This week we’re excited to present three terrific poems written by participants at our very first official creative writing workshop. Tutored by Australian poet John Malone, writers at the “Red Pencil Sharpener” workshop crafted poems about everyday things seen through the vibrant, hyper-real lens of the poet.

Thank you to Holly Girling, Stephen Hewitt, and Tamara Raidt for sharing their “Punctuation Poetry” with us.


by Holly Girling

Punctuation’s least favorite aunt

the one that




the one that ties girls’ bows

and shines boys’ shoes

When the word’s too much

here Apostrophe comes

“Mind your p’s and q’s” she says

Apostrophe, the eyelash of prose

but then she’s needy

can’t be left alone

she’ll measure feet’s height

and where you are in the world


Apostrophe, oh Apostrophe,

whose elision we’d gladly take

Apostrophe, oh Apostrophe,

for fuck’s sake!


by Stephen Hewitt

. period . full stop

that’s what I’m starting with


round and dark

flat, yet deep

like a miniature black hole

sucking me down 

into its bottomless soul


that’s how it ends

. period . full stop


by Tamara Raidt


always go by two

like twins born together at a few

minutes apart


they fear separation

they fear loneliness

on a blank page

on an empty street


they need their other half

to be complete


so each time you open a bracket (

you write on borrowed time

hurry your thought, think further, write

faster just to reach the end)


at each sentence’s corner, at the heart of your scribbling

there’s a bracket waiting for its sibling


and sometimes (it works out, they cross paths, they meet

by happenstance)

but it’s a quick brush, then they glance

away, swept by the next current of words


don’t they look alike?

(two arms hugging the sentence)

reaching for each other

they bend the best they can, they dance

but one bracket never reunites with its brother.


so I started from zero, you know

it doesn’t take much to make you a hero

take the words out and let brackets meet


on the fresh page of the poem

like in utero ().

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