Twyckenham is a name linked strongly with South Bend and Twyckenham Notes Editor in Chief Austin Veldman, who grew up there at a time when the economic slump felt by many post-automobile industry cities lingered on. “In the early 2000’s,” Veldman says, “the prevalent attitude of the town’s youth was not lost on me: I wanted to leave as soon as I could. The common words among most were there is nothing to do here.” And yet, not even a decade later, Veldman founded Twyckenham Notes in response to what he saw happening in his city, “a reemergence, the founding of a new identity,” contributing literature to help in this rebirth and renewal.
Veldman describes this “reinvention” of South Bend: “There are cafes hosting music and events. Breweries are popping up. Singer-songwriters and bands are playing in the city every week. Poetry and literary readings, showcasing both local and outside writers, are commonplace. A converted industrial building now houses an art gallery, a bar, a cafe, a press, a chocolate maker, and holds music and other miscellaneous events every week. South Bend has developed its own undercurrent of culture. I founded Twyckenham Notes to add something to the mix, to be a part of this transformation and this rebirth.”
Published quarterly online, Twyckenham Notes include poetry and artwork, and will publish work from a single writer or artist as part of their Featured Artist Series. This can include poetry, artwork, photography and short fiction. Selected artists will have their work featured on the front page of the magazine. Veldman explains that, “To ensure fairness, all submissions are read blind internally, usually passing through a first-reader before being read by the Editor-in-chief.”
Founder as well as Editor, Veldman holds a BA in English from Indiana University and is currently an MA in English candidate at Indiana University South Bend. His poetry has been featured in Bateau, The Slag Review, and others, and he is also a songwriter and fiction writer. Recently, poet John Leonard, recipient of the 2016 Wolfson Poetry Prize, has been assisting as a first reader for poetry submissions.
Readers coming to visit Twyckenham Notes will find “poetry of any style, but none in which the writer-reader connection is lost entirely,” Veldman explains. “Edgy is good; so is heart. We want kinetic poetry with lifeblood and plenty of momentum.” Some recent contributors include Allan Peterson, David Dodd Lee, Mary Ann Samyn, Russell Thorburn, Kimberly Kruge, Susan Sonde, George Kalamaras, William Stobb, Rachael Heimowitz, and James Armstrong.
After its first year, Veldman set out to expand the publication with a poetry award. "At the time,” he recounts, "I was rereading Joe Bolton's The Last Nostalgia, a work dear to me for its role in my own introduction to poetry writing in a college workshop. The idea sparked of contacting Bolton's living relatives to seek permission to name the award in his honor. After weeks of hunting down names, sending emails, waiting for replies and sending more, the good folks at the University of Arkansas Press (who still print Nostalgia) were able to give me the mailing address of Joe's father. I wrote to Ed Bolton and he replied in a beautiful and encouraging hand-written letter expressing his blessings to name the award in his son's honor. Receiving this letter has been my greatest joy since starting Twyckenham Notes.”
Thus, 2018 introduces the first Joe Bolton Poetry Award. Poet David Dodd Lee will judge, with $400 going to the winning poem or small group of poems. Submissions open late spring/early summer and close late October with selected work to be published in Issue Seven (Winter 2018) on December 1.
Submissions opened March 1 for Issue Five (Summer 2018) and are accepted via Submittable.