Sunday, December 30, 2012

Student suspended for poem

In San Francisco, a high-school student named Courtni Webb was suspended from school for her poem saying that she understood about the Sandy Hook killings.
"I understand the killings in Connecticut. I know why he pulled the trigger..." 

Yes, poetry is dangerous.

Have a happy New Year.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas in the Trenches

Christmas, 1914
One of the most amazing stories of the first World War was that in 1914, the first year of the Great War, the soldiers in the trenches made an unofficial truce on Christmas Eve.  With no diplomats and no orders, a hundred thousand soldiers stopped fighting, and instead met each other in the no-man's-land between barbed wire, sang carols, exchanged chocolate, and even played soccer.  In some places along the front, the unofficial truce lasted as long as New Year's day.

John McCutcheon's poem (song) "Christmas in the Trenches" celebrates the truce.
"Christmas in the Trenches" on youtube.

--By the second year of the war, 1915, it was clear that the Great War was not going to end soon, and the idealism and hope of the early years had corroded away.  The war was going badly for all the sides involved.  The commanders made a particular order that there was to be no truce with the enemy for Christmas (or any other time).  The Christmas truce of 1914 was not repeated, and the last known survivor of the Christmas Truce died in November 2005.

Still, for one single day during the Great War, there was what passed for peace on Earth.

 Oh ye who read this truthful rhyme
 From Flanders, kneel and say:
 God speed the time when every day
 Shall be as Christmas Day.

-- Frederick Niven (1878-1944), "A Carol from Flanders"

Merry Christmas to all.
Pine in moonlight (photo by Geoffrey A. Landis)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

It's the end of the world! Let's dance!

There Will Come Soft Rains
There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white;

Robins will wear their feathery fire,
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn
Would scarcely know that we were gone. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The stars, on a desert night

Clouds of Jupiter, seen by Galileo spacecraft
Poets say science takes away from the beauty of the stars - mere globs of gas atoms. I too can see the stars on a desert night, and feel them. But do I see less or more? The vastness of the heavens stretches my imagination - stuck on this carousel my little eye can catch one - million - year - old light. A vast pattern - of which I am a part... What is the pattern, or the meaning, or the why? It does not do harm to the mystery to know a little about it. For far more marvelous is the truth than any artists of the past imagined it. Why do the poets of the present not speak of it? What men are poets who can speak of Jupiter if he were a man, but if he is an immense spinning sphere of methane and ammonia must be silent?”

--Richard Feynmann

Friday, December 14, 2012

Don't get boned.

We suggest you avoid the following contests and organizations. Many appear to be disguised vanity publishers, whose goal is to sell you expensive personalized products and attract you to conferences. Others may charge you membership or service fees for which the benefits are questionable, or which can be obtained elsewhere for free. Winning prizes from these organizations will add little to your resume, and may even make you look amateurish to publishers and other poets

A list of unethical contests and publications.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

the City, year zero

A new issue of Lady Smith's "the City" zine of poetry and art is out-- "Fall issue, Year Zero: Learning to Swim."
Contains some of your favorite poets from Cleveland (and elsewhere), along with stunning visuals: check it out!

“Beziers, France” photo by Lady

Stars that in California glitter hard and crystal
shimmer over our lake.
We eat pierogis and walleye
we read of killers who lure women with promise of love.
We drive by crumbling mansions:
millionaire’s row.
Our emerald necklace is long as God’s arm.
Our children don’t ask why is the sky blue.
We scorn jibes: our river burned first;
we founder in floods on Deadman’s Curve.
We tell dour tales of declining empire.
We read Derf and take pride in our funk.
NASA Glenn lures us to starflight.
Our politicians star in the tabloids.
We make loud music and breed bitter genius.
We drink Nosferatu and Elliot Ness
Drunk on honeysuckle, day-lily, moonflower scent,
we make love on front porches in the blackout night.
We wear pants with elastic waistbands
and thumb noses at New Yorker black dresses.
Our names are unspellable, five consonants in a row:
ski is not a sport to our city, but a family suffix.
We consider moving, but where would we go?
What church in LA serves cabbage roll suppers?
We tell legends of freighters broken in two:
our lake is eerie, our tower is terminal.
We watch cats slink, old sly cats with rumpled fur.
We prevail and grow old. Our stars shimmer.

Friday, December 7, 2012

New (FREE!) Scifaiku contest

Julie Bloss Kelsey is giving away a FREE subscription to Poets and Writers to the winners of a scifaiku contest on her blog here. Right now, there are three entries, so I hope lots of folks contribute their scifaiku, and make this a really exciting contest!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Pushcart Prize Nominations 2012

NightBallet Press is pleased once again to participate in the nominations process for the 38th Annual Pushcart Prize:  Best of the Small Presses XXXVIII, which will be published both in hardcover and paperback in late fall 2013. 

As editor of a small press, I was invited to make up to six nominations from work published by my press since December of last year (2011), or from a manuscript about to be published in the coming month.  If selected, both the press and the author will receive a copy of the Pushcart Prize book.  The deadline to nominate was December 1st.  Notification of selection for Pushcart Prize inclusion will be in April of 2013.  

It was extremely difficult for me to choose among the numerous excellent, unique, exciting and delectable poems, short stories, and plays that NBP has had the pleasure and honor of publishing this past year.  I truly struggled with the final decisions.  After all, I'm the one who accepted the works to publish in the first place because I loved them.  But to waffle and decline to nominate because I don't want to make hard and fast choices would be unfair to all those whom I've published.  I feel I have an editor's responsibility to participate.  After all, I've promised you respect, readings, reviews, and recognition wherever and whenever possible.  

Please know that if your work was not nominated, it had nothing to do with merit.  Your work deserved nomination, no doubt.  Your work is truly excellent, or it would never have appeared as a NBP publication.  As far as I'm concerned, you're all winners! 

But there were certain pieces that glistened, reverberated, ensnared, transcended, or just plain persisted in the editor's mind/heart/soul/body.  These are the six pieces that are this year's nominees:

Jack McGuane's poem "Deep Purple Desperado" from Lipsmack! A Sampler Platter of Poets from NightBallet Press Year One 2012

Terry Provost's poem "Consolations for a Cleveland Winter" from Lipsmack! A Sampler Platter of Poets from NightBallet Press Year One 2012

Steve Brightman's poem "Sputter and Fuse" from
Sometimes, Illinois.

Jim Lang's poem "10 26 03 sexualize" from Coyote Moon.

Elise Geither's short play/prose poem "The Stone" from Lipsmack! A Sampler Platter of Poets from NightBallet Press Year One 2012

John Burroughs's poem/performance piece "Lens " from the very-soon-to-be-forthcoming The Eater of the Absurd.

I hope you will join with me in heartily and joyfully congratulating these six who are nominated by NBP this year!

For more information on the Pushcart Prize, please visit; for more information on Pushcart Press visit   For this year's Pushcart Prize collection, or for past years' collections, go to   And keep in mind that there will be numerous opportunities to participate in NBP publications next year, including in at least two anthologies (the theme for the 2013 NBP anthology will be announced around the New Year’s holiday, so stay tuned).

Friday, November 30, 2012

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi?

"Fallen Statue of Ramses" © Jim Henderson

In "Rocket and Lightship," Adam Kirsch points out that our words will certainly be transitory. Some of the great poets praised by the Greeks and Romans are now know only for the discussion by others of their works, or by one or two poems, or even fragments of poems, that survived only by the most outlandish coincidence.

Does pure chance determine what survives?  From this it follows, he says, that eventually "every work will lose its gamble and be forgotten."  Or, he asks, is every worthy work "registered in the eye of God the way books are registered for copyright"?  And, if so, then isn't its material fate irrelevant?  Does it matter if it's even published?  If it's even written at all?

He continues:

Literature claims to be a record of human existence through time; it is the only way we have to understand what people used to be like. But this is a basic mistake, if not a fraud, since in fact it only reflects the experience of writers—and writers are innately unrepresentative, precisely because they see life through and for writing. Literature tells us nothing really about what most people’s lives are like or have ever been like. If it has a memorial purpose, it is more like that of an altar at which priests continue to light a fire, generation after generation, even though it gives no heat and very little light.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Poetry in the Woods Thursday December 13, 2012

Yesterday there was Abbott and Costello, George and Gracie, Martin and Lewis, Heckyll and Jeckyll, and those great philosophers/entertainers Donnie and Marie.
Today there's Toner and Rourke. Let Joe Toner and Dan Rourke tickle your funny bone with their eclectic poems stories, bon mots and wry observations.
Thursday, December 13th 7pm
Bertram Woods Branch of the Shaker Library
20600 Fayette Rd, Shaker Heights 44122
Poetry in the Woods
Thursday December 13, 2012
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Bertram Woods Branch
Enjoy poetry read by regional poets, Dan Rourke and Joe Toner.
Personals Haiku
Shlock poet seeks fawning fan
Reply with applause

- Dan Rourke
photo of poetDan Rourke is a former high school English teacher (Laurel School and Saint Ignatius) and a former editor at Northern Ohio LIVE Magazine. He is now a writer awaiting publication of his novel, Fine Spines and Dead Dollys. His muse is boredom and his prime motivators are decaf, black coffee and this month’s rent check.
photo of poetJoe Toner is an English teacher at Rocky River High School. Toner taught at St. Ignatius High School for 15 years. He was a stay-at-home Dad for 15 months before returning to the classroom. He also writes for The Cleveland Plain Dealer and The Sun Newspapers. Toner’s poetry includes wry and witty observations on contemporary life.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Review: Fortune Cookie by Dianne Borsenik

Fortune Cookie
by Dianne Borsenik
(Kattywompus Press, Cleveland Heights, Ohio. 2012)

The City and The Soul

“Cities have souls” and in Dianne Borsenik’s two-part “Fortune Cookie” she explores “The City,” “The Soul” and the myriad ways in which they interact. Although universal in appeal, several of Borsenik’s poems are centered in Cleveland, its past and its present, good and bad. Consider these lines from “Cleveland Spelled Backwards Is:”

Level C
at last
. . .revealing a ceiling

Borsenik also deals effectively with self and soul, when to be cool, when to “Howl” with a capital “H” and what to do “When It Doesn’t Add Up,” that perfect storm “when the world of even / meets the world of odd” and “the earth shifts / uneasily.”

Borsenik’s syntax has a rhythm all its own, fueled by a judicious use of repetition and internal rhyme. It sweeps the reader irresistibly from line to line, starting with “Got Soul?” a brilliant, metaphor-driven catalog of cities ending in her own city and then progressing through a cathartic journey from “Doubts and Redoubts” to “Thaumaturgy.”

This highly recommended collection surges with a poetic form of kinetic energy, but if you find yourself too intoxicated from “a sip or two / of the strong stuff,” don’t worry. Just “fasten your seatbelts” and enjoy the ride.

Reviewed by J.E. Stanley

Available from Amazon
and NightBallet Press  (Scroll down.In the left-hand column)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Another Clevelander in Issa's Untidy Hut!

Every Wednesday, Issa's Untidy Hut posts a few new haiku. Today, one of the featured poets is Cleveland's (and Cleveland Poetics's) own Geoffrey Landis.

Past issues have included Cleveland poets Dianne Borsenik and Dan Smith.

With all the great potential for haiku in Cleveland, the only question that remains is where are YOUR haiku?

Monday, November 12, 2012

When poetry pays the bills... or not

An old question, but still an important one.  In a blog post When Poetry Pays the Bills, poet and editor Mary Biddinger asks
Anyway, dear readers, those who pay the rent with poetry-related activity, or non-poetry-related activity, how do you keep going? What makes you channel energy into writing poems, rather than into vacuuming cat hair off the basement stairs?

So, how do you do it?  What keeps you going?  

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Lovers and Killers

Mary Turzillo's new book of poetry, Lovers and Killers, is out from Dark Regions Press, appropriately in time for Halloween & the Day of the Dead.
It just got reviewed in Pedestal:
         "Award-winning poet Mary Turzillo delves into the abyss of the human soul in her new book, Lovers & Killers, a departure from her clever science fiction and fantasy work. She utilizes plain language enhanced by poetic devices such as alliteration and consonance in most of these poems, also employing the sharp imagery for which she is known. Many poems address such themes as human loss and desperation leading to abhorrent acts, while others border on outright satire...
         "Turzillo’s words flow like a winding road, the mark of a master wordsmith. The women in Turzillo’s poems are sometimes real, sometimes mythical. Each one has human flaws and, unfortunately, human reactions. Lovers & Killers is an unusual book of poems bound to leave an enduring impression on the reader. And isn’t that the trademark of any good book?"

The book can be purchased directly from Dark Regions ($9.95), or copies are available at readings.

Mary will be the feature reader in several upcoming readings, including the Canton First Friday Poetry Spectacular on November 2 (the Día de los Muertos) and then at the Deep Cleveland Poetry Hour on November 9, at MugShotz Cafe, 6556 Royalton Road in North Royalton.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hallowe'en Poetry Podcast

The moon is waxing, and the trees are starting to poke skeletal fingers into the sky... Hallowe'en is coming!  Are you ready to be spooked?  How about listening to some Halloween poetry to set the mood?  The SFPA's annual Hallowe'en Reading is now online.  It's an audio compilation of thirteen Halloween-themed poems, from:
David Kopaska-Merkel
Dennis M. Lane
David L. Summers
Linda D. Addison and Stephen M. Wilson
Bryan Thao Worra
Chris Vera
Jacqueline West
Michael A. Arnzen
Maria Alexander
Elissa Malcohn
Liz Bennefeld
Kath Abela Wilson
F.J. Bergmann

image credits
"Pacific Rim" by Deborah P Kolodji
"Werewolf Moon" by Geoffrey A. Landis

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Ohio Poetry Day

The leaves are turning-- that means that Ohio Poetry Day is coming up.  Ohio Poetry Day comes on the third Friday of every October.

Coming up on this weekend will be the 75th Ohio Poetry Day, celebrated at Mount Union University in Alliance, OH.  On Friday, October 19, poets will gather at 7pm at the Hoover-Price Campus Center at Mount Union.  The OPD celebration usually includes readings, refreshments, impromptu workshops, and overnight poetry contests.  The next day, Saturday October 20, the doors open at 9am for the Evan-Lodge workshop at 10, where poems submitted to the Evan-Lodge poetry workshop will be discussed and critiqued.  During this time, the book room will be open, displaying and selling books by Ohio poets, as well as the chapbook by the Ohio poet of the year and the 2012 Ohio Poetry Day Best of Ohio book.  At noon will be lunch, and after the lunch, there will be a reading by the Ohio Poet of the Year, followed by readings of some of the Ohio Poetry Day contest winners and an open reading.

Come on over!
  • Next year's Ohio Poetry day will be held at Heidelberg University, in Tiffin, OH, October 18-19 2013.  Mark your calendars now!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Thoughts on rejected poems...

The Indiana Review posted a list here of the Top 5 reasons they reject poems. Some of these seem obvious, and yet I know that they exist. Some, perhaps, I don't agree with, but thoughts on first lines, last lines and cliche are certainly spot on.

What do you guys think. Those of you who are editors, why do you choose the poems you do or why do you reject the poems you do? Those of you who are poets, how should editors rate or rank poems?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Every Now and then...

Received this note from a past student - I have removed the name to protect the innocent.

You probably won't remember me but my name is K. B. I was on the first Slam U team to represent Cleveland in San Fransico at the Brave New Voices poetry slam; along with, Chris Webb, Jessica, and Shawn Wright. I don't know if I ever told you thank you but I truly appreciate that experience and all the time you spent helping us to become better writers, speakers,thinkers, poets. What you taught me about performing is still embedded in me to this day.

This too was engrain in mind: "people's number one fear is speaking public . Number two is death."

Again thank you!!!!

K. B.
 That'll perk you up for a day or so.

Here's a picture of a squirrel just for the hell of it.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Death of the Death of Poetry

Donald Hall writes, with some amount of skepticism, about the so-called "Death of Poetry."  Edmund Wilson claimed that verse was a dying technique back  in 1928, and pundits have been declaring poetry is dead for, oh, about the last thousand years.  Yet somehow it keeps on being true that the previous generation of poets are classic-- the same poets whose work caused critics to say that poetry is "dead" a generation ago.
Hall calls these critics out.  Poetry is as alive as ever before; maybe more so.

(Grabbed from)
Death to the Death of Poetry

More than a thousand poetry books appear
in this country each year.

More people write poetry
in this country
     --publish it, hear it,
     and presumably
     read it--
than ever before.

Let us quickly and loudly proclaim
that no poet sells like Stephen King,
that poetry is not as popular
as professional wrestling,
and that fewer people attend poetry reading
in the United States than in Russia. Snore.
More people read poetry now
in the United States than ever did before.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Canton First Friday

One of the more interesting, although less well-attended, poetry readings in the Northeastern Ohio area is the Canton First Friday Poetry Spectacular, an event put on by PoetsHaven.  It's interesting because it's put on as a part of Canton's First Friday Arts Festival, which is (to quote their web page) "a monthly party in the downtown Canton Arts District featuring themed music, performance and visual arts events and always a few surprises for adults and children."  The First Friday is a lot of fun if you're turned on by art; the whole arts district of downtown Canton is converted into an arts fair, with music, galleries, painting on the sidewalk, and (of course) poetry.  I'd like to sincerely recommend that you check it out this month (October 5) or next (November 2), while the weather's still nice enough to hang around outdoors and enjoy the spectacle of being surrounded by art.
--if you're a poet, the First Friday reading is a good one for another reason: in addition to the featured reader and the open mike, it features a poetry slam open to anybody who wants to perform, and (pay attention here) the slam pays out cash prizes, courtesy of Arts in Stark.  A great place to try out your performance pieces, see how they work out, with the chance of a little bit a' booty to boot!
  • Facebook page for Canton First Friday Poetry Spectacular
Friday Oct. 5the feature will be John Gibson, "JG the Jugganaut"--plus (always) the open mike and slam.  The theme of the Canton First Friday will be "Once Upon a Time."

And, for the next month, first Friday comes on November 2, the day of the dead, so the theme of the Canton First Friday will be "Zombie Artvasion."  The spectacular feature poet will be Mary Turzillo.
  --Poetry opens doors at 7, but do come to Canton at 6, when the first Friday arts starts up!
November 2: celebrate Día de los Muertos with poetry from Mary A Turzillo (image: dappled dawg)

... and a tip o' the hat to the indefatigable impressario Vertigo XX, for putting on the show!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

In Celebration of Banned Book Week


What's on your bucket list?

Sara and I are curating an event that is sponsored by the Cleveland Leadership Center, this is a one day, interactive public art project that will happen in Slavic Village. Before I Die is a global art project that invites people to reflect on their lives and share their personal aspirations in public space. This project was started by Candy Chang on an abandoned house in New Orleans after she lost someone she loved. 

Learn more at

Our site is at 8414 Broadway, Corner of Broadway and Harvard, Cleveland, OH and we'll be there from 7am til 7pm Thursday October 4.

Sign in here:

Stop on by and share your dreams aspirations and hopes via a paint marker on plywood.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Clevelander dan smith Appears in Issa's Untidy Hut!

Big congrats to dan smith of Cleveland, Ohio, who has an excellent senryu published in Issa's Untidy Hut, The Online Poetry Blog for Lilliput Review!  His three-line poem contains four words, nineteen letters, three punctuation marks, and packs a wallop of insight.  To see dan's poem from Wednesday, September 26, 2012, go here.

Friday, September 21, 2012


Golden maple leaves
in silver moonlight.

--Geoffrey A. Landis

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Three types of poetry, and George Bilgere

In "The Three Types of Poetry,"the Scarriet blog discusses the poem "Unwise Purchases," from Cleveland's wordplayer George Bilgere:
"This poem is wonderful in a way that would repel the likes of Ron Silliman, Rae Armantrout and the avant-garde, simply for its clarity.  Those who believe that poetry is verse and not prose would also dislike this poem.  But here it stands."

(For what it's worth, the three types are, first poetry as art: it paints a landscape and creates interest with sound; then, the poem which is the poem of rhetoric and idea; and he third type "occurs from a perverse desire to rebel against the other two." But the third type will always exist, human nature being what it is, always at odds with perfectionism.)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Machine Gun Poets

In a recent article, Main Street Rag Editor M. Scott Douglas defends a new policy of his press to put, in their book contracts, a stipulation that the author will not publish with another publisher for at least nine months after publishing with Main Street Rag. His reasons for this can be found here.

It's always interesting to get a publisher's point of view, especially if that publisher is a poet themselves, on the business end of poetry and poetry sales. Also, I think Douglas makes some good points--trying to get a manuscript or book published everywhere as quickly as possible, especially when it comes to independent presses, not only hurts the poet, but also hurts the presses themselves. Douglas explains this more thoroughly than I can, so check out his article.

However, I think there are some things that publishers can do on their end as well. I remember speaking with a former teacher of mine who had been offered a contract by Knopf, and was debating leaving Greywolf. His issue was that he would get lost in the shuffle at Knopf, and while the money was there, the investment in the poet wasn't. I think independent publishers have this same issue, and it's pretty clear that for many publishers, there's a "here's your book, no go read and sell it" mentality, with little concern for how to advance the poet, the book, the readership, etc. Even something as basic as sending out press releases to local newspapers or information to bookstores seems to be lost on a lot of publishers, much to the detriment of the poets and the press itself.

An alternative to this is limited runs, but this brings up a different set of issues. How does a limited run affect the poet on the long term? Once they churn through that initial batch of 25, 50, 100, etc.--an easily accomplished task with tools like Facebook and PayPal these days, what happens? Is there a second release? Do they call it quits on that book until a "New and Selected" comes out? Do they collect three or four chapbooks and try to cobble them into a manuscript? Do limited edition chapbooks encourage machine gunning more than long term investment in a poet and their work?

As many readers of this blog are published poets, I'm curious to know how their publishers went about promoting their books, and the sort of relationship built up between publishers and poets. What do you think could be done to increase book sales? What do you think poets need to start doing? What do publishers need to start doing? What do the two of them need to start doing TOGETHER to change the game itself?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Telling lies

Over on her blog, poet and fabulist Theodora Goss writes a thoughtful post about telling lies.
Poets and fiction writers are all liars, of course. Lying is what we do.  Perhaps-- or so some say-- what we are really doing is telling the truths that nobody else sees.  Perhaps.  
Dora, on the other hand, writes about the ordinary lies, the day-by-day lies that people tell to themselves and others, often without even saying a single word, in the way they hide their selves behind a facade.  Well, we all do, of course.  But a poet, or a fiction writer, above all has to be able to strip away those lies, to expose the truths, which is to say, to find the humanity (and humanity is not always pretty!) hidden behind the facade.
So maybe we're truth tellers after all.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Submissions, 2012

The words "submit" and "submission" come to us from the Latin, "sub" (beneath) and "mittere" (to send or put). In other words, to submit something is to place it beneath the gaze or power of someone else, and their will be done. I have often compared poetry akin to a religious calling--one has an inner yearning, falls in and out of favor with said calling, attends weekly or monthly meetings of the faithful--etc. Submission is a part of this, and one need only witness various forms of prayer to understand that the soul and/or body are being delivered unto a higher power in offering, much in the same way that poets offer small chunks of themselves to editors every time they submit to a magazine.

So we come around to the beginning of September, with its plethora of academic magazines sprawling their jaws open, waiting to consume slush only to poop out steaming piles of rejection slips and, if we're lucky, and perfect bound 9x6 volume of inspiring genius. As we wish all these beasts successful bowel movements, I'm curious to know about the submissions of readers of this blog. Much has been said on this blog about submissions, and one's odds in submitting. I'm curious to know if folks are sending their poems out this year, and if so, where?

One issue that folks have with publishing is the cost. At around $1.00 a submission, as well as paper and envelopes, submissions can rack up ye olde budget quickly. That being said, many modern magazines are going to an electronic form of submission. Still, even when the only spent is time, many don't like the odds. Without the chance to simultaneously submit, poems sit in a stagnant pool of electrons, only to be reeled in and tossed back come December. It's not a pleasant fate, and many poets chose to avoid it all together.

WITH THAT IN MIND, below is a list of venues that accepts both simultaneous submissions AS WELL AS electronic submissions. And, while there's no guarantee that any one poem will get picked up, having twenty-seven magazines to which the same five poems can be scurried off reduces one's odds for publication tremendously.

Magazine Name
Sycamore Review
The Aroostook Review
Stolen Island Review
Silk Road
Salt Hill
Carolina Quarterly
Mid-American Review
The Journal
Arsenic Lobster
Caketrain Journal and Press
Black Warrior Review
William and Mary Review
Roanoke Review
Bat City Review
Iron Horse Literary Review
Sugar House Review
Quarterly West
The Marlboro Review
Hunger Mountain

Monday, August 27, 2012

Ploughshares interviews Mary Biddinger

Victoria Chang of Ploughshares interviews Mary Biddinger, the Series Editor for the Akron Series in Poetry.

"Do you have a future vision of the Series?  Is there a commitment from Akron that it will go on for a while?
The University of Akron has been very supportive of the Series, and I believe we have a healthy future. Along with collaborator John Gallaher, I recently started the Akron Series in Contemporary Poetics at The University of Akron Press, which publishes collections of essays, so our poetry branch is growing steadily."
I've always had a soft spot for Ploughshares, a literary zine founded in a bar (the Plough & Stars, in Cambridge.)  Now, that's the way I'd say literary 'zines should be founded.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Poetry of Olympia

With the Olympics now over, the NY Times points out that poetry used to be an Olympic event.
"The French visionary who revived the Olympics, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, always insisted Greek-style arts contests should be allowed alongside athletics. His dream was realized in 1912 at Stockholm, where literature, together with music, painting, sculpture and even architecture, became Olympic events in the so-called Pentathlon of the Muses, in which all submissions had to be “directly inspired by the idea of sport.”"

It was an Olympic event from 1912 until 1948.... although, of course, only amateur poets were allowed to compete.

Most of these poems have been lost to history.   No one now knows what the German equestrian Rudolf Binding wrote in his 1928 silver-medal winning “A Rider’s Instructions to His Lover,” nor the French rugby champion Charles Gonnet’s ode “Before the Gods of Olympia,” which won the bronze in Poetry in Paris in 1924

But one of the great lost Olympic poems, British poet Dorothy Margaret Stuart's 37-page “Sword Songs” (silver medal, 1924 Paris Olympics) is no longer lost.   New York Times writer Tony Perrottet tracked down a copy... in the New York Public Library.  He doesn't quote the whole poem, alas... but, still, he gives enough to get feel for what amateur poetry was like in 1924.  Guess we'll have to take a trip to the New York Public Library to read the whole thing!


The poet doesn't invent. He listens. ~Jean Cocteau