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What's with All the Dogs?

Published March 27, 2015 Posted By
big-muddy-dogsI'm not sure what it is, but in the most recent batch of lit mags coming through NewPages World Headquarters I've found a recurring subject: Dogs.

Grasslimb starts with the short story "To the Dogs" by Kurt Newton on its front page.

The Hollins Critic features "The Dogs of Literature - Seymour Krim: Bottom Dogs, Part II"

The cover of Big Muddy: A Journal of the Missippii River Valley features a sweet pair of hounddoggies in a photo by Wes Anderson on its cover.

And finally, Barking Sycamores. Okay, it's not about dogs at all, but I coudn't help but make the connection. It's a unique publication I covered in this blog post.

Blue Heron Speaks!

Published March 26, 2015 Posted By
mj-iuppaBlue Heron Review, an online poetry magazine specializing in mystical and spiritual verse, publishes the monthly feature Blue Heron Speaks!, "a heart-centered, poetic offering ~ either from the editor, one of the contributors, or a guest author. . . messages of inspiration, support, and nourishment for the soul."

March 2015 guest author is poet, M J Iuppa, whose work appears in the Winter 2015 issue. The editors write, "For the reader, the senses come alive in Iuppa's poems. Her writing is atmospheric, with great attention to detail. Iuppa's obvious love of words results in her beautiful use of language in every poem."
brain-of-forgettingBrain of Forgetting is a new bi-annual (winter/summer) PDF and print (CreateSpace) publication of poetry, flash fiction, creative non-fiction, photography, artwork published by Brain of Forgetting Press with Editor-in-Chief Bernadette McCarthy and Associate Editor of Visual Art Tom Jordan.

The name Brain of Forgetting, McCarthy tells NewPages, "is drawn from the Irish legend of Cenn Fáelad, who lost his 'brain of forgetting' when his skull was split open by a sword-blow in battle. Cenn Fáelad developed a photographic memory for historical and legal information, which he wrote out in verse and prose on tablets. The journal honours his legacy by providing a forum for work that engages with archaeology, history, and memory, while recognising that pure, neutral historical fact does not exist in itself: the human (mis)understanding of history is not only susceptible to forgetting, but a natural tendency to impose a narrative structure on the past and invest it with meanings determined by the present."

Based in Cork, Ireland, the journal brings together the intellects of archaeological researcher and poet Bernadette McCarthy and photographer and art historian Tom Jordan. Unable to discover a literary journal that bridged the gap between academic research and creative output, McCarthy set up the journal in September 2014, advertising a call for submissions on the theme of "Stones." She attended an exhibition of her friend Tom Jordan's photography, which focused in particular on recording built heritage, and asked him to come on board as editor of visual art. This issue is now available here to purchase as well as for free download from the site.

In starting a new publication, McCarthy tells NewPages, "We hope to raise more awareness of the importance of protecting our past heritage, and how the past is not dead, but can help us reach a deeper level in our own creative work, and understand our present reality in a more complex way. The past isn't black-and-white, and there is no one narrative of what history entails; this is a central message of Brain of Forgetting. The process of 'digging' into the past and uncovering new meaning is vital to individual and collective social identity, and Brain of Forgetting hopes to address this need by negotiating the boundaries between past and present, creative imagination and historic record, and lyricism and bare-boned data."

Readers of Brain of Forgetting will find creative work that relates to the past, but, as McCarthy says, "this work must have a contemporary edge." A variety of writers and artists from all over the world were published in Issue One, many of whom had quite diverse backgrounds. Some were professional archaeologists, anthropologists, medievalists, and geologists; others were professional writers and artists who find the past to be a fruitful source of inspiration. "All work published was chosen not simply because it related to the past," McCarthy stresses, "but on the basis of its quality and originality—subjective indeed, but we try our best!"

The editors are excited about the upcoming Issue Two, which will feature new poetry by Afric MacGlinchey, as well as new translations by Rosalin Blue of the poetry of August Stramm, who died in World War I.

Looking to the future, in an ideal issue of Brain of Forgetting, Bernadette McCarthy would love to include work from one of her favorite archaeologist-poets, Paddy Bushe, and perhaps creative non-fiction by the likes of Christine Finn, author of Past Poetic: Archaeology in the Poetry of W.B. Yeats and Seamus Heaney. In general, however, she is interested in original work from anyone that engages with the past, regardless of whether s/he is an established or emerging writer.

Tom Jordan would love to publish a previously undiscovered essay by Hubert Butler, author of Ten Thousand Saints, who bridged the gap between history and imagination in his writings. He is also a fan of Irish artist Robert Gibbings and cosmologist/author Carl Sagan, but in general he welcomes anything well-done that relates to the chosen theme of the journal.

For now, McCarthy says, "Surviving is our main goal at present, and perhaps gathering enough funding together to be able to pay a local company to do the printing for us - though we are grateful for the existence of online independent publishing platforms. We would also like to try and reach a wider readership, and publish an even more diverse range of writers. So far, most of the work submitted has emanated from Ireland, the UK, Canada and the US. It would be great to feature more work from the wider Anglophone world e.g. parts of Africa, Asia, and Australasia where English is spoken."

Submissions for Issue Two, based around the theme of "Poppies," are open until the end of March. Up to four poems or two pieces of flash fiction (900 words max.) can be submitted, while submissions of creative non-fiction (one piece, 1200 words max), as well as photography and other artwork are also welcome. While the journal is primarily English-language, work in other languages can be considered if accompanied by English translation suitable for publication, while translations of pre-1500 English-language work are gladly considered. Simultaneous submissions are accepted, as long as the contributor informs the journal if a piece is published elsewhere. All work submitted must be previously unpublished in print or online. See Brain of Forgetting's website for more information.

Books :: A. Poulin Jr. Poetry Prize Winner

Published March 25, 2015 Posted By
shame-shame-devin-beckerDevin Becker’s debut collection Shame | Shame investigates two types of shame: that which disgraces, and that which curbs and keeps. Set in the mundane everyday where lives maneuver around other lives, conversations are clumsy, and a co-worker is the only one without a party invite, these confessional narrative poems humorously dramatize the socially awkward moments of life.

Shame | Shame is the 2014 A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize winner, selected by David St. John, who also provides a foreword for the collection, stating “We all want to know what happened to Huck after he decided to ‘light out for the Territory’—my own sense is that 150 years later, a little sadder and a whole lot wiser, he emerged as Devin Becker.”

Published by BOA Editions, Ltd., Shame | Shame will be released this April.

Cambodian Invisibility in Education

Published March 25, 2015 Posted By
christina-nhekCambodian Invisibility in Education by Christina Nhek is the most recent in the What's Your Normal series, a regular feature on the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association website. Nhek writes, "I came to understand that I fell into the stereotypes that are associated with mainstream Asian Americans. My family came to the U.S. to give their children better opportunities. I had an educational standard I adhered to because of the expectations of my parents. I needed to succeed. What I failed to recognize, however, is the fact that as Cambodian American, I am not part of mainstream Asian American communities."

What's Your Normal is a a series of personal essays, accompanied by resource lists, highlighting the different kinds and forms of identities within APA populations. Writers are encouraged to share stories that give insight into what is "normal" identy(ies). The APALA goal is to allow us to learn from each other and to showcase the diversity within the APA populations. The resource lists will be archived for use by librarians, information professionals, and the general public.

Birdfeast Opens to All Genres

Published March 25, 2015 Posted By
birdfeastSince its inception in 2011, Birdfeast has been publishing poetry quarterly online. But, starting with issue eleven, Founding Editor Jessica Poli writes, "we've opened the journal to all genres in an effort to encourage and give a platform for cross-genre/hybrid work and, we hope, help bridge the space between genres. Birdfeast is interested in writing for the sake of writing, regardless of what box it belongs or doesn't belong in." Submissions are currently open and handled online.

First Book Poets Talking

Published March 24, 2015 Posted By
marc-di-saveriojulie-cameron-grayThe Boxcar Poetry Review Spring 2015 issue features "First Book Poets in Conversation: Marc Di Saverio & Julie Cameron Gray." It's an interesting concept, to see each poet discussing their own approaches to writing, then spinning that into a question to ask the other poet, back and forth.

At one point in the conversation, Di Saverio reveals how his manic-depression guides his writing, "You ask me to take you through a poem, start to finish. I find my manic-depression somewhat dictates how a poem will be written. Usually, in manic states, I am overcome with inner wilderness, and I essentially explode onto the page, often a filthy, incoherent mess. I leave this mess alone until I am calm enough to rationally formalize or structuralize my raw manic material."

And later, Gray offers, "The themes of loneliness and isolation are all self-imposed, all the narrators are in situations of their own creation. It's such a common moment in everyone's life, at some point (or repetitively so), being lonely and liking it, reveling in it, keeping others at arm's length because you just don't want to deal with them right now; elements of self-sabotage."

Real the full conversation here.

Young Adult Picks for Reluctant Readers

Published March 24, 2015 Posted By
a-girl-in-piecesisabel-quinteroThe Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA) annually selects Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, which this year identified 67 titles aimed at encouraging reading among teens who dislike to read for any reason. From that list, the committee also selects a Top Ten list. The lists include both fiction and nonfiction. [Pictured: Isabel Quintero, author of Gabi, A Girl in Pieces, one of the top ten Quick Picks, published by Cinco Puntos Press.]

Beltway Quarterly Sonnet Issue

Published March 23, 2015 Posted By
gushueBeltway Poetry Quarterly is an online literary journal and resource bank that showcases the literary community in Washington, DC and the surrounding Mid-Atlantic region. The Winter 2015 issue is The Sonnet Issue, guest co-edited by Michael Gushue (pictured).

The issue features sonnets by 67 authors, contemporary and historic, from DC, VA, WV, MD, and DE. The editors have selected from traditional Shakespearean and Petrarchan sonnets, variations on those forms (including envelope sonnets, hybrid sonnets, and nonce sonnets), and 14-line free verse poems that borrow from sonnet tradition.

In his introduction, Gushue tells that he has arranged the issue "into eight sections along loosely thematic lines, all representing aspects of the sonnet's reach": The Beloved, The Body, The Heart, The Body Politic, Pop Culture, Conservations With Myself, À La Recherche Du Temps Perdu, Outdoors, Art And Its Boundaries.
father-brother-keeper-nathan-pooleIn case you missed it featured in the Editor’s Picks of the February NewPages Book Stand, Nathan Poole’s Father Brother Keeper was published last month by Sarabande Books.

Winner of the 2013 Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction selected by Edith Pearlman, Father Brother Keeper’s stories are set in rural Georgia. They investigate small moments that illuminate life-altering struggles: A man slipping into dementia is abandoned at a diner with his granddaughters; a boy descendent of farmers discovers his love of carving wooden birds but buries his creations in shame; bait dogs are left to die, chained in the woods, when they grow too old to fight.

Poole has also received Narrative Magazine’s 2012 Narrative Prize and has served as the Milton Post Graduate Fellow in Writing at Image Journal. His work can be found in The Kenyon Review, Narrative Magazine, The Chattahoochie Review, Image, Nat.Brut. Quarterly, The Lumiere Reader, Strangers Magazine, Drum Literary Magazine, and the Saturday Evening Post among others.

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