November 20, 2015
Dear Intrepid Readers,
It’s difficult to be witty writing this Friday’s update when it feels like the world is coming apart at the seams. Last week’s terror attacks in Paris seem to have stripped away the sense of security that many of us have in the world that public spaces—which by and large we as Westerners consider “safe spaces”—are also vulnerable spaces and reminders of that shake us to our core. The internet relayed the events to us in real time. Social media allowed people to check themselves in as “safe”, which provided relief to family members abroad. The internet has sparked a lot of difficult conversations, necessary conversations. Conversations about what constitutes atrocity. Conversations about how we grieve as a global community, how we empathize (or ignore) suffering in the world.
Some of these conversations are fruitful, requiring introspection about whether we assign more importance to suffering that happens in a culture similar to our own. Why we turn our Facebook profiles red, blue, and white for Paris, but most of us couldn’t tell you what happened in Nigeria (#prayfornigeria) or explain the Syrian crisis in detail. I do not write this lightly, in an attempt to judge anyone, I actively searched these keywords, I only knew that “bad things that are happening in the world.”
I’ve also seen some ugly things this week. I’ve seen comments and posts that are full of fear-mongering. These attitudes should shake us to our core the same way that the violence does. Fear and suspicion of cultures outside of our own are the seeds of violence.
So, how do we begin to untangle all of these complicated issues? There are no clear-cut answers. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t begin to repair, to heal, or that we shouldn’t try to show even more compassion. The nature of humanity is that we attempt the impossible in the hopes that it will become possible. Instead of looking at our neighbors with fear and suspicion, learn something. Use your ears to listen to someone else’s story. Use your words to tell them yours. We have the power to burn brightly. Guard your neighbor’s flame as fiercely as you guard your own.
As editors, we spend a lot of time telling writers “No.” (For the record, we hate it.) Saying “no” is a necessary part of the process when curating a serial literary publication. So, we savor the times where we get to not only say “Yes” to writers, but when we have the chance to honor them, nominating the work that has resonated in our hearts and whose words have echoed in our memories over the past year. This is the best part of being an editor, making all of the difficult decisions worthwhile. As working writers, we understand how the frustrations of rejection, despite the number of literary publications available. So, having work be nominated for a literary award really IS an impressive feat. With that, we are pleased to present to you Zoetic Press’s 2015 nominees for the Pushcart Prize, BLAZEVOX’s Bettering American Poetry Prize, and the Independent Best American Poetry awards.
“Palestina” by Mohamed Mahmoud
“Scheherazadenfreude” by Lukas Bhandar
“Suicide Library” by Jillian Phillips
“Mirrored Women” by Purvi Shah and Anjali Deshmukh
“A String of Pearls” by Judith Lloyd
“The Pallid Mask” by Steph Post
BlazeVOX Bettering American Poetry
“Persephone – The Real Story” by Meg Withers
“In Pursuit of Ugly Women” by Jessica Walsh
“What He Said” by Carla Drysdale
Independent Best American Poetry
“O Dervish of the Restless Heart” by Saba Razvi
“Orchis Feasting” by Weslyn Newburn
“A Romantic Evening With a Cthulhu Figurine” by Kaela McNeil
How are you celebrating, nominees?
Keep an eye on our social media (@ZoeticPress)—we’ll be bringing you highlights from these authors over the coming weeks, waiting with bated breath until the winners are announced. While we won’t lie, we totally want our authors to win something, we also want to emphasize that every time you finish something and send it out, YOU win. Writing is a process, not a goal. Though your word count is totally a goal—especially if you’ve made it this far into NaNoWriMo!
As we wind down November, we’re putting the finishing touches on the new issue of NonBinary Review—our Woman in White issue is scheduled for an early December release, and we couldn’t be prouder of the collection of work we’ve got in store for readers. We’re open for submissions for our upcoming Alice in Wonderland, Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet themed issues. We’re also prepping more weekly online Alphanumeric features for your reading pleasure. Lithomobilus has gotten some upgrades and we’ve been hard at work migrating all of the back issues to the new platform so that your reading experience is smoother, faster, and allows you to navigate directly to read more of what you love.
If you’re a publisher or editor yourself and you like Litho’s platform, shoot us a note, and get on our roster of beta testers! In exchange for UX feedback to improve the reading experience, your readers will have an extra way to access your publication’s content.
Like your social media on the lighter side? Follow one of our boards on Pinterest, and enjoy all the writing prompts, memes, and dream library pins we’ve traveled the internet to find for you. On Facebook, you can follow our pages (Zoetic Press, Lithomobilus) to keep up with the latest happenings, online features, blog posts and book reviews as well as the Zoetic Press Facebook group to find Alphanumeric features. We’re also on Twitter (@ZoeticPress and @Lithomobilus), and you can even see some of our authors reading their work on our YouTube channel.
We also like to promote the new work of our contributors, so if you’ve been published in our pages, shoot us a note and we’d be happy to turn the spotlight in your direction. If you’re interested in hearing more from us, sign up for our monthly newsletter. We’re serious about your privacy, and promise not to flood your inbox. Want to be a guest writer for Rhizomatic Ideas, or to profile one of our contributors? Send us a pitch: firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a book you’d like to tell the world about, or know a writer that everyone should know? Send us your reviews and author interviews!
Until next week—