Friday, September 30, 2011

Closings: Earth Song Books, Del Mar, CA

Earth Song Books & Gifts, which has been part of the Del Mar community for more than 40 years, will close its doors in November.

“For a long time, we’ve been competing with Amazon and Kindle, and our customers haven’t been supporting us in this economy,” said owner Annette Palmer. “We have to close because the funding just isn’t there. The numbers just don’t add up.”

Read the rest by staff writer Claire Harlin on Del Mar Times.

Jeanne Leiby Memorial Chapbook Award

The Florida Review has announced the first annual Jeanne Leiby Memorial Chapbook Award in Fiction or Graphic Narrative to be judged by David Huddle. See the website for full guidelines. Deadline: December 1, 2011

Creative Nonfiction Winning Essays

Issue 42 of Creative Nonfiction features a number of winning essays. Cosponsored by the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies for best essay related to the them of "The Night," Bud Shaw's essay "My Night with Ellen Hutchinson" was selected by Susan Orlean from among 350 entries. Also included in this issue is Minh Phuong Nguyen's "Suffering Self," the 2010 Norman Mailer College Nonfiction Writing Award winner, and S.J. Dunning's "for(e)closure," the winner of the Creative Nonfiction's MFA Program-Off.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

New Art Publication :: Stone Voices

Stone Voices is "an exploration of the connections between visual arts and the spiritual journey." Each print issue of Stone Voices contains extensive portfolios of notable artists along with feature articles, essays, regular columns, and poems.

Stone Voices is a trade-sized publication sparing no expense in heavyweight, full-color, semi-gloss paper throughout. As a publication, Stone Voices is exemplary in its treatment of art as equal to text, and more often as is due, primary.

Stone Voices also invites artists to share their art and their stories - exploring the connections between art and spirituality. Artists may create their own virtual gallery within Stone Voices larger virtual Art Gallery. Artists may show as many as ten images and may post information about themselves as well as an artist statement at no charge. Full guidelines are available on the publication website.

On Rejection and the Limitations of Space

Magnapoets edito-in-cheif, Aurora Antonovic, writes this "Editor's Lament" in the most recent issue:

"Editors have various methods of choosing what gets into an issue and what doesn't. I liken putting together a magazine like putting together the pieces of a puzzle. Some images may be quite pretty and deserving on their own merit, but they don't necessarily fit into this particular puzzle. In other words, sometimes I have to turn down high quality work because there simply isn't space for it, or it doesn't fit an unintentional theme that's developed all on its own for the issue...I am both a writer and editor, and believe me when I say it is much harder to send a rejection letter than to receive one myself.

"So, if you've sent work to this magazine in the past and been rejected, or if you sent work to another publication and it's not been accepted, rather than assuming it's not 'good enough,' realize that maybe there's a harried editor somewhere who feels badly about the limitations of space."

Big Muddy Contest Winners

Winners of the Big Muddy 2010 contests appear in the newest issue (11.1) of Big Muddy: A Journal of the Mississippi River Valley. A full list of finalists is available on the Big Muddy website. Published winners include:

Mighty River Short Story Winner: Kathleen Knutsen Rowell, California – "The Resolution"

The Wilda Hearne Flash Fiction Winner: Natalie Hamm DeVaull, New York – "In the Kitchen"

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

New Lit on the Block :: Buddhist Poetry Review

Edited by Jason Barber, Buddhist Poetry Review is a quarterly online poetry magazine "dedicated to publishing fresh and insightful Buddhist poetry."

Issue One includes works by Alison Clayburn, Yvette Doss, Peter J. Greico, Paul Hostovsky, Becky Jaffe, Stephen Jones, Ed Krizek, Hal W. Lanse, J.D. Mitchell-Lumsden, Andrew K. Peterson, Ron Riekki, Stephen Rozwenc, J.R. Solonche, and Alex Stein.

Issue Two features poetry by Gary Gach, Allison Grayhurst, David Guterson, David Iasevoli, Leslie Ihde, James Mc Elroy, Mark J. Mitchell, Kaveri Patel, Emeniano Acain Somoza, Jr., and Lucien Zell.

Buddhist Poetry Review is open for submissions from October through November.

Art :: Fred Valentine Paintings

Fred Valentine's paintings are featured in the literary section of the newest issue of Bomb. The website features an exclusive video interview of Valentine in his studio where he discusses his process, working with individuals under psychiatric care, and his own consideration of 'psyche' in his work.

Persecuted Cartoonists

Sampsonia Way is an online magazine that provides global leadership in support of the value of freedom of speech and creative expression, and provides a forum for the work and support the careers of writers in exile. The newest issue features "Persecuted Cartoonists" with interviews with Tony Namate (Zimbabwe), Alfredo Pong (Cuba), Pedro León Zapata (Venezuela), Aw Pi Kyeh (Burma), and Jonathan Shapiro (South Africa) - and lots of cartoons. Also included is a video: "Amiri Baraka Reads 'Something in the Way of Things (in Town)'" from a reading hosted by Cave Canem and City of Asylum Pittsburgh.

Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers Winners

The Fall 2011 issue of The Kenyon Review features the winners of the 2011 Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers with an introduction by David Baker.

First Prize: Natalie Landers, "Ode to Words"
Runner up: Hayun Cho, "Halmoni"
Runner up: Emily Nason, "Ripening"

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New Lit on the Block :: The Rusty Toque

Founding and Managing Editors Kathryn Mockler and Aaron Schneider, along with issue editors and advisors, introduce readers to The Rusty Toque, an online literary journal produced and edited by the faculty and students of the University of Western Ontario Writing, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication Program. The Rusty Toque publishes students nominated from their writing program and also welcomes submissions from all writers - both new and established.

The first issue (Summer 2011)includes fiction by Josh Romphf, Marshall John Christie, Rhiannon Dickson, and Jamie Lively; screenplays by Jessica Kotzer and Lauren Wing; nonfiction by Ashley McCallan, G.P. Parhar, Cam Parkes, and Spencer Matheson; and poetry by Scott Beckett and Blair Swann.

The Rusty Toque accepts unpublished literary and experimental poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and unproduced drama (both short film and short play scripts). Artwork for the homepage is also accepted.

Solstice MFA Announces New Partnership, Fellowships

The Solstice Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program of Pine Manor College (Chestnut Hill, MA) has announced a new partnership with The Foundation for Children’s Books (FCB), a nonprofit organization that "cultivates children’s curiosity, creativity, and academic achievement by igniting in them a love of good books." Pine Manor College is one of the few low-residency MFA programs to offer a concentration in writing for children and young adults.

The FCB and Solstice MFA Program will co-host the first in a series of biannual events, “What’s New in Children’s Books” — a half-day conference featuring authors, illustrators, and library and bookstore professionals — Saturday, November 5th from 8 a.m.– noon.

The Solstice Low-Residency MFA is also offers four $1,000 fellowships for writers: The Dennis Lehane Fellowship for Fiction; the Michael Steinberg Fellowship for Creative Nonfiction; the Jacqueline Woodson Fellowship for a Young People’s Writer of African or Caribbean Descent; and the Sharon Olds Fellowship for Poetry. All fellowship awards are based on the quality of a writing sample. Fellowship applications are due October 14, 2011 (not a postmark date; materials must be received in our offices before or on October 14).

Glimmer Train July Very Short Fiction Winners

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

First place: Sanja Jagesic [pictured], of Chicago, IL, wins $1200 for “Bibby Challenge.” Her story will be published in the Winter 2013 issue of Glimmer Train Stories, out in November. This is her first story accepted for publication.

Second place: Meredith Luby, of Springield, VA, wins $500 for “Boxes.” Her story will also be published in a future issue of Glimmer Train Stories, increasing her prize to $700. This is also Meredith’s first story accepted for publication.

Third place: Rafael Alvarez, of Linthicum, MD, wins $300 for “The Spaniards.”

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

Deadline for the September Fiction Open is September 30. This competition is held quarterly and is open to all writers. Most submissions to this category are running 2,000-8,000, but up to 20,000 words are welcome. No theme restrictions.

Monday, September 26, 2011

New Lit on the Block :: The Sandstar Review

Editors Lin Wang and Tyler Pratt bring readers The Sandstar Review, an online literary journal that "strives to publish polished, lyrical work that seeks an active connection between places and people."

The first issue is poetry only, featuring works by William Doreski, Eva Eliav, Antoinette Forstall, Howie Good, Kenneth Gurney, Danielle Hurd, Steven Mayoff, Corey Mesler, Ananya Mishra, Rodney Nelson, Nathanael O’Reilly, Kenneth Pobo, Roxanne Rashedi, Eric Rawson, Fiona Sinclair, Mark Stopforth, Persephonae Velasquez, Musing on Cézanne's Mont Sainte-Victoire, Nicola Walls, and William Winfield Wright.

The Sandstar Review seeks unpublished prose for its second issue. Poetry is also accepted, but will be deferred to the third issue. Prose deadline is November 15, 2011.

The Kenyon Review Fellowships

The Kenyon Review Editor David H. Lynn writes: "In our enduring effort to support authors in the early stages of promising careers, I am delighted to announce a new model for the Kenyon Review Fellowships. Beginning in the autumn of 2012, two outstanding writers, one poet and one prose author, will be invited to join us in Gambier, Ohio, in each two-year cycle. Our expectation is that candidates will have completed an MFA or PhD. Selected in a rigorous process that will evaluate their gifts as writers as well as teachers, KR Fellows will pursue a significant creative project in consultation with a mentor. They will also each teach one course in creative writing per year, also mentored by faculty of the Kenyon College English Department. In addition, they will work closely with the staff of The Kenyon Review, gaining editorial and production experience, from letterpress to Internet."

The Fellowship is open for application October 1 - December 1, 2011.

Black Lawrence Press Chapbook Competition Winner

Black Lawrence Press has announced that Russel Swensen has won the Spring, 2011 Black River Chapbook Competition for his manuscript Santa Ana.

Complete lists of the finalists and semi-finalists can be found on the Black Lawrence Press blog.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Art :: Fred Valentine

Fred Valentine's paintings are featured in the literary section of the newest issue of Bomb. The website features an exclusive video interview of Valentine in his studio where he discusses his process, working with individuals under psychiatric care, and his own consideration of 'psyche' in his work.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Silk Road Flash Fiction Contest Winner

The newest issue of Silk Road (6.2) features the winning stories for their Flash Fiction Contest with comments on each from Senior Fiction Editor Greg Belliveau. Steve Edwards received first place for "A Writer's Story" and Katie Corese received honorable mention for "Let Your Hair Down."

Brevity: New Craft & Pay for Writers

Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction online features two new craft essays for September:

"Silence and Not-Knowing: An Introduction, and Silence Is My Playlist (On Being Asked for One to Go with My Work)" by Lia Purpura

"Ignorance, Lies, Imagination and Subversion in the Writing of Memoir and the Personal Essay" by Lee Martin

Brevity has also announced that it will begin paying its writers: "For years, we have struggled as a volunteer effort with no revenue through advertising or subscriptions. So with great pride we announce that we will be able to pay our writers starting with the January 2011 issue, and, with luck and hard work, every issue forward."

Of course, it takes money to pay money, so Brevity is also asking readers to consider making a "self-determined subscription fee." All donations to this fund are promised to go directly to the writers whose works are selected for publication.

Stunning Covers :: Rain Taxi

Just when I thought I'd seen my fill of doll head art comes this newest issue of Rain Taxi, and for some creepy reason, I just can't stop staring back at this one-eyed Kwepie winker.

If not already on your regular reading list, do add Rain Taxi Review of Books, both in print and online. Fall 2011 online edition features an interview with novelist Bonnie Jo Campbell and the mnartists.org featured essay Ghost Crawl through the Warehouse District of Minneapolis. The print issue features interviews with Peter Grandbois and Adam Hines, and reviews of books by Grant Morrison, JoAnn Verburg, Ron Hansen, Siri Hustvedt, Juan Goytisolo, Will Alexander, Kabir, and more.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Terry Tempest Williams Broadside

A limited-edition broadside of "Finding Beauty In A Broken World" by Terry Tempest Williams with artwork by Nancy Stein is available for $20 as a fundraiser for West Marin Review. I'm a sucker for a beautiful broadside, and this one most certainly satisfies. It's letterpress printed on a 9x14 ivory linen and signed by both author and artist. The poem can be read on the website, and is a most appropriate expression for our times.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Black Lawrence Book Sale

Get three Black Lawrence Press story & poetry titles at reduced pricing, or all three with shipping included for $25 - September only:

Pictures of Houses with Water Damage
Stories by Michael Hemmingson

From the Darkness Right Under Our Feet
Stories by Patrick Michael Finn

The Giving of Pears
Poems by Abayomi Animashaun

New Lit on the Block :: Stone Highway Review

Edited by Mary Stone Dockery and Amanda Hash, Stone Highway Review is a biannual publication featuring poetry, short prose, and artwork, available online via PDF as well as POD via Lulu. For writers, Stone Highway Review likes "work that haunts, electrifies, tingles. We like creativity. We believe the imagination contains as much truth as 'truth.'" The editors also comment that they like prose that "slips into the surreal or plays with language in new and exciting ways," and that "if your fiction is more poetry than prose, we want it."

The first issue features works by Paul David Adkins, James W. Hritz, Michelle Reale, Ariana D. Den Bleyker, Kim Kin, Peter Schireson, Jenny Catlin, Maggie Koger, Caitlin Elizabeth Thomson, Christina Dubach, Len Kuntz, Christopher Woods, William Doreski, Devon Miller-Duggan, Dr. Ernest Williamson III, Tom Holmes Christina Murphy, Alex Yuschik, Ruth Holzer, and Jenny Ortiz.

Stone Highway Review accepts submissions online via Submishmash and has a Facebook page.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Wanted: Readers Who Like to Write

Like to read? Like to write? Want free lit mags? Be a NewPages Reviewer!

Our reviewers come from all walks of life: published writers, undergraduate & graduate students, teachers, stay-at-home moms & dads, retirees, and people who just love to read and add some literary enhancement to their day. If you are new to review writing, we're happy to work with you and will offer feedback to help you develop your review writing skills.

Visit the NewPages Reviewer Guidelines to get started. We are especially interested in lit mag reviewers - both for print and online literary publications.

American Short Fiction Contest Winners

The Summer 2011 issue of American Short Fiction features the winners of the magazine's fall short story contest, judged by Wells Tower:

First Prize: Jamie Quatro's “Decomposition: A Primer for Promiscuous Housewives”

Second Prize: L. Annette Binder's “Sea of Tranquility”

ZYZZYVA Redesign

Editor Laura Cogan is making a big splash with this newest issues of ZYZZYVA. Cogan says the publication has worked on a redesign with Three Steps Ahead, the same California firm behind ZYZZYVA's new website. "ZYZZYVA’s original print design, created with care by Thomas Ingalls & Associates in 1985, was elegant and restrained," Cogan writes in her editor's note. "We kept in mind the clarity and the spare beauty of their vision as we sought to add other elements speaking to the pleasures of print, to the craft of bookmaking, and to the stimulating quietude of reading. We considered paper weight and tone, typesetting and titles, mingled serifs with sans-serifs, discussed the old-fashioned whimsy of endpapers — always with a view toward presenting stories, poetry, and art in the best way possible."

Additionally - and probably most stunning for regular readers of ZYZZYVA is the cover design, which is reflective of the addition of the journal's first-ever full-color art feature: photographic portraits by Katy Grannan and paintings by Julio Cesar Morales.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New Lit on the Block :: Journal of Renga & Renku

Editors Norman Darlington and Moira Richards are both active in the study and practice of renga and renku and have collaborated on various renku related projects since 2005. Journal of Renga & Renku is their newest project, and includes a periodical, renku contest, book publishing, and an online community - Haikai Talk - devoted to haikai and all poetic forms orginating in Japan and written in English.

JRR is devoted to all aspects of renga and renku, including scholarly articles, poems, discussions, contests, critiques and more that will interest Asian Studies scholars as well as teachers and students of English literature/poetry. The editors "believe it will also be of interest to poets experimenting with the writing of renku in a number of languages around the world today, and to practitioners exploring aspects of renku and its za as an educational/social/therapeutic tool."

The inaugural issue, published on demand via Lulu.com, includes a great deal of content, including a report on "Four Sign Language Renga" by Donna West and Rachel Sutton-Spence. This unique article includes commentary and links to YouTube videos of these sign language poetry performances; I highly recommend the publication for this content alone! But, there's so much more:

Shisan - four 12-verse poems
Ninjūin - six 20-verse poems
Jūnichō - four 12-verse poems
Kasen - eight 36-verse poems
Half-kasen - an 18-verse poem
Yotsumono - a four-verse poem
Live renku - one 12-verse and one 18-verse poem
Triparshva - fourteen 22-verse poems
Including the winner of the 2010 JRR renku contest, "The Tiniest Pebble," a triparshva by William Sorlien, John Merryfield, Sandra Simpson, Linda Papanicolaou and Shinjuku Rollingstone.

Essays:
"Renku - A Baby Thrown Out with the Bath Water: A Start of Reappraising Shiki" by Susumu Takiguchi
"Gradus and Mount Tsukuba: An Introduction to the Culture of Japanese Linked Verse" by H. Mack Horton
"Longer Renku: The Hyakuin of 100 Stanzas" by William J. Higginson
"The Mechanics of White Space (or Basho Cranks-up the Action)" by John E. Carley
"The Alchemy of Live Renku" by Christopher Herold

JRR will publish again at the end of 2011 and is open for submissions until October 1, 2011. See JRR's website for full submission information.

Flyway Moves Online

Flyway: Journal of Writing and Environment has announced it will be going online biannually beginning with their Spring 2011 issue, with an annual "best of" print anthology.

Bayou Magazine Fiction Contest Winner

The newest issue of Bayou Magazine (#55, 2011) includes the story "Roger and Jodeen," Kevin Breen's winning entry in the 2010 James Knudsen Editor's Prize in Fiction. A full list of finalists is available on the Bayou Magazine website.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

New Lit on the Block :: West Marin Review

West Marin Review is a literary and art journal published by "a dedicated band of volunteers supported by two local literary interests - the Tomales Bay Library Association and Point Reyes Books - and friends and neighbors." And while this grounds the review in local support, contributions are open to all writers and artists, newcomers as well as professionals.

A full table of contents for each issue is available online. Issue three offers excerpts of some content online. The print issue includes:

Prose by Catherine David, Reynold Junker, Jessica O’Dwyer, Agustina Martinez, Jan Harper Haines, Agnes Wolohan Smuda von Burkleo, Vivian Olds, Elia Haworth, Jonathan Rowe, Steve Heilig, Daniel Potts, Flor Jimenez, Jazmine Collazo, Cynthia A. Cady, Jody Farrell, Dave Mitchell, and Terry Nordbye;

Poetry by Jodie Appell, Prartho Sereno, Julia Bartlett, Gillian Wegener, Juan Avalos, Albert Flynn DeSilver, Lynne Knight, Apology, Randall Potts, Hal Ober, Roy Mash, and Nellie Hill;

Art + Artifact by Patti Trimble, Nell Melcher, Ryan Giammona, Andrzej Michael Karwacki, Amanda Tomlin, Kurt Lai, Jessica Baldwin, Willow Wallof, Sha Sha Higby, Marnie Spencer, Terrence Murphy, Christa Burgoyne, Wendy Goldberg, Dewey Livingston, Tom Killion, Richard Lindenberg, Lorna Stevens, Kevin Alvarado, Jacqueline Mallegni, Christa Coy, Kyla Pasternak, Mary Siedman, Zea Morvitz, Vi©kisa, Jon Langdon, Mark Ropers, Sevilla Granger, and Mardi Wood.

Asian American Literary Review 9/11 Issue

The Asian American Literary Review, Fall 2011 is a special issue commemorating the tenth anniversary of Sept. 11. It includes a DVD: "Ten Years Later: Asian American Performers Reflect on 9/11." A full table of contents is available on the magazine's website.

Prairie Schooner New Editor

The Fall 2011 issue of Prairie Schooner welcomes Kwame Dawes as the new editor in chief. Dawes joins the University of Nebraska as Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner and Chancellor's Professor of English.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Students Can Create Daily Comix Diaries to Show What They Learn

From Bill Zimmerman, Creator, MakeBeliefsComix.com - and adaptable to college as well as K-12:

If you're looking for an exciting new literacy activity for the new school year why not start a daily 20-minute comic strip segment during which your students create a comic diary about something they learned or read or experienced that day? Creating such daily comix diaries provides a way for youngsters to digest and integrate key material that they are taught as well as to reflect on their lives and experiences. And what better way to improve writing, reading and storytelling skills!

To help educators, MakeBeliefsComix.com, the free online comic strip generator, has launched a Daily Comix Diary Page offering many ideas at

http://www.makebeliefscomix.com/Daily-Comix-Diary/

Students can also draw their own comics with pencil or crayons and use stick figures or pictures cut from magazines. By making their own comic strips, students will realize that they can create stories and make art. They will learn that they, too, are capable of generating their own learning materials, their own memoirs, and that their ''take'' on the world is so very special - everyone sees things differently.

What to draw and write about?

For starters, why not have students create autobiographical comic strips about themselves and their families or summarizing the most important things about their lives? Let each student select a cartoon character as a surrogate to represent him or her. They might also summarize what their individual interests are or some key moments in their lives.

• Maybe students create a comic strip with a new ending for a book that they've read, or an extension of the story, or a deeper exploration of a character in the book.
• Maybe their comic is about a concept they learned in science or in social studies.
• Maybe their comic captures an interesting conversation they overheard.
• Maybe their comic is about something sad or bad that happened to them, such as someone bullying them. Or about something special, such as a birthday wish.
• Maybe their comic is about something fun or wonderful that they or a friend experienced - perhaps an adventure they had. Or, about a great or important memory they will never forget.
• Maybe their daily comic contains a joke they heard or something funny a parent said to them recently.
• Maybe they're exploring a problem at home that's bothering them, such as a sibling who's driving them crazy.
• Maybe theirs is a comic strip utilizing new vocabulary learned that day.
• Maybe their comic strip is a fantasy story that came to their imagination.
• Or, how about creating a political comic strip commenting on some new development in government or a news event?

Now, imagine the student's comic-filled sketch book or folder containing daily diary entries created over the course of a year that will trace each child's thoughts and learning, that will reflect what was important to her or him. They'll have composed a comic book diary that they will treasure for the rest of their lives.

Most important, the 20-minute-a-day daily comix diary challenge offers students the chance to become creators as they find their voice, rather than just passive learners. What better gift can you give them?

New Lit on the Block :: Poecology

The name Poecology is "the fusion of poetry and ecology brings two of my great passions together" writes editor Kristi Moos. Born from "a slip of the tongue," Poecology is now an online literary magazine of ecology-focused poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Moos says, "I think there is much left to be said about the idea that poetry, and all writing for that matter, can influence physical ecology. When the idea for Poecology came about, I started seeking answers to long-held questions: How can literature shape the places and environments that inspire writing in the first place? What can I do to take part?" Issue 1 is just the beginning of the answer to these questions.

Contributors to the first issue include Anna Lönnberg, Aneesa Davenport, Janice N. Harrington, Evan Winchester, Ann Fisher-Wirth, Laura Edgar, Ada Limón, Murray Silverstein, Tim Willcutts, Brenda Hillman, Ivy Anderson, Monica Regan , Robert Ricardo, Giancarlo Campagna, Ruth Gooley, Meredith Paige, Toni Wynn, Briony Gylgayton, Mark C. Jackson, Lenore Bell, Melissa Studdard, Keely Hyslop, and Devreaux Baker.

Though submissions are accepted year round, the deadline for issue two is May 15, 2012. Poecology uses Submishmash and accepts poetry, fiction, and nonfiction focused on ecological, environmental, or place-based themes. This theme can be treated directly, thematically, or abstractly.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Postcard Publications: Thumbs Up & Down

A few new literary postcard ventures have started up recently - not a new concept, and one The Alternative Press from the 70's used effectively as part of their literary activism. I'm a big fan of 'ephemera' lit - that "publication" that doesn't fit as neatly into the standards of print-cycle magazine, but has unique print qualities that make it attractive. For me, postcards definitely qualify.

Of the couple I've seen come in so far, I have to say I haven't been overly-impressed with the print quality. This is tough, since it seems in recent years, the post office has taken to stamping, inking, and stickering more and more space on the already size-limited real estate available to the sender. This creates problems when the text meant to be that card's installment of the journal ends up inked over and unreadable. While the stickers can usually be peeled off, not all post offices use these, so there may be ink at the top and the bottom of the card, making fairly good-sized chunks of the text unreadable.

As if this wasn't enough, there also seems to be a growing trend in postcards getting a layer of the cardstock ripped off as they go through some sort of roller system. This is usually on the text side of the card and so may also end up ripping off the layer with text on it or causing damage to the art front of the card. Non-glossy cards (the better environmental choice) often come through looking as though a Matchbox car did a peel out on the art side, with black smudges and wear spots, and the text side with ink stamps and tears across the text. I'm certainly not expecting these cards to come through the post in a pristine state; if fact, these markings can become a part of the art and text itself, adding to the character of these publications.

In all, I love the idea of literary postcards. I participate each year in the August Poetry Postcard Festival, and just hope that other participants are aware of how the poems are coming through at their final destination (I've received blank postcards, where it looks like someone put their poem on with tape or a sticker, and the postal sorting machines have ripped it off completely). While I have a great sense appreciation for the concept, the execution is sometimes a disappointment. [Pictured: Abe's Penny Volume 3.2 - can't tell who the artist is or title because that information was inked over by the post office stamp on the reverse side, whereas the art side got black and orange ink stamps and a brown smudge. To their credit, Abe's Penny does post photo images of the content online, often inked and torn as well, but when I tried to find this particular card, the image online was different than the one I received.]

An alternative to actually receiving the individual cards sent in the mail is something like Tuesday: An Art Project, whose set of postcards come wrapped in a paper package with even more poems and information about the publication itself. This is a fun way to get the cards, read them, and then share them with others. Since only one poem or artwork featured on the picture side of the card, they are less likely to be damaged. They are also then each a piece suitable for framing vs. postcards that are art on one side and an author's writing on the other. The quality of the paper and the letterpress printing and photo printing (rather than simple photocopies) also assure that these will be more likely to survive the postal gamut unscathed.

I'm all for postcard literature. With all our digital access, there's still something fun and special about getting "real mail." Each time I receive postcard lit, I read it - usually immediately, and then again later. It's not the longer, sustained reading I most enjoy, but I do appreciate getting jolts of lit in my day. Just enough to remind me to take a deep breath and savor the moment.

Some postcard journals that I'm aware of:

Abe's Penny
Hoot Review (forthcoming)
The Postcard Press
Ripples

If you know of or are a part of others, please let me know.

New Lit on the Block :: Spittoon

Posted online and in a pdf version, Spittoon is an independent magazine of contemporary and experimental poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Editors for this quarterly publication are Matt VanderMeulen (fiction), Kristin Abraham (poetry), and Berly Fields (creative nonfiction).

The inaugural issue of Spittoon features fiction by Wayne Lee Thomas, Ann Stewart, Sara Pritchard, Kyle Hemmings, William Haas, William J. Fedigan, Kirsten Beachy; poetry by Nate Pritts , Rich Murphy, Amanda McGuire, Kristi Maxwell, R.J. Ingram, Arpine Konyalian Grenier , Dana Curtis, Ryan Collins, Molly Brodak; and an interview with Arpine Konyalian Grenier.

Submissions are accepted year round with each piece published also automatically entered in the yearly "Best of Spittoon" awards.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

New Lit on the Block :: Adventum Magazine

Adventum Magazine is a new online publication of, well, as Editor-in-Chief and Founder Naomi Mahala Farr muses in her philosophy - what could best be described as outdoor adventure writing. While other magazines exist that do honor the environment, the outdoors, and adventure, Naomi created Adventum to explore all of these in a more literary venue: creative nonfiction and haiku with photography and photo essays. The result is nothing short of breathtaking.

Produced in Issuu (print available on demand), the first installment of this biannual features essays by Adrianne Aron, Trevien Stanger, Manda Frederick, Kim Kircher, Kathleen Saville, Willard Manus, Cheryl Merrill, Tom Leskiw, Adrienne Ross Scanlan, Ed Gutierrez; photography by Shea Mack, Brandon Hauser, Jon Oliver-Hodges, Shaun Bevins, Tim Farr; and haiku by Dennis Maulsby, Sidney Bending, Julia Goodman, Wayne Lee, Wally Swist.

Submissions for the next issue are accepted until November 15. Adventum accepts "creative nonfiction, essays, and memoir pieces that explore some aspect of personal experience in the outdoors. This includes but is not limited to adventure in extreme wilderness landscapes as well as urban, whether it is about climbing trees, mountains or buildings, kayaking rivers or oceans, walking in pursuit of rare insects, pursuing the art of parkour, oceanic living, or mountain culture." Photography and haiku (and haiku ONLY) are also accepted.

What I'm Reading :: Dear Bully

Note: If you don't read all of this, read this much - Please buy a copy of this book and donate it to your local library and/or public school library. Kids need access to books like this to know they are not alone. (This is how I'd planned to end this post, but since not all readers will make it that far, I felt the need to start with it.)

Dear Bully, edited by Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones, is a collection of seventy stories from young adult authors recalling their own childhood experiences with bullying. The perspectives vary, from being an observer who does nothing to stop the incidents, to being the victim - most often feeling helpless, hopeless, but also angry and acting out - to being the perpetrator, a point of view least often explored, and, though with no means to excuse it, often revealing as much hopelessness and helplessness as the victims themselves.

With school gearing up, this book would make a incredible addition to any classroom - from middle school right on through college. This kind of text provides an extremely accessible approach to starting discussions about bullying. Without being preachy or mandating step-by-steps, these stories open the door to talking about what it's like to be bullied and why it matters to have these conversations now. Who better to provide this to young adults but the young adult authors themselves, many of whose works may already be on the bookshelves in the classroom.

The book is divided into sections: Dear Bully; Just Kidding; Survival; Regret; Thank You Friends; Insight; Speak; Write It; and It Gets Better. The most heart wrenching for me was the Dear Bully section, in which authors write letters to the bullies of their pasts. All are from the perspective of the adult looking back, and these stories in particular seem to hit the strongest chord of showing just how long-lasting negative memories of bullying can be. For anyone who says, "It's just kids being kids" and "They'll get over it" - this section is for you.

There are also some fun and uplifting works - where friends stand by one another and stop their hurtful behavior, where the victim finds resolve and perseveres - and not just in adulthood, but then, there, in that moment of childhood. And of course, many, many of the stories show that, despite the bullying, despite feeling as a child that the world was going to end, all of these adults either say directly in their stories or show simply by their being included in this volume, that life does go on and there is more to life than just surviving. Of course, the best stories are the ones where the victims do see their bullies in adulthood and find that those ogres are just regular people - no longer larger than life, no longer commanding control of their universe. And the victims see that they themselves may actually have come out for the better in their lives. Maybe a bit of "vindication" - self-satisfying, but not without its truth.

This collection offers a delightful variety of writing styles - from the epistolary to the narrative - including diary entries, loads of character sketches (of course) and effective dialogue - both external and internal. There are song lyrics by Jessica Brody (with a link to hear the song online), an A-Z narrative (not quite an acrostic) by Laura Kasischke, a comic with story by Cecil Castellucci and illustrated by Lise Bernier, and another of my favorites, Sara Bennett Wealer writing to herself as a young girl with "stuff I wish someone would have told me when I was sixteen." This should be required reading of ALL young girls (not to mention some adults).

The book includes two helpful sections: "Resources for Teens" and "Resources for Educators and Parents." Dear Bully has a website that at the moment doesn't have a whole lot to offer, mostly just media PR on the book, and a Facebook page where users post insightful, supportive, and helpful comments on bullying - what states and schools are doing, as well as personal commentary. A lot more going on here with 800+ likes.

With incidents of bullying - and the most insidious of all: cyberbullying - on the rise, this book comes into and can help start the conversation at the most opportune time. Dear Bully is for everyone who has grown up in this culture where bullying takes place every day, not just in the schools, but in our streets, in our homes, our place of work (and globally). Dear Bully unveils the truth of who we are as a community of people, and it's not pretty. But until we recognize this, stop keeping it silent, and address it head-on, we're doomed to continue forcing young people to have to "survive" their childhoods. It's time to be the grown-ups we wish had stepped in to help us when we were young.

Creative Resistance Fund

The Creative Resistance Fund is intended for activists and culture workers in situations of distress as a result of their professional work. Distress situations may include verbal threats, imprisonment or legal persecution, violent attack, professional or social exclusion, or harassment.

The Creative Resistance Fund provides small distress grants to people in danger due to their use of creativity to fight injustice. The fund may be used to evacuate a dangerous situation; to cover living expenses while weighing long-term options for safety; or to act on a strategic opportunity to affect social change.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Chattahoochee Review Welcomes New Eitors

Now celebrating its 31st year in print, The Chattahoochee Review is under all new editorship: Editor Anna Schachner, Managing Editor Lydia Ship, Fiction Editor Andy Rogers, Nonfiction Editor Louise McKinney, Poetry Editor Michael Diebert; Art Editor Claire Paul, and Social Media Editor Michael Rowley.

Managing Editor Lydia Ship writes: "Although our roots are in the South and we publish important writers such as William Gay, George Singleton, and Natasha Trethewey, we also publish writers from other regions of the U.S. and other countries such as Denmark, Mexico, Romania, and England. We are committed to exploring literature in translation and to writers who transgress borders, cultural and otherwise. While the Review features poetry, fiction, nonfiction, interviews, reviews, and occasional graphic work, we are also open to nontraditional forms. We value established writers but take great pride in discovering new voices. Work from The Chattahoochee Review is regularly featured in nationally published anthologies and books."

The Chattahoochee Review is currently seeking poetry, fiction, and nonfiction for a special issue on Southern Literature to be published in late 2011, with a particular interested in writing that:

1. Challenges the traditional definition of "Southern"
2. Addresses the concerns of ethnicity in the South
3. Uses humor with originality and intelligence
4. Blends the gothic with other literary modes
5. Defies geography and the use of the vernacular as the only conditions of Southern identity

New Lit on the Block :: TINGE Magazine

TINGE Magazine is Temple University’s new online literary journal, published twice a year, in the Spring (April) and in the Fall (December). The journal is edited by the graduate students of Temple’s M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing and has an open submissions policy.

The first issue includes Fiction by Liam Callanan, Katherine Zlabek, Marc Schuster, Lauren Hopkins Karcz, V. Jo Hsu, and Mat Johnson; Poetry by Melissa Slayton, Michael S. Begnal, Christopher Schaeffer, George Eklund, Diana K. Lee, and Kristin Prevallet; Nonfiction by Michael Milburn; and Interviews with Kristin Prevallet and Mat Johnson.

Submissions for the next issue of TINGE Magazine will open September 1; submissions are accepted through Submishmash.

[Cover art by Brooke Lanier “Personal Best”]

Alimentum Eat & Greet Tours

Alimentum: The Literature of Food offers Eat & Greet Food Tours - visiting cafes, bakeries, sample foods in restaurants, and visit markets. Registration is required.

NASHVILLE
September 17th, 2011
Nolensville Pike
Tour runs from 9:30 am till 4 pm. Includes cafes of Istanbul to the authentic bakeries of Iraq, restaurant specialties: Ethiopian injera, Turkish stuffed grape leaves, Kurdish flatbread, Thai-style curry, authentic Mexican tacos, and learn from local market owners and restaurateurs about their native cuisine, and shop ethnic markets.

Tour Hosts: Alimentum Publisher Paulette Licitra & PR Director Annakate Tefft

Upcoming tours:

NASHVILLE October 22, 2011
Middle Tennessee Farm Tour
Tour Hosts Alimentum Publisher Paulette Licitra & PR Director Annakate Tefft

NYC November 5th, 2011
Bensonhurst-Gravesend Brooklyn - Southern Italian Cusiine & Culture
Tour Hosts Alimentum Publisher Paulette Licitra & Editor Esther Cohen

NYC November 6th, 2011
Elmhurst, Queens - Thai Cuisine & Culture
Tour Hosts Alimentum Publisher Paulette Licitra & Editor Esther Cohen

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Teaching 9/11

The National Museum of American History will commemorate the tenth anniversary with an exhibit of objects recovered from the three sites attacked on September 11, 2001 - "Bearing Witness to History: Remembrance and Reflection." Photographs with commentary on each object are available online as well as text and audio stories from the collection curators. A separate page of educational resources is available for teachers as well as a blog discussing such related issues as whether to teach the events of 9/11 as history or current events.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Narrative Spring 2011 Story Contest Winners

Narrative announces the winners and finalists of their 2011 Spring Story Contest:

FIRST PRIZE
Nickolas Butler, "Underneath the Bonfire"

SECOND PRIZE
Jan Ellison, "Second First Night"

THIRD PRIZE
Katie Cortese, "The Promised Land"

FINALISTS
Douglas Bauer
Wesley Brown
Leslie Ingham
Hannah Johnson
Jerry D. Mathes II
Lewis Moyse
Rina Piccolo
Rickey Pittman
Charlotte Price
Lynn Stegner

Pongo Book & Writing Resources for Troubled Teens

The Pongo Publishing Teen Writing Project is a volunteer, nonprofit effort with Seattle teens who are in jail, on the streets, or in other ways leading difficult lives. The Pongo website features many resources for teachers and counselors working with teen writers.

The Pongo Teen Writing Project is releasing their latest book of teen poetry from King County juvenile detention. This perfect binding, full-color cover book is entitled There Had to Have Been Someone. This and several other Pongo books are available for purchase on their web site, each with a sample poem that can be read online.

Pongo's Writing Activities now includes an 'easier to use' interface for teens to write poetry online. There are 46 fill-in-the-blank writing activities on themes such as "Addicted," "Girl with the Scars," "Lessons of Courage and Fear," and "Ten Reasons to Love Me." The Home page has a video, set in juvenile detention, that explains Pongo's mission and their authors' poetry.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

New Re-Lit on the Block: The Public Domain Review

Founded and edited by Jonathan Gray and Adam Green, The Public Domain Review was launched 1/1/11 to coincide with Public Domain Day celebrations around the world. The aspiration of The Public Domain Review is "to become a bounteous gateway into the whopping plenitude that is the public domain, helping our readers to explore this rich terrain by surfacing unusual and obscure works, and offering fresh reflections and unfamiliar angles on material which is more well known."

Each week an invited contributor presents an interesting or curious work with a brief accompanying text giving context, commentary and criticism. Contributors include scholars, writers, critics, artists, archivists, scientists and librarians. is also now accepting open submissions.

In addition to the articles, The Public Domain Review has begun collections of public domain films, audio, images and texts.

The review is a project of the Open Knowledge Foundation (a not-for-profit organization) and is made possible by funding from the Shuttleworth Foundation.