Since 2009 APIARY’S published over 400 Philly writers and served thousands of Philly readers for fun and for free. Why? Because we love this city’s diverse community of writers. We bring artists of all ages and backgrounds together on the page and on the stage. For the first time, we’re asking for your help, Philly! Learn more about our first Indiegogo in our campaign video below!



In PHILADELPHIA POETRY, Leonard Gontarek selects and introduces some of our city’s most praiseworthy poets. For October, Gontarek discusses someone very special: Edgar Allan Poe.

Credit: Jack Morefield

Credit: Jack Morefield

Edgar Allan Poe lives at 532 N. 7th Street, just off Spring Garden Street.
In a city of great poets, he is our greatest poet. Here are the kinds of things
he says in his poems:


Thy soul shall find itself alone


I would not love except where Death
Was mingling his with Beauty’s breath


Always write first things uppermost in the heart


                    I dwelt alone
                    In a world of moan




Courtesy  Lovella Rose Calica

Courtesy Lovella Calica

For as long as I’ve known her, Lovella Calica and the community of Warrior Writers have worked tirelessly to create spaces of healing and action through writing and art workshops for veterans. Lovella is one of the people I bring up when I try to explain the use of poetry and literature, as well as its luxury. We’ve published several authors from the group in our pages and their voices have been a vivid and important testament that we’re a country at war. And the war — as far from our daily lives as we allow it to seem — affects us all as we welcome soldiers home. I hope to see you at Warrior Writers’ reading Saturday! Lillian Dunn

Lillian: What was the process of collecting work for the Warrior Writers’ fourth anthology?

Lovella: We sent out a call for submissions more than 6 months before it was finished. Then we did a lot of calling, emailing and texting people to remind them and help them feel confident enough to submit. We saw a lot of our community face to face too, so we would talk about the book and their writing then as well.

Lillian: What process do the writers go through to create the work?

Lovella: Many of the pieces were created during our writing workshops, but many were done on their own as well. We (including a large team of volunteers) did a lot of work to help folks revise their writing. Some folks hadn’t ever done revisions and were nervous about it, while others knew about it but just had a hard time sitting with the work because some of it is very heavy. A lot of this part is about relationships and there was a good deal of growth among the writers and amongst writers. They were also encouraged to get others to look at and give feedback on their work as well.



Courtesy of Dog Star NYC

Courtesy of Dog Star NYC

In PHILADELPHIA POETRY, Leonard Gontarek selects and introduces some of our city’s most praiseworthy poets. For September, Gontarek discusses the work of Iain Haley Pollock.

If a poem really could give voice to our doubts, hopes, anxieties, joy, here in the city, in Philadelphia, what would it look like? A poem that authenticates  us, that articulates us. A poem that gives the exact weight to the story of our lives, with the perfect music in the background, at the right volume. I think it would sound like this:


Violets for Your Furs


Garbage men in this city
don’t see fit to put the garbage
in the garbage truck, and in the streets
the dented bottles and cans spin

and roll like the gait of a man
clutching a brown-sacked beer
in his hand. The discount grocer
on Girard sells week-old cuts of pork

and tins of black beans a day
from expiry. And the antique dealer
by the bus stop hawks one-eyed
dolls and green vases. I haven’t once,

in three years, seen the store open
for business. In Dancing Girl with Castanets,
the model for the figure’s head, Gabrielle
Renard, is posed with rouge on her cheeks,

a garland of indulgent red flowers
in her hair. She looks bored.
And I know this boredom
from Rhea Humphries’ eyes in school

when I told her I love you. I can’t figure now
why she never protested in the hall
when I’d stare so brazenly at her tits.
As for the girl’s body, for his gaze

Renoir never paid Georgette Pigeot,
arms bared by a diaphanous traje
de flamenca more Hellenic than Iberian.
Will I always want something

other than what I have? Which is to wonder:
who knows if I ever loved Rhea? Probably not,
as maybe the young can never love,
or not the young as unbroken as I was.

Let’s just agree Gabrielle, let’s just agree
Georgette, I went about it all wrong.

The garbage men are back, darlings:
Bottles and cans cries the heart,

bottles and cans. Bottles and cans
cries the heart, bottles and cans.



Whether you’re a teacher or a student, when September comes — so does English class! Need a pep talk, a fresh perspective, or a glimpse of beauty? Well, we’ve compiled several poems to keep you sharp on the bus, in the hall, or in front of the blackboard (or is it smart-board now?). If you have a favorite back-to-school poem, share it with us in the comments, on Facebook, or hit us up on Twitter!

by Billy Collins

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.



When Brave New Voices — one of the most stellar youth poetry events in the country — came to Philadelphia in July, APIARY’s Fyodor Badkhen was sure to attend. Looking to find out who you really are? Writing poetry can certainly help. Of course, we don’t have to tell you that! 

Imagine this: Hundreds of people from across the country coming together to learn how to expose their innermost spirit so that they can perform, perfect, and excel in one of the most courageous art forms: poetry.

This is the Brave New Voices conference, a country-wide event anticipated by many aspiring poets. On a Thursday last month, more than 400 young people swarmed the frigid halls of the Temple Student Center for a set of workshops designed to instruct the participants in the acutely vulnerable art of baring their souls to the outside world, releasing all of their rage, joy, and sorrow for all to see.


“People need to find their voice, one way or another,” said avery r. young, one of the workshop instructors. “Poetry is a way of getting that voice.”



Paris by Eugene Atget, courtesy Digital Field Guide.

Paris by Eugene Atget, courtesy Digital Field Guide.

In PHILADELPHIA POETRY, Leonard Gontarek selects and introduces some of our city’s most praiseworthy poets. For August, Gontarek discusses the work of Eleanor Wilner. 


Night Fishing in the Sound
The sound is dark; you can barely hear
the gauze-wrapped warning song
of bells, and cannot see
the buoys swinging on top
the oily waves, the water a black
so absolute it drinks light
back, unquenchable thirst
like that the shades in Hades had
for the hot blood of sacrifice –
how the dead swell, like ticks,
till they rise, bloated envoys
out of the envious dark.

The waves of the sound sway
endlessly, a restless channel caught
between two seas – one fresh, the other salt –
as if suspended between hope and
certain sorrow. And you, in a small craft,
having left behind the little inland
sea, are tossed in all this roiling dark;
the trick is to play the wind
for time, sinking the line
deep into the heaving black, trying
not to stare at the dizzying lantern swinging
over the deck, a drunken sun on a pendulum;
trying to keep your equilibrium
with no horizon to steady the eye, riding
the dark sound blind, hoping for fish,
wanting to reel in, to reach the end
of the passage, but afraid
of the waiting ocean, the enormous dawn
when light, rising from below, seems to come
from everywhere at once, tsunami of
overwhelming sun.