SPLIT LIP UPDATE: Best of the Net 2015, Fall Issue, and Releases

Hello, it’s your esteemed (ish) editor, Amanda.  I have spent this summer moving from Virginia to Pennsylvania in what became sort of a comedy of errors (though it was only funny in hindsight), but I am finally settled in and back to the Split Lip grind. We have SO MUCH going on, and I’m so excited to get back to it.

Best of the Net 2015 Nominations

This was incredibly hard to do because HOLY SHIT, we get to publish so much great stuff. But here are our nominations–congratulations, all!

FICTION
Of Two Minds by Marlene Zadig
 
Smart: A Definition by Kelly Magee
 
POETRY
taking riot selfies with Gina [1] by Sara Biggs Chaney 

Men and Fire by Lauren Davis
 
Just Another Shift by Nicholas Reading
 
Westward by Sandra Marchetti
 
CREATIVE NONFICTION
Eighth Grade Bio by Nina Alvarez
 
NECROLOGY: Gerbils by Chelsea Biondolillo

FALL 2015 Issue

Because I’d fallen a little behind, I thought we were maybe going to do a combined Fall/Winter issue, or have a really small Fall issue, but we’re just going to have our usual amazing online quarterly, only a little later than it usually drops. I can say with authority that it’s our best yet. Stay tuned.

UPCOMING RELEASES FROM SPLIT LIP PRESS

We’ve been hella busy, as you can see, but we could not be more excited to put this work out into the world and into your hands (and brains).

Tom Hunley’s full-length collection of poetry, The State Springfield is In (November 2015)

Katie Schmid’s award-winning chapbook, forget me, hit me, let me drink great quantities of clear, evil liquor (end of 2015)

Jared Yates Sexton’s I Am the Oil of the Engine of the World (early 2016)

SUBMISSIONS 
We are currently in Tip Jar mode, but will be opening free submissions in a few days for Fiction and Memoir (sorry, poets, we’re still catching up with you!). We’ll let you know on Twitter!

Phew, I think that’s all? At least, for now. Back in a day or two with another big, awesome announcement!

xx
AKM

The State That Springfield Is In by Tom C. Hunley Coming November 10, 2015

1coverPreview

cover design by J. Scott Bugher

We are happy to announce Tom C. Hunley will be joining the Split Lip family with his killer collection of poems called The State That Springfield Is In, a full-length book of verse based on the Fox animated sitcom, The Simpsons. Here’s what we have to say about the book. We’re super excited to release it on November 10, 2015.

Inspired by America’s most prominent hallmark of modern pop culture, The Simpsons, poet Tom C. Hunley shares his narratives––autobiographical or allegorical––by channeling the eccentric personae of residents in the animated sitcom’s town, Springfield, and trusting their voices to speak on his behalf, resulting in true poetic entertainment. As author Denise Du Vernay states in the collection’s introduction, “Tom’s interaction with The Simpsons doesn’t follow sitcom or even cartoon rules. He doesn’t have to. Tom follows a mysterious set of rules, completely unknown to those of us without a poet’s sensibilities.” That is the sentiment that defines Hunley as an artist. He is a poet who has a firm grip on poetic formalism (the “rules”), but, as is the case with any true artist––perhaps a guitarist for the sake of a metaphoric example––Hunley knows when it’s time to part from his Eddie Van Halen trickery in exchange for what resonates with those who are unfamiliar with the “rules,” “theories, and “doctrines” of art: gritty power chords strummed in the manners of Kurt Cobain or Johnny Ramone.

While capable of boggling a reader’s mind with poetics only a limited audience bothers to appreciate these days, Hunley has taken to The Simpsons in order to depart from the shoebox diorama boundaries most readers and writers of verse wallow in, and instead reach out to those of us who want to feel aroused by humor and drama rather than feel disoriented by, for example, accounts of lucid dreaming juxtaposed with archaic Polish folklore found in the nationalistic opera of Stanislaw Moniuszko. In short, Hunley wants poetry back on the map as an element of pop culture rather than vaulted property of academia and patrons of Sotheby’s auction house. The State That Springfield Is In may very well be the poetry collection to materialize his bold objective.

 

Save The University of Akron Press

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Hey folks. I’ve been seeing some heartbreaking headlines posted all over social media regarding the University of Akron’s potential to close its book press and couldn’t help but to post an open letter to its top administrators: Scott Scarborough (President), Lawrence Burns (Vice President of Advancement), Mike Sherman (Senior Vice President, Provost & Chief Operating Officer), and Paul Herold (Secretary of the Board of Trustees). It’s posted below. If you feel inclined to learn more and see what you can do to help keep the book press in biz, visit the Save The University of Akron Press’ Facebook Page!

Dear Scott Scarborough, Lawrence Burns, Mike Sherman & Paul Herold––

I am writing with uniformed concern for the University of Akron’s book press, and I say uninformed because I am unaware of the school’s situation in full, and, though a bit speculative, I frankly believe media outlets suppress facts to produce more persuasive journalism. If, however, recent headlines are accurate regarding University of Akron’s plans to halt its book press funding, then I am obligated to ask: would you please consider other means to transpose the institution’s budget from deficit to reclamation?

Akron’s book press has been an essential contributor to the literary arts for thirty years, and its most notable effort, I’d argue, is the esteemed Akron Series in Poetry. On the one hand, through an entrepreneurial lens, I can see how one may justify considering poetry an expense worth omitting since, as a product, it has very little monetary value, and its supply trumps its demand. On the other hand, through an academic lens, there is a fundamental need to preserve and respect poetry since it cannot be forgotten the arts are precursors of the sciences, and if academia believes the arts have been exhausted to the extent of futility, then the academy is, in fact, blaspheming its own being.

The first and foremost duty of academia is to embrace and respect preexisting knowledge, to shelter it in order to promote research and discovery and/or creation of yet-to-exist knowledge. Poetry of the past must remain in the proverbial knowledge arsenal, and the poetry of contemporary thinkers that has yet to be written and/or published must remain in the academy’s diet for even more knowledge. The academy must stay hungry for knowledge and remember an appetite for profit belongs to the entrepreneur’s diet.

While I can respect the business component of university operations, I cannot say I fully understand it since I am a romantic with a fervent desire for academia to get reacquainted with its roots, or to at least aim effort toward doing so. There are valid reasons, I’m sure, that the academy has been pressed to take a more corporate approach to operations, but there has got to be a way to balance things and take a reformative approach rather than a transformative approach by remembering knowledge stockpiles as a result of synergy between multiple domains in both the sciences and the arts.

You claim to function as a polytechnic university––an admirable approach. Your website even defines it to an etymological level: Polytechnic = Polutekhnos, which is Polu (many) + tekhné (arts). By cutting the book press, it seems your approach will deflate to: Ligótera (fewer) + tekhné (arts). Please be kind to your reputation and maintain the purity of your polytechnic approach by preserving your book press.

Thank you,

J. Scott Bugher

Founder & Publisher

Split Lip Press & Magazine

www.splitlippress.com

www.splitlipmagazine.com

A Poem by Split Lip Founder Scotty Bob Steevessffph

We’ve been bad bloggers, so here’s a poem by the guy responsible for all the damage Split Lip has done to the economy, healthcare system, education and federal reserve.

Pills

TREATMENT

Pills fall, sheets of rain into a burrow

of wolves. My crow mind in hiding until dogs are

put to sleep. My life, an infant pear tree,

roots mingling with deadly nightshade underground.

Berries poison the delirium further, the fruit

that left Syd Barrett in his mother’s home until 2006,

the fruit that fed Brian Wilson voices

to harmonize with melody. My mouth is always open

like my mother’s basement door. Every time

I swallow, the crow loses memory of its abductor,

the pears decay before ever ripening.

–– J. Scott Bugher

What To Do If You’re Buried Alive by Michael Meyerhofer – Available Now!

Michael Meyerhofer, What To Do If You're Buried Alive

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Super excited to announce Michael Meyerhofer’s What To Do If You’re Buried Alive, his fourth full-length poetry collection, is now available from Split Lip Press! Find it at our website or Amazon today, pick up a copy, read it, and then contact Split Lip Press and tell us how hard your world had been rocked––if you’re still conscious enough to write us.

In his latest collection of poems, What To Do If You’re Buried Alive, Michael Meyerhofer’s narrative verse is tight and full of torque: storytelling in the vein of Richard Hugo, humor in the likes of Ron Padgett, absurdity a little like Stephen Dobyns and surrealism much like the dearly missed Tomaz Salamun. And this collection is huge! 130+ pages of the type of poems you can recite to a buddy at a bar without your buddy having any clue that you are speaking a poem aloud. This is the type of book for short story fans who want to explore the world of poetry while bypassing confusion, trickery, the diction of Roget’s 21st Century Thesaurus and other poetic pollutants that interfere with one’s reading pleasure. If you’re seeking poetry you can feel you are a part of, know where you’re at in, and have a friend in the narrator, then this is the book for you! As poet George Bilgere puts it: “Meyerhofer sings in a pure American tenor, his voice haunted by late night diners, small town heartbreak, and somehow, out there in the desolate vastness of the heartland, a flash of humor and a sweet glimmer of hope.”

Michael Meyerhofer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Note About Michael Written by Michael: My first fantasy novel, Wytchfire (Book 1 in the Dragonkin Trilogy) was published by Red Adept Publishing. The book went on to win the Whirling Prize from the Kellogg Writers Series, and was nominated for a 2015 Readers’ Choice Award in fantasy by the premier book review website, Big Al’s Books & Pals. The sequel, Knightswrath, will be released shortly.

Meanwhile, I’ve been writing and publishing poetry for many years. My fourth poetry book, What To Do If You’re Buried Alive, was just released by Split Lip Press. My third, Damnatio Memoriae (lit. “damned memory”), won the Brick Road Poetry Book Contest. I’m also the author of two other poetry books: Leaving Iowa (winner of the Liam Rector First Book Award) and Blue Collar Eulogies (Steel Toe Books, finalist for the Grub Street Book Prize).

In addition to my full-length poetry books, I’ve also published five poetry chapbooks: Pure Elysium (winner of the Palettes and Quills Chapbook Contest), The Clay-Shaper’s Husband (winner of the Codhill Press Chapbook Award), Real Courage (winner of the Terminus Magazine and Jeanne Duval Editions Poetry Chapbook Prize), The Right Madness of Beggars (winner of the Uccelli Press 3rd Annual Chapbook Competition), and Cardboard Urn (winner of the Copperdome Chapbook Contest).

I’ve also won the Marjorie J. Wilson Best Poem Contest, the Laureate Prize for Poetry, the James Wright Poetry Award, and the Annie Finch Prize for Poetry. My work has appeared in Ploughshares, North American Review, Arts & Letters, River Styx, Quick Fiction, Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, and other journals.

Split Lip News You Can Use

There is so much brewing in the Split Lip world that this little blog has been way too neglected. We are trying to make it a more regular thing so that you can come and read it more regularly.  Popping in today to share what’s been going on/what’s going to be going on:

Split Lip Magazine/Press at AWP 2015 in Minneapolis, MN
Table #1657 (with BULL: Men’s Fiction)

We’ll have SWAG and BOOKS and HUGS. And our Spring Issue on display.
Please don’t be shy–come and say hello!

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And we have some more great news:

Congratulations to MICHAEL SOLOWAY whose non-fiction piece “Share the Chameleon” was selected for Sundress Publications’ 2014 Best of the Net!

Congratulations to JESI BENDER whose story “Linda,” was a finalist for the Queen’s Ferry Best of the Small Fictions Anthology 2015!

Much more to come, but we have errands to run and packing to do. Hope to see you all soon!

-AKM

An Option for Poets in a Rut

I’m a poet, meaning I’m well acquainted with insecurity, plateau and stagnancy. Poets––the artistic type; not the CV-building, award-seeking, willing-to-write-whatever-to-get-published type––desire only one thing: growth. When asked which poem I’ve written is my favorite, I always say: “The one I haven’t written yet.” While a poet does, for one minute (one emphasized), feel pleasure upon completing a poem they like or can at least tolerate, and while a poet does feel proud (for one minute) when a journal picks up a piece, it’s still never enough. Poets want their next poem to be THE poem they’ve been meaning to write ever since the start, but oftentimes––even when a final piece presents an illusion that it is, in fact, THE poem the poet’s been waiting for but a day later decides it’s not––satisfaction is never at the level one would like it to be. This pattern is a lineage to utter frustration and thoughts about giving up.

If you’re a poet with no clue about anything above, clearly you are a very happy person without neurotic symptoms, or you are the type with an “anybody can write poetry just like anybody can play hand drums or paint abstract pictures” mindset. As for this poet? Well, you can say I’m familiar with mental health facility lobbies, and you can say I’m a stubborn dick who does not believe anybody can write poetry, though I should clarify–– While, yes, anybody can technically write a poem since there really isn’t a set of criterion to evaluate what makes for a good poem anymore, NOT everybody can write poetry with a deep, intense drive to master the art because that takes a lot of work, most being very hard work that needs to be done while feeling uninspired, exhausted, doubtful, self-loathing, et cetera. Simply put, while anybody can write a poem, only few are willing to do what it takes to write a good poem.

What can be done, then, if discouragement and doubt is beating a poet down? My answer, though pertinent to those not studying writing at a university, is: Investigate some universities or community colleges and look at what creative writing classes they offer––anything from Intro to Creative Writing through Advanced Poetry Writing. While combing a given semester’s course offerings, note the instructor’s name who is scheduled to teach the classes you’re interested in. When finished, Google the instructors’ names and see what you find.

I did this in 2013 just after I had completed my undergrad degree in creative writing. I didn’t need to go back for more classes because I didn’t know how to practice on my own; it was a desire for a new challenge, and by that I mean I like to write, at times, as per an assignment or prompt, and I’ll admit having a deadline is a nice motivator, too. During the Googling process, looking up those writing instructors, I didn’t find many I was interested in. There are too many old-schoolers out there with a very specified agenda, the same they’ve been teaching for up to decades. For example, you can take a poetry class with an instructor you know nothing about and then discover he/she teaches only Whitman––nothing else––because the instructor believes only Whitman is worth studying. It happens with fiction as well, the case often being: only Raymond Carver is worthy of study. I’m not going to quarrel with that, though. Carver is the man.

After several fruitless searches, I gave Ivy Tech Community College a try. (FYI, this is back when I lived in Indiana.) They offered an Intro to Creative Writing class taught by Norman “Buzz” Minnick. I pasted his name in Google and landed on his website, where I found this poem:

AT THE AUTO REPAIR SHOP

Everything,

even the gumball machine, is grimy.

The mechanic has his name on a patch

above his heart. His fingernails

and the deep lines in his cracked hands

are forever black. The shop smells

like tires and stale coffee.

Chilton’s service repair manuals

and parts catalogues are stacked

behind the counter. No one notices

the zweep zweep sound of an air

impact wrench torquing lug nuts.

Cigarette butts float in the toilet

above which hangs a pinup

showing a woman wearing only a pair

of bright red high heels

that compliment

the bright red muscle car

she sprawls over.

She has thick, dark pubic hair

which upon closer examination

is only the smudge

of a greasy thumbprint.

First appeared in the Oxford American, later published in his book Folly.

I was SOLD. (I’m one of those frowned upon poets who champions poems that make sense, though Norm has the capacity to write some pretty tricky shit.) There was no need for any further investigation. I contacted the school, said I wanted to audit the class and showed up a few weeks later to the first session. Norm came in with tattoos cloaking his arms, and I think I remember his first remark was along the lines of: “If you can’t stomach vulgarity, sex, violence and such, then this might not be the class for you.” After letting the class know what they were in for, he opened with his first lesson by asking: “What is love?” Every answer was exactly what you had likely thought of just now––something grounded in a feeling or emotion. I didn’t say anything since I had no idea what he was trying to do. But as more and more clues started to surface every time he’d reply to an answer, I picked up on his trickery. I raised my hand and said, “Love is authentic gumbo found in Nebraska by a Louisiana native.” I had never been asked how to define an abstract noun before. I knew to avoid them when writing––not all the time, but more often than not––but I’ve never given very much thought to solving how to work around an abstraction, so I’d just bypass them altogether. That answer I gave triggered a poem I wrote called “A Cincinnati Boil,” which was later published by The Baltimore Review. In fact, after the semester studying with Norm, four out of however many poems I penned for the class wound up published. Along with Baltimore, poems were taken by Atticus Review, Hobart and Cleaver Magazine.

Through the course of the semester, Norm and I discovered we had a lot in common outside of poetry. In fact, I’d argue we have more in common with most everything BUT poetry since we’re both outspoken, stubborn assholes with strong opinions about the craft (e.g., Norm doesn’t care much for George Bilgere‘s poetry while I, however, think he’s a damn fine poet.) This is likely due to the fact we both were (me: past tense / Norm: still at it) members of punk and/or hardcore bands at one point or another. Norm is lead singer for a thrash hardcore band called Bush League. I was bassist for a few lesser-accomplished hardcore bands back in the 90s. So, as fellow punk-poet hybrids, we have had a few poetic debates (Norm knows well how to defend a good argument) over the past couple of years––always edifying, though. I will always remember meeting with Norm and his (who I think is) mentor Larry Atwood, who is as hardass as they come. We were at a bar reading our poems to each other. Following each reading came some serious shit-talking––sometimes warranted, other times just to be a dick––but it was a good time, and there were, for the record, moments we praised another’s work when we couldn’t deny its worth.

Anyway, I think I’ve harped a lot longer than I had planned to. Bottom line: If you want an extra boost when feeling like you’ve plateaued or that you’re in a rut, consider auditing a college creative writing class of some sort. Just be sure to look up the instructor so it doesn’t result in wasted money. Had I not stumbled upon Norm, I would likely not be posting this advice, but given the fortune I found in studying with the guy, and how I learned new things in new ways, I felt inclined to let fellow poets know that auditing a class is a viable option to help amplify your writing.

Interested in Norm? Here are some online poems I really like, and some just happen to appear in Split Lip Magazine. Huh. 🙂 5 Poems as Featured Poet in Atticus Review. 3 Poems in Split Lip Magazine. And 5 Poems in Gadfly. Find Norm online at www.buzzminnick.com.

And if you liked the “Repair Shop” poem among others from links above, you can find it along with other outstanding works in his latest book Folly. Go and get yourself a copy!

folly

Katie Schmid Wins the Turnbuckle Chapbook Contest!

Katie Schmid Cigarettes Web

Photo by Aaron Ottis Photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Though Split Lip Press does not condone or promote smoking cigarettes, take a look at this pic of Katie Schmid, winning author of our Turnbuckle Chapbook Contest with her manuscript Forget Me / Hit Me / Let Me Drink Great Quantities of Clear, Evil Liquor. Such a cool photo, but even cooler, her book tentatively forthcoming sometime in late summer. Stand by for the official release date announcement.

Though a tough decision, our guest judge Meg Pokrass selected Katie’s manuscript as winner, finding it original and expansive in its entirety, and I concur. The collection is diversified with regards to both content and form. Her poetics are delicious, and she is astute in discerning the form that will serve a given poem best, ranging from those only in line, others broken in stanzas of different lengths, others with some long lines / some short lines, others as prose poems, some formatted with text aligned to the right or centered, and my favorite part, her series in the middle called “Daughter Psalms,” which are not individually titled pieces, just blocks of text unified by the series’ title placed mid-page on each page of the section. Another cool part is a series of prose poems titled “The Boys of the Midwest,” followed by a number as per the order they appear in. And, most importantly, the quality of her writing is masterful and striking––full of risk, balanced and tasteful shifts in diction choices, daring syntactical moves, and a touch of wit within otherwise dark, haunting poems––how, at times, such wit serves as a stepping stone to begin a lineage of rising tension as seen in “Some Brief Information About the Spartans”––

Boys pay tribute to Saint Jude: patron saint of dollar single cigarettes from the bar, patron saint of working a double at the granite factory, patron saint of watching the bitter candle of your father going to hell.

Dear god, the escalation: a gritty denotation of the Saint Jude figure.

And then how she manages to personify her narrators and characters with such a high degree of verisimilitude. It fascinates me, like this passage in “Letter to the Midwest”––

I too, am afraid that I can never escape:

these cracked sidewalks, the empty storefronts

like raw wounds, the fair weather drunks

who lie in doorframes with their abandoned

bodies in a puddle of vomit. And me:

I wake to find myself scuffed, badly bruised,

like a peach your thumb could sink into

with the lightest touch.

Beautifully tragic in my opinion.

So, that’s the skinny on our winner Katie Schmid, but let’s give props to those contestants who wound up finalists:

In the Valley of the Sun by Gleah Powers

The Prophetic Western by Meredith McDonough

11:58 by Ann Stewart McBee

PERSONA: Noun, Feminine, Singular by Carolyn Moore

Sleepstart by Heikki Huotari

Stranger Underneath by Trish Hopkinson

American Spirits by Jackson Burgess

Take Me Home by Sarah Levine

Tiger Laughs When You Push by Ruth Lehrer

Velocity by Martha Clarkson

Winter & Construction: Michigan Stories by Matthew Fogarty

Rock n Roll, Split Lip fans. We appreciate your support and look forward to bringing you Katie’s book Forget Me / Hit Me / Let Me Drink Great Quantities of Clear, Evil Liquor this coming summer.

 

 

 

 

 

Split Lip Sunday Night Rumble (on a Monday, again), February 16

candy heart lips2_edited-1

image via Jayme Cawthern

Eventually, I am sure that I will be sitting down to write one of these on a Sunday night, but last night was my 33rd birthday, and I was a little incapacitated (by wine and exhaustion).  So here I am, on a freezing cold President’s Day that is not a three-day weekend at my house (or, rather, it is a three day weekend for my oldest child, which means she’s home, which means I don’t get any time to myself, except these few stolen moments at the computer when she’s playing quietly).

Maybe you’re just hanging out today, avoiding chapped-cheek-and-lip-weather. Maybe you need something to read.  Look no further:

New Issues

-Atticus Review’s Love Stinks issue came out last week and it’s really good (and I don’t just say that because I have a short story in it!).

-It’s not a new issue, per se, but Lockjaw Magazine has an awesome Choose Your Own Adventure project going on, which just launched yesterday.

Contributors Kicking Ass

-Jared Yates Sexton kills it yet again, with a story from his collection featured over at the Good Men Project (previously printed in PANK). Punch-for-Punch happens to be one of this editor’s favorites, so I’m thrilled to see it out in the world.

-Split Lip Press author Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach’s poem, “The Secret to Remembering” is featured over at the Sundress Publications’ blog, The Wardrobe, in this week’s Best Dressed.

Stories I Loved

It was actually pretty fortuitous that I waited to post this today because I fell in love with a story and can’t get out. Go, read Susannah Felt’s piece “Map” at Smokelong Quarterly.

Stay warm–and well-read,

AKM

Split Lip Monday Night Rumble, February 9

On Saturday, I reminded myself that I needed to write a Sunday Night Rumble post, but between a freelance deadline and my really terrible organization skills, I forgot.

So here we are, rumbling on a Monday night, which isn’t so bad because Mondays traditionally suck. But at least now you’ll have some great things to read.

 

New Issues

Hippocampus Magazine is a fairly new-ish destination for short creative non-fiction. Their new issue went live February 1st and includes a piece by yours truly (my first published CNF piece, so I feel like I’m allowed to humblebrag a bit).

 

Contributors Killin’ It

Jared Yates Sexton isn’t just a contributor–he’s also the author of Split Lip Press’s first full-length collection, The Hook and the Haymaker.  He has a great story over at Juked right now, and you can check out the first review of his collection over at Alternating Currents (thank you to Al Kratz for reading and seeing all the good in it that we saw).

 

Stories I Loved

Two Hurts by K Brattin  at Wigleaf

Tell Me What to Do by Kerry Cullen at Luna Luna Magazine (I may be a little biased, but still. Read it.)

 

Rumor has it that it’s National Pizza Day (I know that for some of you out there, it’s every day), and I have a couple pies on the way. Hope your evening is as delicious/fraught with heartburn/etc.

-AKM