Sometimes it is good to wait:
the pause that took years to complete
finally ends—your voice
an exclamation of amazement
at where you have landed,
what you have become.
That brief turning away
to answer the call of another,
and forgetting to mark the trail,
the forest of green closing in.

And how bright the day
you recognized, at last,
the one tree that mattered—
the mighty trunk of your own body!
and climbed it to find the path back.
Picking up the pen again
as if you’d never stopped,
the heft and hue of two decades
suffusing the valley of your being,

and all the small scurrying things
finally freed, newly seen
within the round comforting day
of a different vision. Head bowed
over the acreage of your desk then,
grateful for the energy so
quietly at work in that dark—
as if, when you turned away,
one hand shook the other.


-Lynne Burnett


Lynne Burnett is the winner of the NinaAlvarez.net Poem of the Month Contest, October 2017.

Lynne Burnett lives in the Pacific Northwest. Recent publications include Blue Heron Review, IthacaLit, Mockingheart Review, New Millennium Writings, Tamsen, Taos Journal of International Poetry and Art, Best of Kindness 2017 Anthology and a Tupelo Press chapbook anthology. She is the 2016 winner of the Lauren K. Alleyne Difficult Fruit Poetry Prize, and received special merit in Comstock Review’s 2017 Muriel Craft Bailey Prize. Her chapbook, “Irresistible” is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press, spring of 2018.


Many thanks to all those who submitted your beautiful and transcendent work.

You can still submit to the Poem of the Month Contest for future months, and to the Cosmographia Chapbook Contest.

Wow. Wow, you guys. Wow!

I asked for soul and spirit and transcendence, and I got it. In spades. I am one lucky woman. And I am so deeply touched by the sheer profundity of connection and joy this contest has already given me. Thank you, all, who submitted, shared, and spread the word.

This Saturday, September 23rd, is the cut-off date for this month’s submissions. I’ll need that week to make my final decision, get in touch with the winner, and firm up bio and any small edits. The winning poem will be published at NinaAlvarez.net the first day of October. Winner will receive $50.

Planning to submit? Here you go.

Copy of Copy of Cosmo logo final - 2,500 (2)

But have no fear, if you planned to submit and haven’t gotten to it yet. The contest continues on a rolling basis. Anything submitted after September 23rd simply goes to the November Poem of the Month contest, which will be decided in late October, and so on and so on.

This has been a miraculous and exploratory experience for me. I have received multiple pieces from nearly 100 submitters. There are so many who deserve to win, but I can choose only one.

However, if you want to submit the same piece again next month, or submit something new, you are welcome to try as often as you want. Every month is a new batch, a clean slate.

Copy of Copy of Cosmo logo final - 2,500 (2)

Please also note that I have launched a chapbook contest. More on that in a future post. But here is the skinny:

  • It’s called “The Cosmographia Chapbook” Contest (changed from Poem of the Month Chapbook contest because it was getting confusing.)
  • Same style and guidelines as “Poem of the Month” contest
  • $15 to enter
  • Prize is $250 and print publication through Cosmographia Books
  • 40-60 pages
  • runs for three month: ends December 21, 2017


Any poems styles/themes that would have submitted to the Poem of the Month contest would be fine. You can review those guidelines, if you’d like.

To further explain “Cosmographia:”

A cosmographia is traditional map is a one-dimensional piece of paper depicting a three-dimensional world. But a cosmographia (from the Latin cosmography, the science of describing the features of the entire universe) is all-encompassing and reaches far beyond the earthly realm and the “here there be dragons” edges of a flat map.

Many philosophers, including Ptolemy, Munster, and Silvestris, produced works titled Cosmographia. Today’s scholars may not be producing cumbersome tomes describing the whole of the universe, but many, like Rochester’s Nina Alvarez, bring this same global and multidisciplinary sensibility to publishing.

Whatever you are exploring, in a collection I look for a spirit that holds the individual pieces together. It doesn’t have to give clean answers, in fact you might walk away with more questions than you came in with. But there should be a  resonance that runs like electricity piece to piece, and a grammar of images and ideas and forms.

Any questions, please email editor@cosmographiabooks.com.




Dear Friends,

Send me your poems. It’s time for NinaAlvarez.net, after 10 years celebrating published poems, to start offering new poetry to the world.

In conjunction with my publishing company, Cosmographia Books, I’m announcing the NinaAlvarez.net Poem of the Month contest. Every month I will post the winning submission here. Cost to enter is $3. Winner (one a month) will receive publication and $50.

Submissions are open now, and continually, on a rolling basis.

Continue Reading »

For the 8th year in a row, here are the TOP 10 POEMS of the year at NinaAlvarez.net. This time with views stats.

Thanks for visiting! Happy New Year.


1. Ithaca (8,622)

2. I Walked a Mile with Pleasure (5,291)

3. The Serpent (986)

4. Ithaca (Video) (902)

5. The Unicorn (855)

6. Love Me Like You Never Loved Before (798)

7. Deathless Aphrodite of the Spangled Mind (743)

8. What You Should Know to be a Poet (706)

9. The Lost Son (559)

10. A Valediction Forbidding Mourning (424)

The World

I saw Eternity the other night,
Like a great ring of pure and endless light,
All calm, as it was bright;
And round beneath it, Time in hours, days, years,
Driv’n by the spheres
Like a vast shadow mov’d; in which the world
And all her train were hurl’d.
The doting lover in his quaintest strain
Did there complain;
Near him, his lute, his fancy, and his flights,
Wit’s sour delights,
With gloves, and knots, the silly snares of pleasure,
Yet his dear treasure
All scatter’d lay, while he his eyes did pour
Upon a flow’r.

The darksome statesman hung with weights and woe,
Like a thick midnight-fog mov’d there so slow,
He did not stay, nor go;
Condemning thoughts (like sad eclipses) scowl
Upon his soul,
And clouds of crying witnesses without
Pursued him with one shout.
Yet digg’d the mole, and lest his ways be found,
Work’d under ground,
Where he did clutch his prey; but one did see
That policy;
Churches and altars fed him; perjuries
Were gnats and flies;
It rain’d about him blood and tears, but he
Drank them as free.

The fearful miser on a heap of rust
Sate pining all his life there, did scarce trust
His own hands with the dust,
Yet would not place one piece above, but lives
In fear of thieves;
Thousands there were as frantic as himself,
And hugg’d each one his pelf;
The downright epicure plac’d heav’n in sense,
And scorn’d pretence,
While others, slipp’d into a wide excess,
Said little less;
The weaker sort slight, trivial wares enslave,
Who think them brave;
And poor despised Truth sate counting by
Their victory.

Yet some, who all this while did weep and sing,
And sing, and weep, soar’d up into the ring;
But most would use no wing.
O fools (said I) thus to prefer dark night
Before true light,
To live in grots and caves, and hate the day
Because it shews the way,
The way, which from this dead and dark abode
Leads up to God,
A way where you might tread the sun, and be
More bright than he.
But as I did their madness so discuss
One whisper’d thus,
“This ring the Bridegroom did for none provide,
But for his bride.”

-Henry Vaughan

WHILE not a leaf seems faded; while the fields,
With ripening harvest prodigally fair,
In brightest sunshine bask; this nipping air,
Sent from some distant clime where Winter wields
His icy scimitar, a foretaste yields
Of bitter change, and bids the flowers beware;
And whispers to the silent birds, ‘Prepare
Against the threatening foe your trustiest shields.’
For me, who under kindlier laws belong
To Nature’s tuneful quire, this rustling dry
Through leaves yet green, and yon crystalline sky,
Announce a season potent to renew,
‘Mid frost and snow, the instinctive joys of song,
And nobler cares than listless summer knew.

-William Wordsworth

by Alan Hilfiker

Memorial Day was published May 24, 2015 by Meliora Publications and is available in paperback: http://amzn.com/1511998237

To learn more, visit http://MelioraPublications.com