At the beginning of the month, Washington Writers’ Publishing House published the winner of the 2016 Fiction Prize: Strivers and Other Stories by Robert J. Williams.
From the publisher:
Set between the 1920s and the present day, Strivers and Other Stories explores a range of African-American and Southern voices reflecting characters striving towards their versions of the American dream. In 13 stories, we meet teachers and doctors, train porters and factory workers, soldiers and musicians; mothers, fathers, children and spouses; mentors and mentees. With a mix of humor and heart, satire and sentiment, this collection captures their everyday struggles for better lives and their hopes for promising futures.
Learn more at the publisher’s website.
The fall season seems to be flying by, so let’s hit pause to look back at the award-winning books published in the past few months.
Back in September, Truman State University Press published Daughter, Daedalus by Alison D. Moncrief Bromage, winner of the 2016 T. S. Eliot Prize Winner. Jennifer Clement, contest judge, calls the collection “both original and very often masterful,” with an “elevated High Church intention [ . . . ] that T. S. Eliot would have recognized.” Copies are available digitally and in print at the press’s website.
Also published in September was the winner of Southeast Missouri State University Press’s Nilsen Prize for a First Novel: Rules for Lying by Anne Corbitt. Rules for Lying is a timely novel that explores the accusations and characters involved in an alleged rape, and how the families and the town they live in react, incriminate, and take sides. More information is available at the publisher’s website.
Moving on to October, Allegra Hyde’s Of This New World, winner of the John Simmons Short Fiction Award, was released. Judge Bennet Simms calls it “an ambitious and memorable debut.” In twelve stories, Hyde writes with a mix of lyricism humor, and masterful detail. Check out the University of Iowa Press website for more information.
And finally, Josh Rathkamp won the 2016 Georgetown Review Press Poetry Manuscript Contest with his collection A Storm to Close the Door. Terrance Hayes calls the collection stunning with poems that “are often quick-witted and charming, but they never shy away from their meditations and quotidian American blues.” SPD has A Storm to Close the Door available for purchase.
This past October, Noemi Press released the winner of the 2015 Noemi Press Poetry Award: Bone Confetti by Muriel Leung. Leung's first poetry collection, Bone Confetti reveals "there are two types of survivors at the end of the world.” Ash confetti “floats between funeral and parade, wedding and hell. When all that is left is the terrible residue of memory, lovers and ghosts try their best to make do [ . . . ] in an attempt to fashion a new sense of humanity.” Check out the Noemi Press website for more information and copies.
Looking ahead to December, the 2015 Winner of the Noemi Press Fiction Award will be released. Uncountry: a mythology by Yanara Friedland. The novel is “a collection of narratives that aim to expand creative pathways into historical space, particularly histories of migration and displacement.” Divided into four sections, each section explores “The gaps bweteen ‘remembered’ official history and the more unreliable spaces of private memory and unspoken unofficial history.” Copies of Uncountry are available for pre-order at the Noemi Press website.
[Quotes from SPD website]
Pint-Size Publications, publisher of literary magazine Sport Literate, introduces their very first nonfiction, single-author book: A Proficiency in Billiards: Reflections from a Well-Traveled Life by Lance Mason. Mason first came to the editors’ attention with his essay “In the Lair of the Red Dragon,” published in an issue of Sport Literate earlier in the year.
A Proficiency in Billiards, Mason’s first essay collection, takes readers from his home base in South California where he stood “eyewitness to pool hustlers and drag racers in the 1960s” to travels throughout the world, including New Zealand, Ireland, Greece, and Yugoslavia, just to name a few. Readers are invited along Mason’s travels, all from the comfort of their homes.
Keep an eye on Pint-Size Publications to see what they’ll have on tap next, and head to their website to order copies of A Proficiency in Billiards.
Author Cass R. Sunstein introduces his 2016 book, The World According to Star Wars (HarperCollins) humbly enough:
I’m going to be covering some diverse topics here, including the nature of human attachment, whether timing is everything, how to rank the seven Star Wars movies, why Martin Luther King Jr. was a conservative, how boys need their mothers, the workings of the creative imagination, the fall of Communism, the Arab Spring, changing understandings of human rights, whether The Force Awakens was a triumph or a disappointment, the limits of human attention, and whether Star Wars really is better than Star Trek.
With the exception of that last point, which I still find open to debate, one of the joys of this book is that Mr. Sunstein accomplishes the tasks he sets out in a quick reading, well-documented short book that combines playful romps of unabashed Star Wars fandom with high level reviews of politics, psychology, sociology, behavioral economics, and film critique. The book is engaging for nerfherders and Jedi Knights, alike.
[Guest post by Chris Curtis. Chris teaches psychology at Delta College: www.delta.edu/clcurtis.]
First place: Mark Fishman [pictured], of Paris, France, wins $3000 for “Songwad Road." His story will be published in Issue 100 of Glimmer Train Stories.
Second place: Jessica Johannesson Gaitán, of Bath, England, wins $1000 for “Bad Language.”
Third place: Jill Rosenberg, of Montclair, NJ, wins $600 for “16 Days of Glory.”
A PDF of the Top 25 winners can be found here.
Deadline soon approaching for the Short Story Award for New Writers: November 10
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 1000-5000 words, but can go up to 12,000. First place prize wins $2500 and publication in Glimmer Train Stories. Second/third: $500/$300 and consideration for publication. Click here for complete guidelines.
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
We've been selecting poems for this column for more than ten years and I can't remember ever publishing a poem about a cat. But here at last is a cat, a lovely old cat. Ron Koertge lives in California, and his most recent book of poems is Vampire Planet: New & Selected Poems, from Red Hen Press.
No one would take her when Ruth passed.
As the survivors assessed some antiques,
I kept hearing, "She's old. Somebody
should put her down."
I picked her up instead. Every night I tell her
about the fish who died for her, the ones
in the cheerful aluminum cans.
She lies on my chest to sleep, rising
and falling, rising and falling like a rowboat
fastened to a battered dock by a string.
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 Ron Koertge, “Lily,” from Vampire Planet: New & Selected Poems, (Red Hen Press, 2016). Poem reprinted by permission of Ron Koertge 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.
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
In 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.
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.
1st place goes to Zehra Nabi of Baltimore, MD [Photo credit: Summer Greer], who wins $2000 for “Cow Killer.” Her story will be published in Issue 101 of Glimmer Train Stories. This will be the first print publication of her fiction.
2nd place goes to Mark Watkins of Lawrenceville, GA, who wins $500 for “What I Know About Where I’m From.”
3rd place goes to Hank Snelgrove of Nordland, WA, who wins $300 for “Fire in the Foam Bin.”
A PDF of the Top 25 winners can be found here.
Deadline soon approaching for the Short Story Award for New Writers: November 10
This competition is held three times a year 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 1000-5000 words, but can go up to 12,000. First place prize wins $2500 and publication in Glimmer Train Stories. Second/third: $500/$300 and consideration for publication. Click here for complete guidelines.
Espano received her MFA from the University of Florida and has taught English and creative writing classes at several colleges. Her poetry has appeared in The Massachusetts Review, Green Mountains Review, The Bitter Oleander, Sycamore Review, and Spoon River Poetry Review, among others. Her work has also been included in the American Diaspora: Poetry of Displacement and Like Thunder: Poets Respond to Violence in America anthologies. In 2015, she published her first book of poetry, The Sky's Dustbin, the winner of the 2014 Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award.
She is also a poet with the We Are You Project, an international organization "created to inform, enlighten, stimulate, and educate the public on the many facets and realities of Latino identity as it emerged over the past four centuries and continues to evolve in this, the 21st Century" through art exhibits, documentaries, poetry, lectures, and seminars.
Read an excerpt from the interview and one of her poems here.
Enticed? I certainly was, which is why I contacted Kelsey Mars, founder and sole editor of Heather, a new online indie literary publication, to learn more about this nakedness next to me in bed.
First – the name. "Heather," Kelsey tells me, “is a unique feminine name, as well as being a shade of purple and a color generally associated with alternative sexuality. I wanted Heather as a publication to embody all aspects of this, to draw up images of bad girls in pleated skirts and the back row of the movie theater.”
Publishing fiction, non-fiction and poetry as well as digital art, photography and film, readers can determine whether or not the content stands up to its namesake. The free, online PDF features poems “about subjects that might make you uncomfortable,” Kelsey warns, as well as “erotica, film to chew on, stories about robots, flash fiction to make you cry a single diamond tear.”
While new to this venture, Kelsey is a seasoned literary professional. “I've been published in Huffington Post: Queer Voices, Thought Catalog, Miscellany, Meat For Tea and am upcoming in Painted Bride. You can read my original screenplay, Gotham Summer, as I tweet it out: @gothamsummer. I studied Media Theory and Communications at the College of Charleston, where I was first introduced to flash fiction writing. Since then, I've written two novels and more poems and flash fiction than is healthy for one person. In the light of day, I work on the Customer Experience team at Casper Sleep and preach the good word of Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic: Never ask your art to pay for you.”
While involved in so much of her own writing,I asked Kelsey the motivation for adding this responsibility. “So many of us get rejection after rejection, often without knowing why. So many voices go unheard in this industry and it's a damn shame. I started Heather to publish the weird stuff, the stuff that other publications might not see as ‘premium’ or literary enough. I wanted experimental stuff, the weirdest thing someone has ever written. I wanted a home for that stuff.”
Writers looking to home their works should know that Kelsey manages submissions on a rolling basis, accepting works as they fit the arc of each issue, offering the work more than one shot, but releasing it if it hasn’t found its fit after two issue cycles. Heather accepts simultaneous submissions, which keeps the editorial process timely.
Already, Heather has been made home by authors such as Maggie Cooper, whose first published pieces of fiction appeared in Heather and, as Kelsey notes: “totally blew my mind”; Monique Quintana, a fiction editor herself “whose shit haunts my dreams” Kelsey says; and Kirsten Bledsoe, a filmmaker whom Kelsesy knew prior to Heather, who has made both a feature length series about queer women of color and a prodigious ode to Marilyn Monroe's poetry (which Heather published).
The future for Heather is boundless: “I want to go to Mars, dude,” Kelsey tells me with an edge of seriousness. “I want to see what's outside of our solar system. Send me poems, fiction, art about that stuff. The stuff that we don't even know yet. Let's go to uncharted territory and live to brag about it.” Back down on earth, Kelsey hopes to publish Heather three times this year and keep the publication going well beyond that.
In addition to the regular publishing cycle, Kelsey is planning a special holday issue. The publication is not holiday themed, “but rather what you actually want to be reading when you're avoiding your family over the holidays,” Kelsey says. “I'd like to publish more creative nonfiction in this issue, poetry about our fears, things like that.” Submissions accepted via Submittable; deadline November 27 to be published December 11.
As a final word, Kelsey encourages writers: “The most important thing I want people to take away from Heather is that you can do it to. You can publish the stuff YOU love. And if more of us do that, more of us will realize we're someone's favorite thing.”
Two works, "Zakid’s Delicatessen, Bremen" by Peter Waterhouse (trans. Iain Galbraith) and "on classification in language, a feeble reader" by Uljana Wolf (trans. Sophie Seita), are available to read on the NER website along with Kuebler's Editor's Note for this issue.
“I wanted to remember the absences that online life had replaced with constant content, constant connection. I’ve remembered what it is to be free in the world, free from the obliterating demands of five hundred ‘contacts.’”Author Michael Harris shares this journal entry near the end of an “Analog August” (a self-enforced month without a smartphone and other internet devices) in his 2014 book, The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We’ve Lost in a World of Constant Connection (The Penguin Group). Mr. Harris examines the loss of absence from the perspective of the digital immigrant generation—those of an age to recall life both before and after the ubiquitous online world. Do you remember what it was like to cast an empty gaze out the window of the car on a long family trip? To vaguely wonder what the couple down the street was discussing as you waited for your bus? Do you remember being alone with your thoughts and just . . . being? Mr. Harris takes a digital immigrant journey of exploration through our technology-infused society and technology-induced angst, culminating in his own attempt to recapture absence.
Montana Prize in Fiction
Selected by Claire Vaye Watkins
"Crick" by Terrance Manning, Jr.
Montana Prize in Creative Nonfiction
Selected by Amanda Fortini
"Meme" by Tracy Fuad
Patricia Goedicke Prize in Poetry
Selected by Oliver De La Paz
Three Poems by J.R. Toriseva
The cover of The Massachusetts Review (v57 n3) features Nina Chanel Abney's What, 2015 (unique ultrachrome pigmented print, acrylic, spray paint on canvas). More of her work is also featured in the publication and can be viewed in her online portfolio here.
The cover of the seventh issue of Subprimal Poetry Art features Three Shadows by Kate Viola, who says the painting was "inspired by the haunting arias often found in operas." Subprimal Poetry Art is a open access online publication of words with music, words alone, and artwork.
by Erica Goss
Once a week I wipe the dust from the lid,
tilt the little jar of ashes
and watch them settle. Where
is his giant bark of a laugh,
his hand smacking the table
so hard my plate jumped?
Night after night he voiced
all the parts in Huckleberry Finn. . .
[read the rest and more on gravel]
From "Emotion is Not Plot: Using Detachment to Create Powerful Fiction" a craft essay by Claire Rudy Foster in the online journal Cleaver Magazine.
First: "It Came in the Mail" by Damhnait Monaghan
Second: "Princess Party" by Jennifer Stuart
Third: "The Secret of the Snoring Time" by Elizabeth Fisher
The online journal also includes guest editors for this issue Joy Castro and Ira Sukrungruang in conversation with one another about "what they hoped for and what they learned" in putting this issue together, as well as the accompanying craft essay "Three Commandments for Writing About Race" by Xu Xi [pictured].
The most recent issue (Fall 2016 #12) features the elements passageway, relic, kiss. "When we first chose the elements for this issue . . ." write the editors, "we worried that this specific trio of words would be a bit too leading. Would we get dozens of submissions about alluring, illicit affairs, kisses stolen along the shadowy hallways of castles and cathedrals? As it turned out – the answer was no. This issue is filled with writers and artists who surprised us, who made us see and consider the elements in ways we never had before, and we are honored to be able to share their work with you all."
The elements for Issue 13 are THREAD, GLAZE, MURMUR with a submission deadline of October 31.
If you'd like to be a Vector, all you need to do is print and post the broadside. Broadsided Press would also like to encourage colleges and universities to start their own broadside collaborations! Visit their website here for more information.
Sarah Minor, “Nest”
Dana Curtis, ” Two Films”
adrian nichols, “lexicon of anarchy, no. xxii”
Sophie Monatte, “Fragments”
Other writers who works are included in the Transgenre section: Jessica Hollander, Julia Brennan, Katherine Riegel, Elizabeth Bryer, Lisa Samuels, Amy Newman, and Sara Biggs Chaney.
Since 2013, Noemi Press and Letras Latinas (the literary imitative at the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame) have been co-publishing under the Akrilica Series to showcase innovative Latino writing.
You Ask Me To Talk About the Interior by Carolina Ebeid joins the ranks of the Akrilica Series, published in September 2016. Ebeid’s first book, You Ask Me To Talk About the Interior has been called “a book of listening and responding and listening again” (Shane McCrae) that uses “[t]he voice of a mother, of lover, of friend” (Julie Carr).
2016 Janet B McCabe Poetry Prize
Judge Alice Fulton
FIRST PLACE: “Yellow” by Melissa Reeser Poulin
SECOND PLACE: “Small Implosions” by Barbara Ellen Sorensen
HONORABLE MENTION: “The Lord, Walking in the Evening” by Michael Schmidtke and “Deer Apples” by Sally Thomas
With October here, it’s time to announce a couple of the award-winning books slated for publication this month.Winner of the 2016 John Simmons Short Fiction Award, Of This New World by Allegra Hyde, hit the shelves earlier this month. The collection starts at the Garden of Eden and ends on a Mars colony, each story wrestling with “conflicts of idealism and practicality, communal ambition and individual kink,” and asking the fundamental human question: “Is paradise really so impossible?” Of This New World is Hyde’s first collection, and it’s now available at the University of Iowa Press website (now currently on sale for the frugal reader!).
Love Give Us One Death: Bonnie and Clyde in the Last Days by Jeff P. Jones is the winner of the 2015 George Garrett Fiction Prize. Final Judge Tracy Daugherty says the book of the two famous outlaws shows “larger dimensions: the spiritual shadows and compulsive needs from which our nation springs and through which it has found its many forms of speech.” This is Jones’s first book, and copies are available from the Texas A&M University Press website.