Tag Archives: Sundress Publications

Meet Our New Editorial Intern: Nik Buhler

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No matter how old I was, it’s always been unlikely that you’d ever find me without one, if not three or four, books with me. I would stay up well past my bed time, reveling in how sly I was, just to finish a few more chapters of the most recent story I just couldn’t put down. Even as I advanced to high school where I became more involved taking AP and dual enrollment classes, playing varsity volleyball for four years, and becoming an active member and even president of multiple organizations such as the Gay-Straight Alliance and HOSA, my love for reading never waned but instead morphed into a challenge of how many novels I could finish without neglecting my school work!

I knew from a very young age that I wanted to pursue academia in the long term. In high school, a select few of my teachers and professors further impassioned my love for reading and learning, even going as far as to help me find degree programs that would best suit me for college. Upon entering my freshman year at the University of Tennessee, I became mesmerized by all the options available to me; I wanted to learn everything there was to learn but I couldn’t help but gravitate towards text and writing based courses. Eventually, I found myself in a Philosophy course and became enamored with the subject immediately. I loved the analysis, the debate, and the thoughtful, structured writing that came along with it. However, it was still missing something for me – literature! I quickly picked up a second major in English literature where I could explore the expanses of both subjects that truly speak to me,

With the help of many wonderful professors and mentors during my time so far at UT, I have been lucky enough to encountermany positive, life-changing experiences. The people I have met here have pushed me to be the best version of myself that they are confident I can be while not letting me be limited by insecurities or anxieties. Because of this, I have been blessed with the confidence and support to reach towards dreams and goals of mine through submitting works, participating in a poet residency, seeking out well suited graduate programs, and, of course, this internship with SAFTA! I know my time here will further propel me forward towards my goals in collegiate work and studies through encouraging me to better myself and reach success beyond what I though possible.

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Nik Buhler is a queer poet from middle Tennessee who attends the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where they are a senior who studies English Literature and Philosophy. When they are not at home chainsmoking, drinking beer, and playing with their adorable cats, Buhler can be found in coffee shops and libraries craving fries, furiously typing out papers due the next day, and screaming about the existentialist movements influence on modern literature.

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Interview with Charlie Bondhus, Author of Divining Bones (Sundress Publications 2018)

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Valerie Lick: Divining Bones looks at Baba Yaga in an entirely new way — she’s magical yet earthy, ancient yet modern, invisible yet doing porn. There’s also the narrator’s connection with her, which threads through the book. What does Baba Yaga mean for the narrator and for the book as a whole? And how did you come to the idea of using her as a character?

Charlie Bondhus: I prefer not to specify what Baba Yaga means in this book because I think that’s something the reader should come to on their own. I can say that in folklore she’s either a helper or an antagonist. Depending on who you are and what story you’re in, she may give you the tools you need to succeed in your quest—generally after you’ve completed some impossible task for her—or she may eat you. The narrator of Divining Bones is on a personal quest. Does she help him, consume him, or both?

I discuss what Baba Yaga means to me and how I came to use her as a character in a short article that was published recently on Patheos. Quick version–I was inspired by beer, Alanis Morissette, and a desperate need for emotional healing.

VL: Children run, skip, and curse their way through Divining Bones. The speaker first experiments with the occult as a child, Baba Yaga longs for the taste of children, and the speaker wonders about having children. How did you choose to focus on children and aging?

CB: I didn’t go in thinking I’d write so much about children, but I found that if you write about Baba Yaga, you have to write about children. She is, after all, a bogeywoman, the wicked witch in the fairy tale. And children are always closely linked to fairy tales, both as characters and audience members.

As for aging, we tend to only think of children and the elderly as opposites. Yet as a Pagan I’ve come to believe that the soul continually cycles through birth, life, death, and rebirth. For me then, children and the elderly stand at a similar distance from the Underworld. Age is commonly associated with wisdom (fairly or not) and children are often characterized as being more open to the supernatural. I think it’s interesting to explore these seldom looked at similarities.

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VL: While writing Divining Bones, you clearly took inspiration from fairy tales, the occult, and classic concepts like the Panopticon. Why do you feel drawn to these sources? Are there any other works you were inspired by?

CB: Like a lot of queer kids, I loved fairy tales and mythology. I was also very curious about magick and witchcraft from a young age. Growing up in a Catholic home both stymied and exacerbated that interest. There’s lot of wizardry in Catholic ritual and lots of magick in the Catholic mindset, yet you’re also taught that anything which doesn’t come from the Christian God necessarily comes from the devil. I “dabbled,” as they say, when I was in high school, but I never got seriously invested in witchcraft or Paganism because I was too worried about eternal damnation.

And yet, I always kept a Pagan altar in my home through college and my 20s. I didn’t use it, but I always felt compelled to keep it. It wasn’t until my mid-30s, when I went through an emotional crisis, that I fully embraced Paganism. Writing this book was, of course, part of that process.

As for the Panopticon, you can thank grad school! Everybody in a humanities Ph.D. reads Foucault it seems.

VL: In this book, you confront identity at many different corners — queerness, gender, age, family — especially through the theme of transformation. How did you tackle identity as you wrote?

CB: Right now, people are asking a lot of questions about the nature of identity. Gender is particularly contested. Around the time I started Divining Bones, I was questioning my own gender identity. I understood myself as male, yet not. Genderqueer sort of fit. I liked to say “I occupy the Male metropolitan area.” I was witnessing my concept of my own gender transform and enjoying it immensely.

At the same time, I was experiencing other, less thrilling transformations. I was coming to terms with memories of abuse that I’d minimized for years and how they were affecting my health in ways I hadn’t anticipated. I was watching Donald Trump win the GOP nomination and claim power.

I dealt with all this by writing a book that’s about transformation. And queerness. And creating yourself. Right now it’s common to say we exist at the intersection of multiple identities—our age, our race, our gender, etc. To think about all the different ways we inhabit that intersection takes work. That’s where art can come in.

VL: This being your third published book, have you noticed any changes to your writing style or your writing process?

CB: I’m more okay with letting the poem take over when it needs to. I’ve also learned that my impulse is almost always to tell stories. Divining Bones, my last book All the Heat We Could Carry, and the two projects I’m working on now all have narrative arcs, some more implicit, some more explicit. Yet at the same time they’re very different projects.

When I’m feeling self-indulgent I compare myself to David Bowie, writing a bunch of concept albums that are radically different yet still recognizable as my work. It’s totally self-indulgent…but who doesn’t want to be David Bowie?

VL: What are you reading right now?

CB: There are a lot of great new poetry books recently out. Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie’s Strut—which is from Agape!—for one. Robert Siek’s We Go Seasonal and Stephen Mills’s Not Everything Thrown Starts a Revolution, both from Sibling Rivalry Press. I’m also reading When the Clock Struck in 1916 by Darren Kelly and Derek Molyneux, which is a dramatized retelling of the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin. I identify very strongly with the Irish part of my heritage and want to connect more with it. And I’m reading Rebecca Solnit’s The Faraway Nearby. She talks about Frankenstein—one of my favorite novels—and the Antarctic—a place I’d love to visit—so it’s a great read.

You can pre-order your copy of Charlie Bondhus’s Divining Bones today at the Sundress store!

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Charlie Bondhus’s second poetry book All the Heat We Could Carry won the 2014 Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry. His work has appeared in Poetry, The Missouri Review, Columbia Journal, Hayden’s Ferry, The Bellevue Literary Review, and Copper Nickel. He has received fellowships from the Sundress Academy for the Arts, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and the Hawthornden International Writers’ Retreat in Scotland . He’s Assistant Professor of English at Raritan Valley Community College and poetry editor at the Good Men Project. He lives in Asbury Park, NJ.

Valerie Lick, the artist currently known as Val, loves those tall, weedy plants that are kind of like daisies except the blooms are really small. She can be found looking mean and studying literature at the University of Tennessee, where she is a rising junior. She thinks that there should be more intersections between science fiction, Appalachian folklore, and fashion journalism.

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Charlie Bondhus’ Divining Bones Now Available!

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Charlie Bondhus’ Divining Bones Now Available!

Divining Bones

Sundress Publications is pleased to announce the publication of Charlie Bondhus’ new book, Divining Bones.

Boys become crones; baked bread becomes a baby; electricity turns out to be Jesus; a first grade class stages Oedipus Rex. At the center of it all stands Baba Yaga, the child-eating forest witch and earth goddess of Russian folklore. Under her tutelage, Charlie Bondhus uses the occult and the magical to explore the fluidity of age, gender, and self-perception in this radical and playful book.

CAConrad, author of While Standing in Line for Death, had this to say about Bondhus’ book:

“Where divination meets poetry in extraordinary fashion!  After awhile you can look to this book for answers, opening and closing it nine times with a question in mind, the poet Charlie Bondhus leading the way.  Magic spells and paranormal experiences abound among beautifully written lines by a poet we will all want to share and know.  I love this book!”

Charlie Bondhus

Charlie Bondhus is the author of All the Heat We Could Carry, winner of the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry. His work has appeared in Poetry, The Missouri Review, Columbia Journal, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Nimrod, and Copper Nickel. He has received fellowships from the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, the Sundress Academy for the Arts, and the Hawthornden Castle International Retreat for Writers. He is associate professor of English at Raritan Valley Community College (NJ).

Order your copy today: https://squareup.com/store/sundress-publications/item/divining-bones-by-charlie-bondus

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Poets in Pajamas: An Online Reading Series from Sundress Publications, Episode 37: Ruth Awad

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Looking for a Sunday night lit event that you don’t even have to leave home for?? Poets in Pajamas, an online reading series presented by Sundress Publications will be hosting poet, Ruth Awad, live on Sunday, September 2 at 7pm EST. Poets in Pajamas through their online reading series connects readers and writers around the world. Using Facebook Live, our audience connects with each other bi-monthly in the comfort of their own home, or frankly anywhere (as long as internet is involved). Anna Black will be hosting this event.

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Ruth Awad is a Lebanese-American poet and the author of Set to Music a Wildfire (Southern Indiana Review Press, 2017), winner of the 2016 Michael Waters Poetry Prize. She is the recipient of a 2016 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, and her work has appeared in The New Republic, The Rumpus, The Missouri Review Poem of the Week, Sixth Finch, CALYX, BOAAT Journal, Diode, The Adroit Journal, Vinyl Poetry, Epiphany,Nashville Review, and elsewhere. Her work also appears in the anthologies Bettering American Poetry Volume 2 (Bettering Books, 2017), The Hundred Years’ War: Modern War Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2014), New Poetry from the Midwest 2014 (New American Press, 2015), and Poets on Growth (Math Paper Press, 2015). She won the 2012 and 2013 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize and the 2011 Copper Nickel Poetry Contest. She has an MFA in poetry from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and she lives in Columbus, Ohio.

 

Each featured poet will read for 15 minutes with an additional 10-15 minutes for questions or comments. These readings will be available on Poets in Pajamas Facebook on Sunday at 7pm EST twice a month.

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Buy a Book, Nominate an Author

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Sundress Publications is open for nominations for full-length manuscripts until August 31st!

To nominate a poet or manuscript, the nominator may purchase or pre-order any Sundress title or broadside from our store; they may nominate as many manuscripts as they would like, so long as each is accompanied by a separate purchase or pre-order. Please note that you may not self-nominate. Nominators can place book orders at our store at https://squareup.com/market/sundress-publications.

Nominated manuscripts must be between forty-eight to eighty (48-80) single-spaced pages of poetry; front matter may not count toward the total page count. Individual pieces or selections may have been previously published in anthologies, chapbooks, print journals, online journals, etc., but cannot have appeared in any full-length collection, including self-published collections. Single-author and collaborative author manuscripts will be considered. Manuscripts translated from another language will not be accepted. Simultaneous submissions are fine, but we ask that authors notify us immediately if their work has been accepted elsewhere.

All manuscripts will be read by members of our editorial board, and we will choose at least two manuscripts for publication. We strive to further our commitment to diversity and seek to encounter as many unique and important voices as possible. We are actively seeking collections from writers of color, trans and gender-nonconforming writers, writers with disabilities, and others whose voices are underrepresented in literary publishing. Selected manuscripts will be offered a standard publication contract, which includes 25 copies of the published book, as well as any additional copies at cost.

To nominate, email your Sundress store receipt or purchase order number for book purchase, along with the name and email address of the person nominated to sundresspublications@gmail.com. We will solicit the manuscript directly.

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A 501(c)3 non-profit literary press collective founded in 2000, Sundress Publications is entirely volunteer-run, publishes chapbooks and full-length works in both print and digital formats, and hosts a variety of online journals. Although we are conscious of the lack of representation by women writers in literary publishing, we are a non-discriminatory publishing group focused on the creativity of all artists, regardless of race, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, education, etc.

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The Weight of Inheritance: Interview with Erika Eckart

The Tyranny of HeirloomsErika Eckart discussed her forthcoming chapbook of prose poetry, The Tyranny of Heirlooms (Sundress Publications, 2018).

Jenna Geisinger (JG): I am obsessed with the metaphor of heirlooms, which are usually connoted with sentimental or valuable objects passed down a family line, but in this collection, we are looking at heirlooms in a new light—as tradition, religion, regret, parenthood/mental illness, etc. How did you come to heirlooms as a metaphor?

Erika Eckart (EE): “The Tyranny of Heirlooms” is the title of an article in The New York Times. My dear friend, Judi Van Erden, told me about the article and described to me the phenomenon it discussed, that nobody wants them anymore, these treasures, but we take them along, keep them strapped to us like carpetbaggers out of obligation and we bend and bow under the weight of them, both physical and emotional. It got me thinking about everything else that we inherit that we had rather not: trauma, disease, addiction, really ugly dishes. I went home that day and listed everything negative I had to carry around from my ancestors: a grandfather who wore blackface, alcoholism, heart disease, just to name a few.

My mother has had a couple strokes and a heart attack and after each one of these incidents she shows up at my house with more stuff, things I didn’t even know she had, wedding china from her second husband. She’s unloading in a frantic reverse nesting. I had been working on a poem about this hot-potato-hand-off of goods and decided this title felt right. This collection went through a few iterations and was actually orphaned by a publisher which shut down before print–along the way as it evolved I saw the weight of inheritance as a common theme throughout. I like that the root word “loom” is in there, it suggests a stubborn presence, something that isn’t going anywhere.

JG: I was excited when I saw that The Tyranny of Heirlooms was composed of prose poetry. I was even more excited as I was reading because in a way it lends itself to the biblical and mythological references, while also emphasizing the collection’s challenge of traditional beliefs. Why did you choose to use this format for the entire collection? Do you prefer writing in prose as opposed to stanzas?

EE: In undergrad I really thought I was a fiction writer, but my short stories were dense thickets much to the irritation of my professors. Then in a mandatory poetry class we had to read and imitate Carolyn Forche’s “The Colonel.” I didn’t know you could break the rules like that, and I was thrilled to find this new set of rules. I love how much of an assault a prose poem can be. How breathless and harried and surprising it is to see the music and imagery of poetry all packed into a tidy paragraph.

I adore how they challenge the notion of what can be a poem and therefore how they challenge the idea of classification and a bunch of imagined finger-wagging order keepers. I feel like they are the right vessel for some of the rule breaking I want to do.

JG: In the first half of the collection, the speakers seem to be adults—many parents with children—while the second half seems to be predominantly comprised of child speakers with an emotionally abusive mother. Why did you choose to organize the poems in this manner?

EE: I had this body of work that I felt had a common theme and form and I was looking for a way to make them feel cohesive. I felt the poems in the first half were dramatic monologues, all representing different people but with a common theme: unfulfilled longing or regret or just this very human idea vulnerability. The second half are in one voice, a child’s. These are semi-autobiographical pieces, and I looked at it as taking one dramatic monologue and exploding it, giving an opportunity for one character to explicate their formative experiences.erika

JG: Has teaching changed your worldview or informed your writing in new ways?

EE: Teaching has made me much more more generous to people in my writing. In teaching thousands of students I have only found goodness and compassion and light. I’ve also discovered in a concrete way that everyone has a unique story, no one is a cliche.

Another way teaching has informed my writing is through repeated readings of texts. Often I will teach something for a few years in a row and each year I get to read and discuss it with students several times a day. It is like a seance, where we bring to life the words of a writer everyday, and there is something spiritual about it and it opens up new pathways  For example, I teach a set of poems about Icarus and have students evaluate how author’s subvert myth for their own purposes. And this constant evaluation of these works got me thinking about Daedalus and how we empathize with Icarus, with youth culture and how my perspective has evolved since become an old person and a parent. The product of that was the poem “Daedalus,” which is in the book.

JG: In your author’s bio, you mention the currently untitled novel you are writing. Do you approach fiction and poetry differently? Has working in two different genres changed how you write in either genre?

EE: Writing poetry is intense work of examining each word, deciding if a sentence can survive without an article or preposition, finding ways to express something in fewer syllables, inverting and playing with verb tense, whispering to yourself a line 30 or 40 times. It is about collapsing language to its core. Fiction, on the other hand, is about expansion. It draws on a whole other set of skills. To maintain several plot threads, to tease out an idea over 2 to 3 hundred pages requires a kind of sustained plate spinning over months or years. I have always done both so I’m not sure how they impact one another, having before and after to compare.

JG: What books are you currently reading?

EE: Right now, I am simultaneously reading Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch and Stephen Greenblatt’s Will in the World.

You can read the collection now for free here! 



Erika Eckart‘s work has appeared in Double Room, Quick Fiction, Quarter After Eight, Quiddity, nano fiction, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Ghost Ocean and Women’s Studies Quarterly. She has an undergraduate degree in Creative Writing and English from Loyola University Chicago and an M.Ed. in Language, Literacy and Culture at the University of Illinois at Chicago. When not writing, she teaches high school English in a suburb of Chicago and makes vegan baked goods for her husband, Mark Donahue, and their two children, Ella and Archer. She is currently writing a yet untitled novel about a cult leader, an energy megacorporation and a popular high school girl found dead in a river.

Jenna Geisinger is a fiction and creative non-fiction writer from New Jersey. She attends the MFA Professional and Creative Writing Program at William Paterson University, while working as an associate managing editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal and a reader for Philadelphia Stories, where she has been published.

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Poets in Pajamas: An Online Reading Series from Sundress Publications, Episode 35: Emily Jungmin Yoon

poets in pajamas

Looking for a Sunday night treat? Poets in Pajamas, an online reading series presented by Sundress Publications will be hosting poet, Emily Jungmin Yoon, live on Sunday, August 5th at 7pm EST. Poets in Pajamas through their online reading series connects readers and writers around the world. Using Facebook Live, our audienceconnects with each other bi-monthly in the comfort of their own home, or frankly anywhere (as long as internet is involved). Author Sam Slaughter will be hosting this event.

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Emily Jungmin Yoon is the author of A Cruelty Special to Our Species (EccoBooks, September 2018) and Ordinary Misfortunes (Tupelo Press, July 2017), winner of the Sunken Garden Chapbook Prize. Her poems and translations have appeared in The New Yorker, New York Times Magazine, Poetry, and elsewhere. She has received awards and fellowships from the Poetry Foundation, Ploughshares’ Emerging Writer’s Contest, AWP’s WC&C Scholarship Competition, The Home School in Miami, the Aspen Institute, New York University, the University of Chicago, Sarah Lawrence College, and Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund. She is the Poetry Editor for The Margins, the literary magazine of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, and a PhD student in Korean literature at the University of Chicago.

 

Featured writers will read for 15 minutes with an additional 10-15 minutes for questions or comments. These readings will be available on Poets in Pajamas Facebook on Sunday at 7pm EST twice a month.

 

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Project Bookshelf: Jenna Geisinger

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As you can see, my bookshelf isn’t much of a bookshelf at all. Right now, it is a box and three piles on the floor. I am in the process of moving to North Jersey for graduate school. This is not all of them. I have a terrible habit of leaving the books I’m currently reading out on coffee tables, counters, armchairs of couches, etc… It is this habit that made me want a bookshelf because my family will use my books as coasters (my biggest pet peeve) and leave coffee stains on covers, or just stain the entirety of Brooklyn by Colm Toibin. The pages are warped and stuck together. (My mom is trying to convince me to leave some books home, but I will lay in traffic before I leave my books with those careless people).

Some of my books are pieces of comfort—stories I love and reread over and over. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell is one of my favorites. When I transferred to Stockton University from community college, I was so nervous. What if I couldn’t do it? I found solace in Rowell’s novel, whose protagonist suffers the same social anxiety as me. Cath’s life and circumstances were very similar to my own, and even though she subsisted off of protein bars because she was too afraid to ask where the cafeteria was (100% something I would do), she made it. It was the first time I found a book where the protagonist suffered from anxiety, but the anxiety was merely a trait of the character, rather than the focus of the novel. I felt like someone understood how I thought and felt.

Other books I love because of the stories of course, but also because of the memories associated with them—as if they could be pressed into the pages like a flower. I reread them and remember who I was when I first read them, where I was when I bought them. I bought Chloe Benjamin’s The Immortalist and read most of it on a trip to Yale with my independent study, where Shilo and I explored New Haven, CT, getting lost trying to find a bookstore. We went to handle the earliest edition of Aphra Behn’s Love Letters Between a Nobleman and His Sister, which we had been helping our professor edit in terms of where to put footnotes for “The Clever College Student.” The Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri, which I bought in the second-hand bookstore we eventually found. Tenth of December by George Saunders is in the mix there, which I started reading because a professor commented that a short story I wrote reminded him of George Saunders, and then it became a comfort after I was in the hospital room when my beloved grandmother took her last rattled breaths.

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Jenna Geisinger is a fiction and creative non-fiction writer from New Jersey. She attends the MFA Professional and Creative Writing Program at William Paterson University, while working as an associate managing editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal and a reader for Philadelphia Stories, where she has been published.

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Nominations Open for 2018 Best of the Net Anthology

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Nominations are now open for the annual Best of the Net anthology from Sundress Publications. This anthology promotes the diverse and growing collection of voices who are publishing their work online and serves to bring greater respect to an innovative and continually expanding medium.

Nominations must have originally appeared online, and must have been first published or appeared on the web between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018.

Nominations must come from the editor of the publication (journal, chapbook, online press, etc.), or, if the work is self-published, it must be sent by the author. For journals and presses, each entry may include up to six poems, two stories, and two works of creative nonfiction for consideration. For individuals sending self-published work, please send no more than two pieces regardless of genre.

Please include both the URL of the poem, story, or essay as well as a full text version in a Word or RTF document. Nominations must also include the author’s name and email address as well as the name, contact info, and URL of the journal.

Submissions must be sent via email to bestofthenet@sundresspublications.com between July 1st and September 30th, 2018.

See the full submission guidelines here: http://www.sundresspublications.com/bestof/submit.htm

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Meet Our New Editorial Intern: Jenna Geisinger

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Reading has always been an escape for me. I felt like books were places of comfort, that tucked you in and welcomed you back just where you left off. Most summers I begged my mom to drive me to our library, and I’d take out the five book maximum, then return the next week for five more books. I spent hours reading without realizing how much time had passed. I was the kid that came to school zombie-fied by a book I couldn’t put down. To me, the lives of the characters in the books were more interesting, or fulfilling, than my life.

In elementary school I started writing. Sort of. It started with my own version of A Series of Unfortunate Events. I spent three long sentences describing every aspect of Mr. Poe—the olive green of his jacket, the bristle of his mustache, the scuffed shoes, his nervous hands—I wanted to make Mr. Poe standing at the door so real. I wanted to make it as real as the book was to me. Thankfully, I learned to pare down my sentences, but the first drafts are still gunked with too many adjectives.

However, writing will never provide the same escape for me that reading has. Writing is gruesome. It’s tiring—it’s writing five drafts simultaneously of the same story because you can’t make up your mind about the narrator. It’s rereading and rearranging the same paragraph, reading it aloud to yourself and hearing where the flow hiccups, but having no clue how to smoothen it out. I love writing, but it is work, and it is too vulnerable to my doubt and criticism, as well as that of others. Reading is intimate, accepting you in whatever mental or emotional state you’re in, and lets you step into someone else’s life for a little while. It wows you with shiny sentences, and tricks you with plot structure, but it’s free of the worry and overthinking that writing welcomes. I want to give that to someone else. I want to welcome them into a story and tell them everything will be fine, everything else can wait.

In the last year or so, the pressure has been mounting about what to do after college. Senior year ticked on, the deadline inching closer, waiting for my decision. I spoke extensively with my mentor about whether I should apply to graduate school. Was it worth it? In her small office, closed in with wall-to-wall bookshelves, she asked me what I pictured myself doing. I told her that I would love to write novels, but that is impractical. That is a side project. Then I looked at her—this polished writer with an award-winning chapbook under her belt—and said that I thought I could be happy being a part of the process to create published work. My favorite part of workshop classes was editing. I loved polishing my peers’ stories, showing them what they couldn’t see. I am really excited to intern at Sundress Publications and be so close to stories.

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Jenna Geisinger is a fiction and creative non-fiction writer from New Jersey. She attends the MFA Professional and Creative Writing Program at William Paterson University, while working as an associate managing editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal and a reader for Philadelphia Stories, where she has been published.

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