The Winner of the 2018 Orison Poetry Prize was published earlier this month, and readers can now find As One Fire Consumes Another by John Sibley Williams at the publisher’s website. A meeting of metaphysics and social critique, the poems in this collection examine American history and violence.
Judge Vandana Khanna says of her selection: “John Sibley Williams’ collection As One Fire Consumes Another transcends beyond the boundaries of family and history and country, beyond the body’s tragedies, [ . . . ]. These poems rise as invocation, as testimonial to life’s unfiltered beauty, violence, and faith, to the ‘light . . . already in us.’”While you’re checking out advance praise for As One Fire Consumes Another, learn more about Orison Books’s prizes, including their new chapbook prize which is currently open.
"White Cosmonaut" by Jeremy Geddes is featured on the cover of the newest issue of Bennington Review (#6), themed "Kissing the Future." While in print, they offer selections that can be read online here.
"New Neighbors" was the call for the Spring 2019 issue of Thema, appropriately enough, since spring brings the squirrels out of their winter hidey holes. Cover photo by Kathleen Gunton.
Portraits of "lonely people, people with questions that cannot be answered, those who make terrible mistakes, people who do not love themselves and will not survive within their own stories" by poet and artist Melissa Cundieff are featured in the Spring 2019 American Literary Review online.
Taking genre bending in a direction for the greater good, Staunch Books holds an annual book prize which recognizes "well-written, exciting thrillers that offer an alternative narrative to stories based around violence to women."
The criteria for the award asks for "a novel in the thriller genre in which no woman is beaten, stalked, sexually exploited, raped or murdered."
A novel idea indeed, but also one that is deeply appreciated as a model approach to genre storytelling. The editors comment on the larger issue behind creating this prize: "While women in the real world are fighting sexual abuse and violence, being harassed, assaulted and raped, or being murdered because they’re women, the casual and endless depiction of females as victims or prey sits uneasily alongside their fight. Real rape survivors struggle to be heard, counted and believed, under-reporting is rife, partly because victims fear being torn apart in court, and prosecutions continually fail. Meanwhile, in popular culture, women are endlessly cast as victims of stalking, abduction, rape and murder, for entertainment."
The editors at Staunch Books add that taking such a stand in our culture's literature does matter, commenting on research by psychologist (and Staunch Book Prize Judge) Dr. Dominic Wilmott [pictured] that "finds 'rape myth' beliefs feed into bias which results in jurors being reluctant to convict ‘ordinary’ men accused of rape as they don’t fit the idea of a rapist they’ve internalised through the stories and images they’ve received through popular culture."
Writers who believe that their writing matters in the larger cultural context as it feeds and shapes our ideologies must take responsibility for this genre and others; this effort by Staunch Books is a commendable step in that direction.
Books with strong female characters are encouraged, as the editors note they aren't "just looking for thrillers that feature men in jeopardy instead, but stories in which female characters don’t have to be raped before they can be empowered, or become casual collateral to pump up the plot."
"Broken Season" by Andrew Hemmert [pictured]
"Self-Portrait on the Beloved's Body" by Michael Dhyne
"Parting with Saddles" by Skyler LaLone
"Oranges in Michigan" by Andrew Hemmert
"Street Vendor" by Mariano Zaro
The 2019 International Poetry Contest is open until May 31, 2019 with a $1500 first prize, judged by Oliver de Paz.
Founded in 1990, the Iowa Poetry Prize is awarded for a book-length collection of poems each year.
This month, the 2018 winner was published: The Year of the Femme by Cassie Donish.
From the publisher’s website: "These are poems that assess and dwell in a sensual, fantastically queer mode. Here is a voice slowed by an erotics suffused with pain, quickened by discovery. In masterful long poems and refracted lyrics, Donish flips the coin of subjectivity; different and potentially dangerous faces are revealed in turn. With lyricism as generous as it is exact, Donish tunes her writing as much to the colors, textures, and rhythms of daily life as to what violates daily life—what changes it from within and without."
Visit the press’s website to order your copy (currently on sale for the frugal reader) and visit the prize page, entries accepted throughout the month of April.
Monmouth University has announced a new way for students to earn a degree. The MA/MFA dual degree program in Creative Writing prepares writers for their future by offering publishing experience, an award-winning faculty, and flexible course offerings.
Once completing an MA in English with a Creative Writing concentration, MFA students then have 18 additional credits of creative writing study which includes the completion of a book-length Creative Thesis.Learn more about the dual degree and find out what else the program has to offer at the Monmouth University website.
This crowd-funded award will be given annually to at least one poet for "the finest writing that examines relationships, family, or domestic life" in honor of Nina's own "beautiful work on many subjects, including relationships and domestic life. She knew how to savor every moment of her too-short life, and in her poetry and her memoir, she explores the poignancy and love that resonate in the details of every day."
Nominations are made by individuals who read poems that honor family or relationships in some way that have been published within the last three years. There is no application process; readers simply send in a copy of the poem. Readers can nominate up to six poems (no self-nominations). Each winner will receive $500 with the possibility of attending a reading in Greensboro, NC. See complete guidelines here.
The Nina Riggs Poetry Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)3, so all donations are tax-deductible. Donations are currently being accepted with donors at certain levels being recognized by Cave Wall online and in print.
To read more about Nina Riggs and make a donation, go to FundRazr: Nina Riggs Poetry Foundation.
Published by Box Turtle Press, issue 20 of Mudfish features the winning entry and honorable mentions of their 13th Mudfish Poetry Prize judged by Philip Schultz.
"Barking, Pt. Reyes" by Rafaella Del Bourgo [pictured]
1st - "We are Already at War" by John Sibley Williams
2nd - "Ode to My Body" by Tim Nolan
3rd - "Late Summer Sky" by Tony Gloeggler
With its Spring 2019 issue, Raleigh Review celebrates nine years of continuous publication. As they head into their tenth year, Editor and Publisher Rob Greene notes, "we realized it was time to reward our staff members who do the work on the magazine, so in addition to increasing the amount we're paying to our poets, writers, and visual artists by a third, we are finally beginning to take small strides to help reward our telecommuting and highly skilled editorial staff who are based throughout the country and at times the world."
Congratulations to Raleigh Review for providing a venue for writers, artists, and readers - and sharing how important financial support and subscriptions are to our community!
Chicken God by Alexander Grigoriev - you simply can't look away from this cover of Pembroke Magazine (#51).
American Life in Poetry: Column 732
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
Ezra Pound commanded America's poets to "Make it new." And here's a good example. Has there ever been another poem written, and written beautifully, about children playing among laundry drying on a line? Thomas Reiter, who lives in New Jersey, is a poet whose work I've followed for many years. His most recent book is Catchment. This poem appeared in the Tampa Review.
Pinned in Place
A bed sheet hung out to dry
became a screen for shadow animals.
But of all laundry days in the neighborhood
the windy ones were best,
the clothespins like little men riding
lines that tried to buck them off.
One at a time we ran down the aisles
between snapping sheets
that wanted to put us in our place.
Timing them, you faked and cut
like famous halfbacks. But if a sheet
tagged you it put you down, pinned
by the whiteness floating
against a sky washed by the bluing
our mothers added to the wash water.
Could anyone make it through those days
untouched? You waited for
your chance, then jumped up and finished
the course, rising if you fell again.
Later, let the sky darken suddenly
and we'd be sent out to empty the lines.
All up and down the block, kids
running with bed sheets in their arms,
running like firemen rescuing children.
All night those sheets lay draped
over furniture, as though we were leaving
and would not return for a long time.
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 ©2018 by Thomas Reiter, "Pinned in Place," from Tampa Review (No. 55/56, 2018). Poem reprinted by permission of Thomas Reiter and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2019 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 50th Anniversary Spring 2019 issue of Ruminate features the winning entries of their 2019 Kalos Visual Art Prize, as selected by Final Juror Betty Spackman:
"Seen and Unseen" by Jennifer Cronin [pictured]
"If I Were a King" by Margie Criner
"The Lilies How they Grow" by Emily McIlroy
"EBB" by Hanna Vogel
For a full list of finalists as well as juror's comments on the winners, click here.
Featured from Willow Springs 83 are four poems by Maggie Smith (an interview with her is included in the print publication), "The Collector" by Suzanne Highland, "The Year We Lived" by Breanna Lemieux, and "Bless the Feral Hog" by Laura Van Prooyen.
With each feature, the author offers notes on the work as well as whatever random musings they might want to include under the fun title "Music, Food, Booze, Tattoos, Kittens. etc.."
In her responses, Suzanne Highland [pictured] shares, "I have two tattoos: one says 'in medias res and the other says '(write it!).' I’m wildly attached to both, but one would have to be to get tattoos like those in the first place, I think."
"Etymology of a Mood" by Ama Codjoe won The Georgia Review's 2018 Lorain Willams Poetry Prize, chosen by Natasha Trethewey.
The prize was started in 2013 with a gift from Lorain Williams and continued with the support of her estate after her passing in April 2016.
This year's contest, which runs from April 1 - May 15, will be judged by Stephen Dunn. The prize has also been increased from $1000 to $1500.
See full details here.
Reflecting on Ruminate's 50th Anniversary issue, Editor Brianna VanDyke writes that when Thích Nhất Hạnh was asked, "Is there a purpose for wearing the robe other than to clothe your body?" He replied, "To remind yourself that you are a monk."
"I wonder," VanDyke goes on, "if one day you or I might also be asked a question about reminding ourselves of who we are."
She goes on to explore what those 'reminders of self' might be, adding, "something about this dream I hold, that these pages continue to be a reminder for fifty more good issues, how the very best stories and art and poems remind us of who we are, why we matter, our longings, our deepest work this day."
In January, Anhinga Press released the winner of their 2017 Philip Levine Prize for Poetry: Known by Salt by Tina Mozelle Braziel.
The annual prize awards $2000 to the winner, as well as publication and distribution of their winning manuscript. Submissions open in July.
Known by Salt was selected by C.G. Hanzlicek who says the collection: “is very much a book of celebrations. One arc of the book is the move from a life in a trailer park to a house that Tina and her husband build with their own hands, [ . . . ]. It also is a celebration of Alabama, [ . . . ]. Her observations are so keen [ . . . ] that they make me laugh out loud in my own celebration.”
Learn more at the publisher’s website, where you can also find a sample poem from the collection, “House Warming.”
The newest issue of Black Warrior Review (Spring/Summer 2019) features winners of their 2018 contest:
Judged by Jennifer S. Cheng
Winner: “from Okazaki Fragments” by Kanika Agrawal
Runner-up: “Let’s eat baby the steak is getting cold” by Alice Maglio
Judged by Kate Zambreno
Winner: "Social Body" by Amanda Kallis
Runner-up: "Dark Grove, Shinng" by J’Lyn Chapman
Judged by Laura van den Berg
Winner: "Little Jamaica" by Ndinda Kioko [pictured]
Runner-up: "On Weather" by RE Katz
Judged by Vanessa Angélica Villarreal
Winner: “La Piedra de los Doce Ángulos" by David Joez Villaverde
Runner-up: “from Okazaki Fragments” by Kanika Agrawal
See judges' commentary on their selections and a complete list of finalists here.
Bright colors to welcome spring caught my eye this week, starting with the 2018 annual of Rathalla Review, just released this March 2019.
“Style Central” by Leah Dockrill, collage on canvas, is the featured image for the newest online Mud Season Review poetry issue.
Editorial insights abound at the Colorado State University Center for Literary Publishing Editor's Blog. Home of the Colorado Review as well as several esteemed annual literary prizes, Center Director Stephanie G'Schwind has both breadth and depth in her staff contributors.
Recent posts include:
“Looking toward Spring with Place-Based Writing” by Editorial Assistant Jennifer Anderson
“Revisiting the Holocaust Metaphors of Sylvia Plath” by Editorial Assistant Leila Einhorn
“Procedures for the Slowpoke Poet” by Associate Editor Susannah Lodge-Rigal
“On Love Poetry” by Associate Editor Daniel Schonning
The blog also features links to monthly podcasts: February 2019 Podcast: Writing on Mental Health with Margaret Browne; January 2019 Podcast: Horror Poetry with Emma Hyche; and more.
Check it out here.
If your interest is in the outdoors as well as the arts, something fresh and new, The Boardman Review is an excellent choice. Subtitled “the creative culture & outdoor lifestyle journal of northern Michigan,” this print and digital journal includes literature, music, lifestyle profiles, and documentaries that focus on the work and lives of creative people who express their love of the outdoors without trying to promote their talent. This last issue of 2018 provides a promise of even more fascinating work during the coming year.
This month, find Luxury, Blue Lace by S. Brook Corfman at Autumn House Press. Winner of the 2018 Rising Writer Contest, judge Richard Siken notes how Corfman “examines the ways that presentation and representation conflate and complicate. Expansive, generous, deeply considered, and highly lyric, this book, with its transformations and overlaps, astounds.”
Learn what others have to say about Luxury, Blue Lace as you pick up a copy at Autumn House Press’s website.
As I write now, during the middle days of February, hard upon our Spring 2019 deadline, the dice are still not fully cast for my successor or my exact departure date - and so I will be brief again: the earliest I would step away is 1 June, at which time our Summer 2019 issue will literally be in press and the preparation of the Fall 2019 contents will be in full swing, so my ghost will be around for at least some aspects of the latter. The goal for me, for the rest of the Georgia Review staff, and for the University of Georgia, is a transition that will be as smooth as possible for our submitters, contributors, and readers.
I will close with a few words (because I have been asked for them) about the why of my departure from the place of employment to which I have given more than half of my life, and which I have served through almost (just one year shy of) half of the journal's life. I've been pondering and preparing for a couple of years, with no pressure from anyone other than myself. I'm seventy, I'm healthy, I have several books of my own writing to finish and begin - and I haven't even toured Great Britain yet, that realm so vital from early days to my being drawn into this literature/reading/writing/editing life.
To be continued...
Write Prize for Fiction
Final Judge: Bret Lott
Winner: “Vigil” by Anthony J. Otte
Runner-up: "A Man of Fewer Words" by Claudette E. Sutton
Write Prize for Poetry
Final Judge: J. Allyn Rosser
Winner: “Wildfire” by Lynn Marie Houston [pictured]
Runner-up: “Moorings” by D. R. Goodman
Finalist: "A Cormorant in Yangshuo" by Gabriel Spera
Shortlist poetry included in the publication:
"Zheduo Pass, Sichuan Province" by David Allen Sullivan
"Connecticut, After Dark" by Ann Thompson
"Memento Mori" by Melissa Cannon
"Somerset, 1972" by Rob Wright
For a full list of finalists and for information about the 2019 contest (deadline extended), click here.