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Published March 14, 2017
reach out readBegun in 1989, Reach Out and Read is a program wherein medical professionals “prescribe” books and reading aloud to children “as a means of fostering the language-rich interactions between parents and their young children that stimulate early brain development.” Now, the Reach Out and Read model exists in all 50 states, with almost 1,500 sites distributing 1.6 million books per year. The program serves 4.7 million young children and their families each year, “including one in four children living in poverty in this country.” The organizers hope to grow each year, envisioning that support for books and reading will become a regular part of every child’s checkup. For more information about programs near you and information about how to get involved, visit Reach Out and Read online.
Published March 09, 2017
broadside march 2017This month's featured collaboration from Broadsided Press , "Final Descent into Phoenix" with poem by Julie Swarstad Johnson and art by Kara Page, has been months in the making. "We chose Julie Swarstad Johnson's poem for publication from our open submissions over a year ago," notes the Broadsided Editorial Team. "We sent it out to artists to see who would 'dibs' it in November, in January artist Kara Page sent us what she'd created, then our designer found a way to bring both together into a single letter-sized pdf, and finally we asked poet and artist what they thought of the results," with the conversation between artist and poet published on the Broadsided website.

Broadsided posters are available for free download and postering all about town. Become a Broadsided Vector today!
Published December 07, 2016
burn barrelIn addition to the December 2016 Broadsided Collaboration: Burn Barrel, art by Sarah Van Sanden, poem by Todd Davis, Broadsided Press is offering the community "a powerful collaboration of defiance and hope in the face of difficulty": NoDAPL Responses Feature.

"We want your writing and art in response to the Action at Standing Rock," write the editors. "In the past, we've provided art for you to spring from. This time, we want to open our submissions to visual artists as well as writers. Guest editor Tiffany Midge will help select final pieces. We waive submission fees for those directly involved in the resistance. Please help share the word."

Broadsided Press was founded in 2005 and publishes an original literary/artistic collaboration each month for download with the mission, quite simply, "to put literature and art on the streets."
Published November 30, 2016
writing disorder calendar januaryThis has got to be the perfect gift for at least one person on your holiday list: a 2017 calendar featuring 12 vintage images typewriters and the women who wield them. The Writing Disorder online quarterly literary journal of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, art, interviews and reviews is offering this custom-made item, and right now at a 20% discount. Proceeds support the publication - a win-win all around!
Published November 03, 2016
American Life in Poetry: Column 606
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Emilie Buchwald was the co-publisher and founding editor of Milkweed Editions in Minneapolis going on forty years ago, and that press grew up to become one of the finest literary publishers in our country. Today she edits children's books at Gryphon Press, which she also founded. Here's a lovely remembrance from her new book, The Moment's Only Moment, from Nodin Press.

My Mother's Music

emilie buchwaldIn the evenings of my childhood,
when I went to bed,
music washed into the cove of my room,
my door open to a slice of light.

I felt a melancholy I couldn't have named,
a longing for what I couldn't yet have said
or understood but still
knew was longing,
knew was sadness
untouched by time.

Sometimes
the music was a rippling stream
of clear water rushing
over a bed of river stones
caught in sunlight.

And many nights
I crept from bed
to watch her
swaying where she sat
overtaken by the tide,
her arms rowing the music
out of the piano.

We do 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 ©2016 by Emilie Buchwald, “My Mother's Music,” from The Moment's Only Moment, (Nodin Press, 2016). Poem reprinted by permission of Emilie Buchwald 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.
Published August 15, 2016
finishJust like the foot race marathon, you don't get bragging rights until you actually do it. And, appropriately, this year's Poetry Marathon took place during the summer Olympics. So while I was toiling away at my poetry prompts and posting poems to the official marathon blog, runners from around the world were competing for gold, silver and bronze medals in Rio.

Unlike the Olympics, the Poetry Marathon is an annual event. I originally posted on it here, and the PM website offers a complete history and FAQ of the event. While I've known about the event for several years, this is the first year I  participated. Luckily for me (and many others), the organizers have created a half marathon, which is what I completed. Both marathons start at 9:00am ET on writing day (Aug 13 this year), then every hour for 12 or 24 hours, participants are expected to write a poem and post it to the PM website. Each participant gets their own login on a group Wordpress site, then as each participant publishes a poem, which is housed on their own blog space, it is also posted to the whole group blog. If you look at the site now, what you see are the poems posted by the participants as they came in.

If this sounds like a big commitment of a day, it is - or it can be. The organizers are flexible in letting participants commit to (on their honor) writing one poem every hour and then posting them when they can get to a computer. Some participants commented on having to go to work, so while they were writing the poems, they wouldn't be posting them until later. Even for me, with a day "off," I couldn't be at the computer every hour of the day.

Bottom line: Was it fun? Was it engaging? Was it worthwhile? Yes, yes, and yes. Would I do it again? Absolutely. Until you do it, you don't quite "get it." Write a poem an hour? Anyone can do that on their own. But it was motivating (even a bit demanding) being in the community, committed to having to publish poems up to the website, having to be responsible every hour of the day. In fact, even while I was just sitting working at the computer, I almost missed one of the hours because I was so caught up in my work. I realized it with only five minutes left in the hour and scrambled to catch up! The pressure! It was wonderful. As were the prompts, which the organizers provide at the top of every hour. I admire those writers who had their own ideas for poems, but I relied heavily on the prompts to give me something to write about and get the writing done. There were many who did the same, and it was engaging to see the various interpretations of the prompts - a lot of really creative writers.

When it was done - 12 hours and 12 poems later - I felt a deep sense of pride and accomplishment. Not that I believe I wrote 12 astonishing poems that will shake the world. But because I wrote 12 poems in 12 hours as part of a community of people who were just as eager and committed as me. Surrounded for a whole day by an entire community of poets - reading, writing, commenting, and then doing it all over again, and again, and again. I think immersion is the right word.

I also learned that not everyone will be able to appreciate the experience if you try to share your joy at the accomplishment. "I just finished a poetry half marathon!" I exclaimed to my husband as I walked away from the computer at 9:00pm after just having posted my final poem. "Okay," he said, not turning away from his laptop.

What you get out of it is definitely personal. Unlike the foot race, and unlike the Olympics, there aren't throngs of people cheering your completion, no competitors there to hug you for a good race won. Though the organizers and participants do post encouraging comments for one another and have chat groups running to motivate one another, in the end, the sense of whatever it has meant to you will be completely up to you to generate and to own.

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, I was challenged, I accomplished my goal, and I hope to be back to do it again next year.

Thank you Poetry Marathon! Congratulations to everyone who completed the half 12 hours of writing and the full 24 hours of writing. I get it: You are amazing!

[Applause]
Published July 20, 2016
American Life in Poetry: Column 590
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

As children, just about everyone has experienced the very real fear of an imaginary monster. But what if our mothers could have spoken to our childhood fears? Carrie Shipers of Wisconsin, the author of Family Resemblances: Poems (University of New Mexico Press), depicts just that when a protective mother talks back to her son's Bogeyman in this fine poem.

Mother Talks Back to the Monster

carrie shipersTonight, I dressed my son in astronaut pajamas,
kissed his forehead and tucked him in.
I turned on his night-light and looked for you
in the closet and under the bed. I told him
you were nowhere to be found, but I could smell
your breath, your musty fur. I remember
all your tricks: the jagged shadows on the wall,
click of your claws, the hand that hovered
just above my ankles if I left them exposed.
Since I became a parent I see danger everywhere—
unleashed dogs, sudden fevers, cereal
two days out of date. And even worse
than feeling so much fear is keeping it inside,
trying not to let my love become so tangled
with anxiety my son thinks they're the same.
When he says he's seen your tail or heard
your heavy step, I insist that you aren't real.
Soon he'll feel too old to tell me his bad dreams.
If you get lonely after he's asleep, you can
always come downstairs. I'll be sitting
at the kitchen table with the dishes
I should wash, crumbs I should wipe up.
We can drink hot tea and talk about
the future, how hard it is to be outgrown.

We do 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 ©2015 by Carrie Shipers, “Mother Talks Back to the Monster” (North American Review, Vol. 300, no. 4, 2015). Poem reprinted by permission of Carrie Shipers 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.
Published July 05, 2016
marathon runnerThe Poetry Marathon is an annual event that challenges participants to write 24 poems in 24 hour, posting the writing online via a shared Wordpress site. This year's marathon begins at 9 AM EDT on Saturday, August 13, 2016 and ends at 9 AM on Sunday. There is also a half marathon from 9 AM until 9 PM Saturday.

The Poetry Marathon is run (no pun intended) by Caitlin Jans (Thomson) and Jacob Jans, two writers and web publishers living in the Pacific Northwest. There is no charge to participate in the marathon, and in 2015, over 300 writers participated from nearly every continent but one (c'mon Antarctica!).

The Poetry Marathon website has an FAQ that answers the burning questions, like: How do I prepare for the Marathon? What if I can't be at a computer all day? What happens to the poems once I post them? and more. The site also features blog posts from previous participants who offer commentary on their marathon experience.

This year, the organizers plan to publish a Poetry Marathon Anthology of poems written during the marathon.
Published June 28, 2016
wwbcampusWords Without Borders promotes cultural understanding through the translation, publication, and promotion of the contemporary international literature. Words Without Borders Campus brings that literature to high school and college students, teachers, and professors. On their website, you'll find fiction, poetry, and essays from around the world, along with resources for understanding it, ideas for teaching it, and suggestions for further exploration.

Most of the literature presented comes from the online magazine, Words without Borders. Words Without Borders Campus is asking for your help to reach more students and add new countries and literature to their site. With their collections of literature from Mexico, China, Egypt, and Japan, WWB Campus has already reached more than 1,500 high school and college students in the United States and throughout the world, with access to their site remaining completely free.

To take their program to the next level, WWB Campus is asking its supporters -- readers, educators, and even students – for help with a new crowd-funding campaign and to spread awareness of WWB Campus. WWB Campus would like to double the number of students reached, adding new features to the website, and introducing literature from more countries (Russia, Iran, and West Africa are in the plans). For more information about how you can help, visit the WWB Campus website. You don't have to donate money - using the site and spreading the word about it helps too - #InspireGlobalReaders!
Published June 30, 2016
The tenth annual August Poetry Postcard Festival opens for registration on July 4, 2016!

august po poFor 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 July, 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.

New this year: poems from this year’s fest can be submitted for the 1st Poetry Postcard Fest Anthology, a project led by three volunteers.

I've done this event since it began! 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!
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