Letter from the Editor

By Peter Krok

Dear Readers:

The winter 2016 print issue of the Schuylkill Valley Journal includes a special section devoted to Lou McKee who has been a remarkable presence in the lives of many who reside in the Philadelphia area.  The SVJ’s winter 2016 issue sets a new record, weighing in at 239 pages (70 pages longer than any previous issue.)  The primary reason for this issue’s length is the result of my commitment to serve Lou at this fifth anniversary of his passing.  I ask those readers who believe the spirit of the SVJ is a cause worth supporting, as well as those who have found a place in its pages, to consider making a donation. We aspire that the journal continues to flourish...

Germantown Stars Under the Stars

By Rita Sinorita Fierro

An evening of August last year, I am in Vernon Park, in Germantown, a few blocks from where I've lived for the past eleven years. The Germantown Artists Roundtable and Friends of Vernon Park organized Germantown stars under the stars, a poetry event with the support of the City of Philadelphia Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy.

After seven years living in Rome and two in Center City Philadelphia, it was a yearning for more green and more ancientness that drew me to Germantown. I fell in love with the dances between opposites. Majestic and mystery. Imposing churches conceal tiny cemeteries. Victorian stone homes conceal the country’s oldest stained glass windows...

The deal

By Lou McKee

If I remember correctly from my days in law school, or was it something I heard in film about a law school, there is such a thing as a “contract implied.”  For example, when a person invests his time, money, and energy in a project that furthers the interests of other parties, those other parties can be expected to – bound perhaps by honor if not the law – to help support the efforts being made in the furtherance of their interest. Okay, it maybe came from the movies or television, or maybe just from “formal” training in the law beyond a few seasons of The Paper Chase many years ago, and a messy but pretty much hands-off divorce that dates around the same time. What I know is this: I’ve spent a great deal of the last thirty-five years publishing books and magazines – never including my own writing, but only getting out the good work I’ve been lucky enough to find in others...

Time After Time



By J.L. Westerhoff

Two close friends, Parker and Jody, knew each other since kindergarten, spent countless hours hanging-out, sharing pizza and childish nonsense. Jody possessed the hard edges, looking at life as if life were her own personal playground. Rules never pertained to Jody but Parker didn’t really mind, he was quiet and shy, predictable. Jody even said laid-back. She once shared her secret dreams to Parker as if he were her personal diary. He learned a lot about girls from Jody, but then, as they grew into their early teens, feelings changed; they were no longer buddies and those unfamiliar, teenage feelings, separated them as if they were a sickness. Close friends didn’t do that sort of thing, so, as they grew apart, other interests and new friends came along. Soon, Parker’s thoughts of Jody drifted into the past.

bards on film

By David Livewell

I am a night owl and was addicted to The Charlie Rose Show on PBS, which airs at midnight in the Philadelphia area. The two conditions went hand-in-hand for years.  I need more sleep now, and I have a DVR to record the interview show. Sleep problem solved.  I witnessed great, commercial-free conversations.  I wished Charlie had more poets as guests. I was lucky enough to catch Seamus Heaney, Derek Walcott, Kay Ryan, and Stanley Kunitz on his program over the years.  The intimacy of their voices drew me in...