The cover photo, "A Couch with a View," by Dallas Crow on the Fall 2018 issue of Cimarron Review is both subtle and inviting.
Winners of The MacGuffin's 23rd Poet Hunt Contest along with commentary from guest judge Alberto Álvaro Ríos are featured in the Winter 2019 issue.
"Ed" by Matthew Spireng [pictured]
"Venetian Passageway" by Judith Rosenberg
This annual contest awards $500 and publication for first place and publication for up to two honorable mentions.
The Art of Protest: Art and Scholarship as Political Resistance is the theme for the 2019 Mayapple & Sarah Lawrence Summer Workshop, June 13-22 in Bronxville, New York.
Mayapple Center for the Arts and Humanities will host workshops focused on participants choice of activist art, and the daily schedule will include restorative and affirmative yoga and mediation practices in nature.
- Engaging Civically through Collaborative Art: Developing a Working Aesthetics of Protest Art with Michelle Slater
- Staging the Revolution: Protest, Performance, and Social Change with Dana Edell
- Writing and Exploring Songs that Matter to Us and the World with Dar Williams
- Writing and Social Action: The Power of the Personal Voice in a Polical World with Brian Morton
- Ekphrastic Politics with Mahogany L. Brown [pictured]
- Art and Activism: Creative Collaborations in the Public Sphere with David Birkin
Enrollment is limited and applicants must provide an explanation of their interest as well as a sample of their work. Some financial assistance is avaialable.
Since there is always a lag time created between contemporary news issues and publications of poetry, Rattle has created a quick-streaming solution.
Poets Respond takes weekly submissions (before midnight on Fridays) for works "written within the last week about a public event that occurred within the last week."
The poems then appear every Sunday on the Rattle homepage. The only criteria for the poem, the editors assert, is quality, "all opinions and reactions are welcome."
Selected poets receive $50, with poems sent before midnight on Sunday and Tuesday considered for a "bonus" mid-week post.
This week's selection is "In Defense of Those Who Harbor Terrible Ideas at Tax Time" by Alison Luterman [pictured], in which, yes, she considers "the young black gay actor who orchestrated / a fake hate crime against himself. / It must have seemed like such a good idea to him / at the time," and later in the poem offers, "I have to forgive this young man his terrible / idea, I have to because, in my own way, I’ve been him."
For more information about Poets Respond and an archive of past works, click here.
"Oh, plastic, scourge of the Anthropocene, shaped into adorable shapes and dyed multifarious colors; plastic, who will be with us forever: it’s easy to forget about you, but when I remember you’re here, I’m annoyed and freaked out all at once."
The opening line of From the Editor: Material Life by Anna Lena Phillips Bell creates a link between the theme for the Fall/Winter 2018 issue of Ecotone: Body and our cultural abuse of plastics. Taking their own use to task, Ecotone announces with this issue they will no longer be shipping the magazines in 'polybags,' and the cover of the publication itself will now be an uncoated stock. Walking the talk!
And the contents of the publication focus on "The Body" including campus-carry laws, Indigenous students, the safety of women's bodies, queer identity, birth and postpartum depression, and much more.
See a full list of contributors and read partial content here.
Glimmer Train has just chosen the winning stories for their Family Matters competition. This competition is open to all writers for stories about family of any configuration. Glimmer Train’s monthly submission calendar may be viewed here.
1st place goes to Marian Palaia [pictured] of San Francisco, California, who wins $2500 for “Wild Things.” Her story will be published in Issue 106, the final issue of Glimmer Train Stories.
2nd place goes to Peter Parsons of Riverside, California, who wins $500 for “Elvis, Alive and Limping.” His story will also be published in Issue 106 of Glimmer Train, increasing his prize to $700.
3rd place goes to Emily Lackey of Amherst, Massachusetts, who wins $300 for “Trust.” Her story will also be published in Issue 106 of Glimmer Train, increasing her prize to $700.
Here’s a PDF of the Top 25.
Deadlines soon approaching!
Final Fiction Open: February 28
This is Glimmer Train’s final Fiction Open. First place wins $3000 plus publication in the journal, and 10 copies of that issue. Second/third: $1000/$600 and consideration for publication. This category has been won by both beginning and veteran writers - all are welcome! There are no theme restrictions. Word count generally ranges from 3000 – 6000, though up to 28,000 is fine. Stories may have previously appeared online but not in print. Click here for complete guidelines.
Final Very Short Fiction Award: February 28
This is Glimmer Train’s final Very Short Fiction Award. First place winning $2000 plus publication in the journal, and 10 copies of that issue. Second/third: $500/$300 and consideration for publication. It’s open to all writers, with no theme restrictions, and the word count range is 300 – 3000. Stories may have previously appeared online but not in print. Click here for complete guidelines.
"All of the work in this special Fall issue of Cold Mountain Review about a fair and just relationship between people and their society has great emotional impact," writes Consulting Editor Vivian Shipley in her Editor's Note. And the work strikes upon a variety of justice issues: the opioid crisis; transgender experience; the multitude of experiences of women from different identities, races, and classes; the continued impact of oppression created by colonial occupation; the impact of humans on the environment; ecological aspects; and the role of social media.
From her youth, Shipley shares, "I was taught that anything that had a negative impact on the dignity of life of any person, from their birth to their death, needed to be addressed and eliminated," and concludes, "This timely and very significant issue of Cold Mountain Review explores many ways to achieve social justice in our currently bitterly divided country."
See a complete list of contributors and read the full content online here.
The Winter 2019 online issue of Baltimore Review includes winners from their annual Winter Contest for fiction, CNF, or poetry, this year's themed "Tools," as well as the "Pop-Up Contest" for flash fiction or CNF in response to the collage art "The Tripwire of a Dream" by Bill Wolak.
Winter Contest Winners selected by Final Judge Geoffrey Becker:
Leslie Carlin [pictured], “Occasionally Good”
Christopher X Ryan, “Day Shapes”
Amanda Newell, “Because I Am Lonely and You Will Not Know My Pain”
Pop-Up Contest Winners selected by BR Editors:
Ian Mahler, "Lapse"
Robert Watkins, "The Little Girl and the Universe Tool"
This lovely cover of The Main Street Rag Winter 2019 just about sums it up for us here in Michigan.
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
Marge Saiser, who lives in Nebraska, is a fine and a very lucky poet. With the passing of each year her poems have gotten stronger and deeper. That's an enviable direction for a writer. This poem was published in The Briar Cliff Review and it looks back wisely and wistfully over a rich life. Saiser's most recent book is The Woman in the Moon from the Backwaters Press.
Weren't We Beautiful
growing into ourselves
earnest and funny we were
angels of some kind, smiling visitors
the light we lived in was gorgeous
we looked up and into the camera
the ordinary things we did with our hands
or how we turned and walked
or looked back we lifted the child
spooned food into his mouth
the camera held it, stayed it
there we are in our lives as if
we had all time
as if we would stand in that room
and wear that shirt those glasses
as if that light
would shine on us
and from us.
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 Marjorie Saiser, "Weren't We Beautiful," from The Briar Cliff Review (Vol. 30, 2018). Poem reprinted by permission of Marjorie Saiser 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.
“You will dig me from the earth with your bare hands” by Paula Harris [pictured]
"Our Hands Are Bowls of Dust" by Clemonce Heard
Shangyang Fang, "Marsysas Returning"
Kevin McLellan, “The Art of Fugue: Contrapunctus I”
Mark Wagenaar, "It Was While I Was Looking at the Oldest Wooden Wheel Ever Discovered"
Mark Wagenaar, “Oculi"
Renia White, “In this Village”
See a full list of finalists and judge's comments here.
The 2019 Prize is open until May 15 with Final Judge Craig Santos Perez. The winner receives $1500 and publication; second place receives $200 and publication.
Co-edited by Nicole Oquendo [pictured], Editor Lisa Roney introduces the newest issue of The Florida Review (42.2) in the "Editor's Note: Heritage, Family, Respect: Who Controls the Narrative?"
"It's with great pride and humility that we bring this array of poems, stories, memoirs, and both filmic and visual art to our readers - we believe that it represents a new generation of self-aware and multi-faceted creators who sometimes seek shelter under the umbrella of 'Latinx,' but who refuse to be defined by any label. [. . . ] They are, in fact, quintessentially American, representing the hybridity that makes our literature so strong on this continent, filled with varieties of experience and exhibiting styles that have been learned from an array of cultural sources and then innovated upon."
Selections highlight heritage, family, parent-child relationships, disability, divorce, and grieving. In several contributions, language and representations in history are examined, with all the works asking, "Who controls the narrative? What do words mean? If we know that they are subject to twisting, then how do we trust any story, any poem, any sentence?" Roney comments, "All of use, it seems, are grappling with these questions."
Contributors to this issue include Juan Carlos Reyes, Brooke Champagne, Steve Castro, Chris Campanioni, M. Soledad Caballero, Sara Lupita Olivares, Ariel Francisco, Leslie Sainz, Valorie K. Ruiz, Naomi A. Shuyama Gomez, Alana de Hinojosa, Maria Esquinca, Michael J. Pagán, Lupita Eyde-Tucker, Trinity Tibe, Karl Michael Iglesias, George Choundas, Pedro Ponce, Paul Alfonso Soto, Cindy Pollack, Pascha Sotolongo, Cassandra Martinez, Julia María Schiavone Camacho, Ivonne Lamazares, and Michael Betancourt.
Number 25 in the 2River Chapbook Series, Inscape, is a collection of poems by members of the Summer Poetry Workshop at the Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield, Vermont. Facilitator and retired English lit prof Bill Freedman introduces the collection, talking about the past four summers he has spent leading the poetry writing workshop, Poetry as Personal Expression.
"There is brotherhood here," Freedman writes, "the camaraderie of proud men similarly confined, some insist unjustly, stripped of agency and entitlement, vulnerable to an array of humiliations, yet determined to make this time not a suspension of their lives, but, if possible, a useful and worthwhile part of it. Their writing, this workshop, is, I think, for many, an important part of that."
As with all 2River Chapbooks, readers can find this fully available online, downloadable as a PDF, and in the form of "Chap the Book," which provides a PDF download that can be printed and folded into a chapbook.
Throughout 2018, Basalt Magazine "committed to publishing a selection of poems from each month of Ian Boyden’s manuscript A Forest of Names. Over the course of a year, Boyden translated the 5,196 names of schoolchildren crushed in the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake. He then began a collection of poems, each written on the day of each child’s birth. An in-depth discussion of these poems can be read in Fault Line: An Introduction to A Forest of Names.”
In his discussion, Boyden explains how, had it not been for Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, the names of these children, and the government being held accountable for the shoddy construction of the schools where these children were killed, would have been lost.
As part of the curation of Ai Weiwei's work related to the earthquake, Ian Boyden papered a wall with the children's names, "a massive work on paper consisting of 21 scrolls, together measuring 10.5' by over 42' long."
Boyden then discusses his work, taking the name of each child, the Chinese characters, and translating these into poetic renderings: "Holding the hopes implicit in each of these names in tension with the tragedy of the children's deaths has also been a translations of one grief to another: perhaps this is the most accurate translation of all."
Each year, Zone 3 considers all poems, essays, and stories accepted for publication in the journal for their Literary Awards. Zone 3 editors choose the winners, each of whom receives $250 and publicaiton.
The fall 2018 issue includes the fiction and nonfiction winners, while the poetry winner was published in the spring 2018 issue.
"Immigrant Prayer" by Ethan Chua [pictured]
"Mea Culpa, My Monster" by Carrie Shipers
"Halleujah Station" by Randal O'Wain
The reading period for submissions and the Literary Awards is August 1 - April 1.
THAT DAMNED FENCE
By Jim Yoshihara
They’ve sunk the posts, deep into the ground
They’ve strung out wires, all the way around.
With machine gun nests, just over there,
And sentries and soldiers everywhere.
We’re trapped like rats in a wired cage,
To fret and fume with impotent rage;
Yonder whispers the life of the night,
But that DAMNED FENCE in the floodlight glare.
We seek the softness of the midnight air,
But that DAMNED FENCE in the floodlight glare
Awaken unrest in our nocturnal quest,
And mockingly laughs with vicious jest.
With nowhere to go and nothing to do,
We feed terrible, lonesome and blue;
That DAMNED FENCE is driving us crazy,
Destroying our youth and making us lazy.
Imprisoned in here for a long, long time,
We know we’re punished tho we’ve committed no crime,
Our thoughts are gloomy and enthusiasm damp,
To be locked up in a concentration camp.
Loyalty we know and Patriotism we feel,
To sacrifice our utmost was our ideal,
To fight for our country, and die mayhap;
But we’re here because we happen to be JAP.
We all love life, and our country best,
Our misfortune to be here in the West,
To keep us penned behind that DAMNED FENCE,
Is someone’s notion of NATIONAL DEFENSE!!!!!!!
The Densho Digital Repository is an open online resource which chronicles the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans with photographs, documents, newspapers, letters and other primary resources. Densho credits this poem to Jim Yoshihara, written while incarcerated at Minidoka concentration camp in Idaho, c. 1940.
The newest issue of The Malahat Review (#205) features LGBTQ2S?+ writers in a celebration of "Queer Perspectives." Featured authors include fiction by Nathan Caro Fréchette, Christine Higdon, Matthew J. Trafford; creative nonfiction by Darrel J. McLeod, Anaheed Saatchi, Neal Debreceni, Deborah VanSlet; poetry by A. Light Zachary, Arün Smith, Kayla Czaga, Adèle Barclay, Arleen Paré, Nisa Malli, Charlie C. Petch, Sun Rey, and gorgeous cover art by Kent Monkman.
Malahat Lite, the publication's virtual newsletter, features interviews with Billeh Nickerson, who discusses his poem/lyric essay "Skies," and Francesca Ekwuyasi, who talks about her story "Good Soil," both pieces included in this issue.
I often run across commentary related to writers' frustrations with submitting to literary magazines, running into the Wall of Rejection, and rants against The Establishment perceived in many long-standing publications/academically-connected journals. Often, new publications are started by writers attempting to break down the barriers for other writers, promising to give consideration to those totally-unknown authors as well as those who do not come with a highly-acclaimed workshop/colony/MFA pedigree. Stick around literary publishing long enough, and the repetitions become easy to sort, but nonetheless, heartfelt and real for those going through them for the first time.
Anette Gendler, in her post "The Year I Gave Up Submitting to Literary Magazines" in Women Writers, Women['s] Books, took a look at her publishing record a few years back, "As 2015 drew to a close, I reviewed my submissions log and noted that 25 submissions to literary magazines had yielded zero acceptances." After considering the usual self-blame ("not enough effort, I should have submitted more"), Gendler considered her record for the years prior: 32 submissions/0 acceptances; 68 submissions/0 acceptances.
For many reading this, I know the first thought: Maybe she's just not that good.
Consider her previous publication credits: Bella Grace, Washington Independent Review of Books, Tablet Magazine, Thread, Wall Street Journal, and, for a period of time before this 'dry spell': Flashquake, South Loop Review, Under the Sun, Bellevue Literary Review, Kaleidoscope, Natural Bridge, and Prime Number Magazine.
She's been published. She just wasn't seeing the results that would encourage her to continue banging her head against that Wall. Yet, she asked herself, "Could I abandon the mothership?" She did, and instead, "I focused on the publications whose work I truly admired and loved to read, and that’s where I kept submitting."
The result? "It’s not that suddenly all my work gets accepted, but the rate is much higher," Gendler writes. "I now look at my submissions in terms of publications I want to get into. I think about what I could write for them."
After reading Gendler's commentary and seeing it had been a few years, I wondered, "Where is she now?" with her stance on lit mags, so I reached out to her to ask.
"My approach has pretty much stayed the same since then," she wrote, "I don't submit to literary magazines anymore. Not doing so was essentially a course correction for me. Literary magazines are just not the right market for my work, even though I write literary nonfiction and memoir."
As well, since that time, she has published her first book, Jumping Over Shadows: A Memoir. Ironically, a lit mag editor, having read her post, asked her to submit something for their journal. She did, and they published The Flying Dutchman, an excerpt from her book.
The January/February 2019 issue of Kenyon Review features the winners of the 2018 Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest selected by Judge Melinda Moustakis, with an introduction by Fiction Editor Kirsten Reach. The winning entries can be read online here, and each includes a video or audio of the author reading the work.
Laura Roque [pictured], “Dientes for Dentures”
Tyler Barton, “Spiritual Introduction to the Neighborhood”
Christopher Fox, “Breaking”
Jena Chapman Andres, “Unter den Linden”
Alex Burchfield, “Taxidermy"
Over the past several months, writer Michael Nye [pictured] has been working to resurrect Story, which had originally been founded and edited by Travis Kurowski, and ceased publication in 2016. After working out the details with Travis, Michael laid all the groundwork to continue the publication in strong steed.
Nye's experience with other publications has helped him understand the intricacies and necessities of running a quality journal. Previous managing editor of The Missouri Review and associate editor with Boulevard, Nye has had plenty of experience "steering ships"; this will be his first venture "building them." He says, "I've always wanted to run a literary magazine and over the last fifteen years, I think I’ve learned enough to pull it off." Travis has worked closely with Michael on the transition and remains involved as the editor-at-large.
In addition, Nye has drawn in a solid staff: Associate Editor LaTanya McQueen; Staff Andrew Bockhold, Brandon Grammer, Robert Ryan, and Brianna Westervelt; as well as a Board of Directors with Ruth Awad, Valerie Cumming, Keith Leonard, and Maggie Smith; and an Advisory Board with David Althoff, Jürgen Fauth, Stephanie G’Schwind, Roxane Gay, Jonathan Gottschall, Andrea Martucci, Speer Morgan, David Shields, Randi Shedlosky-Shoemaker, Jim Shepard, and Marion Winik.
Nye has put his full faith and effort into this venture: "There is a tremendous amount to look forward to in the coming year. I am beyond thrilled to bring Story back. I do hope you'll join us: we plan on being here for a long time to come."
Readers can look forward to Story #4 released this February featuring new stories by Anne Valente, Claudia Hinz, A.A. Balaskovits, Phong Nguyen, Brett Beach, Jordan Jacks, Dionne Irving, Katherine Zlabek, and Marilyn Abildskov and debut fiction by Yohanca Delgado.
This is the third in a series written by current National University’s MFA Creative Writing Program student Fabricio Correa focusing on NU's Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program which has created a welcoming learning environment and an accessible program for active and former military. Three current/alumni students offer their perspectives on being writers with military experience and the value of MFA programs that support their education.
Rachel Napolitano was born in Dallas, TX. She has been the wife of an F-16 pilot since 2011. In her memoir In the Passenger Seat of the Viper: Stories from the Wife of an F-16 Pilot, she talks about her experience in the military community from an insider’s point of view. Her lifestyle requires constant relocation to disparate countries. She lived in places such as LA, Italy, South Korea, and South Carolina, and traveled to exotic locales.
In her memoir, Rachel shares the challenges of being a military wife. Among them were securing a steady job due to the constant moving, the poor means of communication during her husband’s TDY (temporary duty), episodes of sexual harassment, loneliness, and loss of faith. About considering herself as a courageous writer, Rachel says, “I don’t feel brave, but I want to. I’m horrified at the idea of offending someone I care about, but I feel empowered when I read other writers who are truthful, like Stephen King. We’re not perfect, and I think people connect with each other in the blemishes.”
Furthermore, her writing possesses a radiant quality that sheds light even on her saddest moments. When she lost an F-16 pilot friend, she realized she was writing not about being a military wife but about her loss of faith. On this transformation, Rachel reflects, “It was cathartic. It forced me to step back and realize I was writing about something bigger than myself through this experience of loss. I am still uncomfortable admitting my loss of faith because of my upbringing, but once I wrote and rewrote that story, I had to recognize my own truth. By shedding my old faith, I was able to open up to new beliefs of gratitude and kindness, free from doctrine. I chose light instead of dark, something we have to do every day.”
Rachel attended an online MFA program in creative writing at National University “while living in South Korea, visiting family in Texas, and moving my household across the country to South Carolina. If I had been required to be in a physical classroom, I couldn’t have done it.”
Frank O'Hara fans will appreciate the January 2019 issue of Poetry, which includes excerpts from A Frank O’Hara Notebook by Bill Berkson: "A fascinating account of Frank O'Hara in the prime of his creative life in New York, told through notes, images, and poems by his friend Bill Berkson." Published by no place press, an imprint of MIT Press.
The print version includes pages in full color and is also available for viewing online here.
The Winter 2018 issue of Spoon River Poetry Review includes winners of the 2018 Editor's Prize Contest with Final Judge Li-Young Lee. Winning works can also be read online here, while the new issue is still current.
Mark Svenvold [pictured], “Immigration Algorithm (Application Form D (3) b (1) a)”
David Wright, “There is Another Book”
Chad Foret, “That Which Shines”
Ed Frankel, “Singing Lullabies in Dangerous Places”
Timothy McBride, “Soudure”
Lan Duong, “In This House”
The SRPR Editor's Prize Contest is open annually until April 15. In addition to publication, the winner receives $1000, first and second runners-up receive $100. Honorable mentions and finalists may also receive publication.
In his essay "Dialogue: Something to Talk About," Gregory Wolos writes: "Like everything else in a work of fiction, quoted words and phrases are inventions created to serve the purposes of the author. Paradoxically, because the meaning behind spoken language may be subtle, understanding it might demand more, not less, of the reader."
"Playing the Odds" by Melissa Yancy [pictured] is a uniquely grounding and encouraging perspective on writers keeping their eye on their own hidden gems rather than the prizes of others: "We read author bios, convinced that Iowa, the Stegner, or the right borough in New York City will increase the odds. Then what is already in hand becomes currency that we trade in for that gamble."
Readers can access the most current as well as a full archive of the Glimmer Train Bulletin here.
Reflecting on the 1974 publication Aiiieeeee! An Anthology of Asian-American Writers and the work of its editors, Frank Chin, Jeffrey Paul Chan, Lawson Fusao Inada, and Shawn Wong, the Winter 2018 issue of The Massachusetts Review is an ambitious special issue dedicated to Asian American Literature: Rethinking the Canon.
Cathy J. Schlund-Vials [pictured] and Lawrence-Minh Bùi Davis, editors for this issue write in the introduction, "[. . . ] the present-day terrain of Asian American literature is characterized by a profound geopolitical diversity that encompasses to varying degrees and often divergent ends the multifaceted experiences of native-born, immigrant, and refugee subjects. Such diversity by way of location is matched by a complexity with regard to histories of racialization, war, displacement, and resettlement. Last, but certainly not least, as the work in this special Massachusetts Review issue makes abundantly clear, Asian American writing — despite conservative claims 'otherwise' — is an integral part of the U.S. literary canon." Read the full introduction here.
In addition to the full TOC, which can be seen here, the editors have included A Poetry Portfolio, "in the spirit of" poet Fanny Choi's address, "(B)Aiiieeeee!: The Future is Femme and Queer" (included in the issue). To the "cis-het male vision of Asian American literature," the editors offer: "this folio invokes a decidedly different Asian American poetic landscape than [. . . ] Aiiieeeee! Its expansive focus includes queer, femme, gender nonbinary, mixed race, refugee, and adoptee poets of East, South, Southeast, West and Central Asian descent; its poems span diverse aesthetics, intersectional politics, and contradictory subjectivities. The guiding impulse is not merely illuminatory or inclusive, but decolonial. It asks us to see not only the erased but the practice of erasure and our respective roles in undoing that canonical violence - what more responsible reading and publishing practices might look like."