Cathey Smith Bowers’ “Paleolithic”

While waiting for the snow that still hasn’t truly arrived, I finished reading Cathy Smith Bowers’ debut collection The Love That Ended Yesterday in Texas. This book was first published by Texas Tech University Press in 1992 and later reprinted by Iris Press. There are so many memorable and beautiful poems in this book, but I thought I’d share the very first one from the collection. First poems in collections have a heavy burden to speak to the overall theme of the book while also drawing the reader in. This first poem, “Paleolithic,” does all of that and more.


We love these old caves—Lascaux,
Altamira—and walk carefully
the way we always enter the past,
our hands bearing
the artificial light of this world.

We imagine those first hunters
crouched, conjuring luck,
carving into rock-swell
their simple art—whole herds of bison,
the haunches, the powerful heads, floating
orderless along the walls.
And some are climbing sky
as if they were stars, planets
orbiting something they cannot see.
Centuries will pass before they
right themselves, their hooves
coming down on to the deep
wet floor of leaf-fall.
Remembering where it was
they were headed.

Jeff Hardin’s “Seed Heads Bursting Gold Light”

The first book I read this month was Jeff Hardin‘s collection, Notes for a Praise Book, published by Jacar Press. Jeff Hardin’s poems are always thoughtful and beautiful, and here’s one I wanted to share:


We need to busy ourselves with memorizing autumn
in the puddles down the drive. A single
forgotten reflection
makes all the others tremble.

I didn’t think twice as a boy, lying prostrate
to watch a dandelion bend with the breeze.
I knew already what to do with my life.

I’d wager Solomon, had he lived nearby,
would have taken long walks in the sage grass field,
just to watch how seed heads
burst with gold light.

I’m an advocate of letting things lean as they must.
When one tree rests its dying toward another,
I go among them
to listen in and take my place.

No big difference, I say, between years that lean that way
and a shared gaze between me and some friend’s eyes.
Some weakness unspoken
may be the strongest voice we have.

My 2021 Reading List

It’s been almost 8 months since my last blog post here. I’m afraid a lot of my plans for this space escaped me as the year rushed by. Probably the biggest reason for this is because of the role I accepted as an editor for EastOver Press and EOP’s literary journal Cutleaf. In our first year, we published 23 bi-weekly issues of the journal. We also published 4 wonderful books of poetry that I’m really proud of. (See the links below to purchase EOP books and others!) This new position as an editor requires a lot of reading, and so my list of published books I read last year (2021) isn’t quite as robust as I’d like. But I love seeing other people’s what-I’ve-read lists, so here’s mine.

  1. Julia Cameron – Finding Water
  2. Haruki Murakami – What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
  3. Wesley Browne – Spoon (manuscript)
  4. Jennifer Stewart Miller – Thief
  5. Haruki Murakami – After Dark
  6. Jay McCoy – The Occupation
  7. Britton Shurley – Spinning the Vast Fantastic
  8. Matthew Landrum – Berlin Poems
  9. Katrin Ottarsdóttir – Are There Copper Pipes in Heaven
  10. Chaelee Dalton – Mother Tongue
  11. Frank Jamison – Marginal Notes
  12. Daniel Corrie – For the Future
  13. Jesse Donaldson – On Homesickness
  14. Matt Urmy – The Rain in the Bell
  15. Liz Ahl – Beginning Ballroom Dance
  16. Cathryn Hankla – Galaxies
  17. Erica Anderson-Senter – Midwestern Poet’s Incomplete Guide to Symbolism
  18. Ralph Sneeden – Surface Fugue
  19. Rosemary Royston – Second Sight
  20. John Davis, Jr. – The Places That Hold
  21. Marie Parsons – An Echo in the Wind
  22. Katherine Hauswirth – The Book of Noticing
  23. Larry Pike – Even in the Slums of Providence
  24. A.E. Hines – Any Dumb Animal
  25. Tarn Wilson – In Praise of Inadequate Gifts
  26. Ross Gay – The Book of Delights
  27. Virginia Woolf – To the Lighthouse
  28. Megan Culhane Galbraith – The Guild of the Infant Saviour: An Adopted Child’s Memory Book
  29. Sylvia Woods – What We Take With Us
  30. Lauren Davis – The Missing Ones
  31. Ralph Sneeden – Evidence of the Journey
  32. Shawna Kay Rodenberg – Kin: A Memoir

I’d like to think that my list for next year will be at least twice this long. And maybe it will be. But it really doesn’t matter. These days, I’m trying to be more comfortable with the idea of slowing down the process. What this means to me is sometimes reading fewer books, but giving more time to think about and engage with each one.

If you’ve posted your own 2021 list or have recommendations for what to read in 2022, please post links and ideas in the comments section. I’d love to hear from you. Happy New Year!

Lauren Davis’s The Missing Ones

Lauren Davis’s The Missing Ones is a slim but engrossing collection that reimagines disappearance of Russell and Blanch Warren. In 1929, the couple were driving home to reunite with their two young sons and to celebrate theLauren Davis - The Missing Ones 4th of July. Their route took them on Route 101 along Lake Crescent where they presumably drowned. What makes these poems work so well is that Davis doesn’t waste time recreating the ways the Warrens may have ended up driving into the lake. Instead, these poems give voice to the dead as in the very short poem that introduces the collection:

Blanch Says

There are dangers
in deep waters no one

speaks of. Like dark
that climbs the spine.

There’s a stain on the rock
Unfolding. I drink the lake,

all of it. I make it mine.

Many of the poems are in Blanch’s voice. In some, she gives advice, such as in “I’ll Tell You What Happened,” where she says: “Your husband has something to tell you— / you can sense it in the cold. Wait until you are both done / drowning. The build a new home.”

The idea of the lake as a home is one of my favorite aspects of these poems. A grave is a home of a kind, but the lake is a living ecosystem. Some poems reference the lake’s “population” which sometimes mean the fish in the water, or the birds outside, and sometimes it refers to others who have perished in the lake’s waters. In some poems, the idea of the lake as a home is expressed through its “rooms,” all of which suggests that the Warrens are still there, unable to die or be truly forgotten because they were never found. The idea is haunting in numerous ways, especially when the reader is reminded of the couple’s two young sons. This is expressed in Blanch’s voice again in the poem, “Have You Seen,” where she says,

My love haunts good as
any ghost. It is more
than lake deep. Boys—

I am never so buried,
gloated, hemorrhaged with blue
That I forget you.

My only criticism of this lovely book is that it’s too short. I wanted it to go on and on. I guess I could say that I, too, am now haunted by this story.

Britton Shurley’s Spinning the Vast Fantastic

Britton Shurley’s new collection, Spinning the Vast Fantastic, is a beautiful guide for spiritual sustainment in a complicated and down-heartening world. The first poem in the collection, “When I Think I’m Through with Beauty,” refers to the world as one that “gnaws us to gristle, if we / don’t work free from its teeth.”

Britton Shurley - Spinning the Vast FantasticMany of Shurley’s other poems make similar references. Shurley is not speaking specifically the restrictions and hardships suffered under a pandemic. He’s talking mostly about how hard life can be in general, and yet, these poems feel especially appropriate for our time. This isn’t because of the way Shurley sees how life can beat us down. It’s more so because of the ways Shurley finds solace. In so many of the poems, that solace is found by taking a breath and paying attention to our surroundings.

In “When I Think I’m Through with Beauty,” the beauty that surprises and pleases is a “boy who’s built / like a thick brick shit-house / spinning a whip of forsythia // just bursting with bright / yellow blossoms, while his // boom box floods the street / with velvet organ chords / of old-time Baptist gospel.” As evidenced in this passage, one of the other ways Shurley finds delight and gives delight to the reader is through sound. The language here and in every poem in the collection is stunning, filled with assonance and internal rhyme, all of which help bring alive these amazing images like this boy with his forsythia.

A recurring theme in these poems is the joy that children bring, as well as the promise for their ability to better the future, as seen in “The Red-Winged Blackbird.”


     Its name is a strut for the tongue.
A song that can crack the heart
     like mine did when that bird lit down

on a purpled redbud’s branch
     in Ron and Kelli’s field. This handful

of acres saved from an inland flood
     of McMansions drowning half of Indiana.
This field where chickens roam—

     Orpingtons, Wynadottes, and Rhode
Island Reds—all hunting for bugs at dusk

     by a garden of onions and melons.
And as if that’s not enough, a child’s
     on his way in fall. Now I know

I know nothing for certain, but this boy
     will be born amidst magic, in a home

where cabbage, apple, and ginger
     turn to jars of kraut so crisp
my mouth wants to shout and dance.

     I hope his name holds such a tune,
that it sings like the sound of the red-

     winged blackbird and can bare
a hyphen’s weight. Maybe Banjo-
     Nectarine or Cannonball-Daffodil Abdon.

Either way, his life will be music;
     he’ll make this cold world swoon.

One of the immense strengths of these poems is in Shurley’s ability to juxtapose the bucolic and familial against the material and trivial. With similar hope and promise, he references his own daughters, notably in “To the Harvey Weinsteins et al.” Shurley begins the poem, “Know my daughters believe in their power.” He then describes the girls performing a “spell” to bring snow and a snow day from school. “And damn, if it didn’t work,” he writes, “so that we could wake in a world / slowed and stilled for a day.” Shurley brings the end of the poem back to Weinstein—not only Weinstein but all the men he represents—warning such abusers to be careful, and to see what powers these young women have.

Spinning the Vast Fantastic is overwhelmingly an optimistic view of life. We see this in the view of young women like his daughters but also in the hope for young men like the aforementioned Banjo-Nectarine. But Shurley’s optimism is seen also by the wonders found in the world. One example is in the poem “Headless Wonder” that examines a 1945 report of a chicken who lived for 18 months without its head. Another example in the book’s title poem re-imagines an 1876 report of fresh meat falling from the sky. In “Parthenogenesis” Shurley writes, “If the ankle of the horse is holy, then so is the cow’s / cracked hoof, the sheep’s bleating tongue…” What I take away from these poems is that the world is always miraculous, even during dangerous and frightening times.

Buy Spinning the Vast Fantastic from Bull City Press.

Submission Calls for Writers 3/16/2021



Where I live in East Tennessee, it feels like the weather is finally shifting to spring in a more permanent way. Not just a flirtation but the real thing with daffodils blooming everywhere you look. I hope you’re getting a taste of this kind of reawakening wherever you are. Here are ten new submission opportunities where you should consider sending your writing. Good luck.

Cortland Review

TCR considers poetry, prose, essays, translations, book reviews. Editorial decisions are based on content and quality. TCR does not accept simultaneous submissions or previously published work. Submit 3-5 poems at a time. For fiction, submit one story only, and nothing longer than 3500 words.


South Florida Poetry Journal

We want poetry, flash fiction and essays that inspire, stimulates, evokes, emotes, shocks and surprises. We want to be transported by your words to wondrous and strange places, and familiar places that you have made new. We read year-round and publish quarterly. Send 3-5 unpublished pieces.


Summerset Review

Prose writers are invited to submit literary fiction/nonfiction of up to eight thousand words. Poets may submit up to five poems. This literary journal is primarily an online publication. We read year-round.


Ghost Ocean Magazine

Founded in Chicago in 2010, Ghost Ocean is an award-winning literary magazine whose work has been reprinted in Best of the Net, Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses, Fiction Daily, and has been shortlisted for the Wigleaf Top 50. Ghost Ocean is open for submissions year-round. We accept simultaneous submissions, but please notify us immediately if your work is accepted elsewhere. You may submit up to 5 poems, 3 pieces of flash prose, or 1 work of fiction under 3,000 words in a single document; submissions in multiple genres are accepted, but please do so separately.


Bearings Online

Bearings Online is accepting poetry submissions. We are seeking clear, accessible poetry (30 lines or less) that addresses faith, culture, or what it means to be human. Submit as a Word document to poetry editor Susan Sink: ssink (at) collegevilleinstitute (dot) org.   


Split Lip Magazine

Split Lip Review is a literary journal of voice-driven writing with a pop culture twist. We publish online monthly and in print yearly. We accept fiction between 1,000 and 5,000 words, flash fiction under 1,000 words, and memoir up to 2,000 words.  We accept only one (yes, just one) poem at a time. Please do not send us more than one poem. Send your best poem, but only one. We mean it. Free submission in March.


The Hudson Prize in Fiction / The Hudson Prize in Poetry

Each year Black Lawrence Press will award The Hudson Prize for an unpublished collection of poems or short stories. The prize is open to new, emerging, and established writers. The winner of this contest will receive book publication, a $1,000 cash award, and ten copies of the book. Prizes awarded on publication. $27 Submission Fee. Deadline: March 31, 2021.


Passages North

Passages North is open for submissions for Issue 40 until April 15, 2021.



Consequence is reading submissions until May 1, 2021. We publish short fiction, poetry, non-fiction, interviews, visual art, and reviews primarily focused on the culture of war. For fiction and non-fiction: please submit one piece of no more than 5,000 words. For poetry: please submit up to five poems of any length.


The Writer’s Chronicle Seeks Articles on the Craft of Writing

The editors read submissions for the Writer’s Chronicle through September 30 of each year. All craft essays must analyze an element of creative writing. Articles should not overlap with topics covered in recent issues of the Chronicle. Craft essays should contain concrete examples to illustrate the writerly advice they offer. Many of our published essays combine appreciations with a study of elements of craft. Using more than one author to illustrate your analysis is recommended. A query on a specific topic is always welcome. Craft essays run between 2,000 and 6,000 words, depending on the topic.



Jennifer Stewart Miller’s Thief

Jennifer Stewart Miller’s new collection, Thief, (Grayson Press 2021) begins with the poem, “My Dead,” wherein she says, “Maybe your dead / are kinder. But mine— / they won’t look you / in the eye. Won’t / say sorry or / bare their hearts.” Such are the privileges of death, one might argue. But not Miller. Instead, Thief is a collection of poems that gives voice to the deceased. They seldom say they’re sorry, but their hearts are revealed all the same.

Miller’s poems have a history of this sort of exploration. Her chapbook, The Strangers Burial Ground, recreates the lives of historical people found in New England cemeteries. But Thief hits far closer to home. These poems are more personal. In Thief, Miller explores many different forms of her own personal grief. There is the grief that follows the deaths of her father and her stepfather. But there is also the grief of a sister lost to addiction and ongoing mental health crises. In these poems are also incredible depictions of the ways that the living manage (or are forced) to endure, often because of everyday necessity. This is perhaps best explored in her poem, “The End,” where Miller writes:

I keep coming back to how my mother
left my stepfather

at Rutland Regional Medical Center
to hurry off to the bank in Granville—

thinking she could still add her name
to some account or other by

bringing in a few shaky words he’d
scribbled on a scrap of paper.

And that was that.
After all the grand passion—

just an old married couple
trying to sort things out.

One of Miller’s many strengths is the slantwise framework of her poetry as seen in “Poems I Probably Won’t Write About My Stepfather” that hints some parts of the past are better left unexplored no matter how much they haunt us. In “This poem has a highway in it” the poem takes on geographical qualities that reveal history, and yet, like the aforementioned highway, the poem and the narrative inside it move ever forward. It’s impossible to read this poem without feeling such forward momentum that you feel part of the narrative.

Another of Miller’s strengths is her knowledge of the natural world and a gift for mixing biological details with current events and elements of her own life, as in this poem:

To the Dead Striped Bass Swimming in Sunset

Swim on, beached beauty, agog
in the chilly marsh, aglow without
scales or skin. May the jut
of your jaw, your eyeless eyes,
guide you back to the sea. May
your body—filleted of flesh—
follow so lightly. Long, supple,
golden spine. Ribs vaulted with
air and light. Moony-white tail.
Even the waves lap you a prayer—
undulate, undulate. Striped bass—
gather up my newly dead, school
with them, show them the way
out of the still-dead April grass.

And the title poem, “Thief” celebrates the masked banditry of a raccoon even though its life is fleeting. “Tonight, I’ll raise a glass to what moon there is,” Miller says in this poem, “and lick up every last tongue-full of grief.” And really, this entire collection is like a celebration of that sweet taste that comes alongside grief. How would we go on without it?

Submission Calls for Writers 2/14/2021


This Valentine’s Day is maybe the coldest I ever remember. If you’re stuck inside, I hope this list of journals and contests will inspire you to start submitting. Until next time, stay safe and stay warm.

Writers are invited to submit prose and poetry to Litbreak, an online literary journal that publishes poetry, fiction, book reviews, and essays on literary subjects. All prose submissions should range from 500 words to a maximum of 5,000 words. Submission is open year-round. We pay all contributors on a case-by-case basis from $25 upward. There is no submission fee. With regard to fiction, there are no specific requirements on style and content. Some literary sites suggest you look at what they publish to get an idea of what they would accept. We would rather suggest that you look at what we have published and come up with something else. We will consider excerpts from novels. For book reviews, although we are paying special attention to contemporary releases, we won’t rule out reviews of older books or critical surveys of a writer’s body of work. For poetry, we suggest but don’t require a minimum of one hundred words. We may also accept essays on literary subjects or ideas.

Western Humanities Review
Western Humanities Review accepts unsolicited submissions of original poetry, fiction, nonfiction, hybrid work, audio/visual work, essays, and reviews year round. Because of the volume of submissions we receive, we are only able to publish about 2% of them—so please send us your best work. We’re looking for dynamic writing that engages, surprises, and moves us, work that is, in fact, out to get us.

Bearings Online
Bearings Online is accepting poetry submissions. We are seeking clear, accessible poetry (30 lines or less) that addresses faith, culture, or what it means to be human. Submit as a Word document to poetry editor Susan Sink: ssink (at) collegevilleinstitute (dot) org.

Valparaiso Fiction Review
Publishing since 2011, Valparaiso Fiction Review is a biannual publication of Valparaiso University and its Department of English. Valparaiso Fiction Review is seeking submissions of short stories for its upcoming 2019 issues (Summer & Winter). Submissions to VFR should be original, unpublished works that range from 1,000 to 9,000 words. There is no set deadline, and submissions are considered on a rolling basis.

Booth was established in 2009. Our staff is comprised of MFA faculty and students in the Butler University graduate writing program. Booth publishes one new piece or author every Friday, square on our home page. We are now open to new submissions in all genres. All accepted work will appear on our website and may appear in our subsequent print issues. Submit up to 3 poems or up to 7,500 words of fiction or creative nonfiction.

Copper Nickel
Copper Nickel accepts submissions of poetry, fiction, essays, and translation folios through March 1, 2021. Please submit four to six poems, one story, or one essay at a time. For prose we do not have any length restrictions—but longer-than-normal pieces have to earn their space.

Pittsburgh Poetry Journal
Pittsburgh Poetry Journal PPJ seeks work that clangs with grit, passion, and a multitude of voices. We want poems that celebrate or break traditions and strive for progress. We do not restrict our journal to Pittsburgh poets or poetry. All writers and themes are welcome! Please submit no more than three (3) poems, or seven (7) pages total. Our open reading period runs through March 21, 2021.

The Hudson Prize in Fiction / The Hudson Prize in Poetry
Each year Black Lawrence Press will award The Hudson Prize for an unpublished collection of poems or short stories. The prize is open to new, emerging, and established writers. The winner of this contest will receive book publication, a $1,000 cash award, and ten copies of the book. Prizes awarded on publication. $27 Submission Fee. Deadline: March 31, 2021.

The National Poetry Review
The National Poetry Review is an annual online journal of poetry (previously a print journal published from 2003 to 2015 by our sister press, The National Poetry Review Press). Our reading period is January 1 – April 1 annually. Please submit all poems in one file. Include a brief bio with previous publications.

We love found pieces, eco-poetics, works about displacement, and stories of how your body fits (or how it doesn’t) into the world. Imagism and hybrid genres, including experimental and visual works, lyric essays, and prose poems are all welcome. Please send 3–5 poems per submission with no more than 10 pages in total. We want stories of literary quality and encourage fantastic, speculative, and weird literature. Send us your most imaginative and challenging writing in 4,000 words or less. We also encourage flash fiction of 1,000 words or less. Finally, we are especially drawn to nonfiction pieces that challenge the boundaries of the genre, incorporate fictional and poetic elements, and make us question how “creative” nonfiction can be. As far as length, we prefer under 4,000 words. Landlocked is open for submissions through April 1, 2021.

Bennington Review
Bennington Review is published twice a year in print form, Summer and Winter. For poetry, please send no fewer than three and no more than five poems per submission. For fiction and creative nonfiction, please send no more than thirty pages per submission; any excerpts from a longer project must work as self-contained essays or stories. Deadline: May 18, 2021.

Posit Journal
Posit is currently considering submissions for late 2021 and beyond. Send 1-3 pieces of prose, including fiction and hybrids, but no nonfiction please, 1000 words or less each. However, if you are submitting very short pieces, please send us at least three to choose from. Please include a minimum of five and a maximum of six poems for us to consider. Deadline: May 31, 2021. 

Sunset - February 2021

Submission Calls for Writers 1/5/2021


Happy New Year. It seems as though we have a ways to go before we escape the shadow of 2020. But the new year is really here, and I want to embrace that certain feeling of optimism that comes from the change of calendars. In that spirit, I offer you 12 submission opportunities for this month.

Last month, Bill Griffin contacted me to share his unique and super thorough submission calendar. If you struggle to keep track of so many different journals and when they do and don’t accept submissions, you’ll want to check out the pdf document on Bill’s page, here:         (Thank you, Bill!)


StorySouth accepts unsolicited submissions of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction through January 15, 2021. Authors should limit submissions to 3-5 poems, one story, or one essay. There are no word limits on submissions. Long pieces are encouraged. Please make only one submission in a single genre per reading period. Response time is approximately 2-6 months.   


Gigantic Sequins

Gigantic Sequins is a print literary arts journal whose issues come out twice a year. Twice a year, we read submissions for these issues. When our current issue debuts, we select a few pieces from the most recent past issue to publish online. Submit 3-5 previously unpublished poems, or either one long (up to 3500 words) short story/novel excerpt or up to 3 short (1000 words each) pieces of flash fiction/micro fiction. Essays may go as long as 4000 words. Deadline: January 16, 2021.


10th Annual Zocalo Public Square Poetry Prize

Zócalo is accepting submissions for the 10th annual Zócalo Public Square Poetry Prize, awarded to a U.S. poet whose poem best evokes a connection to place. “Place” may be interpreted in many ways, be it of historical, cultural, political, or personal importance; the landscape may also be literal, imaginary, or metaphorical. The deadline for entries will close on January 29, 2021. Send up to three poems to enter. There’s no submission/entry fee.


The Rumpus

We welcome essay submissions between 1500-4000 words in length. In addition to personal narrative-driven essays we are interested in non-traditional forms of nonfiction. Essays should explore issues and ideas with depth and breadth, illuminating a larger cultural context or human struggle. Regardless of topic, we are looking for well-crafted sentences, a clear voice, vivid scenes, dramatic arc, reflection, thematic build, and attention to the musicality of prose. Our Rumpus Original Poetry reading period is from January 15 through January 31, 2021.



Ecotone, the literary magazine dedicated to reimagining place, welcomes work from a wide range of voices. Our upcoming submissions windows will be open from January 26 to February 2, 2021. For Issue 30, we want to hear about gardens, be they literal or metaphorical. What do you tend? Where do you find green? We’re interested in permaculture and flower clocks, pollinators and pesticides, heirlooms and hybrids, plant poetics, the Old Farmer’s Almanac, flower reports, community gardens, food deserts, citizen science, ecological anthropology.  And don’t forget seeds—seed saving, seed banks and libraries, seeds carried across seas in the lining of people’s clothing. We’d like to see more nonfiction that delves into ecology, botany, entomology; we want stories that show us the effort and reward of gardening; we do love a good flower poem, and a bee poem is not bad either. Send one prose piece of no more than 10,000 words (ca. thirty double-spaced pages). We are also interested in brief prose works (minimum 2,000 to ca. 3,000 words), one per submission. Send three to five poems at a time.


Good Hart Artist Residency

Located in Good Hart, Michigan. The call is now open for writers and composers/songwriters. Application deadline is February 17, 2021. We will limit the number of applications for the writer residencies to 40 applicants, so we may close the application deadline early. One- week, two-week, or three-week residencies are available depending on the program selected.  Most residency time slots are two weeks long. Food is provided as well as a $500 stipend.


The Puritan

Baffle us, tangle us up, or break our hearts. We’re looking for poems of any length (including sequences and long poems). Send up to four poems at a time. Feel encouraged to push boundaries with your fiction. We have diverse tastes; try us out. Length is up to you, but a story over 10,000 words will only be considered if it is of exceptional quality (and nothing over 12,000 words, please). Only send one story at a time, unless you are writing flash fiction (or stories under 500 words), in which case you can send up to three. We accept essays as pitches–no more than 250 words–or finished essays. Deadline: March 25, 2021.


Black Moon Magazine

Black Moon is a brand-new literary magazine, and our first issue will be released in January 2021. We operate on a rolling submission basis and publish quarterly. Submissions received from January through March will be considered for our April issue. We will accept up to 3 short stories between 1,000 and 8,000 words. We will also accept up to 5 flash fiction pieces (1,000 words or less). We will accept up to 5 poems up to 5 pages each.


Quarterly West Special Feature “100 Syllables”

Quarterly West invites submissions of pieces totaling 100 syllables or fewer (excluding the title). Whether poetry, prose, hybrid, or fragment, we’re interested in texts that offer–however fragmentary or disjointed their forms–wholenesses. Whole scenes, whole stories, whole emotions all contained within a small shell. The editors will select 21 pieces by 21 separate artists. Please send no more than five individual pieces per submission packet. Deadline April 16, 2021.


Puerto del Sol

Puerto del Sol accepts submissions year round but only reads from August to April. Poetry submissions are limited to five (5) poems. Prose submissions are limited to one (1) self-contained work (no excerpts), including flash prose.


South Florida Poetry Journal

We want poetry, flash fiction and essays that inspire, stimulates, evokes, emotes, shocks and surprises. We want to be transported by your words to wondrous and strange places, and familiar places that you have made new. We read year-round and publish quarterly. Send 3-5 unpublished pieces.


The London Magazine

We publish literary writing of the highest quality. We look for poetry and short fiction that startles and entertains us. Reviews, essays, memoir pieces and features should be erudite, lucid and incisive. We are obviously interested in writing that has a London focus, but not exclusively so, since London is a world city with international concerns. Non-Fiction pieces should be between 800 and 2,000 words. For Short Fiction, above all we look for elegance in style, structure and characterization. We are open to both experimental and traditional forms, although we do not normally publish genre fiction such as science fiction or fantasy writing, or erotica. Please make sure they are no more than 4,000 words in length. Poetry should display a commitment to the ultra-specificities of language, and show a refined sense of simile and metaphor. The structure should be tight and exact. Poems should be no longer than 40 lines.

Linda Parsons’ Candescent

Linda Parsons’ fifth collection of poetry, Candescent, begins as a three-legged story of grief. There is the loss of a 24-year marriage that she describes as an utter surprise after so many years. There’s the loss of her fourteen-year-old German shepherd, an ever-watchful presence that views the narrator as his sole sheep to protect until the end. And then there is the loss of her aged father.

The question of memory is just as important in these poems as the pure element of grief. How the two twist and turn upon each other! Before her father’s death, there is the earlier insult of lost memory. When Parsons visits him in his hospital, she must introduce herself. Often, he asks his daughter if they’re kin, recognizing a familiarity but unable to name her or their true relationship. Memory and its many tricks enter the poems again in the aftermath of divorce. Perhaps no poem sums up the absence of a lover better than these lines from “Phantom.”

Ghost pain, phantom pain, a limb lopped
clean, the dead bee’s sting. We are good
amputees, efficient little starfish and lizards,

regenerating feet and tails in the shadows
where no one watches us spin and weep,
where no one sees me turn a corner

in the dark before bed, giving wide berth,
my body’s radar still beeping and flashing
to sidestep a bookcase no longer there.

In “The Only Way” Parsons writes, “Honor your grief with ragged breath and privation / in the body’s dark cell despite how the blithe / world cries enough.” And that is exactly what Parsons does in these poems. She honors her grief, but she also works her way through it.

As in real life, grief doesn’t disappear in these poems in any single instant. Rather, there are many shifting moments. One of the most exciting shifts occurs in the poem, “Stand Up.”

                                   Lo these many years,
I the peacemaker, the walker on eggshells,
the biter of lips, the please pleaser, the clay
not the molder, the stream not the bank,
the moss not the rock, the stern not the bow,
queen of if only I’d said, if only I’d done.
Lo I say unto you, I’m done with sit down,
sit down, done with the broom and its dust,
old love and its rust, the future walking right
out the door. Hear me, I’m here with a voice
from the gloom, the moon-filled room, rise
of wing to beat the band, however long
I must stand is how long I’ll rock,
rock, rock the boat.

Aside from the powerful narrative that emerges in this collection, Parson’s language is always delightful. She has a knack for sounds and rhythm, and she has the skill to employ all of these elements of craft without ever taking away from the poems’ accessibility. Candescent is a power collection, a perfect beacon to help readers enter into the new year.