Fall 2019 ~

ISSN 1542-3123

‘The lost ones go over the same old ground. So many pathways, back and forth, make clear the way they came and went.’– from “In the Woods”
Nicholas Johnson 1944-2019

Dear Friends,
Poet Nicholas Johnson passed away in August 2019. We at Bright Hill Press were honored to publish his book, Degrees of Freedom, and we were honored and happy that he read at Word Thursdays several times and during the Speaking the Words Festival. Nick was the consummate poet and friend to poets. His poems were published in many literature journals, and he, with his partner Maureen Holm, edited and published the online journal, https://nycbigcitylit.com. That publication was ahead of its time in the depth and breadth of its content, and both NYC poets and those of us from elsewhere were lucky to be included. Some comments about his work: “With metaphoric dexterity and an uncanny ability to invigorate common expressions so that they become pure poetry, Nick Johnson writes his poems with skill and candor. The opening of each poem in Degrees of Freedom parts the sky with perceptual lightning, and by the time we finish, a devastating clap of truth’s thunder rolls in, taking the poem and us by storm”–Molly Peacock. “Nicholas Johnson is a poet of incandescent wit, the kind of mordant intelligence whose first target is its own assumptions, and a strange haunted tenderness. I love his work for its dark, sotto voce originality. This is a collection that the writing community has been waiting for”-Dennis Nurkse. Nicholas Johnson’s poetry has been published in Poetry London, Poetry Wales, American Poetry Review, Shenandoah, American Letters & Commentary, The Journal, Pivot, and the 1997 Anthology of Magazine Verse & Yearbook of American Poetry. It was my privilege to know Nick and his work. He will be missed. Write on, in your new air, Poet/Friend Nicholas!
Bertha Rogers

In Memoriam

Nicholas Johnson      Robert Klein Engler      Allen C. Fischer      Colette Inez      Donald Lev      Frank Simone        Steve Dalachinsky

West End Lounge, Tuesday, November 5th, 7 – 9
955 West End Ave, (W107th Street) New York

In This Issue:


Jan Barry
Jon Benner
Patricia Brody
Robert Burr
Patricia Carragon
Albert Dépas
W. D. Ehrhart
Allen C. Fischer
David Francis
Vernon Frazer
Philip Fried
Carol Graser
Walter Hess
Amy Holman
Kate Irving
Marc Jampole
David M. Katz
Maeve Kinkead
Samantha Kitsch
Steve Koenig
Alison Koffler
Dean Kostos
Gerry LaFemina
Iris Lee
Beth Levin
Richard Levine
ellen ‘windy’ aug lytle
Djelloul Marbrook
Quitman Marshall
Stephen Massimilla
Richard Newman
D. Nurkse
Alicia Ostricker
Jaclyn Piudik
Ron Price
Gretchen Primack
Stephanie Rauschenbush
Bertha Rogers
Adam Roufberg
Daniel Shapiro
Neil Shepard
Matthew J. Spireng
Mason Trent
Helen Tzaglof
Gerald Wagoner
Barry Wallenstein
Joe Weil
Judith Werner
Kathleen Widdoes
Eric Wood
Jeffrey Cyphers Wright
Michael T. Young


Renga Chunk 2 by Milton Dawg, Michael Morical, and Philip Miller

Big City, Little:

Stephen Massimilla,


A GOOD MAN by Susan Kay
the library by Donal McLaughlin
Jarred’s Millennium by Paul Oppenheimer
Bad Job by Thaddeus Rutkowski


Examples of Unclear Writing reported by Kallistos
The Power of Tides, The Impulses of Mankind: A Marxist and Cultural Materialist View of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness by Mark Doherty


Bad Judge Men by Elizabeth Amaral
The Fool as Teacher-Poetry and Karl G. Kasberg by Robert Klein Engler
Lady Vanessa by Andrew Sarewitz
1.Trump acts talks like a stand-up comic2. but the joke is on American people by Marc Jampole
Three Selections from Poems from The Elaine Race Massacre by J. Chester Johnson
The Arrivals, NYC, 1951 by Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa
DAVID’S TREE: Escaping Skin by Quitman Marshall
Cover Story by Margo Taft Stever
Red Shoes by Kathleen Widdoes


J. Chester Johnson’s Now and Then: Selected Longer Poems reviewed by Melinda Thomsen
Cooking with the Muse: A Sumptuous Gathering of Seasonal Recipes, Culinary Poetry, and Literary Fare by Stephen Massimilla and Myra Kornfeld, reviewed by Hannah Howard
Love in the Last Days: After Tristan and Iseult, D. Nurkse reviewed by Carl Rosenstock
Steve Dalachinsky Where Night and Day Become One: The French Poems 1983-2017, reviewed by Billy Cancel


Bertha Rodgers, Wild Again
Richard Levine, Selected Poems


Barry Wallenstein-Lisbon Sunset
Talkin’ Frackin’ Blues


BigCityLit Reading TBA – Poetry Feature/ Ice-Breaker

Special Guest Readers: TBA
Book Culture
536 West 112th Street
(b/t Broadway/Central Park West)
New York, NY 10025
Free Admission
Reading in Honor of Nick Johnson (TBA)

Call for submissions for forthcoming Issue: Fall 2019

We are now accepting submissions, any topic, poetry, fiction, articles,essays, reviews for our new issue, due online approximately Spring 2020: Please send to Editors: Richard Levine (poetreeage@gmail.com) and Barry Wallenstein (barrywall22@gmail.com).

BigCityLit Donations Request

Many thanks to all contributors who have made this issue possible. BigCityLit needs donations to continue publication. Please make out checks to Barry Wallenstein and write in the memo box “for BigCityLit only” and mail to Barry Wallenstein 340 Riverside Dr. NY. NY. 10025. Thank you for considering this appeal – any donation would be greatly appreciated. Though we are non-profit, we are not registered as such. Note: All donations are for webmaster fees.