The Essay: Brave, Engaged, Inventive

April 21, 2017 § 1 Comment

ned-stuckey-french1-230x345Redivider, the journal of new art and literature out of Emerson College, is  accepting submissions for the 2017 Beacon Street Prize through the end of April. Redivider’s nonfiction editor, Paul Haney, recently interviewed this year’s nonfiction judge, Ned Stuckey-French, also known as “the most interesting man in the world, when it comes to discussing the essay.”

Stuckey-French touches on Montaigne, Bacon, Adorno, the lyric essay, Eula Biss, the 1980s essay renaissance, and his time spent living “a kind of double life as a janitor and undercover trade union organizer.”

Here’s an excerpt from the interview, but the smart thing to do would be to follow the link to read the whole thing:

Reading essays is kind of like going out to dinner in Manhattan or some other big city. There’s always a great family restaurant that introduces you to new décor and food and presentation and wine and service. In judging this contest I’m hoping for an unexpected dining experience.

I also like to think that my tastes are broad, democratic, and always expanding (though I’ve never been a big fan of anchovies). I like essays that use humor and research. I like essays that make me say, “Wow, I’ve felt that or sensed that, but never heard it put into words.” I like essays that are brave and engaged, essays that tackle big issues though they may go after those issues via a small, quiet, and personal opening. I like essays that are formally inventive but that don’t indulge in form for form’s sake, but use form instead to reveal something about a subject in such a way that when you’ve finished reading the essay, you think, “Of course, that’s the way to say that.” I like essays that are skeptical and unafraid of the contradictions of life. I like essays that recognize that history is sly and we don’t have the universe all figured out even as they try to figure things out. I like essays that describe the beauty of our world – be that beauty wild, natural and inhuman, or urban, constructed, and social.

Here’s the link to the full interview.

Seeking Essays on How You Teach Brevity

April 14, 2017 § 1 Comment

antique schoolbook reader page schoolhouse graphicBrevity is celebrating its 20th Anniversary! As part of our celebration, we’d like to showcase the various ways the journal is used in classrooms and other workshop settings. Do you teach from Brevity? Send us a brief (but not necessarily Brevity brief) piece about how you use Brevity: a lesson plan, thoughts on a Brevity essay you most like to teach, reminiscences of student reactions to the work. We’ll be collecting these and publishing a selection on the Brevity blog in conjunction with our special anniversary issue, slated for early September.

Send your contributions by August 31, 2017, to brevityintheclassroom@gmail.com

Under the Gum Tree Annual CNF Contest to be Judged by Kwame Dawes

April 7, 2017 § Leave a comment

From the folks at Under the Gum Tree:

kwame-dawesUnder the Gum Tree invites you to submit today to our annual creative nonfiction contest, judged by Kwame Dawes. Dawes is the author of dozens of books of poetry, essays, fiction, and criticism. His most recent nonfiction work is the essay collection he edited, When the Rewards Can Be So Great: Essays on Writing & the Writing Life, and his essays have appeared in numerous journals including Bomb Magazine, The London Review of Books, Granta, Essence, World Literature Today, and Double Take Magazine. He is Editor of Prairie Schooner and teaches at the University of Nebraska and the Pacific MFA Program.  He is Director of the African Poetry Book Fund and Artistic Director of the Calabash International Literary Festival.

Contest submissions should respond to the theme of (dis)empowered (see full theme description at underthegumtree.com). Contest submissions are accepted March 30-June 30, 2017. Contest entries must be previously unpublished, submitted blind, and not exceed 5,000 words.

Winner and any honorable mention(s) will be announced in Fall 2017. One winner will receive a $500 cash prize, publication in our January 2018 issue, and a one-year subscription in 2018 to keep or gift. The winner also receives the option to guest-edit a section of a future issue of Under the Gum Tree; in this way, we desire to push the limits of our aesthetic and include more and more voices. Honorable mention(s) will be published and receive a one-year subscription to keep or gift, plus a mystery box of inspirational CNF goodies including books and UTGT schwag.

New Ohio Review Seeks Lopatian Essays for Annual Contest, While Wondering What That Means . . .

March 9, 2017 § Leave a comment

mr lopate

Sir Lopate

A guest post from New Ohio Review editor David Wanczyk:

Last year, I wrote a post for Brevity about what I seek in Creative Nonfiction as the editor of New Ohio Review. It was 605 words, but it could have been three: Intensity, Ambivalence, Nostalgia.

Essentially, is there a conflict in the essay/memoir? Is there hard thinking and debate with oneself? And are there detail-rich descriptions that enliven a scene (potentially from 1986)?

I thought I’d been somewhat clever, laying out a writing schema that was not quite as general as a daily horoscope or as specific as an Ikea manual.

But it turns out that these three key concepts were only the product of cleverness inasmuch as they were basically cribbed from Phillip Lopate, one of my favorite writers, and New Ohio Review‘s 2017 Nonfiction Contest judge.

On intensity/conflict, he writes, “I was always waiting for life to become tragic, so that I would merely have to record it to become a powerful, universal writer,” and in that recognition of a desire for dramatic struggle, which he plays as partially naive, he reveals that it isn’t necessarily conflict that makes a good piece of nonfiction.

On ambivalence, he writes, “Personal essayists converse with the reader because they are already having dialogues and disputes with themselves,” and there he teaches me that self-debate helps us communicate; but at the same time, Lopate writes with absolute directness, refusing to dwell in any muddle. He’s not speaking from a place of ambivalence for the sake of it; the thing he’s chewing on is what’s important, not necessarily the mode of chewing.

On nostalgia, he writes, “One has to guard against the tendency to think of one’s youth as a time when the conversations were brighter, the friends truer, and the movies better.” With this, he would seem to pooh-pooh my suggestion that essayists should infuse their work with a sense of wonder about the past, and yet he consistently writes, in a lovely way, as though he were a documentary filmmaker of his own memory, even admitting that he occasionally felt like a cameraman when he was young: “I wanted life to have the economy and double meaning of art,” he admits. “But more often I simply felt torn by a harsh, banal pain that had no cinematic equivalent.”

Lopate’s work—searching, funny, and sometimes uncomfortable—stays in that space between artistry and banality, and because of that, we feel like we’re with a friend on his smartest day, a friend who, like us, doesn’t quite fit in.

“I believe in the aesthetically impure as an accurate reflection of reality,” he wrote in his book Getting Personal, and, as I look back at Lopate’s work I’m happy to go along with that idea, too. For this year.

Intensity, Ambivalence, and Nostalgia? Eh, maybe.

But for all you Scorpios and Tauri out there in the Brevity community, maybe we should shoot for an impure reflection of something true, first and foremost?

If this sounds intriguing, please send New Ohio Review and Phillip Lopate your brightest impurities, your canniest reflections, your things-that-don’t-fit.

Deadline: April 15th

Prize: $1000 and publication in NOR 22.

All submissions will be considered even if they don’t win, and the entry fee—$20—gets you a one-year subscription to the magazine. We’ve also got fiction and poetry contests, and we’re at https://newohioreview.submittable.com/submit

Redux Open to Submissions

February 13, 2017 § 1 Comment

 

reduxbook252c2b1Redux, the online journal of previously published work, is accepting submissions of fiction/poetry/essays during an open reading period: February 15 to March 15.  We’re looking for literary work of high quality that has been previously published in a print journal but that is not available elsewhere on the internet.  Our mission is to bring deserving work to a new, online audience.  Preference will be given to older pieces (i.e. published before 2012).

No novel excerpts, poems that appear in chapbooks, or pieces published in anthologies…even if these books are presently out-of-print.

Please read our guidelines for important submission information.  If your work is accepted, you will also be asked to write a short “story behind the piece” essay a la the Best American series. Pieces must be available in a Microsoft Word file.

Authors we’ve published include Margot Livesey, Sandra Beasley, Robin Black, R.T. Smith, Michelle Boisseau, Kelle Groom, Erica Dawson, Catherine Chung, Walter Cummins, Lee Martin, Dave Housley, and Terese Svoboda.

We look forward to seeing your work!

Disturbed City BULLETIN  BOARD Seeking Submissions

November 30, 2016 § Leave a comment


zslgFrom our Friends at Slag Glass City:
Do you have  a post-election eyewitness report from a city that is not quite essay, not quite a finished work of art, but in some way conveys YOUR URBAN MOMENT in the weeks after the 2016 AMERICAN ELECTION?  
 
The Slag Glass City, a digital journal of the urban essay arts, would love you to contribute to our Disturbed City blog project—running reports we will publish on our SLAG GLASS TUMBLR between now and the close of Inauguration Weekend, January 23rd, 2017
 
We will post respectful, non-hating contributions that fit our city theme.These can be short casual fragments, accounts, snapshots, shout-outs, blessings, video minis, statements of community and love, longer in-the-moment commentaries, and anything at all we are technically able to post—as long as the offering does not contain unsubstantiated facts or false news.
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THIS BULLETIN BOARD CALL is OPEN to EVERYONE who would like to digitally gather in our peaceful community, including students 16 years old and older from any campus. YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE AN AUTHOR OR ARTIST TO PARTICIPATE.
 
UPLOAD your blog contributions here: http://tinyurl.com/SlagGlassCity-DisturbedCity
Visit our journal. Slag Glass City here: slagglasscity.org

2016 Slag Glass City Call for Submissions

November 28, 2016 § 1 Comment

zslgFrom Slag Glass City:

CRACKS IN THE SIDEWALK:  What Fractures Our Cities?

Slag Glass City, a digital journal of the urban essay arts edited by Barrie Jean Borich, seeks inventive and beautifully made nonfiction work from across artistic discipline that circles, questions, contradicts, aggravates, decries, implores, or offers remedy to the experience of URBAN FRACTURE—including: election protests, police violence, gentrification, racism, classicism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, religious intolerance, immigration tensions, guns, domestic abuse, protest, development, neglect, loneliness—or anything from micro aggression to cataclysm that creates fissure, disconnection, and brokenness.

We are accepting submissions November 20, 2016 – February 20, 2017. You may submit nonfiction prose, graphic memoir, video, sound, image + text, photography, mixed media, or any other form of the nonfiction essay arts. The work our 2016 editorial board selects will be published in the online journal AND considered for our miniature print editions.

To SUBMIT TO THE CITY for this themed call go to: http://tinyurl.com/SlagGlassCitySidewalkCracks

To visit the journal itself, go to: slagglasscity.org

If you have QUESTIONS please email this address: slagglasscity@gmail.com

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