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all the beautiful dead christien gholsonBitter Oleander Press has announced Christien Gholson as the winner of the 2015 Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Award. Gholson’s winning book All the Beautiful Dead was released last month.

Judge Anthony Seidman calls All the Beautiful Dead "a harrowing, razor-biting collection which addresses the wounded and the outcast, in a landscape of boxcars, poppies, crows, empty fields, the lights of Las Vegas which can't overpower the open black mouth of the desert night, and the rusted lives and emotional shrapnel ranging from Wales to Colorado, New Mexico to Gaza."

For more information, check out the Bitter Oleander Press shop.
coffee house pressLast month, Coffee House Press announced their partnership with Brooklyn-based feminist publishing project, Emily Books (part bookstore/publisher/book club). Together, they’ve created a new imprint for “original books that speak to the aesthetic excellence, experimental boldness, and social concerns of both organizations.”

July 2016’s forthcoming Problems by Jade Sharma marks the first book coming from the imprint, with two new Emily Books titles to be published by Coffee House Press annually.

More information about the partnership and the individual presses can be found at the Coffee House Press website blog.

Books :: 2015 Sawtooth Prize

Published April 04, 2016 Posted By
stereo island mosaic vincent toroStereo. Island. Mosaic. by Vincent Toro was published in February. Winner of the 2015 Sawtooth Prize from Ahsahta Press, selected by Ed Roberson, Toro received a $1,500 honorarium and publication.

Stereo. Island. Mosaic. is, according the author’s statement:
Both a reconstruction of personal history and an examination of Caribbean identity through the postmodern lens of a mosaic woven from Latin American mythology and history, themes of urban migration, Caribbean literature scholar Antonio Benitez-Rojo’s theory of The Repeating Island, and Aime Cesaire’s application of Negritude in his work “Notebook of a Return to the Native Land.”
This is Toro’s first book of poetry, and copies can be found at the Ahsahta Press website, along with the full author's statement.

Lit Mag Covers :: Picks of the Week

Published April 04, 2016 Posted By
writing disorder
The Writing Disorder Spring 2016 WAXenVINE Photography
The Beautiful Images of Scott Irvine & Kim Meinelt
WAXENVINE is the collective vision of husband and wife team Scott Irvine and Kim Meinelt. Their work centers around themes of light, shadow, texture and beauty. They are drawn to finding the unusual within the mundane and beauty in unexpected places. Their process often involves blending multiple images together – resulting in a haunting dreamscape that transcends reality and the singular image.

terrainTerrain.org: A Journal of the Built + Natural Environment features some stunning photography on its site that accompanies each written work. Header photo of goshawk in flight by Vladimir Hodac, courtesy Shutterstock.

Passages North 2015 Contest Winners

Published March 31, 2016 Posted By
passages northPassages North #37 showcases the winners of their 2015 contests:

2015 Thomas Hrushka Memorial Nonfiction Prize
Judge: Steven Church
Winner: Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson, “On Nostalgia”

2015 Elinor Benedict Poetry Prize
Judge: Lynn Emanuel
Winner: Lindsay Means, “Antikythera”
Honorable Mention: K.T. Landon, “The Dead Go Bowling”

Included with the purchase of this issue is a separate book: The Deathmask of El Gaucho by Dan Mancilla, winner of the  Little Presque Books Novella Contest. Little Presque was founded and is run by former Passages North managing editor, Timston Johnston.

And an added bonus: two brand new flash nonfiction pieces by Ander Monson from his Letters to a Future Lover series are tucked in the journal, because, as Monsoon said, they were "written and designed to be read unbound and looseleaf, and tucked into books, as the reader desires."

[Cover art by Evan Prout.]
manoaMĀNOA publishes two volumes a year of contemporary writing, often the first time in translation, from throughout Asia, the Pacific, and the Americas. Past volumes have featured new work from such places as the People’s Republic of China, Tibet, Nepal, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Okinawa, Viet Nam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Australia, Cambodia, French Polynesia, the Pacific Islands, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, as well as Canada, Mexico, and South America. The two most recent issues of MĀNOA are Story Is a Vagabond: Fiction, Essays, and Drama by Intizar Husain and The Colors of Dawn: Twentieth Centruy Korean Poetry. Husain, considered one of the greatest writers in Urdu, passed away at the beginning of the year in Lahore, Pakistan. His volume published just early in 2015 provides a fitting tribute to his impact on the literature of his culture.

Books :: 2014 Cider Press Review Book Award

Published March 29, 2016 Posted By
steel alison prineThe Cider Press Review Book Award annually offers a $1,500 prize, publication, and more to the author of a book-length poetry collection. In 2014, Alison Prine won with her collection Steel, which was released this past January.

Advanced praise called Steel “a work of memory and reverie. Both precise and transcendent . . .” (Laura Kasischke).  Readers can order a copy of Steel and check out an excerpt on the Cider Press Review website.

Lit Mag Covers :: Picks of the Week

Published March 28, 2016 Posted By
weberI'm a sucker for rich, gorgeous, thick layers of color, and this cover image on Weber 32.1 absolutely satisfies. This "Untitled #1" is a mixed media by Ginger Wallace, whose work is also featured on a ten-page spread inside.
kenyon reviewKenyon Review Editor David H. Lynn tells readers, "Don't be fooled by the playful beauty of our covers . . . the changes that have come to Kenyon Review over the past year are more than skin deep." Indeed, while now managing their own electronic versions, writers will be pleased to know the publication has equalized its pay scale between online and print contributors. The cover by artist and illustrator Jon McNaught drew me in to read the rest.
still points quarterlyStill Points Arts Quarterly is the beautiful, lavish, journal of arts and literature published by Shanti Arts, which was founded in 2011 by Christine Brooks Cote to celebrate art, nature, and spirit. "Night Flight" by Charlotte Lees is featured on the front cover, while a portfolio of her sculptures is featured inside.

Books :: 2016 Miller Williams Poetry Prize

Published March 28, 2016 Posted By
explicit lyrics andrew gentFor almost a quarter century, The University of Arkansas Press annually has awarded the $5,000 Miller Williams Poetry Prize. The prize and series, edited by Billy Collins, are named for and honor the cofounder and director of the press, Miller Williams.

At the beginning of March, the 2016 winner, [explicit lyrics] by Andrew Gent, was released: “As the title indicates, these poems are lyrics—musings on the small decisions required by existence in the modern world. They contain the grand themes of art—life, love, and mortality—but not where you expect.”
 
To buy a copy or to listen to a selection from [explicit lyrics], head over to the University of Arkansas Press website.

[quote from publisher’s website]

Wallace Meets Whitman

Published March 24, 2016 Posted By
wallace stevens journalThe newest issue of The Wallace Stevens Journal (a publication of the Wallace Stevens Society) is themed: Wallace Stevens and Walt Whitman. Society Vice President Glen Macleod writes in his introductory essay: "When I first proposed an MLA roundtable discussion on Walt Whitman and Wallace Stevens, it seemed like a natural pairing. . . A panel on this topic might prompt some fresh perspectives on a well-established case of literary influence. The topic turned out to be more interesting and more controversial than I anticipated."

Macleod introduces each of the following essays, excerpts of which can be read on the publication's Project Muse page:

"A Prefatory Note on Whitman, Stevens, and the Poetics of Americana" by Tyler Hoffman
"Between Surface and Influence: Stevens, Whitman, and the Problem of Mediation" by Patrick Redding
"Whitman and Stevens: No Supreme Fiction" by Matt Miller
"Beach Boys: Stevens, Whitman, and Franco-American Modernism" by Lee M. Jenkins
"Whitman and Stevens: Certain Phenomena of Sound" by Roger Gilbert
And a questionnaire - in which Macleod and Journal Editor Bart Eeckhout ask Tony Sharpe of Lancaster University questions about Whitman and Stevens in the United Kingdom.


Books :: 2014 Madeleine P. Plonsker Prize

Published March 24, 2016 Posted By
pike and bloom matthew nyeEach year, Lake Forest College awards its Madeleine P. Plonsker Emerging Writer’s Residency Prize to writers under forty with no major book publication. Winners spend three weeks in residence at the campus in Chicago’s northern suburbs. While there, writers spend their time completing a manuscript to be published by &NOW Books, an imprint of Lake Forest College Press.

Matthew Nye was the 2014 winner and his novel Pike and Bloom was published in February. An American odyssey in miniature, Pike and Bloom maps the trajectories of three characters—Pike, Bloom, and Bloom’s wife Clytie—as they spiral through “the serious blues of Indianapolis,” attempting to construct meaning from the absurd.

 Readers can learn more about Pike and Bloom at Northwestern University Press’s website.

Books :: 2015 Iowa Poetry Prize

Published March 23, 2016 Posted By
playful song called beautiful john blairJohn Blair’s A Playful Song Called Beautiful, winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize in 2015, will be available for purchase next month.

A Playful Song Called Beautiful utilizes poems “that are either formally rhymed and metered or written in syllabically structured three-line stanzas,” poems that “are elegant and earthy, sometimes profane, and sometimes lovingly playful.”

While waiting for the collection's April 2016 release, check out some samples via the University of Iowa Press website before preordering a copy. 

Lit Mag Covers :: Picks of the Week

Published March 22, 2016 Posted By
Copper Nickel 22I simply couldn't look away from Copper Nickel #22, even though I found it somewhat disconcerting. "Samy" by Christine Stormberg is an oil on canvas.
haydens ferry review"Borderlands" is the theme of Hayden's Ferry Review Fall/Winter. Issue 57. "Borderlands are complex spaces filled with treacherous enthymemes, conflicting traditions, and a certain loneliness and search for identity," writes Editor Chelsea Hickok in her introductory letter. The cover art (which extends to the back cover as well) by Bobby Neel Adams seems a fitting entryway to the borderlands within.
antioch reviewNow that Antioch Review has your attention... "Funny Bird Sex" by John R. Nelson is the opening essay that the issue takes as its subtitle as well as influencing the cover photo by Dennie Eagleson.
world literature todayGuest edited by Bill Kartalopoulos, "International Comics" is the theme of the March-April 2016 issue of World Literature Today. Editor for the Best American Comics series, Kartalopoulos also teaches comics history and the graphic novel at Parsons The New School for Design and the School of Visual Arts. Along with his introduction, the magazine features an interview with artist David B. (B. is short for Beauchard), “Baby Boom (excerpts)” comics by Yūichi Yokoyama, and essays “Casting Shadows: Anke Feuchtenberger’s Comics and Graphic Narration” by Elizabeth Nijdam, “Frémok: Comics Out-of-Bounds” by Erwin Dejasse, “International Comics: Five Groundbreaking Publishers,” “Six Comic Books For Further Reading,”  and “Ilan Manouach: Defamiliarizing Comics” all by Bill Kartalopoulos.
American Life in Poetry: Column 571
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

I suppose some of the newspapers which carry this column still employ young people to deliver the news, but carriers are now mostly adults. I had two paper routes when I was a boy and was pleased to find this reminiscence by Thomas R. Smith, a Wisconsin poet. His most recent book is The Glory, published by Red Dragonfly Press.

The Paper Boy

TRsmithMy route lassos the outskirts,
the reclusive, the elderly, the rural—
the poor who clan in their tarpaper
islands, the old ginseng hunter

Albert Harm, who strings the "crow's
foot" to dry over his wood stove.
Shy eyes of fenced-in horses
follow me down the rutted dirt road.

At dusk, I pedal past white birches,
breathe the smoke of spring chimneys,
my heart working uphill toward someone
hungry for word from the world.

I am Mercury, bearing news, my wings
a single-speed maroon Schwinn bike.
I sear my bright path through the twilight
to the sick, the housebound, the lonely.

Messages delivered, wire basket empty,
I part the blue darkness toward supper,
confident I've earned this day's appetite,
stronger knowing I'll be needed tomorrow.

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 Thomas R. Smith, “The Paper Boy,” from The Glory (Red Dragonfly Press, 2015). Poem reprinted by permission of Thomas R. Smith and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2015 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.
battle sleep shannon tate jonasBrick Road Poetry Book Contest is awarded annually, winners receiving a contract with Brick Road Poetry Press, $1,000, and 25 copies of their published book.

In 2014, Shannon Tate Jonas took home the prize with his collection Battle Sleep, which was published January 21, 2016. This is Jonas’s first book-length collection of poetry with copies available from the Brick Road Poetry Press website.

Jimmy Santiago Baca Film & Fundraiser

Published March 15, 2016 Posted By
jimmy bacaInspired by the same-named memoir, A Place to Stand is the story of Jimmy Santiago Baca’s transformation from a functionally illiterate convict to an award-winning poet, novelist and screenwriter. Told through extensive interviews with Jimmy, his family, friends and peers, A Place to Stand follows Jimmy’s path from Estancia, New Mexico – where he lived with his indigenous grandparents – through childhood abandonment, adolescent drug dealing and a subsequent 5-year narcotics sentence at Arizona State Prison in Florence, one of the most violent prisons in the country. Jimmy’s extraordinary life is both inspiring and haunting, simultaneously an indictment of our current criminal justice system and a model of the potential for human transformation.

The filmmakers are looking to extend the reach of the movie through an Indiegogo educational campaign to do the following:

  • Hold over 50 public screenings across the US (see the website for information on how you can host a screening).
  • Release the film digitally and on DVD for consumers.
  • Partner with an educational distributor to maximize our reach to schools.
  • Secure broadcast distribution (TV presentation) for the film.
  • Provide the film, curriculum, and workbook materials to over 100 schools, prisons, and organizations.
  • Partner with prison reform organizations to use the film as an activism and awareness-raising tool.
A number of the perks include educational materials to go along with the film as well as copies of the film, works by Baca, and more.

Lillian Li on Writing Characters of Color

Published March 14, 2016 Posted By
lillian liIn her Glimmer Train Bulletin essay “Why Write Characters of Color?” UofM MFA candidate Lillian Li writes, “The question . . . is not rhetorical; it is not one a moderator asks to kick off a stale panel discussion. It is a real and urgent question, one of craft, of race, of character.”

Li discusses both the arbitrary and reasoned decisions writers make, from character names to plot points. She explains using a fire as a “placeholder” event for a story she’s writing. An arbitrary choice that, as her writing progressed, became more central to the story. But, to ignore the question of Why a fire? - “the event would have stood out, like a lump of flour unincorporated into the narrative gravy.” Li writes, “When American writers arbitrarily decide the race of their characters, and then ignore the question of race, they are courting the same conundrum, even if they phrase it a different way.”

Read the rest online in Glimmer Train Bulletin #110, which also includes essays by David Minzer and Christine Grace.

Lit Mag Covers :: Picks of the Week

Published March 14, 2016 Posted By
southern humanities review v49 n2"Lubbock Woman" by Dirk Fowler takes the cover of Southern Humanities Review 49.2. Visually based on a waitress from Furr's Cafeteria in Lubbuck, Texas, Fowler writes, "This image began its life in 2003 as a pretty crudely executed letterpress concert poster for the band Sugarpuss. I only made a few of them, but I liked the illustration and knew I wanted to explore it again at some point."

cutbank84It's a dog. Enough said. Margaret Darling is the artist for CutBank 84.

cimarron review winter2016Definitely an eye-catching slight of hand, Cimarron Review Winter 2016 features photography by Bradley Phillips, "Feather," from the series Abolition of Man.

Books :: Black River Chapbook Competition

Published March 14, 2016 Posted By
radio silence philip schaefer jeff whitneyPhilip Schaefer and Jeff Whitney’s collaborative Radio Silence was published by Black Lawrence Press last month. Winner of the 2014 Black River Chapbook Competition, Radio Silence utilizes “vivid and sometimes startling image and music” and “turns absence into sound.”

The second published collaboration between Schaefer and Whitney, Radio Silence is now available from the Black Lawrence Press website.

[quote from SPD]

American Life in Poetry :: Dorianne Laux

Published March 11, 2016 Posted By
American Life in Poetry: Column 569
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

After my mother died, her best friend told me that they were so close that they could sit together in a room for an hour and neither felt she had to say a word. Here's a fine poem by Dorianne Laux, about that kind of silence. Her most recent book is The Book of Men (W.W. Norton & Co., 2012) and she lives in North Carolina.

Enough Music

doriann lauxSometimes, when we're on a long drive,
and we've talked enough and listened
to enough music and stopped twice,
once to eat, once to see the view,
we fall into this rhythm of silence.
It swings back and forth between us
like a rope over a lake.
Maybe it's what we don't say
that saves us.

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 ©1994 by Dorianne Laux, “Enough Music,” (What We Carry, BOA Editions, 1994). Poem reprinted by permission of Dorianne Laux and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2015 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.

New Lit on the Block :: Cherry Tree

Published March 10, 2016 Posted By
cherry tree 2Cherry Tree: A National Literary Journal is a new print annual of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction from Literary House Press at Washington College. While Washington College is a small liberal arts college that takes great pride in its undergraduate creative writing program, Founder and Editor Jehanne Dubrow realized the one thing it lacked (in comparison to peer institutions) was a national literary journal, a publication that provided the opportunity for undergrad students to participate actively in the wider literary world and the current conversations happening there. “Cherry Tree was a long time coming for us and we’re so glad to be here at last!”

As may seem obvious, the name Cherry Tree honors George Washington, but perhaps less well known, the editors share, is the fact that, “in 1782, Washington gifted ‘the College at Chester’ 50 guineas, consented to serve on its Board, and gave the educational institution permission to use his name. In the American imagination, George Washington is a figure who has come to represent both truth-telling and mythmaking. The famous story of the cherry tree—I can’t tell a lie, Pa; you know I can’t tell a lie. I did cut it with my hatchet.—reminds us that there is truth even in invention, that even apocrypha can convey the facts of life.”

Truth be told, Cherry Tree is extremely well-staffed for a start-up publication. Jehanne Dubrow is the author of five poetry collections, including most recently The Arranged Marriage (UNMP 2015). Her scholarly and teaching interests include creative writing, formal poetry, prosody, American Jewish literature, Holocaust studies, and the graphic novel. Managing Editor Lindsay Lusby, winner of the 2015 Fairy Tale Review Award in Poetry, is Assistant Director of the Rose O’Neill Literary House and Assistant Editor of the Literary House Press. Poetry & Creative Nonfiction Editor James is Associate Professor of English at Washington College, and Fiction Editor Kate Kostelnik earned her Ph.D in English from the University of Nebraska and her MFA from the University of Montana and now teaches at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

Cherry Tree also involves a staff of student screeners serving the first round of reading for all submissions during the open reading period. Selected works are moved up to Senior Readers, and then Fiction Editor, and Poetry & Creative Nonfiction Editor. Dubrow makes the final determination about which pieces will be published. Student screeners are all undergraduate students at Washington College (or very recent graduates) who have successfully completed the English Department’s Literary Editing & Publishing class.

Writers interested in submitting to the publication will appreciate the publication's mission. According to the editors, "We are writers who value and publish well-crafted short stories, poems, and creative nonfiction essays that are not afraid to make us care. We want work that braves to be, that dares to be. We encourage well-informed work where the form understands its relationship with the content. We want pieces that seem wise, that are unafraid to confront topics that matter, and that speak with urgency, that beg for an ear to listen. We want to read vividly-drawn characters who challenge and enlarge our sympathy.”

Readers coming to Cherry Tree will find what the editors believe to be the best poems, short stories, and essays holding “the truth and lyricism of language above sentimentality and message-making” from both established and emerging writers. While readers may choose to “cherry-pick” pieces, the editors advocate reading a full issue from cover to cover, “because we always order the pieces in such a way as to create a sort of thematic story arc, making the reading experience more engrossing and meaningful.”

Previously published contributors include Rick Barot, Jericho Brown, Jennifer S. Cheng, Claudia Emerson, Vievee Francis, Anna Journey, Julie Kane, Roy Kesey, Matthew Lippman, Paul Lisicky, Matthew Olzmann, Emilia Phillips, sam sax, Bruce Snider, and Julie Marie Wade.

Cherry Tree opens for general submissions in the categories of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction from August 15 to October 15 each year via Submittable only.
Hagy Alyson Ted Brummond$1000 Lawrence Foundation Prize 2015
Alyson Hagy [photo: Ted Brummond] has won the thirty-eighth Lawrence Foundation Prize, joining, among other authors, Charles Baxter, Paul Bowles, Susan Dodd, Clark Blaise, Sena Jeter Naslund, Rebecca Makkai, Alice Mattison, and Lynne Sharon Schwartz. The prize is awarded annually by the Editorial Board of MQR to the author of the best short story published that year in the journal. A mature, finely crafted story set in Yellowstone country, Hagy's "Switchback" appeared in the Spring 2015 issue.

Raymond McDaniel$500 Laurence Goldstein Poetry Prize
Raymond McDaniel has won the 2015 Laurence Goldstein Poetry Prize, which is awarded annually to the author of the best poem or group of poems appearing that year in the MQR. His poem “Claire Lenoir,” appeared in the Fall 2015 issue. This year’s judge, Paisley Rekdal, writes: “The poem marvelously captures, in tone and form, the very essence of the uncanny: one of the poem’s central subjects. The poem renders the process through which we gain knowledge of ourselves and others both mysterious and terrifying at once, recalling for me Howard Baker's plaintive question during the Watergate trials: What did you know, and when did you know it?”

katie hartsock$500 Page Davidson Clayton Prize for Emerging Poets
Katie Hartsock has won the 2015 Page Davidson Clayton Prize for Emerging Poets, which is awarded annually by the editors to the best poet appearing in MQR who has not yet published a book. Poetry Editor Keith Taylor writes about her poem “The Sister Karamazov,” which appeared in our Spring 2015 issue, “We were very impressed by this poet's ability to enter one of the classics and to reimagine it, adding another emotional and metaphoric level to something that a lesser imagination might see as fixed and impenetrable."

The New Guard Literary BANG! Online

Published March 08, 2016 Posted By
lyall harris bangBANG! is a monthly author online showcase published by The New Guard. Three pieces in any combination of previously unpublished poetry shorts or fiction or nonfiction are featured online for a month. Submission period runs all year round with the next installment planned for April 4, 2016. The March 2016 BANG! author is Lyall Harris. Past authors have included Alexandra Oliver, Mike Heppner, Marc Mewshaw, Timothy Dyke, Marcia Popp, Quenton Baker, Joshua Graber, Charles Wyatt, Julio Duggan, Jonathan Segol, Lissa Kiernan, Roger Bonair-Agard, James Kimbrell, Bridget Boland, E.G. Cunningham, Melissa Goode, Mark Wagstaff, Carla Stern, Sarah Glass, Jennifer Amell, Zakia R. Khwaja, Julie Poitras Santos and Amy Nash.

Books :: 2016 Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry

Published March 08, 2016 Posted By
book of hulga rita mae reeseRita Mae Reese’s The Book of Hulga, winner of the University of Wisconsin Press Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry, is to be published later this month. Selected by Denise Duhamel, Reese’s second poetry collection includes 9 black and white illustrations by Julie Franki and “speculates—with humor, tenderness, and a brutal precision—on a character that Flannery O’Connor envisioned but did not live long enough to write.”

To hear Reese reading a selection from The Book of Hulga, or to order a copy, visit the University of Wisconsin Press website.

[quote from book cover]
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