BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
One of Grant Wood’s earliest paintings is of a pair of old shoes, and it hangs in the art museum in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where Wood grew up. Here’s a different kind of still life, in words, from Jim Daniels, who lives in Pittsburgh. The shoes we put on our feet gradually become like the person wearing them.
Work Boots: Still Life
Next to the screen door
work boots dry in the sun.
Salt lines map the leather
and laces droop
like the arms of a new-hire
waiting to punch out.
The shoe hangs open like the sigh
of someone too tired to speak
a mouth that can almost breathe.
A tear in the leather reveals
a shiny steel toe
a glimpse of the promise of safety
the promise of steel and the years to come.
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 reprinted from Show and Tell, Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 2003, courtesy of the University of Wisconsin Press. Copyright ©2003 by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. Jim Daniels’ most recent book of poems is Birth Marks, BOA Editions, Ltd., 2013. 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.
First place: Claire Luchette, of Brooklyn, NY, wins $1500 for “Full.” Her story will be published in Issue 95 of Glimmer Train Stories. [Pictured; Photo by Kate Van Brocklin]
Second place: Omid Fallahazad, of Framingham, MA, wins $500 for “Arrested.” His story will also be published in an upcoming issue, increasing his prize to $700.
Third place: Louise Blecher Rose, of New York, NY, wins $300 for “Deux Ex Machina.”
A PDF of the Top 25 winners can be found here.
Deadline coming up! Family Matters: September 30 Glimmer Train hosts this competition twice a year, and first place has been increased to $1500 plus publication in the journal. It’s open to all writers for stories about families of all configurations. Most submissions to this category run 1200-5000 words, but can go up to 12,000. Click here for complete guidelines.
Now Zymbol is fundraising to support printing their publication, including some full-color issues, distributing copies to students and contributors. releasing eBook versions and free content on their website, and hosting free literary events a various festivals.
If they exceed their fundraising goals, Zymbol will co-sponsor awards for young artists & writers to further their craft through education, artist residencies, and exhibitions/publications.
Like a lot of fundraisers, you get cool stuff for various levels of support, including this limited edition fine art poster print, "Kimono," by Susanne Iles - at just the $25 level. In addition to supporting a great literary/art organization, this seems a great bonus!
American Life in Poetry: Column 495
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
We’re at the end of the gardening season here on the Great Plains, and the garden described in this poem by Karina Borowicz, who lives in Massachusetts, is familiar to tomato fanciers all across the country.
The whiskey stink of rot has settled
in the garden, and a burst of fruit flies rises
when I touch the dying tomato plants.
Still, the claws of tiny yellow blossoms
flail in the air as I pull the vines up by the roots
and toss them in the compost.
It feels cruel. Something in me isn’t ready
to let go of summer so easily. To destroy
what I’ve carefully cultivated all these months.
Those pale flowers might still have time to fruit.
My great-grandmother sang with the girls of her village
as they pulled the flax. Songs so old
and so tied to the season that the very sound
seemed to turn the weather.
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 © 2013 by Karina Borowicz, whose most recent book of poems is Proof, (Codhill Press, 2014). Poem first appeared in the journal ECOTONE and is reprinted by permission of Karina Borowicz 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.
O'Brien's book is also the subject of the short film, A Place Called Pluto, directed by award-winning filmmaker Steve James. In 2009, he was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's. His maternal grandfather and his mother died of the disease. O'Brien also carries a marker gene for Alzheimer's.
Geogrpahic Tongues is a photo series by Elisabeth Hogeman featured both on the cover and the inside of Issue 33 of Merdian. And yes, it's really tongues. And yes, they really are quite lovely.
Room's cover art by mixed media artist Sandra Chevrier is a beautiful expression of this issue's theme "Geek Girls" (37.3). The piece is "La Cage aux fenêtres laissant entrées un soleil déja mort" (2013).
Structo specializes in the true, conversation interview, and three months after publication, makes the interviews available on their web site. There now you can find interviews with Richard Adams, Iain Banks, David Constantine, Lindsey Davis, Stella Duffy, Steven Hall, Inez Lynn & Aimée Heuzenroeder, Ian R. MacLeod, Chris Meade, Kim Stanley Robinson, Sarah Thomas, Katie Waldegrave, and Evie Wyld.
The newest issue features the Idaho Review 2014 Editor's Prize, "Tough Love" by Janet Peery.
Alas, the editors were able to sort, select and agree upon "Consider the Lilies" by Kristina Bresnen. Judges, editors, and e-poetry readers also helped select other poets worthy of "high accolades": Nancy Holmes, Matt Jones, Michael Lithgow, Steve McOrmond, and Jennifer Zilm.
Additionally, this issue features winning poems of the annual Diana Brebner Prize, open to poets in the Ottawa area who have not yet published a book. Judge Pearl Pirie chose Anne Marie Todkill as the winner and Vivan Vavassis as the runner-up.