The May 2020 issue is here with poetry by Jenny George, Arthur Sze, Jessica Abughattas, Melissa Crowe, Jamaica Baldwin, C.X. Hua, Kara van de Graaf, Hala Alyan, Mark Wunderlich, Raymond Antrobus, Stephanie Chang, and more; prose by Scott Broker, Alyssa Proujansky, Maura Pellettieri, and Mina Hamedi, with a prose feature by Dima Alzayat. See what else the issue has in store for you at the Mag Stand.
Among the many wonderful resources NewPages offers to readers and writers is our Young Writers Guide to Publications, which features publications by and for young readers, and our Young Writers Guide to Contests, which includes carefully vetted legitimate contests. These are open-access ad-free guides that I personally curate out of my commitment to supporting young readers and writers as well as parents and teachers.
Despite the pandemic which surrounds us, great efforts are still going on to create opportunities and provide motivation and encouragement for young writers. I recently heard from Sophia Hanson, who is one of three founders of the National Youth Foundation. This Pennsylvania-based non-profit seeks to improve literacy and educate youth on topics related to social justice. Each year, they run two book competitions: Student Book Scholars – which involves players from the NFL, NBA, and MLB; and Amazing Women’s Edition – a national writing contest focused on gender equality. Past competition winners have been honored at the Smithsonian Museum as well as having their images included in a statue honoring the late Marian Spencer, who was the subject of the winning book.
I am so heartened to know that this kind of outreach to young writers persists through these difficult times. When I asked Sophia how this has impacted their work, she responded, “The global pandemic has more parents at home than ever. We have also seen a major increase in emails from parents about our contests and programs. We even had NBA and NFL players contact us to host a Bounce Back art contest to help kids process the pandemic. On the flip side of that, we had two writing workshop series planned in Philadelphia with two amazing women, and those are on hold.”
Still, like so many efforts, the National Youth Foundation will find ways to continue to engage young writers. Now more than ever, online resources like ours are here to help. If you have young people in your life or know of others who do, please tell them about NewPages Guides for young readers and writers!
The Spring 2020 Issue of The Bitter Oleander includes a special feature. Editor Paul B. Roth interviews poet David Chorlton. Readers can also find a selection from Chorlton’s Speech Scroll. Below, check out an excerpt from the interview and visit The Bitter Oleander website to get a taste of Speech Scroll.
PBR: In your Speech Scroll, a sampling of which follows this interview, you’ve put the urban and the desert world together so expertly over some 158 poems. Did this particular project start off with that in mind or was it just your current ongoing consciousness of where you were in that environment and who you are that brought it forth?
DC: . . . While there are the times I sit down to commit words to paper, the actual writing of poetry is never turned off. Without placing a title or thinking of a poem’s shape, I had an ongoing path to follow and that helped me shift a little in the way I see images come together. Thinking about the political happenings of our tumultuous time might become too consuming, and for some people it is. Others seem to remain oblivious to anything that goes on in that realm. Writing poetry, being the most natural form of communication for me, has been a good place in which to scatter comments and observations that, I hope, provoke more thought than argument. Life encompasses a wide range of pleasures and frustrations, comfort for the fortunate and responsibility toward those who are not, and so with the help of various bird and animal species, plus a view of the sunrise from our front door when I’m up early to see it I take, as I mentioned earlier, what is given, and transform it the best way I can.
Considering all the cancelled or postponed or modified conferences and workshops, it’s comforting to know the August Poetry Postcard Festival is up and running this year just as it has been for the past twelve years!
The concept is simple: You sign up and your name is added to a group along with 31 others. Once the group is “full,” you each get the list with names and addresses of participants in your group. The week before August, you start writing and sending you postcards (so that the first one arrives around the first of August). You write one postcard per day and send it to the person listed after your name in the group. The next day, you write another poem and send it to the next person – and so on until you go through the list. One for each day.
The idea is spontaneous writing without editing, censoring, or revision. You can use the postcard as your prompt or not. Some people choose a theme to write on for the month. The postcards vary from store bought to homemade, contemporary to vintage. It’s really wide open to your creativity, imagination, and passion. Then, throughout the month of August, you will receive poems in the mail from the others in your group.
This year – the one change in the event has been year-round registration – so you can register now. Some participants have already started sending cards instead of waiting until August – in response to the pandemic – since we could all use a bit more poetry and a bit more connection in our daily lives. A few ambitious writers have already completed their 31 cards and have signed up for another group! The organizers welcome repeat participation.
This is a safe and fun way to connect, motivate your writing, and enjoy the wonderful gifts that others will send your way. Sign up today!
Mom Egg Review is an annual print journal focused on motherhood. Their issues featured varied voices at all career phases.
This year’s issue is on the theme of “Home,” an apt focus for all of us currently staying at home and practicing social distancing. It’s a nice reminder that we’re not alone. Like many other journals at the moment, the editors have put together a virtual reading for readers. “Voices from HOME” links to contributors inviting everyone into their homes as they explore the theme.
RHINO publishes some of the best and most innovative poetry, short shorts, and translations in their annual issues. For their 2020 issue, the editors have organized an ongoing virtual reading event for the month of May. You still have some time to join in the fun, and you can learn more about these virtual readings here.
To learn more about the annual journal, visit their sponsored listing at NewPages.
AGNI is currently offering something really special for readers: the Virtual Launch of AGNI 91.
Here, the editors present videos from their contributors from all over the world and invite readers (or viewers!) to join the audience. All the pieces from the new Spring 2020 issue are available online, most of which have an accompanying video of the writer reading their work.
This is great not only for people who might not be able to spare extra cash to get their own copy (though if you can, please do consider it), but it’s also great for those of us who are having a hard time sitting down and concentrating on reading while we’re social distancing, and those who currently miss attending readings in person.
You can also learn more about the editors who have put this fantastic project together at the AGNI website.
I for one can’t wait to hit “play” and start hearing quality reading in my own home.
They offer three awards every years: the Joy Harjo Poetry Award, the Rick DeMarinis Short Story Award, and the Barry Lopez Nonfiction Award which open for submissions in August.
Readers can look forward to Issue 25 which will drop sometime this month. You can learn more about Cutthroat and their past contributors at their listing on our website.
This year the Cherry Tree Young Writers’ Conference will be held online. With this change, the conference will still involve the same great faculty, craft discussions, readings, and literary camaraderie that the face-to-face conference promised.
The dates stay the same: July 15-18 with a similar schedule, and the price to participate has been discounted. Scholarships are still available.
Learn more about this year’s conference at The Rose O’Neill Literary House page on the Washington College website.
Visit this special issue on Mississippi, featured on the Mag Stand this week. Poetry by George Drew, Jerry W. Ward Jr., Diane Williams, Charle R. Braxton, Kalamu ya Salaam, Angela Ball, Annette C. Boehm, Allison Campbell, Kendall Dunkelberg, and more; articles by John J. Han, Junying Jia, William Ferris, and Cassie Osborne Jr.; nonfiction by Hermine Pinson, Joseph Holt, and Kevin Baggett; and interviews with George Drew and Bennie Mae Fortune Harper. Plus six book reviews.
Looking for new eco-poetry? Visit The Tiger Moth Review for Issue 4, featuring work by Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé, Tara Menon, Nsah Mala, Noriko Nakada, Sabrina Ito, Jikang Liu, Prasanthi Ram, Ang Xia Yi, Rachel Kuanneng Lee, Michael Garrigan, Lois Marie Harrod, Jennifer MacBain-Stephens, Remi Recchia, Joe Balaz, Mario Loprete, Edrie Corbit, Nisha Bolsey, and more. Learn more at the Mag Stand.