Opportunities Knock for Poets and Writers: Calls for Submissions, Contests, Fellowships

Opportunities

THE POET BY DAY

“He would give every penny he has (such is the malignity of the germ) to write one little book and become famous; yet all the gold in Peru will not buy him the treasure of a well-turned line.”  Virginia Woolf,Orlando



CALLS FOR SUBMISSIONS

“THE BeZINE” CALL FOR SUBMISSIONSthebezine.com is open for submissions to the upcoming March issue, deadline March 10, themed Waging Peace. Please forward your submissions to bardogroup@gmail.com No odd formatting.Submit poems and narratives in the body of your email along with a BRIEF bio. Art and photography may be submissed as attachements. Work submitted via Facebook or message will not be considered for publication. We are also devoting the BLOG POSTS THROUGHOUT FEBRUARY to work addressing illness and disability. Submissions of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, feature articles, art, photography, and music videos and anything that lends itself to online posting. There are no…

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“The BeZine” Call for Submissions, March 2019 issue, Themed: Waging Peace; open call for the Zine blog, February, Illness and Disability Month

THE POET BY DAY

MISSION STATEMENT:  To foster proximity and understanding through our shared love of the arts and humanities and all things spirited and to make – however modest –  a contribution toward personal healing and deference for the diverse ways people try to make moral, spiritual and intellectual sense of a world in which illness, violence, despair, loneliness and death are as prevalent as hope, friendship, reason and birth.

Our focus is on sacred space (common ground) as it is expressed through the arts. Our work covers a range of topics: spirituality, life, death, personal experience, culture, current events, history, art, and photography and film. We cover these topics in the form of reviews, essays, poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction, music, art, and photography. We share work that is representative of universal human values however differently they might be expressed in our varied religions and cultures. We feel that our art and our Internet-facilitated social connection offer…

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Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Nabeela Saghir

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews

I am honoured and privileged that the following writers local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.

The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.

Nabsticle

Nabeela Saghir

is a recent English graduate from Keele University, and currently runs an online blog on all things poetry, including reviews, advice, Q&As with other writers and her own work. She enjoys writing about both familial and romantic relationships, mental health, and has a particular fascination with fruit imagery. Nabeela’s literary inspirations include Amy Lowell, Li-Young Lee, Kim Addonizio and Franny Choi; she also aims to publish a short poetry collection in the next few years.

And my blog link:
https://nabsticle.com/

The Interview

1. What inspired you to write poetry?

I’ve been writing a form of poetry for years, maybe since I was 15 or 16. I used to write little snippets of lines and descriptions in a notebook but they were never fully formed poems at that point. They were very personal and diary-like; I just loved placing different words together and playing around with weird imagery aha!

But I think it was actually when I started university and took creative writing modules, where I had to read out my work to a class, that gave me a different feeling, a different motivation. The realisation that I can write and I’m not actually as terrible as I thought really inspired me to take poetry seriously.

2. Who introduced you to poetry?

I got my first glimpse of poetry through school, specifically secondary school. My English teacher was amazing, she always encouraged me to keep writing and pursue English further. I owe a lot to her. However, I think it was only when I went out of my way to read poetry outside of the national curriculum, for example when I read and fell in love with Imtiaz Dharker’s collection ‘The Terrorist at my Table’ outside of school, that was when I got a real sense of the poetry that I personally liked.

So I’d say it was school that introduced me to poetry as a form, but it was my own interest and developing passion that brought to light the literary community that comes with it, and really showed me the wider context of what poetry can achieve.

3. How aware were you of the dominating presence of older poets?

I was very aware, especially when it came to studying literature at both college and university. However, because they were older and no longer around, I didn’t feel pressured or threatened by their work. I always try my best to educate myself on the history of poetry and learn from the style, genre and form of older poets, but, I’m a strong believer in that this is our time now. Knowing that the dominating presence of older poets consists primarily of white, able-bodied, heterosexual men is actually the thing that motivates me to keep going, because I want to change that. I’d love to see poetry become more inclusive and accessible which I think is slowly happening, but we unfortunately still have a long way to go.

4. What is your daily writing routine?

It’s hard to answer this one since I’ve only recently started to implement an actual writing routine. It was usually university deadlines for creative writing modules that forced me to write but it was always so sporadic, writing was never dedicated to a fixed time or moment in the day. However, since starting my own poetry blog, I tend to have a more focused approach. So typically, in the afternoon when my little sisters are at school and everyone else is out busy doing other things, I make myself a hot drink (I’ve been loving camomile at the moment) and make my way downstairs to the kitchen. I open up my laptop to a blank Word document and write down the first thing that comes to mind. It’s almost always random nonsense but it helps to form some sort of image. Ideas stem from this and before I know it there’s a few lines already written.

Explaining my writing routine has made me realise it’s nothing fancy at all aha! But most of the time it works, it kicks my brain into writing mode. Of course, it does change from time to time. Some days I like writing in bed and some days I don’t write anything at all. But I guess that’s okay, as long as I’m at least trying.

5. What motivates you to write?

I think this goes back to my previous answer about the excitement of stringing words together and creating an image with emotion. That’s literally all poetry is if you strip it down to the basics. So the idea that I can do that, create something honest, beautiful and powerful from just words; it’s the feeling that I get when I finish a poem that I love, that’s what motivates me and pushes me to keep going.

6. What is your work ethic?

Having a great work ethic and attitude is so important but I think it’s something that you have to teach yourself, it’s rare that you’ll have an excellent work ethic naturally. It’s all about giving a damn about what you’re doing and, most importantly, remembering why you’re doing it. As long as I care about what I’m writing and I keep in mind why I’m doing it, my work ethic will be at its best.

I’m going to admit though that it’s not always easy. My attitude towards writing does falter from time to time (I think that’s just part of being a writer unfortunately!) But it’s just part of the process. I do believe though that when my work ethic is good, it definitely translates into my writing.

7. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?

Fun fact, I never used to read poetry! I adored novels. Fun stories and classics and of course Harry Potter! So, in terms of form and structure, I didn’t really take much away from these writers. However, I remember reading profusely and knowing from a really young age that literature is important to me and has value. The writers I used to read didn’t exactly influence my writing per se but they definitely played a part in my excitement and passion for words, which is the thing that keeps me focused and driven now.

8. Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?

That’s such a difficult question, there’s so many that I love! But if I had to pick one who stands out it would be Kim Addonizio. She’s unapologetically feminine, never shying away from talking about her promiscuous side. Her poems zoom in on the simple everyday objects and moments which is something I try and do myself, so she’s a huge inspiration for me.

9. Why do you write, as opposed to doing anything else?

Not many people know this but I started a sales and marketing job recently and quit soon after because I realised that the entire time I was there, all I was thinking about was going home and writing. I just felt that life’s too short to be doing something that didn’t make me happy.

So I write because the thought of doing anything else that takes up all of my time just doesn’t appeal to me, it doesn’t make me feel excited to wake up in the morning and start my day.

10. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”

It sounds so easy when I say it and if you ask any other writer they will tell you the same, but to be a writer you simply just need to write! But more practically speaking, I’d say to set yourself small goals and deadlines. Tell yourself that you’re going to write two poems a week, or that you’re going to submit to a writing competition/journal once a month. These little goals will keep you focused and on track.

As well as that, read like your life depends on it, and talk to other writers! Don’t be afraid to drop someone a quick message and say hi, even if it seems weird and out of the blue, and start a conversation. Share other people’s work as well as your own. Not only will this motivate you to keep writing, but being involved in the literary community is just as integral to your development as a writer as writing itself.

11. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.

I don’t actually have any projects that I’m working on at the moment, or I guess I do but I’m just not labelling them as projects in fear that it’ll overwhelm me aha! I’m just writing as much as I possibly can, getting every emotion out there on paper. I’m still figuring out exactly what I want to write about and what kind of writer I want to be.

I have my blog which I absolutely adore so I’m always planning and writing posts for that. By the end of the year I want to be able to say that I’ve written as many poems as I possibly could, more than I’ve ever written before. And hopefully those poems will find a home in potentially my first ever collection… but we’ll just have to wait and see!

Five Poems by Anna Saunders

IceFloe Press

I am pedigreeI am snow fox I am Siamese.

In the asylum they shave off my fur
so they can electric me.
When I mew they show me a clump
of blond in a flat palm and I say
I am pedigree I am snow fox I am Siamese.
At night the janitor creeps into the ward
where I sleep without blankets – tells me
I should be on all fours. I used to lie
in a man’s lap, my belly rising and falling
like a swelling tide, my pink tips like
tiny gems, I’d try to sew myself
on him, my claws – glinting stitches.
When my warmth sent him under
I’d creep out into the dusk
bring back bloodied gifts
that I ripped down from the sky.
I brought a rat once, its entrails ribboning.
They say I have a severed self –
as if to love…

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Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Marisa Silva-Dunbar

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews

I am honoured and privileged that the following writers local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.

The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.

Marisa

Marisa Silva-Dunbar

is a Pushcart nominated poet. Her work has been published in Angelical Ravings, The Same, work to a calm poetry zine, Amaryllis, Manzano Mountain Review, Bone & Ink Press, Pussy Magic, Midnight-Lane Boutique, The Ginger Collect, Barren Magazine, Chantarelle’s Notebook, Sixfold, Constellate Literary Journal, Rose Quartz Journal, Awkward Mermaid, Spider Mirror Journal, Mojave He[art] Review, Anti-Heroin Chic Magazine, Poetry WTF?!, Better than Starbucks Magazine, Redheaded Stepchild, Words Dance Magazine and Gargoyle Magazine. She graduated from the University of East Anglia with her MA in poetry, and has been shortlisted twice for the Eyewear Publishing Fortnight Poetry Prize. Marisa is a contributing writer at Pussy Magic. She has work forthcoming in Dark Marrow, Feminine Collective, Constellate Literary Journal, The Charles River Journal, and Apathy Press. Marisa is the founder and EIC of Neon Mariposa Magazine.

https://marisasilvadunbar.com/

The Interview

1. When and why did you start writing poetry?

I wrote poetry for myself in middle and high school. When I started uni (at the University of New Mexico), I took a creative writing course. My instructor encouraged me to take more classes, and eventually helped me change my major. At 18 I started writing seriously. I liked the challenge of creating snapshots, and narratives that other people connected with. I wanted to share my stories, to not feel alone.

2. Who introduced you to poetry?

My sixth grade English teacher read [in Just-] by  e.e. Cummings, and we had an assignment where we had to write a poem in a similar style, but about a different season. I chose summer.  Years after, I would think about the line/image from his poem “when the world is mud-/luscious…” That was the first time a poem stuck with me.

2.1. Why did it stick with you?

I think it was the first poem that I read/heard that wasn’t a rhyming couplet. It had a lot of rich imagery, and “mudluscious” isn’t a word heard often. It makes me think of being a child, and making mud pies in the backyard—that’s a pretty magical time.

3. How aware are and were you of the dominating presence of older poets traditional and contemporary?

Even when I was writing in high school, the presence of traditional poets loomed over me. We weren’t really presented with work by contemporary poets, and I feel that’s why I thought it was easier to write. I didn’t realize how much went into writing a poem—imagery, word choice, where to break a line and why, formatting, or even the purpose of the poem. My biggest concern in those days was whether it rhymed or not.

When I became familiar with contemporary poetry, there was an acute awareness of the importance and power of the older poets within the community. I found poets whose work I really connected with—Sandra Cisneros, Amiri Baraka, Belle Waring, and Anne Sexton. I was introduced to these poets by my mentor at the time, Sarah Azizi. I loved the imagery in her work as well.

3.1. Which poets stayed with you, and why?

Belle Waring, Sandra Cisneros, Clementine Von Radics, and Amber Tamblyn.  Their poetry resonates, and I think at times can be cinematic. The first three women’s poems that stick with me, are ones about heartache, but they feel fresh and relatable. I love Amber Tambly’s Dark Sparkler. The subject matter is rich and I think takes a look at what is demanded of women as a whole.

3.2. What connected you with the poetry of Sandra Cisneros, Amiri Baraka, Belle Waring, and Anne Sexton?

With Sandra Cisneros, I think there was more of a cultural connection with her use of language and imagery. I grew up with her short stories and reading House on Mango Street, so I think in a way, reading her poetry was like getting to know someone who’s been in your life– on a deeper level. Amiri Baraka and Belle Waring, were fresh voices that I hadn’t heard during my years at school. Their styles and subject matter are different, but they both showed me what poetry could be, that it didn’t fit neatly into this box that I thought it had to. I had always heard about Anne Sexton in connection with Sylvia Plath–they were friends, but Plath was a feature in our high school textbooks, while Sexton was not. Sexton dgaf when it came to subject matter, so her poems can be quite shocking.

3.3. What was this “box” that you thought poetry should “fit neatly into”?

I thought it had to rhyme and be about love (usually heartbreak) or nature. Most of the poems we read in school were by white men, occasionally a friend would have a copy of some clichéd poem about breaking up with a boyfriend that they found on the internet. And don’t get me wrong there are some amazing poems about heartbreak, but we weren’t aware of them, nor were we trying to write them.

4. What is your daily writing routine?

I like to write in the evenings when I get home from work. In the spring and summer, I try to go to coffee shops and write there–people watching can be very helpful. Sometimes, I can be consumed with a project and try to fit writing in as often as I can. When I was working on the poems for my Allison Mack chap, I would write during lunch or whatever breaks I could. I’d look at pieces in the morning and stay up late trying to get something down.

5. What motivates you to write?

A lot of the time it’s catharsis; I can’t always say what I need to people, or they don’t really listen. Writing helps me make sense, and yeah, there’s the chance those people still won’t read the work or hear me, but it’s out there. Other times it’s just to capture a memory, or a thought that sticks with me.

5.1. How can “people watching” be helpful?

Sometimes it’s overhearing bits of a conversation, and having that inspire a piece or observing how people are interacting. Sometimes it’s trying to imagine what life that person might have outside of that very moment.

6. What is your work ethic?

I think it shifts with the time of year. Sometimes I can afford to give writing more attention and other times, it unfortunately takes a back seat to my day job. I do enjoy my day job, but it can require a lot of time and energy depending on the day or even the season.

7. How do the writers you read when you were young influence your work today?

It’s like going home. If I feel lost or unsure I will pick up Sandra Cisneros’s “Loose Woman,” read Francesca Lia Block for inspiration. I like the way FLB writes poems about people, specifically women. And Sandra’s imagery is so potent.

I didn’t mention her earlier because it wasn’t only her poetry that influenced me, but the dreamy feel of Francesca Lia Block’s writing has definitely been something that stays with me. She’s a very strong magical realism writer, I love her imagery and word choice. And especially early on as a poet, there were certain ideas and feelings I wanted to emulate.

When it comes to the writers that I read when I was younger, I think their influence has become broader as I’ve grown as a writer. I definitely feel like I have more of my own style and voice, and because of this I don’t want to be tied to another. I look to their writing as a guide for what subject matter I can attempt to take on; it’s more of a challenge to be brave and try something new.

7.1. If a reader wanted to read Francesca Lia Block what would you recommend as a good starting point?

I’d recommend “Girl Goddess #9.” It’s a collection of short stories, so it’s kind of like a tasting menu of her writing. I also think Echo is a great coming of age story, and the one that started it all for me Violet & Claire, which is a platonic love story.

7.2. What ideas and feelings of hers did you want to emulate?

I really loved her imagery and the sense that anything was possible. It was like having a spell cast on you as reader. I know there were times I wanted to jump into a scene, even if it wasn’t being driven by action, because the description was so magical.

7.3. “magical”?

There are scenes from her short stories and novels that stick with me, but the example that’s been on my mind is the excerpt from her novel Echo “Eva believed the place was enchanted, not realizing that she was the enchantment. She picked oranges and avocados when she was hungry and she floated in the water all day until her ivory skin turned to gold and her hair grew even longer, down to her knees.” And that’s just getting us into the chapter. There’s something about her work that is so satisfying.

8. Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?

Tianna G. Hansen, Vanessa Maki, Kathryn Merwin, and Melissa Lozada-Oliva. I remember reading Kathryn Merwin’s work during a period of time when I hadn’t written for months and was at a crossroads with my reading. Her work was so beautiful that it inspired me to keep writing, and that was the first time I really looked at myself and said if I want to be a writer, I need to be working a helluva lot harder. Vanessa’s work is experimental and she is really creative. I’m currently looking over her chapbook “Chosen One” about Buffy the vampire slayer. Tianna is just an all around badass; she runs her own press, and magazines, she’s writing some really beautiful wolf poems. Melissa creates powerful poems from the personal to, political, to an analysis of pop culture.

9. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”

I would say, read as much as you can. Figure out the things you like as a reader, and see how you could apply similar techniques to your own work. Don’t plagiarize.

Be prepared to get lots of rejections. Write, edit, rewrite. One of the best pieces of advice an instructor gave to me was, “you’re rarely going to write a great poem in ten minutes. You’re going to have a few drafts before you get a piece right.” Sometimes you have to let work sit for awhile before it’s ready. There was a poem I wrote years ago that I knew needed a partner, and it took me five years before that happened.

10. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.

I’m currently working on a couple of chaps/micro chaps. One is about my first year living in England, and the three women I formed a friendship with that year. The other is a chap based around untranslatable words.

I’m still writing for Pussy Magic and hope to compile my goddess poems into a chap within the next year or two. I’m slowly reorganizing my full length manuscript and hope to have that finished by the end of the year.

In the Face of Deception, a poem . . . and your next Wednesday Writing Prompt

Great prompt.

THE POET BY DAY

if your heart is broken make art with the pieces.” Shane Koyczan, Blueprint for a Breakthrough



The fetus floating in the amniotic sac
Is a bridge from the land of dreams to
The world of fate, as love might say,
In its single-eyed devotion to trust
Days and nights pass, smiles and tears
And faith, as easy to deliver as berries
To a child, a wedding ring to a husband,
Belief in your county’s flag floating on
The winds of time and place, or to parents
Ever at the ready with generous hearts
Only awaken one day to find the berries are
Dusted with Roundup, the wedding ring
Emptied of its symbol, the flag torn by
A few bad players, and mom and dad
Not always the gifts of grace hoped for
Onward you go, escape by night and the
Yellow glow of lamplight, the book of
Poetry, stories shared…

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