Now in its 13th LUCKY year, the August Poetry Postcard Festival is opening registration earlier than usual, starting May 1!
Teachers, students, writers, readers, traditional postal mail lovers - this is YOUR kind of festival! Super easy and fun to participate in! Once you sign up, you'll get a list of 32 names (yours included), and starting in mid-July (so they start arriving in August), you write an original poem on a postcard and mail it to the name after yours on the list. Then, each day, new postcard, new poem, next name on the list, and so on, until you have written 31 poems and sent them away to their eagerly awaiting recipients (write 32 poems if you want to send yourself one!).
I LOVE this event and have been doing it from its inception. Every year brings new challenges and new delights. Writing a poem a day seems easy enough, but some days, the inspiration is more difficult than others. Still, every year, getting postcards (nearly) daily in the mailbox is such a joy! And there are a few brave souls who continue writing throughout the year - I'm still getting the occasional postcard with numbers in the hundreds or two-hundreds. Wow!
Really, of all the events I've attended over my years, none have been as inexpensive nor as rewarding as this one. In 2018 there were 293 participants from 7 countries and 31 states/provinces, so a huge thanks to poet Paul Nelson, one of the APPF founders as well as Director of Seattle Poetry LAB.
What are you waiting for? Sign up TODAY!
Taking genre bending in a direction for the greater good, Staunch Books holds an annual book prize which recognizes "well-written, exciting thrillers that offer an alternative narrative to stories based around violence to women."
The criteria for the award asks for "a novel in the thriller genre in which no woman is beaten, stalked, sexually exploited, raped or murdered."
A novel idea indeed, but also one that is deeply appreciated as a model approach to genre storytelling. The editors comment on the larger issue behind creating this prize: "While women in the real world are fighting sexual abuse and violence, being harassed, assaulted and raped, or being murdered because they’re women, the casual and endless depiction of females as victims or prey sits uneasily alongside their fight. Real rape survivors struggle to be heard, counted and believed, under-reporting is rife, partly because victims fear being torn apart in court, and prosecutions continually fail. Meanwhile, in popular culture, women are endlessly cast as victims of stalking, abduction, rape and murder, for entertainment."
The editors at Staunch Books add that taking such a stand in our culture's literature does matter, commenting on research by psychologist (and Staunch Book Prize Judge) Dr. Dominic Wilmott [pictured] that "finds 'rape myth' beliefs feed into bias which results in jurors being reluctant to convict ‘ordinary’ men accused of rape as they don’t fit the idea of a rapist they’ve internalised through the stories and images they’ve received through popular culture."
Writers who believe that their writing matters in the larger cultural context as it feeds and shapes our ideologies must take responsibility for this genre and others; this effort by Staunch Books is a commendable step in that direction.
Books with strong female characters are encouraged, as the editors note they aren't "just looking for thrillers that feature men in jeopardy instead, but stories in which female characters don’t have to be raped before they can be empowered, or become casual collateral to pump up the plot."
This crowd-funded award will be given annually to at least one poet for "the finest writing that examines relationships, family, or domestic life" in honor of Nina's own "beautiful work on many subjects, including relationships and domestic life. She knew how to savor every moment of her too-short life, and in her poetry and her memoir, she explores the poignancy and love that resonate in the details of every day."
Nominations are made by individuals who read poems that honor family or relationships in some way that have been published within the last three years. There is no application process; readers simply send in a copy of the poem. Readers can nominate up to six poems (no self-nominations). Each winner will receive $500 with the possibility of attending a reading in Greensboro, NC. See complete guidelines here.
The Nina Riggs Poetry Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)3, so all donations are tax-deductible. Donations are currently being accepted with donors at certain levels being recognized by Cave Wall online and in print.
To read more about Nina Riggs and make a donation, go to FundRazr: Nina Riggs Poetry Foundation.
Published by Box Turtle Press, issue 20 of Mudfish features the winning entry and honorable mentions of their 13th Mudfish Poetry Prize judged by Philip Schultz.
"Barking, Pt. Reyes" by Rafaella Del Bourgo [pictured]
1st - "We are Already at War" by John Sibley Williams
2nd - "Ode to My Body" by Tim Nolan
3rd - "Late Summer Sky" by Tony Gloeggler
With its Spring 2019 issue, Raleigh Review celebrates nine years of continuous publication. As they head into their tenth year, Editor and Publisher Rob Greene notes, "we realized it was time to reward our staff members who do the work on the magazine, so in addition to increasing the amount we're paying to our poets, writers, and visual artists by a third, we are finally beginning to take small strides to help reward our telecommuting and highly skilled editorial staff who are based throughout the country and at times the world."
Congratulations to Raleigh Review for providing a venue for writers, artists, and readers - and sharing how important financial support and subscriptions are to our community!
"Broken Season" by Andrew Hemmert [pictured]
"Self-Portrait on the Beloved's Body" by Michael Dhyne
"Parting with Saddles" by Skyler LaLone
"Oranges in Michigan" by Andrew Hemmert
"Street Vendor" by Mariano Zaro
The 2019 International Poetry Contest is open until May 31, 2019 with a $1500 first prize, judged by Oliver de Paz.
"White Cosmonaut" by Jeremy Geddes is featured on the cover of the newest issue of Bennington Review (#6), themed "Kissing the Future." While in print, they offer selections that can be read online here.
"New Neighbors" was the call for the Spring 2019 issue of Thema, appropriately enough, since spring brings the squirrels out of their winter hidey holes. Cover photo by Kathleen Gunton.
Portraits of "lonely people, people with questions that cannot be answered, those who make terrible mistakes, people who do not love themselves and will not survive within their own stories" by poet and artist Melissa Cundieff are featured in the Spring 2019 American Literary Review online.
Chicken God by Alexander Grigoriev - you simply can't look away from this cover of Pembroke Magazine (#51).
American Life in Poetry: Column 732
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
Ezra Pound commanded America's poets to "Make it new." And here's a good example. Has there ever been another poem written, and written beautifully, about children playing among laundry drying on a line? Thomas Reiter, who lives in New Jersey, is a poet whose work I've followed for many years. His most recent book is Catchment. This poem appeared in the Tampa Review.
Pinned in Place
A bed sheet hung out to dry
became a screen for shadow animals.
But of all laundry days in the neighborhood
the windy ones were best,
the clothespins like little men riding
lines that tried to buck them off.
One at a time we ran down the aisles
between snapping sheets
that wanted to put us in our place.
Timing them, you faked and cut
like famous halfbacks. But if a sheet
tagged you it put you down, pinned
by the whiteness floating
against a sky washed by the bluing
our mothers added to the wash water.
Could anyone make it through those days
untouched? You waited for
your chance, then jumped up and finished
the course, rising if you fell again.
Later, let the sky darken suddenly
and we'd be sent out to empty the lines.
All up and down the block, kids
running with bed sheets in their arms,
running like firemen rescuing children.
All night those sheets lay draped
over furniture, as though we were leaving
and would not return for a long time.
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 ©2018 by Thomas Reiter, "Pinned in Place," from Tampa Review (No. 55/56, 2018). Poem reprinted by permission of Thomas Reiter 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.