### February Featured Poet: Zachary Daniel Zach is a librarian and poet living in Louisville, Kentucky. He has been published in *Stone Circle Review* as well as in *The Pierian* Issues 1.9 and 1.10. He cites James Wright's odes to the midwest, the dark surrealism of Charles Simic, and the precise associations of Wallace Stevens as major influences. In his own words: “[Zach] first discovered an interest in poetry when attending a reading at Butler University with a friend enrolled in their MFA program. Since then, the world of poetry has taken him by storm, and he can conceive of no other way to live his life. His poetry is inspired by a fascination with the natural world, literature as an endless wellspring of meaning, and a metaphysics of the commonplace.”


### January Featured Poet: Adam Haver Issue 2.1 marks Adam’s fourth appearance in *The Pierian* and his first that is not an explicit meditation on ancient myth and culture. From the world of Gilgamesh, the seas of Amphitrite, and the arcane codes of Sator squares, he brings us to a beat-up car parked at a beach. Adam’s poetic sensibilities have brought him wide publishing success and a number of notable awards. He incorporates wide-ranging cultural interests into his work, translating from Spanish and German and composing haiku. Favored influences include Emily Dickinson, Rainer Maria Rilke, and e. e. cummings. Publishing credits include *Popshot Quarterly, Poetry Scotland, Ballast, and Braided Way*. Awards include the 2022 Willie Morris Award for Southern Poetry--you read his winning poem on the [award’s website](https://olemiss.app.box.com/s/aofuowmj4i2s6bcw19tf5sf3y3frucao)--and the Utah Original Writing Competition, supported by the Utah Division of Arts & Museums, for an unpublished poetry collection.


### Congratulations to Jonathan Ukah Please join us in congratulating Jonathan Ukah for his poem, "A Second of Your Life", our choice for the 2023 Alexander Pope Award! Read Mr. Ukah's poem in our print issue [available now](https://bookshop.org/p/books/the-pierian-max-r-ekstrom/20892991?ean=9798868929571) at bookstores around the world.


### Q&A With Editor Max Roland Ekstrom *Max Roland Ekstrom holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College. His poetry appears frequently in a variety of literary and academic journals, such as* Arion: A Journal of Humanities and the Classics*,* The Hollins Critic, *and* New American Writing*.* Q: Why did you want to start a poetry journal? A: Two journals I admire closed in recent years: *Hubbub*, edited by Lisa Steinman and Jim Shugrue, and *The Aurorean*, edited by Cynthia Brackett-Vincent. *Hubbub* was beautifully curated and printed. *The Aurorean* had an incredible sense of place; it was a journal of New England. Q: *The Pierian* does sound like *The Aurorean*. Was that on purpose? A: It’s a nice coincidence. I hope Ms. Brackett-Vincent is flattered—and takes it as an homage. The actual origin of our name is a reference to Alexander Pope. Q: Do you think *The Pierian* is successfully filling the gap those journals left? A: *The Pierian* must pursue its own mission on its own terms. I’m inspired, but not defined, by my predecessors. Many poetry journals are essentially indistinguishable from one another. That’s a problem. Q: Despite recent attrition, there is no shortage of journals out there. Can *The Pierian* distinguish itself? A: The community response has been amazing. It’s a special opportunity I don’t take lightly, so we’ll just take one issue at a time. I’m also very fortunate to have Keeley Schell as my editorial copilot, as she offers a corrective to that impulse to seize a work as an expression of contemporaneity. Q: What do you mean by poems as an “expression of contemporaneity”? A: Busy people tend to read poetry in the socio-political moment—editors and readers alike. The distraction of the “now,” amplified by technology, disrupts our ability to get deep. That’s why rediscovering classical traditions in contemporary poetry is core to our mission. Q: Any tips for submitters? A: We don’t read your portfolio front to finish. Our technology enforces anonymity by normalizing font and formatting while shuffling up all the poems. It’s like a Spotify of everything we’ve recently received. So send us pieces that stand on their own. Be bold!


### Winter Simul Submissions Beat the winter blues and submit up to three poems simultaneously between now and April 1. We look forward to seeing your best material! Use this special link [here](https://www.thepierian.org/solicited/LEOPARD23) to get started!

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