The Alloy of Hybrid Prose: Rose Metal’s 10th Annual Short Short Chapbook Contest

November 20, 2015 § 2 Comments

From our fine friends at Rose Metal Press (aka the amazing Abby and Kathleen):


Submit, All Ye Faithful! Joyful and Hybrid-umphant!

From November 1 through December 1, we’re holding our 10th Annual Rose Metal Press Short Short Chapbook Contest reading period, so it’s time to gather your best flash (1,000 words or less) and compile them into an amazing 25-40-page manuscript. Flash fiction and flash nonfiction welcome.

If our contest were having a wedding anniversary, it’d be the tin/aluminum one, which seems coincidentally fitting since our press is named after a metal, Rose Metal, an alloy typically used to solder things together. This act of blending two things to make something new has always struck us as apt given our aims as a publisher of literary work in hybrid genres.

To celebrate a decade of our contest, one of the first and few chapbook contests for prose, this year we’re offering a monetary prize to the winner. In addition to having his/her manuscript published as a limited edition chapbook with letterpressed covers and an introduction by the contest judge—the fabulous Ira Sukrungruang—this year’s winner will receive $200.

It’s been an inspiring 10 years of reading many worthy submissions and seeing what gem of a manuscript the judge selects. Past winners include Claudia Smith, Geoffrey Forsyth, Sean Lovelace, Mary Hamilton, Tiff Holland, Aaron Teel, Kim Henderson, Todd Seabrook, and Rosie Forrest, whose chapbooks you can read about in our catalog.  (

We look forward to seeing who Ira will choose as our 10th winner. It could be you—but not if you don’t submit! Learn more about the contest and submit by Dec. 1 here. (

Editor’s Insight Into Redivider’s Blurred Genre Contest

November 17, 2015 § 2 Comments

From the editors at Redivider:

afl03_aerofilms_c11965AO_1.jpgOn November 15, Redivider opened submissions for our first annual Redivider Blurred Genre Contest: Flash Fiction, Flash Nonfiction, and Prose Poetry, and we couldn’t be more excited. Submissions are $6 each, $11 for two, $15 for three, and the $15 submission includes a complimentary, one-year digital subscription to our magazine. Each piece, no matter the genre, must come in at 750 words or fewer, and submissions close on December 31. Entrants may submit as many times as they’d like, to as many categories as they’d like. One winner from each of the three categories will win $250.

Check out the official guidelines.

We have wonderful cast of judges, including Pamela Painter for flash fiction. Author of three story collections and winner of numerous awards, Pamela often works and teaches classes in “very short stories.” About her latest book, Wouldn’t You Like to Know, Alice Hoffman writes, “Pamela Painter has perfected the short short.”

Jerald Walker will judge flash nonfiction. A widely published and anthologized essayist, Jerald won the 2011 PEN New England Nonfiction Award for Street Shadows: A Memoir of Race, Rebellion, and Redemption.

John Skoyles, Ploughshares poetry editor and author of seven books, will field entries for prose poetry. He knows the turf, too, as his collection of prose hybrids, The Nut File, is forthcoming from Quale Press.

The purpose of this contest is to explore, nurture, and celebrate the porous genre boundaries within and between flash prose and prose poetry. These hybrid genres seem to present as many similarities as they do differences. While fiction and nonfiction are often difficult to tell apart–both leaning on reality and imagination–their flash forms also demand attention to the immediacy and lyricism so often found in poetry. Meanwhile, poetry distills reality, imagination, immediacy, lyricism, and more, but written as prose, it sidesteps many of its own formal distinctions. Still, the only definitive similarity between these three genres resides in their form: the phrase, the clause, the sentence, the paragraph. Beyond that, things get slippery.

Subverting expectations. Transgressing boundaries. Challenging norms. Works of flash prose and prose poetry flout conventions of length, line breaks, and genre. Some minimize and some undermine. Some climax and some abscond. Some ache and some reveal. Relying on the tension and elasticity of language to hold their parts together, they de-privilege the ponderous ruminations and rigid strictures of the leisure class; they start late and finish early; they force their readers to ask, what is this?

To approach an answer to what this is, let’s ask around:

Brevity editor Dinty W. Moore, in his introduction to The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction, is reticent to pin down the flash nonfiction genre. Strictly defining art forms, he writes, “is ultimately a fruitless exercise,” so he resorts to metaphor. There’s a fire in forest, Moore says, and if the traditional essayist wanders toward it from the edge of the woods, the flash writer parachutes in and “starts the reader right at that spot, at the edge of the fire, or as close as one can get without touching the actual flame.”

So flash nonfiction burns, glows, radiates heat. Do the others?

Writing about flash fiction, Redivider contributor and Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Olen Butler articulates a similar burning core. In “A Short Short Theory,” appearing in Rose Metal Press’ fiction counterpart to their nonfiction guide, Butler writes, “To be brief, it is a short short story and not a prose poem because it has at its center a character who yearns.” To Butler, a character’s yearning can drive the genre distinction.

But what about prose poetry? Should we expect it to burn, to yearn?

At, our friends at the Academy of American Poets opt for simplicity in their terms. “Though the name of the form may appear to be a contradiction,” they write, “the prose poem essentially appears as prose, but reads like poetry.” So a prose poem is simply a poem in prose’s clothing, characterized by “techniques common to poetry, such as fragmentation, compression, repetition, and rhyme.” There seems here no exclusion of characters yearning or parachutes for that matter, just as neither Moore nor Butler dismiss poetic technique in the prose of their home genres.

So how can we tell what a brief, short, flashy, poetic piece of prose is?

What if a piece simply is what it says it is? What if the only true distinction between flash fiction, flash nonfiction, and prose poetry is that the pieces refer to themselves as such things? But then, each stems from its parent genre, even though flash nonfiction is as far from an essay as the spark from the fire; flash fiction from the short story as the tree from the forest; prose poetry from traditional poetry as the fire jumper from her family. These forms flicker and overlap, leaving a flash in our vision, a crackle in our ears, a whiff of toasted tree sap in the air.

But wait!, you say. We-who-read-literature inherently know the difference between poetry and prose, between fiction and non. Or do we? Can we? Should we? These are the questions we at Redivider, through our Blurred Genre Contest, seek not to answer, but to explore.

We look forward to reading your work, and to nurturing these slippery and subversive literary genres for years to come.

For questions or comments, email us at

Good luck, and happy writing!

Beyond: Essays, Poems, Photos from the Workplace

October 6, 2015 § Leave a comment

A note from our friend Sarah Wells:

I’m excited to announce the launch of a new trade publication, Beyond, the magazine of Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Beyond is a tri-quarterly print publication that will also have a prominent and active web and social presence. The first print issue is scheduled for release in early winter 2016. Issues will be distributed in February, June, and October.

Beyond publishes stories of businesses and business leaders that exemplify the use of design for innovative approaches to management as well as exemplars of business as an agent of world benefit, thus advancing the principles of business management pioneered, taught and practiced by the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University.

The magazine’s web presence features reader-submitted articles, supplementary interviews, podcasts, inspirational quotes and other goodies for the savvy, sophisticated, and successful businessperson. The magazine will launch its web contents in January 2016.

There are four columns open to submissions, all related to work. I’m looking for great stories written well. Three of the columns are writing (two brief prose, one poetry) and one is art/photography.

A Case of the Mondays

This humor column looks for the funny in the workplace. Word limit: 250.

Above and Beyond

Share what has inspired you in your work life that makes your work not just bearable but enjoyable. Word limit: 250.

Work in Verse

Beyond will publish one new work-related poem a month on the website and will include one poem in each print issue.


Share photographs of inspirational/aesthetic elements that inspire you in your workspace. Can be submitted via our submission system or using the #BeyondInSight on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Beyond will offer $40 for work published online and $100 for the pieces that are selected for the print publication.

The submission system is now open!

Visit for complete guidelines. Email if you have any questions.

Thank you!

With joy—

Sarah M. Wells
Managing Editor
Weatherhead School of Management
Case Western Reserve University

Call for Submissions (and Pretzels)

October 3, 2015 § 7 Comments

From our friend Erica Trabold:

45th Parallel, a literary magazine affiliated with Oregon State University’s MFA program, seeks nonfiction submissions for its premiere issue. Submissions will remain open until December 1, 2015, and selected pieces will be published in spring 2016.

What’s the 45th Parallel? The 45th Parallel, the halfway point between the Equator and the North Pole, marks the Earth’s in-between space. 45th Parallel, too, indulges in in-betweenness — the convergence of seemingly disparate content, forms, genres, and styles. Great art tends to reject strictly defined categories. Great art is what we’re after.

What kind of nonfiction do you hope to publish? 45th Parallel considers all forms of creative nonfiction, previously unpublished, between 500-5,000 words. Researched or personal, memoir or essay, hybrid or true to form, our editors are especially interested in reading your obsessions, your edges, your prosy darlings—nonfiction with a sense of the in-between.

What’s your earliest childhood memory? Crammed into a back booth in a wooden bar talking about how we should start a lit mag. There were pretzels.

Where can writers submit work? Here, of course:

Do you charge a fee? No fee. Completely free.

Lunch Ticket: The Care and Feeding of a New Literary Journal

September 30, 2015 § 6 Comments

A guest post from Arielle Silver on growing a succesful literary journal:

lunchWhen I took on the Editor-in-Chief role at Lunch Ticket, the online literary and art journal of Antioch University Los Angeles’ MFA program, beyond the obvious goals of ensuring we get quality submissions, publishing the next issue on time, and trying not to blow up the website, I also vowed to craft an official mission statement. We’re a journal strongly guided by certain values, but in the push to launch in 2012, and then with the rapid growth that has taken us from a nobody on the literary landscape to being a widely respected publication, formulating an official statement became a lower priority. In honing in on what exactly Lunch Ticket is about, I’ve reflected on the nuts and bolts of what make us unique, and how we’ve gotten to where we are. Unsurprisingly, our uniqueness has influenced our trajectory.

From its inception, Lunch Ticket was to be an ambitious literary journal with a special emphasis on community engagement and the pursuit of social justice. These two concepts are entwined, but somewhat separate.  As an MFA-affiliated publication we seek to publish excellent writing on any topic by any writer.  But as an Antioch-affiliated journal we also hope to promote the university’s mission of social justice by publishing work that fosters new conversations about the world in which we live, and helps enact change.

Arielle Silver

Arielle Silver

Early on, thanks to the three editors who came before me and an inspired advisory team of MFA faculty and staff, Lunch Ticket managed to break through the clutter and get the attention of writers whose work we wanted to showcase. One of the ways we did this was through our funded, no-entry fee contests. We launched The Diana Woods Memorial Award in Creative Nonfiction in our second issue, which helped us quickly garner outstanding CNF submissions by offering a prize of $250 to a winning essay every six months. Several issues later, we added a second contest, The Gabo Prize in Literary Translation and Multi-Lingual Texts. This contest, which offers a $200 prize, reflects the Antioch MFA program’s commitment to literary translation.  By supporting the work of translators who bring global literature into English, we strengthen Lunch Ticket’s dedication to community engagement and social justice. Both of these contests are offered with no entry fee and have been an invaluable boon for the journal. We currently review contest submissions each February and August, and hope to add additional no-fee contests in other genres in the near future.

Further, we have been able to build our readership by offering content published in between our twice-yearly full-scale Lunch Ticket issues. Amuse-Bouche is an every-other Monday feature showcasing work by a single writer or artist. We welcome new literary submissions for Amuse-Bouche twice a year, in January and July, across all genres. Our weekly blog, meanwhile, is published every Friday, and offers craft-based essays written by current students in the MFA program. Topics range from how to portray diverse characters, to approaching writer’s block, to creating tension in a narrative. Both Amuse-Bouche and the Friday Lunch Blog are headliners in the subscriber newsletter we send to readers every other week.

Lunch Ticket’s editorial team is scattered across the country (sometimes globe), due to the fact we are a low-residency MFA program, and represents writers of all backgrounds. As a diverse editorial team, we strive to support writers and artists of all colors, religions, races, nationalities, backgrounds, genders, politics, and sexual orientations. The Review Review recently lauded our gender balance. We stand behind our policy of blind submissions, but also know that we could do better at soliciting work from writers outside of our current networks. As I contemplate our trajectory and the mission of our journal, I am brainstorming new ways to reach underrepresented writers. This is, in the end, our primary mission as we solidify our standing alongside top-tier journals: to publish meritorious work by established and emerging writers, that reflects diverse experiences, and moves beyond well-worn grooves.


A NOTE TO WRITERS AND ARTISTS: Lunch Ticket accepts fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, young adult (13+), literary translation, multi-lingual text, and visual art submissions for the main issue twice a year, February 1-April 20 and August 1-October 31. We are currently reviewing submissions for our Winter/Spring 2016 issue. Amuse-Bouche reviews work in January and July. There is no fee to submit.

To read Lunch Ticket, go to

Arielle Silver daylights in the music industry, moonlights as a yoga teacher, and sunrises as a candidate for her MFA in Creative Nonfiction and Literary Translation at Antioch University Los Angeles. She is Editor-in-Chief at Lunch Ticket, her songs have been licensed internationally, and her essays have appeared in Moment and RoleReboot.

Essay Press Digital Chapbook Contest

September 28, 2015 § 1 Comment


Essay Press Chapbook ContestEssay Press is now reading for its first digital chapbook contest. Submissions are open until November 1st, 2015, with elections will be made by January.

Judges include Essay Press authors Dan Beachy-Quick, Rosebud Ben-Oni, Amaranth Borsuk, Julie Carr, Mina Pam Dick, Jennifer Kwon Dobbs, Joe Harrington, Lily Hoang, Krystal Languell, David Lazar, Shane McCrae and Jessica Smith.

Each of these 12 judges will select one digital chapbook for 2016 publication. Each judge will write an introduction to his/her selected work. Essay Press will then release a new winning chapbook each month in 2016.

The Press particularly welcomes “manuscripts that extend or challenge the formal possibilities of prose, including but not limited to: lyric essays and prose poems or poetics; experimental biography and autobiography; innovative approaches to journalism, experimental historiography, criticism, scholarship and philosophy. Simultaneous submissions, multiple submissions, collaborative manuscripts, digital and hybridized text/art manuscripts are all encouraged.”

The ideal manuscript will run roughly 30 to 50 pages, though no manuscript will be denied consideration on account of being too short or too long. The reading fee is $8.

For guidelines, visit

The Thomas Morton Memorial Prize in Literary Excellence

September 9, 2015 § 1 Comment

puritan-man-flipThe Puritan is well-known to Canadian writers and readers, maybe less so down in the 48 states, but the magazine is consistently strong in selecting excellent work and the Morton prize is open to all. We’ve turned over the blog today to let The Puritan talk about their contests and literary contests in general:

For every literary magazine, a prize. Our lit culture’s thick with ’em. Whether you’re an ardent submitter, see them as a necessary evil to keep literary ships afloat, or you love to hate them, writing awards can often feel more common than the periodicals they support.

Here at The Puritan, we’ve got our own—The Thomas Morton Memorial Prize in Literary Excellence (yes, intentionally long-titled)—and it’s in its fourth successful year. However, we like to think of ‘The Morton’ as slightly more intriguing, slightly more appealing than many other honors from many other magazines—even those that grant a bit more money.

That’s because we see The Morton as a real writer’s prize. Sure, we give away $1000 cash to each winner in the fields of fiction and poetry. We toast each work with publication in our journal and at our annual fete, Black Friday (a must see, if you’re in Toronto). And we’ve enlisted the assistance of established literary voices to help select the winners—last year’s judges were Zsuzsi Gartner and Margaret Atwood, and this year we’ve got the amazingly talented Ian Williams (poetry) and Miriam Toews (fiction) at the helm.

But what also makes our prize is especially suited to writers because, at the core, every writer is a rabid, omnivorous, and compulsive reader. So each winner gets a prize package of books, generously donated from a growing list of stalwart Canadian presses, that grants a small library to a few lucky people. This year, the package is bigger than ever: we’re donating $950 worth of books for each winner, donated from the following rock-steady presses (now breathe in deep and try to say the entire list with one breath):

Anvil Press, BookThug, Brick Books, Brindle & Glass, Caitlin Press, Chaudiere Books, Coach House Books, Cormorant Books, Coteau Books, Dundurn Press, ECW Press, Freehand Press, Guernica Editions, House of Anansi, Goose Lane Editions/icehouse poetry, Mansfield Press, Mawenzie House, Pedlar Press, Quattro Books, Random House/McClelland & Stewart, Talonbooks, Turnstone Press, Véhicule Press, and Wolsak & Wynn!

For international or American winners, this is an irreplaceable dose of titles that often rarely crosses the border. For all winners, it’s a fantastic snapshot of a year in Canadian literary publishing. And, besides helping The Puritan keep chugging along (we don’t get paid around here—this is a true-blue labor of love), the small donation fee also helps us keep strengthening ties to the web-like family of Canadian cultural producers, who could never succeed or continue alone.

But don’t trust our word alone; we’ve also got a few ringing endorsements from our past winners.

For Daniel Scott Tysdal, our 2014 fiction winner, the Morton Prize “was an ideal way for me to get this new work out there and signal this fresh direction … it also came with a shelf of incredible books that will keep me busy and inspired for years.”

For Laurie D Graham, our 2014 poetry winner, the best thing was all about feeling recognition from last year’s guest judge, Margaret Atwood. “The craziest thing about … winning the Thomas Morton Prize is knowing Margaret Atwood had not just read the poem, but had penned a few words in response to it. That’s one thing prizes do for you as a writer: they lend outside legitimacy to this work you do alone, at your desk, for no wage, in a society where wage is everything and vocation nearly incomprehensible. People who don’t know about the world of poetry (and even people who do) hear the words ‘prize’ and ‘Margaret Atwood,’ and it now makes a little more sense that I choose to hang out at my desk and not draw wages for this many hours (years!) at a stretch, arranging words on a page.”

As for the nitty-gritty, winners will be announced in late October or early November 2015, and will be invited to our annual Black Friday celebration and year-in-review party in Toronto, Ontario. Next year’s award will be announced in early 2016 and will feature even more awesome prizes, another set of sweet judges, and even more love.

So the next time you feel overwhelmed by the sheer mass of contests out there, be a real puritan (ha, not really, they were horrible). But submit to a prize specifically designed for writers, and help us commemorate the undying memory of Thomas Morton (may he rest in peace).

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