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Denise Hill

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With little fanfare, John Rosenwald and Lee Sharkey have stepped down as The Editors of Beloit Poetry Journal, roles they have held for nearly 25 years.

The publication has a long and romantic history - starting up at Beloit College, declaring its independence to defy the opinions of those who would censor it, and moving from Wisconsin to Maine while keeping its place-based name, establishing an international reputation for contemporary poetry. Writers speak of 'not being ready yet' to submit to BPJ, but someday, they will; or of being rejected, they smile - as though accomplishing the attempt was enough (and they always say, "I got the nicest rejection..."). Sigh. There just aren't many such stories as those nowadays with the revolving door of publication start ups and closures, hundreds of lit mags to submit to, mass submission processes where writers don't even know the publications they've sent work to.

Beloit Poetry Journal's history is a good read and reminder of the literary journals that paved the way for so many others. And not just publications, but the people involved with them: editors, readers, writers, publishers. All of us.

Having known John and Lee (and Ann Arbor) for well over a decade now, I know this decision to pass on the publication was not an easy one. Please readers, understand, it was within their power to end Beloit Poetry Journal and call it a good run. Stepping away is hard enough, but handing over a publication with such an incredible reputation was not so much a decision as a process that took several years to come through. My appreciation and admiration to John and Lee and Ann for all of their hard work and dedication to writers AND readers. They never separated the importance of those two roles through the years they ran the journal, which is what makes it so well known today within the literary community.

I see John and Lee are still listed in the publication as "Senior Editors," so I'm sure they will continue on in some advisory capacity. But I have also met the new editors: Melissa Crowe and Rachel Contreni Flynn. I know they will look to their Senior Editors in the years to come to guide them, but I already sense that they will have strength and creativity of their own to take the journal into the next great phase of its existence.

Melissa and Rachel provide a short note about the transition here. I like how in it, and elsewhere on the site, the role of Editor is referred to as handling the day-to-day operations of the journal. But as the literary community had come to know first David and Marion Stocking, then John Rosenwald, Lee Sharkey, and Ann Arbor as the face(s) of Beloit Poetry Journal - there is a great deal more responsibility to being the Editor of a journal than simply running the day-to-day. That day-to-day may actually feel like the work of it all, but much more than that is required to maintain a good literary publication. A great literary publication. One of the best.

The tangible, the day-to-day, that will be the easy part. It's the other, the expectations, that become the true responsibility. The expectations of writers, of readers, of other editors, other publications, of teachers, of students, of the up-and-coming, of the established, of yourselves - most of all - of yourselves. Continually satisfy these changing expecations of the collective imagination, sustain this, and you will have a publication people know internationally. For decades. It has been done. It can be done.

My best to Melissa and Rachel. No cliches about shoes to fill. You have already done that or you wouldn't be here already. Ten years from now, let's look back, talk about where Beloit Poetry Journal has been and imagine where you see it going.
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fiddlehead-summer-2015I couldn't help but to share this snippet from Mark Jarman's editorial remarks for the summer fiction issue of The Fiddlehead (n264):
I will be brief: this is an amazing collection, an astounding summer fiction issue. Look at the stories and writers from around the globe, writers new and proven: no one else in Canada can touch what we are doing right now.

There I've said it; the gods of the small mags can strike me down.
Rather than being struck down, I hope this encourages readers to take look (a couple can be read full text online) and judge for themselves!
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ruminate-35Ruminate Summer 2015 includes the first and second place winners and the honorable mention of the 2015 VanderMey Nonfiction Prize judged by Scott Russel Sanders.

First Place
D.L. Mayfield for Blessed are the Pure in Heart

Second Place
Elizabeth Dark Wiley for "If you Want it to Last..."

Honorable Mention
Shannon Huffman Polson for Naked: A Triptych
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jake-adam-yorkThe newest issue of Southern Humanities Review (v48 n4) includes a special poetry section featuring the winner, runners-up and finalists for the 2014 Auburn Witness Poetry Prize honoring Jake Adam York (pictured; 1972-2012).

WINNER
Amanda Gunn
Gunn was the guest of honor at "Abide": A Tribute to Jake Adam York and His Work, October 2014.

RUNNERS-UP
Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach
Shara Lessley

FINALISTS
Lauren Camp
Kai Carlson-Wee
Joshua Gage
Jennifer Horne
Jeremy Keenan Jackson
Anna Leahy
Enid Shomer
David Tucker
Seth Brady Tucker
Richard Tyler
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polychrome-inkPolychrome Ink is a new biannual print and e-published journal with the mission to highlight that diversity is not a niche market, but a mass market.

"Polychrome Ink is run by a group of diverse friends," Executive Editor Em Salgado explained to me. "We met due to a mutual love of literature. During frequent literary discussions, we often noticed a shortage of characters that represented any of our individual diversity points, which only further highlighted what we felt was lacking. The need to see ourselves normalized in the literature being produced and the literature we love became our raison d'être. Eventually we grew tired of simply talking about it and decided to take matters into our own hands."

At the editorial helm along with Em are Associate Editor Zire Fournier, Copy Editor Kimmia Masterson, and Assistant Associate Editor Zaira Fournier. Additionally, Polychrome Ink currently has eight specialty editors who assist with topics and themes in which they have experience. For example, if Polychrome Ink receives a submission with any of the following themes: gay male, genderqueer, religious, neuroatypical — the editors send that submission to Aaron for review because he, himself, is a gay neuroatypical genderqueer individual who studies theology.

Unique to this publication, writers who submit may choose the editor that they feel best suits their work. Em explained, "The process of selecting an editor with the appropriate diversity points and literary interests helps to assure writers that their submission is being reviewed by someone that their work will resonate with the most — thus making the relationship between writer and editor more personal."

Even the name Polychrome Ink speaks to the diversity of the publication: "We were looking for a moniker that represented diversity," Em said, "and by extension, diversity in writing. Polychrome means multicolored, yet does not have the same connotation as rainbow, since our demographic extends beyond LGBTQIA+ themes. And Ink, of course, represents the writing itself."

Readers of Polychrome Ink can expect to find a collection of short fiction, creative nonfiction, flash fiction, essays, and poetry written by diverse authors and/or with diverse themes. Em explains that "Polychrome Ink seeks to share authentic voices and quality literature, covering an array of genres and topics, with the hopes that the work resonates with readers."

For their inaugural issue, the featured author was Tessa Gratton, alongside Emma Mauze, Frances Kimpel, D. Michael Warren, Shana Bulhan Haydock, David Perlmutter, Yuan Changming, Anders Scott, Jan Steckel, Robin Wyatt Dunn, Courtney Hamel, Kim Luna, Jaycee Boydgarcia, Alex Franco, Malcolm Friend, and Stephen Mead.

"In terms of the future," Em told me, "we will continue providing an outlet and resource for writers and readers alike. We would like to be amidst the publications everyone looks to for original diverse literature. We also have plans to expand our staff — thus broadening the diverse spectrum of our editorial team."

Polychrome Ink accepts submissions via email and is approaching the end of the submission period for Volume II — which releases in October. (Submissions close July 31.) There is no reading fee and the publication is a paying market with hopes that as readership grows, so will the compensation to writers.
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Drunken Boat #21 includes work from each of the finalists for the DB Book Contest. The contest was opened to opened to poetry, translations, and hybrid works. The editors received nearly 300 manuscripts which were narrowed down to 10 finalists. Forrest Gander chose the winner of the contest: Collier Nogue's The Ground I Stand on is Not My Ground, a book that utilizes QR codes that link up to a website to create a truly immersive multimedia experience.

The finalists contest: Diana Thow translating Amelia Rosselli; Eleanor Goodman; Amaranth Borsuk and Gabriela Jauregui; Amy Pence; Catherine Hammond translating Carmen Boullosa; Collier Nogues; Elisabeth Murawski; Haley Larson; Meredith Stricker; Michael Leong; and Stephanie Anderson.

Samples of their work can be read on Drunken Boat #21 here.
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Rounding out its first year of publication, Crab Fat Literary Magazine has four print issues (August, November, February, May) and a 'best of' anthology in addition to its online collection from posting new writing every other Sunday of the year.

Founding/Managing Editor Caseyrenée Lopez and Fiction Editor Ella Ann Weaver oversee the publication of fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, flash fiction, interviews, art/photography, and experimental/hybrid work. They will consider audio/video of readings, but it's not something they've published regularly.

The motivation for starting CFLM, Caseyrenée tells me, was "to join the conversation. My educational background is focused on queer writing/publishing, and supporting minority voices was the next step for me. I also wanted to see what was out there; starting Crab Fat has provided me with interactions and experience I wouldn't have gained otherwise."

Most intriguing to me is that name – Crab Fat. Where on earth did that come from? Caseyrenée says, "I wanted something memorable and cool, but was struggling to find something that would vibe with my goal of highlighting awkward/experimental/queer prose and poetry. A few days before I committed to buying a domain, my husband and I were at breakfast and started calling out random phrases and obscure words. He suggested 'crab fat' because we'd been listening to Crudbump's Illuminati Shit. Our favorite line in the song is 'rock a big gut, that's my crab fat' and we'd been making jokes about his chubby belly being 'crab fat.' So really, the name Crab Fat is a weird mashup of rap lyrics and body positivity."

In keeping with the unique name, readers can expect to find "a little bit of this and a little bit of that," Caseyrenée tells me. "We feature a wide variety of voices and offer an eclectic mix of contemporary content. We are progressive and like to publish work that goes against the grain of mainstream." To that end, during their first year CFLM has featured writing from Adam Kuta, Edward A. Boyle, D.S. West, Haley Fedor, Alana I. Capria, Philicia Montgomery, and Susannah Betts.

The future for CFLM will include pushing the genre limits and incorporating more experimental work into the magazine. "We want work that breaks conventions and makes us question what we know about genre" says Caseyrenée, "so we are actively reaching out to a wider audience than before. We are also trying to raise money through tip-jar submissions, a GoFundMe campaign, a cool image prompt contest, and sales of our print anthology. We want to pay writers for their work, even if it is just a token payment, to show that we appreciate all of their hard work." Crab Fat also actively works to recognize writers through nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.

CFLM's print anthology is published under the Damaged Goods Press imprint. Caseyrenée is the founder of both, so in a sense, they're sister sites/publications. The quarterly magazine is available as PDF and print, and the every other Sunday installments on available online. Submissions are accepted a rolling basis using Submittable.
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charlotte-morgantiAmidst all the debate about the "value" of higher education and the "overabundance" of MFAs being turned out of programs these days, it was refreshing to read Charlotte Morganti's Eight Reasons to Considering Pursing an MFA on Fiction Southeast. What a great reminder that it's okay to want to go to school to LEARN not just to EARN. Morganti writes, "Initially I enrolled in my MFA program for two reasons – to learn the craft and to hang out with some really cool people. By the time I earned the degree, I had benefited in many other ways as well." She invites readers in or pursuing MFAs to give their own reasons for enrolling in a program, as well as responses to these two questions: Did your MFA give you benefits you dind't expect when you first enrolled? If you opted no to pursue and MFA, what were your primary reasons?

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sara-marronThe Lucy cell
the stock exchange creating a consciousness
the computer, functioning on man-made algorithms
corrects its own mistakes
error-correction is a sign of
(to a computer)
a sign of its own conscious
its own identity...

From [Language] CSS and HTML [/Language] by Sara Marron and Michael Reich
Chagrin River Review, Issue 6 (Spring 2015)

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As I head into my "summer off" I can honestly say I appreciate this hardcore look at teaching. I'll use this as my retrospective for the month:

"At age 26, your first teaching assignment shattered your dreams. Your students preferred other forms of entertainment such as talking on their cell phones or discussing who was sleeping with whom to studying Shakespeare and dangling participles. Most had no clue how to express themselves using a complete sentence, and if you'd had a whisky shot for every time you read an essay containing the word 'cuz,' you would have become a fine drunk, which in retrospect doesn't sound so bad."

From "A Guide for the Burned Out Teacher" by Kelly Charlton published in Crab Fat Literary Magazine online content, July 2, 2015.
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