Literary Citizenship

To Grow a Whisper: Kendra Fortmeyer

There are two words I think of when I think of my next writer in “To Grow a Whisper,” my series of literary spotlights devoted to (mostly) emerging writers: isolation and comfort.

I distinctly remember an interview with Kendra Fortmeyer over at “The Toast” (RIP) where she talked about vampires, and how it would be “hard and lonely to live forever, even if you’re the most beautiful creature alive.” I think many, if not all, writers understand that line. Writing is our beautiful creature, and here we are with words we try to make live forever. It’s difficult, isolating work, but if we get it right we can help “someone else to feel less lonely for one damned second,” as Fortmeyer says. Her work tackles isolation but, like a friend, is also there to offer comfort and understanding.

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Poetry, Community, Opportunity

Back in July I wrote a post titled “Actions Speak Louder, and Words.” Essentially I want whatever increased visibility I acquired by winning the Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award to go toward helping out a fellow Washington state poet. If you’re an emerging poet (no previous book publications) who belongs to a traditionally underrepresented group, this is for you.

I plan on paying for at least one poet’s contest entry for the Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award (Deadline March 1st, 2016) Not only that but I will also offer a full editorial critique of the chapbook the poet(s) plans on submitting. This way I not only continue supporting a press I admire but can also encourage local, emerging poets while advocating for diversity in literature.

If you have a chapbook you feel is ready and you want to submit to Floating Bridge Press (or have in the past), let’s connect! By December 15th send me via email (mschmeltzer01@gmail.com):

1) a page or two maximum from your chapbook

2) some information about yourself (ultimately I want to read something that will make me want to root for you)

I wish I could fund/help everyone but since my resources are limited I’m probably going to have to make decisions among several poets. My ideal is that we can work together and not just strengthen your chapbook but stimulate conversation and community.

So are you in? I can’t wait to hear from you!

To Grow a Whisper: Matt Sailor

I won’t forget the first time I met Matt Sailor, my fourth offering in “To Grow a Whisper,” my series of literary spotlights devoted to (mostly) emerging writers. I had interacted with him a little on Twitter, but it wasn’t until AWP in Seattle that we met in person while standing in line to receive our entrance badges. Even though I was basically an acquaintance at that point, he still (for whatever reason) came to my reading when there would have been so many other lectures and readings he could have attended. It meant a great deal to me (especially considering he isn’t a poet as far as I know.) It was then I knew he was a quietly, exceptionally sincere person. That sincerity is what makes Sailor such a strong writer. Talent, sharp wit, and imagination (yes, he has those things too) can only go so far if the author doesn’t give themselves over to a reader. When Sailor writes it’s a wonder there is anything left of him. (more…)