Monday, April 30, 2012

New Lit on the Block :: Torrid Literature Journal

Torrid Literature Journal is a new publication of poetry and fiction available quarterly (January/April/July/October) online and in print.

Editors Alice Saunders, Aisha McFadden, Tiffani Barner started the publication because, as Alice tells me, “We're lovers of words. In addition, we want to help bridge the gap between writers and readers. As we mention in our inaugural issue, voices want to be heard, dreams need explaining, and inspiration is looking for a conduit. This is what our publication does. It provides an unbiased outlet. It also provides readers with shared experiences. The knowledge that someone else in this world seems to be writing a story or poem based exclusively on their life. We created this publication because successful literature should seep into the heart and mindset of the reader, pushing for answers, questioning the state of all things real and fiction, and most importantly, inflicting positive change."

Alice expanded on this benefit Torrid Literature Journal will offer its readership: "It all comes down to a seed and root concept. Our publication is the seed and the writers who appear in it are the roots. So our readers will be able to walk away with roots of inspiration, entertainment, education, and information. The diversity of the writers and the literature itself will draw the readers in and hold their imagination and senses captive in way that will make them come back for more."

The inaugural issue includes Poetry by Peycho Kanev, Ernest Williamson III, Peter LaBerge, Changming Yuan, John Grey, Hal O'Leary, Valentina Cano, Gary Beck, Gale Acuff, Leila Fortier, William D. Hicks, William Doreski, Ben Nardolilli, Shane McConnell, Cara Frame, Tracy Darling, Susan V. Meyers; and Fiction by Ron Koppelberger, Catherine Kizer, Chris Castle, and Chris Heinrich.

As for the future of this emerging publication, the editors plan to continue to providing readers with fine literature submitted by writers all over the world, growing in terms of literary content. For example, their second volume, subtitled "The Bare Naked Truth," will include two guest columnists, a feature the editors hope to continue in future editions.

Torrid Literature Journal accepts poetry and fiction submissions in various genres year round via email or through their online submission website. Visit their website for more information.

Alice adds that the editors are "a team that enjoys literature and other forms of art." Follow them on their Facebook page for information about various types of open mic events and poetry readings they host in their local community.

Get Your Summer Reading Now!

Visit the NewPages Magazine Webstore to purchase single copies of a variety of current literary magazines from just one site!

• Find titles you recognize and discover new magazines.
• Browse issue content to find favorite authors as well as new voices.
• Research magazines before submitting your writing.
• Teachers & Students: FINALLY! One site to get classroom reading.
• Support writers and publishers of literary magazines!

Pick and choose single copies from the comfort of your keyboard and have them conveniently delivered to your doorstep.

The NewPages Magazine Webstore is still just getting started, so check back for new issue updates as well as new titles, and TELL YOUR FRIENDS about NewPages! We'd love to see this store be a successful option for readers, writers, and publishers!

Friday, April 27, 2012

New Staff at NewPages

NewPages welcomes Kirsten McIlvenna as the NewPages Magazine Review Editor. In addition to her editorial work, Kirsten is also a web content writer for Cadmium Design Studios, a freelance editor, and a freelance writer for Great Lakes Bay Regional Lifestyle Magazine. At Saginaw Valley State University, Kirsten was editor-in-chief of Cardinal Sins art and literature magazine where she served on staff for three and a half years. She was also a staff writer and crossword puzzle maker for The Valley Vanguard campus newspaper, a Writing Center tutor, and an editorial and design intern for Literacy Link. She considers herself a fiction writer but is actually currently working on a collection of creative nonfiction.

Katy Haas has also joined the office staff at NewPages. Currently residing the tiny town of Rhodes, Michigan, Katy has recently earned her Associate of Arts from Delta College. She continues her work as an intern for Binge Press, and plans to, one day, continue her pursuits for an MFA in creative writing.

What I'm Reading: The Mimic's Own Voice

I've known Tom Williams for many years through my work with NewPages; we have one of those "AWP Annual" friendships - a beer or two over the course of the conference - and then business-as-usual e-mails throughout the year. I was surprised when he told me he'd published a book, and of course, I was curious to read it, not having spent much time reading Tom's other works (which is my own fault, since he's published quite a bit).

Tom Williams's fiction, essays, and reviews have appeared in over thirty publications, including Boulevard, Barrelhouse, Indiana Review, The Main Street Rag, Night Train and Pleiades. A former James Michener Fellow, he has received individual artist fellowships from the Wisconsin Arts Board and the Arkansas Arts Council. He currently is an associate editor of American Book Review and Chair of Humanities at the University of Houston-Victoria. He lives in Victoria, Texas with his wife, Carmen Edington, and their son, Finn.

The Mimic's Own Voice

After reading just the first page, I had a renewed sense of hope in the greatest of all styles that I have not read in contemporary literature for some time: the long sentence. I kid you not. I raved to others that there still existed writers who were not afraid of the long, complex, multi-comma, multi-independent clause sentence! The book begins: "In the halcyon days of professional mimics, shortly after they'd outpaced their predecessors, the vernacular storytellers, who had, a decades earlier, wrested the comedic throne from the one-liner royalty, it would have been difficult to name a town of ten thousand souls that didn't possess some venue where performed those artists who made their fame and fortune with stunning mimicry of the period's political leaders and actors, athletes and musicians, scholars, and men of science." And it continues from there.

The story itself is compelling - about a mimic, Douglas Myles, who, through studying the masters before him and perfecting not only their styles, but their characters, becomes the best of his generation of mimics. Mimicry already seems a lost performance art - other than Rich Little, I don't know of any others so well-known today. Williams's taking this on as his subject is either terrifically risky or terrifically safe, I haven't decided which, and maybe, both.

The protagonist, Myles, is absolutely endearing in his humble nature, his complete lack of braggadocio, and his self-assured but continually cautious nature. Readers learn a great deal about him, the story being written as a retrospective of his life after his quietly passing, yet we always feel held just at arms length. This is repeatedly expressed as there being lack of information about certain aspects of his life, but also because it was the nature of Myles's character, letting people just so close to him, from his beginnings at the comedy club, to great fame, to seclusion at the end of his life.

While I'm sure there is much to be appreciated in the humor of Williams's narrative description, as Myles goes head to head with some of the other great popular mimics of his times (and summarily knocks them out of the profession), and in how Myles stuns audiences with his great talent for mimicking both his predecessors and contemporaries, I have to admit I never had a laugh-out-loud moment in the book. Instead, I was compelled by the intensity and dark nature of Myles's character and his reactions to the world around him. While I knew what I wanted to happen next in the story and how I hoped Myles might behave, I wasn't so much wrong as it wasn't the great sweeping fairy tale I had hoped for. Instead, Myles tends to go in the other direction of less fame, less glory, less ego. I was compelled to read what I didn't want to accept as the ordinary story of a great star, what with all we see around us of celebrities rising to fame and coming crashing back down. The great attraction to Myles's character is how he seems to avoid all of this, to not choose it, and to turn away from it all. He is the consummate professional and antithesis of all we have come to expect from these hero journeys of pop culture icons.

Now, several weeks after having finished the book, Myles's character is still very much in my head. Why did he choose to live his life thus? Why wouldn't he do this or that? I still go back and forth about if what he chose for himself was really the best, or if he could have been so much more if only... I just can't quite settle myself on this character, which in all, makes this a great read.

Read a sample from the book on Main Street Rag's website.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Versal Turns Ten!

From Versal Editor Megan M. Garr:

In 2002, one Australian and two Americans walked into a bar. They came out with Amsterdam's first international literary and arts journal.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Versal. Boom.

Publishing an incredible range of the world's literary and art talent, and widely acclaimed for its strong and wide-reaching aesthetic and innovative design, Versal is now celebrating the arrival of its 10th edition. The drumroll towards this exciting milestone started in March when Versal was awarded first place in the 26th annual New York Book Show. And the editors of Versal are in the mood to celebrate.

Versal was started as part of a volunteer effort to build a vibrant and inclusive, international literary community in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Since 2002, the team behind Versal has organized readings and events, festivals, workshops and writing groups, including, most recently, the Amsterdam shows of the world-famous Literary Death Match.

Today, thanks to years of dedication on the part of Versal's local editorial team, Amsterdam is now home to a healthy literary scene, with many groups, organizations, writers, and even publishers. Versal's 10-issue milestone, therefore, also marks 10 years of this growing, successful community.

Join us in toasting to 10 years of our literary community and its flagship Versal: Wednesday, May 23 at BoCinq. Free entry, but RSVP only. Doors open at 7pm. The dress code is "gold tie". Full details and RSVP here.

Leading up to the launch, Versal's founder and editor Megan M. Garr is writing a series about being its editor for the last ten years. Follow her here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New Lit on the Block :: THE VOLTA

THE VOLTA is a multimedia project of poetry, criticism, poetics, video, conversation (audio), and interview (text). THE VOLTA is home to the following:

Inspired by a piece of Ian Hamilton Finlay's, EVENING WILL COME is a journal of prose writing, often by poets on the how, what, and why of their writings. Founded in 2010, new issues appear on the first day of each month.

FRIDAY FEATURE presents new reviews of poetry each week.

MEDIUM is a video column and journal, where new videos of writers appear each Friday.

NEWS items of interest (e.g., new books, chapbooks, journals, reading tours, etc.).

THE PLEISTOCENE is an occasional journal of audio conversations with writers, recorded live.

Also inspired by a piece of Ian Hamilton Finlay's, THEY WILL SEW THE BLUE SAIL is a monthly journal of poetry, featuring a single poem by each of three poets per issue. New issues appear on the first of each month.

TREMOLO features a single interview with a poet, with new issues also appearing on the first day of each month.

THE VOLTA was founded in Tucson, Arizona on December 11, 2011 by Sara Renee Marshall and Joshua Marie Wilkinson. It went live on Sunday January 1, 2012.

Those interested in contributing to THE VOLTA are welcome to contact the editors.

Carol D. Reiser Book Award

The Carol D. Reiser Book Award is given annually to the children’s book or books published the preceding year that most effectively inspires community service and volunteerism in children. This award was established by the Metro Atlanta Corporate Volunteer Council, where Carol was co-founder and past president, and is a living tribute to Carol Reiser’s lifelong commitment to community. Judges are national level experts in children’s literature and in volunteerism. Nominations are now open and run until May 31, 2012.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Glimmer Train Short Story Award for New Writers

Glimmer Train has just chosen the winning stories for their February 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 May. Glimmer Train’s monthly submission calendar may be viewed here.

First place: Syed Ali Haider [pictured] of San Marcos, TX, wins $1500 for “Scheherazade.” His story will be published in the Summer 2013 issue of Glimmer Train Stories, out next May. This is Syed’s first fiction in print.

Second place: Clay Pearn, of Toronto, Ontario, wins $500 for “Turtle Eggs.”

Third place: Anna Chieppa, of Barcelona, Spain, wins $300 for “Whatever Makes You Happy.”

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

Deadline soon approaching for Family Matters: April 30

Glimmer Train hosts this competition twice a year, and first place has been increased to $1500 plus publication in the journal. It’s open to all writers for stories about families in all configurations. Most submissions to this category run 1500-6000 words, but can go up to 12,000. Click here for complete guidelines.

A "Genre-Bender" by Leesa Cross-Smith

A Modest Guide to Truculence/Survival: Girls

HEY, FIRST OFF: Ignore everything. But if you hear only one bird, listen. It could mean something. Wait. I take that back. Ignore everything but the one bird and the pulsing, cracked-white sky. And don’t keep love letters. You can keep some letters, but don’t keep any letters. Never under any circumstances keep a letter unless you want to keep a letter but even then, never do it. Burn letters and ignore everything. Remember what I said about the sky. . .

Read the rest on Treehouse.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Job :: Kelly Writers House Program Coordinator

After seven years as the Kelly Writers House Program Coordinator, Erin Gautsche will be moving on - to a new job (at the International Sculpture Center).

Applications for the full-time position of Program Coordinator at the Kelly Writers House are now being accepted. If you wish to apply, please submit applications through Penn's jobs site here.

Or go to Jobs@Penn and enter this reference number: 120432537

A brief description of the job is below. Applicants are urged to take a long look at the KWH web site to get a sense of the programs, projects, and events hosted.

Program Coordinator Job Description: Reporting to the Director, the Program Coordinator of the Kelly Writers House has primary responsibility for coordinating the complex series of 300+ events, meetings, projects, and classes at the Writers House and supervising a work-study staff of 16-20 students. This work includes, but not limited to, managing event details and special project needs, such as reception planning and digital recording requirements; hiring, training, and scheduling work-study staff and supervising their daily work; scheduling room usage in the Writers House; communicating with visiting authors, agents, Penn community members, alumni, and others about event and project details; serving as KWH liaison to various departments, organizations, and hubs at Penn and in Philadelphia; and working closely with the Director and Writers House community members to plan the annual schedule of programs. The Program Coordinator is also responsible for directing at least two ongoing programming series at Writers House, including a monthly radio show.

New Lit on the Block :: Birdfeast Magazine

Birdfeast Magazine is a new online quarterly of poetry edited by Jessica Poli. Poli says she started Birdfeast Magazine because "online magazines are making poetry more accessible than ever, and we wanted to take an active part in this. Our mission is to make available the best poetry from both emerging and established writers."

As such, Birdfeast Magazine offers readers "an eclectic mix of poetry that will make your heart beat a little faster."

The first two issues features works by Michael Mlekoday, Emma Aylor, Noah Falck, Jake Syersak, Julie Platt, Drew Kalbach, Michelle Disler, Michael Cherry, J. Scott Brownlee, Anhvu Buchanan, David Greenspan, Gregory Sherl, Eszter Takacs, Andrew Terhune, Nathan Blake, Sarah Sloat, Doug Paul Case, and Shannon Hozinec.

Poli says that in addition to continuing the online quarterly, there are ideas for contests in the future, as well as the possibility of incorporating a print aspect to the magazine.

Submissions are accepted through email, and are open year-round. Full submission guidelines can be found at the Birdfeast Magazine website.

Passings :: Doris Betts

Doris Betts, the celebrated Southern writer who for decades nurtured others as a creative writing professor at UNC Chapel Hill, died Saturday at the age of 79. [Winston-Salem Journal]

Sunday, April 22, 2012

World Book Night

World Book Night is a celebration of reading and books which will see tens of thousands of people share books with others in their communities across America to spread the joy and love of reading on April 23.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Working Classics

The Grand Valley State University Community Working Classics Program, winner of the American Philosophical Association’s national award for “Excellence and Innovation in Philosophy,” offers intensive, introductory-level college courses in the liberal arts free of charge at selected locations. Courses are taught by GVSU faculty and students.

Having developed a curriculum and logistical framework for the Working Classics program, GVSU students then become teachers and organizers in the field. They are responsible for recruiting students from the community, presenting the program to agency directors in the area, producing flyers, making the necessary phone calls, and, finally, facilitating a classroom of their own. This teaching, and the relationships that develop from it, comprise the “service” element of the course, which is the centerpiece of our work. Students have offered instruction in ethics, literature, philosophy, history, music, anatomy, math, and many other disciplines.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Women Writers and the Persona Poem

Why We Wear Masks: Three Contemporary Women Writers and Their Use of the Persona Poem by Jeannine Hall Gailey examines the works of Louise Glück, Margaret Atwood, and Lucille Clifton. Featured in Poemeleon, an online journal of poetry.

Vallum Award for Poetry Winners

2011 Winners of the Vallum Award for Poetry appear in the Winter 2012 (9:1) "Pakistan" issue and can also be read online:

First Place: "Telecommuting Spouses" by Peter Richardson
Second Place: “Veninum Lupinum” by Jack Miller

Honorable Mentions
"Dark Matter" by Roxanna Bennett
"Tougher Than Leather" by Joseph Anderson
"Up Ahead" by Lucy Ricciardi

Monday, April 16, 2012

New Lit on the Block :: Gambling the Aisle

Gambling the Aisle is a biannual (summer and winter) of fiction, poetry and artwork made available on the web and in PDF.

Editors Patrick Kelling (Fiction), Adam Van Alstyne (Poetry), John Cross (Visual Art) share that they started Gambling the Aisle "because we wanted to provide a space in which writers and artists could express non-cannological work. We believe the terms of art should be dictated by expression of the real, rather than the pursuit of a paycheck. We abhor the factory-produced kitsch designed to empty wallets and suffocate the rebel soul. Instead, we delight in creativity that comes on like a panic attack and illuminates an ill-defined recess."

Based on this premise, Kelling says that readers will find "some of the visual and language-based work we publish works to exist outside of the traditional literary cannon. Some excels within the this cannon. Hopefully the reader will find it all to be visceral." The publication also features a visual artist each issue by including both an interview and collection of their work.

Editors of Gambling the Aisle buck genre confinement by identifying contributions only as "Word" or "Image." Thus, the inaugural issue features Words by Michael Rosenbaum, A. Kilgore, Alla Vilnyanskaya, Matthew Overstreet, Andrew West, Roy Buck, Judith Roney, Cherie Greene, Gina Wohlsdorf, Aimee Campbell, Katherine Brennan, Dorisa Costello, Heather Elliott, Jessica Hagemann, Jordan Antonucci, Kat Stromquist, Kristina Morgan, María Elvira Vera Tatá, Rachel Baird, Sam Alper, Tasha Golden, and Sarah Schwartz, and Images by Allison Danbom, Ilse Dwyer-de Boer, David Maroney, and Dana Kroos.

In discussing the future of the publication, Kelling says, "We would like to increase the number of issues we publish per year. Also, we're working towards publishing a print issue."

Gambling the Aisle currently accepts fiction, non-fiction, poetry, interviews, and visual art on a rolling basis via Submittable.

Asian American Literary Review Forum

The Spring 2012 issue of The Asian American Literary Review features a forum in which Min Hyoung Song asks participants about the "continuities between the earlier generation of writers which first raised the banner of an Asian American literature and a later generation of writers which inherited it," and whether or not it "even make[s] sense to talk about contemporary American writers of Asian ancestry as comprising a generation" and what commitments they may share.

Participants in the forum include Genny Lim, Eugene Gloria, Peter Bacho, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Greg Choy, Gary Pak, Cathy Schlund-Vials, Velina Hasu Houston, Susan Schultz, Juliana Hu Pegues, Lavina Dhingra, Audrey Wu Clark, Allan Kornblum, Sunyoung Lee, Neelanjana Banerjee, Marianne Villanueva, forWord, Marie Hara, Anna Kazumi Stahl, Fred Wah, Katie Hae Leo, Giles Li, Ravi Shankar, Mariam Lam, Richard Oyama & David Mura.

A sample of the responses can be read on the AALR website.

Passages North Contest Winners

Issue 32 of Passages North features the winners of their 2011 poetry and nonfiction contests:

Elinor Benedict Poetry Prize
Judged by Henry Hughes
Winner: "Nocturne" by Charlotte Muse

Thomas J. Hruska Memorial Nonfiction Prize
Winner: "Mrs. Anderson [Or a Study of Apocalypse as an After-School Special]" by Julie Marie Wade
Honorable Mention: "Dog Nation" by David Jaicks

Friday, April 13, 2012

Gary Finke Creative Writing Prize Winners

Winners of the Gary Finke Creative Writing Prize appear in the 2011/2012 annual issue of The Susquehanna Review. Interviews with each author are available to read on the publication website.

Winning Writer in Prose: Andrew Boryga
Winning Writer in Poetry: Mary Hood

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Writer and Community

". . . there can be a danger in community: we tend to devalue that which seems to have been created without the community's sense of values - created, in a sense, without community consent. . . Every writer worth her salt knows that at some point she'll have to stand apart from the community. She'll have to skip a bunch of readings and cocktail parties, leave her online writing group, or choose to ignore the feedback from fellow writers. . . It's a scary moment, the first time one chooses to stick to one's creative guns." From "Editor's Note: The Particulars" by John Carr Walker, Trachodon 4, Spring 2012.

2011 Nano Prize

The most recent issue of NANO Fiction (v5 n1) features the winner and finalists of the 2011 NANO Prize:

Winner
Sarah E. Harris, "The Kitchen"

Finalists
Lauren Hall, "Trickster"
Kevin O'Cuinn, "Shore Leave"
Erica Olsen, "Ing and Ing"

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Happy 200 Paris Review!

"There are two basic rules for running a literary quarterly: a) it should come out four times a year; b) after five or ten or fifteen years, with the passing of its generation, it should die. The Paris Review has failed to observe either of these rules. . . " Read the rest Editor's Note by Lorin Stein here.

New Lit on the Block :: Emerge Literary Journal

Editor Ariana D. Den Bleyker is the driving force behind Emerge Literary Journal, a publication of poetry available quarterly online and biannually in print. Each issue features all new poetry, with the print issues showcasing the “best” material accepted throughout the preceding reading period. Copies of the print issue will be made available through Lulu.

Emerge is aptly named, as Bleyker notes the publication is "dedicated to emerging poets and their words. We aim to publish poets who are currently emerging on the literary scene. We recognize how hard it can be to get those first few publishing credits and hope to be a foundation for the poets seeking to be published here."

As such, Bleyker offers readers "outstanding, fresh writing from some never before published voices and other emerging writers that may have some publications under their belt with a few established writers sprinkled in between."

Having just released the second issue, contributors include Kevin Ridgeway, Jennifer Schmitz, Cameron LaFlam, Bryony Noble, Coop Lee, Simon Rhee, Samantha Duncan, Stephen Byrne, Josh Crummer, Robert Cantrell, Zachariah Middleton, Christina Murphy, Nels Hanson, Chloe Clark, Sara Krasnostein, Craig Getz, Athena Dixon, Cody Jensen, Dan Nowak, Steven Myers-Yawnick, Anthony Frame, Jodie Oakes, Aftab Shaikh, Thomas Stevenson, Jordan Taylor, Kyrie Amos, Ricky Garni, SK Iyer, Michelle Hartman, Ann Howells, Vishnu Rajamanickam, Don Illich, Allie Marini Batts, Ruth Quinlin, Danna Hobart, John Kazlauskas, Taylor Pangman, Sarah O'Toole, and James Piatt.

Emerge Literary Journal currently accepts poetry, with a preference for free verse: "words with passion, voice, and place. We look for images that linger, that we can take with us to bed at night, ideas used in magnificent ways. Bring us your castles." All submissions are accepted through Submittable only, and guidelines can be found on the publication's website.

Bleyker plans to open the publication up to flash fiction (up to 750 words) by the next reading period, with a limit of four stories per issue.

Yalobusha Review 2012 Contest Winners

Winners of the 2012 Yalobusha Review contests are included in YR: 17. Marylee Macdonald's story, “The Pancho Villa Coin,” was selected by William Gay for the Barry Hannah Fiction Prize, while Sandra Beasley chose Billie R. Tadros's poem, “Reactor,” for the Yellowwood Poetry Prize.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Creative Process

Orange Coast Review's 2010 issue is focused on "The Creative Process." The Editors write: "What's astounding about the process is that sometimes, though the poem or story doesn't come out the way we'd hoped, it actually comes out better. What at the moment we finish seems like a monstrosity, turns out to have, like Frankenstein's creation, more humanity, insight and compassion than the original concept. And sometimes it just sucks. So we begin again."

While the Editors believe the writing in this issue are all "wonderful creations," their interest lead them to ask contributors to comment on the creative process for each. So, included with each work is the author's "thoughtful, sometimes playful, sometimes tortured response," which are insightful, inspiring a sense of camaraderie and in some, awe.

[Cover art: Little Red Riding Wolf by Gary Hesketh]

New Lit on the Block :: The Bad Version

The Bad Version is a new print, digital and online quarterly of fiction, poetry, and "essays of the young and curious."

The Editors of The Bad Version are Sanders I. Bernstein, Pat Chesnut, Mark Chiusano, Christian Flow, Daniel Howell, Teddy Martin, Kevin Seitz, James Somers, Daniel Wenger, and Esther Yi, with Art Director Trevor Martin and Staff Illustrator Sally Scopa.

Editor Teddy Martin explains the unique approach behind this new venture: "Launched in November 2011, The Bad Version is a new take on the literary-cultural magazine. Its name comes from the collaborative art of screenwriting, where the first attempt at a scene, that wild idea that gets the process going, is called a 'bad version.' Likewise, this magazine is dedicated to beginnings: to pieces that are taking risks, trying to broach new ideas, experimenting with new forms, starting new conversations. With each piece — fiction, poetry, or essay — followed by a short response that offers an alternate perspective on the subject at hand, The Bad Version’s novel structure immediately immerses the reader in an active dialogue, which continues on the publication's website."

Inside The Bad Version, readers can expect to find "thought-provoking essays on a range of topics pertaining to young life in America today; engaging short stories by up-and-coming young writers; and heart-stopping poetry — along with responses, by editors, contributors, and readers, to these pieces." Visitors to the publication's will find ongoing response threads to pieces, as well as a blog, which features "original content and innovative thinking."

As for the future of The Bad Version, Martin says, "Since publication is all about conversation and expanding what a literary magazine can be, we have always thought of our project as encompassing much more than simply publishing our quarterly journal. In the next year, we plan to expand our community and hold regular collaborative artistic events in the NYC area, where artists and non-artists can come together and share ideas, respond to each other, and generally make things better. We are also committed to education, and will be rolling out our educational initiative in the fall, in the NYC area - furthering our goal of getting people excited about the lifelong practice of writing and sharing ideas with each other."

The Bad Version accepts submissions of poetry and fiction, and looks for essay proposals for non-fiction content. All submissions are accepted by email. See the website for further details.

2011 Wabash Poetry Prize Winners

Sycamore Review editors culled 20 finalists from a Wabash Contest record of nearly 600 entries. From these, former U.S. Poet Laureate Louise Glück has selected Maya Jewell Zeller and her poem “Caterpillars” as the winner of the 2011 Wabash Prize for Poetry. Glück also chose Carrie Causey and her poem “Woman in the Wall” as this year’s contest first runner-up and Michael Tyrell as second runner-up for his poem "The Primal Scene." Each of these poems are included in the current issue (24.1, Winter/Spring 2011), along with work from finalists Emilia Phillips and Kristin Robertson. A complete list of finalists is available here.

Monday, April 09, 2012

The Healthy Diet: Feasting on Literature

"You can't make a love of literature an agenda. That will just turn it into a weapon to fuel your own exalted sense of self-importance and make you obnoxious to other people. You can, however, ask whether your personal diet of language, form, symbol, and narrative is richer than what can find in an ad for cheap beer or fancy watches. You can ask whether you are feasting on culture 'veggies' or only chowing down on entertainment 'junk food' (to borrow from Eli Pariser). You can ask whether you are drinking deep of what our culture - which is a poly-culture - has to offer, or if you are settling for what is easy simply because it's there." From "Literature by Necessity" by Editor Brad Fruhauff, Relief, Winter 2011.

New Lit on the Block :: Vine Leaves Literary Journal

Vine Leaves Literary Journal is a quarterly online (PDF, Scribid) and print annual of vignette prose, poem, script, and art/photography.

Editors Jessica Bell and Dawn Ius started Vine Leaves after looking at the literary landscape:

The world of literature nowadays is so diverse, open-minded and thriving in experimental works, that there doesn’t seem to be any single form of written art missing from it ... you would think. But there is.

The vignette.

It’s rare for a literary magazine to accept the "vignette" as a publishable piece of literature. Why? Because it is not a “proper story.” We beg to differ.

So, what is a vignette?

"Vignette" is a word that originally meant "something that may be written on a vine-leaf." It’s a snapshot in words. It differs from flash fiction or a short story in that its aim doesn’t lie within the traditional realms of structure or plot. Instead, the vignette focuses on one element, mood, character, setting or object. It's descriptive, excellent for character or theme exploration and wordplay. Through a vignette, you create an atmosphere.

Vine Leaves, will entwine you in atmosphere; wrap you in a world where literature ferments and then matures. . .


Readers of Vine Leaves can expect to experience the vignette as "bite-sized snapshots of life written in a range of genres such as literary, minimalist, experimental, slipstream, fantasy, and black comedy."

Contributors to the first issue include Adrianne Kalfopoulou, Alaine Benard, Amie McCracken, Amy Saia, Angela Felsted, Belinda Dorio, Benjamin Atherton, Ben Nardolilli, Bobbie Troy, Cath Barton, Denise Covey, Elizabeth Varadan, Eric Nguyen, Frank Sloan, Gale Acuff, Glynis Smy, H. Edgar Hix, Halli Dee Lilburn, Howie Good, Ian Anderson, Isa Lenor, J.R.McRae, Jake Uitti, Jamie Provencal, Janîce Leotti, Janice Phelps Williams, Jim Murdoch, Kevin Ridgeway, Kyle Hemmings, Kyle W. Kerr, Laurel Garver, Linda Cassidy Lewis, Madeline Sharples, Mallory Peak, Mark Van Aken Williams, Matthew MacNish, Melissa Sarno, Michael Keenan, Michael Neal Morris, Michelle Davidson Argyle, Michelle Kennedy, Nicole Ducleroir, Patricia Ranzoni, Richard Merrill, Rick Hartwell, Salena Casha, Sheri Larsen, Stephen Parrish, Tamim Sadikali, Tiggy Johnson, Valentina Cano, Vicky Ellis, and William Haas.

In addition to putting out a print "best of" annual and planning writing contests, Editors Bell and Ius are currently in the process of applying for grants with the hope to pay writers for their work.

Vine Leaves is open for submissions of prose, poetry and script with preference in genres of literary, mainstream, speculative, and slipstream. "We will, however," says Bell, "accept all genres except erotica. We seek to make the feel of every issue completely different, so don't rely on the content of previous issues to decide what to submit. Just submit your best work. Write something brilliant and woo us into publishing it!" Artwork or photography will be considered for the cover and/or interior of each issue. See the publication website for specific details.

Bellevue Literary Review Prize Winners

The winners of the 2012 Bellevue Literary Review Prizes are featured in the Spring 2012 issue:

Goldenberg Prize for Fiction
Selected by Francine Prose
Winner: “Trotsky in the Bronx” by Harry W. Kopp
Honorable Mention: “Terminal Device” by Jennifer Lee

Burns Archive Prize for Nonfiction
Selected by Susan Orlean
Winner: “The Crazy One” by Annita Sawyer
Honorable Mention: "Mustard Seed" by Jessica Penner

Marica and Jan Vilcek Prize for Poetry
Selected by Cornelius Eady
Winner: “Portrait of My Parents Making Love as a Stomach Virus” by Lauren Schmidt
Honorable Mention: “In Winter I See the Bridge and the Lights Are Like Keening” by Megan Leonard

Sunday, April 08, 2012

NewPages Updates

Added to the NewPages Big List of Literary Magazines:
Sprung Formal [P/O] - poetry, fiction, reviews, essays, art
Mascara Review [O] - poetry, fiction, reviews, translations
17 seconds: a journal of poetry and poetics [O]
drafthorse [O] - poetry, fiction, nonfiction, art
Northwind [O] - poetry, fiction
Yalobusha Review [P] - poetry, fiction, nonfiction
The Bad Version [P] - poetry, fiction, nonfiction
Catch Up [P] - poetry, fiction, comics, interviews, essays
The Conium Review [P] - poetry, fiction
Sententia [P] - poetry, fiction
Crossed Out [O] - fiction
WORK [O] - poetry, fiction, nonfiction, photography, art, interviews
The Barefoot Review [O] - poetry, prose
Emerge Literary Journal [O/P] - poetry, photography
Five Poetry Journal [O]
From the Depths [O] - poetry, fiction, nonfiction
Straight Forward [O] - poetry
Vine Leaves [O] - poetry, prose, photography, art, mixed media

[P] = mainly a print publication
[O] = mainly an online publication
[P/O] = publication identifies as both print and online
[APP] = publication is available as an app for e-readers

Added to the NewPages Guide to Writing Conferences, Workshops, Retreats, Centers, Residencies, Book & Literary Festivals:
Rosemary Beach Conference for Writers
Crossroads Writers Conference
Ojai WordFest
Ojai Writers Conference
Cambridge Writers' Workshop [writing center/writing retreat in France]

Added to the NewPages Big List of Alternative Magazines:
Empirical [P] - a literary and current affairs magazine
Gnome [P] - an arts & culture quarterly

Added to the NewPages Guide to Independent Publishers & University Presses:
Longleaf Press - poetry, chapbooks
Split Oak Press - poetry, fiction, memoir, young adult
Swan Scythe Press - poetry

Friday, April 06, 2012

Million Writers Award Nominations

The Million Writers Award for the year's best online short story is now open for nominations until April 9.

Publishing Women Writers

Tired of all the conversation about the disparity of women's writing being published? Me too. And so is Roxane Gay. She offers this simple way to end the issue: "The solutions are obvious. Stop making excuses...Stop parroting the weak notion that you’re simply publishing the best writing, regardless. There is ample evidence of the excellence of women writers. You aren’t compromising anything by attempting to achieve gender parity. Publish more women writers. If women aren’t submitting to your publication or press, ask yourself why, deal with the answers even if those answers make you uncomfortable, and then reach out to women writers...Deal with your resentment. Deal with your biases..." From Beyond the Measure of Men by Roxane Gay on The Rumpus.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Black Lawrence Press Big Moose Prize Winner

Jen Michalski has been announced the winner of the Black Lawrence Press 2012 Big Moose Prize for her novel The Tide King.

Jen Michalski's first collection of fiction, Close Encounters, is available from So New (2007); her second, From Here, is forthcoming from Aqueous Books (2013); and her collection of novellas is forthcoming from Dzanc (2013). She also is the editor of the anthology City Sages: Baltimore (CityLit Press 2010), which won a 2010 "Best of Baltimore" award from Baltimore Magazine. She is the founding editor of the literary quarterly jmww, a co-host of the monthly reading series The 510 Readings and the biannual Lit Show in Baltimore, and interviews writers at The Nervous Breakdown.

For the Big Moose Prize short list and long list, please visit the Black Lawrence Press blog.

Oulipian Writing Anyone?

The Chicago Reader seeks submissions of Oulipian as part of Wordplay Week. Using a well-known 'bar joke,' writers create a version of the story. The selected entries (99 of them) will be posted on the site throughout the week. Submisssons close at 2pm today.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

New Lit on the Block :: The Conium Review

Based out of Portland, Oregon, The Conium Review is a biannual print journal of fiction and poetry published by Conium Press.

Editors James R. Gapinski, Uma Sankaram, Tristan Beach, and Susan Lynch shared their view of the publication: "The Conium Review publishes fringe literature, both in subject and style. Issues of The Conium Review vary in length, because we don’t use quotas — we simply select the best writing from the submission queue, and we find a place for it. We try to avoid preconceived ideas of genre, contemporary style, or publishable word count. We are a highly selective journal, but our final choices are based on literary craft. In other words, our goal is to publish a high-quality journal with an eclectic range of authorial voices."

Readers of The Conium Review can expect a well-balanced publication. "We try to include a wide range of well-crafted literary pieces from unique perspectives. Published works represent a variety of styles, holding reader interest and defying expectations from one story to the next."

The contributing poets and writers are Jeffrey Alfier, Jeremy Behreandt, Thor Benson, Isaac Coleman, Ross Concillo, Daniel Davis, Mason Brown DeHoog, Matthew Denvir, Ivo Drury, Howie Good, Jack Granath, Lauren Hall, Shane L. Harms, Julie Heckman, Jason L. Huskey, Paul Kavanagh, Jen Knox, Margarita Meklina, Ben Nardolilli, Edwin R. Perry, Nick Sanford, Benjamin Schachtman, Parker Tettleton, Caitlin Elizabeth Thomson, Steven Wineman, and Kirby Wright. The cover art is by Emma Cook.

Looking into the future, the editors hope "to extend our reach into the Portland community and elsewhere. Our podcast and online reviews help us stay connected with the broader literary community, but we want to expand these efforts with readings, workshops, and other special events."

Submission information can be found here.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

New Lit on the Block :: From the Depths

From the Depths is a quarterly (March, June, September, December) of fiction, poetry, prose poetry, creative nonfiction published by Haunted Waters Press. The magazine is available as an online digital, PDF download, and in print.

Editors Susan Warren Utley and Savannah Renée Warren say that From the Depths was first conceived as a way to showcase the works of contributors in a format that is both visually stunning and constantly evolving. "Each issue of From the Depths is based on a central theme," Susan explains. "We try to select a wide variety of styles and genres to appeal to a wide variety of readers." The journal also acts as a bridge to their new chapbook series, which will feature works from many of their contributing authors.

The first issue includes works from Larry Gaffney, Colin James, Amy Darsie, William D. Hicks, Nazifa Islam, Ray Succre, Gerald Warfield, Steve Klepetar, Robert E. Petras, Jen DeSantis, Michael A. Kozlowski, Emilia Quill, Charlotte Jones, Jay Faulkner, and Maria Stanislov.

As the publication continues, Susan says that "Visually, the journal will take on a new look and feel for each issue. We want to surprise our readers with each turn of the page. We also plan to expand our online literary content section to include more featured works between publications."

The editors of From the Depths are open to most styles and genres. The current theme for the Summer 2012 issue is "Rearview Mirror" featuring stories and poetry "about the things we left behind." Calls for submissions are open until filled and accepted through an online submission manager.

"Our goal," Susan adds, "is to develop relationships with our contributors. If you have a question or suggestion, don't be shy. We want to hear from you. If you have a great story that doesn't quite fit the theme of the current issue, drop us a note. As always, we look forward to reading your work."

2011 Anderbo Poetry Prize Winner

The winner of the 2011 Anderbo Poetry Prize judged by Debora Greger is Susan Cohen of Berkeley, California for "Their Voices." She receives $500 and publication. Honorable Mention goes to Casey Charles for "She Dreams for Me." Both poems can be read online at Anderbo.

Monday, April 02, 2012

New Lit on the Block :: Straight Forward

Straight Forward publishes poetry and photography quarterly (March, June, September, December) digitally using Issuu and essays and reviews on their website.

Lindsey Lewis Smithson is the Founder and Editor, with Martha Borjon Kubota work "tirelessly" as the Assistant Editor.

"In the most basic sense," Smithson says, "Straight Forward started to simply publish clear, concise poetry. On more than one occasion I have been told that poems that were too clear were boring, or, horrifyingly, not poetic. Poetry does not have to be Avant-garde, or confusing, or a puzzle to be beautiful and poetic and valid. I also wanted the tone of the website, and our social media presence, to be positive and welcoming; we are not a magazine to publish you and dump you. I email our authors frequently, sending them proofing galleys and running author photos along with bios in each issue. We will share your blog/website info if you want us to, and will do what we can to make you proud of being published with us. Like our website says, we aim to be a home for writing, not just another journal."

In addition to this perspective, Straight Forward is unique in another way: "As the idea grew, I also wanted to wrap in charity work. Our 2012 campaign, Read Books. Buy Indie. Help Animals. is done to support the ASPCA. We will feature a different charitable cause every year, with ways to provide direct donations and indirect donations. It is my belief that artists are typically compassionate people, and that poetry and charity go together well. To be able to provide writers with ways to participate in the literary community and to help others is important to me."

Readers of Straight Forward will, on first look, find at least two interviews, ten poems or more, photos from submitters, author bios and photos, and news about the publication. "We run everything in full color, but keep the layout simple. Everything published, from the photography to the interviews, should be clear and enjoyable on the surface; more depth and meaning can be found, if you want to take the time to look for it. Nothing is a riddle, nothing is meant to be confusing."

Issue One features the poets L. Ward Abel, Jessica Barksdale, Sam Bernhofer, Warren Buchholz, Meghan Cadwallader, Matt Galletta, Peter Goodwin, David Hernquist, Ed Higgins, Brian Hood, Heather Holliger, Paul Hostovsky, Margaret S. Mullins, Aline Soules, and Adrienne Wallner.

In addition to the poetry are interviews with Larry Handy, the lead poet of the group Totem Maples, and Rachel Kann, a poet and prose writer, professor, and artist. Straight Forward also features photography from Ron Pavellas, Genevieve Kules, Adrienne Wallner, Emily Strauss and Shubhankar Verma.

As for the future of the publication, Smithson says, "Aside from getting out three issues that are successful this year, I would also like to publish an ebook anthology in December. I also hope to raise $1000 for charity through our contest fees and (future) ebook sales. We are running our first contests right now, with Jill Alexander Essbaum as poetry judge. If all goes well, and the literary community warmly receives us, I can foresee us developing a chapbook series. That kind of move would have to be an organic decision that is right for the journal first, since we are not in this for the money."

Straight Forward only takes submissions through their Submittable submission manager, considering general submissions, including poetry, essays and photography, year round.

Straight Forward is also active on Twitter (@straight_poetry), Facebook, and Pinterest, in addition to blogging on their website about the publication process. Smithson adds, "We are fairly open about our process and love sharing it with others."

Gemini Magazine Poetry Open Winners

“Renga for an Absent Lover,” by Sheryl Mebane, won the 2012 Gemini Magazine Poetry Open and the $1,000 prize. A jazz musician, Sheryl is the author of the jazz novel Lady Bird. The second place prize of $100 went to Gerardo Mena for “A Nursing Home Boxer to a High School Volunteer,” and Christina Lovin won the third place award for “11/11/11.”

Honorable mentions: “Depression Is My Happy Place,” by Jendi Reiter; “What the Fuck?” by Russ Dickerson, and “Morris’ Magic,” by Aurora M. Lewis.

All of these poems are available for reading online in the March 2012 issue of Gemini Magazine.

[Cover Art: "BOB MARLEY'S HAIR" by Debra Hurd]