Subscriber News: December 2022
Winning Writers contest judge Michal 'MJ' Jones's debut poetry collection, Hood Vacations, is forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press in January and is available for pre-order. MJ says, "In churning out these poems, I thought about the many ways in which my familial and ancestral legacy was about dreaming of escape–escape from the horrors of racism and then eventually from Blackness itself through attempts at assimilation. I thought about the ways we've been taught to vacate ourselves–our Blackness, transness, queerness, etc. and wanted to write toward a refusal to do so." Read sample poems on the publisher's website.
Congratulations to Roberta Beary and Chaun Ballard. They were co-winners of the 2022 Bridport Prize for Poetry. Roberta won for their poem "After You Self-Medicate with Roethke’s 'The Waking' Read by Text-to-Speech App" and Chaun's winning piece was "My Father and I Drive to St. Louis for His Mother's Funeral, and I Can't Remember If We Brought Flowers". Roberta's poem found a home with The Bridport Prize after it had been rejected sixty times, yet Roberta never stopped believing in it. The competition’s Poetry judge, Inua Ellams, described the poem's "halting startling imagery" and "comments on feminine interdependence and maternal love" as the reasons it stood out. "We glimpse the human spirit and expand our understandings of contemporary life." Ellams said of Chaun's poem, "'My Father and I...' comments on abuse of power by police officers, deftly conjuring the uncomfortable yet familiar scene with 'I am asked to exit my vehicle/ as if I had a choice/ So there is a point in the journey when the frame holds.' Both poems have halting, startling imagery. Both poems also reach suspenseful and emotionally charged cliff-hanger endings. For these reasons, I could not choose one over the other, so chose both poems as joint winners...It is my belief they are in conversation with each other." Winners were invited to read at a ceremony in Bridport (UK) and published in an anthology. The 2023 award series, with prizes up to 5,000 pounds for poetry and prose, is currently open to entries through May 31. This will be the 50th year of the contest.
Richard Eric Johnson's fifth poetry collection, Free Air Berlin: Of a Wall and a Walnut Tree, is available from Poets' Choice and on Amazon. In a review on her blog But Does It Rhyme, poet Sally Zakariya says of this book, "Filled not only with sharp, stunning poems but also a chronology and list of recommended reading, among other features, the book tells the story of the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall... Eric's strength is to say a great deal in very few words." The author kindly shares a sample poem here.
J Brooke's essay "Tanker" was published in The Massachusetts Review, Vol. 63, Issue 3 (Fall 2022). Read editor Edward Clifford's interview with them, "10 Questions for J Brooke," on the journal's website.
Annalee F. Cobbett's humorous political exposé, Enumerator: An Irreverent Memoir, is available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback editions. From the book description: "When a white, lesbian lawyer in midlife crisis escapes unemployment with a U.S. Census enumerator job in Oakland, California, she blogs about her door-to-door escapades, capturing controversies over race, class and privacy with humor and insight...Enumerator explores 2010: the Great Recession, Sarah Palin, and the Tea Party from the census worker's viewpoint, so pull on your jackboots and watch out for black helicopters."
Carol D. Marsh's flash essay "Promise" was published in Hippocampus Magazine. Carol tells us, "Your newsletter is such a wonderful service to the writing community. Thank you so much."
Alan W. King's 24-minute documentary on hip-hop theater producer Jennifer L. Nelson, Sing the Heart of the Magic, can be viewed for free on YouTube. Alan says, "The younger sister of the celebrated poet Marilyn Nelson, Jennifer used the arts to empower people in the margins and transformed a coalition of artists into a full-producing theater company." Download a free teaching guide by Khadijah Ali-Coleman to accompany the film.
Samantha Terrell's poetry collection Confronting the Elements is being serialized online at Revolutionary Review. Read the first chapter, "Burning Down," in the November 2022 issue. Visit her website for more poetry collections and news of her publications.
Michael Bondhus's poem "European Sex Clubs Have the Best STDs in the World" was published in Court Green, Issue 21, #2 (Winter 2022).
Published: December 7, 2022