Sweet Ornaments

What do you do when you have a contributor who has started his own business? You team up, of course!  Sweet loves to support our contributors and even more so when the support comes back around to All Of Us.  Hey, that would be a great book title. Wait, it is!

Red Beard Knife and Wood is the creation of Riley Passmore, who gave us “Type One” back in issue 8.1. If you head over to Instagram, you can check out some of his photos and videos from the process of designing and creating these ornaments exclusively for Sweet.

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These are available now for purchase in our online store for only $5! Hang it on your tree this holiday season and then keep it out wherever you write to remind you to submit that next piece to Sweet! After that, you can check out Red Beard for more unique gifts.

Many thanks to Riley at Red Beard for his continued support of Sweet!

Sweet Connections: Ashley Inguanta

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: Ashley Inguanta
Title of Piece published in Sweet:
7 Ways of Unfolding and Dedication: To The One I Will Marry
Issue:  6.2 and 8.2

Ashley Inguanta

Photo by Delila Smalley

Find her:

Instagram

You can find Ashley in the Florida wilderness, on her friend’s farm teaching her daughter how to talk to horses. You can find out more about Ashley on her website www.ashleyinguanta.net or check out her art store Echo and Dime.

 

 

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

I published a hardcover art and poetry collection, For the Woman Alone, with Ampersand Books in 2014. In 2016, Ampersand published my first full-length collection of poetry, Bomb.  I’ve also had the honor of working on my newest manuscript at Sundress Academy for the Arts.

Bomb, Ampersand Books, 2016

For the Woman Alone, Ampersand Books, 2014

The Way Home, Dancing Girl Press, 2013

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

For quite some time now I have been working on The Flower, a full-length collection of linked writings that explore time travel, the relationship between language and experience, and a house that changes with death. I am hoping this book will be out in 2019, but I am not in a rush.

 Who is your favorite author?

Francesca Lia Block

What is your favorite poem/essay/book?

Echo by Francesca Lia Block will always be very important to me.

What inspires you to write?

Windows. I love windows–metaphorical and physical. I’m not sure how to answer this question because it is so personal. Metaphorical windows as in perspectives, as in leaving and entering worlds, inspire me. Physical windows are also fascinating to me. In Florida there are lots of homes from the ’50s with very small windows, but then you have homes from the ’20s with rooms that are all windows. In one of my classrooms two walls are basically all windows. We keep the shades open, and when it rains, the mood changes in the room, and it may shift their writing. That shift–whether it’s large or subtle, and that connection to windows–inspires me.

What is your favorite sweet?

The last time you asked, it was chocolate cake. But now that the holidays are approaching, I have to say my favorite sweet is pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin Pie always reminds me of my grandmother, so it’s one of my favorites. It just feels like home.

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

Sweet Connections: Jill Kolongowski

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: Jill Kolongowski
Title of Piece published in SweetDrought, Tuesday Afternoon
Issue:  9.1

Jill KolongowskiFind her:
Twitter
Instagram
Facebook

Jill can be found “on my couch, commenting on terrific essays for my teaching gig at College of San Mateo, reading the next book in the Expanse series, or watching the Great British Baking Show.” Us too!  Love that show.

You can find out more about Jill on her website www.jillkwrites.com – which is super cool, by the way.

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

I published my first book, a collection of essays (part personal essay, part literary criticism) called Life Lessons Harry Potter Taught Me. Each essay treats a theme in the series (like friendship, food, or feminism) both as a writing professor and as a Hufflepuff who’s loved the series since childhood.

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

I’m doing research for my second book, tentatively called Tiny Disasters, a collection of essays about how we respond to disasters both large and small.

Who is your favorite author?

That’s always changing! But I come back to two for their sentences over and over: Jo Ann Beard and Joan Didion.

What is your favorite poem/essay/book?

This, too, is always changing! I refuse to pick just one: Eula Biss’s essay “Notes from No Man’s Land,” Brian Doyle’s essay “Joyas Voladoras,” and Jo Ann Beard’s book The Boys of My Youth.

What inspires you to write?

Truthfully, I rarely feel inspired to write. The act of writing itself inspires me–I write to find those moments of discovery and connection, when something new and unexpected arises and the piece starts to tell me what it’s about. Failing that, only reading can inspire me.

What is your favorite sweet?

I rarely eat sweets because I have no self-control, but I love the Secret Breakfast ice cream at Humphrey Slocombe in San Francisco (bourbon ice cream with cornflake cookies), and the raspberry rosemary old-fashioned doughnut at Blue Star Donuts in Portland, Oregon.

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

Sweet Connections: Leslie Salas

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: Leslie Salas
Title of Piece published in Sweet: ”Picky Eater”
Issue: 4.3

Leslie Salas

Find her:
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

Leslie is now an instructor of Humanities & Communication at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida.  You can follow her on social media or check out her website https://lesliesalas.com/.

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

I have two book anthologies out now: Other Orlandos (Burrow Press, 2017) and Condoms & Hot Tubs Don’t Mix: An Anthology of Awkward Sexcapades (Beating Windward Press, 2018).

 

 

 

I also joined the Sweet masthead as the editor for graphic narrative (and comics poems) and have helped create and/or run three different creative writing conferences. I’ve also presented my creative and pedagogical works at several regional and national conferences such as AWP, CEA, and more.

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

I’m helping edit a collection of academic essays about Florida literature, and I’m really excited about the scope of the project (as well as the particular chapter I’ll be contributing). I’ve also been slowly chipping away at an academic textbook (written in comics format) but it will probably be a while before that particular project becomes a finished reality. In terms of my own creative endeavors, I’m working on a novel and have been putting the final touches on a poetry manuscript.

Who is your favorite author?

I love a lot of different authors for different reasons; don’t make me choose!

What is your favorite poem/essay/book?

See above. But I will say that I do have Maggie Smith’s “Good Bones” hanging in my office, and I keep recommending David Mazzuchelli’s Asterios Polyp and Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things. So those are some of my favorites, but in no way is this a comprehensive list.

What inspires you to write?

I can’t not write. It is part of how I process the world around me, especially in terms of digesting any reactions I have to current events.

What is your favorite sweet?

I recently learned that I’m allergic to dairy! As in, cannot process casein, so it isn’t even a lactose intolerance thing, it’s a cannot-consume-any-cow-milk-products-thing. Finding non-dairy substitutes for some of my favorites (like donuts and cake and brownies and cookies and whipped cream) has been a challenge, but luckily there are a lot of allergy-free things on the shelves (and lots of recopies online, too!) so it isn’t too bad. I will say I’m a sucker for the brownie cupcakes at McKenna’s NYC Bakery in Disney Springs!

 

Sweet Connections: Lesley Wheeler

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: Lesley Wheeler
Title of Piece published in Sweet:  “Feeling Good
Issue:  10.1

Find her: Wheeler tea with honey in Lexington

Twitter
Instagram

One might usually find Lesley “in some corner of Lexington, Virginia, trying to get some reading or writing done”.  Check out more on her website https://lesleywheeler.org/.

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

In January I had a poem featured on Poetry Daily, and in February an essay—that felt like a rare conjunction! I also gave a craft talk and a reading as Visiting Faculty at the very first residency of the brand-new Randolph MFA program. Director Gary Dop is doing terrific work there and I was honored to be a small part of it.

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

I hope “Feeling Good” will be part of a poetry collection with the working title Turning Fifty in the Confederacy, which is probably self-explanatory. In addition to figuring out the transitions of middle age, I’ve been thinking hard about where I live. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson haunt my campus and my small town.

Who is your favorite author?

Emily Dickinson!

What is your favorite sweet?

The sweet she craves most often, sadly, is Giapo’s chocolate-hazelnut sorbet in Auckland, New Zealand, but she is willing to consider substitutes.

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

Sweet Advisory Board

Sweet: A Literary Confection is honored and excited to announce the addition of an Advisory Board to our establishment. The past year has brought tremendous growth to Sweet and the experience and knowledge of these fine writers will help guide us through all the new adventures we are undertaking. It was with great care and deliberation that these individuals were hand-selected for their past contributions to Sweet and their current investment to their craft, in order to help shape our future direction.

Please join us in welcoming, Nin Andrews, Sandra Gail Lambert, Lee Martin, Dinty W. Moore, and January O’Neil. You can read more about the Advisory Board on their page.

2018 Pushcart Nominations

Sweet is proud to announce this year’s Pushcart Prize nominations. Congratulations and good luck to the following authors:

CREATIVE NONFICTION

Lee Ann Roripaugh, “Notes on the Shame Spiral

Emily Brisse, “To Be Held

Caitlin Scarano, “Did You Hear the One About the Man Who Killed the World’s Tallest Tree?

POETRY

Amy Strauss Friedman, “Biopsy

Peter Grandbois, “To sing and begin again

Carolyn Willilams-Noren, “My Daughter and Her Best Friend Made Blue Jay Masks at Camp

Sweet Connections: Meghan O’Dea

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: Meghan O’Dea
Title of Piece published in SweetDownstream in Highland Park
Issue:  10.2

Meghan O'DeaFind her:

Twitter
Instagram

Since we saw her last, Meghan moved across the country to Portland, Oregon from Tennessee. “I had only two weeks to plan the whole leap. It was wild, but now I’m settling in and love the Pacific Northwest. All the grey and the mist and the proximity to this cold, wild ocean really feeds me in a way I would never have expected.”.  Find out more about Meghan on her website www.meghanodea.com.

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

All kinds of things. I’ve earned some dream bylines with Yoga Journal, Bustle, Eater, and Chowhound. I also broke into travel writing, which is a dream come true. I’ve had the chance to travel to Mexico, Arizona, Ohio, the Willamette Valley, and Jamaica on assignments. I still can’t believe it.

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

The reason I moved to Portland so suddenly was to start a new chapter in my career. I get to write about camping all day for a company called The Dyrt. After years of covering the good, bad, and ugly as a journalist and news editor, it’s really nice to spend my day steeped in a pastime that makes people happy and more in touch with themselves and the world around them.

Who is your favorite author?

Probably Karrie Higgins. The things she does with language, incorporating artifacts and other documents into her essays, with intermedia, with disability and mental health and the taboo and geography…it’s all just really incredible and like nothing else anyone is doing.

What is your favorite poem/essay/book?

That answer totally depends on the day I’m asked. My favorite poem of all time might be “The Horse Latitudes” by Susan Firer. I read it when I was maybe 15 and I never forgot the imagery of women with wings made of all sorts of things, even toast, and this marvelous feminine diversity. Really everything from that collection of hers, The Laugh We Make When We Fall has stuck with me since my teens. Years after my first readings and re-readings, I’m still trying to process Sara Majka’s Cities I’ve Never Lived In, which is this incredible blend of fiction and nonfiction that explores our sense of home and memory and self and the nature of space and place. I also just discovered the wonderful Genevieve Hudson by happenstance at a reading at Powell’s recently. She just released the funny, sad, beautiful, grotesque Pretend We Live Here, a collection of stories that are all kinds of embodied queer Southern gothic goodness.

What inspires you to write?

Writing is kind of like breathing— something I have to do just to keep existing, even if no one ever sees it. But for the stuff I put out there in the world, I always keep in mind that being a human can be lonely and a writer more so. I write to make connections between people and ideas and words and moments, between ways of being and the places we inhabit. I write to understand the things that make me feel lonely, which ironically are often what you think would eliminate loneliness, like family and home and love. I want my work to communicate about and build community around different forms of resilience.

What is your favorite sweet?

My grandmother made this bizarre dessert called Hopscotch that I just love. It’s one of those midcentury confections where you combine a bunch of seemingly random stuff from the grocery store, and the recipe probably came off the back of a pack of a Nestle Toll House package in 1962 or something. It involves butterscotch, chow mein noodles, marshmallows, and peanut butter. I like it because it’s a little savory as well as sweet, it’s got a nice crunch, and eating a square always blasts me back to Western New York in the 1990s, with the smell of boxwood and birch bark and the musty basement at my grandfather’s house. It’s probably my favorite place on earth, so being able to eat something that makes me feel like I’m there at the time when that place was the happiest, that makes me smile.

I grew up with those, too, but they were called Haystacks.  We found a recipe online that calls them Hopscotch Haystacks, so I’m guessing different locations must have adapted the name. 

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

Sweet Connections: Paul Crenshaw

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: Paul Crenshaw
Title of Piece published in SweetHighwire
Issue:  8.3

Crenshaw_PaulFind him:
Twitter

You can find this four time Best American Essayist in Lawrence, Kansas, which was the location for many of science fiction writer, James Gunn’s novels, including The Immortals (1964).

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

I have two collections of essays coming out in 2019: This One Will Hurt You, runner-up in the Gournay Prize, will be published by The Ohio State University Press.

And This We’ll Defend, a collection of essays on my time in the military, will be out later in 2019 from University of North Carolina Press.

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

I’m working on revising a memoir about growing up next to an old tuberculosis sanatorium that was converted to a home for the developmentally disabled in the early 70s. Most of the buildings are boarded up and sealed off. I lived in a rented house on the grounds for a few years. It’s a strange place.

Also working on a new collection of pop culture essays.

Who is your favorite author?

Right now I’m re-reading John McPhee—he’s certainly close.

What is your favorite poem/essay/book?

I just finished Sebastian Junger’s The Perfect Storm.

What is your favorite sweet?

This is the best candy bar in the world, ever:

Hazelnut Five Star Bars

Crenshaw hazelnut-five-star-bar_2

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

Where the Money Goes: All the Feels

At AWP17 in Washington, DC, Sweet announced its first ever Flash Nonfiction contest. It has always been important that we keep submissions for the Sweet Lit Mag fee free, but that doesn’t allow this small nonprofit to accomplish some of the bigger things we have been talking about doing for years. Hosting our first contest was a way to keep no cost submission, but still generate funding for our other projects.  And you, our amazing readers and writers, answered that calling.  Not only were we able to give the winner, Lisa Laughlin, a cash prize of $500 and 20 chapbooks of her work, we were also able to complete our first community outreach project. We want to sincerely thank all of you who entered and made this dream possible.  More projects are in the works now, thanks in part to the poetry contest (winner McKayla Conahan) and the pending 2nd annual nonfiction contest. Your continued support, whether it be a contest submission, a donation, or purchasing one of our chapbooks, it what keeps our community outreach projects alive.

Please read more from assistant editor, Casey Clague, about their experience with former assistant editor, Alison, at the MacDonald Training Center.

All The Feels

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In April and May of 2018, my colleague Alison Missler and I were privileged to conduct poetry workshops at the MacDonald Training Center in Tampa, Florida as part of Sweet’s new community outreach initiative. The clients at the center all have some degree of developmental disability and the center provides them with educational, vocational, and residential training. The center had a bustling arts program; each time we visited for our workshops, classic pop songs boomed from the stereo while a dozen or so clients diligently drew or painted.

Two of three four poets in our workshop were very accomplished painters. Gleen was known for his vivid colors and liveliness of the human and non-human figures he painted. Shannon’s work typically focused on the cosmic; her paintings usually featured marbled planets amidst wispy constellations in the dark void of sky. Sarah was a prolific poet already. Each day we saw her, she let us read from one of her many journals, filled front to back with poems and song lyrics.

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On the first day, we worked on a collaborative color poem. We chose the color red and then all worked together to come up with words and phrases we associated with the color red. After the workshop, Alison and I compiled them all together on a poster-sized sheet and gave a copy of each to the clients at the next session. For our second trip, we did an ekphrastic. The ekphrastic form is a poem in response to a work of art, which was very appropriate for the MacDonald clients, since there was so much great art of their peers’ to choose from. For the third session, we did acrostic poems, the old favorite where the poet chooses a word or phrase that corresponds to each letter of their name. This seemed to be their favorite workshop because it got them to think of their best qualities, which made for a really positive note to end on. All around, the workshops were a joy and privilege to be part of.

On behalf of Sweet, we would like to thank you, Casey and Alison, for all your hard work and dedication to this project!