Go (Write) Wild!

You have until March 15, 2006, to submit a (previously unpublished) essay to the Second Annual Wild Iowa Essay Project, which “encourages thoughtful, effective writing about the wild in Iowa. The Project is not a contest so much as an organized opportunity to inspire people of all ages to think and write about what the wild is and could be in Iowa.”

According to the essay and submission guidelines (which you of course need to read in full), entries should address “one or more of the following questions. Authors are encouraged to use specific examples and personal experiences.

*What does/should ‘wildness’ mean to Iowans?
*How have we moved away from the wild in Iowa, and what harm has that caused?
*Where does the wild still exist in Iowa now?
*How can Iowans ‘rewild’?
*What would a ‘wilder Iowa’ look like?”

Note that there are two submission categories, “Youth” and “Adult.” Entries “may be in any prose essay form, ranging from expository to creative nonfiction.” Word limit: 3,000 words.

Selected essays will win cash awards “of up to $300.” Winning essays that are submitted electronically will be published on the Wild Iowa Essay Project website. There’s no entry fee.

A Winter Weekend’s Reading

If you’re looking for some writing-oriented reading this weekend you can find plenty to keep you occupied (and thinking) in online offerings from the January-February 2006 Poets & Writers magazine. I found so much of direct interest to me in this issue I’m still marveling over it.

My interest was piqued first when I saw that the magazine had published a complimentary letter penned by a friend of mine. That was a good sign! (No, that’s not one of the online offerings I’m pointing you to. But I have to say it made me smile as I read on.)

I can’t say I’ve read all of David Foster Wallace’s work, but his story, “The Depressed Person,” remains a favorite. So I was more than just intrigued to find Joe Woodward’s piece, “In Search of David Foster Wallace,” in the magazine.

Then, because I’m a pretty active book reviewer (I should probably be writing a review right this minute instead of blogging–the book in question is reprovingly within my peripheral vision) and try to help others learn about book reviewing I was also interested in Timothy Schaffert’s Q&A with David Ulin, who now edits the Los Angeles Times Book Review.

As if that weren’t enough, Daniel Nester’s article on Stephen Elliott’s new anthology addresses one of my favorite topics: “politically inspired fiction.”

And finally, there’s Kevin Larimer’s report on the outcome of the most recent Winnow Press First Fiction competition. Or maybe lack of outcome is a better term, since no prize was awarded. I certainly can’t say I’m an uninvolved party here, both because I know very well which little bird alerted Mr. Larimer to this piece of news and because yes, I am one of the 300 people whose manuscripts the press found, in the words of publisher Corinne Lee, “so disappointing.” I suppose I’ll just remain grateful to (and perhaps in a very human way will prefer the judgments of) the editors of the five journals and two contests that published and “prized” the stories included in this manuscript collection (a shortened one, due to the contest’s page limits) in the past. And I’ll be grateful, too, to Winnow Press for returning my contest fee.

Axton Fellowship Deadline Approaching

January 15, 2006, is the postmark deadline for applying for an Axton Fellowship in Creative Writing at the University of Louisville. The fellowship is open to writers who have received their terminal degree (M.A., M.F.A., or Ph.D.) in creative writing within the past five years. Two fellows (one in poetry and one in fiction) will be appointed for the next two academic years. They will be awarded stipends ($25,000/year) and benefits. “Each fellow will give a reading in the Axton reading sesries once during his or her tenure, will run one, two-day literary seminar, and will teach one course each semester. Of the four courses, one will be of the fellow’s design, one will be on the teaching of creative writing, and the other two will be upper level creative writing or literature courses. The fellows will be expected to be in residence in Louisville during their fellowship period.” The fellowship is intended to offer recent graduates time to work on their own writing, as well as to “associate them with a distinguished faculty, and to allow them to contribute to a vibrant creative writing program.” Download the full description (with application instructions) at the bottom of this page.

Postal Rates Change

Here’s an important reminder for all practicing writers in the U.S.: postal rates change as of January 8, 2006 (this Sunday). I managed to buy a bunch of 2-cent stamps to use with my trove of 37-centers yesterday (and also extended my P.O. Box rental for another year). So if you plan on mailing any submissions or taking care of other postal business in the immediate future, make it very immediate to take advantage of the current rates, and be sure to remember to include appropriate added postage for any SASE’s (last time the rates went up I ended up having to hunt for submission responses months later from more than one journal that simply did not use the old SASE, and wouldn’t/couldn’t make up the difference on its own).