49 writers weekly round-up

As poetry month unfolds, there’s news of a new platform for connecting with poets and publishing poetry. Publisher’s Weekly reports that self-publishing site Lulu has purchased and overhauled Poetry.com, where poets can access reviews and reference tools in addition to sharing their work. The staff selects a Poem of the Day and also sponsors daily, monthly, and yearly contests with cash prizes.

Speaking of prizes, several opportunities are comping up. Annual Gival Press Novel Award is offered annually for a previously unpublished original novel. With a May 30 deadline, the annual Gival Press Novel Award offers $3000 plus a publication offer to a previously unpublished orginal novel. Submissions are also being taken between May 1 and June 30 for the $15,000 Drue Heinz Literature Prize, offered to writers who have published a collection of fiction or at least three short stories in nationally-distributed magazines or literary journals. For unpublished short stories, there’s a May 31 deadline for the $500 Elizabeth Simpson Smith Award.

If you’re wondering if it’s worth competing for these prizes, check with Megan Nix, a second-year UAA MFA Nonfiction student who recently won the top Editor’s Prize from Fourth Genre, one of the preeminent literary journals devoted exclusively to nonfiction. Of Megan’s “Swim, Memory,” judge Jocelyn Bartkevicius wrote, “This lovely and moving essay depicts fragmentation in the prelude to and aftermath of Katrina. The segmented form takes readers all over the map, from close-up to historical views of New Orleans, and as far north as Nashville, all the while producing a compelling forward narrative motion. Never sentimental, the essayist nevertheless creates scenes about animals, people, and place with a sensitivity tempered by subtle irony. This writer has an original voice, an eye for crackling detail and surprising juxtapositions, and a remarkable way of working reflection and fact into a story about the chaos and confusion of fleeing and returning to tragedy.” In addition to the $1000 prize, Megan’s essay will be published in the Spring 2010 edition of Fourth Genre

No prizes forthcoming, but for you teachers out there, I’ve just posted teaching guides to five of my books. You’ll find them under “For Educators” at my web site.

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