Posts Tagged: poetry

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REVELATORY WIT FOLIO: SPECIAL CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS!

In addition to accepting works of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction for General Submissions starting on September 1, Indiana Review is calling for submissions to our Revelatory Wit Folio.

It is truly a delight and, we think, a profound bodily conversation between audience and writer, when that sentence, line, sentiment, finely crafted, brings about a hearty laugh. From Podcasts to Netflix specials, there is seemingly enough material now for us to livelaughlove ourselves to infinity and beyond. Sometimes, though, humor might also prepare us, or open us to, sobering or incisive ideas and dialogues. A guffaw can be a moment of relief, or even pacification, but it may also bring us face to face with our absurd selves or pull back the curtain on the urgencies of our right now. For the Revelatory Wit folio, we are looking for poems, essays, and short stories that can both provoke a laugh and tell us about, or give a new understanding of, our world and ourselves.

REVELATORY WIT FOLIO SUBMISSION GUIDELINES:

General and Special Folio Submissions are open from SEPTEMBER 1 until OCTOBER 31 (MIDNIGHT EDT). We will only accept submissions during this submission window.

There is a $3.00 reading fee for all non-subscribing submitters.

To be considered for publication in the Folio, please be sure to select “REVELATORY WIT Folio – appropriate genre” when submitting.

You may only submit to ONE of the following: General Submissions or the Special Folio.

Stories & Nonfiction: We consider prose of up to 6,000 words in length, and we prefer manuscripts that are double-spaced in 12-point font with numbered pages. Submissions should be formatted as .doc files.

Poems: Send only 3-6 poems per submission. Do not send more than 4 poems if longer than 3 pages each.

Translations: We welcome translations across genres. Please ensure you have the rights to the translated piece prior to submitting.

If you have been published in IR, please wait two years before submitting again.

All submitted work must be previously unpublished, which includes works posted to personal blogs, online journals or magazines, or any part of a thesis or dissertation that has been published electronically.

IR cannot consider work (other than book reviews, author interviews, or blog posts) from anyone currently or recently affiliated with Indiana University, which includes those who have studied at or worked for Indiana University within the past 4 years.

We look forward to reading your work! For complete guidelines, click here for our Submissions page.

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MICROREVIEW: CRISTINA A. BEJAN’S GREEN HORSES ON THE WALLS

Review by Roxana Cazan

“From the start I was told my dreams / Weren’t possible / That I was crazy / That I needed to be serious / That theatre was a hobby / I was always merely chasing the green horses / And it was time to grow up / Because they didn’t exist,” writes Cristina A. Bejan in her debut collection Green Horses on the Walls (Finishing Line Press, 2020). This is often what children born to immigrant parents hear growing up, an attempt at righting the wrongs that compelled the parents to uproot themselves and move. Through its searing attention to the challenges of embracing a hyphenated identity both as a second-generation immigrant living in the diaspora and as a poet whose verses coalesce from trauma—Bejan is a Romanian-American poet-survivor—this collection astounds the reader with its overwhelming earnestness. The poems display a resistance to narrative, while still unavoidably relying on it, as they illustrate fragments of a life both halted and propelled by the violence of immigration, communism, mental health issues, and sexual assault. The poems together speak about an equilibrium, a way to survive trauma by finding an outlet through which to recreate oneself.

The poem that holds the key to understanding this collection is entitled “Equilibrium.” In it, the speaker puts into balance the experiences that underlie a world of pettiness and hurt with the noble moments when she is able to grasp a flicker of hope. “People may shit on each other here, but that is not all they do” because “a young city man buy[s] an old country man / breakfast,” “[a]nd when it feels like too much—which it often does / I know I can go home. I know I have a home / And how many people can say that?” Regardless of how many hurdles life can throw at the speaker, she concludes that as long as “someone somewhere, even here, is listening” to her story, then she is “standing in equilibrium.”

“Opening the Orange Envelope” is a prose poem in which the reader is called as witness to a negotiation between the language of evidence and that of transcendence, as Philip Metres says in an essay on the documentary poem. Bejan strings together vignettes that show glimpses of the ways in which her grandparents and parents struggled to survive communism and its lingering ghost, living with the terror of being followed, caught, and imprisoned as enemies of the state. As she retells these narrative fragments, she also presents her own anxiety at having inherited her family’s trauma. The poem underscores the effect of listening intently to stories of hurt and peeking into the notorious orange envelope that contains photographs of her family’s survivors of communism. By listening to other stories, both the speaker and the reader experience an erasure, an expansion, and ultimately a reclamation of identity.

Other poems illustrate the speaker’s traumatic past as a victim of sexual and emotional abuse. The poem entitled “To my rapist—or ‘the man who raped me’ rather—with Gratitude” employs anaphora to list the many ways in which sexual abuse has affected the speaker. Through a hypnotic whirlpool of “thank yous,” the anaphora lends the poem the quality of an incantation, so that by the end, the speaker can actually be thankful that she was able to survive her rape. She writes, “People can tell you: forgive, move on, it’s in the past/ But every day the victim has so much to thank the rapist for/ See?/ So, my rapist, thank you for your exit today from my mind and life.” That this poem is therapeutic, describing in chilling detail the incident and its aftermath, is clear to the reader. But the poem does more: it establishes the purpose of the entire collection, as all the poems together offer a therapy session of sorts to a wandering soul seeking a safe place to land on.

As she writes her way towards and away from her Romanian identity and her trauma, Bejan leaves the reader with one lesson to ponder: “with the days and the years/ Everything that I’ve seen will make sense/ And I will understand why I was given this path/ And/ With no more hopping, no more escaping, no more means/ Breath by breath/ Here/ I will be free.”

Finishing Line Press, May 27, 2020, $13.99 paperback (46p), ISBN: 1646622154.

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2019 1/2 K Prize Winner

Indiana Review is thrilled to announce that the winner of our 1/2 K Prize is Emily Lawson for “Coal Hollow Fire, UT.”

The prize was open to any piece under 500 words. We want to express our appreciation to everyone who submitted and made this year’s prize a success!

2019 1/2 K Winner

“Coal Hollow Fire, UT” by Emily Lawson

“The writer really impressed me with how much was built–nostalgia, regret, danger, intimacy–into this short piece that utilized sparse, beautiful language. There was such a contrast in the icy, distant language that they used while describing something so hot, so dangerous that it made me read it several times.” — Megan Giddings

Finalists

“Autopsy,” “Between Hospital Visiting Hours,” and “I Drop a White Pill in My Sink,” by A.D. Lauren-Abunassar

“How to Make Breakfast” by John Paul Martinez

“hymns to the word” by Carrie Jenkins

“Touch” by Eric Burger

Stay tuned for more prize and submission opportunities.

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Poetry Feature: “my home having come to this” By CM Burroughs

 

my home having come to this

In the porn factory, none locks her head in a box. None is trapezed or gagged. Everyone wants to know what my inside looks like. And a transparency about the skin. It is not long before one stops his hinged posture and says, “Look at me. I love you,” which my whole body opens to hear, as if it has been uttered before by someone I loved. I give myself as I’ve given myself to a field at dusk—without distraction or thought. Here. My body, my body’s inside. Here. All its tender. Red pulp.

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