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Denise Hill

Boyfriend Village

October 18, 2018
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zachary dossWith its most recent edition, Black Warrior Review introduces the renaming of their online edition of the publication: Boyfriend Village.

The name comes a story written Zachary Doss, "The Village with All of the Boyfriends." Zach was an editor with BWR  and beloved member of the literary community. He passed away in March 2018.

Brandi Wells writes, "Zach loved BWR before, during, and after he was editor there. It makes sense that he might be woven into the infrastructure in this way. I hope it is a space for weird voices and writers who are trying something new, something surprising."

She offers readers this excerpt from Zach's story: “The Village with All of the Boyfriends is where all of your boyfriends wind up eventually. You built this Village for them and they can’t leave and neither can you. You are not allowed inside, but you wait in the desert at the edge of town.”

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American Life in Poetry: Column 707
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Peter Schmitt is a Floridian, and the following poem is from his book, Renewing the Vows, published by David Robert Books. Poetry seems to be the perfect medium for brief anecdotal stories, but most of us have higher expectations of a poem, believing it should reach beneath the surface and draw up something from the deeper parts of experience. This is just such a poem.

The Bench

peter schmittIt's all like a bad riddle, our widow friend
said at the time. If a tree falls in the woods
and kills your husband, what can you build from it?
That she was speaking quite literally
we did not know until the day months later
the bench arrived, filling that foyer space
in the house the neighbors pitched in to finish.

She'd done it, she said, for the sake of the boys,
and was never more sure of her purpose
than when they were off, playing in the woods
their father loved, somewhere out of earshot
and she would be struggling in with groceries.
For her, it was mostly a place to rest
such a weight, where other arms might have reached

to lift what they could. Or like the time we knocked
at her door, and finding it just ajar,
cautiously entered the sunstruck hallway,
and saw her sitting there staring into space,
before she heard our steps and caught herself,
turning smiling toward us, a book left
lying open on the bench beside her.


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 ©2007 by Peter Schmitt, "The Bench," from Renewing the Vows  (David Robert Books, 2007). Poem reprinted by permission of Peter Schmitt and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2018 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.


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jerrod schwarzDriftwood Press is kicking off their new Seminar Series with a five-week online Erasure Poetry Seminar lead by Jerrod Schwarz [pictured], instructor of creative writing at the University of Tampa. The seminar covers the history, practice, and importance of erasure poetry. The format is weekly video, writing prompts with feedback, a class-only Facebook group and YouTube channel. The course fee includes a copy of A Little White Shadow  by Mary Ruefle. Students will contribute to a Showcase Booklet which will be made available for free on Driftwood’s website and via their social media outlets.

Writers interested in attending the seminar must apply with writing sample and statement of interest no later than October 31. After selection, the course will run from November 12 - December 14.

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Glimmer Train may be winding down, but its Bulletins with craft essays from writers continues a stongly as ever. The October 2018 installment features:

may lee chaiWriting Immigrant Stories by May-lee Chai [pictured]: "For American authors writing about a multicultural, globalized world, the issue of translation is unavoidable: what to put into English, what to leave in a mother tongue, and how to render the mixed-English that often is used in immigrant families."

Novel and Story by William Luvaas: "For years, the novel was dominant, with its loud, broad-shouldered personality. Novel was so self-assured—something of a bully, really—while Story scurried about, mouse-like under the furniture, speaking in a whisper, fearing Novel would step on it. Then something unexpected happened."

Tobias Wolff (from an interview by Travis Holland): "So when I would read a great story of Ray Carver's, like 'Errand' or 'Cathedral,' my thought would be, 'I want to write this well.' Not write like him, because I knew I couldn't. That was his world, his voice, all that."

This and all previous bulletins are archived here.

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fiddlehead

The Fiddlehead Summer 2018 poetry issue features, appropriately, "Waning Summer Light, 2017," oil on canvas by Sonya Mahnic.

alaska quarterly review

Kodiak, Alaska-based photographer and writer Marion Owen's photo on the Summer/Fall 2018 issue of Alaska Quarterly Review is a stunning capture of the Pacific blood star on a bed of kelp.

copper nickel

 Which transitions nicely to the Fall 2018 cover of Copper Nickel, with Milk & Honey pigment print on 100% rag paper by Kristen Hatgi Sink. Inside, this issue features fourteen poets from Ireland and the UK.

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carolyn kuebler"Literature is not efficient," writes New England Review Editor Carolyn Kuebler in the Editor's Note to V39 N3. "Reading it, writing it, and publishing it all require a seemingly unreasonable investment in time. Journals like ours take part in this economy of inefficiency by keeping our doors open to writing from everyone, everywhere." She goes on to discuss the weight placed on editors to make selections from thousands of unsolicited submissions, which open publications with good reputations face.

"Because of this openness to new writing, we have to say 'no' far more often than we say 'yes,' which can give writers a kind of 'who do they think they are' feeling of resentment. It also sets literary editors up as gatekeepers, as if reading and evaluating manuscripts were in some way equivalent to being a bouncer at an exclusive nightclub or a troll under the bridge. To me, the problem with the image of a gatekeeper is that it implies that the lit mag is some steadfast entity that simply exists, and that editors are only blocking the way to it. But without the efforts of those same people who are reading the manuscripts, there would be no there there."

Instead, Kuebler entreats readers (and writers) to consider "lit mags and their staff of editors and readers in terms of service," with many of those working behind the scenes doing so for little or no pay, and putting "aside their own agendas and literary preferences, and often their own writing, in service of another’s."

I get it. I hope others do, too. Thanks Carolyn - and countless other editors, readers, and all of those who give selflessly in the service of literature to make these publications 'there.'

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The Fall 2018 issue of Raleigh Review features the winners of the 2018 Dorriane Laux / Joseph Millar Poetry Prize:

john sibley williamsWinner
"Forever Daylight" by John Sibley Williams [pictured]

Honorable Mentions
"Four Sonnets" Bailey Cohen [2nd]
"Lightning Flowers" Emily Mohn-Slate [3rd]

Finalists
"Other women don't tell you" by Julia Dasbach
"Keloid Scar" by Julia Dasbach [not published]
"Sometimes I Pretend the Daughter I Wanted Was Born Alive" by Chelsea Dingman
"After You Have Gone" by Chelsea Dingman

The prize will open again April 1, 2019 and close May 31, 2019. The winner receives $500 and publication, finalists receive $10 and publication, honorable mentions will be considered for publication and payment. All entrants receive the Fall issue.

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4 by 2What do you do if you’re a lit mag that has been successfully publishing poets at all stages of their careers for two decades? Well, you start a NEW publication, of course, with an entirely NEW mission! The 4x2 Project is exactly that.
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okay donkeyIf the idea of snuggling up to a stack of submissions sounds like the most romantic way to spend your evening with the one you love, then you can pretty much imagine the lives of Genevieve Kersten and Eric Andrew Newman, editors of the newest online venue for poetry and flash fiction: Okay Donkey.
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rebecca fish ewanAs always, Brevity's craft essays cover a wide range of topics to interest any/every writer of "concise literary nonfiction," and then some. The September 2018 installment features "Schizophrenia, Dandelions, Cookies, Floods and Scabs: Alternate Approaches" by Elizabeth Robinson; "Picturing the Hybrid Form" by Rebecca Fish Ewan [pictured], which offers readers "an illustrated crash course on graphic memoir"; and an exploration of "the interplay of language and visual arts" with Beth Kephart's "Paynes Gray: When Watercolors Become Words."
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