Jann Everard [pictured], "Blue Runaways"
Judge: Carleigh Baker
Read an interview with Jann Everard here.
B. A. Markus, "How Can a Dog Help a Goose"
Judge: Betsy Warland
Read an interview with B. A. Markus here.
Barbara Pelman, "Nevertheless”
Judge: Evelyn Lau
Read an interview with Barbara Pelman here.
Open Season Awards is an annual contest that awards $2000 in each genre. It closes on November 1.
The Spring 2018 issue of The Bellingham Review includes two features: Who Are These Assembled Nations?: New Poems from Palestine with works from Sheikha Helawy [pictured], Najwan Darwish, and Anwar Al-Anwar, and Unbidden Stories: New Writing from Israel with fiction by Orly Castel-Bloom, Anat Levin, and Liran Golod, poetry by Shimon Adaf and Anna Herman, and a hybrid text-image collaboration between Etgar Keret and Neta Rabinovitch. Credit for this curation goes to international consultant Liran Golod who worked with S. Paola Antonetta to bring these collections to readers.
The Spring 2018 issue of The Bellingham Review features winners of their annual contests:
49th Parallel Award for Poetry
Contest judge Robert Cording
“The Art of Forgetting" by John Blair
Annie Dillard Award for Creative Nonfiction
Contest judge Julie Marie
“Mustard” by Susan M. Stabile [pictured]
Tobias Wolff Award for Fiction
Contest judge John Dufresne
“Escape Artist” by Janis Hubschman
The cover of the online Subprimal Poetry issue 11.0 is "Blissful Deletion" by Willow Margarita Schafer, about which the artist comments: "I wanted to try and visually depict what nothingness feels like on a human level: a sort of calm fragmentation that is very hard to shake."
American Life in Poetry: Column 686
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
I'm writing this column in the earliest days of another spring, and here's a fine spring poem from Rose King's book Time and Peonies , from Hummingbird Press. The poet lives in California.
I'm out with the wheelbarrow mixing mulch.
A mockingbird trills in the pine.
Then, from higher, a buzz, and through patches of blue
as the fog burns off, a small plane pulls a banner,
red letters I can't read—
but I do see, over the fence,
a man in a sky-blue shirt walking his dog to the beach.
He says he missed it, will keep an eye out.
Four barrows of mulch around the blueberry bushes,
I'm pulling off gloves, and he's back, beaming.
"It says, I LOVE YOU, MARTHA.
Are you Martha?"
We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts. 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 2017 by Rosie King from Time and Peonies (Hummingbird Press, 2017). Poem reprinted by permission of Rosie King and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2018 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.
In addition to its regular content of poetry, the Summer 2018 issue of Rattle includes a Tribute to Athlete Poets. "The stereotypes about athletes and poets might make it seem like an odd combination, but poetry lives everywhere, and stereotypes need to be broken," comment the editors.
Rattle does this by bringing together twenty-two poets that include professional athletes from the NFL and NBA, tennis pros, soccer players, weightlifters, and marathon runners. Add to the mix an interview with semi-pro basketball player (did you know that?) and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Stephen Dunn.
Athletes whose poems appear in this issue include: James Adams, Elison Alcovendaz, Chaun Ballard, Erinn Batykefer, T.J. DiFrancesco, Stephen Dunn, Peg Duthie, Michael Estabrook, Daniel Gleason, Tony Gloeggler, Alex Hoffman-Ellis, A.M. Juster, Benjamín N. Kingsley, Laura Kolbe, Michael Mark, Tom Meschery, Jack Ridl, Laszlo Slomovits, Brent Terry, Martin Vest, Arlo Voorhees, and Guinotte Wise.
The Ralph Gustafson Prize for Best Poem Winner
Matthew Hollett, "The Day After the Best Before"
Judges: Jennifer Houle, Sonnet L’Abbé, Sachiko Murakami
Read an interview with Matthew Hollett here.
Poetry Honorable Mentions
Conyer Clayton, "Recurrent"
Conor Mc Donnell, "Qui vincit? (medicamina)"
Short Fiction Prize Winner
Kate Osana Simonian [pictured], "The Press"
Judge: Kerry Lee Powell
Read an interview with Simonian here.
Fiction Honorable Mention
Samantha Jade Macpherson, "The Fish and the Dragons"
In addition to its twice-a-year print publication of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, reviews, translations and now plays-in-progress, The Cincinnati Review features free online content, inviting writers published in their print issues to contribute to their blog. "We're especially interested in posts that can include an audio, visual, or video element, but we're open to everything."
One of those "everythings" is a beautiful recipe for scones shared by Siân Griffiths [pictured], which is as much personal narrative as it is recipe: "Let your mind wander as you sift and press the flour and butter in your fingertips. Remember the girl who told you that it doesn’t count as being the daughter of an immigrant if your immigrant father was only British. Remember the precision of your grandmother’s back garden with its perfect border of perfect flowers. Wonder why you even own that stupid pastry cutter."
The Cincinnati Review online also includes miCRo, a weekly highlight of flash fiction or nonfiction or poem under 32 lines each. Recent contributors include Cady Vishniac, Kelle Groom, Becky Hagenston, Joshua Kryah, and Lisa Fay Coutley. Submissions for this feature are open year-round (excluding during contest submissions).
Gerald Purdy is the featured artist for Weber Spring/Summer 2018, who comments, "Time and space have collapsed in art but not in the self of the artist. I happen to think we are still driven by the need to tell stories and to create illusion and order where none exists."
I love the striking simplicity of this cover photo for the Spring/Summer 2018 issue of The Aurorean, but it's the moose that drew enough favor to land it here! Appropriately enough, titled "Tulips in Moose Vase" is a photo by Cynthia Brackett-Vincent.
The cover of The Main Street Rag Spring 2018 is the intriguing collage "Extinction" by Sebastian Matthews.
The Kenyon Review will be accepting submissions during their open reading period (Sept. 15 – Nov. 1) for a special issue “to engage the possibilities, as well as the limits, of Literary Activism,” with guest editors Rita Dove and John Kinsella. “They share a belief that literary writing offers one of the most effective means for interrogating and challenging social oppression, inequality, and injustice,” writes David H. Lynn in the May/June 2018 issue. “Their goal will also include presenting a range of responses to a world whose soil and water and air are under grave threat.”
Read Lynn's complete Editor’s Notes: Literary Activism and the World We Live In.
Winner for Fiction
“A Day in Which Something Might Be Done” by Michael McGuire
“The Goddess of Beauty Goes Bowling” by Chaya Bhuvaneswar
Winner for Nonfiction
“Concaves” by Deborah Thompson
“Here Is How I Come Undone” by Caroline Burke
“How My Body Was Made” by Terry Ann Thaxton
For a full list of finalists and judges' comments on the winners, click here.
Winners of the annual Lamar York Prizes for Fiction and Nonfiction receive $1,000.00 each and publication. The prize is open from November 1 - January 31.
Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction blog for May features an interview between Sarah Einstein and Sven Birkerts, "On Writing, the Distractions of Technology, and Iota."
Einstein checks in with Birkerts on what may have changed in how we are impacted by technology since just 2015 and the publication of his book Changing the Subject: Art and Attention in the Internet Age.
"If you spend much of the day free-styling between platforms, what do you have to work with in the soul-making department, and what will you use to make your art, if art is what you make?" Birkerts comments.
The two also discuss how we can (if we can) regain "access to the sublime through art" and what exactly Birkerts wishes people would pay more attention to and less attention to in our daily lives.
Birkerts will be a workshop leader for the Iota Conference in mid-August, where he hopes "to use exercises and conversation to help the writers get closer to the urgency and insistence of their respective projects."
Read the full, and brief (of course), interview here.
"Peach" by Thomas Gresham
"Stories of Men and Women" by M.K. Narváez
"On Learning That Ho Chi Minh Once Worked as a Baker at the Parker House Hotel in Boston" by Robbie Gamble
"I Am Fat" by Paulette Fire (Nonfiction)
"Sal Wants to Sleep" by Serena Johe (Fiction)
The contest is open from October 1 - November 15 each year. Each winner receives $1000 and publication.
The Common is a print and online publication of The Common Foundation, "a nonprofit dedicated to publishing and promoting art and literature that embodies a sense of place" with an emphasis of publishing new writers from around the world. Issue #15 includes a special portfolio of Arabic stories and artwork from Jordan.
Authors featured (translated by) in this issue: Mahmoud al-Rimawi and Haifa’ Abul-Nadi (Elisabeth Jaquette); Ghalib Halasa, Jamila Amaireh and Fairooz Tamimi (Thoraya El-Rayyes); Ja’far al-Oquaili, Mufleh al-Odwan and Majidah al-Outoum (Alice Guthrie); and Elias Farkouh (Maia Tabet).
TEACHERS: The Common also provides discounted classroom subscriptions, desk copy, and lesson plans to accompany the specific issue, as well as an in-person or Skype visit from Editor in Chief Jennifer Acker or a participating author. Click here for more information.
Hanging Loose 109 features a full-color art portfolio by Elizabeth Hershon as well as "Dreams" on the cover.
Into the Void issue 8.2 (2018) is one that required a double take with "Blindness: Study #0" by Pedro Aires, "A young architect from Portugal interested in experiementing with mulitiple creative processes."
The Spring 2018 issue of Paterson Literary Review includes winners and all the honorable mentions of the 2017 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards:
Howard Berelson, Teaneck, NJ, “Last Night”
Robert A. Rosenbloom, Bound Brook, NJ, “Dear Amy”
Eileen Van Hook, Wanaque, NJ “Thanksgiving Memory”
Phillipa Scott, West Orange, NJ, “Hoboken, 1990”
For a full list of the Honorable Mentions and Editor's Choice selections, click here.
The Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards, honoring Allen Ginsberg’s contributions to American Literature, are given annually to poets. First prize, $1,000; second prize, $200; and third prize, $100. Winning poems are published in the following year’s issue of the Paterson Literary Review. The contest is open between June 1 and September 30 of each year.
In addition to poetry and book reviews, the Spring 2018 issue of The Wallace Stevens Journal is a special issue: "Re-triangulating Yeats, Stevens, Eliot" edited by Edward Ragg and Bart Eeckhout. Content includes:
“Pages from Tales: Narrating Modernism's Aftermaths” by Edward Ragg
“Yeats, Stevens, Eliot: Eras and Legacies” an Interview with Marjorie Perloff
“Atlantic Triangle: Stevens, Yeats, Eliot in Time of War Ireland” by Lee M. Jenkins
“Crazy Jane and Professor Eucalyptus: Self-Dissolution in the Later Poetry of Yeats and Stevens” by Margaret Mills Harper
"’Where / Do I begin and end?’: Circular Imagery in the Revolutionary Poetics of Stevens and Yeats” by Hannah Simpson
"’Dead Opposites’ or ‘Reconciled among the Stars’?: Stevens and Eliot” by Tony Sharpe
“The Idea of a Colony: Eliot and Stevens in Australia” by Benjamin Madden
"’We reason of these things with later reason’: Plain Sense and the Poetics of Relief in Eliot and Stevens” by Sarah Kennedy
The Spring 2018 issue of The Bitter Oleander features an in-depth interview with European Editor, poet and translator John Taylor. Editor and Publisher Paul B. Roth delves into a variety of issues and interests with Taylor, including influences on his writing; his bout with polio and interest in mathematics in his youth; the value of "slow" travel - trains being a particular favorite mode of transportation and thought/work space for Taylor; the situation of being an American writer living abroad and the concepts of 'foreignness' and 'otherness'; and the "subtle positivity" of Taylor's writings. The interview is accompanied by over a dozen pages of Taylor's work.
I love this Glimmer Train #102 cover image of fresh fruits. Though not the kind of tropical fruit we see here in Michigan, this makes me look forward to summer farmers markets. Cover art: "I Miss My Mother" by Jane Zwinger.
Winners and Honorable Mentions of the 2018 Bellevue Literary Review Prizes can be found in the Spring 2018 issue:
Goldenberg Prize for Fiction
Selected by Geraldine Brooks
Winner: “Atrophy” by Lauren Erin O’Brien
Honorable Mention: “Full Buck Moon” by Sheryl Louise Rivett
Honorable Mention: “Bamboo Forest” by Faith Shearin
Felice Buckvar Prize for Nonfiction
Selected by Rivka Galchen
Winner: “Cancer, So Far” by Elizabeth Crowell
Honorable Mention: “Drawing Blood” by Laura Johnsrude
Honorable Mention: “The Reluctant Sexton” by Martha Wolfe
Marica and Jan Vilcek Prize for Poetry
Selected by Rachel Hadas
Winner: “Throat” by Gabriel Spera
Honorable Mention: “The Game of Catch” by Noah Stetzer
Daniel Liebowitz Prize for Student Writing
Winner: Nonfiction “Portraits” by Janna Minehart
The annual Bellevue Literary Review Prizes award outstanding writing related to themes of health, healing, illness, the mind, and the body. The next contest will close on July 1, 2018.
"If a poem works it’s because you’ve made it such that other people might participate in making it meaningful, and this participation will always rest on another person’s understanding of the poem and its relationship to a world that is not your own. Your own understanding of the poem will evolve over time too, as you reread it in light of your changing world, just as you will find the world altered in light of the poem you wrote to understand a small uncertain corner of it. With poems, you never get to settle on a final meaning for your work, just as you never get to feel settled, finally, as yourself."
From On Poetry and Uncertain Subjects: Learning from the unknown by Jack Underwood in the May 2018 issue of Poetry. Read the rest here.
Last month, DM O'Connor reviewed EJ Koh’s collection of poems Lesser Love. In addition to being selected winner of the Pleiades Press Editors Prize for Poetry in 2017, O’Connor offers this praise: “It is clear that each page stands alone as an example of true contemporary poetry. It is clear you should buy this book, memorize all the poems, then give it to a friend who need to be affirmed that poetry is far from dead.”
At the close of the review, O’Connor notes that Koh will even write love letters to her readers, just for the asking. Intrigued, I visited her website, where she states, “I am writing a thousand love letters to strangers by hand.”
Her July 26, 2016 blog post entitled, “It’s Okay, I Love You” explains how she came to this task, beginning the entry with:
“The past nine months, my life has become unrecognizable. When I say this out loud, it means who I am is unrecognizable. But I now see myself for the first time.
“In February, I hoped to write again; beginning was also deciding. I’d once said, 'I’m sick of writing because I’m sick of myself.' To be kinder towards my person, I didn’t go back to that place. On a Friday evening, I was pressed for new perspective. I decided to handwrite a thousand love letters.”
She goes on to explain why the handwriting, why the love – which seems it needs less explaining in our current world that feels imbued with endless hate.
So, I wrote to EJ. I sent her an e-mail, including some details about myself, as she requests, “& add a struggle,” which I did. A couple weeks later, I received a hand-addressed envelope postmarked from Seattle. By then, I had forgotten about my request, and didn’t know EJ was on the west coast, so I was pleasantly surprised to open the envelope and find a two-page, handwritten “love letter.” Mine was numbered 62, and included thoughtful commentary and insight gleaned from information I had shared with her, including my struggle.
A love letter? If love means reaching out to a total stranger, to recognize the work they do, what they care about and what they are struggling with; to treat someone with concern and care and affirmation; to not judge and to just be kind and share in someone’s perspective with seriousness and some humor – then yes. This was the best love letter I’ve ever received.
What a difference writers can make in another person’s life. And all it takes is who we are and what we have, shared with another. So simple, so (nearly) free, and yet – so profound.
My thanks to EJ. I hope others who share in this experience have as great an appreciation. May we all “promise to notice our light every day.”