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.
Autumn House Press annually hosts contests for full-length manuscripts of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Each winner receives publication, and $2,500 ($1,000 advance against royalties and $1,500 for travel and publicity). The 2017 winners will be available for purchase next month.
In fiction, Glori Simmons’s Carry You, selected by Amina Gauthier, is an intense read, a linked collection of intertwined stories. Advance praise calls the collection gorgeous, moving, and deeply empathetic.
Dickson Lam’s memoir Paper Sons was selected by Alison Hawthorne Deming. Paper Sons combines memoir and cultural history, violence marking the story at every turn. Deming calls the book important and “beautifully crafted, rich in poetic image and juxtapositions.”
Alberto Ríos selected Darling Nova by Melissa Cundieff as the poetry 2017 poetry winner. The collection makes “new connections, new sparks, new thoughts as often as line to line,” and covers “grief, love, humanness,” moving readers.While you’re learning more about the 2017 prize winners, be sure to stop by the contest submission guidelines: entries are now open until the end of June.
Available this month is the winner of the 2017 Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize for Poetry: Bridled by Amy Meng. Selected by Jaswinder Bolina, Bolina says of his selection:
Bridled is poetry as slow-burn opera. [ . . . ] The poems here offer, in reverse chronology, the story of a crumbling relationship between an unnamed speaker and her nameless ‘lover.’ In this telling, Bridled articulates a politics of self versus other, of body and gender, of loneliness and togetherness. It’s a collection you’re going to want to read from start to finish and then from finish to start.
A Kundiman Fellow and poetry editor at Bodega Magazine, this is Amy Meng’s first collection. Stop by the Pleaides Press website to learn more.
Glimmer Train has just chosen the winning stories for their 2017 November/December Very Short Fiction Award. This competition is held three times a year and is open to all writers for stories with a word count under 3000. The next Very Short Fiction competition will take place in March 2018. Glimmer Train’s monthly submission calendar may be viewed here.
1st place goes to Corey Flintoff [pictured] of Cheverly, Maryland, who wins $2000 for “Early Stages.” His story will be published in Issue 103 of Glimmer Train Stories. This will be his first major print publication.
2nd place goes to Irene Doukas Behrman of Portland, Oregon, who wins $500 for “Permission.”
3rd place goes to Itoro Udofia of Oakland, California, who wins $300 for “To the Children Growing Up in the Aftermath of Their Parents’ War.”
Here’s a PDF of the Top 25.
Deadline soon approaching! Short Story Award for New Writers: February 28
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 1000-4000 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.
The Missouri Review v40 n4, 2017 features intriguing cover art by Su Blackwell entitled "Heroines of Literature," a finely crafted paper sculpture. More of Blackwell's work can be viewed on her website.
According to Editor and Founder Robert Stapleton, Booth 11 is a "stunning collection of contemporary femal writers. The issue includes new fiction, nonfiction, poetry comics, lists, and interviews by such esteemed authors as Emily St. John Mandel, Joyce Carol Oates, Marya Hornbacher, Elizabeth Strout, Krista Christensen, Aubrey Hirsch, Brenda Shaughnessy, and so many more. This full-color literary journal offers a powerful argument for the strength of female authors working in American letters." Beginning it all: cover art by Tara McPherson.
The cover image by Lucy Engelman made me open Issue 15 of Creative Nonfiction's monthly publication, True Story, the opening paragraph of "This Is My Oldest Story" by Emily Brisse made me drop everything and just read. It begins: "In May of 1992, a little before the end of fourth grade, my best friend Kristy and I and a few others from our street - Ryan, Tim, Tom, maybe Naomi - hopped on our bikes and started riding. Most of us had younger brothers, and we left them at home. We didn't tell our parents we were going. They thought we were in the basement of Tim's house, playing Tetris, and although their anxiousness had relaxed by inches over the past two and a half years, we knew that any request to bike farther than the outlined boundary of our street would receive a firm no. So we just went."
Olives are a succulent fruit, each containing a seed with which to grow more nourishing deliciousness. What better inspiration, then, for MORIA, the new literary publication from Woodbury University, where an olive grove once stood on the land that now houses this Californian educational institution.
Faculty Editor of MORIA Literary Magazine, Dr. Linda L. Dove, tells me MORIA refers to a special type of olive tree in ancient Greece that is protected by the government. “As a tree sacred to Athena, the goddess of wisdom, the original ‘Moria’ was believed to have been planted by her at the Parthenon and includes the meaning ‘to be part of’ something larger than itself. Here at the literary magazine, we recognize and celebrate that Woodbury University is a part of a tradition of learning that is larger than itself, just as literature and the writers who make it are part of a tradition of creative engagement and cultural production that is larger than any one individual alone.” Beautiful.
The Malahat Review issue #201 (Winter 2017) includes two prize winning works:
Far Horizons Award for Short Fiction
Selected by Steven Price
"Faster Horses" by Katherin Edwards
Constance Rooke CNF Prize
Selected by Brian Brett
"Flaubert's Hummingbirds" by Nancy Holmes [pictured]
Read more about The Malahat Review prizes as well as interviews with each of the winners here.
In her craft essay in the February 2018 #133 issue of Glimmer Train's Bulletin, Danielle Lazarin tells readers to "Question Everything" as she does in her own drafting process. Her essay opens:
"On some days, my writing notebooks look like an inquisition, my pages topped and ended with questions: in all-caps, underlined, circled. Many are small: What do the kids want to be called? What is her work? Handwriting=obsessive or careless? Maybe she cries on the subway home, after dinner? But they're big, too: What is true, the memory of it, or the moment? Is she lacking? DO WE REQUIRE HOPE? Though they may appear frantic, a series of scribbled questions aren't signs of confusion or desperation but of sufficient curiosity on my part to propel a story forward. At every stage of my work, questions are my most essential writing tools. I use them to move through to the other side of murky. It's only by stepping into that unknown and uncomfortable space repeatedly during my process that I can become more deliberate in the story I'm telling."
Also included in this month's GT Bulletin are Thomas Fox Averill's "Writing Archival Fiction" and Aline Ohanesian "On Rejection." The Bulletin is free to read online and have delivered monthly to your e-mail.
Willow Springs Issue 81 features this brightly colored image, originally a 13 x 13 silkscreen. The "inside cover" replicates this image, but with "Spokane Garbage Goat" replacing the issue number. I had no idea what this was, so promptly headed to Google, where I learned of the iconic status of said goat. Absolutely delightful, as is artist Chris Bovey's work, more of which can be found at Vintage Prints.
Keeping with vibrant colors, The Fiddlehead Winter 2018 (# 274) issue features Monika Wright's "With Powerful Intention" acrylic on canvas. In her artist's statement, Wright comments, "With organic shapes, fluid light, lines and circles, I am employing universal symbols of unity, wholeness and infinity connected by lines, representing the boundaries which separate us, but which also highlights our shared path." See more of her work here.
Winners and finalists for the 2017 Able Muse Write Prize for Poetry and Fiction are featured in the Winter 2017 issue of Able Muse: A Review of Poetry, Prose & Art.
Write Prize for Fiction
Final Judge: Jill Alexander Essbaum
Winner: "Target" by Leslie Jill Patterson
Write Prize for Poetry
Final Judge: Annie Finch
Winner: "Fall Rewinding" by D. R. Goodman [pictured]
Finalists: Ann M. Thompson; Scott Ruescher; Rob Wright
For a full list of honorable mentions and short list selections, visit the Able Muse 2017 Write Prize announcement page.
The Florida Review Editor and Director Lisa Roney in the 41.2/2017 issue Editor's Note writes in a recurring thread about the U.S. prison culture, her early experiences knowing young people who went in and out of jail, and - of all things - changing the publication's submission policy to accept traditional postal submissions from those without Internet access, "whatever the circumstances might be." This, of course, would open submissions to our nation's incarcerated population who are not allowed access to the Internet.
About the Special Section on Prison, Roney writes, "we include writing by prisoners, as well as their family members and friends. It is the presence of this Triumvirate (victims, prisoners, family and loved ones) that testifies to the widespread tragedy that violence, addiction, and poverty and their results have become in this country - and our constant sense that there must be some better way. Writing, of course, is one of those better ways."
The Winter/Spring 2018 issue of Gulf Coast features the winners of their 2017 Gulf Coast Prizes contest:
Judged by Cate Marvin
"The Weather Underground" by sam sax
Judged by Diane Roberts
"The Peacock and the Bell Captain" by Spencer Wise
Judged by Chinelo Okparanta
"That Boy Could Run" by Rudy Ruiz [pictured]
For a full list of honorable mentions and biographical information on each writer and judge, visit the Gulf Coast Prize page.
Readers may already be familiar with The Massachusetts Review, the quarterly print journal founded in 1959, but did you know they also have digital projects available?
Working Titles are e-publications of prose which are too long to be printed in the quarterly. Published bimonthly, there are three ways to purchase and download Working Titles. Recent publications include Table for One by Yun Ko Eun translated by Lizzie Buehler, The Keepers of the Ghost Bird by Jenn Dean, The Leader by Nouri Zarrugh, and more.
Readers can also find Digital Chapbooks, showcasing art and poetry from past special sections and art inserts throughout the years of the journal. These features are free to read and easy to access, a good way to spend some time.
While you’re checking out the current “Truth” issue of The Massachusetts Review, be sure to see what digital offerings are up for grabs.
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
I'm writing this column on a very cold day, and it's nice to be inside with a board game to play, but better yet, for me at least, to be inside with a poem about a board game. This Monopoly game by Connie Wanek is from her book Rival Gardens: New and Selected Poems from the University of Nebraska Press.
We used to play, long before we bought real houses.
A roll of the dice could send a girl to jail.
The money was pink, blue, gold, as well as green,
and we could own a whole railroad
or speculate in hotels where others dreaded staying:
the cost was extortionary.
At last one person would own everything,
every teaspoon in the dining car, every spike
driven into the planks by immigrants,
every crooked mayor.
But then, with only the clothes on our backs,
we ran outside, laughing.
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 ©2016 by Connie Wanek, “Monopoly,” from Rival Gardens: New and Selected Poems (Univ. of Nebraska Press, 2016). Poem reprinted by permission of Connie Wanek and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2017 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.
I was relieved to see it wasn't just me who heard the Bee Gees in my head when I saw the cover of Bennington Review Issue Four themed "Staying Alive." Editor Michael Dumanis opens the "Note from the Editor" with these two lines from the 1977's classic, "Life goin' nowhere, somebody help me / Somebody help me, yeah, I'm stayin' alive."
Dumanis explains, "As we were reading the poems, stories, and essays submitted to Bennington Review in 2017 for this, our fourth issue, we noticed a word that come up with remarkable regularity - the verb 'survive' in all its various permutations. In Issue Four, it occurs - frequently as a directive, occasionally as the noun 'survivor' - twenty-eight times. The word 'living' can be found twenty-one times, an the word 'alive' shows up an additional twelve."
A "tonal shift" from their previous issue, themed "Threat," Dumanis notes that "something has shifted in the cultural landscape. An acceptance of threat has bred a series of reactions - resistance, perseverance, even a measure of optimism . . . there's now a restored sense of agency."
Readers can find works by Patrick Williams, Erin L. McCoy, Marco Wilkinson, Ian Stansel, A. Molotkov and many more, with several contributors' works available to read online.
Stayin' alive? I'm all for it.
In addition to its regular content of 'extremely brief' (under 750 words) nonfiction, Brevity's regular feature of Craft Essays in its first issue of 2018 features Chelsey Dyrsdale's "Transforming an Essay Collection into a Memoir," Annelise Jolley's "Capturing the Numinous: Mary Karr's Sacred Carnality," and Felicia Rose Chavez's [pictured] "The Mental Load: Honoring Your Story Over Your To-Do List." All of Brevity's content is available online for free. No reason not to stop on by.
In "The Godfather Speaks," 3QR: The Three Quarter Review interviewed Lee Gutkind on the two-decade anniversary of the controversial Vanity Fair article, in which critic James Wolcott “accused creative nonfiction writers, of memoir in particular, of ‘navel gazing’ . . . lambast[ing] the form itself as: a ‘sickly transfusion, whereby the weakling personal voice of sensitive fiction is inserted into the beery carcass of nonfiction.‘" Wolcott labeled Gutkind as “The Godfather behind creative nonfiction.”
Gutkind reflects on what could have been devastating to some in their careers: “The Godfather label—the positive aspects of it—stuck. From that point on, emboldened, I was much more in an offensive rather than a defensive mode when it came to creative nonfiction.” And for this, we are all grateful to The Godfather.
The January/February 2018 issue of Kenyon Review features winners of their 2017 Short Fiction Prize:
“Lionel, For Worse” by David Greendonner [pictured]
“When Do We Worry” by Kimberly King Parsons
“Canto” by Lorain Urban
Each of these works can also be read full-text online here along with commentary on the selections by Judge Lee K. Abbot.
Published by the Department of English and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the College of Charleston, the cover image of Crazyhorse Fall 2017 is "Blue Hole," a digital photograph by Shane Brown.
Annelisa Leinbach's vibrant art is featured on the home screen as well as in a portfolio for the Winter 2017 issue of The Writing Disorder online literary magazine.
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
I've had a couple of aquariums (or is the plural aquaria?), but I didn't take very good care of either one. The glass clouded over with algae, and the fish had to live on whatever they could scrounge because I'd forget to feed them. Some liked eating each other. But here's a poem (a sonnet!) about an aquarium you can actually see into. The poet, Kim Addonizio, lives in California, and her most recent book is Mortal Trash (W. W. Norton, 2016).
The fish are drifting calmly in their tank
between the green reeds, lit by a white glow
that passes for the sun. Blindly, the blank
glass that holds them in displays their slow
progress from end to end, familiar rocks
set into the gravel, murmuring rows
of filters, a universe the flying fox
and glass cats, Congo tetras, bristle-nose
pleocostemus all take for granted. Yet
the platys, gold and red, persist in leaping
occasionally, as if they can't quite let
alone a possibility—of wings,
maybe, once they reach the air? They die
on the rug. We find them there, eyes open in surprise.
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 ©1994 by Kim Addonizio, “Aquarium,” from The Philosopher's Club , (BOA Editions, Ltd., 1994). Poem reprinted by permission of Kim Addonizio and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2017 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.
The fall 2017 print issue of Schuylkill Valley Journal includes a special section of poetry written by men imprisoned at Graterford Prison in Philadelphia. Fran B. provides an introduction to the section entitled, "A Poetry Workshop at Graterford Prison," which begins, "In January, 2017, I started a poetry workshop at Graterford Prison. I had wanted to do this for a long time, several years, and my semi-retirement enabled me to think that I finally had the time to devote to the project." Fran explains how he worked with the Prison Literacy Project of Pennsylvania and a group called Lifers, Inc. in Graterford Prison to get the workshop started, building a rapport with the inmates, and developing guidelines for their sessions. Fran shares some of the prompts he developed and the responses these elicited from participants.
Contributing Writer Eric Greinke provides an editorial comment on the works selected: "Although all of the poems that were submitted have merit, this particular group of five poets display special talent and affinity for poetry. Poetic talent can appear anywhere, under any circumstances, because it is the result of the inner human drive to evolve and connect. These five poets transcend situational concerns and rise to a universal level that communicates to our shared humanity. Their poems have in common an emotional intensity but each poet sings with his own unique voice."
Included are ten poems by five poets: Reginald L., Terrell C., Ben C., Aaron F., and Eduardo R.
Glimmer Train has just chosen the winning stories for their September/October Short Story Award for New Writers. 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 greater than 5000. The January/February Short Story Award competition has just opened: Short Story Award for New Writers. Glimmer Train’s monthly submission calendar may be viewed here.
1st place goes to Maxime Kawawa-Beaudan [Photo credit: Scott McCrae] of Berkeley, California, who wins $2500 for “Waiting for Fireworks.” His story will be published in Issue 102 of Glimmer Train Stories. This will be his first major print publication.
2nd place goes to Kristen Hamelin Tracey of New York, New York, who wins $500 for “A New World.” Her story will also be published in an upcoming issue, increasing her prize to $700. This will be her first major print publication, as well.
3rd place goes to Oliver Kammeyer of Boston, Massachusetts, who wins $300 for “They’ll Fix That in Turkey.”
A PDF of the Top 25 winners can be found here.
Deadline soon approaching! Family Matters: January 12
Glimmer Train hosts this competition once a year, and first place has been increased to $2500 plus publication in the journal, and 10 copies of that issue. It’s open to all writers for stories about family of any configuration. Most submissions to this category run 1000-5000 words, but can go up to 12,000. Click here for complete guidelines.
In these turbulent times, we can't help but wonder just exactly how words do matter, in the sense of "for good" instead of what we see so much of bandied about in terms of knee-jerk thoughtlessness. World Literature Today provides the perspective "Words Matter: Writing as Inspired Resistance" in their January-February 2018 issue. In addition to its regular content is "Treasuring the Tradition of Inspired Resistance”: A Conversation with Maureen Freely by Michelle Johnson, poetry by Iossif Ventura and Anna Maria Carpi, an essay by Liliana Ancalao, three audio poems (online) in Mapuzungun, Spanish, and English, by Liliana Ancalao, a web exclusive interview “Breaking Open Gates: A Conversation with Emmy Pérez,” by Norma Cantú and Chelsea Rodríguez.
Readers can access five articles per month without a subscription; WLT is a paying market for writers and encourages subscriptions.