We’d like to announce our first Chapbook Contest! Dates: Between January 1, 2016-February 29, 2016
Step One: Submission Fee
1. Pay your submission fee of $20.00 via Paypal:
2. Write down the last 5 digits of your receipt number.
Step Two: Your Manuscript
1. A title page with your manuscript title and your contact information
2. Another title page with no contact information
3. A table of contents
4. An acknowledgements page if you want to include one (you should include one if any of the poems have appeared in any other journals)
5. 20-26 pages of original, unpublished–as a whole–poetry. This means that individual poems can have appeared in other publications, but the entirety of the poetry collection should not have appeared as a whole anywhere else.
6. Your manuscript should be rendered as a .doc or .docx file.
Step Three: Send It
1. Compose your email and attach your manuscript as a .doc or .docx file
2. In the body of your email, say hello (or don’t), and include a brief (150 words) bio and describe your relationship to coastal community.
3. In the body of your email, copy the last five digits of your Paypal receipt number.
4. Email your submission to: email@example.com
Step Four: Deliberation
1. We have no celebrity judges. Judges will be the editors of the Cape Cod Poetry Review.
2. The winner will be announced in June of 2016.
Step Five: The Great Sew
1. During the summer of 2016, the winning chapbook will be designed by the editors of the Cape Cod Poetry Review.
2. The winning chapbook cover will be letterpressed using movable type on a Vandercook Proof Press 4.
3. The Cape Cod community will be invited to attend The Great Sew, a pre-publication party in which the winner’s chapbook will be hand-folded and hand-sewn in a limited edition of 75 copies, 25 of which will go directly to the winner.
Fall is back. It’s brought along its sudden chill and annual pumpkin assortments. We’re nearing another winter—though this one hopefully milder than the last.
For those of you who are not quite ready to succumb to pumpkin spice lattes and cider donuts, there’s hope yet! Published earlier this year, Donna O’Connell-Gilmore’s Africa is the Mother Who Lies in the Grass: Poems on Safari is enough to transport you back to those humid, brutal ninety-degree heat waves of July and August; simply curl up next to the fireplace (or radiator) with a mountain of pillows and start reading.
O’Connell-Gilmore’s collection is ten poems long, layered with incredible woodwork by Olaf Kruger. These detailed carvings are given a full-page each, and rightfully so. The woodcuts capture an aspect of the safari that cannot be justified by words alone. O’Connell-Gilmore and Kruger’s pieces combined produce an experience unlike any other.
Africa is the Mother Who Lies in the Grass, while short, spans as wide as the safari’s grasslands in subject and style. There is a poem about an elephant overshadowed by a single cicada and another that flirts with danger. There is even mention of antelope dung. The collection makes the most of its subjects in a concise and powerful way, often utilizing juxtapositions and suspense to reveal insights. O’Connell-Gilmore’s treatment of nature is particularly striking; the behavior and lives of the wild animals are tied into comparisons and concurrence with human interactions, creating a sameness. This sameness exists in us living things as we struggle through harshness and beauty and tradition.
In fact, the two worlds of “human” and “un-human” embrace within the first poem, as the speaker, awed at the swift appearance of a bat, began to stroke its fur, earning the name “Batgirl” from fellow travelers. The union is less obvious in most pieces, like “A Skeletal Cheetah with a Dwarfed Cub Stares at Family of Cheetahs Gorging,” for example. Its opposing imagery inspires a cruel sight, but there is no sign of the safari savagery that arises in other poems. But it is this sense of logic that perhaps makes it most attuned to the human experience.
Cheetahs do not challenge
another cheetah’s kill.
to watch others thrive.
While O’Connell-Gilmore’s notion of sameness is prominent and important to her safari collection, it is certainly not the only topic, which is why this ten-piece work is such a beautiful, relentless masterpiece. There is Darwinism, there is mob mentality, there is all-encompassing fear. There is hope and there is family. Gender roles are challenged. Traces of sexuality are tucked between lines. Through it all is the safari, where you are quickly lost “in a spell of wandering // amongst a whorl of wildebeests and zebras // fanned out as far as the eye can see.”
And the mother who lies in the grass waits for you.
– ML Wolters
CCPR is pleased to announce Alice Kociemba as the Guest Editor for our third issue. Alice is the author of the chapbook Death of Teaticket Hardware, the title poem of which won an International Merit Award from the Atlanta Review. She is a member of Jamaica Pond Poets, a weekly collaborative workshop, and directs Calliope, a monthly poetry series, and its winter craft workshops. Her recent poems have appeared in Atlanta Review, Cape Cod Poetry Review, International Psychoanalysis, Main Street Rag, Off the Coast, Slant, and Salamander. She is a member of the Advisory Board for the Massachusetts Poetry Festival, and her full-length collection of poetry, Bourne Bridge, is forthcoming from Turning Point Press.
CCPR: What brought you to poetry?
AK: I credit Emily Dickinson with saving my sanity after I suffered a severe head injury in 1986 and couldn’t read, drive or work for six months. Shortly thereafter, I wrote”seizure” my first (and only) poem, about that experience. Someday I may write a chapbook about MTBI (mild, traumatic brain injury) and how it has changed my life (hopefully for the better). I no longer shop in malls, for instance. People have commented on how “organized” I am. I had to be. I have simplified my life in order to focus on what is really essential. I did not have a great interest in poetry before my head injury, but reading and writing poetry is, for me, a spiritual practice in the art of paying attention and distilling what is precious.
CCPR: Can you tell us a little bit about what it’s been like to direct Calliope? What started it and what has it bloomed into?
AK: I have met so many amazing poets and wonderful readers and teachers, both on Cape Cod and throughout Massachusetts because of Calliope. The series began in January 2008 and at the time, there was no poetry series on the Upper Cape! I regularly attended two Boston poetry venues and “borrowed” the best of both formats: three featured poets and a limited open mic (one poem of one page.) In 2008, the other Cape Cod series had a longer open mic, and either one feature or an “opener” for another poet, or an all open mic venue with both musicians and poets. I have often been asked, “Why three features?” And the answer is because there are so many incredible poet-readers (often with award-winning, new books) and I hoped that Calliope could create “a community for poets.” Four years ago, Calliope began a series of winter craft workshops (low-cost, easy to fit into busy schedules) to enhance expertise in poetic craft for both experienced and novice poets. Six years ago, I began a monthly poetry discussion group, which involves people (not necessarily writers of poetry) who want to deepen their appreciation and understanding of contemporary poetry.
As we close our eighth season, Calliope is in a growth spurt! Heidi Stahl and Rich Youmans have come onboard as Calliope’s director and associate director, respectively. And Kathleen Casey will continue in her role as social media director (the look and creativity of Calliope’s Facebook page is due to her talents). I will stay very involved, as “founding director,” (which makes me feel as old as Benjamin Franklin). We are planning to add an outreach element and our new name/tag line is: Calliope: Poetry for Community. On an annual basis (to start) Calliope will organize a fundraiser for a non-profit so that our poetry is in support of the larger Cape Cod community. Stay-tuned for a new look, and revitalized series.
CCPR: What do you think is unique about poetry on Cape Cod?
AK: What is unique about poetry (independent of place) is that poetry, through its use of language, image, metaphor, music and story, transforms the unique into the universal. I am reading Jane Hirshfield’s new book, Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World. And I agree with her, that poetry’s work is to expand compassion by increasing an identification with others whose experience differs from my own.
Poetry on Cape Cod is special when it celebrates the outer and inner landscape of its people and preserves the legacy of those who came before us. Just as someone like Philip Levine or Ted Kooser captured the essence of the urban and rural landscape, with its people, Brendan Galvin, Marge Piercy, Mark Doty and Mary Oliver are poets whose work I turn to again and again, when I want to cherish and remember Cape Cod’s character and community.
CCPR: What are you looking for in a submission?
AK: First of all, I am so delighted to read all this incredible writing without knowing who wrote what! We have a rubric to evaluate the submissions (merit, integrity – i.e. well-written, diversity – which includes risk and innovation – and importance to the reader). I would say what I am looking for is fresh images, lively language, engaging topics – how well-written, from title, beginning-to-middle-to-end a poem is. I am also committed to the issue of diversity of voice and style, as well as risk and innovation. Those of you who know both John Bonanni and myself, could say we represent diverse styles in our own poetry. I may lean toward the lyric narrative poem. I do appreciate a well-written formal poem as well as a collage poem. Think of the work of Terrance Hayes, for example, or Reggie Gibson. So I appreciate variety as long as the writing is both excellent and accessible. I probably don’t appreciate what Tony Hoagland calls, “The Skittery Poem of the Moment.” It may be entertaining, but like junk food, isn’t nourishing. Cape Cod is not experienced in a one-dimensional way, so the Cape Cod Poetry Review editors will hopefully construct a three-dimensional jig-saw puzzle with a thousand pieces that will ultimately result in a portrait of our community of writers.
CCPR: What poets would you cite as your primary influences?
AK: This is like asking a grandparent (see I am feeling like Ben Franklin) who is your favorite? If I think of poets I turn to often, Naomi Shihab Nye, Jane Hirshfield, William Stafford, Mark Doty come immediately to mind. Right now, I am under the spell of Charles Wright’s poems. His use of imagery, language, lineation (white space) enchants me. And Seamus Heaney has a musicality that always sounds right to my ear. This year at the Mass Poetry Festival, I heard Richard Blanco read. WOW. And last year, Carol Ann Duffy’s poems were so witty and wise (at the same time). Also, I had the good fortune of hearing Philip Levine read some new and some iconic poems, right before he died. I frequently return to Natasha Trethewey’s Pulitzer Prize winning book, Native Guard, which is so well-written. When AWP was in Boston, I heard Terrance Hayes and Jorie Graham read together. Both so innovative and such dynamic energy in their poetry. Both are bright lights to follow. At the poetry discussion group, we read Lucille Clifton and Derek Walcott’s work, back-to-back. Another contrast in diction and style, I so enjoyed. And I could go on endlessly!
CCPR: I understand you have a book coming out soon. Could you tell us a little about it?
AK: In January, 2013, I began putting together a full-length collection, Bourne Bridge. After two manuscript consultations, and over 40 rejections, Bourne Bridge will be released in March, 2016 by Turning Point (the narrative imprint of WordTech). Then we party! The book is divided into three sections: marrow which are mainly narrative poems about family and growing up in Boston, stone which is about entering the world of work (as a psychotherapist) and experiences beyond my “little” life. The third section, marsh, are poems set on Cape Cod that celebrate its seasons and people. Each section has humorous poems interwoven with the elegies, hopefully to create an experience of the joy and revitalization that is on the other side of grief. Probably the book was organized to give voice to the experience of losing a parent as a child. There is an old psychoanalytic paper which states when a child loses one parent to death, he or she loses the other to mourning. Just as with my head injury, the transformation of trauma and grief into survival and joy is what prompts most of my poems. Humor is one of the methods to connect my experience to those of others.
There is often a stigma regarding self-published work. I am not ashamed to say that I read it, if it looks interesting. After all, I read junk emails that catch my attention, as well as every cereal box that sits at the breakfast table. The ones worth savoring and recommending – those emails that make you “lol” – are sent on to friends as an endorsement. The book I am considering here is worth far more attention than a silly email. Walt Whitman published his own (multi-versioned) Leaves of Grass. Robert Browning, Carl Sandburg, and Gertrude Stein published at their own expense as well. In that spirit, indulge me in pointing out things worth noticing in a recent book by a delightful new African-American poet.
Darlene Anita Scott’s Breathing Lessons 101 is actually a bit of a teaser. It is a hardback 8 x 8 coffee table book of 20 unnumbered pages, containing the title poem of a larger collection that she is working on. It can be ordered from the author at firstname.lastname@example.org for $20. I have heard her read her poetry at festivals and have read some of her work in manuscript. She is a poet I will watch expectantly.
The “breathing lesson” of this book is a metaphor for living in a troubled and confusing world. The poem is laid over photographs by the author to create a synthesis of eye and mind. The first line (and page) – “This is your liver on Heineken” – references the photograph behind it, which is a close-up of a woman’s torso, showing the bare skin from the navel stud to the hip. It is not the liver (thankfully), but it represents anatomically where the liver is located in one’s body. It is a literal representation that Scott turns playful on the next (black) page when she adds: “and when the boy’s buying: Guinness.” What began sounding like a cautionary public-service announcement becomes a commentary on beer economics and male-female relationships.
The book is made of a series of “This is” statements, concerning “the girl,” whose body “turn[s] itself Legend,” who deals with sadness, renewal, scars, and, ultimately, the language that we become in that meditation. This meditation moves the reader through a series of images both literal and mental. Nearness and distance are fused in “a brown body orbiting / dangerously close to your prudence.” As the imagery moves from cosmic to linguistic, the you named in the poem grapples with syntax to the point that, in the final this-is statement, “you conjugate the verb to fit your longing.”
The structure of the book, separated into small thoughts – zero to thirty-three words per page – facilitates the meditative mood. These thoughts are joined with images on which the words rest, or sometimes an image is presented alone, as reinforcement or exemplification of the line preceding. Some of the photographs are body parts, as mentioned earlier, some are landscapes, some abstract; but all are integral to the message of the poem. The synergy of word and image makes Breathing Lessons 101 a pleasant, thoughtful book, one that leaves a reader wanting more.
Stan Galloway, author of Just Married (unbound CONTENT, 2013), his first collection of poetry, is the organizer of the Bridgewater International Poetry Festival, scheduled for January of odd-numbered years. His reviews of poetry have appeared such places as Christianity & Literature, Paterson Literary Review, and Referential Magazine. He teaches English at Bridgewater College, in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.