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The Community Roundup: October 30, 2013

by Win Bassett

* Mary Ruefle ends a reading in Harvard’s Woodberry Poetry Room by sitting down and playing Van Morrison’s “Rave On John Donne” (h/t Luke Johnson)

* Check out a new experiment from Anthony Opal and Luke Fidler:

TAG is a journal/experiment of new writing that publishes two works per phase, the authors of which becoming, in turn, the editors of the next phase. Editors X and Y will make the first two tags and then abscond to the periphery. TAG is about the choice to let go and the freedom therein.

Phase 2, in particular, is a fascinating limerick sequence from Anthony Madrid and an essay from Lauren Berlant.

* Congratulations to Belle Boggs of The New New South (based in Chapel Hill) for making the Hazlitt Essay Prize shortlist!

* Congrats to INCH 19 contributor Emma Bolden and Grind anthology co-editors Matthew Olzmann and Ross White (Bull City Press’s editor) for their B O D Y poetry nominations for the Best of the Net anthology!

PANK, published by INCH 19 contributor Roxane Gay, has been posting small indie lit mags they love. Check out ThrushCurbside SplendorThe Coffin Factory, and others.

* Clifford Garstang’s New 2014 Pushcart Prize Ranking of Literary Magazines (Fiction)

* More Hannah Dela Cruz Abrams love for her Whiting Writers’ Award!

* North Carolina native P.J. Williams has two poems published on Hobart‘s website about Biggie Smalls (who was incarcerated in North Carolina). P.J. is an editor of Utter, an online journal of writing and art, and is co-editing an anthology of poetry inspired by hip-hop with Jason McCall (we love Jason’s “Sidekick Funeral: John the Baptist“).

Writer’s Digest interview with North Carolina poet Beth Copeland:

I would tell them to honor their truth, whatever it may be, and to write it. Trust the poem. Don’t try to force it or control it. Let the poem take you where it wants to go.

* Friend Mary-Sherman Willis talks about Ross White’s and Matthew Olzmann’s The Grind

The New York Times started an interview series with small indie presses! First up, Copper Canyon Press:

When I’m reading a poet unfamiliar to me, I hope to enter that space — with the poet — where he or she is enjoying language and stretching what it might do and how it might expand a type of knowledge and experience. I want to be surprised, delighted, confused, challenged. I want to be enlivened by the risks they take.

The Southern Poetry Anthology editor William Wright was the featured poet for the Fall 2013 Sandhills Writers Series

Three poems and a conversation with INCH 20 contributor Lee Sharkey in The Kenyon Review

* West Virginia University’s Cheat River Review released its first issue this past week. Our friend John Hoppenthaler, Associate Professor of Creative Writing and Literature at East Carolina University and editor of “A Poetry Congeries” at Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, has two poems.

Megan Mayhew Bergman (who grew up in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, and attended Wake Forest, Duke, and Bennington) has a new piece of flash fiction up at Tinhouse

* PBS’s Religion and Ethics Newsweekly featured Christian Wiman, former editor of Poetry and now a senior lecturer at Yale Divinity School (where BCP’s Win Bassett studies), this weekend on a segment about how his faith affects his work

INCH 17 contributor Rochelle Hurt‘s first book, The Rusted City, will be out soon from White Pine Press

INCH 7 contributor Justin Bigos co-edits Waxwing, which released its first issue this week

* Congrats to BCP’s Brittany Cavallaro, who signed with Zachary Schuster Harmsworth this week to represent her YA novel(s)!

* Friend Sam Stephenson of Bull City Summer writes on his Facebook wall that a new bookstore in Durham called “Letters” put up a storefront this week. It’s scheduled to open in early December.

*BCP’s Ross White has two poems in the new issue of New England Review

*BCP’s Rebecca Hazelton interviewed at Jet Fuel Review about her book Vow:

Because we are needy more often than we are noble, and admitting that might be a saving grace.


Win Bassett‘s essays have appeared in The Atlantic, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Paris Review, Nieman Storyboard, and elsewhere. He serves as contributing editor and interim fiction editor of the Marginalia Review of Books, managing editor of Yale’s LETTERS journal, and assistant for Bull City Press. He’s from southwestern Virginia and is a seminarian at Yale Divinity School. Follow him on Twitter: @winbassett

Emerging Writers We’ve Discovered This Week: October 25, 2013

by Win Bassett

We adore our INCH contributors and book authors, and we always have our eyes and ears open for emerging writers when we scan the latest issues of journals, check the most recent blog posts, catch the tweets flying by, or grab a cup of coffee at a local reading.

We’d like to celebrate some of the new and not-so-new artists we discover during the course of our weeks in the hope that they’ll contribute to Bull City Press in the future and to advocate for the small, indie press writer and community we love!

“I am on Satan surveillance. They have warned me that this lower-case ‘he’ will upper-case ‘Get Inside’ any way he can.” I’ve spent the week discovering Angela Palm‘s work, including her short nonfiction piece, “Projection” (from Prick of the Spindle) that contains these sentences. I know Angela from her work with Renegade Writers Collective, but discovering her story “How to Be a Writer” in Little Fiction‘s Listerature, Volume Two anthology got me over to her website, eager to read more. Now I can’t wait to see her next project: an anthology featuring work by Vermont writers called Please Do Not Remove, which she describes as “part celebration of vintage library ephemera and part literary eclecticism.” Due in spring 2014, each piece in the anthology is inspired by library checkout cards found in books in Vermont’s libraries. Ross White

I received my copy of Corey Van Landingham‘s Antidote in the mail today, just out from The Ohio State University Press. These poems are all teeth and velvet, wicked and beautiful. “I am told: be simple. Only love / what you can break in half,” she writes in “The World Is Only Going To Break Your Heart“. Other poems of hers are available online at Devil’s Lake and TYPOBrittany Cavallaro

Lately I’ve been taken by Lo Kwa Mei-an’s work, whose poetry I first saw on Verse Daily. Since then, she’s been blowing up, with work at Anti- and Better. It was no surprise to learn she’d won the Kundiman Prize, which includes a book publication with Alice James Books. Her poems are sonically lush and sensual, privileging emotional truth over simple linearity. Her work’s a knockout. Rebecca Hazelton

It’s getting really cold in New England, where I live and write. The leaves are falling through the sky. Pretty soon we’ll all be snowbound and horribly depressed. But if we keep reading stories by Bennett Simms, we can at least be awed by precise language and a little frightened while we freeze. Bennett’s work can be found most recently over at Gigantic, where his story “A Premonition” ran this week. His first novel, A Questionable Shape, came out this spring from Two Dollar Radio press, and it’s a tremendous book. Greg Brown

I’m a sucker for poems that have dogs or bears within the first few lines. Horses, cows, and other animals of my rural childhood also get me going (except for cats), and this category includes snakes. The latest The Journal from The Ohio State came out last week, and Amanda M. Dutton’s “Rattlesnake-tough” is my favorite poem from the issue. It’s not the snake I love, however. It’s the question that if the girl in the poem were a snake, would her human mother still love her. This immediately evokes my favorite book as a kid, The Runaway Bunny. I searched for Amanda’s other work and couldn’t find much (see “Trillium Drive“). Fortunately, she joined Twitter and happened to see my tweet about her poem. She graduated from Hollins last year, and she tweets that she’ll have a website soon with links to her work. Win Bassett

The Community Roundup: October 23, 2013

by Win Bassett

* The prolific Roxane Gay, contributor to Inch #19 (Winter 2012), had her flash fiction piece “Cheap, Fast, Filling” reposted by Weave Magazine. The story first appeared in Weave Magazine Issue 03 (October 2009).

Inch #20 (Spring 2013) contributor Lee Sharkey has two poems in the inaugural Tupelo Quarterly

Aaron Belz, an acclaimed poet who lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina, and has received a lot of attention recently for his poetry services for hire on Craigslist:

Have You Ever Tried to Sell a Poem on Craigslist? (The Atlantic)

Aaron Belz: Poet for Hire on Craigslist (Writer’s Digest)

Angst Extra (The Millions)

Belz serves as a board member of the Hillsborough Arts Council and teaches at Durham Technical Community College. He also owns and operates Hillsborough Bicycle, an independent bike shop, with his son (The Herald Sun coverage of opening). He’s published two books of poetry, The Bird Hoverer (BlazeVOX, 2007) and Lovely Raspberry (Persea, 2010), and has a third forthcoming, Glitter Bomb (Persea, 2014).

* Bull City Press attended the West End Poetry Festival last week in Carrboro, North Carolina, where Gabrielle Calvocoressi, Senior Poetry Editor for the Los Angeles Review of Books and Assistant Professor and Walker Percy Fellow in Poetry at UNC, gave a fantastic workshop and reading. Organizers packed the schedule with many more celebrated poets.

* While we’re on the subject of LARB, Poetry Editor Joshua Rivkin published one of our favorite reads of the week: Poets’ Roundtable on Person and Persona by Metta Sáma, Alex Dimitrov & Lynn Melnick:

I bristle when people just want to talk to me about what “really happened” (especially when the man standing next to me is being asked about more intellectual matters), and I bristle when I suspect, at least, inauthenticity in the voice of the “speaker.” I am constantly trying to work through my confusions. Lucky for me, I am not the only poet who grapples with these issues, so I don’t have to explore them alone.

I invited a diverse community of poets to think about and respond to these issues, in the hope that I — and you — would gain some insight into the questions that have confused and haunted me for some time now.

We could fill this post with enlightening pull-quotes from the series, but we’ll make you read them in their entirety instead. See Part 2 and Part 3.

* Our friend Terry Kennedy, Associate Director of the MFA Writing Program at UNC Greensboro, editor of the online journal storySouth and Associate Editor of The Greensboro Review, released his poetry collection, “New River Breakdown,” this past Sunday with Unicorn Press, a publisher of contemporary poetry based in Greensboro, North Carolina.

The Millions takes a look at the legacy of small literary magazines and their depictions in film and television. Bull City Press’s Win Bassett gets a shout-out for helping Nick Ripatrazone with his research.

* Our friend Sam Stephenson and his project Bull City Summer published wonderful essays with The Paris Review Daily this summer on the “Durham Bulls Athletic Park and its surrounding downtown,…a community with routines and traditions of its own, which mirrors the obsessive American craft of baseball—in the stands, in concessions, behind the scenes, and beyond the ballpark, a daily story unfolding and rarely documented, usually disappearing into the next day.”

Now, the project needs your help to continue in 2014!

* Scott Cairns talks with our neighbors at Duke Divinity School during the Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts about the intersection of his faith and poetry:

I think, as an artist, certainly as a poet, you learn that words are stuff — are things — and that it’s not like you have an idea and then you use words to express the idea.

It’s that you actually love words and you pore over words, and you put strings of words together and they lead you to ideas. It’s like the act of making leads you into what to make of it in terms of idea, and so a kind of primary attention to stuff — the stuff of language.


Win Bassett is a writer and seminarian at Yale Divinity School from the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. His essays have appeared in The Atlantic, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Paris Review Daily, Paste, Nieman Storyboard, INDY Week, and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter: @winbassett

Hannah Dela Cruz Abrams wins Whiting Writers’ Award

by Win Bassett

Congrats to North Carolina’s Hannah Dela Cruz Abrams for her Whiting Writers’ Award!

Abrams teaches in the English Department at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where she earned her MFA. She’s also the recipient of a North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship and a Rona Jaffe Writers’ Award.

We love short memoirs at Bull City Press, and while we adore each of our publications, we hold Inch #19 (Winter 2012), our double-sized and micro-memoir issue edited by Robin Black, close to our heart. For this reason, though Abrams is currently at work on her full-length memoir, The Following Sea, about growing up on a yacht in the South Pacific, we’d like to highlight some of her short memoir pieces:

“Of Wolves” in White Whale Review, Issue 1.3

Songs for Ghosts” in Cedars, Issue 4, Summer 2013

Also see Inch #19 contributor Emma Bolden‘s brief review of Abrams’s The Man Who Danced with Dolls (Madras Press, 2012), featured on her website.