Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Newsbriefs 45:3 and Pushcart Prize Nominations 2020

NEWSBRIEFS 2019, No. 3 (AUTUMN 2019)
Published  in California Quarterly 45:3

By Maja Trochimczyk, CSPS President

In this season of harvest we are gathering the fruit of our work while planning new projects. Poetry is a lonely art; it thrives on being written and read in solitude; we retreat from the world to be alone with words, alone with images, emotions and ideas conjured by these words. Alone but not lonely: in this “Zero Point” of creative writing, the physical world surrounding us disappears into oblivion. The poets’ time stands still, held back by our intense focus on our work. Yet, to crave connection is an essential trait of being human, so poets leave their creative solitude to interact with each other in readings, contests, conferences, workshops, and society memberships. CSPS members mostly interact with each other via the printed word, on the pages of this journal. They may also use electronic media: email, californiastatepoetrysociety.org site, our new blog or Facebook groups. Every two years, CSPS members get a chance to engage with the Society itself more directly, by formally re-electing its Board of Directors.

We are happy to report that we have implemented two changes in our systems. First, we started using Submittable.com for online submissions (with ongoing use of the mail, for those who prefer it). Second, we signed a contract with a direct mail company to process mailings of the California Quarterly, and after two issues, we are interested in what our members think about this service. Are your journals arriving in good shape? In addition to all the editors spending countless hours sifting through submissions to find poetic gems for inclusion in the journal, CSPS member Stephanie Pressman volunteers to create professional layouts, while CSPS Treasurer and Past President, Dr. John Harrell, submits the journal to the printing company and pays the bills. The Editorial Chair, Pearl Karrer, oversees the use of Submittable.com and keeps us on track with the editing schedule. We are all grateful for their service. As the new President, I’m temporarily serving as Managing Editor of CQ, but there is a lot I have yet to learn. In fact, I have had a particularlyintense CSPS summer, as I was reading through almost 300 poems submittedfor this issue of CQ, of which I could pick about 60.


Our designer, Stephanie Pressman, had two poems appear on the Red Wolf Editions blog with the theme “borrowed” poems: “I Heard a Fly Buzz…” (a Cento composed of single lines from poems in the Debut Collection of The Best American Poetry 1988) and “In the Synagogue after Yizkor.” Her poems “Cookbook,” “During the Butchering” and “Mustard and Cress” are forthcoming in the anthology Heat the Grease, We’re Frying Up Some Poetry.

Nancy C. Dougherty was part of the Marin Poetry Center’s Summer Traveling Show, reading
with fellow poets Donna Emerson, Patricia Nelson, Jeanne Fanning Santangelo, and Susanne West at the Novato Public Library in August. Other news, she has a poem “Old Woman’s Gale” in the 2019 Marin Poetry Center Anthology and will be one of the poets reading at its Launch this October.

Beverly M. Collins, the author of two volumes, Quiet Observations and Mud in Magic, won the 2019 Naji Naaman Literary Prize in Creativity (Lebanon) and was short-listed for the 2018 Pangolin Review Poetry Prize (Mauritius).

I translated my three poems into Polish (“Spacer w kanionie,” “Ciocia Tonia,” and “W sercu…”) for publication in Poland, on “pisarze.pl”—in a newly created section dedicated to Polish émigré poets from around the world. Polish is my first language, but translating my own English poems is a formidable task: I ended up rewriting these poems to keep the original ideas and moods, cast in different language.

While doing so, I thought how grateful I am—and we all should be!—for the efforts and talent of Margaret Saine, PhD, one of our Editors, the Poetry Letter Editor, and our poetry translator from Spanish, Italian, French and German. Brava!

We all speak different languages, even if it is all English—and as poets, we make it our mission to explore the thick forests and abundant jungles of words. Happy exploring!

~ Maja Trochimczyk, Ph.D., President, CSPS

  1. Maja Trochimczyk: "W sercu..." on website about Polish writers, Pisarze.pl, in the second part of a post by Anna Maria Mickiewicz, Polish American poets, in Polish, October 2019. https://pisarze.pl/2019/10/15/poeci-amerykanscy-polskiego-pochodzenia-cz-ii-prezentuja-anna-maria-mickiewicz-i-danuta-blaszak/
  2. Maja Trochimczyk: "Spacer w kanionie" "Ciocia Tonia" "Jak przejsc przez Wielka Biel" on website about Polish writers, Pisarze.pl, in the first part of a post by Anna Maria Mickiewicz, anthology of Polish American poets, in Polish, September 2019.  https://pisarze.pl/2019/10/01/anna-maria-mickiewicz-i-danuta-blaszak-prezentuja-amerykanskich-poetow-polskiego-pochodzenia/

Trees, watercolor by Debby Beck


It is that time of the  year, again: Pushcart Prize Nominations.  Maura Harvey, one of the editors of the California Quarterly, coordinated the collection and submission of best poems from each issue of the California Quarterly published or scheduled to be published in calendar year 2019. This year we have five issues of the CQ that provided selections of poems for nomination.

The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses series, published every year since 1976, is the most honored literary project in America.Since 1976, hundreds of presses and thousands of writers of short stories, poetry and essays have been represented in their annual collections. The list of nominated poems is below.

“Blue Moon Warning” by Alice Pero 44:4, p. 10, nominated by editor, Margaret Saine

“ Out of the Blind”by Stephen Ajay 45:1, p. 7, nominated by editor, Maura Harvey

Contents and Editor's Note for CQ 45:1:

“All the Weight” by Holly Day 45:2, p. 14, nominated by editor, Nancy Dougherty
“Cellist, for Nancy” by Margaret Rooney 45:2, p. 52-53, nominated by Nancy Dougherty

Contents and Editor's Note for CQ 45:2:

“Redwood Trees” by Russell Salamon 45:3, p. 8-9, nominated posthumously by editor, Maja  Trochimczyk
Table of contents of the issue, with essay about Russell by Lois P Jones


We see action languages, buds
swell and break open, feel sap flow
in cambium layers, light split green
and orange red—eating white light
of rainbows, weaving light energy
into wood and wood instruments.

It is a civilization of light forces,
heavy thoughts holding up sky
distances, life forces adamant,
insistent, stand straight thoughts
of sinews, white blood of water
and sugar water sap.

If this is a language, it must be
a self-translating silence mass,
coming into being with strength,
time accumulations in growing
layers—tree rings. Statements,
density and luminous sunsets.

Crowns swaying in high winds,
they walk in slow centuries,
eyes sensitive to water and light.
Leaves breathe mist water and
rainwater, roots follow water
runnels, strands of moist wire.

Clouds hang on slopes of hills
and the fingers of rain enter
ancient dance patterns of wind
and standing time. Thousands
of years older than our bodies,
they guide the immortality
of souls into the same future
we never leave.

We meet as forests in silence
of working branches and wind,
air in lungs and sapwood sugar.
We enter cities of silence, star
water and upheld thunder water.

Nor do we leave edges of time
rivers as we replace sea waves
to crash against granite stacks
and chimneys rushing in gales.

The sunlight keeps coming day
in and day eternal as the earth
collects itself into circles, wind
and rain, and trillions of lives.

(C) by Russell Salamon (1941-2018)

“Canary. Coalmine.” by Susan Bernardo 45:4, p. 20-21, Pearl Karrer

The Pushcart Prize Nomination Process:
The Pushcart Prizes welcome up to six nominations (print or online) from little magazine and small book press editors throughout the world. They also accept nominations from our staff of distinguished Contributing Editors. The nominations may be any combination of poetry, short stories, essays, memoirs or stand-alone excerpts from novels. They welcome translations, reprints and both traditional and experimental writing. Nominations are accepted between October 1 - December 1 (postmarked) for next year's Pushcart edition.Nominations must have been published (or scheduled to be published) in the current calendar year. Mail to Pushcart Press, P.O. Box 380, Wainscott, NY 11975. Phone: 631.324.9300.  More information: http://www.pushcartprize.com/index.html

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