The search for truth and beauty leads to the cobbled
roundabouts of old Annapolis, where it is still easier to
commute with oars than a coupe. Meeting at watering holes
on Maryland Avenue, West Street and State Circle, founder
Hal Burdett and editors J. Wesley Clark and Barrett Warner
have created Free State Review.
The literary journal appears twice yearly in print.
Our focus is place and experience. We look for authors who
live the poem—story—essay before they write it. Whether our
contributors walk or drive, or ride a M2 Bradley, or a
skateboard to work and love, we want some glimpse
of a genuine moment in this high concept world, reflected
pieces on the real.
We're looking for engagement and grace. You want to write
about death? OK, but you'll have had to snuggle up a little
closer to it than hitting some poor squirrel on your way to
Starbucks. Know the world that lives and breathes inside your
art, don't just open a window and let us guess. In fact, if you
open a window, stick your head out and scream a song into
the wind—a velvety baritone works well.
Hal Burdett >>>
J. Wesley Clark >>>
Barrett Warner >>>
Robert Timberg >>>
Raphaela Cassandra >>>
Art & Design:
Jessica Lynn Dotson >>>
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Hal Burdett >>> Editor
Hal Burdett is a lover of language. The non-stop talker is actually a better listener than most people think. Hal believes that good conversation is the basis for mental stimulation, catharsis, and entertainment. He created Free State Review to produce a good conversation. Diversity is the key. Hal takes great pride in holding forth on any subject for about fifteen minutes. He can describe nine different types of curve balls, recount a theater night with John Foster Dulles, and annotate most of the small group recordings of Basie, Ellington, and Goodman, without losing his narrative thread. Where were we? Oh yes, conversation. Keep it going. Interrupt if you must. Tell a joke if the blood starts to boil. Live some life. Have a bite. Say what you did. Go down swinging.
J. Wesley Clark >>> Editor
When J. Wesley Clark was very young he thought he was Sir Walter Scott. We see the resemblance, as we can be certain neither will ever own a Twitter account in this lifetime. He served his time as soldier as well as journalist but yearned for more freedom with line breaks. Many years and over six hundred poems later (six hundred and one to be exact, but who's counting?), he's docked back at his water-logged hometown of Annapolis, Md. Settling for his own name, he's appeared in Bogg, Chiron Review, Delmarva Review, Galley Sail Review, Gargoyle, Illya's Honey, Notas:new writing, Passager, Red Rock Review, RiverSedge and the Texas Observer among others. He was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2009 (Delmarva Review) and 2010 (Illya's Honey/Dallas Poets Community).
Barrett Warner >>> Editor
Barrett Warner is a compulsive reader and book reviewer. He is messy and all-in except for his shirt tail. If he were an artist there'd be paint stains on his suede wallabies. Instead, there's manure. He can clear out an elevator faster than you can say "Lobby, please." Barrett keeps thirty head at his Gunpowder watershed farm. Known for his witty touches, since 1984 his short stories, poems and lampoons of U. S. poet laureates have appeared in California Quarterly, Southeast Review, Comstock Review, Freshwater, Natural Bridge, Gargoyle, Slipstream, Quarter After Eight, and many others. His chapbook, Til I'm Blue in the Face, was published in 1995 by Tropos Press. A migratory sociopath by nature, Barrett is also inherently lazy. In fifty years he has moved only twelve miles from his birthplace in Westminster, averaging a quarter mile per year. Oh but what quarter miles they have been.
Robert Timberg >>> Non-fiction Editor
Our nonfiction editor Robert Timberg is the author of Nightingale's Song, praised by both Time magazine and The New York Times as among the best books of the year when it was published in 1994. He is also the author of State of Grace: A Memoir of Twilight Time, and John McCain: An American Odyssey. A former White House correspondent and Deputy Washington Bureau Chief of The Baltimore Sun, as well as Editor of Proceedings, a publication of the Naval Institute Press, Bob is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who saw combat as a Marine officer in Vietnam. He received his graduate degree in journalism from Stanford University. His newest memoir is scheduled for publication by Penguin Press later this year. Blue-Eyed Boy, takes it's title from the e e cummings poem "Buffalo Bill:" "Jesus/ he was a handsome man/ and what i want to know is/ how do you like your blue eyed boy/ Mister Death."
Raphaela Cassandra >>> Editor
The State has labeled Raphaela Cassandra a rogue and scoundrel. She has spent a lifetime sympathizing with morally ambiguous protagonists. You bring the disorder and she'll bring the smile. When not dressing up old men as Ernest Hemmingways to take them shopping at Bass Pro outlets she has been witnessed leading non-sanctioned excavation teams. Is it Blackbeard's treasure, or is it something darker that she seeks? In her basement you'll find a time machine (malfunctioning). Upstairs there will be drawings of hiking boots, and in her kitchen, a few ounces of amygdale in a skillet. For these reasons Raphaela is both our managing editor, and our anti-managing editor. She can also be found at numerous marches and demonstrations or else at the State Pen where she's been designing a new prison archetype made entirely of fused Kafka volumes.
Jessica Lynn Dotson>>> Art & Design Editor
Jessica's ruling planet Mercury was the light-footed messenger of the Gods who darted back and forth across the Heavens. Like him, Jessica stays on her feet, walking to work at a modern American eatery in Baltimore, and making use of her thumb to attend poetry readings. The daughter of a drag strip and Motocross racer, Jessica gave her car to her mother when she moved to town. She is currently developing a chapbook called Asphalt Amen. Her poetry has also appeared in Hidden City Quarterly. She keeps the light on at www.jessicalynndotson.com.