BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
Someone told about a blind man who stood at a busy intersection, waving toward all the passing cars. When asked why he did that, he said that there might be someone in one of those cars whom he knew and he didn't want to miss the opportunity. Peter Everwine, a California poet, here gives us another such waver, from his book Listening Long and Late, from the University of Pittsburgh Press.
The Girl on the Bullard Overpass
The girl on the Bullard overpass
looks happy to be there, getting soaked
in a light rain but waving her hands
to the four o'clock freeway traffic
in which I'm anything but happy.
You might think she's too dumb
to come in out of the rain, but rain
or shine, it doesn't seem to matter.
She's there most every afternoon,
as if she does this for a living.
Some living, I'd say. Doesn't she ever
get bored, or wish someone would stop
and say, "Where to?" and her life would change?
That's how I'd be, hating the noise,
the stink of exhaust, the press of people.
I can't imagine what her life is;
mine is confused and often fretful.
But there's something brave about standing alone
in the rain, waving wild semaphores
of gladness to impatient passersby
too tired or preoccupied to care.
Seeing her at her familiar station
I suddenly grin like a fool, wave back,
and forgive the driver to my right,
who is sullen and staring as I pass.
I find her in my rear-view mirror,
then head for a needed drink and supper.
I don't know where she goes, but I hope
it's to a place she loves. I hope the rain
lets up. I hope she's there tomorrow.
American Life In Poetry does not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2004 by Peter Everwine, “The Girl on the Bullard Overpass,” from Listening Long and Late (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013). Poem reprinted by permission of Peter Everwine and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2016 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.
First place: Taiyaba Husain [pictured], of Mumbai, India, wins $3000 for “How You Respond in an Emergency." Her story will be published in Issue 99 or 100 of Glimmer Train Stories. This is Taiyaba's very first published story!
Second place: Edward Porter, of Oakland, CA, wins $1000 for “Storm Dogs” and publication in a future issue of Glimmer Train Stories.
Third place: Anne Vinsel, of Salt Lake City, UT, wins $600 for “Goyische Turkey with Post-its.”
A PDF of the Top 25 winners can be found here.
Deadline soon approaching!
Short Story Award for New Writers: June 30
This competition is held quarterly and is open to all writers whose fiction has not appeared in a print publication with a circulation over 5000. No theme restrictions. Most submissions to this category run 1500-5000 words, but can go up to 12,000. First place prize wins $2500 (increased from $1500!) and publication in Glimmer Train Stories. Second/third: $500/$300 and consideration for publication. Click here for complete guidelines.
The Louisville Review accepts submissions from students in grades K-12 to feature in “The Children’s Corner” section of the journal. In the Spring 2016 issue, four young writers were published:
Kate Busatto, “The Communion”
Kiran Damodaran, “Collision Theory”
Andrew D. Swann, “Jelly Dreams,” “God Didn’t Make the World Round,” and “Worn and Broken”
Isabel Young, “Our Romance is Kamikaze:”
Get a copy of The Louisville Review to check out these new writers.
The June 2016 issue of Poetry features cover art by Anna Maria Maiolino. On Harriet: The Blog, Fred Sasaki provides more information about this artist who, it turns out, also creates visual and written poetry with all her works considered to be “poetic actions.”
Maiolino speaks about her series Photopoemaction, from which the June 2016 cover art comes:
"The photographic series Fotopoemação is a result of the elaboration of images that emerged from my written poems. [ . . . ] These series, other than constituting a challenge to the poetic labour, are efficient instruments of both innovation and freedom. They result from thinking about the things of the world, from the attempt to transform what we live through into consciousness in a poetic operational movement of conduct."
Among the blue-font decorated pages of the latest issue of Ninth Letter, readers will find an art feature and interview with Bert Stabler and Katie Fizdale, a look at Detroit by Caitlin McGuire in the “Where We’re At” section, and the 2015 Literary Award Runners-Up, listed below.
Julie Marie Wade, “The Regulars”
Zach VandeZande, “Status Updates”
Monica Sok, “Here Is Your Name”
Rachael Katz, “All About Flash”
The 2016 issue of RHINO is out and includes the 2016 Editors’ Prize winners and the 2016 Founders’ Prize winners inside.
Editors’ Prizes 2016:
Lee Sharkey, “Tashlich”
Catherine Wing, “Report from the Neandertal Mind”
Teresa Dzieglewicz, “Stranger, thank you for giving me this body”
Anonymous translated from the Anglo-Saxson by Bill Christopherson, “The Seafarer”
Founders’ Prize 2016:
Greg Grummer, “The Great Butterfly Collapse”
Katie Hartsock, “On the Heat of Upstate Travel in the Advancing Polar Air”
Teresa Dzieglewicz, “St. Maria Goretti speaks to the girl”
Readers can find these poems on the RHINO website, with a full table of contents linking to the writers’ websites.
The Spring/Summer 2016 issue of december features the winner and finalists of the Jeff Marks Memorial Poetry Prize (with submissions opening back up in autumn). This year, the magazine received over 1,200 contest entries, which were then narrowed down to 20 semi-finalists. From these selections, judge Marge Piercy selected the following for the winner, honorable mentions, and finalists.
Jim Dwyer, “Enlightenment”
Kate Gray, “Reassurance” and “For Every Girl”
José Angel Araguz, “Cazar Means to Hunt Not to Marry”
Debbie Benson, “Uchi Vallai”
Kierstin Bridger, “Preparing to Sink”
Tova Green, “March Storm at Abbots Lagoon”
John McCarthy, “What I mean When I Say I Don’t Box Anymore”
M.H. Perry, “Cardamom, Osprey, Banff, Us”
Cocoa M. Williams, “Leda on a Stoop in St. Bernard Projects (1974)”
Grab a copy of december’s Spring/Summer 2016 issue to read these poems.
Happy anniversary, Concho River Review. We hope to see you around for many more years (and pages).
Belt Publishing, publisher of city-based anthologies written by and for Rust Belt communities, are releasing a new anthology in the first week of July: Happy Anyway: The Flint Anthology. Edited by Flint writer and Belt Magazine contributor Scott Atkinson, Happy Anyway reveals Flint “at its funniest, its weirdest, and its saddest.”
There’s more to Flint than the water crisis that’s gathered the country’s attention in the past months. Preorder a copy of Happy Anyway to see all sides of this Michigan city, or check out the other anthologies which look at Detroit, Pittsburgh, Youngstown, Cincinnati, and Cleveland, with Akron and Buffalo anthologies in the making.
FICTION: Joe Dornich in Lubbock, TX for "The Reluctant Son of a Fake Hero"
POETRY: Moira Thielking in Katonah, NY for "Pirating (Salt Enough)"
NONFICTION: Kerry Muir in Annapolis, Maryland for "Martin"
A full list of semi-finalists and finalists can be found here.
The fifth volume of this annual anthology features the theme “Serenity and Severity.” The twenty-nine included writers explore the theme, the duality impacting identities, lifestyles, outlooks, worldviews, and values. Contributors include Rebecca Aronson, Heidi E. Blankenship, William Cass, David Lavar Coy, Gail Denham, John Haggerty, Ellaraine Lockie, Juan J. Morales, Scott T. Starbuck, and more.
Preorder a copy of Gesell Dome now at the Open Letter website, where you can also find an excerpt of the novel.
Teachers: The Common in the Classroom provides a way to introduce your students to global literature. Students recieve a discounted subscription price (2 issues) and you recieve a desk copy and sample lesson plans along with an in-person or Skype visit from Editor in Chief Jennifer Acker, or one of the publications participating authors.
The Spring 2016 issue of The Missouri Review is titled “Wonders and Relics” and some of the wonders readers can find in the issue include the winners of the 2015 Jeffrey E. Smith Editor’s Prize.
Emma Törzs, “The Wall”
Phillip B. Williams, Four Poems
Genese Grill, "Portals: Cabinets of Curiosity, Reliquaries, and Colonialism"
Excerpts from the winning pieces and a foreword by the magazine’s editor, Speer Morgan, can be found on The Missouri Review website.
Image: Slab City desert, part of a collaborative project with photographer Aaron Huey for the forthcoming book Shelter. The home Canilao built also doubled as a set for a short film called Bring Water, in which she played a role.
The Spring 2016 issue of The Fiddlehead features the winners of their 25th annual literary competition:
Ralph Gustafson Prize for Best Poem
Michael Eden Reynolds, "False Dichotomy or Monocot"
Alison Goodwin, "Consumed"
Jeff Parent, "Made By Robots"
Short Fiction First Prize:
Brent van Staalduinen, "Skinks"
Sarah L. Taggart, "The Way It Is In A Place Like This"
Cathy Kozak, "Dirty Girls of Paradise"
These works can be read on The Fiddlehead website along with commentary from Editor Ross Leckie on the winning entries.
Rattle editors write, "Los Angeles is our home city, but we’re an international magazine and not especially sociable, so we wanted to peek in and see what’s happening in the local scene. Greater Los Angeles is home to almost 20 million people, including a very eclectic but widely dispersed poetry community: Take your pick of the many poetry readings and open mics happening daily—but good luck driving there! It’s also a city full of complicated history and cinematic beauty. As always, we put out an open call for submissions, and were impressed with what Angeleno poets had to offer, including a love poem for Los Angeles by L.A. Poet Laureate Luis J. Rodriguez."
Other Angelenos featured inclue: Resa Alboher, Allan Aquino, Chanel Brenner, Brendan Constantine, Jack Cooper, Alejandro Escudé, Alexis Rhone Fancher, Alan Fox, Jack Grapes, Ron Koertge, Deborah P. Kolodji, Lester Graves Lennon, Ruth Madievsky, Risa Potters, Raquel Reyes-Lopez, Lynne Thompson, Amy Uyematsu, Charles Harper Webb, Mari Werner, and Cecelia Woloch.
Like many who respond to this man-made disaster, Freedman points the blame directly as it should be: "The real impurity, then, extends from the polluted water to the polluted political system that allowed emergency managers to run cities without being answerable to them, to the cover-their-ass bureaucracy, to the governor who reverses Harry Truman's credo by whining that the buck stops everywhere but his desk. The real impurity is the stupidity, selfishness and racism that is structural to the politcal system in this and far too many states."
Included in the issue is "Flint and Beyond," a special section on the Flint water crisis: Flint native Kelsey Ronan explores the effect on her family in "Blood and Water," Tarfia Faizullah dedicates her poem “I Told the Water” to Flint, fiction by Matthew Baker, "Pheasants of Detroit," and Jack Driscoll, "Calcheck and Priest" look at life in Michigan today.
Readers can preorder copies of Antiquity from the Sarabande Books website, where advance praise can also be found.
With summer lurking around the corner, let’s hit the “pause” button and take a look back at some Spring 2016 books.
In March, Adrian C. Louis’s Random Exorcisms was published. Winner of the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Poetry Prize from Louisiana State University Press, Random Exorcisms is deeply rooted in Native American traditions and folklore, in a style entirely Louis’s.
The Girls in My Town by Angela Morales, published in April, was chosen as a past NewPages Editor’s Pick. The autobiographical essays in The Girls in My Town create an unforgettable portrait of a family in Los Angeles. Poignant, serious, and funny, Morales’s book is both a coming-of-age story and an exploration of how a writer discovers her voice, and won the River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Book Contest.
Also published in April, is the poetry collection lore by Davis McCombs, which won the Agha Shahid Ali Prize in Poetry through The University of Utah Press. Linda Bierds, who selected the winning piece, says, “In thirty-eight haunting poems, McCombs offers that something to us—a wholeness attained not only through the stories and traditions of a culture but through the fusion of poet and place, poet and past.”
Check out the three titles above and order copies for some beach reading.
The video series provides supporting information for inexperienced grassroots advocates, covering everything from setting up in-person legislator meetings to the process of constructing a campaign. By breaking down oft-intimidating “inside the Beltway” language, Spark provides an accessible set of tools that can activate and motivate young advocates for the rest of their lives. The video series also includes information on writing press releases, staging social media campaigns, using library resources for research or holding events, and best practices for contacting elected officials.
Set within the resilient Great Plains, these award-winning stories are marked by the region’s people and landscape, and the distinctive way it is both regressive in its politics yet also stumbling toward something better. While not all stories are explicitly set in Oklahoma, the state is almost a character that is neither protagonist nor antagonist, but instead the weird next-door-neighbor you’re perhaps too ashamed of to take anywhere. Who is the embarrassing one—you or Oklahoma?In Fall, Kathryn Nuernberger’s poetry collection The End of Pink will be released. The winner of the 2015 James Laughlin Award, The End of Pink (Nuernberger’s second collection) is “populated by strange characters” and is “equal parts fact and folklore.” Copies are available for preorder at the BOA Editions, LTD. website.
In July, look for Maureen Millea Smith’s The Enigma of Iris Murphy from The Livingston Press. Winner of the eleventh Tartts First Fiction Award, Smith’s short story collection looks at “A prison’s visitation room; a veterinarian who understands the thoughts of animals; an Omaha police sergeant; a banking executive who consoles her dying friend; a librarian who sleeps with giraffes—all linked by the life of Iris Murphy.”
While awaiting its July release, readers can check out The Livingston Press’s website where they can find an excerpt from The Enigma of Iris Murphy and preorder a copy.
[quote from publisher's website]