Wednesday, April 16, 2014

2014 Bellevue Literary Review Prize Winners

Bellevue Literary Review's latest issue (Spring 2014) features the winners of the 2014 BLR Prizes:

Goldenberg Prize for Fiction, selected by Nathan Englander
Winner: “Pediatricology” by Abby Horowitz
Honorable Mention: “Death Defiant Bomba or What to Wear When Your Boo Gets Cancer” by Lilliam Rivera

Felice Buckvar Prize for Nonfiction, selected by Helen Benedict
Winner: “Forty-One Months” by William McGrath
Honorable Mention: “Double Exposure” by Elisha Waldman

Marica and Jan Vilcek Prize for Poetry, selected by Tina Chang
Winner: “Chronic Care: 'Broken Leg' by Keith Carter, Photograph” by Laurie Clements Lambeth
Honorable Mention: “The Rules of Surgery” by Kristin Robertson

The issue also features fiction by Susan Bartlett, Sean Kevin Campbell, Lillian Huang Cummins, Soniya Greenfield, Abby Horowitz, D. Quentin Miller, Billy O'Callaghan, Lilliam Riverea, Pamela Ryder Jean-Marie Saporito, Sheena Suals, and Jessica Stults; nonfiction by Mary Arguelles, Will McGrath, Leslie Van Gelder, and Elisha Waldman; and poetry by Alison Bradford, Steven Cramer, Catherine Freeling, Rachel Hadas, Kip Irwin, Will Johnston, Laurie Clements Lambeth, Laura Lauth, Michal Lemberger, Kaitlin LaMoine Martin, Marty McConnell, Thomas R. Moore, Jennifer Perrine, Kristin Robertson, Avery Leigh Thomas, Amy Tudor, Kathryn Weld, and Stacia Gyrene Yearwood. See more information about the issue and contest winners here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Ecology and Science Fiction

I am happy to shamelessly assist Gerry Canavan* with his shameless self-promotion of  Green Planets: Ecology and Science Fiction, a collection of essays he has put together with Kim Stanley Robinson. The book is due out next month from Wesleyan University Press in paperback, hardback, and on Kindle.

Here’s a table of contents borrowed from Gerry's blog:

Preface by Gerry Canavan
Introduction: “If This Goes On” also by Gerry Canavan

Part 1 Arcadias and New Jerusalems
1 ► “Extinction, Extermination, and the Ecological Optimism
of H. G. Wells” by Christina Alt
2 ► “Evolution and Apocalypse in the Golden Age” by Michael Page
3 ► “Daoism, Ecology, and World Reduction in Le Guin’s Utopian Fictions” by Gib Prettyman
4 ► “Biotic Invasions: Ecological Imperialism in New Wave Science Fiction” by Rob Latham

Part 2 Brave New Worlds and Lands of the Flies
5 ► “‘The Real Problem of a Spaceship Is Its People’: Spaceship Earth as Ecological Science Fiction” by Sabine Höhler
6 ► “The Sea and Eternal Summer: An Australian Apocalypse” by Andrew Milner
7 ► “Care, Gender, and the Climate-Changed Future: Maggie Gee’s The Ice People“ by Adeline Johns-Putra
8 ► “Future Ecologies, Current Crisis: Ecological Concern in South African Speculative Fiction” by Elzette Steenkamp
9 ► “Ordinary Catastrophes: Paradoxes and Problems in Some Recent Post-Apocalypse Fictions” by Christopher Palmer

Part 3 Quiet Earths, Junk Cities, and the Cultures of the Afternoon
10 ► “‘The Rain Feels New’: Ecotopian Strategies in the Short Fiction of Paolo Bacigalupi” by Eric C. Oto
11 ► “Life after People: Science Faction and Ecological Futures” by Brent Bellamy and Imre Szeman
12 ► “Pandora’s Box: Avatar, Ecology, Thought” by Timothy Morton
13 ► “Churning Up the Depths: Nonhuman Ecologies of Metaphor in Solaris and ‘Oceanic’” by Melody Jue

Afterword: “Still, I’m Reluctant to Call This Pessimism” by Gerry Canavan and Kim Stanley Robinson

There’s also a lengthy “Of Further Interest” appendix that’s an annotated list of some key texts in the subgenre of ecological science fiction.

*In case you're wondering why I would do this for Gerry, check out his blog. I have followed it for YEARS and it's like having an aggregate of all things I am interested in. Well, except Star Trek, but then, I have lots of people I share that stuff with and they love it. Not to mention, this collection of essays just sounds amazing.

Monday, April 14, 2014's New Face

Exciting new things are happening over at, a literary magazine that "publishes editorials, poetry, essays, fiction, hybrid forms, articles, videos, reviews, an interview, the ARTerrain gallery, and the UnSprawl case study." Now, has a newly designed website that makes it easier to move through genres while "continuing with [their] image-rich and multimedia focus." And indeed, the new website is much more image heavy, with rolling landscape pictures that help emphasize the theme of the journal. There's also a cleaner font and easier-to-read layout. I'd say it's a nice move forward for the magazine.

In other news, they've also switched from putting out issues to publishing on more of a rolling basis, currently with three or four contributions per week. Another minor change is that the blog is now part of the site, instead of hosted at a separate URL.

The latest contributions include three poems by Beth McDermott, a video essay about glaciers by Nancy Lord and Irene Owsley, an interview with Derrick Jensen, and some reviews and recommended reads. Check it out here.

David James Poissant on Rejection

In this month's Glimmer Train Bulletin, David James Poissant, author of The Heaven of Animals (Simon & Shuster March 2014) writes "On Relentlessness, Or, How to Make Submitting Your Superpower." In this featured essay, he advises writers, "don't let the first dozen rejections stop you" when it comes to submitting works. A story oft told, and yet, relentlessly needing to be oft told. Poissant's more humorous than stern approach may help some new writers better understand, three or four rejections is no big deal: "Invariably, my response is, 'Three or four?' Then, I lead said student or writer to my office where a corkboard hangs prominently above my computer. To the face of the corkboard, I have thumbtacked about fifty rejection slips." But it's not just about rejection, but about the sensibility of revision and in some cases, knowing when a work is "probably a dud" and may just need to rest a while.

MQR 2013 Literary Award Winners

Michigan Quarterly Review has announced this year's three annual literary prize winners whose works are selected from those published in MQR throughout the year.

Laurence Goldstein Poetry Prize 2013 ($500): Benjamin Busch for his poem "Girls" which appeard in the Winter 2013 issue of MQR. [Photo credit: Richard Mallory Allnut]

Lawrence Foundation Prize 2013 ($1000): Cody Peach Adamns for his story "Victory Chimes" which appeared in the Winter 2013 issue of MQR.

Page Davidson Clayton Prize for Emerging Poets ($500): Anne Barngrover for her poem "Memory, 1999" which appeared in the Fall 2013 issue of MQR.

Read more about the winners and the selection process here.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Alimentum YUM! Menu Poems

Alimentum: The Literature of Food online journal celebrate National Poetry Month each year with MENUPOEMS. This year, poets include Esther Cohen, Oded Halahmy, Dania Rajendra, Miriam Halahmy, Tony Fallon, Dean Lavin, Margaret Waldhelm, Lois Vendon, and Linda Larson.

While you're there, check out this page of Recipe Poems, where, as a fan of pho, I discovered Kelly Morse's poem "Phở bò Hà Nội" which she notes was inspired by a pho shop in Hanoi, Vietnam named Phở Thìn 13 Lò Đúc. Morse provides a narrative on her experience, and some great history on this culinary staple. You can't help but salivate to read it:
Add a spoonful of tiny red chilis, and garlic,
fatly diced in their vinegars.
With spoon and chopsticks together give a heave

to the mass of white noodles and flip like an omelet,
dragging up from below the fresh herbs hidden in the inner curve.

Guerrilla Poetry

Ah, spring has (almost) returned to Michigan. The NewPages CEO and second-in-command have enjoyed our first "porch beer" - albeit wearing layered sweatshirts. Still, the sun is shining, the spring rains and the hurricane winds are reduced to intermittent. Time to get back to postering poetry around the city. A staple gun and a backpack filled with a variety of poems, my dog as cover (just a lady out walking her dog...), I staple up poems to utility poles along my route.

Of course, poems can come from any source, but I try to keep them short enough to be read quickly, one page with large font, or if it's longer, eye-catching helps (like the Broadsided Press monthly vector poems). I also try to maintain some sensibility for the fact that kids may be reading these, so try to make them "safe" as well as appealing. Can't hit every audience, but when postering near the schools or parks, I tend more for those kid-friendly poems.

One year, on Memorial Day, I noticed youthful handwriting on a posting and saw that some neighborhood kids had written their own poems honoring local troops and tacked them up where I had been posting poems. Pretty darn cool. Guerrilla poetry works. Try it yourself! Staple gun. Poems. Go!

[Pictured: "The Second Fallacy." Poem by C. Dale Young; Art by Amy Meissner; Design by Debbie Nadolney. Broadsided April 1, 2014.]

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

SPD Releases Poetry Bestseller List for March

Small Press Distribution has released the list of its top 20 poetry bestsellers for the month of March, topped by Sherman Alexie's What I've Stolen, What I've Earned (Hanging Loose Press). Check out the list here, and don't forget that ordering books through the SPD website or an individual publisher's site sends more of your money directly to the presses and authors.

Buy This Man a Shirt! Please!

Our buddy M. Scott Douglass at Main Street Rag has an invitational for readers and Harley fans alike. He is a MAJOR collector of Harley-Davidson t-shirts. Apparently, THE t-shirt is a big deal among fans... So, buy Scott a Harley t-shirt from your local Harley shop (around $30), send it to him, and he'll give you a two-year subscription to Main Street Rag (worth $45).

Specs from Scott: "Must be a short sleeve t-shirt, XL, color... I'm not a brown or pink kinda guy, black is always good, but I have a lot of those already as well as a lot of orange--one of Harley's other colors. I don't have any bright yellow or cream--lighter colors like baby blue or light green--but almost any color is cool. Here's where I get prissy: I prefer only one or two colors on the back. Harley dealerships customize the backs to advertise themselves. A lot of them do a full color display of some unique image--often significant to the region. Full color means a lot of lay down of ink, vinyl screen printing ink, as many as five layers (if you are printing on black). I plan to wear every one of these shirts at some point. Do you know how heavy four layers vinyl color gets when riding in the hot Carolina sun? One color is cooler, easier to read, AND cheaper. And one more thing: My wife would frown on me wearing one with scantily clad women with big boobs, so please avoid those. I'm traditionalist. I like the variety of crests and logos Harley offers, wings and bars and even an occasional skull."

There you have it: Buy Scott a Harley Davidson dealer t-shirt from your local HD dealership. Mail it to him at Main Street Rag, PO BOX 690100, Charlotte, NC 28227-7001 and earn a 2-year subscription worth $45.

Radio Silence :: New Digital Editions

Radio Silence, the somewhat new, print "magazine of literature and rock & roll" (which by the way also raises money to buy books and musical instruments for kids), has released a new monthly digital edition, which started in February. You can read the first issue for free here. And from there you can decide to subscribe for a yearly cost of $29.99 or purchase individual issues for $2.99 each. The issues are available to read on phones, tablets, and desktops.

2014 Dartmouth Poet in Residence

In March, The Frost Place (a nonprofit arts organization and museum established to honor the legacy of Robert Forst and encourage the creation and appreciate of poems) announced the 2014 Dartmouth Poet in Residence at the Frost Place: Rebecca Foust.

Here's a description from the press release: "Every year, a poet is selected from a group of applicants based on the quality of her/his work to live and work in the historic house where Robert Frost lived from 1915 – 1920. In 2011, The Frost Place and Dartmouth College honored their shared connections with Robert Frost by renaming the residency program The Dartmouth Poet in Residence at The Frost Place."

This from Rebecca Foust: "My goal is deep work, the kind a writer can do only in an atmosphere both free of distraction and full with inspiration and hope. The ability to spend such a substantial block of time immersed in reading and writing is, by itself, of great practical value. In the privacy, beauty and inspiration of this unique setting, I plan to re-read Frost’s poems and essays while writing new ones of my own. I also hope to make progress on my next book manuscript. Finally, I am happy for the chance to live, work, and do readings in New England."

Read more about it here.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Baseball Poetry Fans :: Bernadette Mayer's "Carlton Fisk" Broadside

David A. Kirschenbaum, editor and publisher of Boog City, invites baseball/poetry lovers to celebrate a new season of baseball with a short-run, color boradside of Bernadette Mayer's classic baseball poem "Carlton Fisk is My Ideal" with art by Melissa Zexter. Available signed ($18) and unsigned ($13). Send payment to via

MFA at University of Massachusetts-Amherst Celebrates 50 Years :: Special Issue of MR

To celebrate the 50th year anniversary of the MFA program for Poets & Writers at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, The Massachusetts Review released a special issue featuring some of the "remarkable writers who have graduated from the program," which include Mira Bartok, Valerie Martin, Domenic Stansberry, Gillian Conoley, Matthew Zaprunder, James Haug, Ellen Dore Watson, and more.

In an introduction to the issue Editor John Emil Vincent writes, "We ourselves have attempted a little revisiting of our usual format—we actively sought and happily found longer poems, two lovelies from Gillian Conoley and Brian Baldi in particular—but also generally solicited works in clusters. The hope is to create a novel texture for our special issue, one up to exploring the pleasures and peculiarities of duration.

Youth & Poetry & Activism

Featured on the PBS NewsHour program The Poetry Series, three poets in Richmond, California teamed up with the Off/Page Project to bring a spotlight to deplorable public housing conditions in a video report "This is Home." Off/Page Project combines efforts with The Center for Investigative Reporting and the literary non-profit Youth Speaks. Their collaborative work actively engages youth in civic issues through the use of a multi-media platform.

Other issues investigated by Off/Page Project include "Whispers from the Field," about sexual abuse suffered by migrant women field laborers (written and performed by Monica Mendoza and available in English and Spanish); "Broken City Poets" focusing on Stockton, California - and what happens to the youth in a town declaring bankruptcy ("Poetry is a way to express myself without violence," one young woman comments).

Monday, April 07, 2014

Glimmer Train January Very Short Fiction Winners

Glimmer Train has just chosen the winning stories for their January Very Short Fiction competition. This quarterly competition is open to all writers for stories with a word count not exceeding 3000. No theme restrictions. The next Very Short Fiction competition will take place in April. Glimmer Train’s monthly submission calendar may be viewed here.

First place: Lee Montgomery [pictured], of Portland, OR, wins $1500 for “Window.” Her story will be published in Issue 93 of Glimmer Train Stories.

Second place: Calvin Haul, of Salt Lake City, UT, wins $500 for “The World Within Reach.”

Third place: Auguste Budhram, of Austin, TX, wins $300 for “My Father’s Vacation.”

A PDF of the Top 25 winners can be found here.

What is Story?

Story magazine, like a story passed on over time, has evolved. It started in 1931, lasting until 1964, as "the most important literary short fiction publication, founding editors Martha Foley and Whit Burnett discovering and publishing ... storytelling greats," write Vito Grippi and Travis Kurowski. Then it was revived by Lois Rosenthal, running from 1989 to 2000. Now, it's in the hands of Kurowski and Grippi: "As great as the original Story was, we don't want to recreate that magazine; though short fiction holds a singular place in contemporary letters, our net is wider. We hope for a diversity of narrative mirroring our contemporary, transnational lives: memoirs, interviews, superhero poetry, sci-fi, case studies, maps, machines."

The first issue under their reign is double-sided, with two different covers and two different sets of writing. Side A features work from Andrew Malan Milward, Mary Miller, K. Silem Mohammad, Tao Lin, and Marinaomi, and Side B's cover boasts "Hand Models Run Amok!" and "Family Caught Hiding Dreamers!" and "New Gadgets to Hook up? Jim Shepard Tells All!" It's hard to believe it's only 8 bucks. And if you scan the QR code inside, you'll be taken to a page where you can download a digital copy for free.

Switcheroo! Writing Wanted

Broadsided Press is asking writers to celebrate National Poetry Month with The Switcheroo! Usually, Broadsided has artists respond to poems to create their monthly posters. For The Switcheroo! writers are asked to respond to a visual piece with poetry or prose. This art is Maura Cunningham's "Another Portal," and winning entries (one for each piece of art for each time they run the event) will be published on May 1, 2014 as one of the many wonderful Broadsided collaborations. The deadline is April 15, so get switchin' - er, I mean, writing!