Feb 16, 2015

HARRY BAULD, Winner of the Milton Kessler Memorial Award for Poetry

Milton Kessler, poet and teacher, was a great friend and mentor to students in the creative writing program at Binghamton University. Harpur Palate created this annual award in honor of his dedication to the development of writers.

We are happy to announce Harry Bauld as the winner of the Milton Kessler Memorial Award for Poetry for his piece "Science Section"!

Poetry Editor Sri Siddhi N. Upadhyay describes Bauld and his work:
Bauld accomplished an elegant balance of keeping snark and sentiment within a simple, accessible story. The juxtaposed vastness of infinity with the intimacy of two people in a quaint cafe, and the reader being privy to the speaker's private thoughts, makes the poem feel genuine and not jaded, wry, snide, or highfalutin. The poem felt fresh to me because the poet encourages the reader to pause and make observations even within such a concisely captured moment. Writing that shows me something unexpected and that helps me feel like these everyday relatable instances are something new is always delightful to read.

Below is "Science Section," found in our latest issue.

Harry Bauld, "Science Section," Harpur Palate 14.2

Harry Bauld is from Medford, Massachusetts. He was included by Matthew Dickman in Best New Poets 2012, and his poems have appeared in many publications, including Nimrod, Southern Poetry Review, The Southeast Review, Verse Daily, Ruminate, The Baltimore Review, Whiskey Island, and The Adirondack Review. He won the 2008 New Millennium Writings poetry prize. He has taught and coached baseball, basketball, and boxing at high schools in Vermont and New York.

Congratulations, Harry Bauld!

To read this and the other excellent pieces found in our latest issue, head over to our Submittable page and purchase a subscription. We're also currently reading for our John Gardner Memorial Award in Fiction - your work could be highlighted by us in the future if you submit! Check out our guidelines here.

Feb 13, 2015

SARAH PAPE, Winner of the Harpur Palate Award for Creative Nonfiction!

The Harpur Palate Award for Creative Nonfiction was developed by former Editor in Chief Marissa Schwalm to reward excellent creative nonfiction just as we do with our prizes in fiction and poetry.

It is our great pleasure to announce the winner of our annual Harpur Palate Award for Creative Nonfiction, Sarah Pape for "He Did"!

Our 14.2 Creative Nonfiction Editor Rose Fritzky-Randolph writes of the winning piece:
"With its confidence of voice and vision, 'He Did' captivated me from beginning to end. Sarah Pape tells her heartbreaking story with a subtle yet generous grace."

Below is a selection from "He Did." Please take a look!

Sarah Pape, "He Did," Harpur Palate 14.2

Sarah Pape, "He Did," Harpur Palate 14.2

Sarah Pape, "He Did," Harpur Palate 14.2

Sarah Pape teaches English and works as the Managing Editor of Watershed Review at Chico State. Her poetry and prose has recently been published or are forthcoming in: Ecotone, The Nervous Breakdown, The Brooklyner, decomP, The Collapsar, Pilgrimage, Prick of the Spindle, The Squaw Valley Review, The Superstition Review, and Hayden's Ferry Review. She curates community literary programming and is a member of the Quoin Collective, a local letterpress group.

Congratulations, Sarah Pape!

You can read "He Did" in full by purchasing a subscription to Harpur Palate over at our Submittable page. Our John Gardner Memorial Award for Fiction is currently reading submissions - check out our guidelines here, and maybe we'll be highlighting your work in the future!

Feb 12, 2015

Author Vanessa Blakeslee - Interview and AWP Book Signing!

It was Editor in Chief Melanie J. Cordova's great privilege to talk with author Vanessa Blakeslee last fall about her new short story collection Train Shots, out with Burrow Press (2014). The collection's title story first appeared in Harpur Palate 9.2.

Vanessa Blakeslee's Train Shots

Vanessa Blakeslee was raised in northeastern Pennsylvania and earned her MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her writing has appeared in The Southern Review, The Paris Review Daily, The Globe and Mail, PANK, and Kenyon Review Online, among many others. Winner of the inaugural Bosque Fiction Prize, she has also been awarded grants and residencies from Yaddo, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, The Banff Centre, Ledig House, and the Ragdale Foundation. In 2013 she received the Individual Artist Fellowship in Literature from the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs. Find Vanessa online here.

Take a look at the preview of the interview below, or read the full interview with Blakeslee at this link.

Vanessa Blakeslee, Interview, Harpur Palate 14.2

We're also thrilled to announce that Blakeslee will be joining Harpur Palate at this year's AWP for an author signing! Mark your calendars for AWP in Minneapolis from April 8-11, 2015. Come to Harpur Palate's Bookfair table #552 on Thursday, April 9 from 2:00 - 3:00 pm to get your copy of Train Shots signed. We look forward to meeting you!

If you support print media, please head over to our Submittable page and purchase a subscription so you can read the print version of our interview with Blakeslee in our excellent new issue. And what's the interview without Train Shots itself? Go to Burrow Press and grab a copy of the collection so you can get it signed at AWP!

Feb 10, 2015

14.2 Cover Artist Matt Kish

Our excellent new issue is here, and it looks great thanks to our cover artist Matt Kish.

Matt Kish's "64 Queequegs: Queequeg #15: The Hunter"

The cover art for each issue sets the tone for readers - the Queequeg depicted here is at once whimsical and poignant, quirky and subdued. We hope you find the work inside as creative and unique.

Matt Kish is a self-taught artist who has also enjoyed stints as a groundskeeper, a DJ in a strip club, a bookseller, and a high school English teacher. He is currently a librarian in Ohio where he lives with his wife, their two frogs, and entirely too many books.

Kish's work is clever and we are grateful to have "Queequeg #15" as our cover art. Check out Kish's blog, his Tumblr, his Facebook, and his Twitter to see more of his work!

Meanwhile, head over to our Submittable page and purchase a subscription to get a copy of this lovely issue! While you're at it, submit some work yourself. Read our guidelines here.

Our contest winners will be announced later this week!

Jan 26, 2015

Dante Di Stefano Reviews Jim Reese's Really Happy

Really Happy
Jim Reese
New York Quarterly Books, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-935520-81-8

Love Too Much, but Don't Let Go

Jim Reese’s third collection of poetry, Really Happy, pursues joy while coasting through the ruins of the contemporary consumer culture, in which an advertisement for Jockey underwear might reduce a wheat field to Cream of Wheat. These are poems in the American grain, equally at home swooping through the wide open spaces of the heartland, sitting at a counter in a local diner, or exploring the confines of the penitentiary yard. Reese begins the collection with a poem set in a “mega-pharmacy,” among the aisles of “formula, baby wipes, Aquaphor Healing Ointment,/ disinfectant wipes, lead paint test kits, hand sanitizers, lots of sugar free juice,/ binkies…pregnancy tests,/ colored condoms, acid reducers, Band-Aids, Ativan,” and so on. For Reese, the bric-a-brac of daily living provides the pivot into epiphany. Among these aisles, in these poems, Reese employs a plain spoken lyric narrative style in order to address fundamental questions about sexuality, masculinity, class inequity, gender inequality, social justice, the prison system, fatherhood, and, of course, happiness.

Throughout the collection, Reese intersperses poems about family, body image, teaching, and everyday life in the Dakotas and Nebraska, with poems drawn from his experiences as an educator at the Yankton Federal Prison Camp. The finest prison poem in this collection is “New Folsom Prison Blues,” which reads: 

There are few words for
razor on flesh—for scream.
Black. Blue. Cut. Wet.

I see some of you bandaged at the wrist,
forearm, belly, throat.
You are cutting to get out.

If we treat men like animals they’ll eventually
start to chew their way out— 

We know this,

By punctuating the collection with poems that expose the harsh realities of life within the prison industrial complex, Reese questions the forms of cultural confinement that lead to mass incarceration; implicitly the poet links the brutal truths of prison life with conservative notions of gender roles and the gluttonous materialism of American popular culture (as emblematized by the television show, Man Vs. Food).

Reese expands this critique of American culture through the central poem of the collection, “South Dakota Bumper Stickers—Redux.” This found poem consists entirely of slogans from bumper stickers. The poem builds meaning by accretion. The slogans themselves are by turns disturbing and humorous: “ I like my women like my deer: HORNY,” “If it has tires or tits, it’s trouble,” “I can muck 30 stalls before breakfast!/ What can you do?,” If the Fetus You Save is Gay/ Will You Still Fight for Its Rights?,” “If you don’t like whiskey, huntin’, or strippers, don’t come here,” “Eat More Kale,” “Cowboys for Christ,” “If you’re gonna ride my bumper/ you’d better put a saddle on it!” Like Gustave Flaubert’s The Dictionary of Accepted Ideas and Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary, this poem lampoons cant and political doublespeak, and skewers the flotsam of a national discourse stuck just above the tailpipes barreling down the blacktop of the interstates and riding the ruts of dirt roads all over this country. Reese’s stance here is critical and ironic, but, characteristically, the poem also rejoices in, and embraces, the diversity of idiosyncratic foolishness represented by these bumper stickers. 

Ultimately, Really Happy is a book of poetry in which the acts of self-definition, epitomized equally by the bumper sticker and by Facebook, matter less than a sustained engagement with the broader culture and with daily life. Reese’s poetry agrees with Nietzsche that “what labels me, negates me.” Reese is less interested with telling you who he is than with exploring the truths of what he’s seen. Throughout this collection, the honest and direct commitment to recreating and challenging lived experience does what all good poetry should: it brings us to our senses. In the poem, “Knipplemeyer and Sons, We Lay the Best in Town,” Reese sums it up: “And you know, we say the wrong things in families/ of our own now. We scream too much,/ love too much,/ but don’t let go.” Despite the struggles bucking in our personal lives and the great injustices galloping through our national life, America remains a place where happiness might be saddled and ridden. There is no corral here, only a vast mesa. Hold tight the reins and ride.

Dante Di Stefano's poetry and essays have appeared recently in The Writer's Chronicle, Obsidian: Literature in the African Diaspora, Shenandoah, Brilliant Corners, The Southern California Review, and elsewhere. He was the winner of the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award, the Ruth Stone Poetry Prize, the Bea Gonzalez Poetry Award, the Phyllis Smart-Young Prize in Poetry, and an Academy of American Poets College Prize. He makes his living as a high school English teacher and he was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize.