For you newbies, the August PoPo Fest goes like this: You sign up. You get a list of 31 names/addresses of other people who signed up. Starting late June, you write a poem a day on a postcard and mail it off to the next person on the list, so by the end of the month, you will have (hopefully) written and sent 31 poems and (hopefully) received 31 poems.
The poems are not supposed to be pre-written or something you've been working on for months. This is an exercise is the spontaneous, the demanding, the gut-driven, the postcard inspired - whatever it is that gets you to write once a day, each day, and send it off into the world.
I've done this event since it began, and it is now in its ninth year! I don't always keep to a poem a day; sometimes I get ahead one day, or catch up another, with several poems in one day. But I try my best. The event does get me thinking of poetry in my every day, when I rarely have time for it, and writing it down - something I have time for even more rarely.
I've received poems from across the state, the country and around the globe. I've gotten postcards made from cereal boxes, some with gorgeous original artwork, and lots of the lovely tacky tourist cards from travel destinations. I have cards from "famous" poets, and some who have since become more famous, and some never signed, so I'll never know, and it hardly matters. I've gotten poetry. Sent to me directly. From strangers. Lovely, strange, absurd, and funny. Poetry.
It's an amazing event, and I hope you will take the challenge and join in this year. For the first time EVER, the organizers have decided to charge a nominal fee for the event ($10). I can only imagine the amount of work it is to run this (with up to 300 people participating), and keeping up virtual space to promote it. I'm not dissuaded by the fee, knowing the extraordinary event that it is, and knowing I've spent 100 times that on conferences from which I've gotten a great deal less inspiration...
So, please writers, wanna-bes and needs-a-kick-in-the-arsers, poetry lovers, postcard lovers - this event is for you. Join us!
First Prize Creative Nonfiction
Dogwood Grand Prize
"Los Ojos" by Daisy Hernández
Judge Jill Christman
First Prize Poetry
"Under The Tongue" by Ed Frankel
Judge Mark Neely
First Prize Fiction
"We'll Understand It By and By" Rosie Forrest
Judge Rachel Basch
A full article with judges' comments can be read here.
Also check out this interview with artist Shanna Melton, whose gorgeous painting of Espranza Spalding is featured on the cover.
"Nearly 9 million people call the five boroughs home," Rattle editors write, "squeezing into a land area of just 305 square miles. How does life in such a unique locale enter into the poetry, and what do New Yorker poets have in common? We explore, in the smallest regional theme we've ever done."
2015 Editors' Prize in Poetry
First Prize: Jose Angel Araguz for "Joe"
Second Prize: Paul Tran for "[He picked me up]"
Honorable Mention: Nate Marshall for "buying new shoes"
2015 Translation Prize
"Cause" by Farouk Goweda, translated from the Arabic by Walid Abdallah and Andy Fogle
"Devil & Freedom" by Olja Savičević Ivančević, translated from the Croatian by Andrea Jurjević
"J'Arrive" by Cindy St. Onge
Portland, Oregon, USA
"Curb Collection" by Tamara Simpson
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
"What Has and Hasn't" by Tyler Gabrysh
Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada
Honorable Mentions to be published fall 2015:
"Ophelia" by Ruthie-Marie Beckwith
Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA
"Observational" and "The 4th Floor" by Katy Richey
Silver Spring, Maryland, USA
"The Rain King" by Thomas Leduc
Sudbury, Ontario, Canada
The program mentors are experienced young writers who are Foyle Young Poets, Scholastic Art & Writing Award Recipients, California Arts Scholars, and more. Each will choose up to 3 mentees with whom they will work for at least four (cumulative) weeks; after that, other arrangements can be made between the pairs, if it is desired.
For more information and to fill out an application, click here. The application is a google.doc, so you can access it on the GKA site if you are using Google Chrome as your browser. Otherwise, you have to log in to Google to access the application.
While Litro Magazine Editor Eric Akoto claims he won't attempt to give a full understanding of the history of Detroit that led it to becoming "the symbol of the American urban crisis," his introduction to Litro #143: Detroit does a pretty darn good job. More importantly, this issue's content focuses on the "hope for this once great city to rise again and rebuild itself."
Content includes fiction by Dorene O'Brien, "Way Past Taggin'," which takes readers inside the sub-culture of Detroit's graffiti artists, and Patricia Abbott's dark and gruesome story "On Belle Isle" about a photographer obsessed with photographing images of dead corpses. Amy Kaherl, one of the founding members of Detroit Soup, writes about her Detroit and its community in "A Community through Dialogue." A Q&A with Detroit photographer Amy Sacka explores her project "Lost and Found in Detroit," a photo series that began as a 365-day photo essay, where she literally took a photo a day, and has now extended to "The next 500 days." The issues closes with Bram Stoker Award and Locus Award winner Kathe Koja, who considers Detroit's new status in "The Limbo District."
Litro is fully available online as well as on Issuu.
Steven Gillis, publisher and co-founder of Dzanc says about the deal, "I could not be more pleased. Having worked with Rhonda and her staff prior for my own writing, I know what a level of excellence and professionalism she brings to the table. Providing Hawthorne with what Dzanc can offer, and in turn allowing Dzanc authors to avail themselves to Rhonda's magic as a marketer and publisher, is a perfect partnership that enables both houses to expand and become a real force for our authors in the industry."
First place: Clare Thompson-Ostrander [pictured], of Amesbury, MA, wins $1500 for "The Manual for Waitresses Everywhere." Her story will be published in Issue 97 of Glimmer Train Stories. This is her first national publication.
Second place: Wendy Rasmussen, of Seattle, WA, wins $500 for "Mesopotamian Nights." Her story will also be published in an upcoming issue of Glimmer Train, increasing her prize to $700.
Third place: Paula Tang, of Riverside, CA, wins $300 for "Little China House."
A PDF of the Top 25 winners can be found here.
Deadline extended! Short Story Award for New Writers: June 10
This competition is held quarterly and is open to all writers whose fiction has not appeared in a print publication with a circulation over 5000. No theme restrictions. Most submissions to this category run 1500-5000 words, but can go up to 12,000. First place prize is $1500. Second/third: $500/$300. Click here for complete guidelines.