Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ekphrastic Joy, Take 4


Ekphrastic poetry is poetry that is created based on viewing a work of art in a different discipline -- a painting or photograph or sculpture, for example. For the fourth consecutive year, the Aroma of Art, one of Hickory’s largest annual charitable and artistic events, invites area poets to write ekphrastic poems based on the art that will be exhibited at Taste Full Beans Coffeehouse in downtown Hickory throughout the month of February.

The Aroma of Art, in its eleventh year, is a month long auction of paintings, photography, jewelry, sculpture, etc. all created by over 100 local artists to benefit the Catawba County Council on Adolescence, ALFA (AIDS Leadership Foothills Alliance) and Cooperative Christian Ministry. Last year’s Aroma of Art raised more than $10,000 for area charities.

Donations of artwork are accepted at Taste Full Beans until January 29 and then displayed there starting with the Aroma of Art Kick-Off Event on February 3. Bids are accepted throughout February, and the winning bids are announced at the Finale on March 3. Some winners, however, will receive not only the work of art they have bid on but also an original poem written about that work.

Writers are invited to submit poems based on the works on display in the Aroma of Art to Scott Owens by noon on February 15. A jury of local poets will select as many as 20 poems to display with the pieces in the auction and to be presented to the winners of the corresponding art work during Aroma of Art’s Grand Finale. At least three poems will also be chosen to be read at the Grand Finale.

Poems should include the author’s name and the title and creator of the “inspiring” work of art. The phone number, and email address of the author should be on the back or on an attached sheet. Poems may be submitted at Taste Full Beans or by email to Selections will be made by the end of the day February 16.

More information on Aroma of Art can be found at or by calling 828-325-0108.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Hickory Poet How-To, Part III: Submitting Poetry for Publication


Continuing in our “Hickory Poet How-To” series, here are some tips on submitting poetry for journal publication.

1. Find the journals. maintains a database of over 3000 journals that publish poetry and fiction. Their database is constantly updated and includes a submission tracker program that will help you keep track of where you have submitted to and what the results were. You can find similar lists at (Poets & Writers) and Poets & Writers is a semi-monthly magazine that lists calls for submissions and upcoming contests, as does The Chronicle from Associated Writing Programs. The NC Writers’ Network emails a weekly newsletter to its members that includes calls for submissions. Main Street Rag has a similar monthly newsletter. If you like printed guides, you can find Poets’ Market in most bookstores or order The International Directory of Little Magazines and Small Presses from

2. Start Locally, preferably with editors you’ve met or chatted with online. Good journals in the NC piedmont include Wild Goose Poetry Review, Dead Mule, Referential, Iodine Poetry Journal, The Pedestal Magazine, and Main Street Rag. If you’re taking classes at a college or university, find out about the school’s literary magazine and submit to it.

3. Research your targets. If you haven’t read a recent issue of a journal, then don’t submit to them. Without knowing what kind of poetry they’re likely to publish, you’re setting yourself up for multiple rejections. Most journals have either sample poems or entire recent issues available online. Make sure you follow the journal’s submission guidelines as well or your work will probably be rejected without being read.

4. Include a cordial, but brief, cover letter and biography (unless the guidelines specifically ask that you not include them). Here is a sample of each:

Dear Editors,
Thank you for taking the time to consider the following poems for publication in _____. They have not been previously published, nor are they under consideration elsewhere. A brief bio follows. If you need anything else, please don't hesitate to contact me by email, phone (828-234-4266) or post (838 4th Ave. Dr. NW, Hickory, NC 28601.

I hope you enjoy the poems and look forward to hearing back from you.

(Bio) Author of 6 collections of poetry and over 800 poems published in journals and anthologies, Scott Owens is editor of Wild Goose Poetry Review, Vice President of the Poetry Council of North Carolina, and recipient of awards from the Pushcart Prize Anthology, the Academy of American Poets, the NC Writers’ Network, the NC Poetry Society, and the Poetry Society of SC. He holds an MFA from UNC Greensboro and currently teaches at Catawba Valley Community College. He grew up on farms and in mill villages around Greenwood, SC.

5. Keep records. I use a database to track where I’ve sent the poems to and what the results were. Duotrope’s program is just as good. Some people use index cards.

6. Don’t simultaneously submit. Some will disagree, but most journals respond within 4 months, and having the same poem out at multiple places is confusing and creates a real possibility that you might anger an editor or even create a copyright violation issue. The way I see it, If I have time to submit the same poem to several places, then I’m taking time away from writing new poems.

7. Be patient. There is no sort of standard rate, but my first acceptance came with my 25th submission, and for the first couple of years 1 acceptance for every 15 submissions seemed the norm for me. That gradually improved over the years, and now I have about a 50% success rate with submissions.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

January Poetry Hickory Postponed

Due to inclement weather, January's Poetry Hickory and Writers' Night Out have been postponed until January 18. We hope everyone will be able to join us at Taste Full Beans Coffeehouse in downtown Hickory: Writers' Night Out at 5:00; Poetry Hickory at 6:30.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Gathering of Poets

A Gathering of Poets, April 9, Community Arts Cafe in Winston-Salem. This looks like a poetry event not to be missed. 4 workshops with people like Fred Chappell, Kay Byer, Debra Kaufman and Joseph Mills! Here is the link:

Held at The Community Arts Café, Fourth & Spruce, Winston-Salem, NC


Check-in & Continental Breakfast: 8 - 9 a.m.

First Morning Workshop Block: 9 - 10:15 a.m.
These workshops will be offered again during the First Afternoon Workshop Block: 1:30 - 2:45 p.m.

Debra Kaufman: Polishing the Lines (Limited to 30 poets)
We write poetry to discover something about ourselves and our world, and to share what we learn with readers. We will look closely at how to strengthen our poems by focusing on the ways precise imagery and musicality in our lines reveal a poem’s intended meaning. We will explore ways to refine our images and enhance our musical
phrasing to better reveal to ourselves and our readers the deeper truths inside our poems. Please bring a poem you would like to work on.

Alex Grant: Compression in Poetry (Limited to 30 poets)
This workshop focuses on practical, tangible methods and techniques to help you strip down and polish your poems. We will focus on specifics, before reading and discussing poems which exemplify this approach, then working on your own poems. Participants will take away practical, understandable methods they can immediately
apply to both new poems and work under revision.

Joseph Mills: What’s in a Name? (Limited to 30 Poets)
Margaret Mitchell considered naming her story Tomorrow Is Another Day and Tote the Weary Load. F. Scott Fitzgerald suggested Under the Red White and Blue and The High Bouncing Lover to his publisher. None of these phrases has entered popular culture; instead we have Gone with the Wind and The Great Gatsby. Titles are not simply handy ways to catalogue works; they can be crucial elements. Without the title “Station in a Metro,” the reader would have little idea what Ezra Pound’s poem was about. In this workshop, we’ll consider the importance of a variety of titles from books, paintings, poems, and songs, and we’ll explore ways to develop intriguing, effective titles for our own work.

Terri Kirby Erickson: Marketing Yourself and Your Work (Limited to 30 Poets)
Google "Terri Kirby Erickson" and you will find her everywhere, from her personal blog, to online lit mags and book blogs. In 2010, her poetry collection, Telling Tales of Dusk, reached #23 on the Poetry Foundation's list of Contemporary Best Sellers thanks to the endorsement of nationally syndicated columnist Sharon Randall in her column entitled, “Best Reads.” No matter where you are in your writing process, it’s never too early to start selling yourself and your work. The difference between being an unknown poet and a widely read poet is effective
marketing. In this workshop, we’ll examine various methods and strategies to get you and your poetry noticed by readers, editors and publishers.

Second Morning Workshop Block: 10:30 - 11:45 a.m.
These workshops will be offered again during the Second Afternoon Workshop Block: 3:00 - 4:15 p.m.

Fred Chappell: Master Workshop (Limited to 30 Poets)

Kathryn Stripling Byer: Studio-style Master Class (Limited to 50 Poets)
In this studio-style master class, former North Carolina Poet Laureate Kathryn Stripling Byer will select poems written by four poets in attendance to read and discuss in a studio-style forum with the four selected poets and then everyone in attendance. Attendees may submit one poem for consideration no later than March 15. Ms. Byer will select four poems for discussion, to be announced at the beginning of the master class.

Valerie Nieman: Every Picture Tells a Poem (Limited to 30 Poets)
Ekphrasis is a marriage of imaginations, that of the visual artist and the writer. In this poetry workshop, Valerie Nieman will discuss noted works, such as poems by Rilke, Auden, and Fred Chappell, and will take advantage of the Community Arts Café’s Gallery of the Arts to lead writing exercises using contemporary art as the source for new poems.

Other Important Times and Events

Lunch Break: 11:45 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. (Buffet lunch provided)

Faculty Reading With Special Guest Poet Isabel Zuber: 4:30 - 5:30 p.m.

Closing Remarks: 5:30 - 6 p.m.

Dinner on Your Own: 6-7:30 p.m.

Open Mic Reading with A Cappella Poetry by Fleur-de-Lisa: 7:30 - 9:30 p.m.
($5 cover, Free to Gathering of Poets Attendees.) Poets wishing to read must place his or her name in a bowl. Readers will be determined by a drawing at two different times during the evening. If the poet called is not present, another name will be drawn. Sixteen poets will be selected to read during this event. Each poet will have three minutes to read, and this will be strictly enforced to be fair to all poets.

To register, visit the registration page.
Check box to select your desired workshops.
If workshop is full, you may check the "waitlist" box and you will be placed on the waitlist in the order you signed up.
Waitlists will be cleared if space becomes available.

Press 53 reserves the right to make last-minute changes due to cancelations by faculty. If a cancelation by faculty occurs, we will do our best to replace the workshop with an equally beneficial workshop, but no guarantees can be made.

To Register, click here.

Questions can be emailed to Kevin Watson at or by calling Kevin at 336-414-5599.

Hickory Poet How-To, Part II


So last time we discussed the advantages for the would-be poet in Hickory to read, write, follow this column, attend Poetry Hickory, and take a class. If you missed that column, you can read it at Today we’ll continue with a few more tips on how a poet in Hickory can “get started and keep going.”

6. Join the Club. Since 1932 the North Carolina Poetry Society has facilitated networking and development of poets across the state, bringing them together at least three times a year for annual meetings at the Weymouth Center in Southern Pines, coordinating annual contests in 14 categories, publishing an annual anthology of NC poems, distributing a monthly newsletter, maintaining an online calendar of poetry events, and sponsoring a series of workshops with established poets across the state. Information on “joining the club,” is available at the Society’s website at An even larger resource for both poets and other writers is the North Carolina Writers’ Network. NCWN sponsors two annual conferences which feature nationally renowned guest speakers, workshops, classes, and readings. They also distribute weekly updates on opportunities for writers. Their website is Beyond the state level the two most significant poetry organizations are Associated Writing Programs ( and the Academy of American Poets (

7. Network. Joining poetry support organizations and attending classes and readings will give the poet the chance to meet writers, editors, publishers and others interested in poetry, but many of those activities are not scheduled more than once a month or last only a short period of time. As with any vocation or avocation, the practitioner may need more frequent interaction with others to keep them motivated and to provide the connections necessary for continued development and success. Virtually every poet I know has a facebook page and is connected through that medium to dozens of other poets, editors, publishers, and readers with similar interests or backgrounds. Many poets also maintain blogs. Visiting these blogs provides information, ideas, and the possibility of “joining the discussion” about poetry.

8. Join or Form a Group. Very few, if any, writers create in a vacuum. Most writers have at least one trusted colleague who reviews their material before the writer sends it out for publication. Many writers belong to critique groups who share their work with each other and discuss ways of improving it. Virtually every creative writing class I have ever taught has resulted in the formation of at least one such group as those students who connected with each other in the class look to keep the energy they’ve developed together going.

9. Understand that the biggest part of writing is rewriting. I never stop revising a poem. In fact, many of my best revisions came after the poem was published. Most of the poets I know are similar in their practices. For most writers inspiration is at best only the beginning, and at worst a fallacy.

10. Submit. When you’re ready, when you think your work is good enough, and your will is strong enough to withstand rejection after rejection, send your poems out for publication. If you have been networking, then you probably know the editors of several journals fairly well by now. Start with them. That way you’ll know that it will be the editor and not a graduate assistant who reads them, and you’ll be more likely to at least get a personal note back perhaps even with suggestions on how to make the poem better suited to that particular journal.

There is a lot more to know about the submission process, but we’ll save that for the next column. Come back in two weeks for more.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2011 Litchfield Tea & Poetry Series

2011 Litchfield Tea & Poetry Series

Please join us for these four free events,
our fifth year featuring a whole slate of talented poets.

Litchfield Tea & Poetry Series
First Thursday, Jan. – Apr.
3 - 4 p.m.
Waccamaw Higher Education Center
160 Willbrook Boulevard
Pawleys Island, SC 29585
Book signing after the reading
Refreshments: homemade confections by Deloris Roberts
Free & open to the public

Jan. 6 Launch of Poetry Anthology – Kickoff reading for OLLI at CCU anthology

Join us for a reading by contributors of the newly released OLLI at CCU poetry anthology, Journey-Work of the Sea. Foreword by poet Dan Albergotti, cover art by photographer Phil Wilkinson. A wide range of poems written by students from recent classes and workshops taught by Libby Bernardin and Susan Meyers. Good reason to celebrate!

Contributors: Patricia Tanner Candal * Suzy Clancy * John Eveleigh * Sally Z. Hare * Charlotte E. Hedler * Helen Hilliard * Robert O. Jones * Michelle M. Ott * Sherby McGrath * Carol Peters * Annie Pott * Susan A. Scheno * George R. Sharwell * James M. Siegrist * Nancy Dew Taylor * Libby Bernardin * Susan Meyers

Feb. 3 Ken Autrey, Debra A. Daniel

Ken Autrey, of Columbia, is the author of the chapbook Pilgrims (Main Street Rag). His poems have appeared in Atlanta Review, Cimarron Review, Poetry Northwest, and elsewhere, including various anthologies. He teaches English at Francis Marion University. Previously, he served as a Peace Corps teacher in Ghana and a visiting professor at Hiroshima University in Japan.

Debra A. Daniel is the author of As Is (Main Street Rag, 2009). She was twice SC Arts Commission’s Poetry Fellow. She has also won the Guy Owen Prize and awards from the Poetry Society of SC and has been a Pushcart nominee. Her work has appeared in Smokelong, Kakalak, Emrys,, Inkwell, Southern Poetry Review, Tar River Poetry, and The Poetry Society of SC Yearbook. She and her husband Jack McGregor will also entertain us with their music.

Mar. 3 Ann Herlong-Bodman, Richard Allen Taylor

Ann Herlong-Bodman, of Mt. Pleasant, is the author of the chapbook Pulled Out of Sleep (Pudding House Press, 2010). She taught journalism and composition at USC and Lander University. She has also taught ESL in East Europe for the U.S. State Department, and she currently volunteers as an ESL teacher when she is not traveling and writing.

Richard Allen Taylor, of Charlotte, NC, is the author of Punching Through the Egg of Space (2010) and Something to Read on the Plane (2004), both from Main Street Rag Publishing Company. His poems have appeared in many literary journals and anthologies. He is a former co-editor of Kakalak: Anthology of Carolina Poets.

Apr. 7 Scott Owens, Susan Finch Stevens

Author of six collections of poetry, Scott Owens is editor of Wild Goose Poetry Review, Vice President of the Poetry Council of NC, and recipient of awards from the Pushcart Prize Anthology and the Academy of American Poets, among others. He holds an MFA from UNC Greensboro and teaches at Catawba Valley Community College.

Susan Finch Stevens, of the Isle of Palms, is the author of the chapbook Lettered Bones, a winner in the 2008 Poetry Initiative of South Carolina Competition. She has been awarded The Poetry Society of South Carolina’s Marjorie E. Peale Prize and Kinloch Rivers Memorial Prize. Her poems have appeared in several anthologies.

Cosponsored by
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Coastal Carolina University &
The Poetry Society of South Carolina


For further info about the featured poets, contact Susan Meyers,
Check out the Litchfield Tea & Poetry Series group on Facebook.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2010: A Year for Gratitude

2010: A Year for Gratitude

One year ends; another begins. Convenient divisions for review, evaluation, resolution, and gratitude. 2010 was a great year for me in many ways. In regards to poetry, I wrote my 1000th poem and published my 800th. It was, in fact, my most productive year in regards to both writing and publishing. I wrote 240 poems and had 210 accepted for publication. I also had two books released from Main Street Rag: Paternity in February, and my collaboration with Pris Campbell, The Nature of Attraction, in July. I received 4 Pushcart nominations and 6 Best of the Net nominations, and I gave 35 public readings of my work. None of this would have been possible without the help of family, friends, editors, and colleagues, and I want to take a moment as the new year begins to publicly thank all of those who have been so helpful and supportive this year. For anyone I overlook, please know that I am nonetheless grateful and regret that the only thing more faulty than my memory is my record-keeping.

So, a sincere thank you and a robust best wishes for the coming year to all those listed below.

• Julie Owens, my wife.
• Damian Blankenship, Keegan Blankenship, and Sawyer Owens, my children.
• Phillip Fracaro, my father-in-law and one of my most devoted readers.
• Tim Peeler, friend and colleague.
• Pris Campbell, friend, collaborator, and reviewer of Paternity.
• Helen Losse, Nancy Posey, John Womack, Ann Chandonnet, Bobbi Ackley, Jessie Carty, Bud Caywood, Dennis Lovelace, and Tony Ricciardelli, faithful participants in Writers’ Night Out.
• Edgar Nucamendi and D.W. Bentley, friends, owners of Taste Full Beans Coffeehouse, and hosts of Poetry Hickory.
• M. Scott Douglass, my publisher at Main Street Rag.
• Clayton Joe Young for the cover of Paternity and being a constant source of inspiration.
• Jerry Sain, Donna Ross, Teresa Sumner, Amy Bechtol, and Kevin Rouse, supportive colleagues at CVCC.
• Barbara Burns, editor of Outlook and publisher of “Musings”
• Helen Losse, again, poetry editor of Dead Mule and reviewer of Paternity
• Jessie Carty, again, editor of Referential Magazine and reviewer of Paternity
• Ann Chandonnet, again, reviewer of Paternity
• Bud Caywood, again, poetry activist and reviewer of Paternity
• Ami Kaye, editor of Pirene’s Fountain and reviewer of Paternity
• Glenda Beall, poetry activist and interviewer
• Joe and Chenelle Milford, editors of Scythe and hosts of the Joe Milford Poetry Show.
• Jeff Davis, host of Wordplay.
• Jane Crown, host of the Jane Crown Poetry Show and editor of Heavy Bear.
• Jonathan K. Rice, editor of Iodine Poetry Journal and poetry activist.
• Janice Moore-Fuller, poetry activist.
• Bill Diskin, poetry columnist for the Independent Tribune
• Sandy Benitez, editor of Flutter and interviewer
• Karla Merrifield, reviewer of Paternity.
• Felicia Mitchell, reviewer of Paternity.
• Jackie Regales, reviewer of Paternity.
• Janelle Adsit, reviewer of Paternity.
• Joanna Catherine Scott, Tony Abbott, and Al Maginnes for their comments on Paternity.
• Antoine de Villiers for the cover of The Nature of Attraction.
• Tammy Foster Brewer and Carter Monroe for their comments on The Nature of Attraction.
• Caleb Pletcher, reviewer of The Nature of Attraction.
• Sara Claytor, reviewer of The Nature of Attraction.
• Ed Cockrell, poetry activist.
• Ed Southern, poetry activist.
• Nolan Belk, poetry activist.
• Steven Smith, poetry activist.
• Ron Bayes, poetry activist.
• Jim Clark, poetry activist.
• Devona Wyant and Shane Manier, poetry activists.
• Roxanne Newton, poetry activist.
• Susan Meyers, poetry activist.
• Margaret Boothe Baddour, poetry activist.
• Carol Rinehart, poetry activist.
• Mindy Evans, poetry activist.
• Viranya Filipiak, poetry activist.
• Sarah Greene, poetry activist.
• Eliot Lytle, poetry activist.
• Maureen Sherbondy, poetry activist.
• Jan Knotts, poetry activist.
• Ron Moran, poetry supporter.
• Tracy Mancini, poetry activist.
• Patricia Bostian, poetry supporter.
• North Carolina Writers’ Network, poetry supporters.
• North Carolina Poetry Society, poetry supporters.
• Poetry Council of North Carolina, poetry supporters.
• Poetry Council of North Carolina, poetry supporters.
• Malaprop’s Bookstore, poetry supporters.
• Quail Ridge Books, poetry supporters.
• McIntyres Fine Books, poetry supporters.
• Phillips & Lloyd Bookstore, poetry supporters.
• The Literary Bookpost, poetry supporters.
• Rosa Martha Villareal, editor of Tertulia.
• Malaika King Albrecht, editor of Red-Headed Stepchild.
• Jayne Jauden Ferrer, editor of Your Daily Poem.
• John Amen, editor of The Pedestal Magazine.
• Margaret Bauer, editor of North Carolina Literary Review.
• Eve Hanninen, editor of Centrifugal Eye.
• Alice Frampton, editor of Heron’s Nest.
• Vince Gotera, editor of North American Review.
• Zinta Aistars, editor of The Smoking Poet.
• Jen Michalski, editor of JMWW.
• Richard Krawiec, editor of The Sound of Poets Cooking.
• Harry Calhoun, editor of Pig in a Poke.
• Rob Greene, editor of Raleigh Review.
• Sam Rasnake, editor of Blue Fifth Review.
• Bruce Wheelton, editor of Word Salad.
• Scot Young, editor of Rusty Truck and Deuce Coupe.
• Scot Siegel, editor of Untitled Country.
• Dan Albergotti, editor of Waccamaw.
• Molly Gaudry and Troy Urquhart, editors of Willows Wept Review.
• Annmarie Lockhart, editor of Vox Poetica.
• Greg McBride, editor of Innisfree Poetry Journal.
• John DeLin, editor of ken*again.
• Aurora Antonovic, editor of Magnapoets.
• Christine Swint, editor of Ouroboros Review.
• Dave Bonta, editor of qarrtsiluni.
• Miriam Barr, editor of Side Stream.
• Fawn Neun, editor of Battered Suitcase.
• Lorin Ford, editor of Notes from the Gean.
• Jack Marlowe, editor of Gutter Eloquence Magazine.
• Anthony Kudryavitsky, editor of Shamrock.
• Ross Vassilev, editor of Opium Poetry and Asphodel Madness.
• James Clinton Howell, editor of Town Creek Poetry.
• Valerie Nieman, editor of Prime Decimals.
• Dale Wisely, editor of Right Hand Pointing.
• Dawn Albright, editor of Polu Texni.
• Heather Lenz, editor of Stepping Stones Magazine and Crimson Rivers Review.
• John Hartness, editor of Red Dirt Review.
• Linda Matney, editor of Imagining Heaven.
• Serena Tome, editor of Leaf Garden.
• Travis Hedge Coke, editor of Future Earth Magazine.
• Richard Pierce-Saunderson, editor of
• Karen Bowles, editor of Luciole Press.
• Dan Cuddy, editor of Loch Raven Review.
• Zvi Sesling, editor of Muddy River Poetry Review.
• Valerie Polichar, editor of Grasslimb Journal.
• Barbara Fisher, editor of Waterways.
• Ivan Brkaric, editor of Callused Hands.

And, of course, a thank you to everyone who bought a copy of any of my books or any of the journals or anthologies in which my poems were published.