Beltway Poetry Quarterly

About Us

Beltway Poetry Quarterly is an award-winning online literary journal and resource bank that showcases the literary community in Washington, DC and the surrounding Mid-Atlantic region. Special themed issues of the journal have explored issues, places, and people most important to that community.

Poets at the Beltway Poetry Second Birthday reading: Jean Donnelly, Peter Klappert, Brother Yao, Terence Winch, Martha Sanchez-Lowery, Brian Gilmore, Christabelle Peters, David McAleavey, and Sharan Strange. (Josephine Butler Parks Center, Washington, DC, 2002)

Since January 2000, Beltway Poetry Quarterly has published poetry by authors who live or work in the capital of the United States. Co-editors Kim Roberts and Gowri Koneswaran usually edit two issues a year. One issue is typically a themed issue with an open call for entries, and one issue is guest edited by another area writer (who has previously been featured in an issue). Other than themed or special issues, a regular issue typically features a longer selection of work than other journals provide, usually four to eight poems by between four and eight authors. We strive to showcase the richness and diversity of Washington area authors in every issue, with poets from different backgrounds, races, ethnicities, ages, and sexual orientations represented. We have included Pulitzer Prize winners and those who have never previously published. We publish academic, spoken word, and experimental authors—and also those poets whose work defies categorization.

Seven special Literary History issues honor the legacy of poets who once resided in Washington. The Memorial Issue, the Profiles Issue, the Forebears Issue, the US Poets Laureate Issue, the Literary Organizations Issue, the Poetic Ancestors Issue and the Splendid Wake Issue include essays and interviews celebrating DC’s rich literary history. We aim to publish a history issue every other year.  In addition, the Resurrection Issue proudly brings the work of eight poets back into print; some of these authors had little or no prior web presence.

Beltway Poetry Reading in 2010 at the City Museum.  Poets from l. to r., front row: Joseph Ross, stevenallenmay, Mary Ann Larkin, Sunil Freeman.  Middle row: Carleasa Coates, Deirdre Gantt, Kim Roberts.  Back row: Donna Denize, Dan Vera, Saundra Rose Maley.

Beltway Poetry Reading in 2010 at the City Museum. Poets from l. to r., front row: Joseph Ross, stevenallenmay, Mary Ann Larkin, Sunil Freeman. Middle row: Carleasa Coates, Deirdre Gantt, Kim Roberts. Back row: Donna Denize, Dan Vera, Saundra Rose Maley.

Other special issues are arranged around themes that reflect aspects of life in Washington, DC: politics, famous former residents, museums and monuments, and neighborhoods. The Poets in Federal Government Issue features current or former employees of the US Government.  The Floricanto Issue celebrates America’s immigrant roots with poetic responses to anti-immigrant laws. The Wartime Issue provides poetic responses to the conflict in Iraq. The DC Places Issue and its sequel, Mapping the City: DC Places II, feature a poetic geography of the city, with a terrific interactive map. The Evolving City Issue has poems on construction, preservation, gentrification, and the identity of neighborhoods—all the myriad ways cities change over time. The Whitman Issue examines the poet’s life and the themes of his writing, published to honor the 150th anniversary of the first publication of Leaves of Grass. The Langston Hughes Issue honors this poet’s enduring legacy with poems inspired by his life, writings, or themes. A Museum Issue celebrates museums and their collections. An Audio Issue features 20 poems recorded with music, or highlighting distinctive voices.

Two special issues focus on form: the Prose Poem Issue, and the Sonnet Issue.  We have focused on First Books by authors with strong DC ties with a special issue published every two or three years. Other special issues celebrate DC-based organizations, including The Bunny and The Crocodile Press, Plan B Press, Split this Rock Poetry Festival, and the 15th Anniversary of DC’s first spoken word venue, It’s Your Mug Coffeehouse. For our tenth anniversary issue, we published A Celebration of Guest Editors, with new poems and reminiscences by the 15 writers who generously served as guest editors in the journal’s first ten years.

In addition to the journal, we are pleased to provide information and extensive links.

The Poetry News section is updated monthly. This section lists new book publications and new issue releases by DC-area presses and journals, calls for entries, poetry readings, and other events of interest occurring during the present month.

The Resource Bank offers extensive links for poets and their audiences in the Mid-Atlantic. We include listings of organizations that give grants to writers, membership organizations that offer writing classes and other services, reading and performance series, small presses and literary journals, and conferences and festivals from the Mid-Atlantic, as well as a more geographically-restricted listing of DC-area libraries and museums. Our only non-regional listing is the massive international list of Artist Residency Programs, and we believe ours in the most complete listing of this kind to be found anywhere in the world. With programs across the US and in other countries, these links can help artists of all disciplines find a place away from home to create new work.

Beltway Poetry reading at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, 2012.  l. to r.: stevenallenmay, Brandon D. Johnson, Kim Roberts, E. Ethelbert Miller, Christina Daub, Alan Spears, Elizabeth Poliner, Derrick Weston Brown, Yvette Neisser Moreno.

Beltway Poetry reading at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, 2012. l. to r.: stevenallenmay, Brandon D. Johnson, Kim Roberts, E. Ethelbert Miller, Christina Daub, Alan Spears, Elizabeth Poliner, Derrick Weston Brown, Yvette Neisser Moreno.