Poets & Writers Blogs

Deadline Approaches for Omnidawn Poetry Prize

Submissions are currently open for the Omnidawn Single Poem Broadside Poetry Contest, given for a single poem. The winner receives $1,000 and publication in OmniVerse, Omnidawn Publishing’s online journal. The winner also receives fifty copies of a letterpress broadside of the winning poem. Dean Rader will judge.

Submit a poem of 8 to 24 lines with a $10 entry fee ($5 for each additional poem) by August 20. Writers may submit using the online submission system or via post to Omnidawn Publishing, 1632 Elm Avenue, Richmond, CA 94805.  The winner will be announced in December and published in April 2019. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Previous winners include Beatrice Szymkowiak for her poem “Yangtze Baiji Expedition Log” and Anca Roncea for her poem “Turns.”

Judge Dean Rader is the author of two poetry collections, most recently Self-Portrait as Wikipedia Entry (Copper Canyon Press, 2017), and the chapbook, Landscape Portrait Figure Form (Omnidawn, 2013). He is also the coeditor of the anthologies Speak to Me Words: Essays on Contemporary American Indian Poetry (University of Arizona Press, 2003) and Bullets Into Bells: Poets & Citizens Respond to Gun Violence (Beacon Press, 2017), as well as the editor of 99 Poems for the 99 Percent: An Anthology of Poetry (99: The Press, 2014).

Established in 2001, Omnidawn Publishing publishes poetry and prose that seeks to “open readers anew to the myriad ways that language may bring new light, insight, awareness, as well as a heightened respect for and appreciation of differences.” The press has published poets Rosmarie Waldrop, Lyn Hejinian, Craig Santos Perez, and among others. 

Recovering Poetry at New Choices

Judith Prest is a poet, photographer, mixed media artist, and creativity coach. Her poems have been published in Mad Poets Review, Chronogram, Akros Review, The Muse: An International Journal of Poetry, Earth’s Daughters, Up the River, Upstream, Writers Resist, and in six anthologies. Prest spent twenty-six years as a school social worker and prevention trainer before retiring in 2009. She currently works part-time facilitating recovery writing and expressive art groups with adults in day treatment for addiction. She lives in Duanesburg, New York with her husband and three cats.

Anyone who has survived more than a decade or two on this planet has stories to tell. Often, however, people who struggle with addiction have not had the opportunity to sit down and write their stories, not even for themselves. For the clients I have worked with in recovery, any available energy they have is directed at surviving challenging life circumstances. Some have been incarcerated, and when the prison doors open, they land in a halfway house or in day treatment for addiction. Then suddenly, there is time and room to reflect on experiences, to tell the stories that need to be told.

I wrote poetry through my college years, then I got derailed by life. I started writing again about twenty years ago and have had my work published in literary journals and anthologies. Soon after my return to writing, I began to incorporate poetry and expressive arts into my social work practice. I now work as a creativity coach and workshop leader, along with my part-time work at New Choices Recovery Center in Schenectady, New York.

I believe that writing, particularly poetry, is a powerful tool for healing and growth. Creative writing can be a great recovery strategy. Getting our experiences, questions, and feelings onto the page, allows us to see what’s there, and work with it.

At New Choices, I have been leading recovery writing groups for over ten years. When we can, we like to bring in someone new who can offer a fresh approach. This is where John Fox, director of the Institute for Poetic Medicine (IPM) in Palo Alto, California comes in. John travels widely around the world and across the United States to bring “poetic medicine” to hospitals, retreat centers, community programs and, in this case, to New Choices Recovery Center.

John facilitates two ninety-minute group sessions with New Choices clients. Using poetry, he invites participants to access their creative side and respond with their own poems. This program adds to the poetry and creative writing already experienced at New Choices. We have had poetry open mic events, published four books of writing by our clients (two books were published with help from IPM), and some clients participate regularly in recovery writing groups.

This special poetic medicine program allows all clients at or in the program to experience one of John’s poetry immersion workshops. Even clients who do not read or write have been able to create poetry in John’s sessions, with me as their scribe. He has a way of helping poetry “sneak up” on people. Often, folks who never imagined writing anything will write a poem and find the courage to read it out loud to the group.

John and I are dedicated to bringing the healing power of poetry to folks who have struggled with other aspects of life. We want to continue to help people experience the elation of creating and sharing poetry. Thank you to Poets & Writers for making it possible for John to work his “poetic medicine magic” at New Choices again this summer!

Support for the Readings & Workshops Program in New York is provided, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, with additional support from the Friends of Poets & Writers.

Photo: Judith Prest (Credit: Leiah Bowden).

Upcoming Short Fiction Deadlines

Fiction writers, are you looking for places to submit your short stories and flash fiction pieces this month? Look no further: The following contests each offer a prize of at least $1,000 and publication. The deadlines are either August 26 or August 31.

TulipTree Publishing Stories That Need to Be Told Contest: A prize of $1,000 is given annually for a short story. The winning work will also be published in the contest anthology, Stories That Need to Be Told. Entry fee: $20. Deadline: August 26.

Aesthetica Creative Writing Award: A prize of £1,000 (approximately $1,290) and publication in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual is given annually for a short story. The winner also receives a consultation with the literary agency Redhammer Management, a subscription to Granta, and a selection of books from Bloodaxe Books and Vintage Books. The editors will judge. Entry fee: $15. Deadline: August 31.

Gemini Magazine Flash Fiction Contest: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Gemini Magazine is given annually for a short short story. The editors will judge. Entry fee: $5. Deadline: August 31.

Glimmer Train Press Fiction Open: A prize of $3,000 and publication in Glimmer Train Stories is given twice yearly for a short story. A second-place prize of $1,000 is also given. Entry fee: $21. Deadline: August 31.

Glimmer Train Press Very Short Fiction Award: A prize of $2,000 and publication in Glimmer Train Stories is given twice yearly for a short short story. Entry fee: $16. Deadline: August 31.

Gulf Coast Barthelme Prize for Short Prose: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Gulf Coast is given annually for a short short story. Entry fee: $18. Deadline: August 31.

Visit the contest websites for complete guidelines, and check out the Grants & Awards database and Submission Calendar for more contests in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.

Deadline Approaches for Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Prize

Submissions are currently open for the 2018 Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Prize. An award of $1,000 and publication in Red Wheelbarrow will be given annually for a poem. The winner will also receive a letterpress broadside of the winning poem from Moving Parts Press. Award-winning poet Naomi Shihab Nye will judge.

Using the online submission system, submit up to 3 poems of no more than one page each with a $15 entry fee by August 15.  

Judge Naomi Shihab Nye, whose most recent collection is Transfer: Poems (BOA Editions, 2011), is the author of ten volumes of poetry, as well as several fiction books for children, musical recordings, and poetry translations. Nye’s numerous accolades include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Academy of American Poets Lavan Award, and the Paterson Poetry Prize.

The Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Prize was established in 2017 by Red Wheelbarrow, the literary magazine published by De Anza College in Cupertino, California, and the Poetry Center San José. Poet Ellen Bass judged the inaugural contest; The winner was Partridge Boswell for her poem “Pop a Wheelie.” Visit the Red Wheelbarrow website for more information.

(Photo: Naomi Shihab Nye; Credit: Ha Lam)

Poets & Writers’ Eighth Annual Los Angeles Connecting Cultures Reading

Readings & Workshops (West) director Jamie Asaye FitzGerald writes about Poets & Writers’ eighth annual Los Angeles Connecting Cultures Reading held at Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center.

For the past eight years in California, Poets & Writers has held the Connecting Cultures Reading at Beyond Baroque Literary Art Center in Venice. The event brings together organizations that serve diverse populations and have received support via our Readings & Workshops program.

For this year’s event, which took place on June 28, we invited five organizations: 826LA, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting students ages six to eighteen with their creative and expository writing skills; Beyond Baroque, dedicated to expanding the public’s knowledge of poetry, literature, and art; QueerWise, a LGBTQ writing collective and spoken word performance group; Returning Soldiers Speak, a venue for soldiers and veterans to tell their stories; and Uptown Word & Arts, which facilitates free public and private creative writing workshops and other events.

All of the groups involved do important work. Sometimes they’ve heard of each other already, sometimes they discover one another at the reading event itself. It’s wonderful to see them getting to know each other, and the net of support that manifests as they feel buoyed in what they do by witnessing others who have a similar mission.

Each organization chooses two writers to represent them at the event. The diversity of voices at the reading is always astonishing and a testament to the importance of having as many stories as possible heard. This is always true but perhaps even more urgent in our current social and political climate.

The value of a story is best understood in listening and witnessing together—something we don’t often get to do. Events like this provide the opportunity to listen and witness. It’s much different than the canned stuff we’re exposed to in our daily lives—political rhetoric, spin, and words with weird agendas behind them. This is the stuff of the personal, still often political, but stories that come from the people at the most fundamental and profound level.

Robert Rosenstone from Beyond Baroque read “Brisket for Ramadan,” a witty prose piece recounting the cross-cultural experience of being a Jewish man married to a Muslim woman. Poet RD Armstrong reminded us that “a poem can be everything and nothing.” Alejandra Castillo from 826LA read a powerful poem inspired by her mother’s stories of crossing the border:

Y pasábamos corriendo por el cerro like our feet were on fire,
como Cuauhtémoc. Como dos horas corriendo with blisters popping
here and there like bubble wrap. And if you didn’t run, te dejaban.
We left three behind in the purgatory between México y el otro lado.
Y ahí se quedaban.
The cracks on this desert
swallow bodies whole. Ni de gringos ni de indios. No man’s land.

Teen writer Ashla Chavez Razzano, participating on behalf of 826LA for her second time at this event, read a musical poem of “sweat soft as water.” Michael Kearns from QueerWise chilled us with the motif of children kept in cages, while Dave Trudell warmed us back up with memories of going to the drive-in where he worshipped femme fatale screen actresses like Ava Gardner and Lee Grant. Leilani Squire from Returning Soldiers Speak brought to the event reflections on her work with veterans, and Les Probst read about his own memories of being drafted for the “forgotten” Korean War. Uptown Word & Arts poet Aurelio Alba compared the process of editing to changing diapers and Cynthia Duran, in her first public reading ever, closed the night out with a laugh-out-loud story about being held up at gunpoint while working at a Big 5 Sporting Goods store.

While Poets & Writers works with and knows well each of the organizations we invite to curate this event, we are not always familiar with the writers they invite. Each year holds a wonderful surprise for us, and for the rest of the audience. We never know quite how all the stories will fit together, but they always do.

Thank you to Beyond Baroque for hosting this event, and to all of the presenting organizations and readers for making this another memorable reading.

Support for this event was provided, in part, by Poets & Writers thanks to a gift from Diana Raab. Additional support for Readings & Workshops in California is provided by the California Arts Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, and by the Friends of Poets & Writers.

Photo: 2018 Los Angeles Connecting Cultures readers and curators (Credit: Brandi Spaethe).

July 31 Contest Roundup

As July comes to a close, consider submitting to the following contests in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Each contest offers an award of at least $1,000  and publication, and has a deadline of July 31.

Press 53 Award for Poetry: A prize of $1,500 and publication by Press 53 is given annually for a poetry collection. Tom Lombardo will judge. Entry fee: $30.

Masters Review Short Story Award for New Writers: A prize of $3,000 and publication in Masters Review is given twice yearly for a short story by a writer who has not published a novel (writers who have published story collections are eligible). The winning story will also be sent to agents Laura Biagi of Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency, Victoria Marini of Gelfman Schneider/ICM Partners, and Amy Williams of the Williams Agency. The editors will judge. Entry fee: $20.

Munster Literature Centre Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Competition: A prize of €2,000 (approximately $2,400) and publication in Southword, an online literary journal published in Cork, Ireland, is given annually for a short story. The winner also receives a weeklong residency at the Anam Cara Writer’s Retreat on the Beara Peninsula in West Cork. Entry fee: $18.

Journal of Experimental Fiction Kenneth Patchen Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Journal of Experimental Fiction/Depth Charge Publishing is given annually for an innovative novel. Jane L. Carman will judge. Entry fee: $25.

Red Hen Press Novella Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Red Hen Press will be given annually for a novella. Kate Gale will judge. Entry fee: $25.

New Millennium Writings New Millennium Awards: Four prizes of $1,000 each and publication in New Millennium Writings and on the journal’s website are given twice yearly for a poem, a short story, a short short story, and an essay that have not appeared in a print publication with a circulation over 5,000. Entry fee: $20.

Visit the contest websites for complete guidelines, and check out the Grants & Awards database and Submission Calendar for more contests in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.

Palette Poetry Awards $4,000 for a Single Poem

Submissions are currently open for the Palette Poetry Prize. An award of $4,000 and publication in Palette Poetry will be given for a poem that “speaks to what poetry is and can be for our world today.” Shane McCrae will judge.

Submissions are open internationally to any poet writing in English. Using the online submission system, submit up to three poems of any length with a $20 entry fee by August 15.

Guest judge Shane McCrae is the author of six books of poetry, including In the Language of My Captor (Wesleyan University Press, 2017), which was a finalist for the National Book Award. Watch a video of McCrae reading “Panopticon,” a poem from the collection.

Palette Poetry is an online journal that publishes new poetry from emerging and established poets, including Courtney Lamar Charleston, Dean Rader, and Laura Villareal. Free submissions are accepted year-round, and poets receive $50 per published poem. Visit the website for more information.

WEIRDD Reading Series: Power to the Strange

Peter Longofono and Katie Longofono are siblings and poets living and working in Brooklyn. Together and separately, they have curated, produced, and hosted a number of salons, magazines, festivals, and reading series, including Coldfront magazine, Washington Square Review, the AmpLit Fest, the SLC Poetry Festival, the Dead Rabbits reading series, the Graduate Poets Series at Cornelia Street Café, and WEIRDD, their latest and greatest endeavor to date.

When we set out to build WEIRDD, our monthly poetry reading series held at Books Are Magic in Brooklyn, we had a few apophatic rules of thumb. No flimsy introductions. No parched mouths. No inhospitable (and inexplicable) non-hosting. No regurgitated blurbs. We knew exactly what we wanted to avoid, having been through that wringer, and though our first season hasn’t been without its bumps, on the whole we feel the series has found its early footing in a well-ordered sensibility.

Perhaps most critically, we are against the poet’s empty pocket. From the beginning, we’ve committed to remuneration, modest as it might be, from our own pockets if necessary—as was the case with our first readers. And given the state of poetry literacy, we’d have been wrong to charge for admission (and turned away from most venues, at that). So we sought with humility for sponsorship, and we’re grateful in turn to acknowledge Poets & Writers for stepping in to do the right thing. Poems are work—great and necessary work—and to support the art (without purchasing it!), pay is a necessary gesture.

What sort of poetry are we supporting, then? Who do we read closely, and who are we able to invite? Again, we can invoke negation to learn the field:

  • Don’t stick to one language. Troubling English is worthwhile.
  • Don’t always look at just a poet. Look at what the poet looks at (use a screen).
  • Don’t listen only for what you’re already thinking.
  • Don’t “speak,” speak.
  • Don’t let imagination stand in for justice, compassion, commiseration, care, or duty.
  • Don’t under any circumstances forgo imagination, either.

With these guidelines holding space, we’ve learned so much from so many: Jenny Xie’s gnomic scrying, Ricardo Maldonado’s elfin sonatas, Marwa Helal’s recognitive cataracts, Yanyi Luo’s arch scrutiny, Rio Cortez’s yawning infinity, Jayson P. Smith’s quenching jewels, Paul C. Stone’s mastery of the leap, Jen Hyde’s affinity for apertures, Sahar Muradi’s sense of strata, Valerie Hsuing’s sentient microphones, Chase Berggrun’s climbable wordscapes, Wren Hanks’s unflinching apparatus, Amy Meng’s history of rue, Julia Guez’s kaleidoscopic array, Jen Levitt’s droll orbitals, Jerome Murphy’s painterly ambulation, and Joey De Jesus’s omnivolent manticore.

We’ve understood these contrapuntally with brief lectures on everything from the socio-emotional matrix of Final Fantasy VI (Hubert Vigilla) to the life and times of nineteenth-century black politicians (Jordan C. Vaughn) to a working sketch on neuroplasticity and bioprecarity (Lynne DeSilva-Johnson). And that’s just thus far.

WEIRDD celebrates our devastatingly talented writers and underrepresented voices with real, rigorous, resourced attention. We surprise them with exacting, sonically attuned presentations of their work, simultaneously equipping the audience with an articulate inroad to the work and explicitly disavowing the glazed eye, smirking head-pat, or greasy backslap. This, at last, we can define with a YES: to real community, loving reverence, and untamable empathy.

Support for the Readings & Workshops Program in New York City is provided, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, with additional support from the Frances Abbey Endowment, the Cowles Charitable Trust, and the Friends of Poets & Writers.

Photos: (top) Katie Longofono and Peter Longofono (Credit: Katie Longofono). (bottom) Sahar Muradi reading at Books Are Magic (Credit: Katie Longofono).

Deadline Approaches for Frontier Poetry Award

Submissions are currently open for Frontier Poetry’s Summer Poetry Award. A prize of $2,000 and publication on the Frontier Poetry website is given annually for a poem by an emerging poet. The editorial staff will judge.

The editors request work “that is blister, that is color, that strikes hot the urge to live and be. We strongly invite poets from all communities.” Using the online submission system, submit up to three poems totaling no more than five pages with a $20 entry fee by July 15

Frontier Poetry is a weekly online publication championing emerging poets; “A place where voices—of all colors, ages, orientations, identities—are made equal by a shared belief in the power of language to confront the dark, the vast, the unexplored.” Frontier sponsors several literary awards throughout the year, including the Frontier Award for New Poets, the Frontier Open, and the Chapbook Contest. Visit the website for more information.

July Short Story Deadlines

Fiction writers, polish up your short stories! The following contests each offer a prize of at least $1,000 and publication.

Sixfold Short Story Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Sixfold is given quarterly for a short story. Entry fee: $5. Deadline: July 24.

Munster Literature Centre Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Competition: A prize of €2,000 (approximately $2,400) and publication in Southword, an online literary journal published in Cork, Ireland, is given annually for a short story. The winner also receives a weeklong residency at the Anam Cara Writer’s Retreat on the Beara Peninsula in West Cork. Entry fee: $18. Deadline: July 31.

Narrative Spring Story Contest: A prize of $2,500 and publication in Narrative is given annually for a short story, a short short story, an essay, or an excerpt from a work of fiction or creative nonfiction. A second-place prize of $1,000 is also awarded. The editors will judge. Entry fee: $26. Deadline: July 31.

Masters Review Short Story Award for New Writers: A prize of $3,000 and publication in Masters Review is given twice yearly for a short story by a writer who has not published a novel (writers who have published story collections are eligible). The winning story will also be sent to agents Laura Biagi of Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency, Victoria Marini of Gelfman Schneider/ICM Partners, and Amy Williams of the Williams Agency. The editors will judge. Entry fee: $20. Deadline: July 31.

Visit the contest websites for complete guidelines, and check out the Grants & Awards database and Submission Calendar for more contests in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.

Poets & Writers’ Connecting Generations Seventeenth Annual Intergenerational Reading

Readings & Workshops (East) director Bonnie Rose Marcus writes about Poets & Writers’ Connecting Generations seventeenth annual Intergenerational Reading held at Barnes & Noble at Union Square in New York City.

On Saturday, June 23, Poets & Writers held its seventeenth annual Intergenerational Reading at Barnes & Noble at Union Square, where we’ve held the reading for the past seven years. As I listened to the thirty-six writers from the ages of eleven to eighty-six, I thought back to the beginnings of this celebratory reading, when we were given a grant in 2001 from the Louis and Anne Abrons Foundation to conduct writing workshops at senior and teen community centers. Visiting the programs, I was moved by the diversity of voices, and the similarities and differences in the generations. I thought it would be inspiring to bring these generations together. The first Intergenerational Reading was held in a community room at the Goddard Riverside Community Center’s NORC Program, with about six readers and an audience of about twenty.

This year’s writers were from six programs funded by our Readings & Workshops program: senior writers from the Goddard Riverside Community Center, Grand Street Settlement, the Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College in collaboration with Siloam Presbyterian Church, Kew Gardens Community Center, and the Stanley Isaacs and Lincoln Square Neighborhood Center. The teen and young adult writers were from Kamit Preparatory Institute, the National Domestic Writers Alliance, Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, Newtown Literary Alliance, Concourse House, and Office Hours Poetry Workshop.

Hosting our event was veteran host Regie Cabico, a recipient of a Poets & Writers’ Writers for Writers Award in 2006. A pioneer of spoken word, and the first openly queer and Asian slam poet to take top prizes, Regie continues to perform his unique blend of poetry, stand-up comedy, and theater, and teaches writing workshops throughout North America and the United Kingdom.

Regie’s enthusiasm was contagious. It was evident that each reader felt honored and respected, and was cheered on by Regie and the audience, a full house of about seventy-five people. The writers shared work about loss, abuse, and love: a Tibetan woman read a poem about the suffering in her country, another writer shared a prose poem featuring Noah (and his ark) and Donald Trump, and there were many moving pieces about the challenges and celebrations on life’s journey.

Perhaps the best way to sum up the flavor and value of this reading is to hear from some of the writers themselves:

“It is an extraordinary event for so many reasons. It is an opportunity to hear young and old from so many different vantage points. Many of us may never have that chance of hearing stories from the LGBTQ community, the senior community, or inner-city youth, most of whom are passionate, wistful, angry, and gifted. To see that many participants, some who are facing an audience for the first time, pour out their most intimate feelings with pride and receive kudos for their efforts, is a humbling and inspiring experience.”
—Joyce Berger, Kew Gardens Community Center

“This year, I finally shed a lifelong struggle with stage fright and enjoyed myself at the reading! I also relished everyone’s spoken words, especially those of the younger poets who infuse me with creative energy.”
—Suzanne Pavel, Goddard Riverside Community Center

“I have always felt that one never stops learning. Young folks can learn from seniors and vice versa. This year I had the chance to let young folks know about the real situation in Tibet, because they are our future. Afterwards some of the young folks hugged me and commented on the power of my poem. I also think my poem was timely because of the current situation at our southern borders. What struck me most were the young people who spoke so honestly and showed that poetry is an outlet for all of us.”
—Chukie Wangdu, Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center

“Young talents lyrically reported their passions from today’s frontlines while older writers arranged those puzzle pieces left on youth’s table. The reading reminded me that poetry is an instrument played to remember, berate, reveal, coax, question, love, revolt, heal, and most significantly, to witness and connect. Thank you for creating space for all of us!”
—Marty Correia, Office Hours Poetry Workshop

Support for the Readings & Workshops Program in New York City is provided, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, with additional support from the Frances Abbey Endowment, the Cowles Charitable Trust, and the Friends of Poets & Writers.

Photos: (top) Dena Igusti, Aaliyah Daniels, Solomon Mussings, and Shakeva Griswould from Urban Word NYC (Credit: Christian Rodriguez). (bottom) Participants of the 2018 Intergenerational Reading (Credit: Christian Rodriguez).

Submissions Open for Sewanee Review Contest

The Sewanee Review is currently accepting submissions to its inaugural Fiction & Poetry Contest, given for a short story and a group of poems. The winners will receive $1,000 and publication in the Winter 2019 issue. Dan Chiasson will judge in poetry, and Danielle Evans will judge in fiction.

Using the online submissions system, submit one to three poems or a story of up to 10,000 words with a $30 entry fee, which includes a one-year subscription to Sewanee Review, by is July 31. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Poetry judge Dan Chiasson is the poetry critic at the New Yorker and the author of four poetry collections, most recently Bicentennial (Knopf, 2014). Fiction judge Danielle Evans is the author of the story collection Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self (Riverhead Books, 2010).

Established in 1892, the Sewanee Review is one of the oldest literary quarterlies in the country. The review, which publishes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, has recently published work by poets Erin Adair-Hodges and Heather McHugh and fiction writers Andrea Lee and Justin Taylor.

Read more about the journal’s editorial focus and redesign under editor Adam Ross in the Poets & Writers online exclusive “The Sewanee Review at 125.”

Academy for Teachers Flash Fiction Contest

Submissions are now open for the Academy for Teachers: Stories Out of School Flash Fiction Contest. An award of $1,000 and publication on the Tin House website will be given annually for a flash fiction story that features a protagonist or narrator who is a K–12 teacher. A second-place prize of $500 and publication will also be given. Best-selling author Cheryl Strayed will judge.

Submit a story of six to 749 words via e-mail by September 16. There is no entry fee. The winners will be announced in January 2019. Visit the website for complete submission guidelines.

A joint venture of the Academy for Teachers and Tin House, the Stories Out of School Flash-Fiction Contest was created to “inspire honest, unsentimental stories about teachers and the rich and complex world of schools.” 

(Photo: Cheryl Strayed; Credit: Joni Kabana)

Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint Wins Graywolf Nonfiction Prize

Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint has won the 2018 Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize for her manuscript, Zat Lun. She will receive $12,000 and publication by Graywolf Press.

Of Zat Lun, Graywolf Press editor Steve Woodward said, “Myint’s hybrid approach and incorporation of myth and oral traditions overturn expectations around immigrant narratives, and add layers to her parallel investigations of both her family history and that of Myanmar. The whole team at Graywolf is delighted to see this truly original and bold manuscript join the ranks of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize winners.”

Myint is the author of the lyric novel, The End of Peril, the End of Enmity, the End of Strive, A Haven (Noemi Press, 2018). She is completing a PhD in creative writing at the University of Denver.

The Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize is given biennially for a manuscript-in-progress by a writer not yet established in the genre. Esmé Weijun Wang won the 2016 award for her essay collection, The Collected Schizophreniaswhich will be published in February 2019. Other previous winners include Leslie Jamison, Eula Biss, and Kevin Young. Visit the website for more information.

(Photo: Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint; Credit: Dennis Shyu)

Becoming Cascadian: The Intersection of Bioregionalism and Poetics

Paul E. Nelson serves as founding director of Seattle Poetics LAB (SPLAB) and the Cascadia Poetry Festival. He is the author of American Sentences (Apprentice House, 2015), A Time Before Slaughter (Apprentice House, 2010), and Organic in Cascadia: A Sequence of Energies (Lumme Editions, 2013), and coeditor of the anthologies Make It True: Poetry From Cascadia (Leaf Press, 2015) and 56 Days of August: Poetry Postcards (Five Oaks Press, 2017). Nelson has been engaged in a twenty-year bioregional cultural investigation of Cascadia.

Becoming Cascadian was a retreat in Seattle’s diverse Rainier Beach neighborhood—an outgrowth of Seattle Poetics LAB’s Cascadia Poetry Festival. While the festivals are exciting, it takes a great deal of resources to present such an event. The SPLAB Board decided that while we look for funding to continue the festival, it would be good to work on a more intimate level. Becoming Cascadian allowed participants to go deeper into their own writing practices and experiences of place.

There were free public events: a Zen Meditation session at the Seattle University Ecosangha; “The Practice of Outside,” a presentation with P&W–supported writer Andrew Schelling; a tour of Kubota Garden with Seattle University philosophy professor Jason Wirth; and a closing reading at Seattle’s all-poetry bookstore Open Books. In between the public events were breakout sessions offered by participants.

One session was on cultural appropriation. It’s a hot topic in Canada now, as Cascadia includes all of British Columbia west of the Continental Divide. The treatment of First Nations people, as they are called in Canada, is reprehensible, and there’s a lot of anger regarding writers monetizing indigenous culture. Adelia MacWilliam from Cumberland, B.C. led this session.

The Kubota Garden tour, led by Wirth, explored the historic spiritual nature of the garden, the life of Fujitaro Kubota, and the Japanese American history in the neighborhood, including the internment of Japanese American citizens during World War II, an event with eerie similarities to current American xenophobia.

Mark Gonnerman’s session was “Living in Place With Peter Berg and Gary Snyder in Mind.” Snyder has written that, “real people stay put,” which in North America is “a new thing!” Snyder recommends making five hundred year plans and not the ethos of the old bumper sticker that said: “Earth First: Then We Log the Other Planets.” Gonnerman put things into perspective saying we humans are the first species in history “that can prevent their own extinction.”

Schelling’s keynote talk was for “poets and bioregional visionaries,” suggesting we go outdoors and learn something of our bioregion. He contrasted his Southern Rocky Mountain bioregion and Cascadia, noting the difference between the wet, logged, maritime Puget Sound region, and his dry high country. He discussed respective medicine powers the bioregions share, and noted how the Douglas Firs in the high country are puny compared to those in Cascadia. He ended with a story. What may not be well-known about Schelling is that, perhaps through his multi-decade study of Jaime de Angulo, he’s become a master storyteller. After the festival he said:

“To redefine our lives and the places we live by bioregion, rather than by political boundaries, is not the work of a single morning. It will require small cadres of committed people who become nature literate, write instructive poems and essays, and gradually make sense to their neighbors. This program, Becoming Cascadia, was one node in a larger effort that has been developing…. Concluding with poetry gave ceremonial fragrance.”

Support for Readings & Workshops in Seattle is provided by an endowment established with generous contributions from the Poets & Writers Board of Directors and others. Additional support comes from the Friends of Poets & Writers.

Photos: (top) Paul E. Nelson (Credit: Bhakti Watts). (middle) Andrew Schelling with Jared Lesing (Credit: Paul Nelson). (bottom) At the Kubota Garden with participants (Credit: Paul Nelson).