Cæsura Call 2022 is open; new call March 2022.

For more than three decades, Cæsura served its members as a literary newsletter and magazine. Beginning with the 25th anniversary issue in 2005, Cæsura updated its appearance and focus as a literary journal that includes poems, short fiction, non-fiction, critical work, book reviews, and interviews. We hope to provide our members and the public with a compelling mix of work from the established award-winning poet to the burgeoning writer.

Back issues of Cæsura can be purchased by check mailed to:
Poetry Center San José
1650 Senter Road
San Jose, CA 95112-2599

Some back issues are now closing out at $5 each, which is below PCSJ's cost for printing. Please specify the date and number of copies you are including payment for. Back issues are also available at many PCSJ events.

Contact us via email at: caesura (at) pcsj.org


Cæsura 2021: Unmasking

We create ourselves over and over again, through others and through our experiences, a sometimes unconscious but inevitable task. When one mask slips off another blazes onward. We are simulating ourselves in motion through time, changing in increments.

The fortunate reader will find the stories, poems, and art in our Unmasking editions of Cæsura capturing the constant change and the act of digging deep into another layer of who we are. These powerful compilations undulate with the many masks of circumstance and emotion. We're very excited to present these unique journals to our readers. Please enjoy Unmasking.



Unmasking_Online PDF


Cæsura 2020: Om & Ohm

We put out a call requesting soul, and resistance. The call initially included just the Sanskrit and Greek characters because using the English alphabet's Om and Ohm revealed the homonym, and took away some of the mystery that symbols and characters wedge into the imagination. Regardless of which characters, of which alphabet, the poets delivered their souls beautifully. Cæsura 2020 includes work from the Elmwood Poetry Society, unpublished poets, and a section of haiku.


Caesura 2020 Online Selections are here! (completely different from the print version)


Cæsura 2019: Arrival

Here are some beautiful words about birth, death, arrival/departure, God, woman, earth, illness, health, love, recovery, protest and perception: poetry.


Caesura 2019 Online Selections are here! (completely different from the print version)


Nils Peterson
Cæsura Editions: All the Marvelous Stuff

Friend, we are blessed to publish Nils Peterson’s latest collection of poems that example great wisdom and an astonishing range of imagination. It is a rich inheritance that I hope finds a place in your home and travels. Here are poems that show how we might follow the delicate golden thread into our own heart. And we thank Nils, who with others, helped Naomi Clark found Poetry Center San José forty years ago -Robert Pesich, PCSJ President. The book includes extensive art by longtime Nils collaborator Patrick Surgalski, with a stunning design by Joe Miller. The book won the 2020 San Francisco Book Festival award for poetry.

Purchase here on Amazon


2018 To Be Determined

The phrase "to be determined" immediately brings forth certain ideas, but without context which one appears first? Does it measure the strength of your determination? Does it mean there is no decision? Does it portend the potential of a seed or child? Though not exactly a timeless puzzle or kōan, there isn't an answer as much as an opportunity to realize and hopefully reply. The editors understood the likely agitation and confusion with an indeterminate call deliberately acting as provocateurs in search of raconteurs. We appreciated the patience with our playfulness, and understood the blank stares and questions sent our way. However, the range of themes and styles submitted show a dedicated and diverse set of voices that expressed themselves beautifully; great perspective, wonderful humor, and big hearts.


Caesura 2018 Online Selections
(completely different from the print version)

2017 Ascent || Descent

During a chaotic moment in history, the editors recognized the peaks and valleys our friends, families and communities were enduring. Whether ascending or descending we wanted the artists to pause (take a cæsura "||") and share their moment. So we called for their location. Like a trail map posted at a crossroad that has an arrow pointing and says, "you are here," we shared an arrow pointing at a dot with no map and asked, "you are where." The submitted art would declare the location. The beauty, challenge, and strangeness of this call, was that it had no theme. The artists, unbound of that constraint, shared with a wave of creative, insightful, graceful, and powerful poems. Accompanied by stunning, commanding, colorful, and playful art, the print and online versions of Ascent || Descent are beautiful examples of where we are.

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Caesura 2017 Online Selections
(completely different from the print version)

2016 The Poetic Games: The World vs Silicon Valley

In the spirit of competition and global unity, we decided to hold The Poetic Games. Teams were picked, The World, and Silicon Valley. The plan was to have each team's best poem placed next to each other allowing an easy comparison as the poems were read. But to make it resemble a race, the poems needed to at least be similar in form and content. Ten poetic forms were chosen to represent competitive events. As a further challenge to the competitors, each form was limited to three topics. This was done in part so we could evenly match the poems by their form and topic, making the competition less subjective. Also, we felt that the pre-determined topics would require most participants to write new poems, thus bringing the artists into a shared experience that is the Poetic Games.

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Caesura 2016: Bronze Edition is online here
(completely different from the print version)

2015 Fusion

The 2015 Cæsura features playful, imaginative poems by Sara Key, Karla Linn Merrifield, John Nimmo, Kenneth Pobo, and many of our very own PCSJ poets. Editors Leslie Hoffman and Erin Redfern would like to thank a dedicated team of reviewers for their work in building this collection of diverse, international voices. Joe Miller's selection of brilliant full-color images, as well as the Jay Ruland cover photograph of an Aptos sand dollar, complement the issue's theme of "Fusion."


2014 (dis)Ability

Disability is a condition, physical, mental, etc., that limits a being's ability to function. Infirmite, in French, or behinderung in German, one or another is often defined by some infirmity or hindrance. Oedipus was club-footed, Tiresias was a blind seer, and every Achilles has his heel. We tend to focus on what ails us, albeit infinitesimal, for we are constantly in competition for resources. When you ask anyone today about disability, they are quick to bring up Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or Attention Deficit Disorder, sometimes dyslexia, almost always wheelchair accessibility, and so on in an infinite variety of degrees and definitions. This issue of Cæsura is interested in, but not limited to, these and other interpretations of the topic (dis)Ability.


2012 The End of the World

December 21, 2012 isn't the first prediction of the end of the world—and certainly, it won't be the last. What is it in the hearts and minds of humans that preoccupies us with our ultimate end? In recent years, we've been hearing about Mayan prophecies, yet more talk of the Rapture, and even predictions of aliens coming down to beam us away. In this issue of Cæsura, poets express surprising optimism and realism in the face of cataclysm.


2011 Brothers and Sisters

At 134 pages, the largest issue to date of
Cæsura, featuring an interview with Sally Ashton, Poet Laureate of Santa Clara County, and two of her poems.

Read the interview with Sally Ashton here.

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A Cæsura Editions 2011 publication:
A Walk to the Center of Things
poems by Nils Peterson

PCSJ is proud to present as its first offering in its new publication series, Cæsura Editions, Nils Peterson's A Walk to the Center of Things. Nils Peterson was chosen as the first Poet Laureate of Santa Clara County because of the many years he spent making poets and poetry available to the public, his encouragement of young writers, and for his own work. This collection confirms the wisdom of that choice. About the book, Jane Hirshfield has said, "A lifetime's attention to both writing and living buoys these intimate, intelligent, sometimes chastened, sometimes celebratory, but always compassionate pages." Joseph Stroud added, "Varied in subject and manner, his poems embody a deep pleasure and wonder in being alive, and they bring us into the company of a larger life." Robert Bly adds Nils Peterson's poems show "great affection for the feminine, and they are wonderfully patient with human confusion." Nils Peterson is Professor Emeritus at San José State University where he taught in the English and Humanities Departments. He has published poetry, science fiction, and articles on subjects as varied as golf and Shakespeare. He was nominated for a 2005 Pushcart Prize. His publications include Here Is No Ordinary Rejoicing, The Comedy of Desire, Driving a Herd of Moose to Durango, For This Day, Revenge of the Socks, and now A Walk to the Center of Things.

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includes the 2009
Cæsura Poetry Contest winners, and an interview with Nils Peterson, Poet Laureate of Santa Clara County

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Spring 2009

includes work by Ken Letko, Susana H. Case, and Donna J. Gelagotis Lee


Poetry and Writing about Origins
Spring 2008

includes work by Lisa Ortiz, Gary Metras, Ken Pobo, and Joanne Lowery


Poetry or Writing About or Inspired by Other Art Forms
Fall 2007

includes work by Ira Sadoff, Bruce Smith, John Estes, and Christopher Buckley

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Mortality issue
Summer 2007

includes Ellen Bass, John Bradley, Doug Holder and David Krump

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cæsura Summer 2006

Prose Poem issue
Fall 2006

includes Peter Johnson, Maxine Chernoff, Brian Clements, Gary Young, and Morton Marcus

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cæsura Fall 2006

California Poets' issue
Spring 2006

includes Gary Soto, Al Young, Jane Mead, Brian Turner and Brenda Hillman

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caesura Spring 2006
Transplanted Writers issue
Fall 2005


caesura Fall 2005

25th Anniversary issue
Spring 2005

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caesura 25th Anniversary Issue