l'Aleph, Wisehouse International Poetry Award 2016, literary journal, poetry journal, married name, LeeAnn Adams, poetry, "War Song"

Copyright l’Aleph and associated artists.

Hi friends! My poem “War Song” is now available to read in STARK, a poetry journal. It was fun to be among so many talented artists on the long list for the Wisehouse International Poetry Award 2016. Let me know what you think if you check out the poem! As always, thanks for reading.

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Book Review: Uhaul by Emily Ramser

Bear with me, because this is relevant. Those who know me well know I have an aversion to romance. I find phrases like “rippling muscle” and “love canal” gag-worthy and unattractive. If I read one more novel where two characters have “their eyes meet” and they don’t immediately try and kill each other afterward, I might stab a book. (Side note, I’m actually nice—or try to be. It’s been a long day.)

I know what you guys are thinking. But LeeAnn, we see you promoting romance novels on your Twitter all the time! Yes, observant friends, you do. That’s because there are great writers out there who write romance—a genre equal in awesomeness to all the others. I’m friends with quite a few romance writers. Some very kind ones let me join their writing group and I’m a better writer for it. I actually dig a lot of mentioned romance writers’ stuff.

UhaulThe point is I’m not romantic, therefore I don’t like sappy writing. What I appreciate about Uhaul: A Collection of Lesbian Love Poems by Emily Ramser is that, while definitely romantic, it is also honest. These are the types of poems you write about your crush in your journal and then hide in your shoe box under your bed because they are soul-bearing and unpretending. These are poems of sheer adoration.

Ramser writes in plain language that the average reader can understand. For example, the poem “One Day, You Will Eat” begins with a humorous list of things that the person the speaker is referring to will not eat: “You don’t like mushrooms,/hamburgers, cinnamon, lettuce…”. However it ends with a nice sort of twist, with words that seem simple but actually will resonate with many readers.

There are two poems that leave me scratching my scalp. The poems seem odd editions to the collection. I am still at a loss after reading “The Day I Spoke With Your Gray Hair” and am frustrated with the somewhat successful but ultimately eyebrow raising, “I give you my body for your own.” They’re not bad, necessarily, just different and somewhat out of place.

As expected, Ramser brought back the birds in this collection with the poem,”I will sing to you.” It’s in this poem, arguably, that she writes her most memorable description: “how you hide your smile behind your thumb.” Again simple, but spot on, and ironically proceeded by how the speaker found it difficult to describe this action.

The poem I find most surprising is “I’d Steal You a Skillet”. This poem interested me—not because of the romantic elements, but because of this odd and fascinating tradition. I also got the sense that the speaker was as surprised as I was—not by the tradition but by the romantic elements.

The artwork for this collection is stunning. Sara Tolbert’s work adds another, beautiful layer of meaning to the poems. I was very impressed and kept gazing admiringly at the black-and-white drawings.

Overall the collection is interesting and honest—even if romance is not my favorite subject. What’s more, Ramser is an impressive person. She is an editor at many different publications with four published collections while still an undergraduate student at Salem College. She has a lot of things to write still. I’m curious to see what comes next.

Update: New Writings and Current Projects

F(r)iction #5, Tethered by Letters, literary journal


typewriter-1031024_1920Whoever said the summer months were for vacation probably wasn’t a writer (or an editor). My graduate school classes don’t start up again until late August, but I’m as busy as I’ve ever been. Don’t misunderstand—I’m not complaining. This past month especially has been wonderful! What’s more, I have some new published stories up and some fantastic opportunities to share.

New Flash Fiction Stories:

As some of you already know, I have two new published stories that are now available to read online.

  • “Trace” can be found at Vestal Review online (issue 49) and it is forthcoming in print (issue 47). This story deviates greatly from my normal style. I wrote this to see if I could stretch myself as a writer. Though it may not be what you expect, I hope you enjoy it.
  • “Spacefall” is the fourth installment of a Dually Noted group writing project. The writers used the phrase “Hold this—it’s supposed to relieve stress” as a prompt. It was really fun to write and I hope you enjoy it. It’s a personal favorite of mine.

Other Available Writings:

  • “Articulating Agony: The Writer as Antihero” is up on the Blue River blog. While my attempts at being funny may be somewhat laughable… I hope you enjoy it anyway. I would encourage everyone to read the writings of my fellow staff members as well.
  • Helly Luv: The Pop Star Fighting ISIS has surfaced on GERM Magazine. I found this spectacular woman via social media and decided to do a brief feature. She’s a pretty cool artist.
    • As a note: My women’s college and women writers series will be continuing according to one of the editors. You can find a complete list of my GERM Magazine contributions here.

Forthcoming Writings:

  • Interviews:
    • Roger May at Change Seven
    • Molly Rose Quinn at Tethered by Letters
    • Tyler Barton at Tethered by Letters
  • War Song” in The Stark via Wisehouse/Editorial l’Aleph
  • Book Reviews:
    • All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders at Tethered by Letters
    • UHaul by Emily Ramser on my blog

Opportunities for Readers and Writers:

I’ve had some exciting adventures with Tethered by Letters lately. As a summer intern for this amazing nonprofit, I have seen first hand how wonderful Dani, Leah, and the staff are to their writers, readers, and business partners. If you’re curious check out what they offer:

  • Readers, participate in the #LitStory Series giveaway for a chance to win a copy of F(r)iction #2, #3, or #4! Here are the details.
  • Free Editing Program: The FEP is a great opportunity for writers. Feedback from an editor is often hard to come by and it can help a writer transform a piece from a fifth draft to a polished work. This program is indeed free once you join the Tethered by Letters community (also free). Here are the details.
  • F(r)iction #5: The anticipated release of this beloved journal of fine art and literature is about to happen—and let me tell you, it is gorgeous. Tell your friends. Tell your friends’ friends. Tell the dude crossing paths with you on the sidewalk—you get the idea. The Kickstarter is up!
  • Dually Noted: Do you want to be part of a group writing project? Submit your story by Friday for your chance to be part of the current TBL story cycle. Submissions are voted upon by a select group of editors and then the chosen story is posted on the website for readers. Try your luck, writers! Submit your awesome 500 word addition—details here—and tell them I sent you.

As fiction editor for Blue River, I’ve been reading some exciting work from graduate students that have submitted to our journal. The great news is that there is still time to submit for the chance to win the Blue River Editors’ Award of $500 (USD). The editors will be giving feedback for each submission. We’re looking for great stories from graduate writers for the first issue and—if you’re a writer in a graduate writing program—we hope to see your work!


Thanks for tuning in and, as always, thanks for reading!

International Poetry, Niven’s New Book, and More

Holding Up the Universe

Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

There have been some exciting things happening lately.

For one thing, my poem “War Song” was placed on the long list for the 2016 Wisehouse International Poetry Award. “War Song” will appear in the first issue of The Stark (a poetry journal published by Wisehouse/Editorial l’Aleph), which will appear in August of 2016. Congratulations to the winner, the finalists, and the other long list poets!

Another exciting development is the introduction of Jennifer Niven‘s new young adult novel, Holding Up the Universe. Contributing content to Germ Magazine (Jennifer’s creation as well) allowed for the opportunity to snag an advanced reading copy from Alfred A. Knopf. I’m really enjoying it so far.

Blue River is working on blog content along with the first issue of the journal. (Graduate writers can still submit to the journal, as the deadline has been extended.) We are also looking into hosting local readings around the Omaha area featuring Nebraskan authors. The last day for the book drive fundraiser is tomorrow, May 14.

I may have some more updates for you soon. Stay tuned. As always, thanks for reading.

Where You Should Be and When: Urgent Literary Events

Blue River, book drive, donations, literary journal, literary magazine, booksHi friends! There is an explosion of awesome literary events happening in my neck of the woods (and a few other places) that you need to know about. Here’s a quick run down, starting with the most urgent.

At the University of Nebraska Omaha (Omaha, NE):

Tonight 7 pm, Twyla M. Hansen and Tim Hunt will give a reading at the Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center. Learn more here.

At Salem College (Winston-Salem, NC):

Tonight at 7 pm, Incunabula is releasing their newest installment of the magazine. Go support some emerging writers if you’re in the area. Learn more here.

At the Joslyn Art Museum (Omaha, NE):

The last Fair Use Reading of the year will be at the Joslyn Art Museum tomorrow night. Get there at 6:30 pm for seats. Make sure to bring books for Blue River‘s book drive! Meredith Spears, Nathan Sindelar, and Shelby Snedeker will be reading.

Enter to win an autographed copy of Pas de Deux: Part One (online):

You’ve got about a day before this opportunity is lost. Put your name in that hat. Also, check out Wynter S.K. and Pas de Deux.

At Salem College (Winston-Salem, NC):

A collegiate publications and journalists conference? Who dare take on such a momentous task? None other than Emily Wonder Woman Ramser of course. Check out this great opportunity coming up April 30. You can learn more here and—never fear—still register by emailing Emily at emily.ramser@salem.edu.

At Pageturners Lounge (Omaha, NE):

Another installment of the literary pub quiz is happening May 4 at 8 pm. Don’t forget to bring your books to donate to Blue River‘s book drive! Learn more about genius and event organizer Theodore Wheeler and about the event.

A Flash Fiction Class for $0.99 (online)?

Yes, the rumors are true, so hurry and sign up. Ilana Masad is teaching this course. Learn more about it here.

Blue River Book Drive (Omaha, NE):

Blue River is seeking book donations for an upcoming fundraiser. Please help us out if you can. Drop them off at Creighton University or at the Fair Use Reading or during the Literary Pub Quiz. Thanks for supporting literature!

writing, Blue River, Valentine's Day, literary journal, literary magazine, award, special, submission, fiction, poetry, nonfiction

Hey graduate student writers and those who know graduate student writers—are you ready for Valentine’s Day? At Blue River, we’re showing the love by offering a two-for-one special. Here are the details:

Blue River is offering a Valentine’s Day submission special: submit two pieces for the price of one! The two-for-one submission period will run from midnight to midnight on February 14 only. Submit here for a shot at publication and the $500 Editor’s Choice award in Fiction, Poetry and NonFiction. Regular entry fees will resume thereafter.

Blue River is a non-profit literary journal produced by the students in Creighton University’s MFA program. We seek to build a new tradition: to foster and celebrate contemporary graduate-level creative writers by publishing their fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry.

Our March 1st deadline is almost upon us. Send us your best work!

https://blueriver.submittable.com/submit

Follow us on Twitter.

Like us on Facebook.

We’re looking forward to your contribution. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Judging for the 2016 Art Young Memorial Award for Poetry

Art Young, poetry, Garbanzo Literary Journal, Good Morning, contest, writing

Art Young (source)

I’m grateful to Marc and Ava (Mr & Mrs Garbanzo) for a great many things. They were the ones who allowed my writing to appear in Garbanzo Literary Journal and then again in Good Morning. So when they asked me to help judge the 2016 Art Young Memorial Award for Poetry, I felt honored.

When I received the poetry packet, however, I found the task to be rather difficult.

I had stumbled upon a pool of talented poets and now had the monumental task of voting for the entry that seemed to “deserve” the prize. I read each poem carefully—studying each word, each punctuation mark, each space, each sensory detail, etc. I was very impressed with the entries. After much painstaking effort and consideration, I offered my votes, which would be added to the votes of the other judges.

I have been on the other end of this process too. I have been the writer submitting work to contests, winning few and losing many. That’s why I so meticulously read and analyzed each poem—because I would want any judge in a writing contest to do the same for me.

January 15, Marc and Ava announced the winners:

The 2016 Art Young Memorial Award for Poetry goes to Terry Severhill for “Beneath the Shadow of the Sun”. An honorable mention goes to Emily Vieweg for “Shadows”. Thanks to all the storytellers who were a part of this event.

Both pieces will appear in the March 1st 2016 issue of Art Young’s Good Morning.

Congratulations to Terry and Emily, and thanks to those who allowed me to read their wonderful poetry submissions.