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Published August 06, 2014
Open Book Toronto: What is the best thing about being a poet….and what is the worst?

Janice Tokar: Best two things: the heightened flow state on those rare occasions when a poem catches fire and words spontaneously pour out; the creative and generous people I’ve met through writing. Worst two things: being stuck with a line mid-poem that has the exact right words but the wrong rhythm; the inevitable self-doubt and second-guessing that flutters about after I press SEND.

the rest of the interview on Open Book Toronto, "celebrating and profiles Toronto and Ontario's non-stop literary scene, with a special focus on the books and events produced by Ontario's independent, Canadian-owned publishers."
Published August 07, 2014
The Summer 2014 issue of Geist magazine features the winners of the 10th Annual Geist Literary Postcard Story Contest:

First Prize
"Nettie, Rose, Daphne and Ginger" by James MacSwain

Second Prize
"Do You Have a Lighter" by Erin Kirsh

Third Prize
"Sand" by D. M. Long
Published August 07, 2014
Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction published online regularly features insightful craft essays with each issue. With the emphasis on "brief" (under 750 words) nonfiction, the essays allow authors more word count to explore aspects of writing. The May 2014 issue includes "Can You Hear Me Now? How Reading Our Writing Aloud Informs Audiences and Ourselves" by Kate Carroll de Gutes, "The Editor at the Breakfast Table" by Charles J. Shields - a perspective on the need for writers to both seek and be receptive to feedback, and "The Nose Knows: How Smells Can Connect Us to the Past and Lead Us to the Page" by Jeremy B. Jones, in which he explores "how our awareness of the undeniable connection between scent and the past helps us to come upon essays. How might our noses get us to the page?"
Published July 25, 2014
Cover art for this issue of The Cincinnati Review is called Shallow Water, a 16in by 20in acrylic by Felicia Olin who also contributes a portfolio within the issue, all included pieces worth discovering.

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The cover art for the "Reimagined: Bridging this World and Others" issue of Nimrod is a photograph by Brooke Golightly with just as an enticing of a title, "Beneath the Skirt of the Sea."

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Notre Dame's "Listen Here" issue features cover art by Gail Schneider. On the front cover, Right Ear made with clay and mortar. " terra cotta. I wasinterested in the contrast of the soft sensuousness of the human body, the fragility of body parts such as the heart and ear and the impenetrable stability of brick," she writes.
Published July 25, 2014
Glimmer Train has just chosen the winning stories for their May Short Story Award for New Writers. This competition is held quarterly and is open to all writers whose fiction has not appeared in a print publication with a circulation greater than 5000. The next Short Story Award competition will take place in August. Glimmer Train’s monthly submission calendar may be viewed here.

1st place goes to Caro Clark [pictured] of Wakefield, RI. She wins $1500 for “The Kind I Really Am” and her story will be published in Issue 94 of Glimmer Train Stories. This is Caro’s first published story.

2nd place goes to Robert Kirkbride of Chicago, IL. He wins $500 for “These Things.”

3rd place goes to Gaetan Sgro of Chicago, IL. He wins $300 for “We Are All Snowflakes and Cities.”

A PDF of the Top 25 winners can be found here.

Deadline soon approaching! Very Short Fiction Award: July 31
This competition is held quarterly, and 1st place has been increased to $1500 plus publication in the journal. It’s open to all writers, with no theme restrictions, and the word count must not exceed 3000. Click here for complete guidelines.
Published July 28, 2014
In the Fall 2014 issue of Willow Springs, Elizabeth Kemper French and Joseph Salvatore have a conversation (from March 2013) with Andre Dubus III, author of New York Times bestsellers House of Sand and Fog, The Garden of Last Days, and Townie. The interview is lengthy and worth every word.

It begins with conversation about the digital age, which Dubus detests. "I don't like modern life," he says, "with these gadgets." And although his publisher made him get a Facebook page, he doesn't plan to ever update it (though points out that there is nothing wrong with others doing so). "It's a philosophical turning-away-from, and a temperamental turning-away-from," he says. "The older I get, the more simplicity I want. I don't think these things have helped us. I think they've made us little rats, made us pay attention to little, stupid shit."

And because the writing process is different for everyone, Dubus must write by longhand, not putting on the computer until it is completed: "I need the physical intimacy of flesh, blood, bone, wood, paper. It helps me enter the character." He goes on to explain the necessity for him to slow down when writing, as writing longhand forces you to do:

"There's a great line from Goethe: 'Do not hurry. Do not rest.' Some people say, 'I need the computer, because my ideas are so fast.' I say, 'Ideas? I don't trust ideas. Ideas are just ideas.' I trust the other stuff. I love the line from Flannery O'Connor, from Mystery and Manners: 'There's a certain grain of stupidity the writer of fiction can hardly do without, and that's the quality of having to stare.' ..."

It's a quality interview, both entertaining and insightful. It's worth every one of the almost 30 pages it takes up of the journal.
Published July 28, 2014
Amy Stolls. Photo by Carrie Holbo
Amy Stolls, author of the Palms to the Ground and The Ninth Wife, former literature professor at American University, and environmental journalist covering the Exxon Valdez oil spill, has been appointed Director of Literature of the National Endowment for the Arts. Stolls has served as acting director since May 2013, and has been with the NEA literature office since 1998.

Stolls says of her appointment: "To be part of the literary community—that passionate, wonderful lot of writers, teachers, publishers, editors, presenters, librarians, translators, and more who work tirelessly on behalf of books and reading—is an honor. To be in a position to help this community is a gift. I have always believed deeply in the NEA’s mission; I look forward to carrying out that mission as best I can in my new role.”

Read more on NEA News.
Published July 28, 2014
James Duncan's blog post Dear Editor, Dear Writer, PLEASE STOP! should be required reading for every writer sending out works for publication, for every publication accepting and rejecting writing, for every teacher, every student - cripes! JUST EVERYBODY PLEASE READ THIS!

A well-published author himself as well as an editor, Duncan has learned the intimacy of the good, the bad, and the ugly of the relationship between editors and writers - either having experienced it himself or having heard about it from others. His insight goes well beyond the response times and cover letter content. Such issues as editors giving rude rejections and ("on the flip side" for each topic) writers responding rudely to rejection, extraneous e-mails from both editors and writers, complicated guidelines and writers not following guidelines, closing submissions and over submitting, and many more such issues.

I've already had a side conversation with Duncan about one of his issues here, and we agree, there are some tough lines to walk in our business of writing and publishing. It would seem much of his advice is common sense and common courtesy. But it's not that easy when new writers are trying to learn the publishing arena, and new editors likewise - or even established writers and editors wondering what they're "doing wrong" or how to improve their professionalism. For all these reasons and more, Duncan's essay should be the go-to guidelines for all writers and editors.
Published July 29, 2014
The Baltimore Review editors have announced and congratulated the winners of their summer contest, the theme of which was "How To." Judged by Michael Downs, the contest was open to poetry, short stories, and creative nonfiction. The issue itself features this same theme. Here are the winners:

First Place
Diana Spechler's "How to Love a Telemarketer"

Second Place
Ginny Hoyle's "How to Breathe"

Third Place
Shirley Fergenson's "How to Leave a Garden"

Congrats. Read the winning pieces and the complete issue online here, featuring Erika Kleinman, Evan Beaty, Douglas Cole, Meng Jin, Marjorie Stelmach, Carolyn Williams-Noren, Justin Brouckaert, James Norcliffe, and more.
Published July 29, 2014
"Strange and Wondrous Pairings" is the feature section of The Georgia Review's most recent issue. The five included essays "all raise questions," writes Editor Stephen Corey, "very different questions—about the people or characters they bring together in quite unexpected ways. These works were not commissioned; they appeared by chance during the past two years and built for us, unbeknownst to their authors, a distinctive community."

Martha G. Wiseman's "Dr. No Meets J. Robert Oppenheimer"
Corey writes, "Wiseman revisits this movie villain and this real-life celebrity scientist while looking through the prism of her father, the actor Joseph Wiseman, who played the two in film and on stage, respectively. She also looks through in the other direction, seeing her father as he was reflected in the roles he played—and didn't play—and herself as she was influenced by, and influenced, this man of many faces, an actor of sufficient repute in the early 1960s that the director of Dr. No 'needed someone with a name, a presence,' to counterbalance that newcomer, Sean Connery."

Brandon R. Schrand's "Finding Emily & Elizabeth"
Corey writes, "Schrand received from a neighbor the gift of a 1944 edition of Emily Dickinson's poems . . . when he first sat down to peruse this particualr volume he immediately discovered, taped over one of the poems and surrounded by handwritten notations, a photograph of a teenage girl named Elizabeth who appeared to be dead . . . his Dickinson collection proved to be filled with many other annotations, all apparently by the young Elizabeth's mother, and so his sought-after education becomes a doubling of his original intention."

Albert Goldbarth's "Two Characters in Search of an Essay"
Corey asks, "Who else would ferret out, and then present with wild and beautiful prose, the vital connections between John Keats and Clyde Tombaugh (the young man who discovered the now-maligned Pluto), and—remember, this is Albert Goldbarth—would also teach us countless other remarkable things along the way?"

Marianne Boruch's "Pilgrimage"
Corey writes, "Boruch's 'Pilgrimage' takes us, as no other tour guides have ever done, to and through the homes of Keats (on the Isle of Wight) and a seminal American poet, Theodore Roethke (in Saginaw, Michigan).

Brian Doyle's "Sam & Louis"
Mark Twain and Robert Louis Stevenson had a single face-to-face meeting, "but one whose substance went unreported." Corey writes, "Doyle, an aficionado of both men's work, asks 'But what did they say?'—and proceeds to reconstitute what was very likely several hours of the most scintillating talk in history."
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