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Published July 01, 2014
Prairie Schooner has announced that a new managing editor will be taking over, Ashely Strosnider. She has held editing positions with Drunken Boat, Pithead Chapel, and Yemassee.  Editor-in-Cheif Kwame Dawes writes that, "Ashley comes with the requisite experience that this job demands, but she's also full of brilliant ideas and has a tremendous passion for publishing, qualities that will take us in new and exciting directions." You can read more about Strosnider and the staff change, here.
Published July 01, 2014
Right from the front cover (her passport) of the new issue of Brick, you can tell that this issue means to celebrate Mavis Gallant. And as you open the issue, you get a quote from her before you delve into the issue itself: "I have lived in writing, like a spoonful of water in a river."

It starts with a short piece by the editors that discusses "Working with Mavis Gallant" as in 2007, they published an interview with her, conducted in French and then translated. Gallant called many times to make corrections and work on editing the interview, eventually relinquishing the care of the work to Tara Quinn. "There would be no more auspicious a start to life at Brick than to be show by Mavis Gallant how to edit an interview," Quinn and Nadia Szilvassy write. "The experience informed how we edited all interviews in issues to come. The voice had to come through wit ha force equal to that of Mavis on that first phone call. We'd all do well to keep listening."

The issue continues with four more pieces "For Mavis Gallant" from Michael Helm, Francine Prose, Alison Harris, and Michael Ondaatje.
Published July 02, 2014
The latest issue of Mississippi Review features the winners of the 2014 Contests. Winners received publication and $1,000.

Kirstin Valdez Quade is the fiction prize winner. Here is how her piece starts: "When she heard the blind girl was coming to spend mornings at the normal school, Jill suspected they'd stick her in the desk next to hers. She had the best grades and the fewest friends, a combo that made her uniquely qualified to keep company with a cripple."

And Harold Whit Williams won the poetry prize with "Blue Dreams" which starts:

At this juncture the river is too wide,
Too swift and too strong. A bottleneck
Slide scraped along taut catgut strings
That sing and moan like a crop-beaten
Beast of burden. Cry gee, then cry haw.
Cry over evil deeds done at midnight.
Holler sweet Lucifer back in his hole.
What a sight! This old muddy flooding
Fields, lapping the levee. I'll get there
Somehow, someway, and on that day
You'll be sorry you've done me wrong.
Published July 03, 2014
Get the latest issue of Iron Horse Literary Review, then read Anne Valente's fiction piece "Our Hearts Will Burn Us Down," and be rewarded with both the excellent prose and the interview with her that follows. Valente discusses her inspiration for the piece: "This story did develop from so many recent news stories about school shootings, as well as the difficult of even imagining the pain for everyone involved. From the remove of watching on television or reading the newspaper, I felt overwhelmed but also guilty for feeling this, as if I had no right. After the Sandy Hook shooting in particular, I couldn't stop thinking about the unbearable weight of that kind of grief and where that pressure can even go. From there emerged the image of a sorrow-turned-to-fire, of grief having no outlet but to burn everything down."

More generally, you also learn about Valente, that she has always wanted to be a writer, and if she wasn't a writer, according to the career aptitude test in her high school, she'd be a tree surgeon: "In retrospect, this doesn't seem to far off the mark; when I'm not writing, I'm usually outside or wanting to be outside." Currently, she is working on a full-length novel that grew out of this published story as well as a collection of short stories about the city of St. Louis.
Published July 04, 2014
This cover features an old passport of Mavis Gallant, the writer who is being honored and feature within the first half of this new issue of Brick.


The Meadow's 2014 issue features cover artwork from Marti Bein titled "Aurora View."


It's rare that I don't like a cover from Parcel. This one is by Cable Griffith, an artist and curator living in Seattle whose work also graces the inside pages. "Return to the Source" and "Gallatin Passage" are two of my favorites.

Published July 04, 2014
American Life in Poetry: Column 484

I’m especially fond of sparklers because they were among the very few fireworks we could obtain in Iowa when I was a boy. And also because in 2004 we set off the fire alarm system at the Willard Hotel in Washington by lighting a few to celebrate my inauguration as poet laureate. Here’s Barbara Crooker, of Pennsylvania, also looking back.


We’re writing our names with sizzles of light
to celebrate the fourth. I use the loops of cursive,
make a big B like the sloping hills on the west side
of the lake. The rest, little a, r, one small b,
spit and fizz as they scratch the night. On the side
of the shack where we bought them, a handmade sign:
Trailer Full of Sparkles Ahead, and I imagine crazy
chrysanthemums, wheels of fire, glitter bouncing
off metal walls. Here, we keep tracing in tiny
pyrotechnics the letters we were given at birth,
branding them on the air. And though my mother’s
name has been erased now, I write it, too:
a big swooping I, a hissing s, an a that sighs
like her last breath, and then I ring
belle, belle, belle in the sulphuric smoky dark.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2013 by Barbara Crooker from her most recent book of poems, Gold, Cascade Books, 2013. Poem reprinted by permission of Barbara Crooker and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2014 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. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.
Published July 07, 2014
From Running Press, Tequlia Mockinbird should be every readers compendium volume! Author Tim Ferdale "Broadway actor, word nerd, and cocktail enthusiast" (and author of the YA comic novel Better Nate Than Ever) offers readers/drinkers 65 literary themed recipes along with commentary on the source novels, drinking games, food recipes, and illustrations.

A few examples: One Flew Over the Cosmo's Nest; Rye and Prejudice; The Cooler Purple; Frangelico and Zooey; A Midsummer Night's Beam; The Old Man and the Seagram's; The Sound and the Slurry - and I could go on! The book is divided into sections Drinks for Dames and Gulps for Guys (why the gender divide, I don't know - I found BOTH lists appealing!), and Bevies for Book Clubs, Refreshments for Recovering Readers, Bar Bites for Book Hounds, and Games for Geeks (with games for Drinking All by Your Lonesome as well as Drinking with Friends).

I'm only sorry I didn't have this book when I was in grad school - it would have made all those novel-a-week classes a lot more fun! A definite must have for literary lovers, a great gift for bookies on your list, and required reading for anyone heading off to English grad programs this fall!

And to look forward to: Federle's Hickory Daiquiri Dock is due out December 2014. Nursery rhymes made even more fun? Who knew!
Published July 07, 2014
Monsterama is an Atlanta convention that celebrates the fantastic in film, literature, and art. It takes place from August 1-3, 2014. The convention will feature celebrity, artist, and author guests, screenings, programming on film, literature, and art, as well as other fan related events and panels.
Published July 08, 2014
River Styx received close to 300 submissions for their eighth annual Schlafly Beer Micro-Brew Micro-Fiction Contest. "We thought the overall quality of manuscripts was exceptionally high," the editors write. The top three winners are featured in the latest issue of the magazine (39th Anniversary Issue: "Because who wants to turn 40?")

First Place
Doug Crandell, "Dangerous to Inhale"
"The state park cannot be named. If it is, you'll know where this happened, and if that were the case, he might come back and get me. I don't want that. Yes, he's dead, but one thing you'll find out is that the dead are never really gone here. He gets to go wherever he wants, the Magic Marker Man, that is..."

Second Place
Landon Houle, "Right to the Bones, Right to the Marrow"
"My mother texts me, says, Lisa lost the baby again. I don't think about it at the time. At the time, I'm in the bathtub, and I'm getting my phone all wet and soapy, and to my credit, I'm not thinking about electronics and water or the manner of my mother's message. To my credit, I'm thinking of my cousin Lisa, and I type back, Oh no! ..."

Third Place
John Hearn, "Billy"
"He told me he remembered the day his parents brought Billy home from Union Hospital, the day he met his sixth sibling. The christening, too, with the Boston relatives crowding the apartment early that Sunday morning, the adults dressed in their church clothes, baby Billy in a christening gown brought by his aunt Madeline. In the apartment, just minutes before the ceremony, a discussion continued over what to name him.."
Published July 08, 2014
Paul Nelson writes: It is almost August once again and this means POSTCARDS!

The August Poetry Postcard Fest is an exercise in responding to other poets. You write a poem a day for the month of August, write it directly onto a postcard and send it to the next name on your list. When you receive a postcard poem from someone, the idea is that the next poem you send out will be a response to the poem you just received, even though it will be sent to a different person. Ideally you will write 31 new poems and receive 31 postcard poems from all over the place.

To participate, send your name, mailing address, and email to . Use the word "postcard" in the subject line.

Again, one long list will go out this year this year instead of individual lists of 32 names. You can send postcard poems to the 31 names below your name, please do not use this list for advertising or for any other purpose than postcard poems. DO NOT SPAM THE LIST.

I [Paul] will send out the list twice. Our international participants often require an earlier start due to longer delivery times, so I will send the incomplete list out on July 16th and the final version around July 26th. The 26th is the cut off date, I will not be adding any more names to the list after that, the list sent out on the 26th will be the final list for this year. Really. I'll be out of the U.S. myself. Please be sure to send in your information before that. I will email the list to the participants in a google document as well as in the body of the email.

If you know anyone who would like to participate, feel free to forward them this message! Hope you enjoy the Poetry Postcard Fest!


On or about Sunday, July 27th, look at the list to see the three people listed below your name. Write them each an original poem on a postcard, put their address on the card and affix the necessary postage. $1.15 for international cards leaving the U.S. Consider scanning your cards or photographing them to document each poem/card before you send them out. Do not recycle old poems for this. Do not compose a long poem in advance and cut it up into hunks for this. It is an experiment in composing in the moment and your poem has an audience of one. This is designed in part as a conversation.

(If you are near the bottom of the list, send a card to anyone below you then start again at the top.) Ideally, you would write 3 different short poems -- remember they are being composed on a postcard and please keep your handwriting clear. If your handwriting is lousy, typing the poems is ok. If you have folks outside your own country on your list, you can start sending poems early…)

Write about something that relates to your sense of "place" however you interpret that, something about how you relate to the postcard image, what you see out the window, what you're reading, a dream you had that morning, or an image from it, etc. Like "real" postcards, get to something of the "here and now" when you write. Present tense is preferred... Do write original poems for the project. Taking old poems and using them is not what we have in mind. You may want to use epigraphs. One participant last year used his daily I Ching divination to inform his poems.

This is also an experiment in community consciousness. Try to respond to cards that you get with subject, image or any kind of link if possible. Often newsworthy events happen in August. How would our community respond? Letting a card that you receive linger for a while before you respond to the next person on your list is the preferred method. When you go to your mail box each day, put the bills aside, read the poems you get and think about them as you compose to the next person on your list.

A GREAT story about one man's conversion from being a postcard CHEATER is here:

A workshop handout for the poetry postcard writing exercise is here:

You may also view that handout at this link:

We welcome any/all Feedback.