Thursday, February 23, 2017

Recommended Reading- February 2017

Our Ashland MFA faculty were asked to recommend books for developing writers. We're including instructional guides, anthologies, and classics of the craft, all meant to be helpful tools for your writing. Listed below are this month’s recommendations.

Creative Nonfiction

Tell It Slant: Writing and Shaping Creative Nonfiction, by Brenda Miller and Suzanne Paola

Recommended by Robert Root

The first edition covers process and forms, offers strategies, and has a dandy anthology. It's a solid introductory book on nonfiction.


The Vintage Book of Contemporary World Poetry, ed. by J.D. McClatchy

Recommended by Mark Neely

This work is a nice introduction to contemporary world poetry, featuring a broad range of poets from five continents.


Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

Recommended by Erika Krouse, E.J. Levy, and William Haywood Henderson

This work is a great study of consciousness as the source of character and engine of drama.

Self-Help: Stories by Lorrie Moore

Recommended by Erika Krouse, E.J. Levy, and William Haywood Henderson

This work demonstrates point-of-view wit and uses of the ordinary and the appropriation of pop-cultural forms.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Calls for Submission- February

Each month, the Ashland MFA Program receives calls for submissions and contest deadlines, which it publicizes in its monthly newsletter. Listed below are this month's calls for submissions. 

Journal Submissions

The Woven Tale Press welcomes unsolicited submissions. Since their mission is to grow traffic to noteworthy artists and writers on the World Wide Web, they want to be able to link back your work; you must have a blog or website address. 

The Southern Review’s submission period is open, with submissions for poetry remaining open until February 1, 2017 and submissions for prose remaining open until December 1, 2017. They accept mail submissions in all genres and online submissions in fiction and nonfiction.

Fiction International will accept submissions in response to the theme of Fool from October 1, 2016 to February 15, 2017. Fiction International publishes an award winning annual print journal that emphasizes formal innovation and social activism.  Each issue revolves around a theme and features a wide variety of fiction, nonfiction, indeterminate prose, and visuals by leading writers and artists from around the world. Interested writers are invited to visit their submission guidelines page at:

The Southeast Review is currently accepting poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and book review submissions for issues 35.1 and 35.2. They seek quality writing from a range of traditions and styles, with an emphasis on work that pushes boundaries and uses its craft to evoke emotion while making the strange seem familiar and the familiar, strange.

macropoetics seeks poetry on place and power for upcoming issues. Rolling submissions, see their guidelines for more details.

Platypus Press Wildness wants work that evokes the unknown. Platypus Press publishes its online edition every two months. A print anthology will be released once a year. Rolling submissions. No minimum length for poetry and prose, but please keep stories under 2,500 words and each poem under 80 lines. They currently only accept unpublished works; this includes website and personal blogs.

Palaver was recently named one of Flavorwire’s hybrid magazines to follow. They are asking for Creative or Academic Submissions that defy the confines of a single discipline and have accessible language. The written academic work should be typed, double spaced, and follow MLA guidelines. Due to the volume of submissions Palaver receives, they ask that the academic pieces run no longer than twenty-five pages, and they do not accept previously published work-- be it print or online. 

Eternal Remedy is an online journal dedicated to creative writing surrounding the topics of existentialism, love, psychology, philosophy, religion and the human condition in general. In its third year of operation, the journal is looking to expand its writing selections. 

Front Porch Journal, the online literary journal of Texas State University’s MFA program, is currently seeking flash prose for their website. Rolling submissions on other genres. 

Trigger Warning is now accepting submissions for its first edition. This new literary magazine will focus on works that convey what it is to overcome personal struggles and which accurately illustrate the nature of the human experience. They accept personal essays, memoir, fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry and hybrid works. They read year round and publish their journal three times per year. Reading fee is $5. Accepted writers receive $25.

Proximity, a quarterly collection of true stories exploring place, space, and connections in the modern age, seeks unpublished creative nonfiction of all lengths as well as photo essays/multimedia for their upcoming themed issues. CAMP (deadline February 15), Work (deadline May 1), and Reuse (deadline July 1).

Small Po[r]tions is accepting submissions for Issue 6! They aim to curate cross-genre, experimental and multi/intermedia work and hope to offer a shared space for experimental creative fiction and nonfiction, lyrical fiction, poetry, and multimedia pieces. Small Po[r]tionsissues have a print component with a focus on book arts and an online component featuring selections from the print issue along with media work. Please submit up to 1000 words [up to 5 pages] or one multimedia work.

JuxtaProse is accepting submissions in fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, art, and photography. We pride ourselves on providing a venue where emerging writers can find a voice alongside some of the most respected names in world literature. For more details, visit:

Submit writing to "Inklight," a meeting place of creative writing and photography published on the website of Afterimage: The Journal of Media Arts and Cultural Criticism. For this unique project, photographers submit original work, which is selected to be posted on the Afterimage web site. Writers then submit original creative writing inspired by one of the images on the web site. New Inklight features will be posted on their web site regularly and archived indefinitely. For the current selection of photographs, please visit: Submit ONE piece of writing (poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction) of up to 750 words or 25 short lines as a Word document email attachment with “Inklight Writing” in the subject line, and include in your email the title and name of the artist of the work you are responding to. No critical responses, please.

Golden Walkman Magazine, a literary magazine for your ears, is accepting submissions. Send your best poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, and craft essays. Work can be sent to For guidelines, visit:

Found Polaroids is looking for flash fiction to accompany their collection of “found polaroids.” While submitted stories are unpaid writing projects, the exposure that students would gain from their stories is widespread. Found Polaroids has been featured on such news outlets as BBC World Radio, The, Dazed Magazine, CBC Radio 'As It Happens’,, The Plaid Zebra, and many more. 

Glassworks publishes nonfiction, fiction, poetry, hybrid pieces, craft essays, new media, and art both digitally and in print. We also publish flash fiction, prose poetry, and micro essays in our online edition Flash Glass monthly. Submissions for Flash Glass are accepted on a year-round, rolling basis.

Foothill: a journal of poetry invites graduate students to submit up to six unpublished, English-language-based poems composed in any poetic genre or form. They accept simultaneous submissions, and they read them year round. As compensation for publication, authors receive one free copy of the print journal. Foothill is published by Claremont Graduate University.


EVENT’s 2017 Non-Fiction Contest is now taking submissions. The guest judge is J. Jill Robinson. The winner(s) receives $1,500 in prizes plus publication in EVENT. EVENT reserves the right to award the prize money as it sees fit (e.g.,  two prizes valued at $750, three at $500, or one at $1000 and one at $500, etc.) in accordance with the judge’s decision. The deadline is April 15, 2017.

The Second Annual Ex Ophidia Press Poetry Book Prize is now open for submissions! The winning poet will receive $1,000 in cash and 15 author copies. Open to all English-language authors (of any age, ethnicity, gender or orientation) for a book of poetry. Suggested length of manuscript is between 64 and 84 pages, single-spaced. The deadline is August 15, 2017.

The Southern Review’s World’s Best Short-Short Story Contest, Gearhart Poetry Contest, and Narrative Nonfiction Contest are all open! For each contest, one winner (awarded $1,000) and up to five finalists will be announced in spring/summer 2017 and will appear in Volume 36.1 (Winter 2018). The deadlines are all on March 15, 2017.

Glimmer Train’s Short Story Award for New Writers contest is open to writers whose fiction has not appeared, nor is scheduled to appear, in a print publication with a circulation over 5,000. The 1st-place winner will be published in Glimmer Train and will receive 10 copies of that issue. Second- and 3rd-place win $500/$300, respectively, or, if accepted for publication, $700. The deadline is February 28, 2017.

Australian Book Review welcomes entries in the 2017 ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize, one of the world’s leading prizes for an original short story. They are seeking stories of between 2,000 and 5,000 words, written in English. The 2017 Jolley Prize is worth a total of $12,500, with a first prize of $7,000 and supplementary prizes of $2,000 and $1,000. The judges will also commend three additional stories, the authors of which will each receive $850. Entries close at midnight 10 April 2017.

The Cleveland State University Poetry Center invites submissions for their 2017 Book Competitions. Full-length manuscripts will be accepted from January 1 - March 31, 2017. There are three competitions: First Book Poetry Competition with judge Suzanne Buffam; Open Book Poetry Competition with judges Rebecca Gayle Howell, Lo Kwa Mei-En, & Lee Upton; Essay Collection Competition with judge Renee Gladman. Winners will receive a $1,000 prize, publication, and a standard royalty contract.

Australian Book Review welcomes entries in the eleventh Calibre Essay Prize, Australia’s premier prize for a non-fiction essay. Essays must be between 3,000 and 7,000 words and must be written in English. The judges are Sheila Fitzpatrick, Peter Rose, and Geordie Williamson. The first prize is AU$5,000 with a supplementary prize of AU$2,500. Deadline for entries is 15 March 2017.

Friends of Falun Gong is excited to announce their new poetry contest and is currently taking submissions. FoFG is a U.S.–based non-profit organization interested in advancing human rights through the form of poetry. There is no entry fee. All winners will be published on FoFG’s website. 1st Place winners (adult, college, and youth) will appear in print in the Society of Classical Poets Journal. The deadline is April 30, 2017.

The Writer Magazine is opening up their pages to their readers. Their “Your Turn” essay contest asks readers to write a 2,000-word essay about any aspect of the writing life. Any topic is fair game, so long as it pertains to some aspect of writing. Every submitted essay will be considered for paid publication, and the grand prize is $1,000. The deadline is Februray 25, 2017.

Shelterbelt Press is now accepting submissions for its first Poetry Prize, which being judged by Ada Limón! The winning book will be published by Shelterbelt Press in the fall of 2017. Winners receive a $500 award, 25 copies of their book, plus a trip to the University of Illinois Springfield for a reading and launch party.

Conferences, Workshops, and More

The Baltic Writing Residency is extremely excited to announce the establishment of the Stormé DeLarverie writing residency, specifically aimed at under-represented writers. They are currently taking applications. It will offer 6-7 days in a Victorian apartment in historic Old Louisville, or off of the Blue Ridge Parkway in idyllic Boone, NC (1.5 hrs from Asheville; 1 hr from Winston-Salem). The date of the residency will be decided through discussion with the winning writer, as will the choice of KY or NC. The deadline in June 15, 2017.

CLMP is seeking readers for the 2017 Firecracker Awards, an awards series devoted to celebrating independent literary publishers and self-published works of high literary merit. Right now we are looking for readers to review book-length submissions in Fiction, Poetry, and Creative Nonfiction. If you are interested please email Natalie Mesnard at

Profane Journal is currently seeking a poetry editor, in addition to poetry, nonfiction, and fiction readers. All positions are unpaid.

Something to add? Send it to We're especially interested in opportunities that cater to new and emerging writers.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Recommended Reading- December 2016

Starting this month, the Ashland MFA will share books recommended by our program’s faculty. We're including instructional guides, anthologies, and classics of the craft, all meant to be helpful tools for developing writers. Listed below are this month’s recommendations.

Creative Nonfiction

The Art of the Personal Essay, ed. by Phillip Lopate

Recommended by Steve Harvey

This is by far the most influential and extensive collection of personal essays in English. It contains work from antiquity and from Europe in translation as well as classic works by English and American Essayists. Lopate’s choices are judicious and representative and, read as a whole, give a sense of scope of this new and, before him, largely unchartered genre.


The Poem Is You: 60 Contemporary American Poems and How to Read Them by Stephen Burt

Recommended by Angela Estes

This book was just published and offers a terrific introduction to the varied kinds of poetry of the late 20th and early 21st centuries by devoting 2-3 page essays to each poem, examining how and why the poem works. It's a great way, too, for students to expand their reading.


Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Recommended by our fiction instructors, Erika Krouse, E.J. Levy, and William Haywood Henderson

This novel is remarkable for having the ultimate unreliable narrator and antihero as well as its powerful narrative voice and style.

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

Recommended by the fiction instructors, Erika Krause, E.J. Levy, and William Haywood Henderson

Readers should pay special attention to this novel’s use of setting and theme.

* Photo at top of page is "Book and Glass" by Pasi Mämmelä, used courtesy of Creative Commons license via Flickr

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Ashland University MFA at AWP

Ashland MFA faculty members and alumni are represented on multiple panels at the AWP Conference in Washington, DC, February 8-11, 2017. 

Below is a list of conference sessions involving our Ashland writing community. Know of a book signing, reading, or other event that we’ve missed? Please let us know so we can add it to the list:

We’ll be at Booth #167, so stop by and say hello. Students, faculty, and alumni who would like to help man the booth for an hour or so, please contact Cassy at 
See you in Washington, DC!

Thursday, February 9

R196. A 25th Anniversary Reading by CGU's Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award Winners 
Thursday,12:00 pm- 1:15 pm
Location: Room 206, Washington Convention Center, Level Two
Claremont Graduate University’s Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award is one of the most prestigious prizes a contemporary poet can receive. The Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award was created in 1993 to both honor a poet and provide resources to allow literary artists to continue honing their craft. These past recipients of the Kingsley Tufts Awards showcase the breadth and depth, as well as geographic and aesthetic diversity, of the poetry that CGU’s Tufts Awards supports and celebrates.

Book Signing: 
Moon City Press Table (125)
Thursday, 2:00-3:00 pm
Ashland MFA graduate Sarah Freligh will sign copies of her award winning poetry collection Sad Math at the Moon City Press table. 

Thursday, 3:00-4:15 pm
Location: Room 202A, Washington Convention Center, Level Two

As fiction writers, we often feel pressure to write inside the confines our own experience, as defined by our ethnic identity, gender, sexual orientation, economic class, and so on. This panel explores the edges and interstices of that pressure. In what contexts is it acceptable to write outside such confines? In what contexts is it not? What does "diversity" mean when creating a fictional world? As writers, who has cultural permission to press past the confines of one's own identity?

Thursday, 4:30 pm- 5:45 pm
Location: Marquis Salon 1 & 2, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two
Illness and health, injury and healing, life and death: medical subjects carry drama and our core humanity. No wonder ours is a golden age of nonfiction by physicians and nurses. Five college and MFA faculty present the literary strategies of medical authors they love to teach. How do these scribes portray patients with diseases, the vicissitudes of treatment, the healer’s empathy, the toll it takes on all? How do we teach our students the art and craft of reading and writing medical narrative?

Friday, February 10

Friday, 9:00 am- 10:15 am
Location: Capital & Congress, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four
"When the vein of jade/is revealed in the rock," Lu Chi writes in his classic The Art of Writing, "the whole mountain glistens." Likewise, a single detail can reveal the meaning and mystery of a scene, an essay, or a book. Practitioners of various nonfiction forms, from journalism to hybrid, each choose a particular detail from a well-regarded nonfiction and show how it becomes—by its context, its imagery, its power to—the vein of jade that allows the whole to glisten.

Friday, 10:30 am- 11:45 am
Location: Room 101, Washington Convention Center, Level One
The internet is the most significant advance in writing and publishing since Gutenberg, and it's also one of the defining subjects of contemporary literature. It can be a powerful tool and a supreme distraction, an interruption or inspiration. Writers of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction talk about how the web has influenced their work and working lives, and discuss the internet as a subject, compositional instrument, publishing platform, and (sometimes troubling) extension of the writer’s brain.

Friday, 10:30 am- 11:45 am
Location: Archives, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four
Writing with empathy in mind, especially in nonfiction, can create texture in our work and be transformative for both writer and reader. On this panel we explore various angles of perspective: scenes where narrators show empathy toward other characters—especially ones who are unlikeable—and vice versa, reflections that suggest empathy of a memoirist for a younger self, as well as techniques for showing empathy, as a writer, for the reader, and from both reader and writer for the nonhuman world.

12:00 pm to 1:15 pm
Location: Salon F, Washington Convention Center, Level One
When we talk about the structure of narrative, it is often by using the Freytag pyramid: rising action, plateau, denoument, climax, and so on. This panel will discuss the reality of plotting/structuring a novel, often using criteria that has little or nothing to do with Freytag. Structure can be based on criteria unconcerned with plot and plot can go far from structure. What possibilities exist and how might we offer such possibilities to ourselves and our students?

Friday, 3:00 pm- 4:15 pm
Location: Liberty Salon N, O, & P, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four
How do writers follow the thread of a thought through the maze of events in an essay or memoir? What is the art of reflection? Writers of nonfiction may have more latitude than poets or fiction writers to tell as well as show in their work, but the challenge is to keep these ruminations from becoming dull, simplistic, or moralistic. Panelists examine the way writers keep ideas lively and offer techniques for effectively weaving the thread of thought into the fabric of nonfiction.

F268. The Village of Your Novel 
Friday, 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm
Location: Room 207B, Washington Convention Center, Level Two
Rebecca Smith,  Carole Burns,  Robin Black,  Margot Livesey
Jane Austen advised that three or four families in a country village was the very thing to work on. Two hundred years since the publication of Emma, the idea of the village of your novel can help you manage a cast of characters, build tension, and create a sense of place. This international panel looks at ways writers create villages (inner city or rural) and demonstrates practical methods and exercises for leading readers into a convincing world, utilizing its spaces and playing with its rules. 

Friday, 4:30 pm- 5:45 pm
Location: Marquis Salon 6, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two
Robbie Maakestad, Speer Morgan, Jodee Stanley, Sarah M. Wells, Joel Hans
As readers increasingly turn to the internet for literary content, journals face a serious question: print or digital? For The Missouri Review, River Teeth, Ninth Letter, Cartridge Lit, Fairy Tale Review, and Phoebe, the answer has been a mixture of both mediums. Editors discuss solutions, such as audio/podcast platforms, online issues, digital chapbooks, blogs, and digital archival, which their journals have implemented to fit the evolving literary landscape.

AWP Ashland Gathering
Friday, 5-6 p.m.
Location: Shaw's Tavern 520 Florida Ave NW
Join us for refreshments and socializing!  

Offsite Creative Nonfiction Reading
Friday, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm 
Location: Shaw's Tavern 520 Florida Ave NW
Join Under the Gum Tree, Fourth Genre, and River Teeth for a happy hour. Three magazines publishing exclusively nonfiction are partnering on this event to  bring you a line up of previous contributors. Grap your happy hour drink of choice from the cash bar and toast to some true stories. Readers will include MFA Faculty Steve Harvey. 

Nuclear Impact: Broken Atoms in Our Hands Pre-Publication Party/Reading
Friday, 7:00 pm 
Location: Renaissance Hotel
Alumni Joseph Hess will read as part of the pre-publication event for the forthcoming Nuclear Impact Anthology: Broken Atoms in our Hands. Joe will have three poems in the collection which comes out in February. 

Saturday, February 11

Saturday, 9:00 am- 10:15 am
Location: Marquis Salon 3 & 4, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two
This panel of Hudson Whitman authors—first-time and established—will read from their books, demonstrating that a small independent press—devoted to books on nursing, health care, education, and the military—can be a smart, vibrant, and alternative publisher of socially relevant nonfiction.

S180. The Path to Publishing a First Story Collection. 
Saturday, 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm
Location: Liberty Salon M, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four
(Erin Stalcup,  Robin Black,  Lori Ostlund,  Melissa Yancy) 
Four authors discuss their different paths to publishing their first books. One of the panelists got an agented two-book deal with a big New York house, one got an unagented contract with a small university press, and two won contests: the Drue Heinz Prize and the Flannery O’Connor Award. They’ll share their stories, and provide resources and handouts to help audience members understand ideal and realistic possibilities, and navigate their own journeys to publication.

Saturday, 3:00 pm- 4:15 pm
Location: Room 203AB, Washington Convention Center, Level Two
Do poets who translate produce a new poem that imitates the source material, or do they bring across the idiom and word in the full definition of the word "translating"? Are poets vehicles for the work they translate, or are they called on to recreate? If the latter, what is permissible within the context of literary translation? The following languages are used as examples in this panel: Danish, French, Hebrew, Kurdish, and Romanian.

Saturday, 3:00 pm- 4:15 pm
Location: Capital & Congress, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four
Many essayists have employed speculation throughout the form’s history, relying wholly on speculation (relating nothing verifiable) rather than engaging “fact.” Virginia Woolf’s “Death of a Moth,” for example, does not require a verifiable moth to achieve its power. But what are the limits to speculation? Must essayists always signal their speculative intentions? Can an essayist delve into the traditional realm of the fiction writer, overturning traditional notions of point of view in the essay?

Click here to see the complete AWP Conference schedule.