Category Archives: Writing, Revising, Blogging

Poetry Added to Annual Contest

South 85 Journal is adding POETRY to it’s summer literary contest this year with a $500 cash award. Our inaugural poetry judge is Denise Duhamel.

Full details, including information for the Flash Fiction contest, can be found below and on the South 85 Journal website.  Deadline for contest submissions is August 1st, 2020.


JULIA PETERKIN LITERARY CONTEST HONORS SOUTH CAROLINIAN AUTHOR
Winners in Each Genre will Receive $500 Prize Each

South 85 Journal, Converse College MFA program’s online literary journal, is adding poetry to it’s annual Julia Peterkin summer literary contest.

As in past years, the contest honors South Carolinian author Julia Peterkin, an1896 graduate of Converse College whose novel, Scarlet Sister Mary, received the Pulitzer in 1929.

Submissions are open from June 1 through August 1. One winner in each genre will receive a cash prize of $500 and four runners-up in each genre will be named and published alongside the winning selection in the Fall / Winter issue of South 85 Journal. Only the winners will receive a cash award.

Contest readers, composed of seasoned writers and MFA students, will review submissions and forward them to the presiding judges. Converse College MFA faculty member Marlin Barton will make the final selections for the Flash Fiction award and Converse College MFA faculty member Denise Duhamel will make the final selection for the Poetry award. All submissions will be read blind.

Submit your previously unpublished fiction of 850 words or less for consideration in the Flash Fiction contest or up to three previously unpublished poems of 50 lines or fewer for consideration in the Poetry contest.

For more information or to submit, visit the contest page on Submittable at https://south85.submittable.com/submit/118884/julia-peterkin-award-for-flash-fiction-500-prize.

Interview with Poet Carol Smallwood by Carole Mertz

I am pleased to feature Carol Mertz’s interview with Carol Smallwood.

Carole Smallwood is an interviewer, editor, and literary judge. Her most recent book is Patterns: Moments in Time (Word Poetry, 2019). A multi-Pushcart nominee, she’s founded and supports humane societies. A collection is also forthcoming from Main Street Rag. Their conversation right after this poem by Smallwood:

We Select

a few—the selections random: a melody, morning fog, a path,
knowing with certainty at the time they’ll be ours to the end—
an imprinting sudden as first love with no thought of aftermath:
a sunset, muffled cry, a Thanksgiving dressing, smile of a friend.
Knowing with certainty at the time they’ll be ours to the end,
they return at unexpected moments, their clarity a surprise:
a sunset, muffled cry, a Thanksgiving dressing, smile of a friend
bringing feeling from depths we cannot withhold, disguise.
They return at unexpected moments, their clarity a surprise
an imprinting sudden as first love with no thought of aftermath
bringing feeling from depths we cannot withhold, disguise:
a few—the selections random: a melody, morning fog, a path.

C.M. Carol, from the number of collections you’ve published within the last decade, it’s obvious your work is a rich flow of creativity. Can you tell us a little about your attitude toward work and your writing process? When did you start writing poetry?

Smallwood: Writing never seemed to be work ever since learning to read in school. The whole idea of words—the way they sound, look, evoke, made me feel right away it was a new world I wanted to explore. Of course I had no idea what was involved but knew it was one I wanted to be in. Poetry was a form I didn’t think I’d ever try, as after taking college poetry classes in which one class period was figuring out what a poet meant in one line seemed impossibly hard. But finally I decided to try a few so jumped in and was amazed to get acceptances which encouraged me in 2006 to keep going. Probably dealing with cancer at this time prompted me. Yes, I’m OK now but facing mortality pushes one. By chance I ran across formal poetry and after much struggling came up with a villanelle which gave me so much satisfaction I found out how to do triolets, pantoums, and other forms; the rondeau my latest. I found How to Write Classical Poetry: A Guide to Forms, Techniques, and Meaning (Ragazine) to be of great help. As far as the process of writing, it is illusive, very mysterious. The best comes from our unconscious which we know little. It seems the times I try the hardest are times I do the least and when I am not trying, ideas come. Writers are always writing even if not putting words down as it is a simmering on a back burner we have little to do with. Hemingway wrote The Old Man and the Sea in a very short time as he was ready for it, it was cooked so to speak.

C.M. Do you work mostly at home? If not, how do you establish your routine, for example, if working at a library or another location? In Interweavings, your collection of creative nonfiction, in your essays, and in some of your poems, you refer to visits to the library, and sometimes to the napkins at McDonald’s. I’ve always wondered if you actually took lunches at McDonald’s.

Smallwood: Yes, I work mostly at home now, around 5 hours at the desktop computer. When not at home I often jot down words on paper that is always handy and yes, sometimes when I run out, on napkins or placemats. Lunch out is my carrot to keep me working and I’m a good customer of fast food places—they know me by name and what I order.

C.M. When working at an outside location, what writing tools do you carry in your tote bag?

Smallwood: Just my list of things to shop on back of scrap paper and two pens. Often ideas pop up while I’m driving, so I have a clipboard handy on the passenger seat. It is hard to read on the fly (if you want to read it).

C.M. I’ve admired your essays at Society of Classical Poets on various poetical forms. Does content of your poems dictate the form you choose, or vice versa?

Smallwood: A cinquain sometimes starts as a poem but ends up as a sestina or fiction. My computer screen has a big folder called Unfinished Work that I keep going and often use, that is, finish. My latest notes I took last night long hand watching television.

C.M. Does the material reside in your mind (pre-inscription, as it were) and then you shape the poem? Or do you begin with the formal outline of a villanelle or pantoum, for example, and work the lines into the poem’s formal construct?

Smallwood: Ideas come first and then I write it as a narrative not thinking what form it would fit. The challenge in most formal poetry is not to make it too “sing song” that is, the rhyme must not overwhelm. I often start out with many lines but end up with just a few or toss it.

C.M. In various passages from your writing, you’ve referred to John Galsworthy? How has his writing influenced your own?

Smallwood: I have lunch with John every day even if carrying hard copies in my purse makes it heavy. It was in high school I first read him and greatly admired his style—not knowing about him at all, I just felt it was special and someone I wanted to keep reading. I now have a set (Devon Edition) I treasure that came with uncut pages as well as several autographed books. He has written widely in other forms besides fiction, but it is his novels I keep reading. His The Forsyte Saga has been in at least 2 major television series but I can’t watch it because my image of the characters just doesn’t match those on screen after reading it so often. I often think of his:  “Art was unsatisfactory. When it gave you the spirit, distilled the essence, it didn’t seem real; and when it gave you the gross, cross-currented, contradictory surface, it didn’t seem worth while.”

C.M. Do you have favorite contemporary poets? I feel I’m always trying to catch up on authors I haven’t yet read. Do you feel that kind of pressure?

 Smallwood: Yes, I have that same pressure of keeping up to date. And concluded one just cannot!

C.M. One of my favorite essays from your Interweavings is the one you call “Beginning the Day.” I like it for the “present moment” of the essay and for its reverence of the past, told as much by the scarf the cat played with (made from flour sack material), as by items such as stones saved from the past and reference to an old Department of Agriculture land study. This essay achieved such a balancing of “then and now.” Can you tell us something of how this essay came about?

 Smallwood: Thank you! The things I mention were taken from what I saw. As one that fights to fall asleep, seeing dawn has become very familiar but I can never really capture it—it is an amazing process seeing familiar things take on reassuring form early in the day. The essay was an attempt.

C.M. Your collections are so interesting and so varied, one from the other. In Water, Earth, Air, Fire, and Picket Fences you organize your material according to the earth’s elements, speaking sometimes of the Swan Nebula and sometimes of tea bubbles. The unity of Prisms, Particles, and Refractions, on the other hand, is so different from that of A Matter of Selection where in your preface you address the question of words left in poems and thoughts suggested by what’s left out. When you start assembling your material, do you always recognize immediately the common thread that will make the collection cohere?

Smallwood: Thank you! It isn’t until I’ve written nearly twenty new poems that I can detect a theme to shape a new collection. There is a thread that connects them even if didn’t know it when writing them and it is satisfying to find, pin it down.

C.M. I think readers would be most interested in learning what part of the collection process you find most enjoyable? most laborious? most challenging?

 Smallwood: The most enjoyable is seeing the collection fall into place as a unit out of so many parts. In each collection I use 3-5 Parts in Roman Numerals to place the poems as a further definition. And begin with a Prelude, end with an Epilogue. Give it structure, maybe it is the librarian part of my background. The most laborious is thinking of a new poem: thinking is the wrong word—it just comes when it is ready. Sometimes you are convinced you have written your last one and a new one is a thing of the past; it is all over. The most challenging is to keep yourself open, the waiting.

C.M. If you don’t mind serving further as teacher, could you tell the novice poet how to go about organizing his/her material, or how or when (s)he should approach a publisher?

Smallwood: Once you finish putting the collection together, add requested blurbs, let it sit a month at least, read it with new eyes. Make sure the table of contents matches the order of the poems, spellcheck. If possible, have a friend spellcheck.  This is the way I organized my most recent poetry collection, In the Measuring:

  • Blurbs
  • Half Page (title only)
  • Title/Author Page
  • Epigraph
  • Recent Selected Work
  • Table
  • Foreword
  • Introduction (Preface)
  • Acknowledgments
  • Prelude
  • Names of Parts
  • Epilogue
  • About the Writer

Decide if you want to pay a fee for a contest, or a reading fee. Most publishers go this route but some do not. A reliable list of publishers is by Poets & Writers: Small Presses

Expect to wait, make dozens of submissions as the competition is high. I’ve had 8 poetry collections published so far and another hybrid (not all poetry) is coming out in November from Finishing Line Press; a poetry collection in 2019 from WordTech Editions. John Dos Passos expressed it well when he wrote:  “If there is a special Hell for writers it would be in the forced contemplation of their own works, with all the misconceptions, the omissions, the failures that any finished work of art implies.”

***

Carole Mertz, poet and essayist, is the author of the 2019 poetry chapbook, Toward a Peeping Sunrise (Prolific Press). She writes for various literary journals in U.S. and Canada and resides in Parma, OH. Mertz is the Book Review Editor at Dreamer’s Creative Writing.

Columbus Day by Jenny McBride

Oh Cris Columbus
How I wish you hadn’t come here.
Five hundred years of your celebrations
Have scraped the birds thin
Drained the fish dry
Made the rock cry.
The Vikings sailed back
When their Vinland grew cold
But you wrapped your future
In buffalo robes
And now I don’t know where to turn
When I want to go home.

Jenny McBride’s writing has appeared in SLAB, Common Ground Review, Rappahannock Review, The California Quarterly, Conclave, and other publications. She makes her home in the rainforest of southeast Alaska.

In Dissent by Tom D’Angelo

Both foreign and familiar
you patrol the hidden
America.

You don’t care about
selling the most
cookies.

You know how
to tell a joke but you don’t
want to.

You’ve learned to be
suspicious
learned to be always
on the lookout.

You’ve heard the stories
from the battlefields—
academic, financial, political

and yet you refuse
to run away and join
the circus even though
relationships create
obligations,

so you walk
in perpetual Lent
concentrating ashy guilt and
polishing it to a
rough luster

for you need things
to be raw &
heavy
and irritating
to the eye.


Tom D’Angelo works in the Writing Center at Nassau Community College in Garden City, NY, and teaches courses in Mythology, Film and Literature, and Creative Writing. In addition to poetry, his current projects include a series of creative non-fiction essays on his formative years in Queens, NY. His poems have most recently appeared in The Flatbush Review.

Paperplane letters by Kristina Gibbs

Love was pressed between
Stained smudges of downy diction
            Creased along the edges
Bent over backwards
            Then folded forward
Sealed by the weight of waxy hope
Sent with a flick—
but the sun beat on
      And on
      And on
So it flut ter ed
            Falt er
      ed
                Fall
            ing
Hitting the water
A distraught Icarus.
The whole of its failure upon it
Contributed to its
Sinking.
Words raged
And swirled
Unleashed—
            Torn open
Harboured in
The inky black deep.

Kristina Gibbs is an emerging writer from Tennessee pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in English and minor in Linguistics. She has previously published in Speaking of Marvels and North of Oxford Review. When she is not reading or writing, you may find her clambering over both hiking trails and paint brushes.

10 More WordPress-Hosted Sites Accepting Poetry

Allegheny Review:  The Allegheny Review, now entering its 32nd year of publication, is one of America’s few nationwide literary magazines dedicated exclusively to undergraduate works of poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, and artwork. Published annually, the periodical showcases some of the best literature the nation’s undergraduates have to offer.

Burning House Press: Burning House Press is born from a community arts ethos and focus. We seek to cultivate spaces where people feel safe and encouraged to explore and express their creativity. We hold a belief in the power of creativity, and share a faith in the fundamental connectivity of all peoples, especially as expressed through the commonality and community of multi-disciplinary arts. We believe that capitalism and its attendant profit culture is a public health issue, affecting us all on the level of our mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health and well-being.

Calamus Journal: A monthly publication of poetry and visual art. The journal is named after the “Calamus” poems, a group of male-male love poems from Walt Whitman’s collection Leaves of Grass. We seek work that stuns with what it has to say as well as how it says it. We like treatises on identity, mixtures of the literary and scientific, and form as function. We have zero tolerance for xenophobia or bigotry of any sort. For more information about who we are and what we’re all about, check out our interview with Jim Harrington of the “Six Questions for…” project.

Echo Literary Magazine: Submit work via Microsoft Word as an attachment including the cover letter. All submissions must be emailed no later than the 28th of each month to echoliteraryjournal@gmail.com. If your story is accepted or rejected you will receive an email. Deadlines for stories: 28th of each month. ALL RIGHTS: The right to own your work. You are free to reprint your material or to sell it elsewhere after publication.

Eyes+ Words: Words have immense power and, when used responsibly, they can help shape the world in hopes to make a better tomorrow. Let’s come together and share a story or two. Please feel free to share your original poetry/stories and we will gladly post them on our website, full credit will be given. Email us: EyesPlusWords@gmail.com

The Green Light: publishes multiple times a year.  We accept submissions on a rolling basis, but we will provide deadlines for each issue. Sprinkled amongst our regular issues will be a few fantastic special issues.

Gulf Stream Literary Magazine: Publishing emerging and established writers of exceptional fiction, nonfiction and poetry since 1989. We also publish interviews and book reviews. Past contributors include Sherman Alexie, Steve Almond, Jan Beatty, Lee Martin, Robert Wrigley, Dennis Lehane, Liz Robbins, Stuart Dybek, David Kirby, Ann Hood, Ha Jin, B.H. Fairchild, Naomi Shihab Nye, F. Daniel Rzicznek, and Connie May Fowler. Gulf Stream Magazine is supported by the Creative Writing Program at Florida International University in Miami, Florida.

Little Patuxent Review: Little Patuxent Review is a community-based publication focused on writers and artists from the Mid-Atlantic region, but all excellent work originating in the United States will be considered.Although our issues are organized around themes, we allow considerable leeway in how contributors interpret them in order to ensure access to the broadest range of high-quality work.

Wild Goose Poetry Review is an online journal of poetry, reviews, and poetry-related news, edited by Scott Owens, located in North Carolina. To facilitate further conversation about the poetry in the Goose, Wild Goose posts commentary by the poets and invites readers to leave their comments as well. All comments are screened by the editors to insure appropriateness. The intention is to publish new issues of Wild Goose in mid February, mid May, mid August, and mid November. Reality, however, sometimes intercedes with such plans. Submissions for each issue close at the end of the month preceding publication.

Wolff Poetry Literary Journal: Now open to accepting poetry submissions— we publish poetry from unpublished or emerging poets. We will accept published pieces too. We don’t charge a reading fee, unsolicited pieces, and are open 365 days a year.

Want to add a wordpress-hosted literary journal to the list? Send a link to ZingaraPoet@gmail.com

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. 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.
                                                        
  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: See website for current submission guidelines.

  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:   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.

Want to add a wordpress-hosted literary journal to the list? Send a link to ZingaraPoet@gmail.com

Flash Fiction Contest – $500 Award

One week left to submit your best short fiction for the 2019 Julia Peterkin Award for Flash Fiction – $500 prize (ends August 15, 2019)
  • Previously unpublished fiction of 850 words or less are eligible for this contest. We are especially interested in stories that demonstrate a strong voice and/or a sense of place, but we consider all quality writing.
  • All submissions will be read blind, so do not include personal information with your submission. Submissions that include identifying information will not be considered.
  • We will select one winner to receive a cash prize of $500.
  • Four semi-finalists will be chosen for publication in South 85 Journal
  • Winners will be named in October.
  • All winning entries will be published in the Fall / Winter issue of South 85 Journal, which will be released December 15.
  • Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please withdraw your entry if your piece is accepted elsewhere.
  • All winners must be over 18 years old and reside in the U.S. in order to claim their cash prize.
  • Please use double-spacing and a 12 point, standard font. We suggest Times New Roman. We consider only previously unpublished work.
  • Current and former staff members are not eligible for participation.
  • Current Converse College students and Converse College alumni are not eligible for participation.
  • SUBMIT HERE
South 85 Journal does not publish work which has been previously published either in print or online. Our reply time is typically six to eight weeks. We acquire exclusive first-time Internet rights only. All other rights revert to the author at publication, but we offer formal, written reassignments upon request. Works are also archived online. We ask that whenever an author reprints the work that first appeared in our pages, South 85 Journal be given acknowledgment for the specific work(s) involved. Only the main contest winner will receive a prize.

Neighborhoods I’ve Yearned For by Michelle Grue

Prince Albert town homes
Trees so beautiful I can live with their
pollen that makes me sneeze
Museums of purloined art and the
heights (and depths) of science
Posh crêperie on the street corner

Creaking porch swings
Acres of grass perfect for the active
imaginings of my little black kids
Creek down the way filled with
pollywogs and crawfish
Trees with moss hanging down
obscuring the strange fruit they once hung

Tip-top walking score
Mom and pop flower shop
Ethnic food not yet gentrified,
A brewery that is
Black that don’t crack still
sitting on the stoop and
spilling tea like they been
doing since their double-dutch days
Miss Mary Mack still dressed in black

Michelle Grue is a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She studies higher education pedagogy and writing studies through the lenses of intersectionality and critical digital literacies. She has previously published in the fantasy journal Astral Waters Review, The Expressionists Magazine of the Arts, and DASH Literary Journal. Feeding her creative energies and making space during motherhood and graduate school life has been a challenging pleasure.

 

Michelle Renee Hoppe Launches “Capable,” Seeks Submissions

I first met Michelle Renee Hoppe in 2009 when we were both teaching for the same company in South Korea.  Though our contact with one another has been casual since then, we have managed to keep tabs on each other through various social media. I was excited when she reached out to ask me to help get the word out about her new literary magazine, Capable, and am very happy to share the following interview wherein we learn what Michelle has been up to these last 10 years.

Wow. It’s been a while since we last saw one another in person. Tell me what you have been up to since 2010.

Almost a decade! I have been teaching special education in NYC public schools, earning an MSED in special education, and, as of three days ago, really started to develop Capable. I’ve been to Hong Kong, fallen in love, almost gotten married, not gotten married, and even had my first online publication about it all. I’m now dating a wonderful Mexican engineer who supports my writing like no one else I know.

Tell me more about your current project, “Capable,” including the significance of the title. Do you have a mission statement? 

Right now our mission is to raise awareness of the community of disabled and ill among universities and clinics to doctors, medical advocates, and professionals. We aim to help universities teach disability and illness through an arts lens. There is a substantial amount of research that supports that having empathy helps physicians practice better medicine, and that narrative medicine, including reading literature and viewing art, goes a long way in developing such empathy.

Years ago, I brainstormed Capable with some friends from undergrad and they thought it was the best way to describe a zine that was dedicated to stories of disability and illness.

We seek exceptional work, because people with disabilities make exceptional work. I don’t pull any punches about that.

What kind of work are you seeking and where can people send their submissions? How many pieces can a writer submit? How many pages or poems? Are there any submission fees?

I would say this is the best example I can muster about what we are looking for in nonfiction: https://magazine.nd.edu/stories/his-last-game/

No submission fees for now, though after we launch, we’ll charge $3 to $5 per submission to cover the costs for Submittable. Until then, anyone can send me as much work as they like at michellehiphopp@gmail.com, but I cannot promise I’ll get through all of it in a month. I recommend sending two poems and up to 3,000 words of prose. I love long pieces of prose, but I do want to keep things tight for the launch. I have a soft spot for humor pieces. I think a lot of us use humor to cope and it’s its own art.

What are some of your favorite literary journals?

I’ve found a reading home at Catapult. I absolutely adore them. They have such a sense of community there, and it’s remarkable to be able to offer classes in addition to a publication. I’ve taken two amazing classes and I really recommend Allie Rowbottom as a teacher. I also read Luna Luna Magazine, as they have a section dedicated to stories of chronic illness, and their founder Lisa Marie really showed me by doing that a publication is possible. She’s a bright light, despite the fact that I think there is not any such thing as magic. She’s also built such as sense of community through her work. I really admire that.

And, of course, Zingara Poetry Review. I love that you are able to teach. I still remember you were so kind in Korea. You and Gary were so welcoming, and you really spoke to the emerging author in me. Your warmth meant a lot.

Are you the sole editor for this project or are you working with a team?

I am not the sole editor, but I am kind of a one-woman show at the moment, as my editorial team is just getting together. I’m so impressed with them. I have to remind myself that I’m the manager of the talent and not the talent to keep going. I receive a resumes that are so impressive that I don’t know what to say to that person except, “Congratulations, I probably cannot afford you right now. I’m sorry.” I’m going to have to put together a team of all stars for the VC funding pitch, because these investors want a team they can believe in, and I am fully confident we have that through the #Binders group and others.

There are also the wonderful emails from reeeeally established authors. They are like, “Call me when you can afford me. I’m in.”

Honestly, I appreciate all the emails right now. This has been my baby for about three years now, ever since I recovered from my own illness and learned to cope with my own disabilities.

What inspired you to start such a literary journal? Will this be solely online or do you plan to send out print copies as well?

I have been “sick” my whole life. I’ve been misdiagnosed with leukemia and thyroid disorders, and I have celiac disease. It’s frustrating to be told again and again that I am making these things up when they are very real.  I also work with students with disabilities every day, and the disabled are the largest minority and the most underrepresented in the entertainment industry. I learned that from a friend of my cousin’s,  Maysoon Zayid. Everyone should see her TED talk.

I would love for it to be a print publication, but that’s not something I can afford right now. We are just getting funding off the ground. Right now, I want to get everyone on my team and my authors paid as much as possible. They deserve it.

What other projects are you working on?

I’m working on Teach North Korean Refugees. TNKR is a nonprofit that doesn’t get enough attention in South Korea. They help rehabilitate North Korean refugees and teach them English. They also help them author their own lives for the first time, and it’s really inspiring work. Honestly, they’ve done more for my career than any other position I’ve taken. They’re that into advocacy that they even advocate for their team, and I’d like to be like that as a Founder. The founders are geniuses of the nonprofit world, and so kind.

I’m writing a collection of essays about growing up in an espionage family. I probably never told you about that, but, yeah, both my parents were raised with spies. It’s tentatively titled We Don’t Talk About the Family. It includes many scenes with pinatas. My mother insisted on pinatas at every birthday. Gotta love being (kind of) Puerto Rican and raised in Japan. My work–I Can Make You Immortal, My Rapist Told Me–was recently endorsed by Donna Kaz and earlier Brian Doyle told me one of my essays was, “Damn fine, searing and layered work.” His words are something I turn to when I feel less alone, and the world really misses him. Like you guys, he was so kind to everyone.

Michelle can be reached at michellehiphopp@gmail.com.

 

Postcards from the Knife-Thrower’s Wife by Alex Stolis

August 2 – Woodstock, N.B. Canada

I’m a girl on a dragon-fly on the back of a horse heading
straight into the wind under an unbreakable sky. You are
not here. You are made-up words in an invented language
spoken in whispers. I remember every detail of the world
we created from scratch. I remember that day the moon
eclipsed the sun and for a moment the earth turned cold.
The sky turned deep green no stars in sight. You wrote me
of a dream you had; lost, afraid and miles away from home.
You heard the low beat of wings. You felt the steady pound
of hooves and I readied myself for flight.

Alex Stolis lives in Minneapolis; he has had poems published in numerous journals. Recent chapbooks include Justice for all, published by Conversation Paperpress (UK) based on the last words of Texas Death Row inmates. Also, Without Dorothy, There is No Going Home from ELJ Publications. Other releases include an e-chapbook, From an iPod found in Canal Park; Duluth, MN, from Right Hand Pointing and Left of the Dial from corrupt press. The full length collection, Postcards from the Knife Thrower was runner up for the Moon City Poetry Prize in 2017. His chapbook, Perspectives on a Crime Scene was recently released by Grey Border books and a full length collection Pop. 1280, is forthcoming from Grey Border books in 2019. 

http://greybordersbooks.jigsy.com/alex-stolhttp://greybordersbooks.jigsy.com/alex-stolisis

“Houston Snow” by Deborah Phelps

Before dawn, snow tips the loden
Magnolias, the pin oaks, the dying palms.
Frost lies pristine in the ribs
Of the pines.

At daybreak the whiteness recedes
With children out of school
Scraping it off the car hoods
Into dirty snowmen.

This half-inch is the first ever
Seen by these children, and even
Some of their parents, who try
To take as many photos as possible

For future, warmer generations.
Afternoon, the coastal Gulf Stream
Bumps the temperature
Until snow is only barely
Visible on hedge-tops

A lace tablecloth kept for best.


Deborah Phelps teaches at Sam Houston State University. She has published a chapbook, Deep East, and in journals such as Gulf Coast, Comstock Review, and Red Coyote. She lives in Huntsville, Texas.

‘Tis the Season by Karen Wolf

Blue eyes dripping sadness stare through dark
rimmed glasses and Daddy’s Mopar
truck windshield. My
running pace allowing glimpses of his
disproportionate pear-shaped scowl. Flashes
of his life imagined
schoolmate cruelties leveled for his
countenance, name calling,
social shunning, tripping, punches. A passing freight
train halts my progress enabling a hello
with Dad as he emerges from the post office, Christmas
cookie in hand. His boyhood
sadness crumbles away.

Karen Wolf has been published in Smokey Blue Literary and Art Magazine, The Wagon Magazine, Oasis Journal, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, The Bookends Review, The Drunken Llama, Blynkt, Raw Dog Press, Street Light Press, Lady Blue Literary Arts Journal, Ripcord Magazine and many others. Her chapbook, “That’s Just the Way it Is”, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2018.

She says that poetry soothes the savage beast and opens her eyes to the beauty that abounds within the world.

Predictable Patterns by Laurinda Lind

I can’t stay centered on the winter solstice
even in its most ancient aspect and certainly
not its spendthrift one but when I was young,
boxes of attic bulbs determined December

along with trees that don’t belong inside
and won’t stay up, but mean it isn’t always
going to be this dark and cold, we’ll see
ground again without snow. After years

of take-apart trees and malevolent demented
light strings I have failed in the Christmas
category, either neglecting the tree till
it shredded to the touch in April and could

be scattered in the yard over leaves I never
raked in the fall, or not putting one up at all
so my daughter would come home from
college and sigh and put it up herself, and

once opened all my CDs. Stuck them on
the branches where they shone silver like
a Jetsons tree, assuming they would still
have trees in that century, that the seasons

will mean something after this terrible time
where we are now, this dark we are not
sure will take us through to spring, no
matter how much tinsel we throw to it.

Laurinda Lind’s poems are in Another Chicago Magazine, Blue Earth Review, Blueline, Comstock Review, Constellations, Main Street Rag, and Paterson Literary Review; also anthologies Visiting Bob [Dylan] (New Rivers) and AFTERMATH (Radix). In 2018, she won the Keats-Shelley Prize for adult poetry and the New York State Fair poetry competition.