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The Spring 2018 issue of Paterson Literary Review includes winners and all the honorable mentions of the 2017 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards:

First Prize
Howard Berelson, Teaneck, NJ, “Last Night”
Robert A. Rosenbloom, Bound Brook, NJ, “Dear Amy”

Second Prize
Eileen Van Hook, Wanaque, NJ “Thanksgiving Memory”

Third Prize
Phillipa Scott, West Orange, NJ, “Hoboken, 1990”

For a full list of the Honorable Mentions and Editor's Choice selections, click here.

The Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards, honoring Allen Ginsberg’s contributions to American Literature, are given annually to poets. First prize, $1,000; second prize, $200; and third prize, $100. Winning poems are published in the following year’s issue of the Paterson Literary Review. The contest is open between June 1 and September 30 of each year.

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In addition to poetry and book reviews, the Spring 2018 issue of The Wallace Stevens Journal is a special issue: "Re-triangulating Yeats, Stevens, Eliot" edited by Edward Ragg and Bart Eeckhout. Content includes: 

“Pages from Tales: Narrating Modernism's Aftermaths” by Edward Ragg
“Yeats, Stevens, Eliot: Eras and Legacies” an Interview with Marjorie Perloff
“Atlantic Triangle: Stevens, Yeats, Eliot in Time of War Ireland” by Lee M. Jenkins
“Crazy Jane and Professor Eucalyptus: Self-Dissolution in the Later Poetry of Yeats and Stevens” by Margaret Mills Harper
"’Where / Do I begin and end?’: Circular Imagery in the Revolutionary Poetics of Stevens and Yeats” by Hannah Simpson
"’Dead Opposites’ or ‘Reconciled among the Stars’?: Stevens and Eliot” by Tony Sharpe
“The Idea of a Colony: Eliot and Stevens in Australia” by Benjamin Madden
"’We reason of these things with later reason’: Plain Sense and the Poetics of Relief in Eliot and Stevens” by Sarah Kennedy

The Wallace Stevens Journal is avaialbe by subscription from John Hopkins University Press and is also available on Project Muse with article previews.

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The Spring 2018 issue of The Bitter Oleander features an in-depth interview with European Editor, poet and translator John Taylor. Editor and Publisher Paul B. Roth delves into a variety of issues and interests with Taylor, including influences on his writing; his bout with polio and interest in mathematics in his youth; the value of "slow" travel - trains being a particular favorite mode of transportation and thought/work space for Taylor; the situation of being an American writer living abroad and the concepts of 'foreignness' and 'otherness'; and the "subtle positivity" of Taylor's writings. The interview is accompanied by over a dozen pages of Taylor's work.

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The Gettysburg Review Spring 2018 features the fun funky mixed media collage of Margaret Rizzio both on the cover and a full-color internal portfolio. 

I love this Glimmer Train #102 cover image of fresh fruits. Though not the kind of tropical fruit we see here in Michigan, this makes me look forward to summer farmers markets. Cover art: "I Miss My Mother" by Jane Zwinger.

The bright sunshine adds to the summery feel of "White Door Bird" by Toni La Ree Bennett, a photo that spans both the front and back covers of the Winter 2018 Cimarron Review.

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Winners and Honorable Mentions of the 2018 Bellevue Literary Review Prizes can be found in the Spring 2018 issue:

Goldenberg Prize for Fiction
Selected by Geraldine Brooks
Winner: “Atrophy” by Lauren Erin O’Brien
Honorable Mention: “Full Buck Moon” by Sheryl Louise Rivett
Honorable Mention: “Bamboo Forest” by Faith Shearin

Felice Buckvar Prize for Nonfiction
Selected by Rivka Galchen
Winner: “Cancer, So Far” by Elizabeth Crowell
Honorable Mention: “Drawing Blood” by Laura Johnsrude
Honorable Mention: “The Reluctant Sexton” by Martha Wolfe

Marica and Jan Vilcek Prize for Poetry
Selected by Rachel Hadas
Winner: “Throat” by Gabriel Spera
Honorable Mention: “The Game of Catch” by Noah Stetzer

Daniel Liebowitz Prize for Student Writing
Winner: Nonfiction “Portraits” by Janna Minehart

The annual Bellevue Literary Review Prizes award outstanding writing related to themes of health, healing, illness, the mind, and the body. The next contest will close on July 1, 2018.

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"If a poem works it’s because you’ve made it such that other people might participate in making it meaningful, and this participation will always rest on another person’s understanding of the poem and its relationship to a world that is not your own. Your own understanding of the poem will evolve over time too, as you reread it in light of your changing world, just as you will find the world altered in light of the poem you wrote to understand a small uncertain corner of it. With poems, you never get to settle on a final meaning for your work, just as you never get to feel settled, finally, as yourself."

From On Poetry and Uncertain Subjects: Learning from the unknown by Jack Underwood in the May 2018 issue of Poetry. Read the rest here.

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Last month, DM O'Connor reviewed EJ Koh’s collection of poems Lesser Love. In addition to being selected winner of the Pleiades Press Editors Prize for Poetry in 2017, O’Connor offers this praise: “It is clear that each page stands alone as an example of true contemporary poetry. It is clear you should buy this book, memorize all the poems, then give it to a friend who need to be affirmed that poetry is far from dead.”

At the close of the review, O’Connor notes that Koh will even write love letters to her readers, just for the asking. Intrigued, I visited her website, where she states, “I am writing a thousand love letters to strangers by hand.”

Her July 26, 2016 blog post entitled, “It’s Okay, I Love You” explains how she came to this task, beginning the entry with:

“The past nine months, my life has become unrecognizable. When I say this out loud, it means who I am is unrecognizable. But I now see myself for the first time.

“In February, I hoped to write again; beginning was also deciding. I’d once said, 'I’m sick of writing because I’m sick of myself.' To be kinder towards my person, I didn’t go back to that place. On a Friday evening, I was pressed for new perspective. I decided to handwrite a thousand love letters.”

She goes on to explain why the handwriting, why the love – which seems it needs less explaining in our current world that feels imbued with endless hate.

So, I wrote to EJ. I sent her an e-mail, including some details about myself, as she requests, “& add a struggle,” which I did. A couple weeks later, I received a hand-addressed envelope postmarked from Seattle. By then, I had forgotten about my request, and didn’t know EJ was on the west coast, so I was pleasantly surprised to open the envelope and find a two-page, handwritten “love letter.” Mine was numbered 62, and included thoughtful commentary and insight gleaned from information I had shared with her, including my struggle.

A love letter? If love means reaching out to a total stranger, to recognize the work they do, what they care about and what they are struggling with; to treat someone with concern and care and affirmation; to not judge and to just be kind and share in someone’s perspective with seriousness and some humor – then yes. This was the best love letter I’ve ever received.

What a difference writers can make in another person’s life. And all it takes is who we are and what we have, shared with another. So simple, so (nearly) free, and yet – so profound.

My thanks to EJ. I hope others who share in this experience have as great an appreciation. May we all “promise to notice our light every day.”

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From the creators of Creative Nonfiction magazine, True Story provides a monthly home for longform (5000-10000 words) nonfiction narratives. This pocket-sized publication showcases one exceptional essay by one exceptional author at a time. Are you perhaps the next exceptional author to be featured? True Story is looking for a wide variety of voices, styles and subjects, and of course, readers who would enjoy the same. Subscriptions offer this gem delivered to your mailbox each month - perfect for your beach bag and road trip packing. And not just for you, True Story would be a fabulous gift for the readers in your life. For less than a date to the movies, you can send someone True Story for a year. Also available (for even less!) on Kindle. Just want to sample it? There's a grab bag of back issues available here.
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What better way to usher in summer than to introduce SWWIM Every Day? SWWIM actually stands for Supporting Women Writers in Miami, and although it retains its origin’s namesake, everyone is invited to enjoy the international reach of contributors included in this daily online publication of poetry by women, women-identifying and femme-presenting writers.

What better way to usher in summer than to introduce SWWIM Every Day? SWWIM actually stands for Supporting Women Writers in Miami, and although it retains its origin’s namesake, everyone is invited to enjoy the international reach of contributors included in this daily online publication of poetry by women, women-identifying and femme-presenting writers.

Co-directed and co-curated by Jen Karetnick and Catherine Esposito Prescott, SWIMM began as a reading series, pairing one local poet with one national poet at The Betsy-South Beach. The national poet receives a writing residency at the hotel along with the reading. While Karetnick recounts their biggest hurdle was just getting started, it also turned out to be their biggest joy: “The Betsy-South Beach is incredible hotel that supports the arts. Without The Betsy as our local philanthropic partner, sponsoring the reading series and welcoming the national poet with a residency [see Writer's Room], we’d have no SWWIM, and likely no SWWIM Every Day. Deborah Briggs, who champions the arts at The Betsy, Jean Blackwell Font, who organizes the residencies and reading series, and Lori Butts, another great organizer, are awesome women who believe in us, and we are so thankful for them.”

SWWIM started, Karetnick [right; color photo] shares, as a response to the underrepresentation of women in literary markets. “It’s not only real,” she says, “it continues—despite the wonderful work being done by VIDA. We count up the table of contents in prize anthologies and it’s 2/3 men to 1/3 women. We read the 10 finalists of book competitions and see the men outnumber the women 8-2 or 7-3. We’re trying to do something to even out the odds. We took the helm because while some men are sailing, many women are swwimming upstream—especially since many of us are charged with daily domestic issues such as childcare, aging parents, and a household in addition to school, work, etc. For a woman, writing becomes a life choice—doing this instead of that, becoming that instead of this. We want to do our part to give women opportunities without forcing them to make those choices. Hopefully, in the end, the more women’s poems are seen and the more the subjects we write about are validated, the more they will be recognized, in the end, in prize anthologies and books.”

Both Karetnick and Prescott [right; black and white photo] have made their own successful swwims into the writing world. Having earned an MFA in Creative Writing—Poetry from NYU, Prescott is the author of Maria Sings (dancing girl press) and The Living Ruin (Finishing Line Press), and her poems have appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, MiPOesias, Pleiades, Poetry East, Rattle, Southern Poetry Review, The Orison Anthology, and elsewhere. Karetnick holds two MFAs: poetry from University of California, Irvine, and fiction from University of Miami. She is the author of three books of poetry, including The Treasures That Prevail (Whitepoint Press), a finalist for the 2017 Poetry Society of Virginia Book prize, and four poetry chapbooks. Her work has appeared in Cimarron Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Missouri Review, Prairie Schooner, River Styx, Verse Daily and Waxwing, among others.

Putting this expertise to work, Karetnick and Proscott share selection and editorial responsibilities, reading every submission several times, discussing the merits of each before responding. “We try for a rapid response, aiming for under a month,” Karetnick explains, “although occasionally we’ll keep something that we’re on the fence about for a little while longer. We will suggest editorial changes if we believe that it will make the poem stronger.”

This strength is what readers can expect when they visit the website, Twitter/Facebook, or sign up for email delivery. These are “well-crafted poems that speak to everyday hurdles that women face and overcome—or still stare down day after day,” Karetnick tells me. “We publish all schools—everything from confessional poetry to prosody—so one day you might find a piece about sex and misogyny with a lot of curse words and the next day, a villanelle espousing nature. We love humor in poetry, which is so hard to pull off, but if you make us laugh, we’re yours forever. One of our favorite poems was about a bikini wax. But we’re also passionate about social justice, so we’ve had poems about gun violence, immigration, and human trafficking. We’ve had a lot of raw and real poems about parenthood, mental and chronic illness, aging and the death of parents, youth and the beginnings (and endings) of relationships.

“We are also very proud to feature women-identifying poets of all ages in SWWIM Every Day. We’ve had some terrific undergrad poets and some poets who have been published for the first time ever right up against award-winning writers who have reached the age of retirement—if women ever actually retire, that is.”

Some recently featured poets include Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello, Alyse Bensel, Denise Duhamel, Hannah Edwards, Sarah Freligh, Lola Haskins, Arminé Iknadossian, Vicki Iorio, Rae Hoffman Jager, Allison Joseph, Siham Karami, Jennifer L . Knox, Ada Limón, Mia Ayumi Malhotra, Mary Meriam, Jenny Molberg, Sanjana Nair, Letitia Montgomery-Rodgers, Maureen Seaton, Annie Stenzel and Julie Marie Wade, and Sara Moore Wagner.

For all the work it takes to produce this ambitious daily publication, Karetnick says they do appreciate the joy they find in the small yet meaningful act of readers who retweet, “like” or share on Instagram. “It’s a victory for every female-identifying poet when that happens.”

Prescott and Karetnick say they “will continue to publish as many women as we can find who will trust as with their work,” with plans this summer to incorporate as a nonprofit, which will allow for fundraising to remove the $2 Submittable reading fee. “Although,” Karetnick says, “we often run fee-free weeks [watch on Twitter/Facebook @SWWIMmiami for the next one]. We want to diversify further, so we’d love to see more work by WOC, marginalized voices, those who are underrepresented.”

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What better way to usher in summer than to introduce SWWIM Every Day? SWWIM actually stands for Supporting Women Writers in Miami, and although it retains its origin’s namesake, everyone is invited to enjoy the international reach of contributors included in this daily online publication of poetry by women, women-identifying and femme-presenting writers.

What better way to usher in summer than to introduce SWWIM Every Day? SWWIM actually stands for Supporting Women Writers in Miami, and although it retains its origin’s namesake, everyone is invited to enjoy the international reach of contributors included in this daily online publication of poetry by women, women-identifying and femme-presenting writers.

Co-directed and co-curated by Jen Karetnick and Catherine Esposito Prescott, SWIMM began as a reading series, pairing one local poet with one national poet at The Betsy-South Beach. The national poet receives a writing residency at the hotel along with the reading. While Karetnick recounts their biggest hurdle was just getting started, it also turned out to be their biggest joy: “The Betsy-South Beach is incredible hotel that supports the arts. Without The Betsy as our local philanthropic partner, sponsoring the reading series and welcoming the national poet with a residency [see Writer's Room], we’d have no SWWIM, and likely no SWWIM Every Day. Deborah Briggs, who champions the arts at The Betsy, Jean Blackwell Font, who organizes the residencies and reading series, and Lori Butts, another great organizer, are awesome women who believe in us, and we are so thankful for them.”

SWWIM started, Karetnick [right; color photo] shares, as a response to the underrepresentation of women in literary markets. “It’s not only real,” she says, “it continues—despite the wonderful work being done by VIDA. We count up the table of contents in prize anthologies and it’s 2/3 men to 1/3 women. We read the 10 finalists of book competitions and see the men outnumber the women 8-2 or 7-3. We’re trying to do something to even out the odds. We took the helm because while some men are sailing, many women are swwimming upstream—especially since many of us are charged with daily domestic issues such as childcare, aging parents, and a household in addition to school, work, etc. For a woman, writing becomes a life choice—doing this instead of that, becoming that instead of this. We want to do our part to give women opportunities without forcing them to make those choices. Hopefully, in the end, the more women’s poems are seen and the more the subjects we write about are validated, the more they will be recognized, in the end, in prize anthologies and books.”

Both Karetnick and Prescott [right; black and white photo] have made their own successful swwims into the writing world. Having earned an MFA in Creative Writing—Poetry from NYU, Prescott is the author of Maria Sings (dancing girl press) and The Living Ruin (Finishing Line Press), and her poems have appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, MiPOesias, Pleiades, Poetry East, Rattle, Southern Poetry Review, The Orison Anthology, and elsewhere. Karetnick holds two MFAs: poetry from University of California, Irvine, and fiction from University of Miami. She is the author of three books of poetry, including The Treasures That Prevail (Whitepoint Press), a finalist for the 2017 Poetry Society of Virginia Book prize, and four poetry chapbooks. Her work has appeared in Cimarron Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Missouri Review, Prairie Schooner, River Styx, Verse Daily and Waxwing, among others.

Putting this expertise to work, Karetnick and Proscott share selection and editorial responsibilities, reading every submission several times, discussing the merits of each before responding. “We try for a rapid response, aiming for under a month,” Karetnick explains, “although occasionally we’ll keep something that we’re on the fence about for a little while longer. We will suggest editorial changes if we believe that it will make the poem stronger.”

This strength is what readers can expect when they visit the website, Twitter/Facebook, or sign up for email delivery. These are “well-crafted poems that speak to everyday hurdles that women face and overcome—or still stare down day after day,” Karetnick tells me. “We publish all schools—everything from confessional poetry to prosody—so one day you might find a piece about sex and misogyny with a lot of curse words and the next day, a villanelle espousing nature. We love humor in poetry, which is so hard to pull off, but if you make us laugh, we’re yours forever. One of our favorite poems was about a bikini wax. But we’re also passionate about social justice, so we’ve had poems about gun violence, immigration, and human trafficking. We’ve had a lot of raw and real poems about parenthood, mental and chronic illness, aging and the death of parents, youth and the beginnings (and endings) of relationships.

“We are also very proud to feature women-identifying poets of all ages in SWWIM Every Day. We’ve had some terrific undergrad poets and some poets who have been published for the first time ever right up against award-winning writers who have reached the age of retirement—if women ever actually retire, that is.”

Some recently featured poets include Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello, Alyse Bensel, Denise Duhamel, Hannah Edwards, Sarah Freligh, Lola Haskins, Arminé Iknadossian, Vicki Iorio, Rae Hoffman Jager, Allison Joseph, Siham Karami, Jennifer L . Knox, Ada Limón, Mia Ayumi Malhotra, Mary Meriam, Jenny Molberg, Sanjana Nair, Letitia Montgomery-Rodgers, Maureen Seaton, Annie Stenzel and Julie Marie Wade, and Sara Moore Wagner.

For all the work it takes to produce this ambitious daily publication, Karetnick says they do appreciate the joy they find in the small yet meaningful act of readers who retweet, “like” or share on Instagram. “It’s a victory for every female-identifying poet when that happens.”

Prescott and Karetnick say they “will continue to publish as many women as we can find who will trust as with their work,” with plans this summer to incorporate as a nonprofit, which will allow for fundraising to remove the $2 Submittable reading fee. “Although,” Karetnick says, “we often run fee-free weeks [watch on Twitter/Facebook @SWWIMmiami for the next one]. We want to diversify further, so we’d love to see more work by WOC, marginalized voices, those who are underrepresented.”

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