a taste of ‘Versus.’

5 poets feature in Versus.

Claudia Bierschenk, Ron Campbell, Carolyn Cordon, Howie Good and JP Reese. Each poet was asked to write a poem on 15 different topics. And their 75 different reactions / opinions / interpretations feature in the book. Find snippets below!

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on drink

Club-Mate by Claudia Bierschenk

They’re crowding subways and doorways

freeze their bony knees outside

important clubs for hours

on seasons

Why did the snake cross the road? by Carolyn Cordon

the creature pounded my heart,

bang bang bang,

as the shiny, undulating

metre and a half of it


on convenience stores

To the Blue by Howie Good

Angels in dark glasses sit along the edge of the loading dock, swinging their pale legs and waiting.

on marriage

night time struggle by Carolyn Cordon

My husband next to me is unaware

of the nightly tussle occurring in our bed –

on chores

The Day I Don’t Wake Up by Ron Campbell

I won’t have to pay that bill

Gas up that car

Check that calendar.

on personal grooming

Mars by Howie Good

I’ll grow a bald man’s gray ponytail, and the future will be cruel and often difficult,

on budgets

Divestiture by JP Reese

It’s much too late to supplicate–

the Volvo goes; Suburban stays.

on interior decoration

Interior Decoration by Claudia Bierschenk

I recommend a slinky modern draught.

Let it swirl around the door

on gender

No Best in Show by Carolyn Cordon

Who was I to face the trial

of before-school plaiting, with ribbons and things?

on public transport

The Feast by JP Reese

Green, red and white banners blaze above narrow streets to announce September’s arrival. Bright posters wave Ciao Baby! Mangia! We plunge into Manhattan’s Indian summer, cash in hand.

on church

Black Milk by Howie Good

I wore my funeral suit. The only thing I taught him, the old man said, was how to drink a fifth a day.

on raising children

Heart Dent by Ron Campbell

Old soul died young.

Set in your ways by the age of four.

on politics

The Real Thing by Claudia Bierschenk

It was pleasantly creepy

to watch older students

run around in gas masks,

on guilty pleasures

Eraser by Ron Campbell

I mourn the loss of erasers.

Now we just hit the delete button.

on future

For Rebecca by JP Reese

The sky denied, today dawns black, not blue.

This is the dark hour of your mother’s song.


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