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Poetry Bulletin: August 2023 + Sealey Challenge Special Edition
20 upcoming deadlines, 5+ resources for revision and writing, and more
Hello poets — this edition of the Poetry Bulletin is full, full, full, so I’ll keep my greeting short. Just a quick note to say *thank you* to the 70 paying supporters of this project. I continue to reply to requests for book submission support as quickly as I can, as much as I can with the funds that are available.
I’m also gearing up for deeper work on fee waiver and compensation research this fall, and I’ll share more as that happens!
With good thoughts for your writing,
Get monthly deadline updates, revision ideas, craft conversations, and more.
Making the Manuscript
“I think one of the reasons I chose to use computation to engage with Brooks’s work is out of a slight fear that her work and legacy will recede into a past we become too careless to retrieve and engage with, lest anyone forget the immense groundwork she has laid for writers, especially black writers. I conceive the Forever Gwen Brooks project as both homage and cenotaph to Brooks, as a way to experience her work in the space of the could-have-been, what she could have written. The first iteration of the generator is available for the public to use, and I invite anyone to click through and sit with a potential Brooks poem.”
— Lillian-Yvonne Bertram on a computational approach to poetry-making, with so many possibilities here for how to imagine/play with/retrieve language, sound, and meaning. Check out Travesty Generator for more or their forthcoming chapbook.
“…the artistry of writing a poem is getting those patterns to work in such a way that you condition the reader's expectations and you meaningfully disrupt those expectations at different points. There's actual motion. And that's a poem that lifts off the page.” — Carl Phillips
“It’s very much the archivist in me, but I’m infatuated with the fragments. A few in particular I’ve been trying to translate for around four or five years and love the possibilities; how a fragment is open on all sides. As opposed to a sentence which is kind of a closed system.” — This conversation between C.T. Salazar and Stacey Balkun touched on Sappho, ecology, and fragments in a way that made me want to leave more of my own work open to staying open
- put together a great post with the essentials on book distribution. This is an easily forgotten or misunderstood part of finding a publisher for your book—especially in poetry-land, I think, where many presses are very small and distribution can be wildly different (and creative!) from one publisher to the next.
On my personal Substack, I shared a favorite approach to revision and how it leads to better feedback in the writing process.
August = Sealey Challenge!
It’s August, and that means it’s time for the Sealey Challenge, created by Nicole Sealey. The idea is to read one book of poetry each day in August. It can be a chapbook, a full length collection, a micro-book, a little poetry zine… you can make it your own, and I’ve got a few ideas to help:
Create a challenge within the challenge—focus on books by certain groups and/or from certain presses. This year I’m focusing on books by disabled and/or neurodivergent writers, with a special focus on how they play with punctuation and sound in their poems. This makes the discovery process more interesting and also makes it easier for me to know what to pick up each day.
Immerse yourself in one form or format for the month—even better if it’s tuned to something you’re struggling with in your own writing. Chapbooks are a great length to read in one sitting, and they can reveal a lot about sequencing and compressing a body of work. I’ve also found it helpful to read deeply in certain forms (e.g., persona poems, villanelles, etc.) to study what various constraints can do… that kind of reading has a way of shaking out new revision ideas.
Love a poem, share a poem: Many folks share a daily image of a poem they loved in the book they’re reading that day. Consider tagging the author and their press—and don’t forget the alt-text. (Thanks to Sandra Beasley for this reminder.)
Ask one “how” question at the beginning of each book. Write one observation inspired by that question at the close of each book. Some possibilities: How do the lines manipulate space (or not) in this book? How do the verbs in this book accelerate or slow down the poems? How do images accumulate or evolve across the book? How do the titles tell a story? How does the first poem get echoed, answered, or transformed by the last poem in the book?
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Creative Support: Fellowships, Residencies & More
August 15 — A unique opportunity from Annulet: a new virtual lecture series on poetics. They’re accepting nominations and proposals now.
August 15 — AWP Writer to Writer Mentorship Program
August 19 — The Asian American Writers’ Workshop is hosting its annual publishing conference, PAGE TURNER (virtual and in-person).
August 31 — Sundress Academy for the Arts invites workshop proposals for its fourth Retreat for Survival and Healing.
August 31 — Portland Book Festival Cover to Cover is seeking event proposals that “go outside the possibilities of a traditional reading.”
A great tool for those planning events, both virtually and in-person: the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association has shared its safety resources, with templates for accessibility policies, anti-harassment policies, and more.
Upcoming Manuscript Deadlines
Searching for chapbook reading periods rather than full-length possibilities? Check out this spreadsheet created by Anna Lena Phillips Bell and Ryan Bloom.
Aug 1 — Acre Books is reading manuscripts by women of color, including writing by trans, nonbinary, and genderqueer writers.
Aug 1 — Cornerstone Press Portage Poetry Series (no reading fee!)
Aug 14 — Omnidawn Open
Aug 15 — Grayson Books Poetry Prize
Aug 15 (extension) — Tupelo Press Open Reading Period
Aug 16 — Futurepoem Other Futures Award (reduced fees + fee waivers available)
Aug 31 — Wandering Aengus Book Award
Aug 31 — Terrapin Books Open Reading Period
Aug 31 — Sundress Publications Open Reading Period (fee waivers for BIPOC writers)
Sept 15 — Lightscatter Press Prize
Heads up: The Sowell Emerging Writers Prize will be awarded in poetry this year. They’re interested in books “on themes about and related to the natural world by writers who have published no more than one book in any genre.”
The bulletin is made by Emily Stoddard. If you have ideas, updates to a publisher’s listing, or want to share a resource, say hello by replying to this note.