The Summer 2022 issue of Rattle features a “Tribute to Prisoner Express,” a non-profit program based in Ithaca, New York, which sends books into prisons, allowing prisoners to communicate with each other creatively through a newsletter. Last year, Elizabeth S. Wolf donated her Rattle Chapbook Prize-winning collection, Did You Know?, to the program, and encouraged participants to write chapbooks of their own. The resulting poems were so powerful, that the editors decided they had to share. The issue includes an introduction by Elizabeth, and a conversation with the program’s director, Gary Fine, discussing the profound role expressive writing can play in rehabilitation. In addition to the contributions from thirteen Prison Express participants, this issue also features works from Nicelle Davis, William Virgil Davis, Kristina Erny, Mark Fitzpatrick, David Galloway, Lola Haskins, Emily Ruth Hazel, Alexis V. Jackson, Shawn Jones, Laura Judge, Lynne Knight, Milica Mijatovič, Abby E. Murray, Valerie Nies, Eri Okoye, Kathryn Paulson, Erin Redfern, Mather Schneider, George J. Searles, Maia Siegel, Elizabeth Spenst, Susan Vespoli, Wendy Videlock, and Arhm Choi Wild.
If I was on a desert island and could only have ONE literary journal, I would choose the Rattle Young Poets Anthology. This publication always gets my jaw to drop with the first poem and the rest just compound my being impressed, humbled, and motivated to read works by writers all under the age of fifteen. “As always,” the editors write, “this is not a book of poems for children, but the other way around—these are poems written by children for us all, revealing the startling insights that are possible when looking at the world through fresh eyes.” The anthology comes bundled with the companion issue of Rattle for subscribers but can also be ordered separately online. Submissions for the next anthology are open until November 15 annually. The 2022 edition includes poems from Melody Maxfield Cortez (10), Alenka Doyle (15), Lyla Foster (6), Daphne Frank (13), Sloane Flaherty Getz (15), Holly Haeck (15), Lucille Healy (4), Elizabeth Kerr (9), Sophia Liu (15), Anna Meister (15), Vitek Mencl (8), Evie Pugh (6), Reagan Rafferty (13), Kashvi Ramani (15), Skyler Rockmael (14), Syazwani Saifudin (14), Lily Blue Simmons (15), Mazzy Sleep (9), Alisha N. Wright (15), Avery Yoder-Wells (15), and Cynthia Zhang (14). Cover photo by M-A Murphy.
Guest Post by Nicholas Michael Ravnikar
With a comma that interrupts a Latin phrase etched in Christian history, Elizabeth Johnston Abrose’s Imago, Dei offers disjunction to give worn tropes new context. This deliberate juxtaposition rejuvenates the flat and stale of tradition.
A cycle of eighteen poems in free verse, the collection’s pieces each center in the third person on an unnamed female. Like the larva that becomes caterpillar that becomes chrysalis to become an adult – or imago – moth or butterfly, she is both identical with and different from her other incarnations.
Cited quotations in epigraph from both entomological and biblical literature underscore a tone of scholarly detachment and/or posture of dissociation. References to insects in the garden spin a theme of metamorphosis to encompass, which reinvigorates the classical Greek spiritual depiction of Psyche as butterfly.
Across its arc, the chapbook teases out narrative threads of youth marked by all-too-common traumas of evangelical Christianity: shamed sexuality, abuse masquerading as discipline in the guise of the father, a concomitant confusion of pain with love. For those considering such traumas from personal experience to reflect on the substance of religion’s impact on their lives, this collection, while perhaps triggering, may serve to reaffirm and validate.
Imago, Dei by Elizabeth Johnston Ambrose. Rattle Poetry, February 2022.
Nicholas Michael Ravnikar is a neurodivergent writer of poems, plays and fiction who is presently disabled. Previously employed as a college prof, copy editor, bathtub repair technician, substance abuse prevention agency success coach and marketing specialist, he lives in Racine, WI with his partner and their children. Connect with him on social media and get free chapbooks at bio.fm/nicholasmichaelravnikar.
Poetry by Elizabeth Johnston Ambrose
Rattle, February 2022
Chapbook, 44pp; $6
Rattle Chapbook Prize Winner
How does a daughter emerge whole from an upbringing saturated with religious fundamentalism? And if not whole, how does she piece together some kind of coherent self out of fragmented half-truths? The eighteen narrative poems in Imago, Dei bear witness to the emotional and psychological weight amassed from a girlhood fraught with vexed messages about what it means to be “good.” Narrated in third-person, lyric vignettes, these are poems about a daughter’s desire to be the son her well-meaning, but deeply damaged father thinks he needs; about an adolescent world filled with cute boys, predatory church leaders, Lakes of Fire, and broken girls who beg to be reborn; about the bad-girl specters of Eve, Jezebel, and Delilah that haunt her into adulthood and wreak havoc on her intimate relationships; about dirty dancing, Bible study, Lacanian theory, and crying after sex; and about what happens when a recovering evangelical becomes a mother to her own daughters.
The Spring 2022 issue of Rattle featured a Tribute to Librarians. Librarians work on the front lines of literature and are often the last bulwark against censorship, as we discuss with former librarian Janice N. Harrington in the conversation section. The theme includes 16 poems by librarians and their always-interesting contributor notes. The open section features 22 poets exploring the mysteries of life, both large and small. You can purchase the new issue at the Rattle website.
Deadline: January 15, 2021
The 2022 Rattle Chapbook Prize offers three winners $5,000 for a chapbook (up to 36 pages), plus 500 author copies, and distribution to Rattle’s 8,000+ subscribers. Entry fee of $25 includes a 1-year subscription to the magazine. For complete guidelines and to read past winners, visit our website: www.rattle.com/chapbooks.
The Winter 2021 issue of Rattle features the Rattle Poetry Prize winner and finalists.
“Encephalon” by Ann Giard-Chase
“After My Teenager Tries to Kill Herself . . .” by Elizabeth Johnston Ambrose
“This Is How I Make My Money” by Heather Bell
“Do You Have Children?” by Susan Browne
“Follow Me” by Rayon Lennon
“Black Boys as Fireflies” by Dayna Hodge Lynch
“White Privilege Skydives with Black Guy in Appalachia” by Mary Meadows
“The Internet of Things” by Erin Murphy
“Exodus: Gilliam Coal Camp, West Virginia, 1949” by L. Renée
“Purgatorio” by Zella Rivas
“My Father Transformed by Dying” by Richard Westheimer
Subscribers to Rattle can vote for their favorite out of the finalists to determine the winner of the $5,000 Readers’ Choice Award. The voting deadline is February 1.
The Winter 2021 issue features our 11 Rattle Poetry Prize winners. The open section features the usual wide-ranging poems with humor and heart. These poems cover love, evolution, Robin Hood, and the DMV. The conversation section takes an unusual turn, where psychologist James Pennebaker discusses his lifetime of research on the benefits of expressive writing. Learn more at the Rattle website.
Deadline: January 15, 2021
The Annual Rattle Chapbook Prize offers three winners $5,000 for a chapbook (up to 36 pages), plus 500 author copies, and distribution to Rattle’s 8,000+ subscribers. Entry fee of $25 includes a 1-year subscription to the magazine. Deadline: January 15. For guidelines and to read past winners, visit our website: www.rattle.com/chapbooks.
Rattle‘s issues always have a special section, and the Fall 2021 issue includes a Tribute to Indian Poets. Poets included are Tishani Doshi (who is also interviewed in the issue), Kinshuk Gupta, Zilka Joseph, Pankaj Khemka, Sophia Naz, and others.
The Summer 2021 issue of Nimrod International Journal brings us work that focuses on “Endings and Beginnings.” The editors promise “work that presents familiar beginnings and endings in new and compelling ways as well as work that illuminates smaller, unique kinds of endings and beginnings.” Angela Sucich, Sarah Carleton, Katie Culligan, and Bethany Shultz Hurst are a few who take on this task.
Every issue of THEMA is a themed issue. This time around for the Summer 2021 issue, writers and artists responded to the prompt “The Tiny Red Suitcase,” including Lynda Fox, Laura Ruth Loomis, James Penha, and Laura Blatt.