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Denise Hill

Written by
gene-luen-yangThe newest issue of Talking Writing is themed "Why YA?" Online content is added throughout the magazines publishing cycle, and currently features the theme essays "A Golden Age for Young Adult Books" by Stephen Roxburgh and "How Hollywood Screws Up YA Books" by John Michael Bell, an interview with graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang, and "The YA Conspiracy - And How I Grew Up: Or How I Became a Born-Again Reader," a column by David Biddle.
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mitchell-thomashowFrom "Environmental Learning in the Anthropocene" by Robert Thomashow:

Forty-five years have passed since the first publication of the Whole Earth Catalog. How shall we conceive of environmental learning all these years later? And how can we build on some of the important concepts from the first phase of environmental studies—place-based learning, bioregionalism, wilderness conservation, ecological restoration, natural history education, environmental justice, ecological economics, global environmental governance—while we confront the Anthropocene reality?

I've been considering six dynamic challenges that must be incorporated, internalized, and activated to expand environmental learning:

The urban planet
A cosmopolitan culture
Ecological equity and social justice
The proliferation of information networks
Virtual natural history
Synthetic biology

These are by no means inclusive categories. There are countless ways to think about environmental learning in the Anthropocene. In my view, environmental studies is necessarily adaptive and the conditions that inform its structure are always in flux. Let's launch the conversation.

Read the rest on

NOR Sci Fi Style

October 08, 2015
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new-orleans-reviewScience Fiction is the theme of the newest issue of New Orleans Review. Editor Timothy Welsh opens the issue by asking "Why do we enjoy science fiction?" Then explores an answer: "Perhaps it is not the fantastic at all. Perhaps it is instead how science fiction is always in some way about the present. It is an exaggeration, a recontextualization, a defamiliarization. Science fiction takes some aspect of life in the present and blows it out to its logical extremes to see where things breakdown. The best science fiction gives us ways to think about our actual lived circumstances, unencumbered by material reality and with the perspective gained by getting a little bit of distance."

Welsh considers, though, that in our age of exponential advancements in science and technology, it becomes more challenging to see any great "distance." He then asks, "What distance is there to take as the stuff of science fiction rapidly becomes the stuff of our everyday?" That is the challenge faced by the contributors to this issue, and as Welsh notes, "though they take and use the tools of the genre, the alternative worlds they imagine do not seem so far off. . . . Perhaps we will find they are closer to home than we expect."

Contributors to this special issue include Sara Batkie, C. Wade Bentley, Scott Brennan, Gerry Canavan, Sarah Crossland, Michael George, Taylor Gorman, Jeremy Allan Hawkins, Daryl Jones, Greg Keeler, Paige Lewis, Michael Marberry, James Maynard, Lincoln Michel, Danielle Mitchell, Lo Kwa Mei-En, Emil Ostrovski, Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers, John Paul Rollert, Bethany Schultz Hurst, Adrian Van Young, and Lesley Wheeler.

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falling-for-aliceI just coulnd't pass this one up!  "From ​the modern Alice dumped in the Aquarian ​Age of the late sixties, to the ​present day Alice, tormented by body image and emotional issues, to the Alice of the future, launched forward through time and space, FALLING FOR ALICE offers five fresh takes on ​Lewis​ Carroll's classic tale. For 150 years, people all over the world have fallen under Alice in Wonderland's spell. ​Now, follow five Young Adult authors (Dawn Dalton, Shari Green, Denise Jaden, Kitty Keswick, Cady Vance) down the rabbit hole to discover Alice like you've never seen her before. One thing is certain—this is not your mother's Alice." Vine Leave Press

Pam Brown "On Writing"

October 08, 2015
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PB by A.J.CarruthersPam Brown: "I find in writing a poem that it's 'difficult' to get it right - to have it look, sound & read as I intend. I can spend ages adjusting punctuation & spacing & lineation. Also on keeping things clear. Sometimes having my fragments connect to my meanings is really a challenge. I live in my own private metonymy. I guess, with indirectness, which is how some of my poetry can operate, that good old representation is a kind of solution. I'm not a formalist. I don't work within particular poetic forms. I've tried various forms and they usually fail to conform. I do think that it's difficult to have formal poems retain a procedure & avoid seeming contrived & tight. I like content to work easily without being obstructed by the form. I don't want that kind of structural difficulty." Read the rest: Ottawa Poetry Newsletter "On Writing #73."
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PoissantGlimmer Train has just chosen the winning stories for their Very Short Fiction Award. This competition is held annually and is open to all writers for stories with a word count under 3000. The next Very Short Fiction competition will take place in July. Glimmer Train's monthly submission calendar may be viewed here.

First place: David James Poissant [pictured], of Oviedo, FL, wins $1500 for "Tornado." His story will be published in Issue 98 of Glimmer Train Stories.

Second place: Adam O'Fallon Price, of Iowa City, IA, wins $500 for "Our Celebrity."

Third place: Mary Kuryla, of Topanga, CA, wins $300 for "Not in Nottingham."

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. It's open to all writers for stories about families of any configuration. Most submissions to this category run 1200-5000 words, but can go up to 12,000. Click here for complete guidelines.
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copper-nickelBeginning with issue 20, Copper Nickel is now offering two $500 Editors' Prizes - one in poetry, one in prose - for the "most exciting work in each issue, as determined by a vote of [their] editorial staff." You have to love the guidelines, which I find refreshing in this day and age of data, rubrics, and assessment. It's nice to know that the abstract, subjective, and aesthetic have not been completely snuffed out when it comes to artistic appreciation of intelligent literary craft. Issue 21 announces the first winners (from #20) were Michelle Okaes for her poems "Bionics" and "How to Live" and Donovan Ortega for his essay "In a Large Coastal City." Speaking of aesthetic appreciation, can we talk about that cover? (By Mark Mothersbaugh - "Untitled," ink on paper, 2013)
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open-minds-quarterlyI love Open Minds Quarterly magazine. Subtitled, "The poetry and literature of mental health recovery," I once used this publication in a composition course I taught themed "Understanding Disability." Not surprisingly, I was met with a great deal of 'unknowing' in that class as well as resistance (both reasons for teaching it). Students who used the word "crazy" soon stopped themselves and others from doing so, exploring what the word means in our society. Students who felt that people with depression should "just get over it" came to a more empathetic understanding of the complexities of this mental health issue. Open Minds Quarterly was one of the publications assigned in that class to help students learn, understand, and connect.

Editor Dinah Laprairie's Welcome in the most recent issue brought back those teaching memories. She writes about attending several festivals where she staffed tables to promote the publication, noting the responses from people who stopped by. "What is memorable," she writes of these encounters, "is the people who, unexpectedly, in picking up the magazine, get turned inside out by what they see.

Some go quiet and we see their breathing change, deepen. Something they read resonates, and we see something moving beneath their skin that yearns to come out. They read the magazine silently, and avoid eye contact with us.

Others are curious, pick up a copy, but once they glance at the content they drop it like it's hot, and quickly make their escape with straight backs and pursed lips, like they don't want to acknowledge they are eing chased by something.

Women will often return to the table supported by a friend, to look more closely. They whisper to each other.

And then there are those who are so relieved to find a magazine such as this that they make the confession they have been hiding, sometimes for years.

'My brother, he's bipolar.'

'My friend, she's had difficulties.'

'My son --'


'Me, too.'

It is an honour to witness these admissions. Something in what we do, in what our contributors have shared, has made it okay for someone to speak up about an unspeakable subject. Yes, the stigma of mental illness is slowly diminishing, but people are still afraid to broach the subject, to shine light on the dark places we'd rather leave dark."

Open Minds Quarterly definitely does not leave places dark, this newest issue featuring writing of a woman who meets her birth father for the first time - finding him homeless with signs of schizophrenia, another piece by a mother who undergoes electro-shock therapy, and poems wth titles like, "Aunt Dementia" (Jacqualine A. Hart), "Pain Scale" (E.V. Noechel), "Insomnia" (Maureen Comerford), "My On and Off Schizophrenic Friend" (Cecilia Tolley), "Suicide" (Maranda Russell), and "Freedom is not in the DSM" (Samantha Burton).

"More and more people are speaking up," writes Laprairie. "It takes a multitude of small efforts to open the conversation, but at some point the doors - the formal front doors and the everyday back doors - will be flung wide open."

Open Minds Quarterly opens those doors and invites both writers and readers to enter and exit freely.

New Letters on the Air

October 06, 2015
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navaAdding to their print publication of outstanding writing, New Letters on the Air 30-minute literary program was started in 1977 by David Ray and his wife Judy. Touted as "the longest continuously-running broadcase of a national literary radio series," the 1,200+ programs that make up the archives feature some of the most globally prominent writers reading from and talking about their work. Changing hands to Rebekah Presson for a period of time, Angela Elam has been hosting the program now since 1996. Some most recent programs feature Michael Nava [pictured], Marjorie Agosín, Junot Díaz, Nikki Giovanni, Dave Smith, and Martha Serpas.

Programs can be heard live for those in the Kansas City area, broadcast on KCUR 89.3 FM on Sunday mornings from 6:00 to 6:30. Broadcasts are then available for online streaming in the New Letters on the Air audio archives. Thanks to a Save America's Treasures grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Park Service, all past programs - going all the way back to 1977 - are available on the website. Individual programs can be purchased as CDs or in MP3 format.

Science Poetry

October 01, 2015
Written by
rattleA great connection with STEM, the Fall 2015 issue of Rattle (#49) called for submission from poets working in the sciences. The editors wanted to explore the relationship between science and poetry through poetry. How does rigorous investigation influence the poetry? Is verse an escape from, or an extension of, the day job? The editors received over 1,000 submissions and from that selected poetry from twenty scientist to answer their questions. Also included is a conversation with Alaskan fisheries scientist Peter Munro and 19 poets from non-scientific backgrounds in the open section.

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