Our Winter 2023 issue is HERE!

MockingHeart Friends! Welcome to the latest fantastic issue of MHR.

Our Winter 2023 issue is now published, and you can take a look at it here! We hope that you enjoy the fabulous poetry and artwork included in MockingHeart Review 8.1.

2023, a new year already! As this odd-numbered year kicks off, we hope you have the very best of times, and all the resourcefulness you need to succeed. Please keep up your creative efforts–writing, art-making, and encouraging creativity in those you know and love. We’re here when you need some wonderful reading material, and we look forward to seeing your own submissions when we open again in April.

Enjoy your week, friends, and thanks again for the excellent work you do in the world.


Tyler Robert Sheldon, Editor-in-Chief

Associate Editor Denise Rogers on Hiatus

Hoping you’re well, MockingHeart friends!

This is a complex literary world we’re living and working in, with lots going on in our lives! I’m sure you know just what I’m talking about: the sometimes enjoyable but often frenetic flurry of activity that surrounds us daily. Our excellent Associate Editor, Denise Rogers, has been admirably balancing both her excellent work at MHR and her own flourishing creative and pedagogical career. I can’t reveal too much, but she also has a new book coming into the world soon! Stay tuned for more details at her discretion…

For the moment, Denise has decided to step back from MockingHeart Review to focus on her many successes and irons in the fire, and we wish her well during this hiatus! I know you’ll join me in sending Denise good vibes and warm thoughts as she continues her work. We’ll certainly all look forward to her return.

And friends, thanks so much for your readership and for the part you play in the MHR journey. Right now we’re reading submissions for the Winter 2023 issue, and we look forward to publishing the issue in February!

Thanks again, too, for your excellent work in the world.

Tyler Robert Sheldon, Editor-in-Chief

Happy New Year! (Last Hours to Submit!)

Happy Almost-2023, MockingHeart Review Friends!

I hope you’re doing splendidly today! We’re thinking of you as one year gives way to the next–and here’s to your every success in 2023!

Today is the last day to submit to the Winter 2023 issue of MHR. The issue will be published on February 1st.

Until 11:59 PM Central Time today, feel free to send us your work–we’ll be glad to view it! Remember too that this issue’s theme is Resourcefulness.

If you’ve already sent your artwork or poetry our way, thanks very much! We’re looking forward to experiencing your creations, and we’ll get back to you before long.

Be well, and as always, thank you for your excellent work in the world.

Tyler Robert Sheldon, Editor-in-Chief

Tomorrow: MHR (Themed) Submissions Open!

Hi, MockingHeart Friends! How have things gone for you this month? Hard to believe that it’s almost December, that excellent month of wintery celebrations. Tomorrow is also the first day of our Winter 2023 submission period–and a great way to get in a festive mood is by sending some work to your favorite online magazine, MHR!

For the upcoming issue, we’ll be open for submissions from December 1-31, with a February 1, 2023 publication date. Take a bit of time to reflect and create–we’d love to see your work this reading period.

Our Winter 2023 theme is Resourcefulness, which signifies the ability to overcome difficulties quickly or cleverly–a skill we might all find useful in this putatively post-COVID era. Submit your poetry and/or artwork that fits this idea in a way that makes good sense to you–we’ll be excited to see it. And please pass the word along to the writers and artists in your life, too.

Finally: If you haven’t yet taken a peek at our riveting Fall 2022 issue, please do. Some stellar work await you therein. You’ll come away feeling inspired!

Thanks again for being part of the MockingHeart family! Keep up your excellent work in the world, and we’ll talk again soon.

Tyler Robert Sheldon, Editor-in-Chief

Pushcart Prize Nominations!

Hi, MockingHeart friends,

We at MockingHeart Review are proud to announce this year’s nominations for the Pushcart Prize:

“Naptime,” by Cameron Morse

“Spaces,” by Jan Seagrave

“Should You Choose to Accept, Your Mission is to Find Joy,” by Diane Silver

“House Finch,” by Leah Schnurr

“Atlas,” by Aaron Sandberg

“When Charley Says Goodbye,” by Francine Witte

Congratulations to these poets, and many thanks to ALL of our MHR contributors for your excellent work in the world–it’s a privilege to read and publish your creations. Here’s to another great MockingHeart Review year!

P.S. – More information about the Prize and Pushcart Press can be found here.

Tyler Robert Sheldon, Editor-in-Chief

Our Fall 2022 Issue is HERE!

MockingHeart Friends! Welcome to another excellent issue of MHR.

Our Fall 2022 issue is now published, and you can take a look at it here! We hope that you enjoy the fabulous poetry included in MockingHeart Review 7.3!

Can you believe it’s already Fall? That time of year where everything moves slowly toward dormancy–here we are, yet again. As the year wraps up in these next few months, please keep up your creative efforts–writing, art-making, and encouraging creativity in those you know and love. It really is the essential work, keeping that fire burning.

Enjoy your weekend, friends! Thanks again for the excellent work you do in the world.


Tyler Robert Sheldon, Editor-in-Chief

Seven Years of MockingHeart Review!

Happy Labor Day, MockingHeart friends!

I hope you’re faring well, creating often, and staying upbeat as we transition slowly toward Fall! September is an important month–it marks MHR‘s seventh birthday! We’re thrilled to be in the world as a journal of poetry and art, and wanted to say how grateful we are to you, our readers and our past, present, and future contributors, for helping make this fantastic journey possible! We look forward to bringing you more excellent issues in the years to come–and please remember that our Fall 2022 issue will be published on October 1st. We can’t wait!

If you’re in the mood to celebrate with us, take a look through our blog, Beats, to revisit some of the wonderful moments we’ve shared with writers and artists including you! Also, have a look through our previous issues, if you have the time–they’re all available to read for free! The fantastic work of MHR‘s past continues to inform the shape of our future.

Have a relaxing week, MHR friends, and thank you again for your excellent work in the world.


Tyler Robert Sheldon, Editor-in-Chief

Last Day to Submit!

Hi, MockingHeart Review Friends,

I hope you’re faring well today, laughing often and creating art! Today is the last day to submit to the Fall 2022 issue of MHR. The issue will be published on October 1st.

Until 11:59 PM Central Time today, feel free to send us your work–we’ll be glad to view it! Remember too that this issue’s theme is Heartbreak.

If you’ve already sent your artwork or poetry our way, thanks very much! We’re looking forward to experiencing your creations, and we’ll get back to you before long.

Be well, and as always, thank you for your excellent work in the world.

Tyler Robert Sheldon, Editor-in-Chief

Interview with a Poet: Dave Malone

Associate Editor’s Note: I received a copy of Dave Malone’s book Tornado Drill (Kelsay Books, 2021) earlier this summer and enjoyed taking my time savoring it. As you will see in the interview, Dave and I have one surprising connection! It’s one of the reasons it has been so interesting to do these interviews—to make and find connections of many kinds. Dave is the author of three other books and he has had poems in a variety of publications in addition to MockingHeart ReviewMidwest ReviewPoydras ReviewRiver Heron, etc. I am sure you will enjoy learning more about him and his writing. I include one poem, “Heron” in the body of the interview, and two others, “Tornado Drill” and “Confetti” follow the interview. Please look for those.  

Denise M. Rogers, Associate Editor


MockingHeart Review: Tell me a little more about yourself, Dave. Some of the poems are set in Kansas; some are set in the Missouri Ozarks. Did your family move from one place to the other?

Dave Malone: Yes, when I was very young, my family left the Ozarks for Texas then Germany, and we moved to rural Kansas when I was six—then back to the Ozarks briefly when I was twelve before we eventually ended up in the Kansas City area. Now I make my home in West Plains, Missouri, in the Ozarks. 

MHR: I could relate to a lot of the Ozarks poems in that my own family comes from the foothills around Potosi (Old Mines and Richwoods). While the poems in the Growing Up section read like memories and history, the ones set in the Ozarks feel more haunted in a sense. Take the poem “Longtime Schoolteacher.” My grandmother went to a one-room school, and the teacher in this school could be the ghost of Mrs. Pelikan, who taught at that school and occasionally boarded with my grandmother’s family. Is there a particular person who inspired this poem?

DM: No way. Are your ancestors French? 

MHR: My ancestors on my mother’s side are French. My grandmother was a Pratt and her mother was a Mercille. French was my grandmother’s first language, and she’d speak it with her friends and her son, Donald. She was born in that French-speaking pocket of Missouri (around Old Mines, Richwoods, Cadet, and Potosi). 

DM: One of my branches, the Partenais (eventually Americanized to Partney), settled at Old Mines in the late 1790s. That’s an excellent observation, and one I had not made myself—I can certainly see that the poems in “Growing Up” are more memory-filled, while the Ozarks’ ones may cast a haunting feeling. Mrs. Pelikan is a great name; have you written about her? 

MHR: I have not, though I should. She was my grandmother’s teacher because she was the oldest graduate of the school. She was probably all of about 18 when she taught. She later married Joe Pelikan (Missouri has a lot of German folk right next to the French), and they moved to St. Louis. My parents found a house near theirs in Wellston (St. Louis County), and we actually went to the same church as they did. The Pelikans had no children, so every now and then Mrs. Pelikan would host a tea party for me and my three siblings. She’d tell us stories about our grandmother as a girl. That was fascinating! My mom said she was so grateful for those parties and that they sometimes saved her sanity (we were all under 6 years of age, and my mom stayed home with us).

DM: Regarding “Longtime Schoolteacher,” the setting was inspired by the Shady Grove area, a rural farming community a few miles outside of Cabool, Missouri. I lived in a berm home about a mile, from yes, a one-room schoolhouse. The school had been revamped as a community center, and I recall several memorable events like eating scrambled ostrich eggs, attending a pie supper, and laughing heartily at a stage play where my landlord forgot most of his, what had to be no more than, twelve lines. Yet, the teacher in the poem was an amalgamation of a couple of teachers I knew—some my own teachers, and some my colleagues when I taught school.

MHR: Your poem “Most Just Talk About the Weather” in the Quarantined section of the book reminded me of how people from the rural communities dealt with Covid-19 and the hospitalizations and deaths that came of it. It sounds like this was true of the community you were living in. Sounds like you were also compelled to ignore it. Can you talk about that and how it affected your writing?

DM: I think, like many other writers have talked about, when the pandemic arrived, it was difficult to write about anything at first. The thinking of course was: “Why bother? People are dying at an ungodly rate across the globe; how dare you be writing at a time like this?” But that feeling faded for most because writing and reading is a way of coping, of learning, of communicating feelings, of being better persons, of living better. Personally, how it affected my writing? I took a brief respite and then dove back in. 

MHR: The poem that follows “Most Talk About the Weather,” “Walking Benefit,” begins:

Sitting at the table with breakfast
I obsess about what I said
the night before and don’t taste 
the scrambled eggs with dill
and cracks of black pepper. 

I immediately thought of Covid-19 and the fear of illness and death that comes with it. I remember myself feeling that I wanted to be careful around loved ones about what I said to them in case they got Covid (and in fact, both my elderly parents contracted it in July 2020 but luckily did not get hospitalized). How did Covid affect how you spoke to others and especially, how you wrote about others. Did anything change there?

DM: I’ll go straight to the poem here. And thank you for asking about this poem. I don’t think it’s my finest, but it is one close to my heart. If I can be so bold, I’d focus the reader’s attention to what happened to the speaker’s sense of taste in this poem. What happens on a daily basis if we are not present in the moment? What might you miss if you are not here?

MHR: The Growing Up section is focused on the boys; the Town section seems populated mostly by poems about “women.” Was this intentional?

DM: Organizing poems for a volume can be quite fun because ultimately the volume itself becomes a poem with a beginning, middle, and end. Maybe I have more female friends than male! The poem placement was intentional, but I would not say the inclusion of so many female characters was intentional in this section. But I am so glad they are there, and it seems to me, often in the role of protagonist. Hopefully, if my poems were made into short films, they would pass the Bechdel Test. Thank you again for an astute observation. 

MHR: The poem “Confetti” reminds me of so many of the girls I went to school with who showed promise academically and technically but never had the money or encouragement for college. I appreciated the way this one woman “who banked her dimes / for Loretta Lynn albums when we were kids” and whose “knowledge trumps [the mechanic’s], an off-Jack in Pitch” was noticed by you. Do you often find yourself writing about those you knew when you were a kid?

DM: That character is a force to be reckoned with, right? In answer to your question: Oh, most definitely. I’m a nostalgic type of person, so there is fertile ground in my past to cultivate poems at a pretty steady rate. Plus, I’ve traveled a lot, lived a lot of places—and those experiences provide rich soil for new works. The woman in that poem is fictional. But some of the experience is true to life. I used to have a writing space on the town square in West Plains, and one day I heard the recycle truck rattle by, and I thought about all my shredded paper I sent to the recycle center, like drafts of poems and my ubiquitous to-do lists. So then I thought about the notion if someone bent down and looked at some of those scraps of mine, or scraps of paper from anybody from town. There is something intimate in those scraps of paper, and there is an intimate connection (or not) if the recycling person were to bend down and read or instead just sweep them away. And so that idea became a poem about different lives: a contemplative person working in an office and a blue-collar worker and survivor at a recycling plant.  

MHR: Some of the women in the poems, like the hairdresser in “Hairdresser” seem almost magical. I loved that quotation from Robert Lowell to Elizabeth Bishop about her hairdresser–he compliments the hairdresser but seems to acknowledge a connection between Bishop and the hairdresser. (He says “There’s something haunting and nihilistic about your hairdresser.”) Does that extend to the magic of Bishop’s hair? Does he suppose the hairdresser “at times, / a spinning top…Others, the arrow an ancient archer shot last week” endows Bishop with power? Certainly hair salons, like barbershops, are powerful places. 

DM: Right? When I read that quote from Lowell, I thought: “Oh my god, he’s met my hairdresser.” Like some of my other poems, I would like the reader to consider the present moment. For the hairdresser, that is key. You have to pay close attention (how do they make small and/or deep talk while cutting hair? It’s a miracle to me). Zen is about spontaneous action. Don’t think too much; if you think too much, you are not present. So in this poem, when seen from the lens of Zen, the hairdresser is the arrow; she is action; she is present.  

MHR: The hairdresser’s youth does not belie her knowledge. That’s true, too, of the boys who recognize danger in your poem “Fruit.” The boys get a ride from “Two old men in a truck” and neither of the boys “likes their looks.” While they get out of the truck as quickly as they can, they are still far from home, and I’m sure the reader feels some dread about their trip back. Have they really “scrambled to freedom”? 

DM: You tell me! What prices do we pay for adventure as kids? I suppose, we should probably ask a child.  

MHR: I loved “Mutt” for its ending of fear. It reminded me of the losses I experienced of pets, from dogs to a box turtle, and how my siblings and I dealt with it. But in your poem, it’s not the death of the dog that brings fear, but the place where they chose to bury it. It’s sort of like “it seemed a good idea at the time” situation. But maybe it is the new acquaintanceship with death the speaker and children now feel. What do you think?

DM: Thank you for paying close attention to the ending and to the irony of the last line, “We aren’t afraid, really.” Hmmmm. Yes, I would agree that it is a new “acquaintanceship with death.” That is what the poem suggests, isn’t it? My follow-up questions would be, “Where are the parents?” “Why are they not included?” Again, a child is probably best to ask these questions. 

MHR: The tornado drill was familiar to me, growing up in St. Louis as I did. We had both tornado drills and, during the Cuba crises, there were the atomic bomb drills. So the book starts with a threat to mortality, and throughout the book, that fear pops up in the poems over and over. How did this experience and fear shape you as a person and as a poet?

DM: Whew. Where are the easy questions? I can’t imagine an atomic bomb drill, first of all. You are correct; that particular tornado drill did occur, and it was a monstrous storm that day, and it missed my little school, thank goodness. One of my favorite quotes is from Woody Allen: “I’m not afraid of death; I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” The rural life in Kansas and spending time in the Ozarks on the family farm made me keenly interested in nature, with its very up close and personal world of life and death. That has certainly shaped the wellspring that is my life and that serves as inspiration for my poetry. 

MHR: Even with the various kinds of fears that adults and children deal with exposed in the poems, there’s humor, too. Like “Fifi Gets Placed in Time Out” and the “Summer Afternoon in the Pod.” Life is such a mixed bag, and we do try to enjoy it even during quarantine, don’t we? I had such trouble writing anything (particularly poetry) during the quarantine that I took up these conversations as well as quilting. Was writing your only refuge for you during this time? 

DM: Good for you for quilting. It’s a wonderful endeavor, isn’t it? And calming? With the onset of the pandemic, I began a more diligent reading practice, which has stayed with me. Now, it’s how I start my day each day: morning coffee and reading. Currently, I am reading about love and the types of love (most argue 4, 8, or 12), so I’ve tackled Theodore Reik’s Of Love and Lust, after reading bell hooks and a couple of very fine W. Somerset Maugham novels.

MHR: I love the poem the book ends with: “Heron” It’s just right. Let me reproduce it here:

I startled the great blue heron
when my kayak scratched stones
in the river’s low summer water.
With little effort, like the way
one takes off shoes, the grand bird
flapped long arms, held steady,
until she found the shore opposite me
and slipped into the sycamores 
below the bluff. She stayed there
a long time, longer than my life. 

It reminds me of the Li Bai poem “Zazen on Ching-t’ing Mountain” (this version translated by Sam Hamill):

The birds have vanished down the sky.
Now the last cloud drains away.

We sit together, the mountain and me,
until only the mountain remains.

Both touch on the eternal, nature. Can you talk about the role of nature in your poems?

DM: I love that Li Bai poem very much. And thank you for your kind words about “Heron.” Interesting, how in this moment, this proves a difficult question for me, to talk about the role of nature in my poems. It’s as if you were to ask a mirror: “How do you reflect light?” The answer might be: “I just do.” I suppose nature offers me, and many poets and writers, the opportunity for crisp and understandable metaphor? Why do you like the Li Bai poem? Is it in part because you appreciate nature? Birds, clouds, mountains surround us, and they are easily understood, and when spoken of in the manner of the Li Bai poem, suddenly we are receiving teaching—and it is a spiritual message. You find the Self when you lose the self. I would also say because I have an affinity for nature, that makes nature easy to write about, and the natural world finds its way into my poems even in those about town life.

Denise, thank you so much for these illuminating and intriguing questions. I have appreciated and enjoyed this opportunity to talk with you and MockingHeart Review’s readers.

Tornado Drill

Beneath the school desks, our legs angle
and lean like autumn crickets.

Dust motes float and sparkle
above the tongues of our sneakers.

To distract ourselves from the howling windows,
we till the flooring tiles with fingernails

scrubbed clean of bottled glue
and the remains of Mrs. Nelson’s

no-bake cookies. She booms “Quiet”
and invites the great silence.

We don’t wish to hear
what is a low hum at first—

Just an evening tractor laboring
several farms over—but then

The earth roars and the sky paints
the classroom cocoa.

Some of us scrape wings together and squeak.
Others weep. I scramble to the glass. 


The recycle truck rolls past my office at noon.
I know one of the gals who works at the plant—
a hilltop-thin brunette who banked her dimes
for Loretta Lynn albums when we were kids. 

From time to time, I see her at the post office
where she throttles bills under her thumbs.
or at the mechanic’s where her knowledge
trumps his, an off-Jack in Pitch.

She lost a husband to the twister last April.
Sometimes, I wonder about her
as she brooms the recycle room floor—
those scraps of paper, debts and to-do lists,
downed confetti of our town’s recent past
she sends away to the paper mill. 


Dave Malone is a poet and writer from the Missouri Ozarks. His newest poetry volume is Tornado Drill (Aldrich Press, 2022), and his poems have appeared in Plainsongs, Elder Mountain: A Journal of Ozarks Studies, andMidwest Review.

Coming on Friday to the MHR blog!

Happy Tuesday, MockingHeart friends!

We hope you’re having a fantastic week so far, and that you’ve considered submitting to the Fall 2022 issue, MHR 7.3 (submissions close at the end of August)! Additionally, thanks for reading our most recent issue, MHR 7.2! While we’re talking, I wanted to pass you a note about some exciting work coming your way on Beats, the MHR blog.

Keep a lookout, this Friday (8/19/2022), for Associate Editor Denise Rogers’ new interview with poet Dave Malone! Watch this space for a lively discussion of family history, the COVID-19 pandemic, poems from his new book Tornado Drill, and more. This is an interview you won’t want to miss.

Thanks again for helping to make MockingHeart Review a vibrant and enjoyable magazine. And thank you as well, friends, for your excellent work in the world.

Tyler Robert Sheldon, Editor-in-Chief