The September 2019 Blue Heron Review Featured Author is Kai Coggin!

Welcome to the September 2019 Blue Heron Review Featured Author spotlight! We are honored and proud to share the luminous work of author, poet, and teacher, Kai Coggin. Kai’s latest poetry book is Incandescent (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2019). Kai is a past contributor to issues of Blue Heron Review, and she was one of our featured authors in 2016. Delighted to share her wisdom and healing energy, again, this month.

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(photo credit: David Yerby)

“Incandescent, Kai’s third and most recent bold collection, shines a blazing FIRE on the injustices of the world, on the darkness of the political sphere, and on the beautiful hearth of the home. It offers the reader a bit of hope through the chaos, a spark of revolution, a call to rise up and stand as warriors against the unraveling of our collective principles of good. It is a spark, a flame, a fire, an ember of truth that will not be silenced. Incandescent is a clarion call that burns like a phoenix rising from the ash.”

Please visit the Blue Heron Speaks Featured Author Page on our site, to read 4 sample poems from Kai’s new book, and to learn more about her inspiring work!

Kai Coggin is a poet, author, and teaching artist living in the valley of a small mountain in Hot Springs National Park, AR. She holds a B.A. in English, Poetry, and Creative Writing from Texas A&M University. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Entropy, Sinister Wisdom, Assaracus, Calamus Journal, Lavender Review, The Rise Up Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, Luna Luna, Blue Heron Review, Hoctok, Yes, Poetry and elsewhere.

Coggin is the author of three full-length collections, Periscope Heart (Swimming with Elephants, 2014), Wingspan (Golden Dragonfly Press, 2016), and Incandescent (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2019), as well as a spoken word album called Silhouette (2017). Her poetry has been nominated three times for The Pushcart Prize, as well as Bettering American Poetry 2015, and Best of the Net 2016 and 2018. Kai teaches an adult creative writing class called Words & Wine, and is also a Teaching Artist with the Arkansas Arts Council and Arkansas Learning Through the Arts, specializing in bringing poetry and creative writing to youth around the state.



The June 2019 Blue Heron Review Featured Author is Shawn Aveningo Sanders!

Welcome to the June 2019 Blue Heron Review Feature! We are delighted to shine a spotlight on the work of author Shawn Aveningo Sanders, this month. Sanders is the co-founder of The Poetry Box® press, as well as managing editor for The Poeming Pigeon. Her forthcoming chapbook is, What She Was Wearing.

Shawn Aveningo Sanders shares with us poems of depth, vulnerability, and courage. She manages to skillfully, and with great sensitivity, approach topics of loss and pain, with a gentle touch. Through beautiful, honest details, we see into the life of things and the human struggles faced every day.

Please visit the Blue Heron Review Featured Author page of our site, to read 3 sample poems by Shawn Aveningo Sanders, and to learn more about her wonderful work in the poetry community!

Shawn Aveningo Sanders started out as show-me girl from Missouri and after a bit of globetrotting finally landed in Portland, Oregon, where she miraculously overcame her fear of birds upon meeting two baby juncos in her backyard. Shawn’s work has appeared in over 140 literary journals and anthologies. She’s a Pushcart nominee (2015), Best of the Net nominee (2017), co-founder of The Poetry Box® press, as well as managing editor for The Poeming Pigeon. She was named Best Female Poet-Performer in Sacramento News & Review Reader Poll (2009) and was winner of the first poetry slam in Placerville, California (2012). Shawn is a proud mother of three amazing adults, and she shares the creative life with her husband. You can learn more about her at


Format Changes for Blue Heron Review as of May 2019 — PLEASE READ

BLUE HERON REVIEW NEWS: There are changes in the works at Blue Heron Review. I hope that you will welcome the energy of this new format with me, in the coming months. BHR will still be providing a space for contemporary, poetic voices on our Featured Author Page of the website, but we will no longer be publishing online issues, and we will no longer be having an open call for submissions. (*All past issues will remain available to read online, indefinitely.) After almost 6 years of existence, 11 issues, and countless featured authors, we will be changing our format. At some point in the future, we may shift back to a one-issue, per year schedule, but for now, we will gently offer a beautiful feature each month, about an author of my choosing. I will mostly likely be choosing to feature authors who have been past contributors. July and August will remain months of rest for me, as editor. Twice a year, I will still shine a light on voices from the past—and the wisdom they have to share with us, as readers and writers.

Thank you for your continued readership, and for joining us on this journey of Blue Heron Review! This is a continuation, in a slightly different form, so please stay with us. We will keep raising awareness for meditative, heart-centered poetry and the importance of this energy in our modern day lives. May we all strive to raise the vibration of this earth, together. Your presence is requested. Let us all lift each other up through art and poetry!

With kind wishes,
Cristina M. R. Norcross, Founding Editor
Blue Heron Review



The May 2019 Blue Heron Speaks Featured Author is KB Ballentine!

Welcome to the May 2019 Blue Heron Speaks Feature! It is an honor and a delight to shine a spotlight on the work of poet, KB Ballentine, author of Almost Everything, Almost Nothing (Middle Creek Publishing, 2017), The Perfume of Leaving (Blue Light Press, 2016), What Comes of Waiting (Blue Light Press, 2013), and other titles. Ballentine’s sixth collection of poetry, The Light Tears Loose, will be released early autumn 2019 by Blue Light Press. There is music and dance in Ballentine’s words. There is color, vibrancy, and life in every line and every verse. The reader must pause, reflect, and re-visit each poem, in order to gather up every last petal of inspiration from the garden of ideas, which she so graciously gifts to us. This is especially apparent in these last lines (from the poem, “Recipe for Making the Color Gold”): “Sprinkle an echo of stars across the night, / and the light of a song will rise with the dawn.”

Please visit the Blue Heron Speaks Featured Author page of our site, to read 3 sample poems by KB Ballentine, and to learn more about her beautiful work!

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(author photo credit: Jim Canestrari)

KB Ballentine’s sixth collection of poetry, The Light Tears Loose, will be released early autumn 2019 by Blue Light Press.  Almost Everything, Almost Nothing was released in 2017 by Middle Creek Publishing. The 2016 Blue Light Press Book Award winner, KB’s fourth collection The Perfume of Leaving was preceded by What Comes of Waiting, also by Blue Light Press (2013). Published in many print and online journals such as Crab Orchard Review and Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, KB has two other collections of poetry, Fragments of Light (2009) and Gathering Stones (2008), published by Celtic Cat Publishing. Her work also appears in anthologies including In Plein Air (2017), Carrying the Branch: Poets in Search of Peace (2017), In God’s Hand (2017), River of Earth and Sky: Poems for the Twenty-first Century (2015), Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume VI: Tennessee (2013) and Southern Light: Twelve Contemporary Southern Poets (2011).

Ballentine received her MFA in Poetry from Lesley University, Cambridge, MA. She currently teaches high school theatre and creative writing and adjuncts for a local college.

Learn more about KB Ballentine at



Happy National Poetry Month from Blue Heron Review! Edith Sitwell is our April 2019 Featured Author!

Welcome to the April edition of Blue Heron Speaks. Our featured author this month is the British poet, Edith Sitwell (1887–1964). Twice a year, I like to shine a spotlight on voices from the past. National Poetry Month is a wonderful time to ask ourselves, as writers and readers, “What can we learn from the idea makers who have come before us?” And also, “In what ways are we still asking ourselves the same questions about life and existence, today?” The way we see ourselves, our purpose, the world around us, our relationships with others—these are universal, philosophical ponderings. The artists of our time, and all other times, have always served as sage guides. We look to those who devote their lives to expression and deep reflection, to at least point us in the direction of the answers we seek. Perhaps, it is simply about the seeking itself.

Please visit the Blue Heron Speaks Featured Author page of our site to read sample poems by Edith Sitwell and to learn more about her work.

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(photo credit:


“At the time I began to write, a change in the direction, imagery and rhythms in poetry had become necessary, owing to the rhythmical flaccidity, the verbal deadness, the dead and expected patterns, of some of the poetry immediately preceding us.” (—from Edith Sitwell’s introduction to The Canticle of the Rose, Vanguard Press, 1949)

“Dame Edith always insisted that she was no eccentric: ‘It’s just that I am more alive than most people.’” (—from

Blue Heron Review Issue 11 / Winter 2019 is now online!

BHR11 Winter 2019 FINAL Cover

(Cover art by Lou Nicksic)


Linda M Fischer * Don Pomerantz * Cynthia McCain * Laurie Kolp * Alina Borger * Barbara Johnstone * Margaret DeRitter * Linda Whitesitt * Sharon Foley * Ed Higgins * Jackie Langetieg * Linda Wallin * M J Iuppa * Jan Chronister * Andrée Graveley * Nixi Schroeder * Shawn Aveningo Sanders * Robert Cole * Karla Huston * Sylvia Cavanaugh * Lisa Vihos * Bruce Taylor * Kathleen Phillips * Caroline Collins * Adria L Libolt * Olga García Echeverría * KB Ballentine * Kersten Christianson * Chris Daleiden * Phil Huffy * Laurel Devitt * Simon Perchik * Gary Glauber * Nancy Jean Larson * Diana Woodcock * Dawn Hogue * Yvette Viets Flaten * Alexis Brown

Lou Nicksic (cover artist) * Jason Iffert * Carol Tahir * Paula Lietz * Derik Hawley * James Curley * Jennifer S. J. Peña * Karen A VandenBos * Fiona Capuano * Jeannie E Roberts * Alexis Brown

*Please visit the BHR 11 Winter 2019 page of our site, to read and view our full collection of poetry and visual art!

The March Blue Heron Speaks Featured Author is Lois Roma-Deeley!

Welcome to the March 2019 edition of Blue Heron Speaks! Our featured author this month is Lois Roma-Deeley, author of The Short List of Certainties, as well as Rules of Hunger, northSight and High Notes.

In Lois Roma-Deeley’s poems, she connects us to “something unnamed and unknowable from another world,” through vivid imagery, exquisite language, and details that only someone innately intuitive could translate onto the page for us. She invites us to step outside of ourselves, in order to dig deep, with questions such as, whether “… it’s at all possible / for anyone to slip into the holy nothingness of now?” We want to know more about the people in her poems. We want to know where they come from and where they are going, because ultimately, we are all searching for answers to the unknowable. These poems are mini, time-traveler sessions. I encourage you to read and re-read them. Each time, you may just journey to new places within the mind.

Please visit the Blue Heron Speaks Featured Author page of our site, to read 3 sample poems, and to learn more about Lois Roma-Deeley’s books.

Lois RD author photo

(photo credit: Erin Deeley)

Lois Roma-Deeley’s most recent full-length book of poetry is The Short List of Certainties, winner of the Jacopone da Todi Book Prize (Franciscan University Press). She is the author of three previous collections of poetry: Rules of Hunger, northSight and High Notes—a Paterson Poetry Prize Finalist. Roma-Deeley’s poems have been featured in numerous literary journals and anthologies, nationally and internationally. She’s the recipient of numerous awards and honors for her poetry including an Arizona Commission on the Arts grant, Lawrence Epstein Visiting Writer Award, New Millennium Writing (finalist), Ragdale Residency Fellowship and many others. She’s taught creative writing at the graduate, undergraduate levels for many years. Roma-Deeley was named U.S. Professor of the Year, Community College, by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and CASE, 2012-2013. She is the first national winner of this award that Arizona has ever had in any category. Currently, Roma-Deeley is the Associate Editor of the international poetry journal Presence.


Blue Heron Review News: Our Winter 2019 Issue Will Be Delayed / Early March Release

A quick note to our valued Blue Heron Review readers and contributors:

Our Winter 2019 issue (BHR #11) will be delayed. We are expecting an early March release. Thank you for your patience. It will be worth the wait!

With kind wishes,

Cristina M. R. Norcross, Founding Editor
Blue Heron Review

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(Blue Heron Review logo artwork by Daniel Adams)


In Loving Memory of Leilani Carroll

It is with a very heavy heart that I share the news of the passing of one of our beloved contributing artists for Blue Heron Review, Leilani Carroll. Leilani was the cover artist for Blue Heron Issue 6 and was also a contributing photographer for issues 7 and 8. Leilani was one of the kindest, gentlest people I knew. We developed a treasured friendship over the past few years, and I will miss her dearly. When I heard the news today that Leilani was no longer with us, I wanted to pay tribute to her memory, her bright spirit, and the light of kindness which she shared with others. In this special post for Blue Heron Review, I would like to share Leilani’s work from our magazine with our readers, as well as her biography. May her light keep shining—for all of us still finding our way.


Leilani Carroll 
had an appreciation for all things “nature” for as long as she could remember, but birds of all species were her passion.  Leilani was a retired RN who adapted her photography around the limitations of living many years with young onset Parkinson’s Disease.  Despite her disability, she thought “outside the box” to find ways to capture many of her images.  Always using the opportunity to give credit to our Creator for the beauty that can be found in everyday life.  Leilani lived in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband, Gary, with the good fortune to have a small lake in back and a neighborhood that adjoins a 10,000 acre state park.  She was delighted when any of her photos could spotlight “Alabama the beautiful” and the treasures it holds for those who look, listen, and linger.

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(photo by Leilani Carroll / BHR Issue 8)



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(photo by Leilani Carroll, BHR Issue 7)



BHR Issue 6 Summer 2016 Cover Final Image copy

(cover photo by Leilani Carroll, BHR Issue 6)



The February Blue Heron Speaks Featured Author is Kersten Christianson!

Welcome to the February 2019 edition of Blue Heron Speaks! Our featured author this month is poet Kersten Christianson, author of What Caught Raven’s Eye (Petroglyph Press, 2018) and Something Yet to Be Named (Aldrich Press, 2017). These are breathtaking poems of music, light, and nature’s dance. Words float and flicker across the page, as we breathe in these notes on life, filled with sumptuous details. You will want to read, savor, and re-read these poems. A delight to the eyes, ears, and heart—these poems truly sing!

Please visit the Blue Heron Speaks page of our site to read 3 sample poems by Kersten Christianson and to learn more about her work.

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Kersten Christianson is a raven-watching, moon-gazing, Alaskan. When not exploring the summer lands and dark winter of the Yukon, she lives in Sitka, Alaska. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing (University of Alaska Anchorage). Kersten has authored two books of poetry: What Caught Raven’s Eye (Petroglyph Press, 2018) and Something Yet to Be Named (Aldrich Press, 2017). She is also the poetry editor of the quarterly journal, Alaska Women Speak. Blog: Twitter: @kerstenak