Thursday, May 30, 2013

Call for Submissions

thesnailmagazine is now ready to accept submissions from writers.
We are looking longish pieces (3,000 - 7,500 words) that are sharp, incisive, illuminating, and grip the readers attention.

What we would like to see:
Investigative Journalism
Literary Journalism
True Life Stories
Immersion Reportage

What we would not be interested in:
Personal Essays

For those of you who write short fiction and poetry, by sheer happenstance there is a literary magazine called The Snail Mail Review at which would be happy to receive submissions. thesnailmagazine is only interested in nonfiction.

All submission should be sent to either as an attachment or in the body of the email. A response will be swift and a rejection should not be taken to be a comment on the quality of your work but only that it does not meet our present needs.

It is hoped to issue thesnailmagazine No 1 in September and then at three monthly intervals, with a view to becoming bi-monthly as quickly as possible.

When the magazine is ready for the press a campaign will be started on to collect subscriptions. An announcement will be made nearer the time.

Posts on creative nonfiction and the progress of the magazine will be posted below. Any comments or suggestions are welcome.

Thank you
Ron Francis

Saturday, May 25, 2013

From a UK Anam Cara Alum to UK Writers and Artists...

I wanted to tell you as friends, writers and all-round nice folk about a project I'm doing on London gardens
over the next two weeks as part of the Chelsea Fringe.

Each day from today until 9th June, I'll be posting up photographs and stories about a different London garden I've chosen on my website - It's all about reading and writing in the garden, so there will be a poem I've selected for its relevance or connection and also a writing exercise designed for that particular spot. It's all part of a plan to encourage more people to read and write alongside me, so I'll be going along to as many gardens as I can and if you fancy it, and are near enough, come and write with me. We will laugh in the face of rain and dripping notebooks. If you bring cake, we will eat it... If you bring wine ...

The details are here ..., and today's poem is Charles Causley's The Green Man.

But really this email is to ask you for absolutely nothing, I just wanted to let you know what I was doing, and I hope it appeals to some of you. There's a little widget on the right hand side if you wanted to sign up to receive these postings in your inbox, and also if you wanted to send me a photograph of you writing in your garden and what you've written (particularly if it's as a result of one of the exercises) I'd be a bit excited. Please feel free to share this email and the website to whom you want.

Sarah Salway

Monday, May 20, 2013

Mslexia Magazine Writing Competitions

From Mslexia:

We have a whole host of submission opportunities for writers. I hope you have received some information through the post, but if not, would you be able to help us spread the word to your students via email?

Firstly, our tenth annual Women’s Poetry Competition is now open for entries. For poems of any length and on any subject, the first prize is £2,000 and it will be judged by the Costa award-winning poet Kathleen Jamie. Click here for more information.

Secondly, there’s our second annual Poetry Pamphlet Competition, for short collections of 18-20 pages of 20-24 poems by women poets who have not previously published a full-length collection. The first prize is publication by Seren Books, plus £250. The brilliant winner of our 2012 competition, Shadow Dispatches by Polly Atkin, is available to buy now. The closing date for both competitions is 17 June 2013. Click here.

For writers of other genres, all our other regular slots are also open for submission. For scriptwriters, there’s our Monologue feature (in the voice of a ‘shoplifter’ for issue 59) and we’re challenging poets to send us their take on Four Lines that Rhyme. Fans of new media are invited to submit A Week of Tweets about their writing and/or life – or to apply for a three-month ‘residency’ on the Mslexia Blog. And as a special challenge to writers of description and character, our regular Pen Portrait feature will focus on a ‘nun’ in issue 59. The deadline for issue 59 is 15 July 2013. Click here for all the information needed to submit.

There are six additional open submission slots in the magazine – making 13 slots in total – because one of our main aims is to inspire women to write, to edit their work, and to submit it for publication. We see Mslexia as both a jumping-off point for new authors and a showcase for some of the best new poetry and short prose by women writers at every stage in their careers. For full submission guidelines and regular updates, visit For regular writing workshops, including those specially-commissioned for our upcoming competitions, visit

Keep an eye out for our Novel Competition, too. Open to unpublished women novelists only, first prize is £5,000 and the deadline is 23 September 2013. Visit for more information and full guidelines.

Weekend Haiku/Mindfulness Workshop in Dublin

Anam Cara alums, Maeve O'Sullivan and Kim Richardson, are bringing their individual and team expertise to Dublin in July. They have conducted three such (week-long) workshops here at Anam Cara. See below for details.

Writing From Within
Sat 6th and Sun 7th July 2013

Venue: Carousel Creates Dublin Writers' Centre, Rathfarnam, Co. Dublin, Ireland

Combining haiku poetry with mindfulness practices and the natural beauty of the nearby forests and mountains, our goal is to increase our powers of observation and description. Tuition in haiku and related forms, plus breathing, light and related exercises. We will also get outside for at least one ginko, a composition stroll, taking inspiration from the local views, flora and wildlife.

• The workshop is appropriate for anyone working in all writing forms.
• No previous experience of haiku or of meditative practices is necessary.
• The workshop is limited to a minimum of 8 and a maximum of 15 participants.

Dates: Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th July, 9am-5pm

Cost: €250 residential (all meals incl. dinner on Saturday), €200 non-residential (incl. all other meals)

Info+bookings: Carolann Copland at or on +353 (0) 86 1923613 •

Twitter: @writefromwithin

Monday, May 6, 2013

Launching Leanne O'Sullivan's Latest Book of Poetry

On 23 April in the Cork City Libaray, Paula Meehan, one of Ireland's best and best-loved poets, launched Leanne O'Sullivan's latest book of poetry, The Mining Road. [Leanne will be conducting a poetry workshop at Anam Cara from 20-27 July (see for details).] The following is the text of Paula's speech to the large and enthusiastic crowd who attended the launch:

The most remarkable thing about this most remarkable book is the way it is rooted in a precise and specific territory: the tip of the Beara Peninsula. This is the heartland of the universe for Leanne O’Sullivan, the ground where she stands to channel the power of poetry and place, to fuse these energies into precise and beautifully crafted lyric poems.

Leanne draws on a tradition of relationship with the land that reaches right back to the bronze age and the earliest copper mining. She tunnels, in a sense, back through the layers of history and folklore that accrete about a landscape — an outer journey mirrored by that inner journey which is the mining into the deepest reach of selfhood.

I am reminded of the ancient triple goddess Brigde, or as she is known in her Christian guise, Brigid. Brigid was the guardian protector of eloquence and poetry, wells and healing, and mining and smithcraft. When I read in this book I hear anvil music, I stand by the fertile crucible of making, I taste pure water from the well of healing. This is the tradition Leanne has inherited, and we are blessed, if we choose, in the comfort and relief these poems have to offer us.

Michael Hartnett talks of the central wound in the Irish psyche as the memory of a mother rape we can not face in our boardrooms of mock oak. Hartnett had the Irish language in mind, but he might equally have been speaking of the land of Ireland itself. There is, right through the poetic tradition, a strand of thought  that says the land has somehow failed us, failed to nourish us. It may well be that subconsciously or otherwise, millions who have emigrated have this in their minds, the wound of having been failed. There is another way to think of this: perhaps after all we should consider not only those who have been failed but those millions, generation after generation, who have been nourished and borne up by the land. Perhaps it is time to heal the great wound, the wound in the imagination — then we might begin to nurture the land, to care for our own place, to give back in gratitude what is due, to be at home in the world.

I think Leanne’s poetry has a part to play in that restoration. A part to play in a change of mind and heart. A new kind of Dinndseanchas, a story that seeks to sing back to us the song of the place, the place where the heart can have ease and the mind wholeness.

Leanne O’Sullivan is a carrier of story. I believe the story chooses its teller. Some stories remain untold for generations waiting for the right soul to carry them out into the light. ‘Safe House’ is one such story. To hear that story we need to trust the teller as well as the tale.

From the very moment I first heard Leanne O’Sullivan’s voice, at an event many years ago in Schull not long after her first book was published, I trusted her completely. There is a quality to the voice – something that can’t be faked. In a word, integrity. And that is why I trust what she tells me of the world I live in.

If the heartland is in West Cork the hinterland is nothing less than this world we share. These poems manage to belong, with great immediacy and great lyric power, to both the local moment, its landscape and its community, and to the global moment, to the eternal verities, the universality of woundedness, of loss, of enduring love.

Wherever we are on the face of the earth we are bound in common humanity. And this is the book’s adventure: the universal quest to be at home in our skin, to find kin and kinship in a given place, and to experience the solace and healing that the very land herself can offer us.

Please join me in welcoming this new and wonderful book into the world.


Sunday, May 5, 2013

From The New York Times.....

April 26, 2013

Nice Poem; I’ll Take It

If you read British newspapers, you might have heard of Christian Ward. In 2011, Ward won the Exmoor Society’s Hope Bourne prize for his poem “The Deer at Exmoor,” only to have his work revealed as a copy of “The Deer,” by Helen Mort, which won the CafĂ© Writers Open Poetry Competition in England in 2009. Ward defended himself by saying, “I had no intention of deliberately plagiarizing,” and suggested he had used Mort’s work as a model and had submitted a premature draft.

Looking through Ward’s publications over the last few years, I recognize the hopscotch. We both have been published in journals small and big, online and in print. We are both in our early 30s. He has an M.A. in creative writing from Royal Holloway, University of London. I have an M.F.A. in creative writing from American University. We list some of the same inspirations — Sylvia Plath, Elizabeth Bishop. He published in the literary journal Diagram the year after I did. One bio note proclaims: “He hates sport, things which are trendy and people who refuse to be themselves.”

How I wish he’d stuck to being himself. Instead, he chose to be me. In 2011, he entered the text of my poem “August” as his own in a contest. I was skeptical when I received the tip from a friend of a friend on Facebook. Then I saw the Web site for the University of Derby’s Buxton Poetry Competition. In the portfolio of winners, I found “July,” by Christian Ward, which received a citation in the “open category”:

Sooner or later, whatever you cherish most will beg
to be burned.
Trust me, the phoenix says, I’m immortal. Watch
your childhood
home — how the wires fray, how the floorboards
splinter to tinder.

The poems are identical in line and stanza, except for a few strategic word changes. The title rotates by one summer calendar month. “The man you love” becomes “the woman you love;” my “baseboards” become “floorboards.” Instead of a sister who thickens “gasoline with jelly, collects canisters” with the intent of making Molotov cocktails, Ward creates a brother, a milder criminal who “shoplifts canisters of petrol from the BP service station.”

When your work is posted and reposted online, and when publishing is as much an act of community-­building as a means of income, you develop a flexible definition of intellectual property. I have enthusiastically blurbed poets who used my work for structural inspiration. I have walked into a high school classroom to discover that a teacher has assigned his students to “write into” my poem, inserting their nouns into my free-verse form. I have volleyed e-mails with translators, accepting the control lost when your metaphors enter a language you do not speak. I can admire conceptual poets like Kenneth Goldsmith, whose pieces are often a transparent pastiche of borrowed texts. This is none of that.

“I have begun to examine my published poems to make sure there are no similar mistakes,” Ward said in a formal statement to The Western Morning News of Cornwall after his use of Helen Mort’s work came to light. “I want to be as honest as I can with the poetry community, and I know it will take some time to regain their trust.”

“Published,” it seems to me, suggests Ward is far less concerned about the core transgression than he is about the consequences of being caught. “Mistakes” suggests he still thinks of this as some errant drafting exercise, as if our poems are Mad Libs waiting for completion at his hand. And being truly “honest” dictates reaching out not only to the poets involved in your publicized thefts but to the rest of us whom you know to be waiting in the wings.

I am not the only American victim of Ward’s plagiarism, instances of which have steadily continued to emerge since the Mort revelation. He recycled Paisley Rekdal’s “Bats” in Anon Magazine, whose editors later caught the violation and contacted Rekdal. She posted a fiery letter to Ward on her blog, describing feeling “a heady mix of anger, resentment, amusement and bewilderment, even a touch of embarrassment.”

At least Rekdal and I can speak for ourselves. In 2006, Sarah Hannah’s poem “At Last, Fire Seen as a Psychotic Break” appeared online. It was later collected in “Inflorescence,” her intensely personal second book, which wrestles with the death of Hannah’s mother, an artist who struggled with mental illness. The collection was published posthumously. Hannah took her own life in 2007 at the age of 40.

Fast-forward to 2009, when the Poetry Salzburg review in Austria published “Fire as a Metaphor for Psychosis,” attributed to Christian Ward. Line after line is copied from Hannah’s poem, including the closing stanza lifted whole with only the loss of a single line break. Her poem reads: “What if you’d stood nightly by the wall, / Felt around for the heat, / Drawn a cold, wet cloth across the surface, / And, speaking soft words, / Held it?”

Ward adds the epigraph “After SH.” He lists this credit in his bio note for Diagram, which includes the coyly reflexive observation that Ward “recently crossed the Mojave and can now understand the definition of hell. Thought he saw Dante asking for a lift somewhere along the route.”

Where would Dante send a plagiarist? The Eighth Circle of Hell is reserved for the fraudulent and requires a descent down a cliff on the back of Geryon, within waving distance of Mordred and Count Ugolino in their pit of treachery. That seems a tad excessive. I want to step back, to take pity on Ward. But I also want to be clear: these appropriations matter. If the poets don’t assert the value of their words, who will?

The editors who inadvertently abetted Ward’s thefts have responded in a variety of ways. The Buxton Poetry Competition organizers took “July” down and reformatted their PDF of the winning submissions as if the poem had never existed. The Web site of The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine now reads, “The poems previously published on this page were submitted by and attributed to Christian Ward, but were actually the work of award-winning poet and novelist Owen Sheers.”

Valley Press is supposed to publish Ward’s first collection, “The Moth House,” later this year. Is “July” in the table of contents? Is “Fire as a Metaphor for Psychosis”? I assume plagiarized work would be culled, but it’s more likely that it was never in there to begin with, that our poems were useful only as steppingstones.

“August” holds a special place in my own career; it closes my collection “Theories of Falling,” which won the 2007 New Issues Poetry Prize. It was a hard poem, the kind that rips you wide. I wrote it in August of 2006 and push-pinned it to the wall with the rest of what I did not yet know would be my big break. I’d open the door to my studio each day, and the breeze would riffle the pages.

“The only thing I can say,” my mother told me, “is he truly loved your work — and that’s where the sadness is.” I want to believe that. With every draft I read aloud, I tasted the words in my mouth. Salty, sweet, fatty, lean, velvet, metallic, mean. Mine. What does it feel like, tasting words you’ve stolen? Like sand, I suspect. Sand that a man dying of dehydration drinks in the desert, never slaking his thirst.

Sandra Beasley is the author of the poetry collections “I Was the Jukebox” and “Theories of Falling,” and the memoir “Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales From an ­Allergic Life.”