Friday, July 25, 2014

Cellist Daniel Sperry Makes Music Out of William Stafford Poetry

Daniel Sperry, a quirky 59-year-old cellist, composer and spoken word artist, from Ashland, Oregon has recently received permission through the Permissions Company of Mount Pocono, PA, on behalf of the William Stafford Family Trust, to undertake a musical body of work with the poetry of William Stafford, America's first poet laureate, as its centerpiece.

The end result of the project is that people will come to a show that is incredibly entertaining, deep, and joyful. Stafford's words are just the vehicle to carry a thread of discovery about life, and the music will carry that feeling. Each member of the audience will leave transformed from the connection to that special quality that comes through the words and through the music. Daniel's mission is to bring that sense of connection that the world needs now, through music and great poetry, sung and played by vibrant, masterful musicians.

Daniel recently completed 200 concerts in living rooms around the country, traveling solo in his 200 Toyota Sienna van, couchsurfing along the way, sharing his original cello music and the poetry of Rumi, Hafiz, David Whyte, William Stafford and others. His current catalogue of creative work consists of two spoken word CDs and four instrumental CDs.

The new project focuses on the poetry of Willam Stafford, the reknowned American poet and author of some 20,000 poems. Stafford would have been 100 this year, and his poetry is being celebrated all over the world.

The goal of Daniel's Stafford Project is production of a CD, which will include 12 of Stafford's poems, the formation of a band with four vocalists, three cellos, mandolin, banjo, piano and upright bass and the production of a video featuring the new group. The band will be touring in performing arts centers around the country. This production is being funded by a Kickstarter Crowdfunding Campaign.

The funding through Kickstarter ends July 31st. The goal is to raise $6000 by then.

The recording will take place both in Nashville, TN, and in Ashland, OR.

Daniel's goal is to make great poetry available as a performance art in a fun, beautiful, entertaining setting that can be enjoyed by an audience of all ages.

Glimmer Train Short Story Award for New Writers Winners

Glimmer Train has just chosen the winning stories for their May Short Story Award for New Writers. This competition is held quarterly and is open to all writers whose fiction has not appeared in a print publication with a circulation greater than 5000. The next Short Story Award competition will take place in August. Glimmer Train’s monthly submission calendar may be viewed here.

1st place goes to Caro Clark [pictured] of Wakefield, RI. She wins $1500 for “The Kind I Really Am” and her story will be published in Issue 94 of Glimmer Train Stories. This is Caro’s first published story.

2nd place goes to Robert Kirkbride of Chicago, IL. He wins $500 for “These Things.”

3rd place goes to Gaetan Sgro of Chicago, IL. He wins $300 for “We Are All Snowflakes and Cities.”

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

Deadline soon approaching! Very Short Fiction Award: July 31
This competition is held quarterly, and 1st place has been increased to $1500 plus publication in the journal. It’s open to all writers, with no theme restrictions, and the word count must not exceed 3000. Click here for complete guidelines.

Lit Mag Covers :: Picks of the Week

Cover art for this issue of The Cincinnati Review is called Shallow Water, a 16in by 20in acrylic by Felicia Olin who also contributes a portfolio within the issue, all included pieces worth discovering.


The cover art for the "Reimagined: Bridging this World and Others" issue of Nimrod is a photograph by Brooke Golightly with just as an enticing of a title, "Beneath the Skirt of the Sea."


Notre Dame's "Listen Here" issue features cover art by Gail Schneider. On the front cover, Right Ear made with clay and mortar. " terra cotta. I wasinterested in the contrast of the soft sensuousness of the human body, the fragility of body parts such as the heart and ear and the impenetrable stability of brick," she writes.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

"No Typos Hear!"

"No Typos Hear!" is how Pat Stone titles the editor's note for the current issue of GreenPrints. He announces that for almost two decades, Ricki and Michael Cochran have been proofreaders for this magazine. As they know have a lot going in their lives, including seven grandchildren, they are officially stepping down; this was their last issue. As such, Stone puts forth his sincere thanks and states that the first who finds a proofing error (beyond the obvious one in the title) in this issue will receive a free one-year subscription to the magazine.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Mighty River and Wilda Hearne Contests

Big Muddy opens Volume 14 Number 1 with the winners of the Wilda Hearne Flash Fiction Award and the Mighty River Short Story Award. Here's a glimpse of each:

Wilda Hearne Flash Fiction Award
Robert Garner McBrearty's "What Happened to Laura?"
     I'm in a coffee shop on an afternoon in spring when a man at a table near the creamers picks up his smart phone and says in a loud voice, "John? Doug here. Laura is back. She's pissed off. She's a really pissed off person...I don't know what she's pissed off about...Yeah, that's right...I'm taking her to the doctor today...It's a hard call, they might...That's good, that's good...She's real angry, she's real brutal, she's real cutting...Yeah, that's right...I don't know if I'm going to have to hospitalize her or not...It's brutal, it's real brutal, I'll call you after we see the doctor...Okay, thanks, right...That's good."
     Doug signs off. But he's back on a moment later. "Bob? Doug here. Laura came back...Well, she's pissed off, she's real pissed off...That's good, that's good...Well, she's real pissed off...We're going to see the doctor in about twenty minutes...Obviously...Excellent...Good idea...I'll hide everything..."
     He hangs up. We all look up from our tables to meet his widened eyes. A tall man rises up. He points a finger at Doug's chest. "I want to know what's wrong with Laura," he says.

Mighty River Short Story Contest
Catherine Browder's "The Canine Cure"
     Some days there's a bit of a flurry when I step on the elevator with the girls. Lola takes the lead, followed by Rusty, and then Didi. I bring up the rear. As we assemble inside, an orderly wearing hospital scrubs pulls himself up to his considerable height and scowls, never taking his eyes off my trio. A young Asian woman in a lab coat takes a small step back. I raise a finger. My three promptly sit, and I punch the button for the third floor.
     "Believe it or not," I tell my audience, "these girls are here to work." I give them my broadest professional smile. The man cracks a joke while the young woman titters uncomfortable. Neither has noticeably relaxed. The girls remain seated, their great brown eyes traveling from face to face and then back to mine. In the enterprise that looms ahead I am certain of only one thing: My troupe is obedient and well trained.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Robert and Adele Schiff Awards

The current issue of The Cincinnati Review features a special section for the winners of the Robert and Adele Schiff Awards in prose and poetry. There is no commentary on the pieces, so you'll have to figure out why they won for yourself! Here is the opening of each:

Karrie Higgins's "The Bottle City of God"
My first summer in Zion, the Mormons deliver a latter-day miracle.
      A grasshopper plague is encroaching on a town somewhere out there in the vast Utah emptiness, on the other side of the Great Salt Lake: two thousand grasshopper eggs to the square foot, little exoskeletons bursting into being from thin air, like popcorn kernels on a hot burner.
      Local News Channel 4 bears witness: Every ten years, the grasshoppers come. Like clockwork.
      As an outsider, a Gentile, I have made this reporter my hierophant. The Mormons have their Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, and I have a newsman. I never watched local news before moving here.
      The plague is supposed to happen.
      Backyards are popcorn machines, pop, pop, pop.
      Insecticide has failed us.

Martha Silano's "The World"
The world so big, so big and beyond, tumbleweed so turbulent in the wind,
the cormorants of the world so sunning themselves on shit-stained piers.

World a big son with his big-boy accretion, his magnesium need
for the screen, for his Xbox lithosphere. The world and the calderas

of the world and the peaks of the world with their toothsome fissures
toppling the calm. The world with its spiral notebook of incomprehensible

Monday, July 21, 2014

Last Call :: August Poetry Postcard Festival!

I've blogged plenty about it, now it's time for you to get signed up! Event Organizer Paul Nelson says there are already over 300 participants! Don't let that scare you; in brief, all you do is write one ORIGINAL postcard poem a day and send it to people on your own list (31 total), which means you also get postcards throughout the month. Writing start date is actually July 27, so deadline for signing up is July 26. If you haven't tried it yet, now is the time!

Winners of Passages North's 2013 Contests

Passages North showcases the winners of their 2013 contests in the 2014 issue, out now:

Thomas J. Hruska Memorial Nonfiction Prize
judged by Elena Passarello

Brandon Davis Jennings: "I Am the Pulverizer"

Honorable Mentions
Christiana Louisa Langenberg: "Foiled"
Sidony O'Neal: "Timely Reflections on the Death of Emergency"

Elinor Benedict Poetry Prize
judged by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Vandana Khanna: "Prayer to Recognize the Body"

Honorable Mention
T.J. Sandella: "My Mother Prepares Me for Her Death"

Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters Fiction Contest
judged by Caitlin Horrocks

Joe Sacksteder: "Earshot—Grope—Cessation"

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Passings :: Thomas Elias Weatherly

Thomas Elias Weatherly, born in Scottsboro, Alabama in 1942, passed away July 15, 2014. Poet Burt Kimmelman tells of Weatherly as "a brilliant, eclectic poet, the craft and reach of his poetry astonishing. He was a member of the inaugural poetry workshop at St. Mark's, under the tutelage of Joel Oppenheimer, and the second cook at the Lions Head when all manner of writer and poet could be found sucking up the nectar there. No degrees post the U.S. Marine Corps Tom was, among other things, the resident bibliophile at the Strand Bookstore in later years, before leaving NYC to return 'home' to the South. He taught variously at a number of colleges and universities, from time to time, and with Ted Wilentz edited what at the time was a game-changing anthology of contemporary African American poetry, titled Natural Process (Hill & Wang, 1971) His own poetry was also not only eclectic but game-changing as well."

Ploughshare bio page
Poets & Writers bio page

Friday, July 18, 2014

Lit Mag Covers :: Picks of the Week

Passages North's 2014 cover is simple but effective. It's done by Jennifer Burton of Vermont: "Her work draws on imagery from old photographs found in family albums, both her own and those of others."


Okay, this cover of Frogpond looks so tasty that I could lick it, seriously, but not really. It certainly says, "Hey, it's a hot summer day. Open me up; it'll be refreshing." The design and photo is by Christopher Patchel of Mettawa, IL.


The cover illustration for Sterling's latest issue is done by Bill Frenec, but, unfortunately, that's all we know about it. It is, however, an excellent homage to Minneapolis—the unofficial theme of the issue—including the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry. (Plus some awesome buttons featuring elements of the cover art.)