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Fall 2007 Poetry
August 2007 Poetry I
August 2007 Poetry II
August 2007 Poetry III
Summer 2007 Poetry I
Summer 2007 Poetry II
Summer 2007 Poetry III
Summer 2007 Poetry IV
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Spring 2007 Poetry III
January 2007 Poetry II
January 2007 Poetry I
Summer 2006 Poetry
Winter 2006 Poetry I
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Spring 2006 Poetry
January 2006 Poetry Issue
The Houston Literary Review
Winter 2006 Poetry II

We are pleased to present the work of two outstanding poets, Graham Burchell of Houston, Texas and Kristine Ong Muslim of the Philippines below. We hope you will enjoy their artistry as much as we have here at The Review.


Graham Burchell was born in 1950 in Canterbury, England. In 1976 he graduated from the University of Sussex and embarked on a teaching career that took him to various places around the world including Zambia, Saudi Arabia, Tenerife, Mexico, France and Chile.


His first children’s fantasy novels, Wumpleberries and Gronglenuts and The Ice Spells of Krollinad were published in 2003, and 2005 respectively. He is the winner of the 2005 Chapter One Promotions Open Poetry Competition, winner of the 2006 Lucie Wood Poetry Contest from Hazel St Productions, the runner up in the 2005 'Into Africa' International Poetry Competition, the 2006 Ware Poets Open Poetry Competition  and received an honorable mention in the Momaya Press 2005 short story competition. He was nominated for a 2006 Pushcart Prize.


His poetry has appeared in many print and online literary magazines including Black Mail Press, Real 8 View, Sentinel Poetry, Poetry Scotland, Porcupine Literary Journal, X-Magazine, Iota, Snow Monkey Journal, The Loch Raven Review, Verse Libre Quarterly, Poems Niederngasse, The New Writer, Poetry Cemetery, Ardent, Red River Review, Poetic Diversity, The Anemone Sidecar, The Round Table Review, Lucidity, Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal, The Dande Review, Euphony, Astropoetica, Flutter, Unfettered Verse, Quattrocento, Pyschopoetica, Literary Mama, The Smoking Poet, Orbis, Beside The White Chicken, The Stone Table Review, The Copperfield Review, Toad in Mud and The Texas Review. He is the editor of the online poetry journal, Words-Myth.  He now writes full-time from his home in Houston, Texas.



  Graham Burchell






Mrs. Long long time gone


mi alma mater


talented primate proboscis lady


with opposable thumbs that bent


against nature and


the sinews she was given


sixty years before my own were grown less talented


unable to part four fingers


into two fat lady legs


or stretch a thumbnail


back to white wrist


you are not without an ear for music my dear but your head


resonates poorly




my affliction


her words guided me


to see my skull


from the inside ivory and empty


receiving witch brew sounds


as a blasted buzz through


the rift valleys and


meandering grand


canyon sutures


no wonder


she would disappear


into a back room to make tea


leaving me to grind and slur a


famous intermezzo alone


to make painful transitions


from first through fifth positions embarrassed by half tone


errors forgotten key signatures


and ignored dynamics




I longed Mrs. Long


to stop tipping wounded sound


into the polished calm


of your front room


I was never going to


practice at home


what little hope had I


of creating pleasure


from these animal and


vegetable derivates


hair of horse caked in dry sap


raked over entrails of cat


those meowing strings racked tight


by yellowed ornamental pegs fashioned from the tusks of an unhappy elephant




Graham Burchell






When she passed away


I left our house




crumbs staled


cats went unfed


curtains held back


the light




When I returned


the impression of her




the weight of


pregnant torso


pressed deep


in the top sheet


deep whirlpool of hips


small indentation


of head




where stone-faced


ambulance men


had laid her


lifting her


from fetal curl


beside our bed




air was colder


just her curves


sculpted in linen


and a searing memory


of death there


a great pink dome


of our unborn child


piled high




the bed


had become a shrine


the sheet


my Shroud of Turin


that I would not touch


or wash


like celebrity kiss


on a nervous cheek




Graham Burchell






It must be October.


A solitary sunflower


is a hollow stalk,


rust and tire black




in an unattended patch


between the tarmac plain of a superstore lot and a bank.




There is beauty in neglect.


Move the buckled trolley.


Gather up deflated plastic bags.


There is not much litter.


Nobody walks anymore - remember?




You could sleep in there if you had to;




where the screams and sirens,


and incessant blinking


traffic lights are muted.




Curl snake-like,


foetal cosy


around silently choking goldenrods,




and let lilac clouds of aster stars


(lit by gas pumps’ sodium glare)


fill midsummer night dreams


in the shadow of  Halloween.




Graham Burchell

The Review is pleased to present a short preview of the New Year 2007 poetry issue by Kristine Ong Muslim of the Philippines.






House buyers wade into the musty air
of abandoned rooms. They hear secrets
rustle past their ears, straight out
of the half-opened doors.


At the center of the town is a faade
of two palaces--one imposing on the other's
shadow--the mayor's office and the precinct.


The mouths, the tampered lights click
ajar-shut while jeweled small-town
queens kiss their Starbucks cups.


The skyline breathes the people clean
of vertical clearances, limits of conquest.
Twisted innards of dawn seep
their warmth into the drapes.


--Kristine Ong Muslim--