Friday, October 26, 2012

Reading with Harold Dill

Harold Dill and I will be reading from our work Sunday, October 26 at Books, Etc. in Macedon, NY. Harold (a.k.a. H.B. Dill) and I are two of the founding members of Rochester's largest poetry organization, Just Poets. If you have not heard his work, I encourage you to make the drive out to Macedon. He has a distinctive poetic voice and does not read publicly often. I will also be reading work that will be new to many of you.

Books, Etc. is a used book store and coffee shop located in the center of Macedon, east of Rochester. Click on the link for more information Books, Etc.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What Editors Don't Want to Read in Your Poems

Although this was written by the poetry editor of the Indiana Review, I have no doubt that others would agree. In fact, I agree and have had to turn away clients because of some of the reasons listed in the linked post. Please take a moment to read this good advice.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

More Winners Announced

The winner of the 2012 American Poetry Journal Book Prize is Richard Garcia for his manuscript, The Other Odyssey. The expected release will be Summer/Fall 2013 by Dream Horse Press.

The winner of the Spring, 2012 Black River Chapbook Competition is Shane McCrae for his manuscript Nonfiction.

Black Lawrence Press will also publish No Girls No Telephones by Rebecca Hazelton and Brittany Cavallaro as well as This is not a sky by Jessica Piazza.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Publishing News

Two announcements about forthcoming books:

The American Poetry Journal has accepted the runner-up in the 2012 American Poetry Journal Book Prize, Fire Road by Barbara Siegel Carlson.  Look for it next summer/fall by Dream Horse Press.

Seth Abramson's manuscript Thievery has been selected by Dara Wier for the University of Akron 2012 Poetry Prize.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Prize Winners for Two Book Contests Announced

The winner of the Motherwell Prize awarded by Fence Books is Inter Arma by Laura Shufran. Her debut collection will be published in spring 2013. Visit Fence Books at

The winner of the ninth annual Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize is Dear Hero by Jason McCall. For a list of runners-up, visit

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Foothills Publishing Founder's Home Burns

Last weekend, the home of small press Foothills Publishing founder Michael Czarnecki burned to the ground while he was traveling with his family.

A poetry reading fundraiser will be held at Writers and Books on Sunday, July 22, starting a 2PM and going until around 5PM. If you would like to read as part of this fundraiser, please reply to Wanda Schubmehl ASAP at, and choose which hour is preferred - between 2-3, 3-4, or 4-5. We are suggesting a $10 donation from each reader and a small snack/drink to share (nothing which much be kept really hot or really cold.)
If you cannot attend the fundraiser, here are donation options as per Michael:

Mail to : Michael Czarnecki, PO Box 68, Kanona, NY 14856 or Paypal. Go to Send Money and then put in email address:  Amount, click on Personal tab and then make sure Gift is checked.

If you'd like to get a sense of what Michael is all about, here's a link to a great article: or visit the Foothills  web site at

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Snowbound Chapbook Winner Announced

Contest judge Christopher Buckley has chosen Deborah Flanigan's manuscript Or, Gone as the 2012 Snowbound Chapbook Contest winner for publication by Tupelo Press. Eighteen finalist and one runner-up, Linda Tomol Pennisi of Syracuse, New York, were also named. Congratulations!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Omnidawn Announces Book Contest Winner

From Omnidawn Publishing: Loom by Sarah Gridley has been chosen by Carl Phillips for the 2011 Open Poetry Book Award. Five finalists were listed alphabetically:
All the Good in the World Starts Now by Anne Cecelia Holmes
A Geography of Syntax by Jill Darling
Midwinter by Matt Reeck
Roadsides by Nik De Dominic
Thought That Nature by Trey Moody

Congratulations to all.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Streetcar Poetry in Poland

The following post is from fellow poet Edyta Poskrobko whom I met in Poland in 2010. Edyta references ticket inspectors. I only encountered one in my 5 weeks in Poland. They simply check to be certain everyone on the streetcar or bus has paid the fare. Most people purchase passes in advance.

Now in Edyta's words through Radomir as translator:

I had an exhibition with my artists from the Goldenline, in April in the Museum of Technology and Communication in Szczecin. Three antique streetcars were at my disposal. In one of them a film was projected. A combination of music, pictures and words. In the other one, with beautiful wooden seats, I made a poetry installation. The topic was imposed upon us, and it was to be about communication. I came up with an idea of presenting poems-letters. I hung some of them on ropes, and the rest I scattered throughout the whole streetcar in colourful envelopes. The letters were addressed accordingly to the content of the poem inside. Sometimes in a funny way, sometimes seriously, e.g. Citizen Man, Pavement Street, Town. The letters went afterwards to Sieraków, to the gallery „W remoncie” where they were hung on wooden poles.

For the third streetcar I came up with a poetic spectacle. The idea was that I entered the vehicle as a ticket inspector and gave poems-fines to the people watching the spectacle. The fines varied: from quasi-real – for not having a ticket, to peculiar – e.g. for having too many wishes – this one went to the director of the museum where the event was held, and he liked it very much. During the performance I shifted to the role of a postman, as if acknowledging that being a ticket inspector is an unpleasant job, and started giving poems-letters. As usual, Radomir composed and performed himself the music for the spectacle.
Edyta & Radomir

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Guest Blog on Poetry Contests

From time to time, guest bloggers will be posting on topics related to poetry and publication. When guests do post, please remember that their words and opinions are their own and may or may not be shared by me. Guest bloggers are not given preferential treatment by Poetic Effect.

Today's guest blogger is Donna M. Marbach, publisher at Palettes & Quills.

Poetry Contests, Our Community Projects

Poets & Writers magazine in its May/June 2012 issue published an article, that all serious poets should read, “The Risks and Rewards of Writing Contests” the article, by Michael Bourne, makes an interesting point. The contests are a kind of community project. Poets’ reading fees help support the whole concept of poetry by allowing publishers to continue publishing it. Readers, in turn, are exposed to poetry they otherwise would never see. “A community project” is certainly how Palettes & Quills ( sees its own biennial chapbook contest.

Bourne’s extensive article examines what happens with the money from contest fees, suggests how one can determine ethical contests, and poses pros and cons to help readers decide whether entering contests is “worth it.” Though you, as poet, are really the only one who can answer the worth of contests, Bourne notes, “Unless your work is showing up in prestigious literary magazines or you have a connection to the editors at a press that publishes poetry, writing contests probably offer the best way to ensure that your work will at least get a fair reading.”

If contests truly are the best way to have your work read, how can you maximize your chance of winning one?

First and foremost, it is critical that you obtain and read the rules or guidelines for submitting and don’t assume that your poems constitute an exception to the rule. Contest administrators have rules for a reason and (whether you think they are reasonable or not), if you want to have any chance at winning, pay attention to them. If the rules are unclear or you believe you have a justifiable “exception” to something, write the administrator beforehand and get a clarification.

Secondly, know something about the final judge. It is useful to know the background, work and philosophy of whoever has been named the final judge. If you are not familiar with him/her, do some research. While it is not necessary or even desirable that your work be the same or similar to that of the judge, it is useful to know whether or not he/she might like or dislike your style of poetry.

Another tip you may wish to consider is to submit your manuscript as early as you can in the reading process. Avoid a last minute submission if at all possible. So many manuscripts come in right before a deadline that first readers can be overcome by the volume of manuscripts they have to read. You risk having your work being given a less than a positive rating simply because it is the 10th or 12th manuscript the reader has reviewed that day.

Also when entering a contest, in addition to considering the prize itself, take some time to consider who and how much competition you’re going to have. For example, if you enter Prairie Schooner Book Prize for $25, you could win $2,500 and publication (no specific number of books) but you would also be competing with 628 other poets. If you enter Palettes & Quills for $20, your prize is $200 plus 50 books, and you will only be competing against 140 or so other poets. Quite honestly, beginning and emerging poets have much better chances at winning some of the smaller and lesser known contests, thus making them a better bet for getting their work out and about.

Finally, submit a quality manuscript. Not only should your manuscript be clean, legible, and without spelling, typographical or grammatical errors, it should be a single work of some quality. Just as a poem should be more than a jumble of words, a good manuscript should be more than a bunch of poems. There are many ways to order a manuscript – too many to discuss in this essay. Nonetheless, no matter how you do it, you should arrange your poems according to some underlying theory that makes them a cohesive book.

In the end, contests are certainly one way to participate in the sharing of poetry. They provide poets with an opportunity to expose their work and to grow as poets. They allow publishers, especially small, independent publishers an opportunity to publish and disseminate good poetry to more people. And they allow readers, editors, and judges to assist in bringing good poetry into a spotlight that might not exist without them. Contests are indeed “a community project,” one in which we all can compete yet support each other at the same time.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Dorset Prize Winner Announced

Jeffrey Harrison's manuscript What Comes Next has been selected by Tom Sleigh as the Dorset Prize winner for Tupelo Press's annual contest. For additional information on the Dorset Prize, Tupelo Press, or Jeffrey Harrison visit

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Your Manuscript and Literary Contests

I am frequently asked how a poet should order a manuscript for a contest. Having been a reader for contests in the past, I do agree with Danielle Cadena Deulen's answer to that question, even though she answered it from the point of view of non-fiction. Read her answer and the rest of her interview from the Poets & Writers Newsletter here:

Monday, April 23, 2012

2011 Winner of The Ledge Chapbook Contest Announced

The Sultan, The Skater, The Bicycle Maker by Cindy Hunter Morgan of East Lansing, Michigan, is the winner of The Ledge 2011 Poetry Chapbook Award. Here's a link to "The Clockmaker" from the chapbook

In addition to its contests, The Ledge is an annual literary magazine publishing in print since 1988.

Friday, April 20, 2012

George Bilgere's Haywire

This month's poetry book for discussion is Haywire, the 2006 May Swenson Award-winning manuscript, by George Bilgere. Group member Ann C. Putnam selected this book based on a recommendation by poet Michael Meyerhofer. Garrison Keillor has read work from this collection on his show "The Writer's Almanac." For more info on Bilgere visit
If you've read Haywire and would like to add your thoughts on the book, please post a comment.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Bennington Girls Reading

Fellow Bennington College alum Jules Nyquist and I will be reading tonight at the Flying Squirrel Community Center, 285 Clarissa St., Rochester, NY.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Clarinda Harriss Prize Winner Announced

Katherine Bogden's manuscript "Every Bit of It" has been selected by Thomas Lux for the 2012 Harriss Poetry Prize offered by CityLit Press. Bogden is an editor at Ugly Duckling Presse. The chapbook will be published this spring.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Big Pencil Press Prize Winner Announced

Bethany Reid's manuscript What Saves Us has been chosen by Dorianne Laux for publication by Big Pencil Press. In addition to publication and prize money, the recipient receives a two-week residency at the Gell Center in the Finger Lakes located in central New York.

Monday, February 20, 2012

February Readers Group Selection

On Saturday, my monthly poetry readers group discussed James Allen Hall's Now You're the Enemy (University of Arkansas Press, 2008). It proved to be one of the most lively discussions we've had in a long time as we analyzed Hall's craft and subject matter. All agreed that Hall's poetry is accomplished (and I don't say this simply because he is a fellow alumnus of Bennington College) though, for various reasons, some of us thought the subject matter to be more than a little uncomfortable.

Among the discussion topics resurrected was the fictional "I" vs. the autobiographical "I." For me, this brought to mind a panel at AWP a few years back where Liam Rector and Timothy Liu debated whether or not there even could be a fictional "I."

I have opened my own poetry readings by stating, "This work is fictionalized truth. I'll let you decide what is fiction and what is truth."

Ultimately, we did not settle firmly on which elements of Hall's narratives were completely true and we mostly agreed that it did not matter; the poems worked without having a black and white timeline in front of us.

To read more about Now You're the Enemy, check out the following site:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Elixir Press Book Award Announced

The Judge's Prize, which was chosen by Teresa Leo, is Little Oblivion by Susan Allspaw, Aurora, CO. The Editor's Prize is Quelled Communiqués by Chloe Joan Lopez, Colchester, VT. Congratulations to the winners.

Friday, February 03, 2012

2012 Fence Modern Poets Series Winners Announced

Fence Books has announced two winners of the 2012 Fence Modern Poets Series prize. The winning books will come out in the fall of 2012. They are Eyelid Lick, by Donald Dunbar of Portland, Oregon and In the Laurels, Caught, by Lee Ann Brown of New York City and Marshall, North Carolina. Congratulations to both.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Richard Snyder Poetry Prize Winner Announced

Gabriel Spera's manuscript The Rigid Body was chosen by Natasha Tretheway for publication by Ashland Poetry Press later this year.

Manuscripts are now being accepted for the 2012 Snyder Prize. Contact me soonest if you would like your manuscript prepped for this and other spring poetry book/chap book competitions.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Poetry Book Group Discussion Today

Today, my monthly poetry book group will be discussing Steve Huff's More Daring Escapes (Red Hen Press, 2008). His poems on the subject of the working life are reminiscent of Jim Daniels' work though Huff's poetry, while equally as gritty, has more poetic fluidity than Daniels' jabs and punches. One can argue the efficacy of "How the Poem Means" vis a vis each of these poets' styles though I am inclined to consider each equally compelling. Huff's work comes more as a reflection of a middle-aged man than Daniels' fresh-out-of-the-factory youthful perspective.

To read a review of Huff's book (not mine, however) visit:

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

2011 Black Lawrence Press Chapbook Contest Winner Announced

Nick McRae's manuscript, Mountain Redemption, has been chosen as the winner of the Black Lawrence Press 2011 Black River Chapbook Competition. McRae currently teaches creative writing at Ohio State University. Finalists and semi-finalists are listed below.

Poetry Finalists

Bone Letters – Peter Schwartz & Nicelle Davis
Farmstead of the Burning Field – Duncan Campbell
Mountain Redemption – Nick McRae
not meant for you Dear Love – Brian Clements

Poetry Semi-Finalists

Annunciation – Barbara Tomash
Malice Aforethought – Jon Flieger
Proximity – Jan Freeman
Sludge – Vivian Prescott
The War Reporter – Dan O’Brien

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Poem Published in Ruminate

With the new year comes a new publication to announce. My poem "Smoke and Cloud" appears in Ruminate Issue 22: Up in the Air Ruminate's tag line is "Chewing on life, faith and art." This is an appropriate venue for my most recent work since my writing leans in a more spiritual direction. This work is also less narrative than most of my published poems.

Please check out the web site and let me know what you think. Purchasing a copy of Issue 22 will also be appreciated, by the magazine and me.