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Denise Hill

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living midair olsonLiving Midair by Karen June Olson is the newest offering in the 2River Chapbook Series. Numbering 26, these chapbooks are available open access online as well as free download using the PDF or "chap the book" feature which provides a booklet formatted print copy.

Author Karen June Olson is Professor Emerita of Early Care and Education at St. Louis Community College. Her poems in this collection examine nature, rural life, writing class, grief, death, and the familial relationships between daughters, mothers, grandmothers, and grandfathers.

From the title poem, "Living Midair":

That night we sat on a veranda, 
our glasses clinked a cheer or two 
and we noticed the moon rise 
from the water as waves 
seemed to give the needed lift 
and curled around its bright edges.

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kerry kletterThere's still a lot of summer left and many books titles to enjoy from Sync Audiobooks for Teens free summer program.

Each week, Sync provides two paired titles for free download using Overdrive. The titles include both non-fiction and a wide genre range of fiction. Once the week is over, the titles can no longer be downloaded, but the site has the previous books listed with descriptions so listeners can find the titles via their local library or other audio venue. [Pictured: The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter, one of the titles this week.]

A great way to encourage summer reading for teens, for reluctant readers, and for adults who aren't afraid to cross over! 

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Having served as editor of Kenyon Review since 1994, David Lynn will be stepping down next spring. The publication board, staff and college will be setting a timeline for the application process to consider candidates this upcoming fall or winter. The submission period for this year will be limited as a result of this transition. "In anticipation of a new editor’s arrival, we must maintain space in upcoming issues, so we will be limiting our open period of submissions to September 15-October 1, 2019," writes Alicia Misarti, The Kenyon Review Director of Operations.

Fortunately, Lynn plans to remain active at Kenyon College, as the college president Sean M. Decatur notes, "We’ve already been in conversations on some ideas about other initiatives involving writing and literature for the College."

Our thanks to David Lynn for his years of commitment to the literary community as editor, and our best to all at Kenyon Review during this time of change.

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Creative Nonfiction invites writers to follow @cnfonline on Twitter, then tell a true story in the length of a tweet with #cnftweet to have that writing considered for publication in the "Tiny Truths" section of the print magazine.

karen zeyThe Spring 2019 issue includes fourteen tiny essays on a range of topics including 'caregiving for a parent with dementia' (ChrisGNguyen), finding a single cigarette butt in the driveway every day (GitaCBrown), a family's welcome back "as if no time had passed" (MPMcCune2), going home "in my dreams" (sevans_writer), 'a musician explaining his song title' (ZippyZey aka Karen Zey - pictured), doing the hokey pokey so as not to look a fool (by ridiculoustimes) and memories stirred by listening to the news (mjlevan).

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cape rock 2019It only takes looking at some of the poem titles in The Cape Rock #47 to get that this slim volume published out of Southeast Missouri State University is poetry by and for the people: “Dad’s Skoal Can” and “Song of the Opossum” by January Pearson; “Toilet Cubicle” by Steve Denehan; “Trimming My Father’s Toenails” by Cecil Sayre; “Long Distance Dating for the Elderly” by Mark Rubin. Not meaning to be dismissive in perhaps attributing these works as common, the craft and skill exhibited in them speaks to the draw of the publication and the selective capabilities of a strong editorial staff.

There are many single stunning contributions: Danielle Hanson’s poem titled “How to Tell This Wilted Dogwood Petal From Starlight” continues “Both have fallen from some level of sky. / Lay down and let’s discuss this rationally.” commanding the reader’s experience of the tangible and intangible; the three lines of “Years Later” by Ryan Pickney will leave readers speechless; Jeff Hardin’s “This Only Place” examines a series of moments under the poet’s microscope, opening, “This easy weightlessness along the earth I owe / to having heard the heron‘s wings the moment / it alighted then decided otherwise and lifted off.”

Offering multiple poems by individual writers is a welcome attribute, and the closing four by Claire Scott exemplify the ability of many of the poets included to manage a range of subject and style. Her poignant “At Eighty” reads at a bit of a romp thanks to line breaks like:

webs stitched
with tar
nished moments
emptied
of light
spun with mum
bled strands
of prayer to
missing gods
shape
less days

At 86 pages, 43 poets, 69 poems: The Cape Rock is a venerable journal of poetry that both makes connections and distinctions.

 

Review by Denise Hill

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rattleThe Summer 2019 issue of Rattle includes a "Tribute to Instagram Poets." The editor's preface explains that the poems were originally published on Instagram, which uses captions that are included along with the poems. The editors assert that the poems were selected based "on their own merits and not the popularity of their authors."

Some works include long poetic commentary, such as Benjamin Aleshire's "Good Manners," while others, such as Luigi Coppola's and Jeni D La O's only include a user name and series of hashtags. When applied, the hashtags range from simply labeling the obvious (#poetry #poem) to adding to the poetic image/text in the Instagram, as in Vini Emery's: "All of the things that have been done to me have been done with out me." hashtagged: #disassociation #trauma #power. Because the image is of handwritten text, it's actually difficult to decipher if there is a space or not between "with" and "out," which seems fitting for the work that this should be ambiguous.

Still other poems, such as Raquel Franco's, add comment text without hashtags: "You are more than paper thin. / You are more than sad girl. / You are ink + paragraphs, / an anthology of purpose." with "You are more than your circumstance." as added comment.

A unique feature to include in this issue of Rattle, and one that opens whole new dialogues for poetry writing, reading, and analysis.

Review by Denise Hill

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georgia review

Toyin Ojih Odutola is the featured artist on the cover and inside the Summer 2019 issue of The Georgia Review. Odutola is "a visual artist consumed by the literary. Her drawings of figures are often cloaked in narrative allusions, and the build-up of marks on the page becomes a language which can be read." The introduction and portfolio of her work can be seen here.

basalt

Rise, an archival ink jet print of a portrait of Lauren Schad of the Cheyenne River Lakota tribe by photographer Leah Rose is featured on the 13.1 2019 cover of basalt. Leah Rose is a Native American artist of the Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa tribe who writes, "Reconnecting with my Anishinaabe heritage has become my calling." See more about her and her work here.

hiram poetry review

Editorial Assistant Danni Lynn McDonald is credited for the clever photo on the Spring 2019 Hiram Poetry Review cover: each reader holding a back issue of the publication to their face. Exactly how I found myself moments later, engrossed in my reading!

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nina riggsAs previously announced, Cave Wall is fundraising to establish the Nina Riggs Poetry Award. They are sooooo  close to their target amount and are now offering a sweet GIANT RAFFLE to help them reach their goal.

Check out the HUGE list of prizes here. Everyone who donates any amount will be entered in the raffle. A win no matter what!

In discussing the award with me, Cave Wall Editor Rhett Trull offered this beautiful reminiscence:

When Nina got pregnant, she was told by a poetry colleague, "Oh no, here come the motherhood poems." Years later, when I got pregnant, a different colleague told me, "Whatever you do, just don't start writing motherhood poems." We knew they were teasing, but it bothered us. And of course, we ignored it and wrote whatever we wanted to write, whatever we were moved to write. Because that's what we do as poets, all of us: we write toward the heart. I used to hear, all the time, "Don't write poems about grandmothers and dead pets." Well, that's ridiculous. You can write about ANYTHING. Just write it well, write beyond subject and self, toward the greater truths to which all subjects lead us if we let them. At Cave Wall, we've published some beautiful poems about grandmothers and dead pets, once in the same poem and wow, is it a knockout. Anyway, Nina believed all subjects worthy of poetry. And I hope with this award, we can encourage and celebrate writing that mines the everyday for its beauty and truth, as well as writing about relationships and family and, yes, motherhood, too. All of it. All the small and big and wondrous things that connect us, that shine a light on the ordinary revealing that everything is extraordinary if we take a moment to see it.

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American Life in Poetry: Column 739
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

I don't suppose there are many of our younger readers who have started to worry about the possibility of memory loss, but I'd guess almost everybody over fifty does. Peter Schneider lives in Massachusetts and this is from his book Line Fence, from Amherst Writers and Artists Press.

Lost in Plain Sight

Somewhere recently
I lost my short-term memory.
It was there and then it moved
like the flash of a red fox
along a line fence.

My short-term memory
has no address but here
no time but now.
It is a straight-man, waiting to speak
to fill in empty space
with name, date, trivia, punch line.
And then it fails to show.

It is lost, hiding somewhere out back
a dried ragweed stalk on the Kansas Prairie
holding the shadow of its life
against a January wind.

How am I to go on?
I wake up a hundred times a day.
Who am I waiting for
what am I looking for
why do I have this empty cup
on the porch or in the yard?
I greet my neighbor, who smiles.
I turn a slow, lazy Susan
in my mind, looking for
some clue, anything to break the spell
of being lost in plain sight.

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 ©2006 by Peter Schneider, "Lost in Plain Sight," from Line Fence (Amherst Writers and Artists Press, 2006). Poem reprinted by permission of Peter Schneider 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.

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Each year, The Briar Cliff Review holds a contest for poetry, fiction, and nonfiction with the winners receiving $1000 and publication. The following 2018 winners appear in the most recent issue (31, 2019):

beverly tan murrayPoetry Winner
"I'd hoped to finish this poem before it came true" by Kateri Kosek

Fiction Winner
"Drink It Dry" by Rachel E. Hicks

Nonfiction Winner
"Trauma in Our Country" by Beverly Tan Murray [pictured]

The Briar Cliff Contest is open annually from August 1 - November 1.

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