Summer 2015 Issue 6: Once Upon A Time

Red Wolf Journal Issue 6 (Summer 2015)
Our theme: “Once Upon A Time”


Cover art: Marc Chagall, The Promenade

Poems are stories. As if you didn’t already know. But the stories are eclipsed in shadow so you only get half or a quarter of it. The half or quarter carries the weight of the whole. The best poems inscribe a mood through observed, almost incidental, details. The surface details and action delineate feelings. Feelings are the real deal. Stories are steeped in mystery and enchantment as the title of this volume suggests. They prescribe a path, a journey, a quest because stuff happens. Bad stuff. The reader is hooked. Does the story hold out a promise of the happy ending? The human story is ultimately, to me, a quest for identity (Who am I? What is my place in the universe? What is the meaning of this universe?), which is why the reader is vested in the experience of its telling. It seems a grandiose thing to ponder. It, in fact, is an everyday thing. An experiential thing. In a good poem there is transformation by the time you get to the end of it. The mundane can be pretty epic. Anything can be a story. Whether or not life is a fairy tale, I just like to believe that the best poems tell a love story. It’s as if we depend on stories to save us. It is love that saves us. It is we who save each other.

So you tell us a story in a poem. Rather than tell the whole story, your poem pivots on a lyrical moment– let the delicate rendering of a moment tell a story. “Once upon a time” might as well mean “once upon a moment”. Sometimes the poem is the story. What does the act of fictionalizing do? It either transcribes a reality that’s out there, or it creates a reality that doesn’t exist out there. That only you and your reader knows. Now isn’t that just fabulous? Now it doesn’t have to be clear-cut at all. Fantasy does, in truth, intrude into reality (we all daydream don’t we?) and the best poems also play on the idea of rupturing ordinary reality. Story, it turns out, is the reality we create.


Interpret the theme however you wish. Submit poems to us by email here.


Please review the submission guidelines and then send us your poems in the body of an email.

Poems will be published in ongoing posts on this site. Each posting will be announced on the Red Wolf Journal page on Facebook. Your poem may be published at any time from May to July 2015 so please check back here. If you do not see your poem(s) appear, you may deem it as not accepted for publication. We will not be sending out any acceptance or rejection letters.

The entire collection will be released in PDF format in due course. An announcement will be made at that point.

Irene Toh and Tawnya Smith
Summer 2015 Editors