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Valiant Scribe Literary Journal 

Issue 2 | Winter 2021

Vultures & Doves: Social Issues of Our Time


"Vultures and Doves: Social Issues of Our Time," the theme of Valiant Scribe's first poetry competition in 2021, is now reprised as
the title of this current issue of the Journal.

The poetry featured in this issue draws from the poetry shortlisted from entries received for the website and from the aforementioned
poetry competition. Unlike the first issue of the Journal, it features only poetry and a written interview of the first-place winner of the
poetry competition.

This collection features notable writers, wise in craft, and strong of heart. It features touching poems that pull at the heartstrings and move hands and feet to action. It is a synergy of pain, love, hope, and wisdom.

While every poem in this issue carries its weight in gold, it would be a disservice not to note the poetry competition's winning authors and honorable mentions. The judges, Des Mannay, Jaime Grookett, and Debra Ayis, were highly touched by Praise Osawaru, Melanie Hyo-In Han, and Paula Pivko's poems, placing first, second, and third, respectively. Entries by Matthew J. Andrews, Phyllis Wax, Charles Rammelkamp, Sandra S. Newton, and Danielle Resh were exceptionally moving and are listed as honorable mentions.

The collection of poetry explores the theme of vultures and doves from the contexts of war and peace, and despair and hope in a world filled with conflict, poverty, natural disasters, human rights violations, and other ills.

This issue presents poetry that encourages deep reflection on the condition of our world and evokes thoughts of hope, telling us there
is a light at the end of the tunnel.

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"Vultures and Doves is a gorgeous collection of poems exploring topics like justice, hope, pain, and joy. I was impressed by the caliber of work and the representation of so many different perspectives in its pages. This work will move and delight you." ~ MaryB Safrit, Author

Meet our fabulous authors!

Buffy Aakaash grew up around hills and lakes in New Jersey west of New York City. He has lived as a queer man in both big cities and small remote towns throughout the US. His work has been published in The Poet Magazine, Iris Literary Journal, The Write Launch, Main Street Rag, The Raven’s Perch, Dissonance Magazine, and others. Currently, he lives with his dog, Bodhi, at 7300 feet near the Zuni Mountains of New Mexico, where he works locally doing food distribution and media management for healers and writers.

Matthew J. Andrews is a private investigator and writer whose poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Orange Blossom Review, Funicular Magazine, and EcoTheo Review, among others. His debut chapbook, I Close My Eyes and I Almost Remember, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. He can be contacted at

Jim Andrukonis is a retired Speech + Drama and Creative Writing teacher from Fairfax County, VA. He currently works part-time doing activities with Brandywine Living in Alexandria as well as substitute teaching at Pinecrest School. As a member of the Northern Virginia Writing Project, he was also co-director of its Young Writers Program for twenty-five years. Along with recently published poems in Valiant Scribe and Nova Bards, Jim has also had several short skits published in Plays Magazine.

Nancy Brewka-Clark’s fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and drama appear in anthologies published by Red Hen Press, University of Iowa Press, Southeast Missouri State University Press, Harvard College Children’s Stories, YouthPLAYS of Los Angeles, Smith & Kraus, Flame Tree, and Routledge, among others. She is a past winner of the Helen Schaible International Sonnet Competition and the Amy Lowell Poetry Prize. Her debut book of poetry, Beautiful Corpus, was published in March 2020 by Kelsay Books. She lives in Beverly, MA with her husband Tom.

Susan Christopher is an attorney and nonprofit community leader who is invested in public education and gives her life to finding ways to fight for justice wherever God opens doors. Racial justice has been part of Susan’s call since high school, and she now works tangibly toward justice in her community as a board member of the Racial Solidarity Project and an equity and diversity leader at local public schools. Susan writes Bible studies and runs prayer and care ministries in her local church.

Angela Costi is also known as Aggeliki Kosti among the Cypriot-Greek diaspora. She resides on the unceded land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. The author of five poetry collections. The most recent is An Embroidery of Old Maps and New (Spinifex Press, 2021). Arts funding from the City of Melbourne is supporting her to complete her poetry manuscript titled The Heart of the Advocate. An excerpt was selected for the 2021 Microflix Writing Awards. Her poem, “Shelter”, was awarded second place in the Meniscus Poetry Award 2020, University of Canberra. She has had writing residencies in Japan, Cyprus, and Greece.

Chella Courington is a writer and teacher whose poetry and fiction appear in numerous anthologies and journals including Lavender Review, X-R-A-Y Magazine, and New World Writing. With three chapbooks of flash fiction and six of poetry, she recently published a novella-in-flash, Adele and Tom: The Portrait of a Marriage (Breaking Rules Publishing), featured at Vancouver Flash Fiction. A Pushcart, Best Small Fictions, Best of the Net, and Best New Poet Nominee, Courington was raised in the Appalachian south and now
lives in California.

Ivan de Monbrison is a poet, novelist, and artist born in 1969 in Paris. He has studied oriental languages in Paris, and then worked for the Picasso Museum, before dedicating himself to his own creativity. He has been published in literary magazines globally. His last poetry book in English and Russian без лица/Faceless has just been released in Canada. He does not believe that his art is of any real significance, he does it as some kind of a tribal ritual, he is fully aware that vanity is one of the worst enemies of most poets and artists, and tries to stay away from it as much as possible. Website:

Babatdor Dkhar is a multi-disciplinary artist. He is the founder of Ka Ktien Media, a media and production entity, and the Chief Editor of Half and One, a platform for written, audio and visual content. He graduated from Oxford University with an MSt in Creative Writing.

Erika Dreifus is the author of Birthright: Poems and Quiet Americans: Stories. A fellow in the Sami Rohr Jewish Literary Institute, she teaches at Baruch College of The City University of New York. Find her online at

Christine Du Bois is a cultural anthropologist with books on immigration and race relations, and on how humans use soybeans, including soy agriculture’s human rights and environmental impacts. She’s had poems published at, the blog of Prospectus magazine,, the CAW Anthology, and Pif Magazine. Poems are forthcoming at, in the anthology of the Central Texas Writers Society, and in Psychological Perspectives. She has edited publications on global efforts to reduce violence against women and girls, and she’s a precinct Judge of Elections near Philadelphia.

Born in Korea and raised in East Africa, Melanie Hyo-In Han is a poet, teacher, and author of Sandpaper Tongue, Parchment Lips. Her poetry has received awards from “Boston in 100 Words” and The Lyric Magazine. Han got her M.F.A. in Poetry and Translation from Emerson College where she taught in the Writing Studies Program and served as an ELL Consultant. She is currently a poetry editor at Flora Fiction. Learn more about her at

Stephen House is an award-winning playwright, poet, and actor. He’s won two Awgie Awards (Australian Writer’s Guild), Adelaide Fringe Award, Rhonda Jancovich Poetry Award for Social Justice, Goolwa Poetry Cup, Feast Short Story Prize, and more. He’s received Australia Council literature residencies to Ireland and Canada and an India Asialink. His chapbook ‘real and unreal’ was published by ICOE Press.

Lee Nash writes poetry and short fiction. Her work has appeared in diverse journals and anthologies, including Magma, Slice, Southword, and The Best Small Fictions 2019. Her first poetry chapbook, Ash Keys, was published by Flutter Press in 2017. She was a 2018 Bath Flash Fiction Award prize winner and joint winner of the 2019 Princemere Poetry Prize; in 2020 she won Fish Publishing’s The Lockdown Prize (haiku and senryu category), the Donn Goodwin Poetry Prize, the TU Dublin Short Story Competition, third prize in the Spirit First Poetry Contest, and was shortlisted for the Bridport prize (flash fiction). Website:

Sandra Salinas Newton is a professor emeritus of English at Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury, CT. She has published books, Enjoying the Arts: Poetry and Enjoying the Arts: Film, by Richards Rosen Press; a short story, “The Balikbayan,” in Philippine American Short Stories; as well as poems in OPEN: Journal of Arts and Letters, Vita Brevis Literature, and the upcoming 2021 annual Oberon Poetry Magazine.

Clara Olivo is a queer, neurodivergent Afro-Salvadoreña living on the unceded land of the Duwamish. Her words speak to the traumas and triumphs of living in diaspora, unraveling how displacement, colonization, and survival have shaped the landscape of her life.

Praise Osawaru is a writer of Bini descent. A Best of the Net nominee, his work appears or is forthcoming in Agbowó, FIYAH, Frontier Poetry, Down River Road, The Maine Review, and Savant-Garde, among others. An NF2W Poetry scholar, he’s the second-place winner of the Nigerian NewsDirect Poetry Prize 2020 and a finalist for the 2021 Stephen A. DiBiase Poetry Prize & the 2020 Awele Creative Trust Award. He’s a Contributing Editor for Barren
and a reader for Chestnut Review. Find him on Instagram & Twitter: @wordsmithpraise.

Paula Pivko started writing poetry at the age of thirteen. She has been published in the Florida Writer’s Magazine and Teen Angst. Recently she started doing short stories which have been published on Reedsy. Paula also was a finalist in the 2020 RPLA awards for poetry from the Florida Writer’s Association. She lives in Port Saint Lucie, Fl with her two sons and works as an orthotist-prosthetist. It was through her career and her friends that she has learned what strength truly is.

Charles Rammelkamp is Prose Editor for BrickHouse Books in Baltimore. Two full-length collections were published in 2020, Catastroika, from Apprentice House, and Ugler Lee from Kelsay Books. A poetry chapbook, Mortal Coil, was published earlier this year by Clare Songbirds Publishing. 

Danielle Resh is an avid writer, creative writing teacher, and personal historian based in Houston, Texas. Her poetry has been published in the Sunlight Press, Hevria Magazine, the Jewish Literary Journal, and Poetica’s 2019 Mizmor Anthology. In addition to writing poetry, she is also currently seeking publication for her magical realism novel about a small Jewish town in 1800s Poland whose Torah begins miraculously growing. Her manuscript was recognized as the winning historical fiction manuscript of the Writers’ League of Texas’ 2020 Manuscript Contest and as a finalist in the science
fiction/fantasy category. More information about her work can be found at

Matt Schur hails from Lincoln, Nebraska, where he lives with his wife Karin and their two children. He holds a BA in English from Truman State University and an MA in Systematic Theology from Luther Seminary. Matt has preached in churches across Nebraska and currently serves as music director for the Lutheran Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. When he’s not writing, preaching, or making music, Matt can often be found cheering on his beloved Huskers and Red Sox.

Michael Shen was born in China but has lived in the United States for over 70 years. He retired years ago after working as a psychologist, carpenter, and, for over 30 years, a civil rights lawyer. He began writing poetry four years ago. He has had a few poems accepted for publication, at Euphony Journal, Poets Choice, and Anacua Literary Arts Journal.

Canadian poet, fiction writer, and playwright J. J. Steinfeld lives on Prince Edward Island, where he is patiently waiting for Godot’s arrival and a phone call from Kafka. While waiting, he has published twenty-two books, including An Unauthorized Biography of Being (Stories, Ekstasis Editions, 2016), Absurdity, Woe Is Me, Glory Be (Poetry, Guernica Editions, 2017), A Visit to the Kafka Café (Poetry, Ekstasis Editions, 2018), Gregor Samsa Was Never in The Beatles (Stories, Ekstasis Editions, 2019), Morning Bafflement and Timeless
(Poetry, Ekstasis Editions, 2020), and Somewhat Absurd, Somehow Existential (Poetry, Guernica Editions, 2021).

Henry Lee Thomas is a Project Engineer/Price Analyst by day and a poet, musician, photographer, and observer of life by night. His publications include Mental Streams: Poems of the Heart and Soul (2020), Poems in the Keys of Life (2019), and Men’s Guide to Being a Single Parent (2014). His work has also appeared in the Spillwords Press (November 2020) and the Nzuri Journal of Coastline College (May 2021).

Aleksandra Lekić Vujisić (Podgorica, Montenegro, 1979) is a professor of English language and a passionate writer of prose and poetry for children and grownups. She participated in festivals across the globe and her work has won prizes and acknowledgments. She is a member of the Association of Montenegrin authors for children.

Robert Walton is a retired middle school teacher and rock climber with ascents in Yosemite and Pinnacles National Park. He’s an experienced writer with published works including historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy and poetry. Walton’s novel Dawn Drums won the 2014 New Mexico Book Awards Tony Hillerman Prize for best fiction. His “Sockdologizer” won the Saturday Writers 2020 Everything Children contest. Most recently, his flash fiction
story “Pull My Finger” was included in Ab Terra’s Climate and Environment Issue. Website:

Social issues are a major focus of Milwaukee poet Phyllis Wax. Among the anthologies and journals in which her poetry has appeared are: Rhino, The Widows’ Handbook, Birdsong, Spillway, Peacock Journal, Surreal Poetics, Naugatuck River Review, New Verse News, Portside, and Star 82 Review. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, as well as the Best of the Net and Bettering American Poetry anthologies. Reach her at:

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