Welcome to the Flora Challenge, Issue 57! Issue 57 is a garden of poetry, with 40 ghazals inspired by cultivars and wild shoots alike. As a bonus, we’re also proud to share with you Mary Cresswell’s review of Andy Jackson’s Immune Systems.


Roses and gardens have deep roots in the ghazal tradition, and while our poets honor those motifs, they also branch out into all corners of the flora kingdom—you’ll find weedsseedskelp,poison sumacMonet’s haystacks, crabapple jellynight woodsand deep forestsmonuments to mortality, backyard tomatoesmangrovesdownpourstree ringsthe churning of seasons, and climate change within these pages. 

Each season’s passing echoes the song of our own lives. Love blossoms, then withers, only to return with the thaw. The poets of Issue 57 understand this well. We invite you to stroll through our garden of poetic delights!

Holly Jensen, September 30,2015



Something Spring is Consolation For, William Dennis 
Riddles for the Dark Herbs, Liùsaidh
Ghazal for a Flowerbed, Linda Umans 
Aspidistra, Rachel Voss
The Superiority of Mud, Siham Karami
A Maryland Tomato, Judith Skillman
Elsie's Crab Apple Jelly, Suzanne Herschell
All the World, Michele Waering
Home, Nels Hanson
Never Underestimate Tiny Hard Things, Siham Karami
In The Cloud Forest, Alison Armstrong-Webber
Name a Weed, William Dennis
Verdure, Antonia Clark


Poison Sumac, Judith Skillman
A Lilac Sprig, M. Shayne Bell
From the Heart of Oak, Alexander Tokarev
The Third Day, Kim Suttell
Don't Weed Your Wife, Siham Karami
Nasturtium Suns, Suzanne Herschell
Wing-Footed Ghazal, Alison Armstrong-Webber
What Mine Comes In, William Dennis
In the Middle of the Center, Pattie Palmer-Baker
Florists' Code of Ethics, Sita Inas Mere Nada
Water Me Well, Tracy Fiebiger
What Time of Year It Is, William Dennis
Rain and Me, Huma Azeem
Night Woods, Suzanne Niedzielska


The Persistence of Lilies, Jean L. Kreiling
The Triumph of Roses, Siham Karami
Ghazal in the Straw, Linda Umans
Here in My Garden, William Dennis
My Heart is an Extremity, Siham Karami
The Floating Kelp, Sandra Anfang
Remembering the Laurel Tree, Roz Levine
Of Weeds, Michele Waering
Into the Forest, Terry Ofner
Persistence of the Body’s Loss, Alison Armstrong-Webber
Bear Water, William Dennis
Rōz, Sophia Pandeya
Better Ghazal, Benjamin Tice


Poetry Hides in the Bones
Mary Cresswell
A review of Andy Jackson's Immune Systems

Andy Jackson’s collection of poems focuses on medical tourism and vividly illustrates the tiny space we are trapped in when we loose both our health and our usual sense of place. [...] To me, the greatest appeal of this book is the combination of intensely individual narrative with the music of the ghazal, all parts of the book (including the buzzing haiku) talking about the same situation in very different ways. [READ MORE]