Monthly Archives: August 2017

“Susan Restringing Wind Chimes” by Alan Proctor

The stitching I could never do. She threads
fishing line – stronger than last season’s
snapped string – through the chimes’ pinhole
throats: the petite, sprung belfry fixed.

Or not. She’s winging it, retracts
the line, reams nits from a clogged
winter hole, plucks a gnat from her wine
glass with a tool better suited

for spackle, strangles the racket
of clanging, takes a sip, shakes the throats
of sound itself until the bells
dangle. Harmonious.

Fishing line, wine, choked cacophony,
chime-stitched wind of her surgery.

Proctor’s poetry and prose have appeared in numerous journals including New Letters and Laurel Review. His hybrid memoir, The Sweden File: Memoir of an American Expatriate (Westphalia Press 2015), received a featured Kirkus Review and was named by the KC Star as one of the 12 best memoirs of 2015.

10 WordPress-Hosted Literary Journals Accepting Poetry Submissions

  1. Dogwood – A Journal of Poetry and Prose: An annual national literary journal seeking works from writers during its fall reading period each year. We publish fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction of both contest winners and other writers in May of each year. The literary journal is produced by the faculty in the Department of English at Fairfield University, and Fairfield undergraduate students gain hands-on experience in helping to edit and produce the journal by taking EN 340: The World of Publishing or The World of Publishing II.                                          
  2. The Magnolia Review The Magnolia Review was born in October 2011 by Bowling Green State University creative writing undergraduates. Suzanna Anderson is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder. Please visit the Submit tab for information on how to submit. While The Magnolia Review will not have physical copies at this time, the editors may compile a print version if funds become available. We publish two issues a year, deadlines on November 15 and May 15. The issue will be available January 15 and July 15 online.                                                                              
  3. The Mantle: Founded in 2017, The Mantle is an online quarterly journal dedicated to contemporary poetry. We’ll publish the most memorable poems we receive. When the time comes, we’ll nominate for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. Our first issue releases on August 1st. We are now reading for issue #2. Find our submission guidelines here.                                                     
  4. Naugatuck River Review: This is a literary journal founded in order to publish and in doing so to honor good narrative poetry. We publish twice a year. Our first edition was Winter 2009.  A print issue will be available through this site for purchase. It will also be available for download. Publication rights will revert to the author of the poem and we do not pay for poetry published. We accept simultaneous submissions, but please inform us if your work is accepted elsewhere. Naugatuck River Review is dedicated to publishing narrative poetry in the tradition of great narrative poets such as Gerald Stern, Philip Levine or James Wright.       
  5. Panoply, A Literary Zine: Join us here for a wide-ranging and impressive array of writing. Issue 7 will be a double issue and comes out August 18, 2017.                                                           
  6. Peacock Journal: Have you ever been so attracted to something, you just wanted to be close to it? You just wanted to exist within the same space? Or have you ever seen something so beautiful you thought it might be a door to another world? And all you desired, with the entirety of your being, was to pass through that door, into that other place, and just exist there for a little while? It’s not a separate reality, it’s a heightened, more intense reality, fuller and more complete. Write that and send it to us. It’s really difficult. It’s far easier to write gritty and pedestrian. But try it. Send us something about water and wind and light and the interplay of harmonies between them.                                                                                  
  7. Pearl S. Buck Writing Center Literary Journal: The theme for the Fall 2017 Issue, Volume 2, Number 2, of the Pearl S. Buck Literary Journal is Justice and Mercy. We see a host of possible avenues for writing about justice and mercy  —  the lack of either virtue OR the presence of either virtue. We include both sides of this theme, for, in Anne Kaler’s words: “If there were perfect justice, we would not need mercy.  If there were perfect mercy, we would not need justice.”                                                                                                                                                  
  8. Quill’s Edge Press: QuillsEdge Press is dedicated to publishing the poetry of women over the age of 50. We offer an annual chapbook contest during the fall and winter, and beginning in 2017, an annual anthology of new, emerging, and established women poets called 50/50: Poems and Translations by Women Over 50.                                                                                              
  9. Seshat – A Homeschool Literary Magazine:  Submissions will be open until September 1, 2017. Please review the submission guidelines before submitting your pieces to our email. All pieces will be reviewed immediately upon being received.The inaugural issue of this journal is planned for release on September 15, 2017. Any further news regarding this new release will be updated as time passes.                                                                                                     
  10. Sliver of Stone: Sliver of Stone is a nonprofit online literary magazine. Our editors are the talented progeny of the Creative Writing Program at Florida International University in Miami, Florida. Our mission is to provide for a web-based environment for outstanding literary fiction, nonfiction, poetry and visual art from around the globe. We want to expand the influence of these genres beyond their traditionally academic audiences.

“Conversations” by Maril Crabtree

After “Caught in the Days Unraveling” by Chelsea Welsh

Among my undiscovered loves and passions
lie patterns unwinding

tokens from another age
finding wilderness that matches

the beauty in my head
reducing self to its essence

learning how to carve something
as intricate as Chinese calligraphy

as intimate as skywriting

if I live long enough I will discover
patterns both intricate and simple

a hairbrush swimming in a sea of hair
its blue fish-eye sending

one more message to decipher
from an urgent universe

Enjoy Maril’s other poems, “Driving to Dripping Springs” and “New Mexico Sky,” on 200 New Mexico Poems  


Maril Crabtree grew up in Memphis and New Orleans but calls the Midwest home. Her most recent book is Fireflies in the Gathering Dark. Formerly a poetry editor for Kansas City Voices and contributing editor to Heartland: Poems of Love, Resistance and Solidarity, her work has appeared in Literary Mama, KalliopeI-70 ReviewDMQ Review, Main Street Rag and others.

Yes, Solar Eclipse, This Post Is About You.

After all, I am living in the path of totality.

Which means I live in a location that is very attractive to people for hundreds of miles around whom, I suspect, have been trickling into town for the last 48 hours or so.

Some estimates predict Charleston’s population will swell by approximately 1 million people, which is over double its normal population. I don’t know where everyone will stay, now that the hotels, Air B&Bs and campsites are filled to capacity.

And I can’t even  imagine what’s going to happen with our already congested traffic Monday afternoon through Tuesday morning when people try to leave. I am imagining something akin to the evacuation traffic I witnessed during Hurricane Matthew last October, except I doubt the Governor will reverse lanes.

Though you never know.

In anticipation of this century’s total solar eclipse, folks around here have been preparing the way I used to prepare for a Kansas ice storm; that is, by running lots of errands and stocking up on food and water. Only this time, shopping lists include a pair of eclipse glasses.

Now, the day is here, and though I have plans to attend a backyard BBQ and viewing party, the sky is in fact overcast and the weather app on my phone has that little cloud/lightning bolt/rain icon thingy for the hours of 1:00-4:00 PM.

Precisely the hours the solar eclipse is to take place.

Oh, we will still notice the darkening sky, still raise a beer to toast another 100 years (talk about auld lang syne!), still appreciate the afternoon off and the strange ways the eclipse has been commodified.

But I don’t know if we’ll actually get to see it.

So, to pass the time, I’ve compiled this entertaining list of eclipse related media, the most bizarre (in my opinion) being the Chiquita Banana Eclipse Commercial below.

(And look – the sun is peeking out now,  so there’s still a chance we’ll see the eclipse after all.)

Enjoy.

How the Solar Eclipse Works (great visuals): Sure, you know the basics, but why not enjoy this refresher?

Eclipse Extravaganza at Caw Caw Interpretive Center: Usually closed on Monday’s, Caw Caw is open today  for the eclipse event and interpreters will be on duty to observe the behavior of wildlife (though I don’t expect alligators will jump in their cars to sit in line for a Krispy Kreme Eclipse Donut). Viewing glasses will be provided to visitors.

Astrological Significance of the Eclipse: “An interesting observation about the coming eclipse is that 5 major planets (Sun, Moon, Rahu, Mars, and Mercury) will be in close proximity within 20° and will also be under Ketu’s aspect. This planetary amalgamation is likely to make the full solar eclipse even more potent.”

Chiquita Banana Sun: Something purely silly and ridiculous that makes me hate advertising a little less.

Krispy Kreme Eclipse Donut: This will tie up traffic on Savannah Highway all day. The last time Krispy Kreme had a donut deal, we needed traffic cops!

A Focused Free-Write Poetry Prompt

For today’s poetry prompt, we will try a focused free-write.

What is a focused free-write, you say?

A focused free-write is when you free-write, in longhand, with a particular passage – or in this case poem – in mind.

And if you’re not sure what it is to “free-write,” it simply means to write non-stop without lifting your pen or pencil or stopping to make any corrections to grammar, spelling, or punctuation, for a set period of time not to exceed 20 minutes.

The idea is to get your good ideas down on paper and capture your inspired thinking.

The focus of today’s free-write is Emily Dickinson’s poem “Hope is the thing with feathers,” which I discussed in an earlier blog post. The poem reads as follows:

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity
It asked a crumb of me.

Your free-write can focus on any image or line from the poem or perhaps on the abstract idea of hope itself.

Later, see if you can lift a line or two from your free-write and generate a poem draft.

Good luck, have fun, and write on.

 

 

 

“A Date with Doubt” by James Croal Jackson

You look around the room
and rate singles from one to ten
in terms of melancholy
but don’t know
how to rate yourself–
Pacific waves flow through
you almost drown
in the sea of your thoughts–
the scisms between pen and mirror,
heart and mind, these are thieves
who will lie to you ‘til the Greyhound
leaves for Cincinnati at 11:30.
Until then we watch superheroes do bad
stand-up comedy in the conference room
at the new Mikey’s, eating mushroom pizza
with too-hot sauce. Bass pounds from the stage
so loudly we walk to 16-Bit next door
to drink water and pretend we are drunk,
our mouths rocketships exploring the universe
of each other– the rotation of stars
confused with physics. In the end all you want
is chocolate cake. Your blue eyes curve away
in that soaring flyball-to-left way. The way
you sway me back to simpler times
when buying CDs was a holy act
of personal preference
and I stayed sealed on a shelf in plastic,
waiting to give the world my music.

James Croal Jackson is the author of The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017). His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in FLAPPERHOUSE, Rust + Moth, The Bitter Oleander, and elsewhere. He edits The Mantle and is a former winner of the William Redding Memorial Poetry Contest. Find him in Columbus, Ohio or at jimjakk.com.

What is the Thing With Feathers and Where is it Now?

I wanted to write a blog post about hope today.

About how it is different, but related to, expectation, and of how difficult it is to keep.

Of how I’m often not sure what hope is and often feel as if I have none.

And of how Emily Dickinson’s poem sometimes restores me in those moments when hope feels the most nebulous:

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity
It asked a crumb of me.

Ah, the salve of poetry on the soul. Words strung in a certain and deliberate manner creating a feeling of centeredness amid confusion and chaos.

Dickinson’s couching an abstract idea like hope within the apt imagery of “feathers” and “tune,” “storm” and “chillest land” is, of course, why her poetry has withstood time and fashion to resonate with readers today.

And there are no more fitting or contemporaneous events than those which took place in Charlottesville, VA this past weekend to prompt contemplation on the subject again. To ask, what does hope stands for?

Not unlike Dickinson’s bird, I see hope as fleeting, at best, and while it may in fact sing a tune somewhere beyond the wind and clouds of whatever storm is blowing through life at the moment, I am generally too busy dodging rain drops and lightning strikes to think about it, much less hear it. 

I guess all that running around is a necessary function of survival. The ego keeping me from doing something stupid during a downpour that might get me killed. The fight or flight response to a life-threatening situation helping me to survive that situation.

There was a time I rather liked the excitement and danger of running around in storms. These days, though, I generally prefer to stay out of the wind and rain, if given the choice.

But since I am speaking in metaphor, the kinds of storms I really mean don’t stop just because I’m inside, and they certainly don’t care what my past may have taught me about surviving,

Or loving.

Or hoping.

And they almost always require that I leave the comforts of home.

Other times, it’s just a big old-shit storm.

I mean, something ugly and racist, hateful and riotous. Something that gains frenzied, savage energy with every violent projection and slur. Something that thrives in the absence of rational thought and perpetuates fear with architectural precision.

The kind of shit-storm expressly designed to extinguish the hope Dickinson envisions, the kind of hope I choose to believe in.

I don’t know where that little bird may be right now, maybe off somewhere singing its tune as Dickinson suggests. Maybe beyond the clouds, maybe even over a rainbow.

But for now, I’ve grabbed a pair binoculars.

For now, I’m watching out.