PHILLY POETRY LOVE-IN// Charlie O’Hay, “Halos”

Our last nomination was given by Kelly McQuain and because he has a ridiculous amount of publications to his name, you might as well visit his website here. He’s an writer, artist, and a CCP Creative Writing professor. He nominates Charlie O’Hay’s “Halos” and says, “I’ve only gotten to know Charlie O’Hay a little over the last few years, but that is enough time to convince me he is the unsung poetry hero of Philadelphia’s dirty and broken-down streets. His poems hit you the way a bad pothole might hit your car tire–an unexpected jolt, something that breaks you down, leaves you momentarily deflated, makes you wonder where you were going in such a hurry not to notice things.

“But before they are over, Charlie’s poems pick you back up again, “sing arias” to you; they set your shoulders on a new frame. Charlie O’Hay doesn’t overlook things. An avid photographer, he’s trained his camera on Philly’s homeless population for many years. As a poet, he’s trained his eye on even more: fatherhood, sobriety, and the grace it takes to survive this world.”


Credit: Patrick (Typography Shop)

Credit: Patrick (Typography Shop)

On my best days, I don’t unwind
I unravel, like a thin rope of steam from horizon-bound ships
Or the hopes of bums searching payphone coin returns
for slot-machine victory.

On my best days, I let it all go
The way a hard summer rain can sing arias against the glass
Or the wail of a train unseen strings miles between was
and will be.

On my best days, I am drunk
On fog and running through blue alleys hanging halos
from streetlamps. Perhaps you’ve seen my work—
been kissed in its light.


We would like to thank all of our nominators and poets for a great NaPoMo this year! Thank you for sharing your awesomeness with us!

PHILLY POETRY LOVE-IN// Pattie McCarthy, “Matins”

This nomination is from Jenn McCreary, a Philly poet who edits for ixnay press, a publisher of new and experimental writing. She says: “Pattie McCarthy‘s full-length collection, bk of h(r)s, is my comfort book– steeped in things churchly & mundane. This, her first, & flawless, execution of the manuscript-as-project, is always in my bedside drawer, my own prayer book. For its beauty, for the precision with which she merges the medieval & the modern, a practice which has refined in her subsequent — & also, truly gorgeous — books.”


Thank you for sending this in, Jenn!

Apiary xoxo

PHILLY POETRY LOVE-IN// Gina Myers, “for n & k”

This poem was nominated by poet Thomas Devaney, most recently author of Runaway Goat Cart (Hanging Loose, 2015). This is what he has to say about Gina Myers’ work: “Gina Myers’ “Hold It Down” for N& K is affirmation from the bottom up. To be held down in every way one can be held down and back, the pressures are real. The heart and poem are pushed against. But there are other moments. Holding it down is an idiom for survival, even more so than holding it together, but that too is what Myers is doing, holding it together: in a poem, with a friend, in a song.”

Here’s a fantastic interview with Gina Myers talking about her work. To learn more about her, here is Gina’s website.

Otis on vinyllarge
carries from
the barn. Blessed
is this day. The camera
captures us youthful
& triumphant.
Blessed be this day,
a celebration
of friends coming
together. Last night,
surrounded by
those I love, I had wanted
to read Berrigan’s
“Words For Love,”
but I didn’t want to say
the heart breaks, even though I know
it’s true & the breaking
can be a good thing
sometimes, like the way
my heart shatters
a little each time
I think of my friends
& how lucky in life
I’ve been to get
to know them, to have
had the time to laugh &
drink & dance & to argue
& feel hurt too.

[Continue to read here]

Thank you to all writers and nominators for contributing to this years NaPoMo!

Apiary Mag xoxo


APIARY was recently featured on WHYY’s “Friday Arts”! Learn about how poetry inspires the APIARY staff – and the kind of writing we love! Thank you to WHYY for this very special opportunity!

For more Friday Arts segments, visit WHYY’s archive.


Stung Square

The APIARY editors have been up late night after night reading your fabulous submissions to STUNG, our first ever contest. Philly loves a good fight and what a rumble we had. You guys sent in over one thousand submissions! Thank you!

After wrapping up #APIARYGoGo, it was so fun for our staff to get back in action with our favorite activity: reading the best writing Philly has to offer and arguing about it.

STUNG collaborating artists Marie Alarcon, Corey Brickley and Maggie Linehan will be reviewing our finalists and choosing the pieces they want to illustrate. Without further ado, we’re thrilled to announce the STUNG finalists! They are:

One Woman, 3 Relationships (nonfiction, Elliott Battzedek) 

Night Child (poetry, Jasmine Combs)

Starve a cold feed a fever (poetry, Jim Cory)

Ritornello (poetry, Valerie Fox & Arlene Ang)

A Brief History of Noah (poetry, Autumn Konopka)

Ride (fiction, Allison Whittenberg)

Global Positioning System (poetry, Dan Wriggins)

Congratulations to all our finalists and stay tuned!



PHILLY POETRY LOVE-IN// Debora Gossett Rivers, “The American Treadmill”

Barbara Stroer, “Shades of Grey”

Our next nomination is from Courtney Bambrick, who is the poetry editor of Philadelphia Stories Magazine. Follow her on Twitter! She nominates Debora Gossett Rivers, who was also published in Philadelphia Stories as an honorary mention. Courtney says: [This poem] occurs to me most mornings and whenever I am feeling particularly run over by minutiae. I cannot say that this is my favorite-favorite poem because I love so many that have ended up in Philadelphia Stories, and I’d feel like a mom choosing favorite kids, but this feels so familiar. I love the humor and the compassion of this piece. And I want more people to read it!” Thank you for sharing Courtney! If you’re interested in reading more of Debora’s work, consider buying one of her two books.

The American Treadmill

TV on all night woke me up this morning
The clock radio is a bird with no song that just tells the time
I don’t move until the 4th time weatherman announces the forecast
Hoping it snows north and west of the city
Because I-C-E has no respect for my SUV
The temptation of calling out sick plays like a sweet song
And I want to sing every word out loud
Slowly I scrape myself off the sheets
Wake up the children singing a happy little wake up song
Saying hello to the sunny sun
Ironing white school blouses
Cooking bacon grits and eggs
Chasing groomed dressed and fed offspring out of the house
To catch the big yellow school bus
To learn to live the American way
To chase the American dream

[continue reading here]


This month, we’re asking all you voracious readers to tell us YOUR favorite poems by local poets. To nominate a poem, send us the title, link or text, and author name, as well as a sentence about why and how you love it, to We’ll publish links to/excerpts of the work so credit goes to the original publications where they appeared, when possible, and get writers’ permission.

PHILLY POETRY LOVE-IN// Ryan Eckes, “art as experience”

Today’s poem of the day is by Ryan Eckes and he was nominated by Mel Bentley, who expresses much love for his work:

“Every poem by Ryan Eckes is my favorite poem about Philadelphia, followed closely by a whole book by Kevin Varrone, g-point almanac:passyunk lost (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2010) but here is one of my newer favorites, from Ryan’s newish book Valu-Plus, just out from Furniture Press Books in 2014.

Paul Insect, “Star Eyes 15″

What I love about Ryan’s poetry his voice, which sounds like him talking, but tuned and turned. It is subtle and often unsung art how daily speech can be musical. Ryan’s work balances with such ease minutely observed detail, political reality, wry self-reflection, anecdote and surreal humor in a way that appears deceptively effortless and light. Although emotionally subdued, Valu-Plus leaves me deeply emotional, without knowing exactly how or why, or what I am feeling.

If you want to know your city better, I highly recommend this book.” What a great recommendation! Check out Mel’s work too!

art as experience

in passing john calls john dewey j-dew, which makes everything infinitely more watchable. go phillies like a bus, half hours, half flowers, to valu-plus for flip-flops and a new notebook—marble, like my stoop. i stand on the book, its title, valu-plus, arrived home on a sticker, yellow, with a price: a buck, a holler. after that we’re free to have our hazards. love ages me, but not that two people were murdered a half block from me this week. the barista lays down a napkin and spoon even when you’re just getting it to go. front-to-back three years ago a night this november i tore thru splay anthem while this place was called something else, and i thought i felt the whole world sail thru a map in my chest, knocked on wood a lesson: bare hands, bare hands, no lie: you’ll never understand yourself in isolation. a hair on your selfish city’s chest, you will mistake selfishness for independence again. again, you will catch yourself being a republican to yourself. if i’m beaten, who can tell. not me, anymore. not me, anymore.


Want to shout out a worthy work? To celebrate Poetry Month, we’re asking all our voracious readers to tell us YOUR favorite poems by local poets. To nominate a poem, send us the title, link or text, and author name, as well as a sentence about why and how you love it, to (We’ll publish links to/excerpts of the work so credit goes to the original publications where they appeared, when possible, and get writers’ permission).