Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Monday, October 22, 2012

Agnes Scott 42nd Annual Writer's Festival Writing Competition

Creative Writing Competition

Entry Deadline December 3, 2012

"Agnes Scott College's 42nd annual Writers' Festival will be held on the college's Decatur campus on Thursday and Friday, April 4 and 5, 2013. Finalist entries in the Festival contest will be judged by distinguished guest writers Gish Jen, Cristina Garcia, and Anjail Rashida Ahmad '92. All three will also give public readings during the Festival.

Contest categories are poetry, short fiction, personal essay, and one-act play. A prize of $500 will be awarded to the winning entry in each category. Contest finalists will be notified by email in January. Finalists will be published in the Festival magazine and will be invited to a workshop with the visiting writers during the event."
For more information and submission guidelines, please visit { This Link }

Call for Southern Poetry and Essays on Southern Poetry

"Every issue of Rattle gathers poems from a specific ethnic, vocational, or social group, comprising a special section of about 30 pages. We’re currently seeking submissions from poets of the American South for our Spring 2013 issue. We will define Southern Poets as those who have lived at least half of their lives in: Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, or Texas. The poems don’t have to be about the South, or relate to the region in any way–as always, we want to publish a representative sample of what the featured group happens to be writing.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

How to Format a Cover Letter When Submitting Your Writing To Magazines (when submitting via snailmail)

Your Name
Your Address

Poetry Editor's Name
Literary Magazine's Name
Literary Magazine Address

Dear Poetry Editor,

Please consider my poems "Title 1," "Title 2," and "Title 3" for Your Literary Magazine. I am studying writing at Your University's Name, and I have recently published in Literary Review, Literary Mag, and Lit Magazine. Big Name Poet's work in your recent issue was truly inspiring.

Thank you for reading my work!


Your Name


A few notes:

1. number of poems: follow the guidelines listed on the magazine's website

2.  If you have publications, list a few of them (three or four is fine). If you do not, tell them that too--magazines like to find new talent.

3. If you are studying writing somewhere, you can list that. 

4. Keep it short and sweet. 

5. Tell them why you are submitting to their magazine--did you recently read a poem in there that you admired? Do you admire their editor, poets previously published, prestige, etc? But if you haven't, don't make one up, obviously.

6. Be Honest.

7. Don't stress about the cover letter too much--the writing is what matters, ultimately.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Literary Juice Flash Fiction Contest

Have you written a short story you are particularly proud of? Think it has what it takes to win $200 and publication online? Well, Literary Juice is hosting its first flash fiction writing contest, and we want you to send us your story!

Contest Rules

1. All contest submissions must be typed in 12-point, Times New Roman font. Story size is 700 words maximum. Type your name, address, and e-mail on the top corner of the first page in your manuscript. Submissions must be written in English. Any genre is allowed; however, we do not accept novel excerpts.
2. Simultaneous submissions are welcome, but there will be no refund on the entry fee if your story is accepted elsewhere. If your story is accepted in another publication/contest, we ask that you e-mail us immediately regarding its status.
3. Previously published stories are not permitted.
4. Stories must be the work of entrant only. Do not submit for someone else.
5. Entry fee is $5.00 per story and non-refundable. We only accept submissions online, which you can find by visiting our website at
6. Authors may submit multiple stories so long as each submission is accompanied by the entry fee.
7. Contest is open to everyone age 18 or older, including non-U.S. based authors.
8. Winning entrants agree to have their story published online. Authors will retain worldwide copyright on their stories, with Literary Juice having first publication rights.
9. Deadline for submissions is February 15, 2012. Winners will be notified via e-mail and results will be posted online.
10. Winner will receive $200 (USD) and publication in Literary Juice; one runner-up will receive $50 (USD) and publication in Literary Juice. Prizes will be awarded by check via mail.
11. Entry is confirmation that you agree to all rules and conditions.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Chapbook Presses that Read for Free

1} Dancing Girl Press
Publishes women only. One of my MFA classmates published with them, and I admire her work. Their chapbook designs are always timeless and beautiful.

2} Slash Pine Press
Based in Alabama, this Southern press does a lot to promote its writers--various festivals, readings, and a good web presence. They publish perhaps a bit more experimental work, but I've been short-listed on their annual writing contest a few times. 

3} Blue Hour Press
BH publishes e-chapbooks. Their design is beautiful, the poetry is top-notch, and you can read everything for free. At first I wasn't as interested in publishing an e-chapbook, but lately I've started to think that it might be something worth pursuing, since it would make my work so much more accessible.

4} Gold Wake Press
This press most recently published Nick Courtwright, and I love his poetry. They publish e-chapbooks and print editions, and you can submit online.

5} Ugly Duckling Presse
This press has been around for awhile (1999) and is fairly well known, as far as chapbooks go. They also publish full length collections, which is something to think about if one wanted to stay with the same publisher in the transition from publishing chapbooks to full length collections.

6} Casey Shay Press Mary Ballard Poetry Chapbook Prize
a fee free contest reading from April to July. the prize includes $500 plus publication

7} Hyacinth Girl Press
a feminist press that has published authors such as Kathleen Kirk.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A List of Competitive Literary Magazines

Alaska Quarterly Review
American Poetry Review
Arts and Letters
Barrow Street
Bellingham Review
Beloit Poetry Journal
Cerise Press
Chattahoochee Review
Cincinnati Review
Columbia Poetry Review
Connecticut Review
Cortland Review
Five Points
Georgia Review
Gettysburg Review
Green Mountains Review
Greensboro Review
Gulf Coast
Harpers Magazine
Hayden's Ferry Review
Hudson Review
Kenyon Review
Massachusetts Review
Mid-American Review
Missouri Review
New England Review
New Ohio Review
North American Review
Post Road Magazine
Quarterly West
The Pinch
Saint Ann's Review
Sewanee Review
Southern Review
Southwest Review
The Atlantic
Threepenny Review
Virginia Quarterly Review
West Branch

Friday, October 12, 2012

Best Books on Writing for Writers

  1. Best Words Best Order: Essays on Poetry by Stephen Dobyns
  2. The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age by Sven Birkerts
  3. Proofs and Theories: Essays on Poetry by Louise Gluck
  4. The Triggering Town: Lectures and Essays on Poetry and Writing by Richard Hugo
  5. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
  6. A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf
  7. No Evil Star: Selected Essays, Interviews, and Prose by Anne Sexton
  8. On Poetry and Craft by Theodore Roethke
  9. Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
  10. Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles
  11. Music Through the Eyes of Faith by Harold Best

Poetry Presses that Read For Free

Able Muse Press
Angoor Press: poetry manuscripts 100 poems long or longer
Another New Calligraphy: Chicago area poets only
Batcat Press: a very small press, but they do beautiful work.
BlazeVox Press: has an online "reading room" where you can read some of their titles for free
Brick Road Poetry Press: accepts electronic submissions; open for reading February 1 - August 1
Counterpath Press: accepts electronic submissions; query first
Dark Coast Press
Emily Dickinson First Book Award: for poets 40 years old or older
Flame Books 
Keyhole Press: a small press out of Nashville, TN
Kitsune Books
Linda Bruckheimer Kentucky Literature Series (Sarabande Books): for Kentucky writers only
Marie Alexander Series (White Pine Press): for collections of prose poems only
Milkweed Editions
Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award: for African American Poets only
Press 53: only publishes poetry manuscripts that are 70 pages or longer
University of Notre Dame Press: Andres Montoya Poetry Prize, for Latino poets only

Five Websites Every Poet Should Know

1} Duotrope
 A searchable database of literary magazines and small presses. You can keep track of your submissions (when they were submitted, how long they've been out, etc), your favorite presses and magazines, and check out average response times, upcoming themes, and other useful things.

2} Newpages
Newpages also has a big list of literary magazines and small presses; in addition, they offer a list of writer's blogs, calls for submissions, and reviews on books and literary magazines. It is a great resource for discovering new literary magazines and authors.

3} Poetry Foundation
Poetry Foundation is the website of Poetry Magazine and offers a searchable database of authors and poetry. It has some great articles on there (Harriet the Blog is a must-read for literary news).

4} Poets
Poets is the official website of the Academy of American Poets. You can find ideas for sharing poetry in the classroom, biographical sources on famous poets, and essays and interviews.

5} Poets and Writers
PW, the website for the magazine Poets and Writers, has a little bit of everything--articles, a database of presses, contests, and magazines, even a forum to connect with other writers. 

Poetry Manuscript Contests for Women Writers

Methods for Organizing a Poetry Manuscript

- from Albert Rios

"a. Temporal Narrative suggests time as your editor.  This is an old, but often effective, approach.  Time orders things in an often unexpected but logical way.  Temporal narrative might be the order in which the pieces were written, the age of the speaker--if the manuscript covers a lifetime, or temporal indicators within the poems themselves.

Backward Temporal Narrative can also be effective.  If you walk along a hiking trail one way, and see certain things, returning along that trail ought to be equally coherent and connected, with the same view of things, but new.
"When you start with a portrait and search for a pure form, a clear volume, through successive eliminations, you arrive inevitably at the egg. Likewise, starting with the egg and following the same process in reverse, one finishes with the portrait."--Pablo Picasso

c. Character Growth employs a narrative that follows characters as they grow up or change, which can be effective if your manuscript has strong characters and is based on character development.  This long storytelling tradition would include the bildungsroman, or coming-of-age narratives.

Convergent Narrative offers two parallel stories of people who will be connected in some significant way, but who are not connected at the beginning.  The form may include more than two parallel stories, but there may be a point of diminishing returns if the complexity overwhelms the artistry.

The Trip is an old and honored form of storytelling involving a journey or quest.  Walk walk walk, drive drive drive, fight fight fight, talk talk talk.

Nature can be an organizing schema.  You might group your poems or stories by season or elements, literally or metaphorically.  Poems about fall, for example, would include anything that drops or expends energy.  Winter stories would include anything about dormancy.

Organic approaches are based on the physical qualities of the item described.  For example, a story about a zoo might follow the paths through the zoo and what you would see on each one of them.  A book of love poems might be organized by head, neck, clavicle, chest, and, uh, toes.

Link by Colors, by Smells.  We're talking about the senses here, but be loose or open in your sensibility.  Include a poem with a red object in it, even--and especially--if the word "red" does not come up in the poem, and pair it with another poem containing something else that is red in it.  Link stories or chapters by smells, by tastes, by senses we haven't even discovered yet.

Partnered or Thematic Grouping clusters all the poems about ice cream together.  Or all the stories with a single image or shared leitmotif may be clustered together.  Position them effectively: The first four poems contain the word "razor" and the fifth poem contains "sharp."

Orchestrated Structures link dissimilar ideas that share a single characteristic--not unlike the razor-razor-razor-razor-sharp sequence, though perhaps not as easy to decipher.  Rather than linking all the poems about ice cream, for example, it might simply be the joining of a group of pieces about Antarctica, the last look of a partner you've just broken up with, the broken icemaker in your Amana, and songs about Christmas.  The connection is clear--cold--but the circumstances are not at all necessarily joined.

Language or Issues or Big Thoughts are somewhat shopworn but viable ways to organize a manuscript.  But make sure you, rather than the issue, are writing the poems or stories.  Rhetoric is rarely good art or plot.  What should happen is far different from what does happen.  People live far more imperfect, and interesting, lives.
"The Twist was a guided missile, launched from the ghetto into the very heart of suburbia. The Twist succeeded, as politics, religion, and law could never do, in writing in the heart and soul what the Supreme Court could only write on the books."--Eldridge Cleaver
l. Logical Sequence involves identifying what a reader needs to know in order to understand the next thing, then ordering the poems or stories so that they make sense.  This is like climbing a ladder.  A detective novel works this way.

Spiral Structures are chains of associations based on similarity.  The spiral should be like a hawk circling slowly in and down.  The spiral structure is similar to the dialogue concept, with one line speaking to another in a long chain, but rather than circularity or closed dialogue, the movement is slowly and evenly forward.
"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time."
--T.S. Eliot

Mosaic structuring uses many small fragments to tell a larger story.  Like a mosaic, the individual pieces are bits of color and shape.  From a distance, as the reader stands back and puts them all together, a picture emerges.  A mystery is well-served by this form, though the process serves many kinds of manuscripts.  The test of this form is, of course, that something clear must emerge.

Objective Ordering may be appropriate depending on the subject of the manuscript.  If the book is about the anonymity of force, you might want to use untitled poems identified by only number.  You might alphabetize the poems by the first word.  You might throw the stories up into the air and order them according to the whim of their landing.  Objectivity, if you can truly live with it, suggests a sense of metaphysics--that something out there, rather than us, is in control--or the more troubling suggestion of what has been called pataphysics--that neither we nor anything else out there is in control.  Getting a reader to understand this, however, might take an author's note.

Alphabetizing is a strong but deceptive organizer, both whimsical and efficient at the same time--while being neither finally.  It simply offers an effective foundation for letting the manuscript speak for itself.  Related to Objective Ordering, it is an institutionalized version of throwing your poems up in the air and letting the order settle itself.  The trouble, of course, with these methods is that you will not be able to stick with them.  Something will trouble you, or you will want to just exchange one poem for another in the order, or like that.  Examine this feeling.  The ordering sensibility you are looking for may be resident in your inability to truly let objectivity order the manuscript.

Eccentric Structures involve oddities or non sequitur thinking linked together by virtue of their lack of connection.  Surrealism made a mighty attempt at this, and succeeded in large measure by finding value in what would seem at first meaningless and nonsensical.  Psychotherapy often plays in this garden as well.

r. Last-line-First-line Dialogue is the most whimsical and often the most fun.  See what the last line of a poem or story would connect to in the first line of another poem or story.  This will establish a dialogue among the pieces in the book.  Even though you may also realistically need to consider the second line and the second-to-last line, the idea is to forget about the body of the poem or story and just look at what the first and last lines have to say to one another.  This creates a coherent book in its in-between spaces, and gives a surprising sense of motion or connection in the moment--that is, connection where we do not expect to find it

s. The Old Neighborhood is still something to count on, an indestructible, definable, visceral, and tangible home-ness.  I'm am talking here about place, which--if you know something about one--you ought to consider.  Geography is a natural connector, and exasperating separator."

Further Reading:"Dynamic Design" "boox" "how to compile a manuscript" and "Organizing Strategies"

The Line

"Look through your poem drafts, notes, and writing fragments. Choose one line that you like and refine it until it feels as complete and polished as one line out of context can be. Use that line as a refrain in a new poem. When you've completed a decent draft, try writing an additional draft of the poem without the line, using it instead as the title."

courtesy of Poets & Writers

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Dealing with Rejection

1} Literary Rejections on Display: a blog of anonymous rejections. "no matter how good you are, there is always someone who will say no."

2} Famous authors, rejected. Sylvia Plath was told she didn't have enough talent to take notice of. ouch.

3} Rejection Wiki. Search this wikipedia for rejection letters from all of your favorite literary magazines. 
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