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Supporting the Craft and Business of Excellent Writing
Volume 11, Number 3: April 2014
Editor: Erika Dreifus
Copyright (c) 2014 Erika Dreifus


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1. Editor’s Note: What’s New
2. Article/Lessons Learned
3. Featured Resource
4. Upcoming/Ongoing Contests, Competitions, and Other Opportunities
5. Submission Alerts!!!
6. Blog Notes
7. Newsletter Matters
Greetings, practicing writers!

April brings us National Poetry Month (at least, in the nations of the U.S. and Canada). And so this issue spotlights poetry in the feature article: an interview with Daniel Nester, editor of THE INCREDIBLE SESTINA ANTHOLOGY.

As per usual, you’ll find plenty of opportunities not just for your poetry, but also for your fiction and creative nonfiction, too. And, as per usual, the newsletter brings you ONLY opportunities that won’t charge you entry/reading fees and, in the case of submission calls, that WILL pay you for your work.

Happy April to all,

An Incredible Q&A – with Daniel Nester – About THE INCREDIBLE SESTINA ANTHOLOGY

by Erika Dreifus

I don’t remember where or when I first encountered Daniel Nester and his work. But I do recall taking special interest when he announced that his sestina anthology project had found a publisher. I suspected that this book would be one I’d want to share with all of you. I was right.


Please welcome Daniel Nester!

Erika Dreifus (ED): Your introduction to THE INCREDIBLE SESTINA ANTHOLOGY begins this way: “First things first. You’re asking: Why in the world should I read a book of sestinas?” I’ll paraphrase for my own first question: “Why in the world did you compile a book of sestinas?” And, on a related note: *How* did the book develop?

Daniel Nester (DN): I suppose my reflexive reply to the first question would be “why not?” A more serious one would be “because no one’s done it before,” by which I mean no one has put together a collection of sestinas in English, in the time of the great sestina revival-renaissance of the 20th century onward. There are collections of sonnets, villanelles, haiku; why not the sestina? As I say in the introduction, one of the reasons I remain fascinated by the sestina is that so many different poets from different schools and aesthetic backgrounds and impulses feel the need to try on the sestina form. It’s a democratic form in the best sense of the word.

The book developed over time, from when I was McSweeney’s Assistant Web Editor for Sestinas in 2003. I had a full working manuscript by around 2006, and did the whole book proposal thing–I shopped it around to about 15 publishers, some of whom turned it down nicely, others more unceremoniously. Soft Skull Press, then my publisher, didn’t have any interest. For a year or two there, especially when our kids were born, the book was back-burnered. But then, as these things happen, I sent out a final, Hail Mary pass round of queries, and Write Bloody Publishing enthusiastically signed on.

ED: In my experience, some editors are decidedly uninterested in poems or short stories about writing or writers. But I note a number of sestinas in this anthology that are, in some sense, about sestinas (Dana Gioia’s “My Confessional Sestina,” Donald Hall’s “Sestina,” Brian Henry’s “Bad Apple.”) Any comment?

DN: I normally do hate writing about writing, at least in its current bloggy-blog air-kissy incarnation on the usual literary website-blogs. So much hand-wringing about how one is supposed to live one’s life as a Writer, as opposed to being a human being who is a writer. What I am attracted to is the ars poetica, a poem on the art of poetry (its literal Latin translation), and I think writing a sestina about a sestina is perhaps the most natural thing you can do–the sestina is, for many modern readers, a postmodern form, a form that is so ridiculous and elaborate it has become a “form,” a form that’s hard to ignore inhabiting in as one reads it. So why not make it more obvious by having, say, ostentatious end words? This self-referential business is not without precedent or synonyms: rappers often write about the art of hip-hop, so I don’t see much of a difference there. Gioia’s sestina about hating sestinas, while not my favorite sestina in this category, is nonetheless a notorious entrant, especially since he includes his workshop-bashing as well, which is sort of what made him famous back when he came out with “Can Poetry Matter?” in the early 1990s.

ED: End words, or terminations, are obviously essential in sestinas. I was intrigued by Elizabeth Bishop’s comment to Marianne Moore, quoted in the anthology, that there are “two ways possible” for a sestina: “one is to use unusual words as terminations…[a]nd the other way is to use as colorless words as possible…so that it becomes less of a trick and more of a natural theme and variations.” Care to comment?

DN: I love both tendencies, the natural and the unusual word approach. Both require a certain amount of mastery. As a sestina writer, I have erred on the side of the colorless word approach, with greater and lesser degrees of success.

ED: What was the most challenging aspect of getting this book from idea to publication?

DN: The permissions-getting would have been impossible without taking on a permissions coordinator, and Fred Courtright is the best in the business. He knows what he’s doing, he was so kind and generous. He was like a permissions doula while I was giving birth to this thing. The proofreading was the real challenge. The first proofreader we had didn’t even look at the originals–she just cold-read the poems as if they were new works or something–and it went into pages like that. Total nightmare. I hired an outside proofreader to get everything right, and we did. But it was…let’s say it was challenging and leave it at that.

ED: The book was published last fall. Please tell us a bit about how it has been received.

DN: There have been some classroom adoptions, and I’m Skype-visiting some classes this semester, as well as visiting some schools in person. My Poetry in Performance class will perform sestinas as one of their assignments. We got a nice article in the ALBANY TIMES UNION and THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION. Good word of mouth and some reviews coming up in the future. Sometimes I have to pinch myself when I think about all the contributors who are coming out to read their sestinas, all together in one place. I usually pinch myself six times, in spirit of sestinas.

ED: Thanks so much, Dan.

Please visit http://www.incrediblesestinas.com to learn more about this “incredible” anthology!

My thanks to Dan and Write Bloody for the complimentary review copy.
Want a concise definition of “sestina”? Or other poetic forms and types? Check out the Poetry Foundation’s online Glossary of Poetic Terms. Perfect for Poetry Month (and any month).


A Public Space (APS) Emerging Writer Fellowships
Deadline: April 15, 2014

“We are pleased to announce that applications are now open for three A Public Space Emerging Writer fellowships.” Fellowships confer: a six-month mentorship “from an established author who has previously contributed to A Public Space”; publication in the magazine; a $1,000 stipend; free workspace for writers based in/visiting New York. “Please note that applicants from all across the United States are encouraged to apply for these fellowships, and that the residency in our offices is an optional element.” This opportunity seems to be for writers of fiction or nonfiction. Additionally, “our focus when reviewing applications will be on finding writers who have not yet published or been contracted to write a book-length work, but whose writing shows exceptional promise.”
Antarctic Artists and Writers Program (National Science Foundation)
Deadline May 1, 2014

“The Antarctic Artists and Writers Program furnishes U.S. Antarctic Program operational support, and round-trip economy air tickets between the United States and the Southern Hemisphere, to artists and writers whose work requires them to be in the Antarctic to complete their proposed project. The Program does not provide any funding to participants, including for such items as salaries, materials, completion of the envisioned works, or any other purpose. U.S. Antarctic Program infrastructure consists of three year-round stations and numerous austral-summer research camps in Antarctica, research ships in the Southern Ocean, and surface and air transportation. These assets support the artist and writer projects. The main purpose of the U.S. Antarctic Program is scientific research and education. The Antarctic Artists and Writers Program supports writing and artistic projects specifically designed to increase understanding and appreciation of the Antarctic and of human activities on the southernmost continent.The program does not support short-term projects that are essentially journalistic in nature.”
Antioch Writers’ Workshop Scholarships
Deadline: April 15, 2014

Antioch Writers’ Workshop offers three scholarships, with different eligibility requirements, although all the scholarships are national, with adults over 18 permitted to apply. “First place scholarships are for a full waiver of registration and tuition for the Full Week experience ($735.00 value). Second place scholarships are for a half waiver of registration and tuition ($367.50 value). Recipients must pay for the other half of the registration and tuition ($367.50). For both first and second place awards, recipients must cover their own travel, lodging, food and other accommodations for the week. Manuscript critique, book purchases, and other expenses are not covered. Recipients must agree to have their name and likeness used on the AWW web site, blog, email newsletter, press releases, and other publicity materials….”
Bellagio Center (Rockefeller Foundation) Arts & Literary Arts Residencies
Deadline: May 1, 2014

“The Foundation seeks applications from outstanding creative artists at all career stages with a record of significant achievement in their fields. Videographers, filmmakers, novelists, playwrights, poets, visual artists, and artists in performance art and multimedia from any country are welcome to apply. Projects in all fields are welcome, but there is an interest in projects that are inspired by or relates to global or social issues. We also welcome projects that share more broadly in the Foundation’s mission of promoting the well-being of humankind or directly in the Foundation’s issue areas of Advance Health, Revalue Ecosystems, Secure Livelihoods, and Transform Cities.” Residencies in Italy last 2-4 weeks.
Norman Mailer High School and College Writing Awards
Deadline: April 30, 2014 (Noon CST)

“Students may submit work in any of the many subgenres of creative non-fiction: memoir or autobiography, essay, literary journalism, or profiles of people or places. Submissions may be ‘conventional’ or ‘experimental’ and may represent any creative non-fiction tradition. However, the best work will demonstrate compelling literary merit. Open to high school and college levels. Submissions not falling within the guidelines outlined below will not be considered. Late entries will not be accepted.” Categories include High School, Community College, and Four-Year College. There is also a “College Poetry” award category, which is open to “full-time students enrolled in four-year colleges, two year-colleges, junior colleges, and technical colleges.” Prizes: “One winner in each category will receive a cash award and will be an honored guest at the Colony’s National Award Ceremony in New York City.”
Harold U. Ribalow Book Prize (HADASSAH magazine)
http://www.hadassahmagazine.org/site/c.twI6LmN7IzF/b.9018587/k.ADFF/The_Harold_U_Ribalow_Prize_Guidelines.htm or
Deadline: April 20, 2014

“We are currently in the initial screening process for our 2014 Harold U. Ribalow Book Prize for fiction with a Jewish theme published in 2013.” This is an annual award “presented for an outstanding English-language work of fiction on a Jewish theme by an author deserving of further recognition.” The monetary award shall be no less than $3,000. Hadassah Magazine will decide by July where the award ceremony and reception will be held for that year’s event. In addition to the formal announcement, Hadassah Magazine will announce the winner in its editorial pages and will print an excerpt from or major review of the winning book.” (h/t to http://WinningWriters.com for locating these guidelines–I’ve somehow always had difficulty doing so!)
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Artist-in-Residence Program
Deadline: April 15, 2014

“The Artist-In-Residence program is open to professional American writers, composers and visual artists, including photographers, whose work can be influenced and enhanced by this superb Michigan scene. It provides resident artists the opportunity to capture the moods of Sleeping Bear Dunes in their particular medium. The program provides rent-free use of either a campsite in one of the developed mainland campgrounds, or a park house located in the vicinity of the village of Empire. A 3-week time block is available during October.”
Taos Summer Writers’ Conference D.H. Lawrence Fellowship
Deadline: April 11, 2014

“The Fellowship is awarded to an emerging writer of fiction or poetry with one book in print or at press. The D. H. Lawrence Fellow will receive paid tuition for one weekend or weeklong workshop (a value up to $650), lodging at the Sagebrush Inn or Comfort Suites, and two meals a day (breakfast and lunch). In return, the Fellow contributes to Conference activities and gives a formal reading.” NB: The Taos Summer Writers’ Conference offers additional scholarships and awards, some of which do not require registration/application fees. These include the Native Writer Award in Poetry or Fiction; the Hispanic Writer Award in Fiction, Nonfiction, or Poetry; and the Taos Resident Award in Poetry or Fiction. Application deadline for these awards is later (April 28).
From NARRATIVE magazine: “During the first two weeks of April, we do not require a reading fee for general submissions made specifically to the Open Reading category via our submissions page. However, manuscripts submitted during this period are not eligible for the Narrative Prize.” For details and pay rates, please visit http://www.narrativemagazine.com/submission-guidelines.
THE CINCINNATI REVIEW’s submissions window closes on April 15 (re-opening August 15). NB: “We are currently seeking long forms in poetry and prose. For poetry, the submission must be no fewer than 10 pages in manuscript. For prose, the work must be more than 10,000 words and fewer than 35,000 words.” Check the guidelines also for information regarding book reviews, translation features, and artwork. Pays: $25/page for prose; $30/page for poetry. http://www.cincinnatireview.com/
From SOUTHERN INDIANA REVIEW: “We accept manuscripts between September 1st and April 30th for our annual fall and spring issues….Contributors receive a stipend of $75, two complimentary copies of ‘their’ issue, the option to buy additional copies at a reduced rate, and a year’s subscription to the magazine.” Check guidelines at http://www.usi.edu/sir/guidelines.aspx for editorial statements from the poetry and nonfiction editors. The journal also publishes fiction.
RUMINATE “publishes work with both subtle and overt associations to the Christian faith as well as work that has no direct association.” Plans a fall issue with an open theme, but is not accepting poetry submissions for that issue. Deadline: May 15, 2014 “We currently pay fiction and nonfiction contributors $6 per 400 words and in contributor copies….We currently pay poetry contributors $12 per poem and in contributor copies.” http://www.ruminatemagazine.com
Between April 1 and May 31, “John Amen and Daniel Y. Harris will be receiving hybrid and/or multi-genre work for the June 2014 issue of PEDESTAL.” In addition, “Bruce Boston and Marge Simon will be editing speculative poetry” for that issue. Pays: $40/accepted poem or piece. “Amen and Harris are also interested in receiving prose work that combines the academic, scholarly, and/or critical with the mock- and/or meta-. Work could be in the form of interviews, reviews, academic papers, critical explorations, legal documents, laboratory summaries, etc. Think Harold Bloom meets Jorge Luis Borges.” Same submission window. Pays: “$.01-.02 per word.” Check http://www.thepedestalmagazine.com/submitguidelines.php for more information.
Between April 1 and June 1, PENUMBRA will receive submissions for an August issue on the theme of “Pain”: “Pain comes in a variety of guises. Physical. Mental. Emotional. Individual. Global. Psychosomatic. We want to read stories where the protagonist challenges pain–and either supersedes it, or collapses as a result of it. Do you write stories of solitary anguish? Or do you write stories of galactic healing? Regardless of which you prefer, make sure that your pain story confronts the concept of pain in a speculative fiction manner.” Pays: “Penumbra is a professional rates paying publisher at 5 cents per word.” NB: “We will evaluate poetry submissions for each issue. We will also consider previously published stories with rights reverted to the author. We do not accept simultaneous submissions.” Guidelines and information on other planned themes are available at http://penumbraezine.blogspot.com/p/submissions.html
THE JOURNAL OF COMPRESSED CREATIVE ARTS reopens to submissions on April 15, 2014. “On April 15, we will be looking for submissions in our brand new category: triptychs.” Description: “A three-columned submission, with the piece itself in the center column. We prefer the surrounding columns to be used in a way similar to the examples, kind of like those pop-ups in music videos. However, you can use the columns for anything you would like, but we would like there to be a singular creative piece and for that to be placed in the center column. That creative piece should be a one paragraph creative nonfiction or fiction piece (neither longer than 300 words) or a single stanza poem (not to exceed 10 lines or 75 words)…. As with our other submissions, we will pay $50 for an accepted triptych.” They will also be seeking “visual arts projects that incorporate the idea of compressed text into the work. We are especially interested in a series of visual arts pieces that can be published once a week over a period of a month or several months. We pay in the range of $50 – $100 for the rights to publish such a series. We might also be interested in purchasing the pieces outright.” http://matterpress.com/submissions/
“TRANSITION is published twice a year by The Canadian Mental Health Association (Saskatchewan Division) Inc….TRANSITION publishes two kinds of works: those directly about mental health issues; and those about the individual’s personal experience of those same issues. Both kinds of works celebrate lives in transit – lives of change, growth, and transformation. We solicit original, unpublished articles, as well as fiction, non-fiction, poetry, book reviews, and visual art (black and white) that represent current mental health issues in our province and reflect on their impact on individuals. TRANSITION especially encourages new and emerging writers to submit their work. There is also no deadline, as we accept submissions continuously.” NB: No simultaneous submissions. Pays: “$50.00 per printed page.” More info at http://sk.cmha.ca/get-involved/transition-magazine/
The newsletter is published just once each month, but there’s *always* something new at our Practicing Writing blog: fresh market news, current contest and job listings, links to writing-related articles, newly-discovered craft and business resources, and so much more. Regular blog features include:

–Monday Markets for Writers
–Wednesday Work-in-Progress
–Friday Finds for Writers
–Sunday Sentence

Please visit, and comment! http://www.erikadreifus.com/blogs/practicing-writing/

And for those of you practicing writers who are interested in matters of specifically Jewish literary/cultural interest, please also visit My Machberet (http://www.erikadreifus.com/blogs/my-machberet). (For the curious, “machberet” is the Hebrew word for “notebook”.)

Recent posts there include:

–Words of the Week: Matthew Weiner
–Paid Internship at Tablet
–Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat
Information contained in THE PRACTICING WRITER is collected from many sources, with the purpose of providing general references. It is researched to the best of our ability but readers should verify information when necessary and appropriate. THE PRACTICING WRITER and its editor/publisher disclaim any liability for the use of information contained within. Thank you for subscribing.
For updates and additional opportunity listings between newsletters, please check in with our “Practicing Writing” blog, http://www.erikadreifus.com/blogs/practicing-writing.
ABOUT THE EDITOR: Based in New York City, Erika Dreifus is the author of QUIET AMERICANS: STORIES, which is an American Library Association Sophie Brody Medal Honor Title for outstanding achievement in Jewish literature. A member of the advisory board for J JOURNAL: NEW WRITING ON JUSTCE, she has taught for Harvard University, the Cambridge (Mass.) Center for Adult Education, and the low-residency MFA programs in creative writing at Lesley University and the Northwest Institute for Literary Arts. Please visit http://www.erikadreifus.com to learn more about Erika’s work, and go directly to http://www.erikadreifus.com/quiet-americans/book-clubs/ to arrange for her to visit your book club!
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