For you newbies, the August PoPo Fest goes like this: You sign up. You get a list of 31 names/addresses of other people who signed up. Starting late June, you write a poem a day on a postcard and mail it off to the next person on the list, so by the end of the month, you will have (hopefully) written and sent 31 poems and (hopefully) received 31 poems.
The poems are not supposed to be pre-written or something you've been working on for months. This is an exercise is the spontaneous, the demanding, the gut-driven, the postcard inspired - whatever it is that gets you to write once a day, each day, and send it off into the world.
I've done this event since it began, and it is now in its ninth year! I don't always keep to a poem a day; sometimes I get ahead one day, or catch up another, with several poems in one day. But I try my best. The event does get me thinking of poetry in my every day, when I rarely have time for it, and writing it down - something I have time for even more rarely.
I've received poems from across the state, the country and around the globe. I've gotten postcards made from cereal boxes, some with gorgeous original artwork, and lots of the lovely tacky tourist cards from travel destinations. I have cards from "famous" poets, and some who have since become more famous, and some never signed, so I'll never know, and it hardly matters. I've gotten poetry. Sent to me directly. From strangers. Lovely, strange, absurd, and funny. Poetry.
It's an amazing event, and I hope you will take the challenge and join in this year. For the first time EVER, the organizers have decided to charge a nominal fee for the event ($10). I can only imagine the amount of work it is to run this (with up to 300 people participating), and keeping up virtual space to promote it. I'm not dissuaded by the fee, knowing the extraordinary event that it is, and knowing I've spent 100 times that on conferences from which I've gotten a great deal less inspiration...
So, please writers, wanna-bes and needs-a-kick-in-the-arsers, poetry lovers, postcard lovers - this event is for you. Join us!
The winner and honorable mentions of the 2014 Barthelme Prize are featured in the Summer/Fall 2015 issue of Gulf Coast:
2014 Barthelme Prize
Amy Hempel, Judge
Emma Bolden, "Gifted"
Patty Yumi Cottrell, "No One Makes Plans"
Susan Lilley, "Delmonicos"
The Barthelme Prize for Short Prose is open to pieces of prose poetry, flash fiction, and micro-essays of 500 words or fewer. The contest awards its winner $1,000 and publication in the journal. Two honorable mentions will receive $250, and all entries will be considered for paid publication on the Gulf Coast website as Online Exclusives.
From the University of Iowa Press’s website: “By turns haunting, hilarious, and heartbreaking, Charles Haverty’s debut collection charts the journeys of men, women, and children cast out of familiar territory into emotional terra incognita where people and things are rarely what they seem. . . . There are secrets at the center of each of these daring and original stories—secrets that separate these characters from one another but grow in the mind and the heart, connecting them with all of us.”
To be available in October 2015, copies of Excommunicados can be preordered from the University of Iowa Press website.
Quiddity, the international journal and public radio program enters into its eighth year with a couple notable changes. Managing Editor Jim Warner will be handing over the role to John McCarthy, and the partnership with Benedictine University at Springfield has come to close. Quiddity will continue with a new relationship with NPR member/PRI affiliate WUIS, Illinois Public Radio's hub-station. As Warner writes, "Sharing our contributors' work with the public-radio audience is a crucial element to our mission at Quiddity and we look forward to sharing more work with you."
Publishing quarterly fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and art, including cartoons, the current issue of The Tishman Review is available for free online. All issues are available to purchase as an e-book and in print-on-demand.
Porter tells me they started a magazine "to be DIFFERENT. We wanted to pay our contributors, we wanted to be hands-on editors—not only reading everything that comes in (and often providing feedback) but also editing accepted pieces, we wanted to be open to what authors are creating rather than having pre-determined ideas of what they should be writing."
As a result of their up-to-elbows approach, readers can expect to find a selection of poetry, prose and art that "speaks to the human condition" and "hopefully elicits a response, whether it be emotional or intellectual."
There have been no preset themes for submissions, though themes have appeared from among the works once they have been selected for publication. The editors shared, "We do like to publish work that challenges the 'isms of sex, race, age, etc."
Among those writers whose works have been selected, in poetry: Lauren Davis, Ace Boggess, Barrett Warner, Karla Van Vliet and Jennifer Martelli; in fiction: Tamas Dobozy, Amanda Pauley, Laura Jean Schneider, Lee L. Krecklow, James English, and Mercedes Lawry; in creative nonfiction: Robert Vivian, Jayne Guertin, and Kerrin O'Sullivan.
For the July issue, The Tishman Review will begin mini-contests in which readers (on our website) and the staff vote for their favorite piece in each genre and contributors will win prize monies. The editors hope to continue working on the publication's financial standing so as to increase contributor payments.
All poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction submissions can be made through Submittable. There is a fee to submit works, which the editors felt a need to comment on: "There is a lot of controversy surrounding submission fees. On our website we've posted a Code of Ethics for our journal as we do charge a submission fee. We want each submitter to see what they are paying for. We also host regular no fee submission days that we announce through social media. We do not charge a submission fee for art or craft blog posts."
The Tishman Review also accepts submissions of book reviews and craft essays for the Craft Talk Blog (there is no pay for these contributors, but the byline is worth it – the blog already has some excellent content that has been featured on NewPages), as well as cover art, interior black and white art, and cartoons.
FIRST PRIZE (shared)
Linda A. Cronin, Cedar Grove, NJ, "Because It's Mine"
Linda Hillringhouse, Englewood, NJ, "The Bristol Plaza Hotel, Wildwood"
SECOND PRIZE (shared)
Dante Di Stefano, Endwell, NY, "A Morning Prayer While Pumping Gas at the Gulf Gas Station"
Abby E. Murray, Endicott, NY, "A Poem for Ugly People"
THIRD PRIZE (shared)
Jason Allen, Binghamton, NY, "Pop"
Kenneth Ronkowitz, Cedar Grove, NJ, "That Summer Between"
A complete list with honorable mentions can be found here.
Judge Karen Russell says of her selection, “The stories in Night in Erg Chebbi are sweeping and intimate and awesomely confident of their own effects. They document staggering, cataclysmic changes—forest fire, flash flood, revolution, murder—as well as the slow violence of grief and degenerative disease. [ . . . ] This is a collection with both depth and breadth, a book dedicated to revealing ‘the universal concealed in the weft of the particular.’ Hamlin spins the globe, jumping nimbly from a treetop lodge on a Brazilian riverbank to the lawn of a governor’s mansion on the eve of an execution to Merzouga, Morocco, ‘gateway to the dune sea of Erg Chebbi.’ [ . . . ] Each story here is a world in miniature, illuminated by the flashbulb bursts of Hamlin’s luminous, controlled prose.”
Available in August, readers can preorder a copy of Night in Erg Chebbi and Other Stories on the University of Iowa Press website.