2010 Flatmancrooked Fiction Prize

The guest judge for the 2010 Flatmancrooked Fiction Prize is author Benjamin Percy and thepurse for the prize recipient is $1,000.00. The prize opens for submissions on Monday, May 3rd, 2010.

 

 

About the author/guest judge:

Benjamin Percy is the author of a novel, The Wilding (forthcoming from Graywolf Press in fall 2010), and two books of short stories, Refresh, Refresh and The Language of Elk. His fiction and nonfiction have been read on National Public Radio (click to listen), performed at Symphony Space, and published by Esquire (click to read) , Men’s Journal, Outside, the Paris Review (click to read or listen), the Chicago Tribune, Glimmer Train, and many other magazines and journals. His honors include the Whiting Writers’ Award, the Plimpton Prize, the Pushcart Prize, and inclusion in Best American Short Stories. In 2009, First Second Books (a division of Macmillan) published a graphic novel adaptation of Refresh, Refresh, illustrated by Eisner-nominated artist Danica Novgorodoff and co-authored by filmmaker James Ponsoldt. He teaches in the MFA program in creative writing and environment at Iowa State University.

About the prize:

  • 1st Place/Prize Recipient receives a $1,000.00 stipend, print publication in Flatmancrooked 4 (to be published winter 10/11), designation as the 2010 Flatmancrooked Prize Recipient, online feature, and invitation to Flatmancrooked 2nd Annual Night One Party at AWP 2011 in Washington DC.
  • 10 finalists will receive print publication in Flatmancrooked 4, designation as a 2010 Flatmancrooked Prize Finalist, and online feature.
  • $15.00 for a single entry
  • $40.00 for a triple entry

click here for complete rules and details


The Big Secret: 10 Indie-Publishers and 10 books You Might Not Have Heard of For All The Wrong Reasons

For all the wreckage falling at the feet of the big houses, and for all the innovation, etc., of the small houses, vestiges of the old publishing world still stand: that is, expensive promotional campaigns and paid-for in-store placement in large retail chains lead to the big sales and in turn, larger audiences. Those titles at the front of Barnes and Noble, carefully stacked, both cover and spine prominently displayed, aren’t there based on merit, worthy or unworthy as they may be. For the most part, big publishers paid for them to be there, positioned just so. Aside from the fact that these are things that small indie houses can’t compete with, it raises some questions of ethics, sure. But this post isn’t aimed at a debate over the capitalism of publishing. Rather, I want to take a moment to point out some houses and books that aren’t front-and-center at Border’s, which may mean you’re missing out. Here are my top ten:

10: Mud Luscious Press & Molly Gaudry’s We Take Me Apart

I don’t read much “experimental” writing as a practice. I also generally steer clear of books with script typefaces on the cover (snooty, I know.) That said, Gaudry’s ambition is admirable and her talent wonderfully evident in this compelling debut that a big house probably wouldn’t have taken a chance on.

From PANK Magazine’s review

We Take Me Apart begins with an homage to Gertrude Stein and could be read as a reinterpretation of the three-line poem, A Carafe that is a Blind Glass.” This approach is an act of pure courage on Gaudry’s part. Only a brave and talented writer would dare mess with the perfection of Gertrude Stein. Add this offense to your favorite childhood fairytale being reimagined and We Take Me Apart reads like a novella about to implode. And yet, as if by magic, the story holds even as the narrative spins out of control.


9: Wave Books & Rachel Zucker’s Museum of Accidents

I covet the sense of authority with which Wave Books publishes its books. For example, I read poetry on occasion, and when that occasion comes along I read Wave’s books. Why? There titles are so consistently good (Zucker being an prime example,) that I needn’t worry about being disappointed. They’ve become a stage upon which new careers can begin to flourish.

from Publisher’s Weekly:

Zucker’s willingness to put her own pain on display may frighten or even disgust some readers, but most will be grateful to find themselves less alone in their own everyday suffering. This is a book for all who seek what Zucker calls ‘the antidote for despair,’ however elusive it may be.


8: Dzanc Books & Laura van den Berg’s What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us

Dzanc is becoming a something of a mini-empire in the indie world, with publications and entities like Best of the Web, Monkeybicycle, The Collagist, Keyhole Press, and Black Lawrence Press under its roof. But even as they grow, they consistently provide a platform for talented and fresh new voices, as is the case with van den Berg.

from Publisher’s Weekly:

In her affecting debut collection, van den Berg taps into her characters’ losses with an impressive clarity. Each of these stories is meticulously crafted, and often the protagonist is recovering emotionally from a staggering life’s blow.

 

7: Les Figues Press & Urs Allemann’s Baby Fucker

I hate to think that it is the fate of indie presses to take all the risks and then lose authors to larger publishers when they’ve been vetted on smaller stages. But, if it is to be our lot, so be it. Allemann will surely be gobbled up by a larger house, but Penguin wouldn’t touch a title like Baby Fucker with a ten-foot pole, regardless of it’s literary force and prowess. Germans have all the fun and culture.

Dennis Cooper:

A stunning, exquisite, perfect, and difficult little benchmark of a novel that makes literature that pre-dates it seem deprived.


6: Tarpaulin Sky Press & Mark Cunningham’s Body Language

Tarpaulin Sky is a press and lit journal–kind of our long-lost cousin. Their books are, by-and-large, extremely good and well-designed. Cunningham’s Body Language stands out on both fronts. His voice is unique and powerful–a poetic force to be reckoned with.

from Prick of the Spindle:

The appeal of Body Language is universal. Always thought-provoking, always enjoyable and unexpected, the combination of topics of math, language and symbolism via the alphabet and the body as a complex system, turns out to be an appropriate, engaging compendium.

 

5: New York Tyrant & Brian Evenson’s Baby Leg: Limited Edition

New York Tyrant is usually just a tri-annual lit journal. But when they get wild, they go all out. How they got Brian Evenson to do a book for them, I wish I knew. Furthermore, whoever came up with making it a limited edition hardcover with Evenson’s smearings of a “blood-like substance” on the front should be applauded.

from Blake Butler:

Via a series of sparely rendered dream loops, each wormed so deep into the other that it is no longer safe to say which might be which, Baby Leg extends the already wide mind-belt of Brian Evenson’s terror parade another mile, and well beyond.


4: McSweeney’s & John Brandon’s Arkansas

Is McSweeney’s still indie? Hmm. I mean, you still have to have a clerk order Brandon’s book at most stores. They don’t readily carry it at the chains. But most people outside of the lit world say “McSwchat?” when I mentioned them in passing. Think what you want about McSweeney’s, but their books are gorgeous, editor Eli Horowitz has that ever-sought-after eye for greatness, and most of the work they publish is, well, really, really good. Arkansas is really, really, really, really, really good. Shit. I mean really good.

from McSweeney’s description:

There are the days: the dappled grounds, the aimless yardwork, the hours in the booth giving directions to families in SUVs. And then there are the nights, crisscrossing the South with illicit goods, the shifty deals in dingy trailers, the vague orders from a boss they’ve never met. Sooner than Kyle and Swin can recognize how close to paradise they are, in this neglected state park in southern Arkansas, the lazy peace is shattered with a shot. Night blends into day. Dead bodies. Crooked superiors. Suspicious associates. It’s on-the-job training, with no time for slow learning, bad judgment, or foul luck.

 

3: Coffee House Press & Laird Hunt’s Ray of the Star

Coffee House is kind of old school and only barely indie, but it’s still a place to go to find some exceedingly powerful new and/or relatively under-the-radar names in literature. Hunt’s Ray of the Star is phenomenal and deserves as wide a readership as anything on the front shelves of Borders. I don’t doubt that Hunt will someday find his books on many a syllabi as required reading for MFA students, and that his books will be reprinted by larger houses, once they catch on.

from Time Out Chicago:

Reminiscent of Camus’ The Stranger, Ray of the Star gives little consideration to the death that has sent Harry reeling, though the way he’s easily sent in various directions by the people he meets hints at a numb, almost deranged wanderlust—the type of confusion that follows deep loss—and it’s this kind of slow burning mania that reminds also of Paul Auster; all of which proves that Hunt, even when on a mad sprint, has what it takes to create timeless efforts.

 

2: Featherproof Books & Blake Butler’s Scorched Atlas

Featherproof is super-dope. Aside from giving away DIY mini-books and having one of the best colophons I’ve ever seen, they’ve also got Butler’s Scorched Atlas, an exceptionally well-written composite novel, pre-distressed and filled with black pages. I am a book design dork, and this design is absolutely superb. Sick. Dope. Dumb. Grand. Featherproof is a beautiful thing.

From Time Out New York:

Butler is an original force who is fearless with form… The design is appropriately disarming, an apt part of the overall barrage by this inventive and deeply promising young author.


1: Hobart & Michelle Orange’s The Sicily Papers

Can I just say, “Fuckin’ Hobart.” I mean, seriously, this book is printed to look like a goddamn passport. The editors at Hobart, Elizabeth Ellen and Aaron Burch, have taste for days and the eyes for talent. Their single-author titles, while rare, are so good that it’s stupid. The Sicily Papers was a find of Ellen’s and what a find it was!

from World Hum by Frank Bures:

The Sicily Papers embodies the aimless joy (of travel) in a way that most travel books don’t. It has the texture of the journey. It has the feel of the unstructured days. And in the end it is almost like being there for real.


And, since this is a list of books I love, I must quickly note Flatmancrooked and the Zero Emission Book, which is James Kaelan’s We’re Getting On. As far as we can tell, this is the first novel ever produced that 1) is entirely recycled and biodegradable, 2) grows trees from its seed-paper-cover, 3) is entirely carbon-neutral, and 4) will be toured by bike up the entire west coast (LA to Vancouver.) We are very proud of the whole project. Plus, it’s a really good book.

FMC Poetry Prize Recipients

The 2010 Poetry Prize was Flatmancrooked’s first venture into the land of poetics and, thus far, it’s been extremely rewarding. So, the process went something like this. We opened for submissions in November, 2009. We closed in January, 2010, and received about ten-times the entries we were expecting. With the guidance of this project’s editor, Josh Neely, and publisher, Steve Owen, we read thousands of entries and whittle (not to be confused with “widdle,” and for good reason) them down first to the semi-finalists (these poets will all be included in Flatmancrooked’s Slim Anthology of Contemporary Poetics – 2010, to be released this summer), and then the finalists. Those poems were then sent to our guest judge, author Mary Karr. After careful deliberation, she has chosen our top three, and the recipients of the various honorariums. And the winners are . . .

2nd Runner Up - Sarah Stripling, for her poem ‘Stories’
Sarah’s poem will be published in the forthcoming Flatmancrooked Slim Anthology of Contemporary Poetics and she will be noted as the 2nd Runner-Up for the 2010 Flatmancrooked Poetry Prize. She will also be awarded a $100 honorarium. She is currently at work on a manuscript and can be reached here.

1st Runner Up - Rebecca van Laer, for her poem ‘Dorothy Comes Home From Work’
Rebecca’s poem will be published in the forthcoming Flatmancrooked Slim Anthology of Contemporary Poetics and she will be noted as the 1st Runner-Up for the 2010 Flatmancrooked Poetry Prize. She will also be awarded a $300 honorarium. More of Rebecca’s work can be found in a chapbook of her work to be published by Amsterdam Press in late 2010.

2010 Flatmancrooked Poetry Prize Recipient

Emily Pulfer-Terino
‘Tracks’

Listen to Emily receiving the news.

Emily Pulfer-Terino grew up in the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts, where she currently lives and teaches English at a girls boarding school. She holds a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MFA in Creative Writing from Syracuse University. This is her first publication, outside university. As the recipient of the 2010 Flatmancrooked Poetry Prize Emily’s poem will be published in the forthcoming Flatmancrooked Slim Anthology of Contemporary Poetics and she will be noted as the 2010 Flatmancrooked Poetry Prize winner. She will also be awarded a $500 honorarium, and receive an invitation to Flatmancrooked and Opium Magazine’s Night One Party at AWP Denver (a private industry party for editors and publishing industry executives).


And the Finalists are!!!

Flatmancrooked’s First Annual Poetry Prize ended at the close of January. The response was enthusiastic and a bit overwhelming. The editors read thousands of poems, then reread, and read again, whittling them down to this list of semi-finalists that will be included in Flatmancrooked’s Slim Volume of Contemporary Poetry, due out this summer. The editors then read and reviewed some more, read again, had night sweats, and chose these 24 finalists to go off to Mary Karr for the prize selection. These extraordinarily gifted poets will be listed as Finalists for the FMC Poetry Prize 2010 in the forthcoming anthology.



“O Time Thy Pyramids” by James Benton

“On the First Cold Morning in October, My Cat Kills Another Starling” by Heather Lynne Mercer

“WALDEN” by Will Dowd

“Oceanus Pacificus” by James Benton

“Bridges” by Theo Schell-Lambert

“Role Models” by Kimberly Olsen

“Zoology #1″ by Jilly Dreadful

“Crush” by Marina Pruna

“Americanism” by Diego Baez

“Two Dot, Montana” by Micah Ling

“How I Never Want to Have Coffee with You” by Anna Clarke

“Wormwood” by Marissa Bell Toffoli

“Petrichor” by Shideh Etaat

“The Fistulated Cow” by Katie Cappello

“When You Told me You were From Sierra Leone” by Sara Stripling

“Dorothy Comes Home From Work” by Rebecca van Laer

“Tracks” by  Emily  Pulfer-Terino

“LA Confidences” by Cami Park

“Cape Hatteras” by Ali Shapiro

“Konstantin Wakes Up Fifty” by Ronald Jackson

“September ” by Caitlin Gildrien

“The Replacement” by Megan Moriarty

“A Condensed History of Parachutes” by Megan Moriarty

“Stories ” by Sara Stripling



These poems will be available for your reading pleasure, along with work from poetry giants such as Eleni Sikelianos, Forest Gander, Mathew Dickman, Andy Jones, Christopher Erickson, and Kevin Prufer in Flatmancrooked’s Slim Volume of Contemporary Poetics, available Summer 2010.


Flatmancrooked at AWP

Flatmancrooked will be at AWP, April 7th-11th, in Denver, CO, at the Denver Convention Center. We’re planning one reading and various smaller functions. Come by our booth and see what’s happenin’.

And the Semi-Finalists Are

Flatmancrooked’s First Annual Poetry Prize ended at the close of January. The response was enthusiastic and a bit overwhelming. The editors read thousands of poems, then reread, and read again, whittling them down to this list of semi-finalists that will be included in Flatmancrooked’s Slim Volume of Contemporary Poetry, due out this summer. And the semi-finalists are . . .


“Crush” by Marina Pruna
“i,eve” by Christy Delehanty
“I Remember” by Justin Alvarez
“hollow phrases” by Diego Baez
“Americanism” by Diego Baez
“Pre-Linguistic Bones” by Gleah Powers
“Akimbo” by Amy Bleu
“Zoology #1″ by Jilly Dreadful
“Two Dot, Montana” by Micah Ling
“How I Never Want to Have Coffee with You” by Anna Clarke
“Wormwood” by Marissa Bell Toffoli
“A Life in Piles and a Hundred Goodbyes” by A. Ruth Macaux
“O Time Thy Pyramids” by James Benton
“Oceanus Pacificus” by James Benton
“Petrichor” by Shideh Etaat
“The Fistulated Cow” by Katie Cappello
“Enlightenment” by Samuel Slaton
“Something Like Five to Seven Years On Average Give or Take …” by Zachary Hill
“When You Told me You were From Sierra Leone” by Sara Stripling
“Dorothy Comes Home From Work” by Rebecca van Laer
“Tracks” by Emily Pulfer-Terino
“LA Confidences” by Cami Park
“Cape Hatteras” by Ali Shapiro
“Editing out the Mistakes” by Kat Jahnigen
“Konstantin Wakes Up Fifty” by Ronald Jackson
“Tend” by Rebecca Keith
“September” by Caitlin Gildrien
“On the First Cold Morning in October, My Cat Kills Another Starling” by Heather Lynne Mercer
“WALDEN” by Will Dowd
“Bridges” by Theo Schell-Lambert
“Role Models” by Kimberly Olsen
“To My Daughter Grace, Nine Years Old” by Christopher Locke
“The Karloff Egg” by James O’Brien
“Post-Op Image, 1984″ by Francis DiClemente
“Recess Beyond the Old Equipment” by David Cooke
“Russian Caravan” by A. Ruth Macaux
“Boston Elizabeth” by Christine Smith
“For the Sun” by Julia Halprin Jackson
“To Sally Hemings, slave lover of Thomas Jefferson” by Khary Jackson
“Love’s Austere and Lonely Offices by Thomas” K ORourke
“Stories” by Sara Stripling
“The Replacement” by Megan Moriarty
“A Condensed History of Parachutes” by Megan Moriarty
“Aftermath” by Brian Adeloye
“Descent into Phoenix” by Kristen Kuczenski
“And Then” by Heather Judy


These poems will be available for your reading pleasure, along with work from poetry giants such as Eleni Sikelianos, Forest Gander, Mathew Dickman, Andy Jones, Christopher Erickson, and Kevin Prufer in Flatmancrooked’s Slim Volume of Contemporary Poetics, available Summer 2010.


POET-IN-RESIDENCE, 1.10: Eleni Sikelianos




From the Flatmancrooked Winter 09/10 Poet-In-Residence, Eleni Sikelianos, comes selected poems, chosen by the poet from her body of work. These posts will appear every Sunday for the next ten weeks, after which a new Poet-In-Residence will be introduced and his or her work featured. This number 10 of 10. The poems featured in previous weeks can be found here: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3,Week 4, Week 5, Week 6, Week 7, Week 8, Week 9



I Too Want to Sleep in America Tonight

I am full of nostalgia tonight
like a sootbag filled with rocks
my hometown’s shining behind me
in the avocados’ glistening skins
The lemon’s electricity socks

my leg is starting to break
but my feet are not breaking
so I can walk

but my stomach is starting to break
around my mouth
says it’s nighttime
where I forget my teeth
& my teeth-shine

my ankle is breaking but my thumb is not
breaking
around my thought

bone particles hover inside the wrist
like a luminous halo of feeling the flesh once hid

Haiti in Ink and Tears: A Literary Sampler

By MADISON SMARTT BELL

Today is a good day to remember that in Haiti, nobody ever really dies. The many thousands who’ve had the breath crushed out of their bodies in the earthquake, and the thousands more who will not physically survive the aftermath, will undergo instead a translation of state, according to the precepts of Haitian Vodou, some form of which is practiced by much of the population. Spirits of the Haitian dead — sa nou pa we yo, those we don’t see — do not depart as in other religions but remain extremely close to the living, invisible but tangible, inhabiting a parallel universe on the other side of any mirror, beneath the surface of all water, just behind the veil that divides us from our dreams.

That extraordinary spiritual reservoir is the source of the Haitian religious view of the world — as powerful as any today. As often as it is misunderstood and misrepresented, Haitian Vodou, with all it carries out of the cradle of humankind’s birth in Africa and combines with Roman Catholicism, has enabled Haitians to laugh at death, as they have too often needed to do. (read more here)

POET-IN-RESIDENCE, 1.7: Eleni Sikelianos




From the Flatmancrooked Winter 09/10 Poet-In-Residence, Eleni Sikelianos, comes selected poems, chosen by the poet from her body of work. These posts will appear every Sunday for the next ten weeks, after which a new Poet-In-Residence will be introduced and his or her work featured. This number 7 of 10. The poems featured in previous weeks can be found here: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Week 6




From The Book of Jon

Interview (Who is Asking / Who is Answering)

 

 

Pop, I’m writing a book about you. I mean, with you in it. Are you ready to do this interview?

 

Mmrmph.

 

Okay, where were you in 1963?

 

 

In 1963, my father was 17 and clean clean clean as a whistle. By 1968, I was three and he had descended into those dark and distant lands called Heroin. The sun warming his armpits in the afternoons.

 

What happens when that particular crystal gets slipped into the vein?

 

A dark water into which the light descends only a short distance, vestigial gill-slits emerge as the fluid colloid pours in. A luminous, liquid night. Underwater, one can think and dream. All our aqueous history laid out on the sea-floor. In the emulsified dusk, one can see the strings of a violin held down by eel-like pinkies. One can travel, one can go. (My father’s early aquatic life is redeemed.) The earth makes no light of its own, covered by a night’s pressure; what enemies here in the dark, what prey? Sounds and color detach from their objects and float away. Small invertebrates swim brightly through the bloodstream. On the surface, under a full moon, the ship establishes a new weight. Sperm moves through body walls, all the tidal animals no longer rooted to lunar waters beams, flashes, fluctuating densities, the body moves back, pre-Cambrian, toward the Polychaete worms. We can organize disorderly things in the world, put public telephone receivers back in their cradles. These were the myths that invented feelings. We do not have to be afraid of heat, or of water, nor fire.

 

From The Book of Jon, reprinted courtesy of City Lights, 2004. A book-length meditation on my father, who spent the last year or two of his life homeless in Albuquerque, where he died of a drug overdose in January, 2001. This isn’t strictly poetry; the book moves between forms  prose, poems, letters, documents, photos, and dreams.

Why “The Simpsons” No Longer Matters

An expert discusses the cartoon’s cultural demise — and far-reaching impact