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The Authors Guild

Along Publishers Row

by Campbell Geeslin

Like the main character in his novel Grendel, John Gardner (1933-1982) has just about disappeared in the mists of time. For several years he was a major figure in American literature. Now, he and his almost 30 books seem to have vanished.

In addition to being a prolific novelist, critic and reviewer, he was an admired and influential writing teacher, a regular at Breadloaf and a mentor to Raymond Carver. After his death, his lectures were published in On Becoming a Novelist (1983).

In it, he observed: “A poet to practice his art with success, must have an ear for language so finely tuned and persnickety as to seem to the ordinary novelist almost diseased. The short story writer, since the emotional charge of his fiction must reveal itself quickly, has a similar need for compression, though a need less desperate than the poet’s. In the novelist, a hypersensitive ear may occasionally prove a handicap.”

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New Books by Members

This week’s recent and upcoming books by our members include titles by C.S. Adler, Elizabeth Bluemle, Jenny Bowen, Susan Taylor Chehak, Michael L. Cooper, Corinne Demas, Patrick A. Durantou, Jack Gantos, Lucia Mouat, Michael Elsohn Ross, Sherry Shahan, Peter Stark, and Douglas Whynott. Titles under the jump.

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Bulletin Board

This week’s batch includes a metrical poetry prize, an award for women writers, a residency at Carson McCullers’ childhood home, and a humor poetry contest. Deadlines range from March 31-April 1.

Carolina Wren Press is currently seeking submissions for one unpublished full-length novel, short story collection, or memoir written by a woman to receive the 2014 Doris Bakwin Award. Portions of the manuscript, (i.e., stories or chapters) may have been previously published, but the work as a whole should be unpublished. The winner will receive $1,000 and publication. Entry fee: $20. Deadline: March 31, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.

The Frost Farm Prize for Metrical Poetry is currently accepting submissions. Poems must be original, unpublished and metrical (any metrical form). There is no limit to the number of poems entered by an individual. The winner will receive $1,000, publication in Evansville Review, an invitation to read as part of The Hyla Brook Reading Series at the Robert Frost Farm in Derry. Entry fee: $5. Deadline: April 1, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.

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Along Publishers Row

by Campbell Geeslin

In last week’s orgy of pre-Oscar hype, there was an interesting quote from Steve McQueen, film director of 12 Years a Slave.  McQueen also stages art exhibitions.

He told The New York Times, “I always see art as poetry and filmmaking as a novel, doing the same thing but differently, one abstract and the other one linear.”

Spoken as a man of literature.

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New Books by Members

This week’s recent and upcoming books by our members include titles by Christine Ammer, Julene Bair, Evelyn Barish, Joan Barthel, Jeffrey Bennett, Terry Brooks, Alison Leslie Gold, Jane Green, Colin D. Heaton and Anne-Marie Lewis, Nancy Morse, Joyce Ray, Lynne Schwartz, Rena Silverman, and Sue William Silverman. Titles under the jump.

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Bulletin Board

This week’s batch of contests includes a prize for our Minnesota residents, an award for women writers over 40, and more. Deadlines range from March 28-April 1.

The Dayton Literary Peace Prize is an annual literary award recognizing the power of the written word to promote peace. The Prize invites nominations in adult fiction and nonfiction books published within the past year that have led readers to a better understanding of other cultures, peoples, religions, and political points of view. The winners each receive $10,000. Submissions should focus on a central message of peace, broadly defined as increasing understanding between and among people. Entry fee: $100. Deadline: March 31, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.

The Glimmer Train Family Matters Prize is now open for submissions. Stories can be about families of all configurations. Entries must be fiction (though they can draw on real life experiences) and should not exceed 12,000 words. The winner will receive $1,500, publication in Glimmer Train Stories, and 20 copies of that issue. Second place will receive $500 (or, if accepted for publication, $700 and 10 copies). Third place will receive $300 (or, if accepted for publication, $700 and 10 copies). Entry fee: $15 per entry; no more than 3 entries per person. Deadline: March 31, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.

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Along Publishers Row

by Campbell Geeslin

Blanche Jennings Thompson was the editor of Silver Pennies (1925), a collection of poems for children. In the preface, she wrote, “If a poem is worthy at all, it isn’t tough—it is frail and exquisite, a mood, a moment of sudden understanding, a cobweb which falls apart at a clumsy touch.”

More quotes about poetry appeared in Sunday’s New York Times Book Review:  “Writing poetry is an unnatural act,” Elizabeth Bishop once wrote. “It takes skill to make it seem natural.” John Keats wrote in an 1818 letter, “If poetry comes not as naturally as the leaves to a tree it had better not come at all.”

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New Books by Members

This week’s recent and upcoming books by our members include titles by Alex Berenson, John Brockman, John Browne, Beverly Donofrio and Barbara McClintock, Mary Cronk Farrell, Erin Fry, Alice Hoffman, Mike Offit, Wendy Pfeffer, Susan Goldman Rubin, Lachlan Smith, Wesley Stace, Natalie Standiford, and Neil Swidey. Titles under the jump.

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Bulletin Board

This week’s batch of prizes is a mixed bag of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry awards. Deadline for each is March 15.

The Bellingham Literary Review Prizes award works of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. The 49th Parallel Poetry Award is given to a poem or group of poems of any style or length. The Tobias Wolff Award for Fiction is given to a short story. And the Annie Dillard Award for Creative Nonfiction is given to an essay. Poetry entries may be up to 3 poems per entry. Short story and essay entries may be up to 6,000 words. The winners will receive $1,000 and publication in the Bellingham Review. Entry fee: $20; additional entries $10 each. Deadline: March 15, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.

The Colorado Review is currently accepting submissions for the Nelligan Prize for best short story. Stories must be previously unpublished. There are no theme restrictions, but stories must be under 50 pages. The winner will receive $2,000 and publication in the Fall 2014 issue of the Colorado Review. All stories will be considered for publication. Entry fee: $15 ($17 online). Deadline: March 15, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.

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Along Publishers Row

by Campbell Geeslin

In London, The Hatchet Job of the Year Award went to A. A. Gill for his Sunday Times review of Morrissey’s Autobiography. The autobiographer is a British singer and lyricist.

Gill wrote: “This is a book that cries out like one of his maudlin ditties to be edited. . .It is a heavy tome, utterly devoid of insight, warmth, wisdom or likability.”

Gill also wrote that the book was “a potential firelighter of vanity, self-pity and logorrheic dullness. . . laughably overwrought and overwritten, a litany of retrospective hurt and score settling.”

The judges said Gill’s review was the “angriest, funniest and most trenchant” book review of the year. It is available on the Omnivore website, and quotes were generous in The Guardian and The New York Times. “Gill’s evisceration of Morrissey has a kind of music of its own,” said The Los Angeles Times.

Gill’s Hatchet Job Award was an ax buried in a book and a year’s supply of potted shrimp.

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