Two New Poems

It’s strange how you can write and write, revise and revise, submit and submit, and you wait for long stretches of time for something you’ve written to be published. And then, sometimes, multiple good things happen all at once.

Saturday, I received my copy of the new print issue of Coe Review. I was pleased to find my poem, “Balefire,” on page one of the new issue.

Coe Review Cover


The crimson king maple blows
in high winds, burns with October’s
beautiful death. Before my confused eyes,
leaves piled at the tree’s base form
wings, take flight and fall upwards.
A reversal of everything I know.
These small, light birds flash
grayish white undersides
before disappearing into
the crimson king’s flames.

Maybe they are
what field guides call
confusing fall warblers.
Maybe they are
some kind of finch,
but there are too many species
for my untrained eye.
Peterson’s doesn’t state
which birds have enough magic
to fly into fire.
Science is silent on why
some blazes appear as signal beacons
though they were built
as funeral pyres.

On Sunday, New Verse News published my poem, “The Water-Carrier’s Prayer,” which I like to think of as a love poem to US Congressman Devin Nunes. #resist

New Verse News is publishing some great progressive poetry, and I’m really proud to have this poem published with them. It was also a lot of fun to skewer the very less than honorable Devil Nunes.

The Water-Carrier’s Prayer

Devin Nunes, hallowed be your name.
Hallowed be your midnight runs,
your dark-of-night dashes. Your fake news
echoes from Pennsylvania Avenue
and Capitol Hill across Merika
(“I love the uneducated!”)
as it does in Mar-A-Lago…

(read the entire poem online at New Verse News:


Submission Calls for Writers 3/1/2018


Here are a dozen opportunities for writers looking for outlets for their work. Good luck submitting!

Barcelona Review

The Barcelona Review is presently accepting submissions for previously unpublished short fiction, articles and essays. We do not accept poetry submissions. Submit one story at a time for consideration to the editor. Word length: 4,500 words max.


Action, Spectacle

The Baltic Writing Residency is sponsoring a new literary magazine called, Action, Spectacle. Action, Spectacle will publish 3 issues online each year, one of which will also appear in print. Our site will be live in the coming weeks. We aim to publish Issue #1 in August, 2018. Each issue will feature work solicited by a rotation of several guest editors including Dana Levin, Bhanu Kapil, Kimiko Hahn, Tyrone Williams, Mia You, Cindy Arrieu-King, Amy Lawless, Shane McCrae, Julia Story and others work selected from general submissions. We read general submissions year round. We publish poetry, flash fiction, short fiction, comics, interviews, essays, reviews, as well as some static graphic images. Hybrid and collaborative work, as well as translations are totally welcome and should be accompanied by a copy of the original text, whenever possible.


Postcard Poems and Prose Magazine

Postcard Poems and Prose Magazine once again seeks tight, gripping prose and poetry. You may submit up to three poems or one short story (1K or fewer words) but they must be as separate files. Our home page: Postcard Poems and Prose Magazine publishes120-200 poems and short prose pieces annually. We judge each piece on its merit rather than author biographical information.


New Orleans Review

For web features, New Orleans Review seeks fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and book reviews. Submit fiction and nonfiction pieces up to 5,000 words. Flash pieces welcome. Submit up to five pages of poems. We are looking for reviews of books (all genres) forthcoming or published in the last year. Query us if you’d like to submit or propose an interview.


Pithead Chapel

Pithead Chapel is an online literary journal of fiction, nonfiction, and prose poetry. We’re currently seeking submissions for future issues.


Apple Valley Review

Submissions for the Spring 2018 issue (Vol. 13, No. 1) of the Apple Valley Review are open through March 15, 2018. We accept unpublished personal essays and short fiction (preferably between 100 and 3,000 words, though the word count is flexible) and poetry. Prose poetry, translations, flash fiction, and writing with genre elements (such as fabulism/magical realism) are all welcome.  Please send 1-6 poems or 1-3 essays/short stories, all pasted into the body of a single e-mail message, to our editor. editorATleahbrowningDOTnet. There are no fees.


Tin House & Tin House Online

Tin House accepts submissions in the month of March. Tin House Online—a daily blog featuring previously unpublished fiction, nonfiction, poetry, interviews, comics, and more. Please submit only one complete story or essay (word count dependent on category), or up to three poems at a time (five for print journal). Please do not submit the same work to Tin House Magazine and to Tin House Online.


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 runs through April 1, 2018. Please submit all poems in one file. Include a brief bio with previous publications.


Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel – Volume 21: Appalachia Acting Up

We are blessed or cursed to live in these interesting times. For Volume 21 we offer the theme of Appalachia Acting Up. Take it as and where you will: political protest, community conflict, childhood tantrums, family quarrels, life in the theater, life as drama queen, technology on the fritz, your own or your characters’ misspent youth… Surprise us! Unpublished work is preferred, but we aren’t sticklers. Send us your best writing exploring Appalachia Acting Up. Submit up to 5 poems in one document (no more than 10 pages) or one prose piece of up to 3,000 words. Deadline: April 15, 2018.


Storyscape Journal Issue 20

Storyscape Journal’s free submission period is open through May 1, 2018, and we’d love to see your stuff! Past contributors include Terrance Hayes, Danez Smith, and Rachel Michelle Hanson. Hanson’s essay, “Education,” won Best of the Net in 2015. Our mission at Storyscape is to blur the lines between traditional genres and highlight innovative, singular writing. Instead of publishing as poetry and prose, our categories are Truth, Untruth, or We Don’t Know and They Won’t Tell Us. Our authors decide which category they want to publish in, no questions asked.


Paper Nautilus Poetry and Prose Chapbook Contests

We’re holding our annual chapbook contests at Paper Nautilus until May 15, 2018. Manuscripts of 16-24 pages of poetry, fiction, memoir, or mixed/hybrid genre accepted. Simultaneous and multiple submissions accepted, as are collaborative manuscripts of no more than two authors. We have two contests: the Debut Series Contest, which is open ONLY to folks without any full-length collections or chapbooks, and the Vella Contest, open to all (including authors who also qualify for entry in the Debut Series). Manuscripts may be submitted at the following:



apt is a literary journal featuring challenging writing that combines the cerebral and the visceral. We read for our print issues from March 1-September 15. We read for online content all year long. We publish fiction, poetry, essays and reviews.

Submission Calls for Writers 2/8/2018


Here are a devil’s dozen new opportunities for writers. Good luck getting your work out to these journals and the world. Special thanks to Raina K. Puels, editor at Redivider, for reaching out to solicit YOUR work.


Redivider made a big announcement this week that they are switching to an all-digital platform. Issue 15.2 (Spring 2018) will be the final print issue. Issue 16.1 (Autumn 2018) will be the very first digital issue. Editor Raina K. Puels asked me to help spread the word that Redivider will remain “a journal dedicated to supporting a diversity of voices. In this political climate, we think it’s especially important to represent the unique intersections of gender, class, race, and sexuality in our poems, essays, stories, and graphic art.” Redivider is currently looking for fiction submissions up to 8,000 words, nonfiction submissions up to 6,000 words, and up to five poems per submission. Submit today!


Pithead Chapel

Pithead Chapel is an independent and volunteer-run literary journal and small press founded in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in 2012. We publish gutsy fiction, nonfiction, and prose poetry online every month and a couple of printed chapbooks every year. Pithead Chapel electronically publishes art, literary fiction, nonfiction, and prose poetry monthly. At present, we only accept submissions under 4,000 words. All submissions that follow our guidelines below will be considered for an upcoming issue.


Tuck Magazine

Tuck Magazine is an online, globally focused and socially conscious journal for the discerning reader, where vital commentary and the arts merge. We are looking for new writers with something fresh, interesting and important to say. This can be political, opinion, human rights based or anything you feel is important that needs to be heard. For further information, contact Managing Editor Michael Organ at We are also looking for writers who can regularly contribute pieces based on music, film, art, photography, reviews, interviews; in fact anything interesting. Short Stories / Flash Fiction: 800-2400 words, Stories must be engaging and original, we are particularly interested in work that challenges the reader to see another perspective. We also have a sense of humour at Tuck, therefore satire is something we love to see. Our goal at Tuck is to entertain and enlighten with a good story written by emerging  writers. Send two poems per submission. We also accept book reviews.



Dialogist is an online platform for diversity through discourse. Be clear. Be dynamic. Start a conversation. And send us your best. We accept poetry and art/photography/illustration. Submit up to five poems of any length. Include all submissions within a single Word document, with a poem per page. Submissions should be paginated—to include an identifying header (name and email address), and be in 12 point Times New Roman.     


Coachella Review

The Coachella Review accepts original work that is vibrant, thoughtful, and precise. Whether your work is innovative or traditional, we strive to celebrate writing that holds readers in awe. We publish two issues a year, in June and December. There are no deadlines. We welcome creative nonfiction of all kinds. Submissions should not exceed 6,000 words. We invite poets to send up to five poems per submission. Include all works in a single attachment. There are no restrictions on form or length. We welcome short stories, novel excerpts, and experimental forms. Both literary and genre works are invited. Submissions should not exceed 6,000 words.



HeartWood, an online literary magazine in association with West Virginia Wesleyan’s Low-Residency MFA program, publishes twice yearly, in April and October. We accept submissions year round through Submittable, and welcome previously unpublished poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, from both established and emerging writers. We do love Appalachian voices, but we enthusiastically encourage writers from all backgrounds to submit. Fiction submissions may include short stories, flash fiction, or novel excerpts. You may submit more than one piece of flash fiction as long as the total word count does not exceed 3000 words. We’re open to a wide range of nonfiction, with the exception of academic articles, or that which would be considered more traditionally journalistic. Personal essay, memoir, lyric, literary journalism, or some blurring in between, are all acceptable. Poets should submit no more than 3-5 single-spaced poems at a time. Include all poems in a single document for upload.


The Shanghai Literary Review

The Shanghai Literary Review is an English language magazine of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, translation, book review, and art, run by an editorial team between New York, London, & Shanghai. Our magazine sells in stores in London, New York, Shanghai, and Beijing. All pieces are eventually posted on our website as well. The deadline for our summer 2018 issue (Issue 3) is February 15, 2018. There is no fee for submitting work to TSLR. We are interested in art and criticism about urbanism, globalism, identity, and transnationalism, though by no means should submissions be limited to those topics. We’ll publish a good story about cats in Africa if it floors us. We publish: Fiction – less than 5,000 words; Poetry – 2 poems submission limit per person; Non-Fiction & Essay – less than 5,000 words; Flash Fiction or Nonfiction – less than 500 words.


Copper Nickel

Copper Nickel accepts submissions of poetry, fiction, essays, and translation folios now through March 1, 2018. Please submit four to six poems, one story, or one essay at a time.


Lit Fest Fellowships for Emerging Writers

Applications are now open for our Fellowships for Emerging Writers, which cover full tuition for a Master Workshop in poetry, nonfiction, fiction, and screen/playwriting at our 13th annual Lit Fest. A two-week celebration of the literary arts, Lit Fest features seminars, parties, workshops, salons, and agent consultations at our historic mansion in Denver. Our faculty includes Lydia Millet, Sheila Heti, Terrance Hayes, CAConrad, Charles D’Ambrosio, Min Jin Lee, Emily Rapp Black, Jenny Offill, Leslie Jamison, Maggie Shipstead, Daniel Goldfarb, Robin Black, Alexandre Philippe, Steve Almond, and others. Applications are due March 15, 2018. There is a $30 application fee.


Fiddlehead – Creative Nonfiction Issue

For our creative nonfiction issue. Tell us your true stories, bring us your belles lettres! Announcing the first ever creative nonfiction issue. Creative nonfiction is construed widely and can include personal essays, narrative non-fiction, think pieces, etc. Submissions in this genre should be double-spaced and maximum 6,000 words. Deadline: March 31, 2018.


Lunch Ticket

Lunch Ticket is the online literary and art journal published by the MFA community of Antioch University (AU), a program devoted to the education of literary artists, community engagement, and the pursuit of social, economic, and environmental justice. We are currently reading from now through April 30, 2018. Submit up to three poems. We accept fiction from 751 up to 5,000 words and CNF under 750 words. If your fiction is 750 words and under, please submit it to the Flash Prose category.


Floyd County Moonshine

Any and all subject matter is welcome, although we gravitate toward Local Color (especially stories set in Floyd, the New River Valley, or a specific rural setting) and the Southern Gothic. Short stories, essays, & novel excerpts should not exceed 8,000 words. Submit up to 5 poems. The deadline for Floyd County Moonshine’s special anniversary issue is April 30, 2018. Prior contributors are also encouraged to submit once again. Interviews should not exceed 3,000 words.


Columbia Journal

We’re dedicated to publishing and displaying the work of the freshest voices alongside established artists, poets and writers. Submissions for the journal’s website are open from through May 2018. Prose pieces should be 5,000 words or less, and poetry submissions can be 5 printed pages.


Recommended Reading 2/2/2018 – Short Stories

The best part about January being so long and cold was that it was a great time to read.  It was literally too cold to do anything else. February is starting off the same way. If you’re stuck inside this weekend and not sure what to read, here are some of the short stories I read last month. Try one or two or more.

“No Good” by Hala Alyan

“Freezer Burn” by Ron Austin

“Shine” by Ron Austin

“August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray Bradbury

“The Ceiling” by Kevin Brockmeier


“Demonman” by Julialicia Case is an amazing story that appeared online this month at The Master’s Review. Here’s how it begins:

“I am eleven the spring Demonman comes, first to the alley behind the Kroger, where the dumpsters reek like fermented orange juice, then to the train tracks by the boarded-up video store, then to the Harding mansion, still for sale, then to a snot-colored van with flattened tires. He comes to our nightmares, our whispered worries, to newspapers and televisions and notices in the post office. He’s called something else, a different name, although, of course, he is still Demonman. Since the shootings upstate, the police struggle with the race riots, but they claim to be searching for him, following the leads.”

“Expensive Lessons” by Anton Chekhov

“These Certain Young People” by Dave Eggers

First Night

“First Night” by Kevin Fitton appeared online this month at Storgy. I loved reading this story that covers a large emotional range but still manages to impart some humor. Here’s how it begins:

“It was the morning of New Year’s Eve, and a dull light confessed the start of another winter day. In Vermont this time of year, the days were short. It was dark when Brian woke in the morning for work and dark when he drove home from the office. It was the time of year Vermonters did their best to survive by taking vacations to the Caribbean, talking to their therapist, and drinking. The night before it was snowing when he went to sleep, and Brian dreamt that the roof was covered with two feet of heavy snow. In his dream, he could feel the house sweating as it tried to hold the weight, could hear the rafters cracking under their burden—pop, pop, pop, like the last kernels of corn on the stove.”

“The Miniature Wife” by Manuel Gonzalez

“Mermaid in the Jar” by Sheila Heti

“Plan B” by Michele Johnson

 “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien

“My Name is Jean-Pierre and I am Still an End Table” by Dana Schwartz

“Saying Goodbye to Yang” by Alexander Weinstein


If you’ve read a great short story lately, please tell me about it in the comments.


Eric Shonkwiler’s Moon Up, Past Full

Frank Bill may have said it best when he said that Eric Shonkwiler “has an eye for detail and a lot of heart. His words stay with you.”

I picked up Shonkwiler’s collection of novellas and stories, Moon Up, Past Full, when I was in Washington DC in 2017 for AWP.  For the rest of the year, the book sat at the top of my to-read pile, but I was having a hard time reading anything. When I finally picked the book up this week, it was like taking a shot of good whiskey—smoother than you could hope for and over quicker than you want it to be.


I admire this book and Shonkwiler’s writing so much.  His stories are perfectly balanced between character and action. His imagery is great. His language has some beautifully poetic turns but is also perfectly precise. So much happens in each story that even the shorter pieces feel completely developed and novelistic in scope. However, it is in the longer works in this collection where Shonkwiler really shines.

The longest piece in the collection, “GO21,”—an apocalypse-type story that I didn’t want to end—was also one of my favorites. The story works on so many levels.  It’s a must read.

Another favorite was the story, “Rene,” originally serialized in three parts online at Fiddleblack. Rene is a young woman on a horse with a sick mother.  Like all of Shonkwiler’s stories, the complications keep adding up as the story goes along. Unlike most of the other pieces, Shonkwiler is exploring issues of race and class in this story. I highly recommend you click the link and read the story for yourself.

It’s not by any means one of the longest stories in the collection, but “My Wakeup” is probably my absolute favorite of these stories.  The story was originally published online at Splinter Generation, and again, I recommend you read it now. Like Shonkwiler’s other work, this story is detailed and deceptively simple.  It starts off with Geier, an Iraq war vet, on his return home from the base in Kuwait. Once back and unsure of what to do with himself, he hooks up with another former soldier, Jones, and the two take a road trip cross country.  Some of the drinking and drugging and whoring might be predicable, but (like all of Shonkwiler’s stories) the feeling behind it all feels tragically sincere which makes it unique. And beautiful. And well worth the read.

For more about Eric Shonkwiler and his writing, check out his webpage:  Follow him on Twitter: @eshonkwiler


Michael Dowdy’s Urbilly

This week, I’ve been reading Michael Dowdy’s amazing debut collection, Urbilly, the winner of the 2017 Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award.  This is a great collection of poems that all work together to voice something really meaningful that is in some ways about modern Appalachia and its people. But it’s also about a great deal more.


Through the pages, the idea of the “urbilly” becomes so vivid. I would attempt to explain, myself, what an urbilly is, but I think Dowdy does that best on his website:

“Urbilly?  Think antic field guide to parts (un)known & exploited. Mountain / megacity mashups, rural / urban hullabaloo, New River / Gowanus cocktails. Backwoods & Brooklyn. Mountaintop removal & Edison bulbs, landfill & farm-to-table, Muriel Rukeyser & Big Daddy Kane, James Still & girders of steel. Think Urbilly as the anti-Hillbilly Elegy.”

When I was an editor at drafthorse a few years ago, we had the pleasure to publish a few of Dowdy’s poems that are included in Urbilly. Click on “drafthorse” to read a group of the poems, but here’s one of my favorites.

The Out-Migrant’s Family Tree, as Seen through Binoculars

Smudged along the lower ridge
a copse of knobby hardwoods

withers in coils of cold wind.
Squint past the blind curve scribbled

in cut banks of brush, just there,
where fog-coated sycamores

unfurl scrolls of icy bark,
where taillights trickle beyond

Oblivion, Virginia,
where calm haunts the revenant.

Laurel hells strangle hearth and flue.
Even springs zigzag uphill.

No good here my wistful words.
Those provenance jackets veil

a sparrow chest and stuffed gut.
Here, where decades stretch threadbare,

my grave dark eyes, sockets deep
as karst caves, skitter and rest.

A tongue rhododendron tied
slips loose; restless legs snap to.

My sneakers swoosh in hoarfrost,
scything kin from the harvest

of time, stutterers who hauled
fieldstone, sunk wells, and raised beams

right about there. You have to
cock your head just so, just there,

where clouds lung the mountains’ ribs.
Where trunks bend and crack the last

inky leaves bear down, hold outs
against the thieving north winds.






Elaine Fletcher Chapman’s Hunger For Salt


I’ve spent this week slowly reading Elaine Fletcher Chapman’s beautiful collection Hunger For Salt.  Elaine describes her own writing style as minimalist. She says she’s in love with the white space. I can’t argue with that.  Certainly, most of the poems are very short in length. I believe the shortest, a poem titled “Still Mourning” is a mere three lines.  But to describe Elaine’s writing or these poems as minimalist doesn’t paint a full picture because each poem is so realized.  Elaine’s choices are so precise and thoughtful, even short poems feel very full.  So many of these poems feel meditative, and that tone is strengthened by spiritual references.  Her poem, “Searching,” is one of my favorites in the collection, and in it, she tells us that she borrows phrases from the Buddhists.  Read the poem below:


Still trying to accept loss,
I borrow phrases from the Buddhists:
a bowl and a spoon, a single robe,
chop wood, carry water.
Name this one room studio
Holy place of contemplation.

Last week I stepped into the stone labyrinth
and immediately heard, go home.
For a week I asked, Where is home?
I open the door to hear the rain
and distant thunder. I pour
a cup of freshly brewed tea, add ice
and fresh lemon. I ask again,
Where is home?
I return to Basho,
and St. Teresa of Avila:
interior, interior.

Another of my favorite poems is “Anticipation of Blossoms.”  Instead of copying the poem’s text here, I’m going to attempt to embed a video of the poem that was created by the very talented Laura Lipson. (If the embed doesn’t work, please see the link to Elaine’s webpage below.)

<p><a href=”″>Poetry Video: Anticipation of Blossoms</a> from <a href=””>Elaine Fletcher Chapman</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Laura created 3 poetry videos from Elaine’s work, and they’re each beautiful.  They would also be very useful for teaching purposes. I hope you’ll take the time to visit Elaine’s website where you can view all of the poetry videos as well as a great trailer about the collection:  I’m glad to have had this book to help me through this past winter week.


Lynne Sharon Schwartz’s No Way Out But Through

One of the great pleasures of my graduate studies was the opportunity to work with Lynne Sharon Schwartz. She was a tough reader and a firm critic—not ungenerous at all—but she was not the kind of person who suffered fools or foolish writing. She was one of the best mentors I could have asked for.

LSS and Denton

I learned a lot by working with Lynne Sharon Schwartz, but I have probably learned almost as much from reading her work. I read her novel, The Writing on the Wall, after my first semester with her. Later, I read her memoir, Ruined by Reading: A Life in Books. I loved it so much that I bought copies for many of my friends who were writers, knowing they too would see the beauty she describes in her life-long relationship with reading. It wasn’t until after I finished my graduate work that I also realized this excellent prose writer was also a skilled poet.


I have loved everything by Lynne Sharon Schwartz that I’ve ever read, and her latest collection of poetry, No Way Out But Through, is no exception. So many of these poems are elegies—elegies for her parents, her sister, her youth, even for the Brooklyn where she grew up but that’s gone now, forever changed. Even in the poems examining death and the loss of her closest friends and family, there’s something beautiful, almost hopeful, in the way Schwartz shows how we remain connected to those who have passed. But among these poems of loss, there is also great humor. Schwartz has a brilliant eye for seeing what’s askew, and even when she’s deadpan in her delivery, the note is always just right.

Here is a poem from the collection, “Forgetting,” which originally appeared in Narrative. You can view the original publication here:


Absence rarely makes the heart grow
fonder, or so my mother said, popping
a blackberry into her mouth—
we’d raided the patch at the far edge
of the woods. Absence, she said,
begets forgetting. And while you mightn’t
so swiftly forget a blackberry’s taste
or a thorn’s prick, or a cloud’s sheep shape
skimming low like a darning needle
over a lake, how fast the lineaments of face
or voice or touch vanish, like that!
She snapped her fingers,
bolted down the berry.

Rachel Hadas reviewed No Way Out But Through for the Los Angeles Review of Books, describing Schwartz’s poetry like this: “She’s an archivist of memories, a celebrant for the forgotten or nearly forgotten, who also writes eloquently of the undertow of oblivion. She’s an anthologist of anxiety dreams. Irritated by Cordelia and partial to the Fisherman’s Wife, she’s a contrarian reader. At all times, Schwartz’s poetic voice is piercingly honest. Her tough-minded intelligence leaves plenty of room for questions and regrets.” You can read the entire review here:

As I mentioned, Schwartz has an excellent sense of humor. One of the many poems where that comes out is in this poem about sex.

What the Poets Never Write about Love

The actual words murmured: not
Ah, your silken thighs, your breasts
like tender hills, but, Shit,
my zipper’s stuck. My arm
is getting numb, please move. Wait,
I’ll do the sleeve, and no, it hooks
in front not back. Hold on a sec,
I have a hair in my mouth, and move your ass,
I can’t breathe this way. Remember,
I asked you once before to cut your fingernails?
Not to rush you or anything but
I can’t stay in this fucking position another minute.

This act they say displays our animal nature
yet we’re not, after all, like animals in love,
who finish, pant, grunt, saunter off.
They do not lie together after, or kiss,
laughing at their words of love, awkward
intimacies of bodies getting in their own way
on the tumbling, humbling path to bliss.

The voice of each poem is so strong, and Schwartz’s characteristic wit constantly shines through. I look forward to coming back to these poems again and again. I’ve enjoyed them as a reader. I’m learning from them as a writer. And I’m excited to think about Schwartz will write next.


Submission Calls for Writers 1/2/2018


If we want our work to be published this year, then most of us will have to spend some time sending out submissions.  Here are a baker’s dozen opportunities for writers to get the year started.  Good luck! And Happy 2018!


Necessary Fiction

Necessary Fiction publishes a new book review each Monday, a featured short story each Wednesday, a contribution to our Research Notes series each Friday, and occasional interviews, essays, and other surprises. Send us unpublished fiction, not reprints, up to 3000 words.


The Believer

The Believer, a five-time National Magazine Award finalist, is a bimonthly literature, arts, and culture magazine. In each issue, readers will find journalism and essays that are frequently very long, book reviews that are not necessarily timely, and interviews that are intimate, frank, and also very long.  The Believer will consider unsolicited nonfiction manuscripts and pitches. We review books of all types, as well as non-literary items with some interesting linguistic element. We accept 3-5 previously unpublished poems per submission.  Please do not send fiction.


The CDC Poetry Project

The CDC Poetry Project seeks poems that use all seven of the words that have been forbidden in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention documents for 2018 (“vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based”). Sarah Freligh and Amy Lemmon started this project in response to the news reported in the Washington Post on December 15 that the CDC has been banned from using these words. One new poem per day will be published on the site starting January 1, 2018.


Lunch Ticket Amuse-Bouche: Spotlight

The Lunch Ticket Amuse-Bouche: Spotlight showcases a single writer or artist every other week, and publishes all genres: creative nonfiction, fiction, flash prose, poetry, literary translation*, YA (13+), and visual art. Pieces selected for Amuse-Bouche: Spotlight are featured for two weeks and promoted through our social media networks with the same enthusiasm as our regularly published issues. After the showcase, Amuse-Bouche: Spotlight features remain on Lunch Ticket. We accept prose up to 5,000 words. Flash pieces are 750 words or less. For poetry and micro-flash (fiction or CNF under 400 words), please submit no more than THREE pieces in a single document, with each piece clearly titled. We will be open for Amuse-Bouche submissions until January 31 or when we reach 350 total submissions.


Nashville Review

The Nashville Review reads three times a year, and one of those periods is between January 1 and January 31, 2018. We welcome flash fiction, short stories, and novel excerpts of up to 8,000 words. We welcome creative nonfiction up to 8,000 words. We’re open to anything: memoir excerpts, essays, imaginative meditations. Send us up to 3 poems per reading period.


2018 Nelson Algren Literary Awards

Stories must be fiction and must not have been previously published. Stories must be written in English, double-spaced, and no longer than 8,000 words. Entrant’s name must not appear anywhere in the Story. Contest entry deadline is February 7, 2018. There is no entry fee.


Midwestern Gothic

We’re looking for pieces featuring or inspired by your time in the Midwest. Our goal is to collect the very best in Midwestern writers and writing in an effort to compile a definitive resource on the region and its influences.  We’re dedicated to featuring work about or inspired by the Midwest, by writers who have lived here, passed through, or found themselves connected to it in some way. Please submit short fiction, creative nonfiction or essays of up to 8,000 words, or no more than three poems. Submit by February 28, 2018.


Spirit First Meditation Poetry Contest 2018

Our 9th Annual Meditation Poetry Contest is currently underway. Poetry submissions may be of any length and any style but must have a theme of Meditation or Mindfulness. Poems may reflect any discipline, any faith, or none. Poems must be previously unpublished (self-published accepted). Poems not on the themes of meditation, mindfulness, stillness, or sacred silence will NOT be included in this meditation poetry event.  You are welcome to enter up to three submissions. After three submissions, no other poems will be considered. Please submit your poems by email. There is no cost to enter this contest. Submissions must be received no later than February 28, 2018.


Tinge Magazine

TINGE, Temple University’s online journal, seeks submissions of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. The journal is edited by the graduate students of Temple’s M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing. Our current reading period runs from January 1 to March 1, 2018. For fiction, submit one short story, up to 25 double-spaced pages. Novel excerpts will be considered if they can stand alone.  For nonfiction, submit one personal essay, memoir, or interview up to 25 double-spaced pages. No book reviews or criticism. Send up to three poems.


Off the Coast Poetry

Off the Coast is a biannual online journal. Our mission is to provide space for diverse and marginalized voices, particularly poets of color, disabled poets, LGBTQIA poets, woman poets, and poetry in translation. We aim to be Maine’s international poetry journal. Send 1–3 previously unpublished poems, any subject or style. We read quarterly, and our next deadline is March 15, 2018.


Adroit Journal

Since inception, the Adroit Journal has been listed for extended periods among’s 25 Fastest & Most Challenging Poetry and Fiction Markets, and has been the #1 Poetry Market with the Most Submission Responses Reported for the past two years. We are currently open to submissions of poetry and prose until April 1, 2018. Submit up to 3 pieces of prose at a time, 3,000 words maximum (per piece). Send up to 6 poems at a time, no length limits.


Passages North

Passages North, the annual literary journal sponsored by Northern Michigan University, has published short fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction since 1979. Send us up to three short-shorts (fiction, nonfiction, prose poems, whatever blend of that you do), all pasted into one document. We’re looking for all manner of well-written, innovative creative nonfiction including, but not limited to, lyric essays, personal essays, memoir, and literary journalism. Send us up to five poems in one document. Passages North is open for submissions for Issue 40 until April 15, 2018.


Southern Indiana Review

Short stories, film scripts, or short novel excerpts are accepted. Submissions should be double-spaced. Creative essays may be personal, critical, historical, nostalgic. They may be reviews, profiles, interviews, or discussions regarding social or intellectual history or ideas. Poetry may be on any subject or in any form. Please send no more than five poems. We accept manuscripts through April 30, 2018.


My 2017 Reading List

Some year, I’m going to read 100 books within a space of 12 months.  It wasn’t 2017 though.  My list for this past year is so short, I’m almost ashamed to show it.  But here it is anyway.  Several of these books were read in manuscript form and aren’t available on the market yet.  Look for them in 2018.

I’ve talked a lot about how problematic I find J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy.  And I never skip a chance to say again what a bad book it is. Beyond that, I recommend so many of the beautiful books on this list for various reasons.

I suppose the book I’m most proud of reading this year is Cormac McCarthy’s The Orchard Keeper.  I started this book about 15 years ago–maybe longer.  I suppose I wasn’t read y for McCarthy.  And though I’ve read several of his other novels in the past decade, The Orchard Keeper sat on the shelf, never finished.  Going back to it this year, I found it to be a really beautiful book, and I was glad I had kept it around all those years.

I’d love to hear what your favorite books were from 2017, or the one you’re most proud of reading. Let’s all read more this new year.

Here’s my full list:

1. Jim Wayne Miller – The Mountains Have Come Closer
2. J.D. Vance – Hillbilly Elegy
3. Alison Stine – Ohio Violence
4. Lincoln Michel – Upright Beasts
5. Ron Houchin – The Man Who Saws Us in Half
6. Iris Tillman Hill – All This Happened Long Ago – It Happens Now
7. Blas Falconer – A Question of Gravity and Light
8. Claudia Emerson – The Late Wife
9. Charles River Editors – The Library of Alexandria and the Lighthouse of Alexandria
10. Gerry Wilson – Crosscurrents and Other Stories
11-18. 8 manuscripts for a poetry contest
19. Mark Wunderlich – The Earth Avails
20. Timothy Liu – Don’t Go Back to Sleep
21. Anais Duplan – Take This Stallion
22. Peter LaBerge – Makeshift Cathedral
23. Jeanne Bryner – Both Shoes Off
24. Keith Lesmeister – We Could Have Been Happy Here
25. James Arthur – Charms Against Lightning
26. Ocean Vuong – Night Sky with Exit Wounds
27. Sean Frederick Forbes – Providencia
28. Clifford Garstang – Everywhere Stories Volume 2
29. Jenson Beach – Swallowed By the Cold
30. Adam Clay – Stranger
31. Joanne Nelson – If Not For the Mess
32. Katlin Brock – The Dead Always Stay OR Between the Wounds
33. Wes Sims – Taste of Change
34. Mark Powell – Small Treasons
35. Carol Grametbauer – Homeplace
36. Cormac McCarthy – The Orchard Keeper
37. Richard Hugo – The Triggering Town
38. Donald Morrill – Beaut
39. Lynne Sharon Schwartz – No Way Out But Through