Monday, June 30, 2008

CFS: AIDS Project Los Angeles Anthology

Call for Submissions: APLA Writing Project 2009 / Co-editors: Tisa Bryant and Ernest Hardy.

Our world is at a crossroads. We daily witness economic meltdowns and uncertain job markets, boiling religious fundamentalism, issues of immigration as borders melt or collapse, age-old and brand new manifestations of racism, and the exploding spread of AIDS in communities of color. But we’re also at a crossroads of enormous possibility, resistance and revolution. It’s an opportunity to create new definitions and terms of success, of blackness and gayness / queerness / same gender lovingness. It’s a crucial moment for reexamining our visions and expectations of self and community.

At this crossroads, we are collaborating with AIDS Project Los Angeles to publish the fourth in their series of book-length collections of writing and images that grapple with the questions of what it means to be, know and love gay men of African descent in the 21st century. Where have we been? Where are we going? What’s on the horizon?

We want to share your responses to these questions with the world. We seek poetry, short stories, essays, articles, excerpts from novels / plays / screenplays, dreams, journal entries, photo essays, blog posts, collages, manifestoes, or email exchanges that imaginatively contextualize black gay men’s lives in connection with your own. Give us some sharp focus portraits, lingering close ups, long-range views, backwards glances of who you’re looking at, where you’re coming from , and what matters most in the worlds you make and imagine.
We especially seek works that explode conventions around racial, sexual, religious or regional identities, that challenge, provoke, are brave and unexpected. All submissions will be seriously considered, from straightforward and linear stories of lived experiences, political activism, and cultural criticism, to experimental pieces that toy with language and cross boundaries of genre and form. What we want, what we need, and what we believe in is your unfiltered but masterfully rendered truth.

Text entries: 1,200 words maximum. Poems must be two (2) pages or less.

Graphic art: B&W, hi-res 300 DPI, TIFF file format. Color art that can be published in B&W will also be considered.

Deadline for submissions – July 30, 2008

Text must be emailed as a very clean (proofread) attachment from a word-processing application, formatted as intended for publication, and must include, your name, title of work, type of work (essay, article, poem, visual art, etc.), length (word count), email address; and a 50-word bio and photograph of writer/artist.

The subject line should read, Book Submission (genre), e.g., “Book Submission (Fiction)”

PAYMENT: $100 for your submission and 10 copies of the book.

Address all correspondence, including queries to, tiscern@gmail. com

Press release

For Immediate Release: AIDS Project Los Angeles Releases third in series of publications focused on Black Gay Men and HIV/AIDS

Los Angeles, Calif., June 24, 2008 – AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) today announced the publication of To Be Left with the Body, the latest in a series of publications created by and for black gay and bisexual men to explore the impact of HIV/AIDS on their lives. Co-edited by Cheryl Clarke and Steven G. Fullwood, the collection features contributions from 16 writers and poets, and a series of photographs by New York artist Artis Q. "AIDS Project Los Angeles is committed to a robust and relevant conversation with black gay men about HIV risk," said APLA Director of Health and Wellness Programs Vallerie D. Wagner, who wrote the book's foreword. "We have a responsibility to take action, stand firm and stem the tide of this pandemic."Gathered into four sections, the essays, poems and stories of To Be Left with the Body pose provocative questions ("Who is the HIV/AIDS virus pushing us to become?") and offer accounts of "bodies . . . at war with themselves; bodies aging, being positive, holding illiness; and seeking and finding their grace." Throughout the book, Artis Q.'s series of seven photographs, "Me and My Shadow," shows well-known New York City landmarks layered with an ever-present black male silhouette. As Ms. Wagner writes in her foreward, To Be Left with the Body aims to expose the "hidden face of AIDS" and begin to conquer the "silence, stigma and denial" that have become the "inevitable result" of the spread of HIV into communities of color. A 2005 study in five major U.S. cities found that 46 percent of black men who have sex with men (MSM) in the study were infected with HIV, compared with 21 percent of white MSM and 17 percent of Latino MSM. Since that time, APLA has engaged a wide network of writers and artists to help drive conversations about HIV/AIDS among gay men of color through cultural production. To Be Left with the Body follows APLA publications Think Again (2003) and If We Have to Take Tomorrow (2006).

To place orders for the book, please contact Patrick Hebert at 213.201.1537. To download a copy, visit http://www.apla. org/publications /publications. html.

Title: To Be Left with the Body
Date: June 2008
Editors: Cheryl Clarke and Steven G. Fullwood
Contributors: Samiya Bashir, Raymond Berry, Cheryl Boyce-Taylor, Ramsey Brisueno, Jewelle Gomez, francine harris, A. Naomi Jackson, Ana-Maurine Lara, Dante Michaeux, Conrad Pegues, Kevin Simmonds, Pamela Sneed, Terence Taylor, Marvin K. White, james witherspoon, avery r. young.
Publisher: AIDS Project Los Angeles
Graphic Design: Patrick "Pato" Hebert
Images: Artis Q and Steven G. Fullwood
Pages: 84

AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA), one of the largest non-profit AIDS service organizations in the United States, provides bilingual direct services, prevention education and leadership on HIV/AIDS-related policy and legislation. Marking 25 years of service in 2008, APLA is a community-based, volunteer-supported organization with local, national and global reach. For more information, visit

Thursday, June 26, 2008

One-day deadline

The postmark deadline for the 7th annual Oscar Wilde Award is tomorrow, June 27th.

Full details from the publisher:

The 7th Annual Gival Press Oscar Wilde Award

Deadline: June 27, 2008 (postmarked) Our dates never change. If the date falls on a Sunday, then Monday becomes the default postmarked date.

Focus: This award will be given to the best previously unpublished original poem written in English (of any length, in any style, typed, double spaced on one side only), which best relates gay / lesbian / bisexual / transgender life by a poet who is 18 or older.

Submittal: Entrants are asked to submit their poems in the following manner: (1) without any kind of identification, with the exception of the title, and (2) with a separate cover page with the following information: name, address (street, city, and state with zip code), telephone number, email address, if available, and the title of the poem submitted. (3) A short bio should also be included. Poems will not be returned, so poets should keep copies of their poems. A short bio may also be included.

Reading Fee: Poets must submit a reading fee of $5.00 (USD) for each individual poem submitted, regardless of the length. Checks or money orders drawn on American banks, routed through a USA address, such as Bank of America, should be made payable to Gival Press, LLC. Overseas money orders are not acceptable. Mail to: Robert L. Giron, Editor; Gival Press Oscar Wilde Award; Gival Press, LLC; P.O. Box 3812; Arlington, VA 22203.

Notification of the Winner: Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE) for notification of the winner or visit our website (http://www. givalpress. com), where the winner and finalists will be announced. The winner is usually announced on or before September 1.

Prize: The winner will receive $100.00 (USD), and the poem, along with information about the poet, will be published on the website of Gival Press (http://www. givalpress. com). The winner will be asked to sign a release form for payment. In addition, Gival Press hopes to publish an anthology of the winners of this award along with the best poems submitted to the contest over a period of several years.

Judging: Poems will be judged anonymously by the previous winner of the award. The decision made by the judge will be final.

Discount Offered to Entrants: Anyone who has entered a Gival Press contest may purchase any books published or distributed by Gival Press at a 20% discount off the retail price, with free shipment. Credit cards are preferred. Kindly either call us (703.351.0079 - leave a message if we can't answer when you call and we will call you back) or send us an email with your phone number and we will call you, as we only accept the credit card information by phone.

Monday, June 16, 2008

"After the River Crests"

I've admired Taylor Graham's poems for several years--she publishes widely--and was happy to buy a copy of her 2005 chapbook, Under the Shuttle, Awake, from Dancing Girl Press.

Nice sepia-tone cover photo byAlaina Burri-Stone; adequate construction (crooked stapling, pages not trimmed) (sorry, but these things matter); pretty good poems. Here are three:


The ones who drowned no longer believe
in luck, the random confluence of details
whereby small, intricately-shaped parts
not intended for each other suddenly fit
together and function. They know
everything is intended: the singing of whisks
and the snick-snick of bolts, the shush
of broomstraws, slip of reels, ratcheting
of gears. They’ve learned how everything
draws to this organ-swell, the everlasting
gravity of water. Their eyes have gone
moist as if with joy as, one by one, they
jump to the hooks, amazed as fish.


Bad dreams pasted the moon upside-down
on the inside of the window.
A sliver moon sharply cut from black and gray
shines above the ancient suck of waves
along the beach, expanses of sand
that once covered dead horses washed up
and left eroding in their natural furrows
as the surf keeps wasting it away.
How terrible the horses with their long necks
pointing out to sea, their snakes of necks not moving.

How can anyone speak of going out
for dinner? Some pricy place
where palm trees hold up the ceiling
and the servers are greasy with prawns.
A tongue is nothing but living muscle
for all its taste of salt.
Here’s this dark box
full of possible pictures. Outside,
the deep sea strikes its light.


Who are you
anyway? he wants to know.

Never answer in your own voice.

The yellow rose unpetals
in its vase.
The table reflects your own
face in its polish. It admits
nothing of itself except
plain wood-grain.
So much is moving underneath
a dinner plate—

in all the world
so many hungers.

Let him talk.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

"After the Long Party"

This week's* featured chapbook is a collaboration between Stephen Dunn and Lawrence Raab: Winter at the Caspian Sea was published around 1998 by the now-defunct Palanquin Press, and it's a pleasant read. Dunn & Raab explain their collaborative process--a sort of modified "exquisite corpse" with a few other parameters thrown in--in the introduction, and confess that their wives, as first readers, were usually dead-on accurate about which prized lines belonged to which writer. I've read much more of Dunn's work (most of it, going way back to Full of Lust and Good Usage--still a great title!--in the mid-80s) than Raab's (though I still feel more drawn to his early work--The Collector of Cold Weather, for example--than the last two books), but found it was easy enough to forego the game of who said what? as I read through the poems, enjoying instead their sometimes surprisingly recursive qualities (surprising because, for me, one of the joys of writing collaboratively is--well--the surprise, the unexpected territory into which the poems sometimes leap--or fall).

The book is handsomely produced on heavy papers with nice cardstock covers. It's saddle-stapled, alas, but I was lucky enough to get a copy signed by both authors. Mine is #88 of 300.

Incidentally, I tried a couple years ago to reach someone at the press when they were still housed at Aiken (USC); I wanted to teach John Repp's Things Work Out along with several other chaps in my poetry class. I left messages by phone and e-mail but never heard from anyone; I heard just today from someone that the press relocated but went under after that. A shame. Maybe somewhere out there is a box with a few extant copies? Why don't a few independent presses step forward and take on the service (because it is, after all, purely that) of distributing these (presumably) remaining copies, or at least piggybacking a small press's backlist onto their catalog or web site? I don't know all that much about such things, but it seems to me that this could be done.

Anyway. Here's a poem from Winter at the Caspian Sea:

After the Long Party

Silence once again was looking to conceal itself
as if there weren’t enough of it to last until morning.
I looked up at the stars, their vague invitations,
and you came out to join me, your words tremulous,
hanging in the stilled air. Then neither of us spoke.
I felt something was burning up all over the world,
reducing itself to ash. Maybe it was language itself,
its misuse, its tendency to adhere itself to power.
You said you didn’t want to be like some circus elephant
made to stand tiptoe among the din of children.
Yes, I agreed, better to throw a tantrum and destroy
the big tent, trample a few of our tormentors.
Things would really get quiet then, I said,
everything so fragile, suddenly small, and desperate.

* - After trying to keep up with my "Friday chap" and then failing even faster with a "weekend chap," I'll do my best to feature a chapbook once a week. Somewhere in the week. Or weekend. Or even Fridays. But don't hold me to it.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

New Quilt Top

I had a lot of fun piecing this one by hand: it measures 15 inches square and the little blocks are less than an inch square. All antique fabrics. I'm selling it on eBay, but if it doesn't go, I'll be delighted to keep it and quilt it myself.

Birthday Bro

I meant to post this yesterday in honor of my big brother's birthday (we won't mention the year): look at him, all sass and motion, just waiting for a baby brother to torment--err, to mentor.

And yes, I just noticed that those words are syllabic opposites of each other. Interesting.

Happy birthday, bro.