared for the deer I’d just seen—any deer—and as I continued my walk this poem began to unfold…

Contagion and Someone Saved My Life Tonight

Two Poems
by Trina Burke
Visit with Trina Burke

“Someone Saved My Life Tonight” was inspired by a combination of the Elton John song of the same name; my favorite children’s book, Corduroy, by Don Freeman; and my mother, who died when I was an infant. “Contagion” was inspired by an extremely high fever.

Ballpoints/Homecoming and Cold Spring

Two Poems
by W.M.Lobko
Visit with W.M. Lobko

My work tends to spring from the chance occurrence or the overheard word as opposed to some imagined “What if…” scenario. I’m a magpie for sensations and phrases.


Museum of Natural History and Urge and West 3rd Street

Three Poems
by Holly Virginia Clark
Visit with Holly Virginia Clark

I like to write at home at my desk. The bed has to be made, which is about ritual, I guess, and tidiness of mind. I nearly always start with a line or image, or, if I start with an idea, I spend a lot of time thinking of what vehicle can carry the idea, what image, metaphor, scene. Once I acquire that starting point, which always takes a mysterious and inconsistent amount of time, I write to answer why I am compelled by said image or idea…

All Afternoon and Britannica Man

Two Poems
by Sally Rosen Kindred
Visit with Sally Rosen Kindred

“All Afternoon” is about losing my stepmother, Mibs. In the months after her death, I found myself needing to think of her as a girl—to give her back all that time ahead of her: that illusion of summer, a future…

River Otters and Jungle

by Michael David Madonick

My wife does not believe me, in fact
she has started to mock me, to register

in her discourse and demeanor a kind of
flippant disregard for my sincerity. I suppose

if I were Darwin just back from the Galapagos,
or Audubon with dripping carcasses of spoon

bills and egrets, she’d offer me some credence…

The Herd

a poem
by David Starkey
Visit with David Starkey

What is it about my seaside town
ninety miles north of LA

a chattering of starlings, a labor of moles…

Back Porch, Twilight

a poem
by Murray Silverstein

Back porch, twilight, garden on its late-summer binge.
Striders all over the pond. My mother called them Jesus bugs…

On Poetry: Sine Waves

A Craft Short
by Seth Abramson
In the poetic sine wave, the “peaks” of the hills correspond to moments of lyric intensity or condensation, such as those orchestrated by a compound image, a metaphor, or sustained sonic density.

Threshold and The Office 

winner of the Hunger Mountain Prize for Young Writers in Poetry
by Delali Ayivor

I was nine years old when my mother came to me,
told me of her
designs for the modern black woman.
“No more pain,” she said. The wailed
refrain of so many heartsongs…


A Poem
by Doug Ramspeck

Say two crows at dusk in an auburn sky.
But which is the augury of which? Or then
a cottonmouth slipping like ripe fruit into the reeds.
Our ribs feeling as hollow as a stream bed… (read more)

Field Guide at Dusk

A Poem
by Doug Ramspeck

It will not do. This weak-willed light slipping
from the grass, pale as hands folded on a chest.
No breeze to animate the hickory leaves,
to ripple the surface of the creek… (read more)

What is poetry?

Lists: Literary & Laundry
by Mark Cox, Matthew Dickman, Honor Moore, Grace Wells
A means of making language and therefore thought “new” by peeling away the calcification of usage that paralyses and limits meaning.

Notes from a Tuesday Traffic Jam and Royal Transit

by Mark Neely
Visit with Mark Neely
“Notes from a Tuesday Traffic Jam” began when I was sitting in one of those highway traffic jams where you move about a half-mile in an hour. With the car at a virtual standstill, I grabbed a pen and a map of Illinois (the only paper I could find) from the glove compartment and scribbled down images and fragments as fast as I could until the traffic started to clear.

When Elijah Pritchett Goes to the Gym

A Poem
by Julie Marie Wade
Visit with Julie Marie Wade

…about a year ago, I remember announcing that I wanted to write a poem called “When Elijah Pritchett Goes to the Gym,” and Elijah laughed, but I think he has such a unique and literary name, and I just felt it belonged in a poem. Elijah Pritchett actually sounds like a character in a can’t-put-down kind of novel, but he’s also such a character in real life that I wanted a poem that could honor him and the friendship the three of us share.

Third Surgery

by Rochelle Hurt
First Place Winner, Ruth Stone Poetry Prize
Visit with Rochelle Hurt

The voice in “Third Surgery” manages to be firmly insistent and heartbreakingly vulnerable. The poet sets the body’s trauma and its resilience against the workings of the natural world, the familiar and the unknowable—a beautifully balanced achievement. –Claudia Emerson, 2011 Ruth Stone Poetry Prize judge

Girls on Lake Pewaukee Consider the Future

by April Goldman
Runner-up, Ruth Stone Poetry Prize

The collective voice of the “girls” masterfully rendered, the reader lingers as well on the threshold between the body’s awareness—reluctant, still submerged—and that of the intellect, fiercely forming. –Claudia Emerson, 2011 Ruth Stone Poetry Prize judge


by Emily Pulfer-Terino
Runner-Up, Ruth Stone Poetry Prize
Visit with Emily Pulfer-Terino

“Firstborn” expresses with lyric intensity a particular anxiety, reforming the experience of the only child’s displacement to “firstborn” and sibling—and in the process delightfully pairing the architecture of the “world” and its rooms with that of the mother. –Claudia Emerson, 2011 Ruth Stone Poetry Prize judge

Snow, for Instance

by Austen Rosenfeld
Special Mention, Ruth Stone Poetry Prize
Visit with Austen Rosenfeld

I started writing this poem on my twenty-third birthday, which felt different from other days because birthdays always do. But this year, I wanted to investigate exactly how it felt different, so I dissected the texture of the day in a very scientific way.

The Best Ideas

by Emily Pulfer-Terino
Special Mention, Ruth Stone Poetry Prize
Visit with Emily Pulfer-Terino

Perhaps the only consistency in my writing process is that I always write aloud, voicing drafts over and over, to try to satisfy my ear and breath.