And Then There Were Two.

Would you confess to a crime you didn’t commit?

Would you leave everything you’ve known to find yourself?

Decide. Vote. Let us know. Deathmatch Finals are NOW.

(Title taken from Hege Lepri’s wonderful, inspired poem.) 


Chapbook Review: String Practice

ZINES_String Practice (Bryson)

String Practice
Chapbook, Jan Zwicky, 36 pgs, Vallum Society for Arts & Letters Education,, $10

Nearly all of the poems in this collection are reprinted from previous releases, and there was no shortage of material to choose from — Jan Zwicky is an award winning writer and philosopher with a lengthy bibliography. For this chapbook, she’s assembled a set of poems that are inspired by or are about music.

Several of these poems are titled with, or make mention

Deathmatch 2017: The Final Week Begins!

After a tumultuous two weeks, today begins the final round of the 2017 Indie Writers’ Deathmatch! The home stretch begins today – the last two stories in the running are Susan Read’s Failure to Cooperate and P.D Walter’s Sick to Death of Stories. If your February has been busy, take a moment this week to sit down, have a snack, and check out the final two stories still in the running! With a week left, there’s more than enough time to get involved on the comment board and show your support. You can vote once every hour! The votes for both these stories have been strong all February, so if you want a particular story to win, be sure to cast your votes.Showing your support on Twitter might land you some sweet rewards – use the #bpDeathmatch hashtag in your tweets and the user with the most retweets will win a one-year subscription to Broken Pencil.
Taking a look at the comment board, one can see that even after two weeks of constant battling, there’s still humour to be found in the Deathmatch comment arena. P.D Walter begins the day with a (slightly mournful) ballad. Previously eliminated Deathmatcher Hege Lepri returns to the board to write an awe-inspiring poem dedicated to the final round:

And then there were two

Out of the wild flock of wordsmiths unleashed
Washed ashore by winds from the north-east
Making it here has been no feast
A constant war with a mighty beast
But the two of them are alive at least.

In the ocean behind, those who didn’t pull through
Lizards and poets who went down as they knew
That they wouldn’t stand among the last few
And others would drink the victor’s brew
But the two stand tall as they start anew.

Hop on over to and get in on the action while you still can! Once again – you can vote in the Deathmatch once an hour and every vote counts! It may be the final round, but the competition is far from over!

Chapbook Review: Sonnets on a Night Without Love

ZINES_Sonnets on a Night Without Love (Bryson)

Sonnets on a Night Without Love
Chapbook, Yusuf Saadi, 24 pgs, Vallum Society for Arts & Letters Education,, $10

For a collection that professes to be about a night without love, the word “love” and its machinations sure make a lot of appearances. Perhaps the title is more suggestive of an effort to fill a void, rather than an attempt to evade a feeling.

These poems predominantly see Yusuf Saadi directly

Chapbook Review: Shiftless (Harvester)

ZINES_Shiftless (Joel)

Shiftless (Harvester)
Chapbook, Buck Downs, 24 pgs, above/ground press,, $4

Buck Downs’s poetic method has been outlined in Broken Pencil’s review for “Touch the Donkey #11”, as his work is briefly featured there, but it is worth noting here again for this interview, where the advantages and disadvantages to this approach are emphasized more heavily. “Shiftless(Harvester)” is, after all, a chapbook entirely of Downs’s composition, so when his method of “brute-force typing,” as he calls it, is tasked with producing the 23 short poems printed herein, their method of production is much more obvious.
In an interview with publisher rob mclennan, Down’s describes his

Chapbook Review: Reframing Paul Cadmus

ZINES_Reframing (Joel)

Reframing Paul Cadmus
Chapbook, John Barton, 24 pgs, above/ground press,, $5

Printed 7” x 8.5”, John Barton presents, here, a sizable—not to mention memorable—collection of ekphrastic poetry. Each of Barton’s eleven poems printed herein demonstrates not only an intense familiarity with the visual work of Paul Cadmus, but a unique ability to transform his paintings into sensual narratives, all of which connect into a near-seamless collection that demands to be read aloud.
For a reader generally unfamiliar with Cadmus’s work, I am surprised to feel such a visceral connection with his subjects through the dancing words of Barton’s interpretive hand. This speaks to the skill of the writer,