Friday, November 5, 2010
Our fall here in northeastern Wyoming is extending beyond any I've seen in recent years. Even now, on November 5, we've had no snow to speak of, just a skiff one night, and then back to sunny, mostly warm weather. But while the nights are cold, and the wind is growing ever more so, I'm glad winter has been in no hurry to arrive.
Our BLW members got back in the writing saddle this fall, with a motel retreat for a few, some making a renewed commitment to personal blogs, more submissions being made, and all of us back to producing new work and editing through our files, with several new projects started, and one member learning she will be the cover story for a women's magazine next spring. Is that a WOW! or what? Triple WOW!!!, methinks.
November brings the annual Writer's Digest November Poem-a-Day (PAD) Chapbook Challenge, and a few BLW members are participating again this year. Poet and blogger Robert Lee Brewer posts a prompt each day, and then participants produce a poem based on the prompt. Or one prompted by the prompt. (Ha.) Individual interpretation of the prompt is encouraged, and sometimes a poet pushes the idea of the prompt way outside the lines, which makes reading the poems very interesting.
Poets can post their daily poems to the blog, or not, as they choose. I recognize many poets’ names from reading the blog last year; it is intriguing to see how the prompts work on the minds of other writers. I have chosen to post my poem drafts as one way to keep me accountable and writing, but also to see which poems prompt (!) someone to respond. Since the poems posted are mostly in the draft stage (though admittedly there are poems posted, by me and others, that read as pretty darn finished), they can still be used in contests and marketed for publication. From what I’ve read, most people in the industry do not consider work posted to a workshop-type blog as having been published. However, each writer must make that determination for him or her self.
During December, poets edit their work and create a 10-20 page chapbook of poems from the PAD challenge, which is then sent to Brewer as an email attachment by the January 5, 2011 deadline. He and his wife, poet Tammy Foster Brewer, will select one chapbook as the winner by February 2, Groundhog Day.
Last year, five BLW members participated in the daily writing, and three of us were able to work together in a couple of editing sessions, helping each other select poems to include in our chapbooks, then crafting and arranging those poems into a cohesive, readable whole. Much to my surprise and delight, my chapbook Wild Grace was selected by the Brewers as one of 21 finalists in the 2009 November PAD Chapbook Challenge. Nancy Posey won with her collection Let the Lady Speak; Posey is a participant again this year, too.
For those just reading about the chapbook challenge, it is not too late to join in. The link below will take you to the web pages containing all the information you need to begin “poeming” to a daily prompt.
As we move ever closer to winter, may your writing continue to spring forth, unfold, and flourish.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Mapping Me: A Landscape of Women’s Stories is an anthology of fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, photography and artwork. Its objective is to explore the connections – the invisible threads – that exist between women across the globe. Our starting point is to place the most basic question of identity, “Who am I?” within the complexities of culture and ethnicity. How do women respond to motherhood, rage, loss, relationships and loneliness across cultures? Do we share the same concept of grief and sadness, joy and love? We ask the writers and artists to tell stories, which negotiate the demands placed upon everyday women by society. The goal of this project is the sharing of such stories that allow the readers to draw their own conclusions whether or not culture is a divisive state between women.
Some Questions To Think About
So what does this mean for you? Well really, it is up to you. Some questions we have we been asking artists and writers to think about are:
1. Who are you? Are you a ‘Culture’ first or a ‘Woman’ first? What is your voice?
2. How do you negotiate the cultural and/or societal authorities that tell you to be thin, pretty, get married, have children, worship, obey/disobey, have a career, stay at home etc.
3. Do you have a burning story about an event, a lost love, heartbreak, arranged marriages, unarranged marriages, infertility, fertility, or even a bathroom cluttered with make up.
4. Do you want to express conflict? Family dynamics? Frustrations over rivalries, children, demands of home and work, silences, arguments, tension with extended
families. Do you have a story of revenge? Manipulation? Women are complex creatures and we are capable of great loving as well as great evil too. We are, of course, human.
5. Who do you see in the mirror each morning? How does your culture affect your body image? Does it? Do you fight against it? Do you buy into any stereotypes? Do you have a funny story to share. We are looking for humour too. This is not a grim book.
Please select a category and create a story, poem, creative non-fiction or artwork.
· Category 1. Stories of movement and motivation, restriction and escape.
· Category 2. Stories about food and nurturing.
· Category 3. Stories about, touch, love, sexuality or virginity.
· Category 4. Stories about self-image, judgments, perceptions and observation.
· Category 5. Stories about motherhood, family, marriage, fertility, birth.
· Category 6. Stories of laughter, fun, malice, viciousness.
Please make sure your work conforms to the following guidelines:
· For round two, contributors’ literary works must be original and unpublished.
· You may submit as many works as you wish.
· Writer’s Word Count Guidelines
1. Short stories: no more than 1000 words
2. Creative non-fiction: no more than 1000 words
3. Poetry: 4 to 6 pieces.
4. Flash fiction – anything less than 500 words.
· Your work must be submitted as either an attachment in a rich text format (RTF) or a word document (doc). No PDF files or docx files, please! We simply cannot work with these file formats. Alternatively, you may paste your work in the body of the email. If your writing has a specific format, attach it as a file to the email.
Works can be submitted in your mother tongue. Please provide an English translation with your submission.
Please do not send us web links of your writing or artwork. We will not see them.
· Artwork Guidelines
· You may submit as many paintings, photographs or a mix of art and prose as possible. We accept JPG files (no JPF).
· Submit your work to the editors at email@example.com
· Please provide a cover letter and include a short biography (no more than 50 words).
· Let us know under what categories you are submitting your works.
· Deadline is the 1st of September 2010.
· Our reading period is 1 to 3 months.
We regret that we are unable to provide payment to contributors. Our goal is to provide a copy of the book to contributors but this is subject to the publisher’s approval.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
THE FIRST MHR KNOCK OUR HATS OFF CONTEST
Mad Hatters’ Review will consider submissions in FICTION or POETRY commencing on MARCH 1ST, 2010 (12 a.m. USA EST) and ending on June 30th (11:59 p.m.).
First prize winners in both genres will receive $250 (each) plus publication of their entries in Issue 12. The winning works of 5 runners-up in each genre will also be published in Issue 12.
All winning entries will be published in a print anthology called “Knock Our Hats Off: A Little Book of Curious Delights.” Each winner will receive a copy of this deluxe collector’s item.
The terms “fiction” and “poetry” may be interpreted broadly. Take a walk on the wild side through our pages. Take liberties. Governments are taking them away from us, so we’re giving them away free.
Our honorable judges:
Cris Mazza, Fiction
Sheila E. Murphy, Poetry
Our entry fee and modus operandi:
$12 per entry via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Poetry: 3 poems max per entry.
Fiction: 3000 words max per entry.
By all means, enter as many times as you wish.
All submissions must be sent to email@example.com with the following information in the subject line:
- Your Name
- Genre (Fiction or Poetry)
- Title/s of submission
- Word Count
Pages of texts should be titled, but your name should only appear on the subject line of your email, as submissions will be read blind. We’ll ask for your bio and optional pic if you’re a first place winner or runner-up.
Simultaneous submissions are expected. Just tell us immediately if some other lucky editor has grabbed your gem/s. But please realize that we won’t refund entry fees.
Winning entries will be announced by September 15th. Please address queries to firstname.lastname@example.org (subject line: QUERY).
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Nancy Posey was declared winner of the chapbook challenge on February 2, and Robert selected three of Nancy's poems to include in his blog entry of the announcement. He also had four names on an "honorable mention" sort of list--alas, I didn't make that cut.
Taking on this challenge and seeing it through to the end was a rewarding endeavor, giving each of us thirty new poems to edit and craft into finished works. The process of daily writing and posting, sifting and editing for a chapbook, and making a submission deadline, all during a busy time of the year, was a wonderful affirmation of our "writerly" selves.
Aspiration, acknowledgement, affirmation--quite enough for a good start to the new year.