Do You Like Beer? Start Writing Poetry

The Bathing Hour, Chester, Nova ScotiaHappy July to you!

  • Got a poetry chapbook, or a book-length poetry manuscript?

Consider entering these free contests:

Dogfish Head Poetry Prize, an annual (16th) prize awarded to the author of the winning book-length manuscript. Participating poets must reside in the Mid-Atlantic states (DE, MD, VA, PA, NJ, NY, WVA, NC and District of Columbia). The winner receives $500, two cases of Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Beer, manuscript publication by Broadkill River Press, and 10 copies of the book (in lieu of royalties). Deadline: August 15, 2018.

The Broken River Prize, an annual poetry chapbook (20–40 pages) contest from Platypus Press. Open internationally. The winner receives $250/£200 and publication. Submit your manuscripts by August 31, 2018.

  • Need inspiration?

Try writing to weekly prompts from The Sunday Whirl. Play with words. It’s fun.

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Image: William James Glackens. The Bathing Hour, Chester, Nova Scotia, 1910. Oil on canvas, Overall: 26 x 32 in. (66 x 81.3 cm). BF149. Public Domain.

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On Narrative-Fitting Summer Reading Lists & First Amendment Rights

Leaving the Conservatory (La Sortie du conservatoire)

  • Two books that include police brutality and racism as themes have drawn attention to a suburban Charleston, South Carolina high school.

The Hate U Give (HarperCollins, 2017) by Angie Thomas and All American Boys (Simon & Schuster, 2015) by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely are two out of four books that comprise a summer reading list for Wando High School students.

The Fraternal Order of Police has a problem with the list, and the police organization president, John Blackmon has called for The Hate U Give and All American Boys to be dropped.

In the guild’s open letter to the police group, executive director Mary Rasenberger writes, “This interference–which is clearly based on the content of the books in question–must stop.

It is a blatant violation of students’ first amendment rights and an improper attempt at censorship by law-enforcement officials.”

Find out why The Fraternal Order of Police is in fact free “to support or oppose just about anything they desire.”

Or why a “First Amendment infringement argument could be made by or on behalf of the students” in this case.

“Just one more thing” (© Columbo):

Why aren’t there any classics on the reading list?

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Image: Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Leaving the Conservatory (La Sortie du conservatoire), 1876–1877. Oil on canvas, Overall: 73 13/16 x 46 1/4 in. (187.5 x 117.5 cm). BF862. Public Domain.

 

 

 

Michael Ondaatje Wins The Golden Booker, Congratulations!

margaretcook_leavesofgrass15

  • Michael Ondaatje’s bestselling novel The English Patient has been named the best winner of the Booker prize of the last 50 years.

The Golden Booker was held this year to mark a half-century of the prize. A panel of judges read all 52 former winners of the award, with each assigned a decade from the Booker’s history. … The English Patient was novelist Kamila Shamsie’s selection from the 1990s … The five books were then put to a public vote.”

“Not for a second do I believe this is the best book on the list …I suspect and know more than anyone that perhaps The English Patient is still cloudy, with errors in pacing,” said Michael Ondaatje.

  • I saw the movie first, and loved it. Then read the book, and loved it. To me it’s one of the rare cases when you can love both: the book and its screen adaptation.

Four years ago I wrote this wordle inspired by The English Patient:

Cave of Swimmers

What did she care about transgression–
Silhouetted against the orange desert sun–
When I threw myself upon her altar?

What was the demimonde of others
When my entire grand universe
Pulsated at the base of her throat?

When the ancient rites blew away maps
When the fiery Africa became a gray area
What did we care about death?

For each time a candle is lit
In the asylum of the cave
The swimmers are reborn.

© 2014 Sasha A. Palmer

P.S. Though the poem obviously has nothing to do with the current events, the word “cave” is synonymous with Thailand right now. God bless the rescuers. Praying for the complete healing of everyone involved, and for the soul of the diver who gave up his life saving others.

Image credit: Illustrations for a Rare 1913 Edition of Walt Whitman’s ‘Leaves of Grass’ by English Artist Margaret C. Cook, via brainpickings.

Erasing History, or Watch out, Laura!

Rocks, Waves and Figures

  • ‘Since 1954, the American Library Association has awarded a medal for lifetime achievement in children’s literature in the name of Laura Ingalls Wilder. …

In February, the ALA announced that it was reconsidering the name of the Wilder Award. Alluding to the depiction of American Indians and African Americans in Wilder’s work, the ALA declared that her legacy put the group in the uncomfortable position of serving children while being unable to model values of “inclusiveness, integrity and respect.” Wilder’s books, it went on, “reflect racist and anti-Native sentiments and are not universally embraced.”’

A sneak attack under cover of darkness took care of “bad” old statues. It’s time to fight “bad” old books now.

I don’t have much to add to what PG said, except perhaps one thing. It’s easy–while shaming long dead authors of fiction–to overlook what’s going on here and now:

“God is on our side! On the side of the children … Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up. And if you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.” — Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)

“Inclusiveness, integrity and respect”?

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Image: Maurice Brazil Prendergast. Rocks, Waves and Figures, c. 1902–1904. Watercolor with graphite underdrawing on handmade wove paper, Overall: 11 1/8 x 15 5/8 in. (28.3 x 39.7 cm). BF2079. Public Domain.