2nd Annual Poetry Contest Winner

Sweet Lit is proud to announce this year’s poetry contest winner:

Sara Quinn Rivara, “When I Say Love I Mean El Greco’s The Assumption of the Virgin”

Runners Up were:
Emily Rose Cole, “MS Nocturne with Fuse, Crosshairs, and Irreparable Fissure”
Sara Quinn Rivara, “Instead”
Sara Quinn Rivara, “Love Poem, SE Portland”

Poetry editors at Sweet Lit narrowed down the submissions to 15 finalist poems, which the judge received stripped of identifying information. This year’s contest was judged by Katherine (Katie) Riegel, co-founder and editor of Sweet Lit. She is the author of Love Songs from the End of the World (forthcoming October 2019 from Main Street Rag Publishing), the chapbook Letters to Colin Firth, and two more books of poetry. Her work has appeared in The Gettysburg Review, The Offing, Orion, Poets.org, Tin House, and elsewhere.

The other finalists were:
Julia C. Alter, “Ode to My Kidney Bean (8 Weeks)”
Deborah Bacharach, “Shake and Tremor”
Brood, “Hidden Feathers”
Emily Rose Cole, “Dry Spell”
B.R. Dionysius, “Death is an Iron Lung”
Gregory Emilio, “My Mother and My Father in the Kitchen”
Mariana Goycoechea, “Eternal Return”
Dayna Patterson, “Our Lady of Lengthening Days”
Amie Whittemore, “Ode to Everything, Saunders Trail Attempt”
Amie Whittemore, “Ode to the Half-Male, Half-Female Cardinal”
John Sibley Williams, “Sycamores”

The winning poem will get $500 and publication in Sweet Lit.  Some of the finalists will be published in the September 2019 and January 2020 issues.

Congratulations to our winner and finalists! Many thanks to all who entered their fine work. Be on the lookout summer 2020 for next year’s contest.

2nd Annual Poetry Contest

Sweet Lit’s annual poetry contest opens June 1st!

2019 Poetry Contest

We encourage and welcome submissions from diverse voices and under-represented
populations, including, but not limited to, people of color, members of the LGBTQ+
community, those with disabilities, and the elderly.

CLMP’s community of independent literary publishers believes that ethical
contests serve our shared goal: to connect writers and readers by publishing
exceptional writing. We believe that intent to act ethically, clarity of guidelines, and
transparency of process form the foundation of an ethical contest. To that end, we
agree to:

1) conduct our contests as ethically as possible and to address any unethical
behavior on the part of our readers, judges, or editors;

2) to provide clear and specific contest guidelines—defining conflict of interest for
all parties involved; and

3) to make the mechanics of our selection process available to the public. This
Code recognizes that different contest models produce different results, but that
each model can be run ethically. We have adopted this Code to reinforce our
integrity and dedication as a publishing community and to ensure that our contests
contribute to a vibrant literary heritage.

AWP 2019 Portland

Come visit Sweet: A Literary Confection at the AWP conference in Portland, Oregon. This week, from Thursday March 28 to Friday March 30, Sweet booth #10058 is featuring a variety of chapbooks for purchase, with author signings scheduled throughout the conference.

Our chapbook and broadside lineup this year includes:

Kindling Book Image - SmlKindling by Lisa Laughlin

Lisa will be signing the last of these handmade chapbooks on Thursday from 3:00pm-3:30pm. Don’t miss your chance to get this beautiful book!

cc919a4e-ef92-487b-a1a9-01aa107f7a30Borderlines by Jill McCabe Johnson

Jill McCabe Johnson’s lyric essay, “Borderlines” dives into memory and water. In poetic prose, Johnson fragments a moment in her life, seeking to understand and uncover the innocence of childhood and the dark shadows that ever follow.

001-637x1024Rules for Loving Right by Brian Baumgart

In Rules for Loving Right, Brian Baumgart practices misdirection in that understated way unique to the upper Midwest. These are the final handmade chapbooks we have in our inventory, so get yours before it goes digital!

All Of Us - CoverAll of Us—Sweet: The First Five Years edited by Katherine Riegel

If you’re looking for a great poetry anthology, look no further! Katie will be at the booth and ready to tell you more about this book.

LadyInInk_CoverPageLady in Ink by R. Claire Stephens

Still our most popular book, Lady in Ink is a mystery, the kind that everyone is trying to solve every minute of their lives: “Why did I do that? Why in God’s name did I do that?”

All of these are available in the Sweet Shop online if you can’t make it to Portland this year.

New to the Sweet lineup this year:

0692bdd6-b2dc-4d29-9dce-ede33bfd43efAfter the Night, a comic by Jarod Roselló

This comic details a father’s struggle with the demands of raising his little girl. In a heartwarming sketched style, Roselló candidly retells his own experiences and lessons learned on the importance of patience, love, and family.  

Also making a first-time appearance, are the winners from our 2018 Nonfiction and Poetry competitions:  

Jaw Wiring_What You Need to Know_Page_1Jaw Wiring: What You Need to Know by Kristine Jepsen (nonfiction winner)

This pamphlet-style prose piece is an excellent teaching tool for explaining hermit crab essays. Using the guise of a medical pamphlet, Jepsen details her own experience with jaw wiring as a treatment for a broken jaw. Each section title and formatting detail alludes to a brochure one might find in a waiting room—but the content takes readers down a different path.

17e68b70-d3b1-4bb3-aafb-594b6fdaeaff“1943” by McKayla Conahan (poetry winner)

This broadside is created in conjunction with Print St Pete (http://www.printstpete.org/), a community letterpress located in St Pete, Florida. 1943 is a snapshot of a time in world history roiling with conflict and desperation, where the workings of the human heart are raw and real and the ties that bind us together are more important than ever.

McKayla will be signing copies of this beautiful letterpress broadside Friday from 3-3:30.

BodyOfStarlight_coverAnd if that weren’t all enough…we will be introducing Sweet Aperitifs and their new book from Melissa Carroll, Body of StarlightMelissa will be signing pre-release copies on Saturday from 10-10:30. 

Also available for sale are our Sweet t-shirts and Christmas ornaments. Stop by and say hello to us at booth #10058 and chat with our authors!

Sweet Connections: Devin Balwit

Each week we will be connecting with our contributors showing where they have been, where they are now, and what’s up for the future.

 Name: Devin Balwit
Title of Piece published in Sweetהוֹשִׁיעֵנִי אֱלֹהִים–    כִּי בָאוּ מַיִם עַד-נָפֶשׁ
Issue:  9.2

Devon on Haight 2018

Find her:

These days you can find Devin behind the wheel, teaching her son to drive.  Oh, we feel you on that one, Devin!  You can find out more about her and her publications on her website.

 

 

What are some major accomplishments you have had since your Sweet publication?

Check out my website for book reviews, books, and a selection of online poems published over the last year.

Can you tell us about a current/ongoing project that you’re excited about?

I’m in the middle of a Proust-inspired chapbook.

Who is your favorite author?

I love Guadalupe Nettel in Spanish. Joseph Mitchell’s essays are a kick. Wonderful recent fiction reads were “All the Light We Cannot See,” “Lincoln in the Bardo,” and “The English Passengers.”

What is your favorite poem/essay/book?

A recent favorite has been Frans Bengtsson’s  “The Long Ships,” the inspiration for the Hulu series “Vikings.”

What inspires you to write?

Everything from boxing to Scarlatti, paintings to politics. All of life is fair game.

What is your favorite sweet?

My favorite sweet is alcohol. In the summer, Vinho Verde because I can drink more of it without feeling guilty. (It’s only 9%!)

vinhoverde-600x450

Photo Credit: AneTours

Honestly, I had to look that one up and I’m happy to report you aren’t drinking green wine. Some of the best wine I have ever had was in Spain, so this one being from Portugual has me intrigued! 

Thank you, Devin, for taking the time to reconnect with us.  We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!

Sweet Connections: Marin Sardy

Each week we will be connecting with our contributors showing where they have been, where they are now, and what’s up for the future.

 Name: Marin Sardy
Title of Piece published in SweetThere Is the Urge to Find Meaning
Issue:  8.3

Marin1graycropFind her:

Instagram
Twitter

Marin currently lives in Tucson, Arizona and occasionally can be found teaching for Pace University in Manhattan. You can find out more about Marin on her website www.marinsardy.com.

What are some major accomplishments you have had since your Sweet publication?

I wrote a book! The Edge of Every Day: Sketches of Schizophrenia is forthcoming in May 2019 from Pantheon Books.

Can you tell us about a current/ongoing project that you’re excited about?

My first book is a wide ranging, fragmentary memoir about my relationship to the mental illness that runs in my family (schizophrenia) and with my loved ones who have struggled with it. One of the chapters in the book, “There Is the Urge to Find Meaning,” was originally a short essay that was first published in Sweet.

 Who is your favorite author?

I find that to be sort of an impossible question. To identify one that I like “best”—honestly, I don’t think I’m capable of it. I don’t understand how one would go about doing so. I think it makes more sense to ask, Who are the authors who made me? Here are some contemporary writers who have inspired me in recent years: Maggie Nelson, Lidia Yuknavich, Nick Flynn.

 What is your favorite poem/essay/book?

Let me try another version of that question: What book gave me a vision of what kind of writer I wanted to become? Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior. But it feels weird even to highlight that one. I feel as if I’ve walked on a trail of books all my life, each like a stone in a creek, keeping me above the water. When you look at it that way, the idea of having one “favorite” seems meaningless. 

What inspires you to write?

I write into the gap between my experience and the stories I encounter as told by others. I write into the places where my reality is not reflected in culture. 

What is your favorite sweet?

Currently I am obsessed with Theo brand 70% dark chocolate bars with sea salt. Nectar of the gods.

Sardy Theo-Chocolate-Organic-70-Dark-Chocolate-Bar-Sea-Salt-874492003258

Thank you, Marin, for taking the time to reconnect with us.  We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!

Sweet Connections: Dayna Patterson

Each week we will be connecting with our contributors showing where they have been, where they are now, and what’s up for the future.

Name: Dayna Patterson
Title of Piece published in Sweetusque ad mala
Issue:  10.1

Patterson mountain streamFind her:
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

I live just about as far north and west as you can get in the continental U.S. I can zip across the border to Vancouver’s top-notch Shakespeare festival, Bard on the Beach, or mosey down to Seattle’s Pacific Science Center to see an exhibit of the terracotta warriors. My city hugs a bay where the occasional whale is spotted, and to the west is a glacier-topped volcano that grows mouth-watering wild huckleberries and blueberries. It’s a sweet spot.

You can find out more about Dayna on her website www.daynapatterson.com.

What are some major accomplishments you have had since your Sweet publication?

Dove Song: Heavenly Mother in Mormon Poetry was released in April 2018. I’m a co-editor, along with Martin Pulido and Tyler Chadwick.

I’ve also had several poems come out in Hotel Amerika, Western Humanities ReviewZone 3, and more.

Can you tell us about a current/ongoing project that you’re excited about?

I have two poetry manuscripts in circulation: O Lady, Speak Again was a semifinalist for the Brittingham & Pollak Prizes in Poetry and contains poems that combine my Mormon upbringing with women from Shakespeare. If Mother Braids a Waterfall examines my spiritual and ancestral heritage through Ellen Bailey and her polygamist son, Charles Ramsden Bailey.

I’m currently working on a third manuscript about breath, air, Keats, flight, and atmospheric change.

Who is your favorite author?

Ah, the impossible question. I’ve been heavily influenced by Carole Maso, Annie Dillard, Lucie Brock-Broido, Sharon Olds, Emily Dickinson, John Keats, William Shakespeare, James Joyce, Seamus Heaney, Bruce Beasley, Brenda Miller, Suzanne Paola, May Swenson, Terry Tempest Williams, Susan Elizabeth Howe, and Carol Lynn Pearson, among many, many others. Each of them has a body of work that casts a particular glow by which I write.

 What is your favorite poem/essay/book?

Another impossible question. If stranded on an island, I would take my copy of the complete works of Shakespeare and consider myself a rich woman.

 What inspires you to write?

Anguish, mostly. When I feel a peculiar tension arising, a pang, an uncomfortable awkwardness, then I know I need to write about it. Right now I’m experiencing the parenting anguish of daughters slowly transforming into teenagers. I know people have been, are, or will be in my shoes, and writing through the discomfort is like extending a hand to those who have gone before, or who are going, or who will go through something similar. In Sean Thomas Dougherty’s tiny poem, “Why Bother?” he writes: “Because right now, there is someone / out there with / a wound in the exact shape / of your words.” I can’t think of a better reason to keep writing. (Props to Todd Kaneko for bringing this poem to my attention.)

 What is your favorite sweet?

Every late summer, we hike up our mountain with buckets in hand to collect the tiny wildberries. They taste like the rich soil and alpine air and mountain sunshine. Baked into a pie, there is no better dessert on earth.

Pattersonwildberry pie

That looks amazingly delicious!

Thank you, Dayna, for taking the time to reconnect with us.  We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!

Sweet Connections: Kathleen McGookey

Each week we will be connecting with our contributors showing where they have been, where they are now, and what’s up for the future.

 Name: Kathleen McGookey
Title of Piece published in SweetI’d Like to Think Someone is Listening
Issue:  7.3

Kathleen McGookeyFind her:

Now that my kids are back in school, you can find me in my office at home, looking out on a field where the long grass is slowly turning a silvery-tan color, finally writing a poem.

 

 

What are some major accomplishments you have had since your Sweet publication?

I’ve had two books of poems come out:  Stay (Press 53, 2015) and Heart in a Jar (White Pine Press, 2017).  Another book is forthcoming from Press 53 in 2019, though that book doesn’t have a title yet.

I’ve also had work selected for a couple great anthologies:  New Micro:  Exceptionally Short Fiction (Norton, 2018), Elemental:  A Collection of Michigan Creative Nonfiction (Wayne State, 2018), and Nothing to Declare:  A Guide to the Flash Sequence (White Pine Press, 2016).

Can you tell us about a current/ongoing project that you’re excited about?

I am excited to be sitting at my desk again, writing poems.

Who is your favorite author?

It’s terrible to have to pick just one.  So I’ll tell you about the books I’ve read lately.  I just read George Saunders’ book of essays The Braindead Megaphone and really loved it.  I also loved The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs.  I am looking forward to reading I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O’Farrell, although I think that book is going to scare me.  But if you really want me to answer the question, some of my favorite contemporary prose poets are Nin Andrews and Gary Young.

What is your favorite poem/essay/book?

A poem I return to again and again is “Absence” by Susan Griffin.  Also, I loved the book The Museum of Happiness by Jesse Lee Kercheval, although I read it years ago.

What inspires you to write?

Reading poems.  After I read a poem, I sometimes want to continue the conversation.  So I write.

What is your favorite sweet?

Here is a link to my favorite chocolate cake recipe.  It’s a tiny bit different than how I make it, but it’s generally the same thing.  It is actually called Dr. Feelgood’s Chocolate Cake.

BM_Cake

Photo Credit: Lara Fitzgerald http://www.larasfavoritethings.com

Thank you, Kathleen, for taking the time to reconnect with us.  We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!

2nd Annual Flash Non Fiction Winner announced

From over 220 ah-mazing entries, a winner has been selected for Sweet’s 2nd Annual Flash Non Fiction Essay contest. Kristine Jepsen will receive $500 and 20 chapbooks for her essay, “Jaw Wiring: What You Need to Know “. Congratulations!

The runners-up were:

“The In-Between Girl” by Vadana Khanna
“Stiched” by Birana Loveall
“Mosaic” by Jeff Newberry

All of these essays will be published in the May issue of Sweet. Many thanks to all who entered their fine work. Be on the lookout for the new chapbook coming soon!

Sweet Connections: Matthew Murrey

Each week we will be connecting with our contributors showing where they have been, where they are now, and what’s up for the future.

Name: Matthew Murrey
Title of Piece published in SweetSmoke
Issue:  9.3

Matthew MurreyFind him:

Twitter

Matthew is the librarian at Urban High School in Urbana, Illinois.  We can’t imagine a more perfect day than being surrounded by books.  You can find out more about him on his website https://www.matthewmurrey.net/.

 

What are some major accomplishments you have had since your Sweet publication?

My biggest – which I’m still in disbelief over – is that Bulletproof, my first-book manuscript, was chosen this spring by Marilyn Nelson as the winner of Jacar Press’ full-length poetry manuscript competition.  It should be published by early 2019.  I had been trying to get a first-book published for over twenty years!

Can you tell us about a current/ongoing project that you’re excited about?

I spent the summer working on a second book manuscript, and I’ve started sending it out.  I’m expecting it to get accepted by 2038!

Who is your favorite author?

Right now,  Ada Limón.  I just read her latest, The Carrying.  Ask me next month and I’m sure it will be someone else.

What is your favorite poem/essay/book?

The best book I’ve read in the last 3 years was The Half Has Never Been Told by Edward E. Baptist. Cotton, slavery, capitalism, cruelty and greed – blew me away.

What inspires you to write?

The pleasure of finishing a poem where it feels like I somehow got it right and the happiness that comes when someone else enjoys it too.

What is your favorite sweet?

I’m still into my weekend waffles made at home and eaten with butter and honey.

Murrey ready to eat2

Thank you, Matthew, for taking the time to reconnect with us.  We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future! Hopefully before 2038!

Sweet Connections: Stephanie Anderson

Each week we will be connecting with our contributors showing where they have been, where they are now, and what’s up for the future.

Name: Stephanie Anderson
Title of Piece published in SweetFlight Animals
Issue:  9.1

Stephanie Anderson_3Find her:
Facebook
Instagram

Stephanie teaches creative and expository writing and literature interpretation at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida.

“I have the privilege of working with one of the most diverse student bodies in the country and serving alongside many excellent writers and scholars. Teaching is incredibly rewarding not only because of these students and colleagues, but also because the job allows me to help young people recognize and harness the power of writing – an act that empowers them in creative, social, emotional, and political terms.”

You can find out more about Stephanie and learn of upcoming events and appearances on her website.

What are some major accomplishments you have had since your Sweet publication?

I am thrilled to share that my debut nonfiction book, One Size Fits None: A Farm Girl’s Search for the Promise of Regenerative Agriculture, will appear in January 2019 with University of Nebraska Press. Sweet readers might know from my essay “Flight Animals” that I grew up on a cattle ranch in South Dakota. After college, I worked as a farm journalist, and this book arose from my dismay over the disastrous effects of industrial agriculture. In One Size Fits None, I tell the stories of exceptional farmers from four states who practice various forms of regenerative agriculture, which means agriculture tailored to local environments that renews, rather than depletes or simply sustains, our nation’s degraded land. Regenerative agriculture also fights climate change and results in nutritious, ethically produced food for consumers. The book also traces a bit of my family’s history. You can read a synopsis and, if you feel so moved, order a copy here.

One Size Fits None by Stephanie Anderson

Since publishing in Sweet in 2016, I contributed to the essay collection Permanent Vacation: Eighteen Writers on Work and Life in Our National Parks, Vol. 2 from Bona Fide Books and placed work in Kudzu House Quarterly, Midwestern Gothic, saltfront, and Foliate Oak. I also have pieces forthcoming this fall with Hotel Amerika and The Pinch, so stay tuned for new work!

Can you tell us about a current/ongoing project that you’re excited about?

I am working on a collection of essays that explores rural life, the prairie, farm families (including mine), the Midwest generally, and other related themes. I am excited about this project because the essays vary in form and voice to include traditional narrative pieces, lyric and braided essays, and research-driven work. I hope to build a collection that stretches my creative limits and keeps the reader engaged through diversity and experimentation.

Who is your favorite author?

I’m not sure I can narrow it down to one, since “favorite” is highly dependent on my mood, what I’m currently working on, and the evolution of my understanding and taste. Since I often engage with the environment in my work, I’m going to name just a handful of the many talented people whose nature-driven nonfiction has influenced me: John McPhee, Annie Dillard, Michael Pollan, Aldo Leopold, Wendell Berry, and Terry Tempest Williams. 

What is your favorite poem/essay/book?

Another tough question! Annie Dillard’s essay “Living Like Weasels,” Anthony Doerr’s short story “The Shell Collector,” and John McPhee’s essay “Travels in Georgia” are go-to works when I need a quick boost, no matter what I’m working on. 

What inspires you to write?

Often the need to understand or examine a thing, such as a life event or an emotion, inspires me to write. Sometimes writing arises from indignation over injustice, as with my book and several of my essays. Lately climate change, intolerance, and bigotry demand that I write. All writing, even the most personal memoir, is a reflection of the world, and now more than ever writers are obligated to respond to, critique, and make sense of that world. 

What is your favorite sweet?

My mom’s Christmas sugar cookies are my favorite sweet. I enjoy them most without frosting, so I always hold a few (okay, more like a dozen) off to the side when my siblings and I decorate them. Rolling the dough out thin will result in a crispier cookie that bakes very quickly, so keep an eye on them. I prefer to roll the dough out a bit thicker, around ¼ inch or more, for a cookie that’s soft on the inside but pleasantly crisp on the outside.

Cathy’s Sugar Cookies
2/3 cup shortening
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
4 teaspoons milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Thoroughly cream shortening, sugar, and vanilla using a mixer. Add egg and milk; beat until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients; blend into creamed mixture. Form dough into a ball, then divide in half. Cover and chill at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll the dough on a floured surface to desired thickness. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool slightly, then remove and cool completely.

Thank you, Stephanie, for taking the time to reconnect with us.  We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!