Saturday, October 20, 2012

Amanda Davis Award for Fiction!

THE LYRIC College Poetry Contest


The Lyric College Poetry Contest

Directed toward undergraduate enrolled full time in an American or Canadian college or university

$500 First Prize
$100 Second Prize
$50 Third Prize

Poems must be original and unpublished, 39 lines or less, written in English in traditional forms, preferably with regular scansion and rhyme. Please send up to 6 poems per student.

Winners will be announced and published in the Winter issue of The Lyric.
Entries must be postmarked not later than December 1, 2012 and sent to:

    The Lyric College Contest
    c/o Tanya Cimonetti
    1393 Spear Street
    South Burlington, VT 05403
The following information must appear on each poem:
    Student's name and complete address
    College's name and complete address
Contestants should retain copies of all poems.
See the complete details about The Lyric College Poetry Contest.

2011 College Poetry Contest Winners

We are gratified by the number and quality of college contest submissions
this year, heartening evidence that traditional poetry writing skills are being
nurtured at (some) colleges and universities.  You will find the winner on page 17 of this issue, written by Erin Jones of West Chester University of Pennsylvania.  We were unable to decide for Second Prize between “Catharsis,” by Angela Masterson Jones of Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida (last year’s winner), and “Lost in Translation (XOXO, Medea)" by Meghan Gallucci of Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut.  So we awarded two second prizes of $100 to both. There was one honorable mention, “The Darkness of Hallow’s Eve,” by Laura O’Leary from the University of Evansville in Evansville, Indiana. The Second Prizes and Honorable Mention poems will be published on our website:  We are so grateful to Tanya Cimonetti for her
careful and insightful work coordinating this aspect of The Lyric.

Always and ever, we are grateful to The Lyric Foundation, which has allowed
this small journal to flourish over many decades, in turn allowing the voices of traditional poets to be heard during the many years when the “establishment” or the fashion has been unfriendly to rhymed and/or metered verse.  Now, as many print journals are giving way to online journals, we are grateful just to be in print! 

We have long known that poetry is powerful.  The study of how our minds work helps us understand why this is so. Since we carry our evolution with us in the structures of our brains, the parts of our minds which preceded language still actively receive and process our life experiences and memories.  When we read a poem, it spreads out beneath the surface of our minds, touching places unlit by our rational thought processes and encompassing complexity with a minimum of words.  As Hannah Guthrie aptly noted, “…poetry can reach places that are not so accessible to prose.”  We hope you open all the doors and windows in your own psyche and let poetry blow through.




My world is small (you must get close to see).
You touch me every day, the thinning film
of fingerprints –innate biology
of you –who gathers prayers in coffee cups.
And next you measure life within the skin
of milky tea, or check for signs of dust
between the blinds, the dampened leaves a tin
of weathered horoscopes.  The world resides
inside this ancient room and lights collect
the fallen moths, as you collect the woe
inside a jar.  I watch your hand reject
the handle as you venture toward the door,
and hear the sounds that haunt you as you pray –
the whispered fears from cracks where secrets play.

--Erin Jones



Didn’t you get pleasure?  Didn’t you plot
while I cried? Hid inside? Wanted to die?
begged the sea to swallow me?  Knead a knot
and suffocate by my own veil? Or try?
I was all you strived to be, strong, unmarred.
For everything that has gone wrong, you’ll see.
when you writhe, wonder why, bite down hard;
it’s your own selfishness that marks you as guilty.
You cheat, dead fool?  The gods will have their way.
Fate’s not your design, you have no reign of sky.
Before my flight, I have a bit to say:
You, sore for gold. Who stitched that dress, but I?
I swear, in this, I am not mistaken –
You will never by missed by me, Jason.

--Meghan Gallucci


I can dream of kittens if I want to
on a hillside by a farmhouse in the sun.
With tails stiff as flagpoles they will scamper
to meet my uplift, arch-backed on the run.
I can dream of kittens if I want to
on afternoons that unfurl like a field
of sunflowers facing off the hours
of innocence with kittens at my heel.
Lazing in our jungled grass, with blue eyes
peeking through soft spaces between breath,
in steady purrs and furry press, paws kneading,
there’ll be no need for weaning, chores or death.
I can dream of kittens if I want to,
kittens I will name with what I know.
If the color’s right, I’ll call one Pumpkin,
and if the color’s wrong, another Poe.
At twilight the old matriarch will join us.
She’ll flop onto her side as a buffet.
I’ll press my face as close as she will let me
then listen to their murmurings and lay
beside her as she calls in trills and eye blinks
that nudge them to her nipples, pink and pert.
While I wonder what a kitten wonders,
I think they never think about dessert.
Her milk is rich and sweet as nature meant it.
The kittens prove this with their slurp and sway.
If propinquity’s to be their province,
they do it in a most familiar way.
When they’re done, I’ll zip them in my jacket,
with heads poked in or out, just like a kid.
I can dream of kittens if I want to.
Can’t you tell, by this, last night I did?

--Angela Masterson Jones


Upon the night a certain darkness falls,
despite the glows of yellow crooked grins
that line the red brick porches and the walls
with endless, silent laughter on their chins.
The sudden blackness sweeps the earth in silence,
a flooding ink that saturates all sight
creating expectations for a violence
that grow with each slight flickering of light.
A rustling tree, a fleeting silhouette,
or fallen twigs’ popping snaps! And cracks!
momentarily make little ghouls forget
about the caramel apples in their sacks.
No darkness is as blessed or as cursed
as the darkness of October thirty-first.
Laura O’Leary

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Art of the Literary Magazine Cover Letter

Michael Nye, the Managing Editor at the stellar The Missouri Review, offers some advice on how to put your best foot foward when submitting work to a literary journal (especially when sending to a literary journal as revered as The Missouri Review, who is inundated each month with submissions):

. . . Every submission to a literary magazine should come with a cover letter. . . . It’s like wearing a suit to an interview. A submission to a literary magazine is a professional transaction—treat it like one. Try showing up for a job interview in a Hawaiian shirt and basketball shorts. It probably won’t go well.

Cover letters should include all your contact information. Name, address, contact information, the titles of your piece(s). This is pretty simple. After that, things get a little dicey.
Should the cover letter be addressed to a specific person? Dear Editors, Dear Editor, Dear Mr. Morgan, Dear Dr. Morgan, Dear Speer Morgan, Dear Dr. Morgan, Dear Speer Laddie, To Whom It May Concern, Dear Intern Reading This, Dear Fiction Editors, Dear Fiction Editor, What’s Up Doc?, and so on … the possibilities may go on and on. Honestly? I can’t say any of these are wrong when sent to The Missouri Review. We’re going to read the work one way or the other. It does help to know if your submission is, say, fiction or nonfiction, but other than that, it really doesn’t matter. We understand. But there are magazines out there that will get their shorts in a knot if you don’t acknowledge the editors doctorate or spell a name right. Again: follow each magazine’s specific guidelines. [...]

Read the rest of this article . . .

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Got an MFA? Need a Job? Consider the Creative Agency

Over at The Millions, Hope Mills explores an alternative job path for creative writers graduating with M.F.A. degrees -- though the advice is also useful for those graduating with B.F.A. degrees in creative writing:
When I graduated with my MFA earlier this year, I routinely fielded the various versions of What are you doing next? Of course, what people really wanted to know was what I was going to do for a job. Frankly, I’d never considered doing anything other than what I had been doing — planning and creating communication packages at the creative agency where I’ve worked for the last decade. The guys in Mad Men did it. So could I. . . .

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

M.A. and M.F.A.: The Final Word

John Poch
Undergraduate creative writers thinking about grad school and wondering what on earth the M.A. and M.F.A. is, and about the difference between them, should find poet John Poch's article "M.A. and M.F.A.: The Final Word," published recently by the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Journal, extremely useful:

So what’s the difference? In general, I believe many see the M.F.A. as a degree that is more writer-ly.  In other words, the M.F.A. student aims to write literature more than writing about literature during his/her term. Obviously, any discrepancies will vary program by program. The difference between an M.A. and an M.F.A. is probably as vast as the difference between any two given M.A. programs. Or the difference between any two M.F.A. programs. Auburn, UC Davis, the University of Chicago, Western Washington, and many other programs still offer the M.A. as their signature writing degree. You can peruse the AWP Guide to Programs or the NewPages website to see the myriad possibilities. 
The only actual difference might be that the M.A. does not usually claim to represent itself as the terminal degree, where the M.F.A. definitely does. Even so, with the proliferation of creative writing Ph.D. programs (and M.F.A. programs—there are hundreds), there is a general perception that the M.F.A. has lost some of its luster. This has to do with a variety of issues and problems including but not limited to a decline in the quality of general education (especially of reading/writing) at our nation’s high schools and universities. When I finished my M.F.A. at the University of Florida, William Logan mentioned to a few of us we need not pursue a Ph.D. We now were in possession of the terminal degree, he said. But I knew I needed more. Not that the MFA@UFL wasn’t a good program; it certainly was (I can name around ten poets within a three-year span who ended up publishing books with good presses). Rather, my earlier education was primarily physics/engineering-oriented, and I had a lot of holes to fill in my reading after the M.F.A. I felt I needed more literary training, more teaching experience, and some time to get that first book published. The Ph.D. at the University of North Texas ended up bolstering my writing and my preparation for teaching in academia. It is evident that Ph.D. graduates are often more prepared to teach and have much more solid publishing credentials than do M.F.A. graduates due to more time spent in the classroom on both sides of the podium. No doubt there are exceptions to the rule. Now many M.F.A. programs are fortifying their degrees by offering three or four year programs. MFA@UFL is one of those programs. Yet the writing degree at Boston University remains a one-year program with their enviable Global Fellowships recently added to strengthen their offerings. That kind of intensity seems impossibly wonderful to me, though if I could choose any program I wanted perhaps it would be for a longer stay at a program like Cornell or Arkansas. But writing students don’t get to choose very often. Due to the numbers of applicants, many good writers are turned away from the best programs. It is hardly a mistake to consider the M.A. program either as a backup or even as a first choice for the student who realizes she isn’t coming in with a book nearly completed. 
Read this article . . . 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

FUSE: Forum for Undergraduate Student Editors

B.F.A. writers -- check out this incredible new resource for undergraduate editors and writers.  From the website:

FUSE is a network for student editors and writers and their faculty advisers. If you work with or for an undergraduate literary magazine and would like to get involved in any aspect of FUSE, you have reached the right place.
The Directory is a listing of journals run by undergraduate students. By registering for the Discussion Forums, you can share ideas either globally, including posting calls for submissions for your journals, or just within your own school. In FUSE Reviews, you’ll find articles about undergraduate journals as well as information on how to submit your own review, and how to submit your journal to be reviewed. On other pages, there are postings about internships and conferences and visiting authors…interviews with editors…how to start a FUSE chapter at your school…and more.

The site contains a directory of undergraduate journals and writing programs, as well as discussion forums, information on journal conferences and contest, and even interviews with other editors and publishers.  The site also offers opportunities for students to have their journals reviewed -- or to write their own reviews!

Click here to check out the FUSE site!