2011 Flatmancrooked Poetry Prize

2011 Flatmancrooked Poetry Prize

Guest Judge: Forrest Gander

In 2010, Flatmancrooked introduced the FMC Poetry Prize with guest judge Mary Karr. This year we are pleased to present our guest judge for the 2011 FMC Poetry Prize: Forrest Gander.

ABOUT THE JUDGE: The author of numerous books of poetry, including Eye Against Eye, Torn Awake, and Science & Steepleflower, all from New Directions, Gander also writes novels (As a Friend), essays (A Faithful Existence) and works in translation. His most recent translations are Firefly Under the Tongue: Selected Poems of Coral Bracho (Finalist, PEN Translation Prize), No Shelter: Selected Poems of Pura López Colomé, and, with Kent Johnson, two books by the Bolivian wunderkind Jaime Saenz: The Nightand Immanent Visitor: Selected Poems of Jaime Saenz.

Gander is the Adele Kellenberg Seaver Professor of Literary Arts and Comparative Literature at Brown University.

THE PRIZE: The Flatmancrooked Poetry Prize will be determined over the course of three rounds. Of all the entrants, the FMC editorial staff will select a (1) a semi-final batch of 30-40 poems. These poems will be published in Flatmancrooked’s Slim Volume of Contemporary Poetry, Vol. 2 (May 2011). (2) FMC editors Josh Neely and Steve Owen will then choose the 10 finalists to send to guest judge Forrest Gander. (3) Forrest Gander will choose the FMC Poetry Prize Recipient and runner-up. The prize recipient will receive a $500 honorarium and a notation as the prize recipient upon publication. The prize will close for submissions in early April 2011. The results will be announcement shortly thereafter, with phone calls to recipients and runners up.

TO ENTER: The fee is $7.00 for three poems. Please send all entries as a single file (and the link below will walk you through the process). Of course, you don’t have to send us three. You can send one. Or two. But for the $7.00 entry fee you can send up to three.

click here to enter

Want to be informed about future prizes or notified before this prize closes? Sign-up below for regular updates about this and future prizes below.

January 10, 2011 | Posted in: Blog, Prizes | Comments Closed


Flatmancrooked.com, along with many WordPress based sites and Godaddy hosted entities, recently came under attack by a vicious piece of malware. We’re better now but are currently updating our security and overhauling our website. So, that said, stayed tuned for our new look in 2011.

December 24, 2010 | Posted in: Blog | Comments Closed

A Year of Loving Stuff – 2010

Flatmancrooked’s staff loves a lot of stuff. In 2010, we got our love on. Here’s a list of the stuff we at FMC could not live without in 2010. Some of these things did not originate in 2010 but they certainly helped make the year a grand one!

BETHANY – Intern (PR/Promotions)

1. Vancouvor Winter Olympics, 2. chicken flavored top ramen, 3. KeSha, 4. The Big Bang Theory (the tv show), 5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- Part 1, 6. Haroun and the Sea of Stories, 7. Old Spice Commercials, 8. Venice Beach, CA, 9. 80′s style comeback, 10. Netflix

JONATHAN – Intern (Editorial)

1. Brett Favre returning, only to get the crap kicked out of him every 
week, over and over again 2. Red Dead Redemption 3. The new Arcade 
Fire 4. The idea of a new Interpol album. The actual album, not so 
much 5. Rediscovering J.D. Salinger (after he died, which is on my non-
top ten list) 6. Getting an internship at Flatmancrooked (and fine 
tuning my ass kissing abilities) 7. Taking a road trip from Sacramento 
to Mississippi and back again with my Dad 8. Getting into grad school 
9. Germans doctors curing HIV 10. Harry Potter!!!

MERIDETH – Copy Editor

1. Californians defeated proposition 23, 2. Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs, 3. Jeanette Winterson’s books – in particular Written on the Body and The Passion, 4. Philip Pullman’s latest – The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, 5. Judgeoverturns proposition 8, 6. XKCD.com – A Webcomic of Romance, Sarcasm, Math, and Language, 7. Ntozake Shange’s incredible choreopoem, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf, 8. The Cornucopia Institute: Promoting Economic Justice for Family Scale Farming, 9. Edan Lepucki’s fantastic debut, If You’re Not Yet Like Me, 10. Panasonic Close Curves Wet/Dry Ladies Shaver. It’s pretty darn awesome.

JOSH – Poetry Editor

1. Flatmancrooked’s Slim Volume of Contemporary Poetics, 2. SF Giants World Series Champions, 3. Arcade Fire w/Calexico at the Greek Theatre, Berkeley, CA, 4. The Walking Dead, Landon Donovan’s goal vs. Algeria in stoppage time to put the US through to the knock-out round and create millions of new fans of American soccer.

STEVE – Fiction Editor

Peter Grandbois’ novella School Bus, as serialized by Neccesary Fiction, Lance Olsen’s Calendar of Regrets, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, Stephen Graham Jones’ The Ones That Got Away and It Came From Del Rio, Winter’s Bone, and Black Swan.

DEENA – Senior Editor (in no particular order)

A Sport and a Pastime by James Salter, ”High Violet” — The National, A Visit From the Good Squad by Jennifer Egan, ”Forgiveness Rock Record” — Broken Social Scene, Bored to DeathLast Night by James Salter, the Giants winning the World Series, Preservation Hall, Shakespeare’s Kitchen by Lore Segal, and having brunch across from a man who was almost definitely Salman Rushdie.

ELIJAH – Executive Editor

The Big Short by Michael Lewis, The Paris Review, American Short Fiction, The Bees by Dan Chaon – as found in Poe’s Children: The New Horror, edited by Peter Straub, all things Brooks Brothers, Highball Bouldering (this is an every year sort of love), Autotune the News’ Bed Intruder Song, ‘Evil Boy’ by Die Antword, Cee Lo’s cover of ‘No One’s Gonna Love You‘, Prosseco & Jameson (same night, not same time), AM/PM by Amelia Gray, Marlin’s Bolt Action .22 rifle with carbon-fiber stock, the World Cup, all things Gibson.

Pushcart Nominations

Congratulations to this year’s nominations from Flatmancrooked for the Pushcart Prize. Support these authors and pick up a copy of the book in which their work is featured.

1. If You’re Not Yet Like Me by Edan Lepucki, from the book of the same name.
[Buy Now]
(read Salt Lick by Lepucki)

2. We’re Getting On by James Kaelan, rom the book of the same name.
[Buy Now]
(read excerpt of WGO by Kaelan)

and from Flatmancrooked #3 (Lit Journal) titled not about Vampires: An Anthology of New Fiction Concerning Everything Else
[Buy Now]
(preview book here)

3. The Sladen Suit by Brian Evenson [read an interview with Evenson]

4. Boundaries by N.A. Jong [read full story]

5. Who Gets Which Nice Something by Shya Scanlon

6. Unlove Letters by Kevin Walsh [read full story]

Shya Scanlon has LAUNCHED!



by Shya Scanlon

November 2010

The year is 2212, the weather is out of control, and Seattle is being rebuilt with electricity generated from negative human emotion. In a strange and turbulent world fueled by secrecy and voyeurism, a bored housewife named Helen vanishes, and Citizen Surveillant Maxwell Point, the man whose job it’s been to watch her, must recount the years leading up to her disappearance. As Helen is drawn back to the city on an increasingly absurd errand to find a man she once loved, Maxwell begins to suspect foul play. But is he so dependent on the very thing he’s trained to protect that it colors not only his judgment, but his grip on reality? In this novel inspired by the troubled relationship between an author and his craft, Shya Scanlon renders a surreal, dystopian world in which alternate motives are required and people must hide even from themselves—a world in which the only real freedom is powerlessness.

This here is Shya Scanlon. As evidenced by the photo, Shya’s monthly budget is such that he subsists chiefly on simple carbohydrates glazed in sugar. Despite this, he is still very skinny. We foresee tremendous things for Shya’s career as a writer, but it’s only just begun. And this is where you come in. Invest in Shya’s career by purchasing a share in his future; LAUNCH Shya, and for $____, you get a limited edition, hand-signed copy of his debut novel FORECAST. If you’re a Scanlon Superfan, SUPERLAUNCH gets you two limited edition, hand-signed copies and a personal letter from the author himself.

We were introduced to Shya via our participation in FORECAST 42, his web serialization of an earlier draft of the novel. We were immediately taken with Shya’s remarkable range as an author–his command over a style that spans the quick-witted satire of Forecast, to the precise realism of short stories like “Who Gets Which Nice Something,” which we published in our fiction anthology Not About Vampires. And we’re not the only ones that are excited; here’s what some others had to say about Shya’s fiction debut:

“Shya Scanlon’s brilliant first novel inhabits the skin of science fiction while setting off fireworks more extravagantly imagined and coolly displayed than those ever fired into the night air by any conventional SF novel..” —Peter Straub, author of A Dark MatterKoko, and Shadowland

“In Forecast, Scanlon invokes an absurd not-too-distant future that nonetheless seems altogether too believable and real. Tipping its hat to authors like Stacey Levine, China Miéville and Jonathan Lethem, Scanlon’s novel is part Science Fiction, part noir, part road narrative and part love story. A new and vital voice in fabulist fiction.” —Brian Evenson, author of Fugue State and Last Days

“Like the narrator of Shya Scanlon’s very funny and very frightening Forecast, we his readers, plunged into a world of dog-devouring clouds and hallucination-inducing Anti-Surveillance masks, become “both fever dreamer and the dream itself.” Carved with uncommon authority out of the mists of what’s almost surely to come, Forecast does double duty as herald of an important new literary voice on the U.S. scene and harbinger of some seriously foul weather we’ll all have to contend with.” Laird Hunt, author of Ray of the Star

View the book-trailer for FORECAST here.


0 remaining of 200

Note: Forecast will ship the next business day after your purchase. International buyers please send an inquiry for LAUNCH purchases to editors@flatmancrooked.com.

LAUNCH – For Readers.


-one signed copy of Forecast by Shya Scanlon, 1st edition, signed and hand-numbered

$17.00 (free shipping)

SUPER-LAUNCH – For fans, friends, and family.


-two signed copies of Forecast by Shya Scanlon, 1st edition, signed and hand-numbered

-a personalized letter from the author on a custom postcard.

$30.00 (free shipping)


International Investors: Please e-mail us at editors@flatmancrooked.com to set up an invoice.

The Finalists Are In!

After months of careful deliberation, we are thrilled to announce the results of the 2010 Flatmancrooked Fiction Prize, judged by Benjamin Percy.


“Look Up. Look Up.” by Myfanwy Collins

Click here to listen to Myfanwy receiving the news and guest judge Benjamin Percy talk about the winning story, “Look Up, Look Up.”


“Punch Confessions” by Neal Bonser


“Amber Wong-Cohen” by Jessica Fleitman


“Long Enough and Hard Enough” by Tom Bonfiglio

“Clues to Murple” by Kirk Curnutt

“Cloisters” by Danny Goodman

“Based on True Events” by Danny Goodman

“Outside” by Daniel Grandbois

“Riot on Cell Block P” by Geoff Schmidt

“The Housekeeper” by Theodore Wheeler

Congratulations to all our finalists. All top ten stories will appear in print in Flatmancrooked’s forthcoming fiction anthology and featured on the website over the next year. A tremendous thank you to everyone who entered; we continue to be awed at the pool of talented writers out there, and the decision-making process is never easy.

10E 0.7 Ryan Bradley and Aquarium

by bl pawelek

In ten words (no more, no less), describe Aquarium.

RB: The bastard product of your favorite poems’ trysts with troublemakers.

Five Questions Here

1. Why the name?

RB: Well, before there was a poem called “Aquarium” there was a photo I took of an Aquarium sign on the boardwalk in Seaside, OR. I always liked the look of it. When I wrote the poem “Aquarium” I knew that it would be the title poem of a chapbook. It just fit.

2. What is the biggest challenge designing books?

RB: Designing a book is like trying to reconcile your music collection with another person’s. There’s going to be some overlap, but there’s also going to be areas where there’s no way you can understand where they are coming from. Like if they have a Brooks & Dunn album or something. There are moments where you’ll think “should I be trying to share music with this person?” But if you do it right you can work in that overlapping area and come up with something awesome. Of course, the ideal is someone who hands you a blank iPod and says, “fill this for me.”

3. Can’t show? Then tell – what is happening outside?

RB: “Everywhere I Look is Pornography” was written on a day when, honestly, I was having a bipolar upswing. Everything felt good that day. At the time I was still managing a children’s bookstore and it was summer, people outside were enjoying that, and I tried to write something that encapsulated the difference for me, going from a valley to a peak.

4. What is the shortest poem you’ve ever written?

RB: They are in this chapbook, I think. There have been a few that land at three lines. I don’t intentionally write short poems, I think they are a result of my sense of humor coming out.

5. The next part in the story of the outsider is what?

RB: Chances are a lot of trying to fit in. A lot of time spent with a group of friends, but not knowing quite how to feel comfortable in the clique, even though he’s there.

Five Questions There

6. How are women like butterflies?

RB: They are both inherently beautiful in their forms, their movements. There’s no such thing as an ugly butterfly, same goes for women.

7. Is there a fear worse than falling through the ice?

RB: When you grow up in a place like Alaska falling through ice is definitely a very real fear. If you don’t know someone personally or indirectly who has a story about it you’ll see one in the paper or the news often enough to feel like you do. Other fears, I think, are more esoteric. Things like failure.

8. Tell me a Beatles song you would dance to?

RB: Oh, jeez, any Beatles song. I love the Beatles. I can’t even fully explain. Some favorites: “Across the Universe,” “The Word,” “Happiness is a Warm Gun,” “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away.” But really, any Beatles song will do.

9. Name another disorder that will affect you as winter creeps near.

RB: I actually feel a lot better about winter than summer. I like cold weather, I pray for snow. I really don’t have any sort of seasonal disorders (other than being categorically opposed to summer). My mental conditions are more of a year long project.

10. Other than footprints on carpet, tell me your God proof.

RB: I was raised to believe in God, though it was outside of the Christian tradition. I still have questions, I’m somewhere between a believer and an agnostic, depending on the day. On the days when I’m feeling more inclined to believe my best proof is my wife’s existence and the fact that she is in love with me, which I know is anything but easy.

In ten words (no more, no less), tell me about what you are working on now.

RB: Ill-advised novel. Manuscript multitudes. Literary day dreaming. General awesomeness.

Ryan Bradley, Aquarium, 2010. Thunderclap Press.

bl pawelek, Ten Everywhere.

The Finalists are in!

It appears that the Flatmancrooked Fiction Prize is a desired commodity if the response to our second annual offering is to be taken as evidence. Our readers and editors spent two months reading, and reading, and reading, and after consideration, debate, and rereading, the finalists and their stories were sent off to our guest judge, Benjamin Percy (author of The Wilding and Refresh, Refresh). And the finalists are:

“Amber Wong-Cohen” by Jessica Fleitman

“Riot on Cell Block P” by Geoff Schmidt

“Outside” by Daniel Grandbois

“Clues to Murple” by Kirk Curnutt

“Long Enough and Hard Enough” by Tom Bonfiglio

“Cloisters” by Danny Goodman

“Based on True Events” by Danny Goodman

“The Housekeeper” by Theodore Wheeler

“Look Up. Look Up.” by Myfanwy Collins

“Punch Confessions” by R. Neal Bonser

The prize recipient and the runner-up will be announced in late October. Congratulations to the finalists.


If You’re Not Yet Like Me

by Edan Lepucki

October 2010

Joellynas judgmental as she is insecuretells her unborn daughter the story of her courtship with an unemployed, terribly-dressed man named Zachary.  The novella is a romantic comedyif romantic comedies were dark and screwed up and no one got exactly what they wanted.

This is Edan Lepucki. While the photograph may suggest that Edan is trying to sell Omar in order to pay her exorbitant water bill, this is not necessarily the case, and it will most certainly not be the case if you invest in what we believe to be Edan’s promising literary career. For $12 you can buy a share of Edan Lepucki’s future, and in return you will receive a signed, hand-numbered, limited-edition printing of her debut novella, If You’re Not Yet Like Me, in addition to an extremely pragmatic bonus gift. For the most avid Lepucki fans, we offer SUPER LAUNCH, which will win you the signed first editions, a personalized letter on a collector’s edition card from the author and, of course, the secret gift.

We came across Edan’s sharp and witty prose last year via The Millions, where she is a staff writer, and some months later we published her short story, Salt Lick. Her fiction is by turns discomforting and disarming—sincere without being sentimental—and we think her future is well worth watching. Here’s what some others have had to say about If You’re Not Yet Like Me:

“Why, when I was reading this extraordinary–no other word for it–novella by Edan Lepucki, did I start thinking of Henry James?  Thinking, specifically, of his adventures in human desire, cruelty, and perversity as found in The Turn of the Screw, The Portrait of a Lady,and other works of highly civilized terror.  Lepucki’s work is very much of the here and now–funny, smart, sardonic, and fully sexed–but she goes at her subject with the same flaying relentlessness as H. James.  I’ll use that word again: Extraordinary.”

-Ben Fountain, author of Brief Encounters With Che Guevara

“Edan Lepucki’s sly, smart novella is never quite a love story—in fact, rarely has the edict “only connect” seemed more difficult to enact than among her small tribe of underachievers.  Sex, however, retains its reliable consequences.  And therein lies the beauty and the gut punch of this sneaky, deft book. “

-Michelle Huneven, author of Blame

If You’re Not Like Yet Like Me tells quite a few damn good jokes before it decides to twist your heart apart. Gracefully written, barbed and biting; a touching meditation on the mistakes we make before meeting the ones who truly deserve our love.”

-Victor LaValle, author of Big Machine

1 edition: 0 of 400 remaining



Go here to purchase 2nd Ed.






Note: 1st editions of If You’re Not Yet Like Me will ship on Monday, Nov.8 and 2nd editions will ship on Nov. 19th
International buyers please send an inquiry for LAUNCH purchases to editors@flatmancrooked.com.

LAUNCH – For Readers.


-one signed copy of If You’re Not Yet Like Me by Edan Lepucki, 1st edition

-a special and statistically effective gift.


SUPER-LAUNCH – For fans, friends, and family.


-two signed copies of If You’re Not Yet Like Me by Edan Lepucki, 1st edition

-one copy of the 2nd edition of If You’re Not Yet Like Me, which includes additional work and an interview with the author.

-a personalized letter from the author on a custom postcard.

-the aforementioned special gift.



International Investors: Please e-mail us at editors@flatmancrooked.com to set up an invoice.

10E 0.6 Mike Young and We Are All Good If They Try Hard Enough

by bl pawelek

(an FMC original)

In ten words (no more, no less), describe “We Are All Good If They Try Hard Enough.”

MY: Lonely astronaut face-to-face feelings that flip language pancakes by flashlight.

Five Questions Here

1. Within the Theory of Radical Alterity, what is the first truth?

MY: This comes form the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas, who says philosophy should be more about the knowledge of love and less the love of knowledge (which is the literal translation of the word). “Radical alterity” means the irreducible, at-the-root Otherness of the Other (“alterity” means otherness). In other words, one of our deep-seated duhs is that other people are fundamentally not knowable and cannot be made into objects of the self. We can’t live inside someone else’s feelings. But we can have face-to-face encounters with them, which is pretty terrific, and we can start dialogue from this point, accepting the Other’s mystery/unknowability/whatever you want to call it, and going from there. Martin Buber influenced a lot of Levinas’s thinking, and Buber talks about how we don’t even really exist except in relationships, in meetings. All of this is pretty heady stuff, but gets translated in the book into half-nelsons and sheet forts.

2. Take a second. You don’t know what is going to happen next, but who is going to be there?

MY: The poem that’s from, “You Can Know That Wait Means Stay,” was written for Carolyn Z, who is a human carrot cake. But I guess I like to vainly think it’s portable, not for me to use with somebody else, but for elses to use elsewise and ever. One of the best parts of being in love is a certain kind of knowing who you’re with and giving up the knowing of everything else, and I think it’s interesting to recognize that feeling with the person you’re in love with and with everybody who might be recognizing their own love.

3. At what port does the U.S.S. Bitchface reside?

MY: Probably the port where I eat burnt chili by myself at some hour that seems the furthest from any sun.

4. On the cover, what is the single arm dripping?

MY: Glitter, pop rocks, multi-colored candy corn. Maybe when you go around life collecting all your receipts and movie stubs and Post-Its, and then you accidentally leave a bunch of crayons in your pocket, and all your spare useless paper is ruined, so you chop it into confetti and use it to salt your radishes.

5. What will you never do, but lie about?

You can say and mean and truly mean and still know you don’t. Mean, I mean. Which sometimes makes it kind of terrifying to say anything.

Five Questions There

6. Is The Missionary your favorite positron?

MY: What I like are mirror neurons. Let’s go watch football and wince. Last week I got into an argument, kind of, about mirror neurons as the basis via cognitive science for empathy, but I think we just believed in competing mysticisms we didn’t want to tell the truth about. All I know is I ate a burger and she gave me a business card.

7. “Gift Economy” – why do you not believe in it?

MY: I think I do, now. I think I am just worried about the seething niceties of gifthood, the thank-you notes and so forth.

8. What is the one thing that can tell you about love?

MY: Love is a recursive function.

9. What was the last secret you told when you kissed a neck?

MY: When you tell someone a really good secret, it is like finding a colony of bats inside your chest and rooting them out. In other words, there is surprise and a black mass.

10. “There will be things you save to tell someone that you’ll never get to tell at all.” Here’s a chance for you, fire away.

MY: Maybe what that line means is more about the someone than the saving. There are visions and versions of people we wait for that we decide are the only people that fit certain parts of who we are. This is probably not true, but that doesn’t stop anybody, I don’t think. In other news, the dude across the way from me right now has a Q-Bert tattoo and a mason jar full of mozzarella balls. His friend just said “I think you imagine it as a like a disturbance in water. Or, like, a thickness.”

In ten words (no more, no less), describe your next project.

MY: A letter of YouTube account cancellation that bleeds and frets.

Mike Young, We Are Good If They Try Hard Enough, 2010. Publishing Genius

bl pawelek, Ten Everywhere