BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
One of my favorite poems is Louise Bogan's "The Crossed Apple" which mentions two species, Meadow Milk and Sweet Burning, and since reading it many years ago I have made notes of the names of apples, a poet's delight. In this touching poem by Cathryn Essinger, who lives in Ohio, I've come upon yet another for my collection. Her most recent book is What I Know About Innocence from Main Street Rag press.
I planted an apple tree in memory
of my mother, who is not gone,
but whose memory has become
so transparent that she remembers
slicing apples with her grandmother
(yellow apples; blue bowl) better than
the fruit that I hand her today. Still,
she polishes the surface with her thumb,
holds it to the light and says with no
hesitation, Oh, Yellow Transparent . . .
they're so fragile, you can almost see
to the core. She no longer remembers how
to roll the crust, sweeten the sauce, but
her desire is clear—it is pie that she wants.
And so, I slice as close as I dare to the core—
to that little cathedral to memory—where
the seeds remember everything they need
to know to become yellow and transparent.
We do not accept unsolicited submissions. 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 ©2016 by Cathryn Essinger, “Summer Apples,” from Alaska Quarterly Review, (Vol 33, No. 1 & 2, 2016). Poem reprinted by permission of Cathryn Essinger and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2017 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.
During the Great Depression, a New Deal program brought books to Kentuckians living in remote areas.
In 1936, packhorse librarians served 50,000 families, and, by 1937, 155 public schools. Children loved the program; many mountain schools didn't have libraries, and since they were so far from public libraries, most students had never checked out a book. "'Bring me a book to read,' is the cry of every child as he runs to meet the librarian with whom he has become acquainted," wrote one Pack Horse Library supervisor. "Not a certain book, but any kind of book. The child has read none of them."
Read the full article and see more photos here.
The Summer 2017 issue of Ruminate features 2017 VanderMey Nonfiction Prize winners with commentary from Judge Josh MacIvor-Andersen:
"Like This We Begin: An Essay in Two Photographs"
Sonja Livingston [pictured]
"The Seven Stages of Not Eating"
M. Sophia Newman
1st place goes to George Makana Clark [pictured] of Milwaukee, WI, who wins $2000 for “Pluto.” His story will be published in Issue 102 of Glimmer Train Stories.
2nd place goes to Madiha Sattar of Karachi, Pakistan, for “Mulberry Street.” Her story will also be published in an upcoming issue of Glimmer Train, increasing her prize from $500 to $700.
3rd place goes to Oguz Dinc of Istanbul, Turkey, for “The Hurricane.” His story will also be published in an upcoming issue of Glimmer Train, increasing his prize from $300 to $700.
A PDF of the Top 25 winners can be found here.
Deadline soon approaching! Short Story Award for New Writers: June 30
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 wins $2500 and publication in Glimmer Train Stories. Second/third: $500/$300 and consideration for publication. Click here for complete guidelines.
2016 Mighty River Short Story Contest
$1000 Award and Publication
"In the Jungle" by Jeremy Griffin [pictured]
2016 Wilda Hearne Flash Fiction Contest
$500 Award and Publication
"Frayed Cords and Pink Underwear" by Shannon Sweetnam
"Stylites Anonymous" by Maureen McGranaghan
"Very Many Hands" by Aaron Coleman [pictured]
Each winner receives $1000 in addition to publication.
You have to take a close look at this detail from "Iron Horse" by Kent Monkman on the cover of Brick #99 to get the full effect of the kind of cultural/historical mishmash that makes up this image and a great many of his works.
"Myth" by Eiko Ojala is a papercut illustration for the cover of the May 2017 issue of Hermeneutic Chaos Journal, an online bi-monthly publishing poetry and prose.
Elizabeth Girdharry writes of math and sciences with "Filling Empty Spaces," including the lines "Mathematical formulas, / on how to stay tangent to the line, / somehow slipped my mind," and "There Was Geometry" begins: "There is geometry in my junk drawer." And comes back around to, "More importantly, / there is geometry in my junk drawer. / Angles and tangents twist out of circles / the same way you smooth back flyaway wisps of baby hair / when you're pondering a hard science theory."
Elise Wing crafts strong imagery to draw her readers in. "The Microscope" begins "Dead diatom / Crisp as a leaf skeleton," and "The Living That Terrifies" begins with the amusing but poignant, "Your ears are the trees for egrets to nest in," and "Tomorrow, the Seagulls" starts, "The future is as frightening as a three-headed hyena."
NewPages includes Hanging Loose in our Young Writers Guide where we list publications written by and for young writers and readers as well as a vetted, ad-free list of contests for young writers.