Three by Five Welcomes Back Trish Hopkinson with Three by Five Part III

 

TH4Today’s installment of January’s Three by Five conversation with Poet Trish Hopkinson is about the writing life.

VAH: Are you a full-time writer?

TH: I have a full-time job as a project manager for a software company. I’ve been with the company for over 15 years and I love what I do, but writing poetry is a necessity for me. I just am not happy unless I make time for it.

VAH: What gets you writing?

TH: I collect writing prompts, but I rarely refer back to them. I almost always have something in mind or on a list that I want to write, and since I have limited time available to actually do the writing, I’m usually ready to go when I do sit down to write.

VAH: I’ve got a whole book of prompts and ideas and even have them land in my email box. Like you, I rarely refer back to them. What is your “process” when working on a new piece of writing?

TH: Once I have a topic, I start composing the first lines and edit as I go. Once I have the first draft done, I’ll go back and do the first revision immediately—look for better word choices to add alliteration, assonance, and/or consonance; take out all the line breaks and then put in new line breaks, etc. If I do get stuck mid-poem, I’ll look for a form to help me move it along, such as a villanelle or a sonnet.

VAH: Do you have a submission system or plan?

TH: My process for submitting has really evolved over the last year. Essentially, I rely on Duotrope to track most submissions, I put deadlines in my Outlook calendar, and I keep a spreadsheet of the poems I want to submit, have submitted, and whether or not they’ve already been published and where. Since my time is limited, it’s important to me to be as efficient as possible. I have templates for cover letters and several bios of different lengths to help the submission process go more quickly.

VAH: Duotrope has been very helpful for me. I found I’m able to keep better track of where I’ve sent a piece that has gone out numerous times and not yet found a home. I’m trying a spreadsheet this year, after years of a pen and notebook tracker as well as Duotrope. What does your typical writing day include?

TH: I usually try to spend a few hours a few days a week. I get the urgent stuff out of the way first—submissions with deadlines and blog posts. If I am writing something new for a submission, I make sure to give myself at least a couple of weeks to write and revise before the deadline. If I have an idea for poem, sometimes I just have to stop everything else that I’m doing and get it written.

 

More Trish Hopkinson later in the month. Till then, enjoy this poem – Footnote to a Footnote via the Chagrin River Review.

Bonus question: What is a little known fact about you that will amaze and/or amuse?

TH: I’m a Deadhead. I love the Grateful Dead and used to go to concerts whenever I could before Jerry Garcia died.

Provo, Utah poet Trish Hopkinson contributes to the writing community with her blog where she shares interesting writing tips, articles, calls for submissions (no fee only), and other info to help promote writing and poetry in general. She has always loved words—in fact, her mother tells everyone she was born with a pen in her hand. She has two chapbooks Emissions and Pieced Into Treetops and has been published in several anthologies and journals, including The Found Poetry ReviewChagrin River Review, and Reconnaissance Magazine. She is a project manager by profession and resides in Utah with her handsome husband and their two outstanding children. You can follow her poetry adventures online at her website, or Facebook or visit her on Linkedin.

Three by Five interviews publish on days that end in 3!

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Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize – Publishers Take Note

Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize

Since 1976, the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender and Women’s Studies and the Department of English at the University of Rochester have awarded the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for fiction by an American woman.  The idea for the prize came out of the personal grief of the friends and family of a fine young editor who was killed in an automobile accident just as her career was beginning to achieve its promise of excellence. She was 30 years old, and those who knew her believed she would do much to further the causes of literature and women. Her family, her friends, and her professional associates in the publishing industry created the endowment from which the prize is bestowed, in memory of Janet Heidinger Kafka and the literary standards and personal ideals for which she stood.

How to Enter:

  1. All entries must be submitted by publishers who wish to have the work of their authors that were published in the year 2014 considered. No self-published works or works from vanity presses will be accepted.
  2. Entries must be submitted by February 1st , 2015, and the works must have been assembled for the first time. For collections of short stories: at least one-third of the material must have been previously unpublished before the release of the collection to be submitted.
  3. Four copies of each entry should be submitted.
  4. The $7,500 prize will be awarded annually to a woman who is a USA citizen, and who has written the best book-length work of prose fiction, whether novel, short stories, or experimental writing. Works written primarily for children and publications from private and vanity presses cannot be considered. We are particularly interested in calling attention to the work of a promising but less established writer.
  5. Only under the most unusual circumstances will a writer be considered for a subsequent award within a ten-year span.
  6. Please download the application form (PDF) and submit entries toUniversity of Rochester
    Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize
    Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender and Women’s Studies
    538 Lattimore Hall
    RC Box 270434
    Rochester, NY 14627-4034

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Rock the Personal Essay

The personal essay is its own beast in the genre of nonfiction narrative. Essay is a personal favorite of mine and for a long while, (especially while laboring towards the MFA) the main focus of my writing. Tucking away into a Best of collection is a nice way to while away a rainy afternoon and there are shelves of annual travel, science, essay, and spiritual writing best of collections about my house. The telling of a personal event or moment that was intimately individual yet with universal resonance  is such an inviting medium.

Jessica Smock posted an excellent primer for how to write a personal essay in June last year that is en evergreen post if ever there was one. An editor for the HerStories Project, if you want some insight for how to get an editor to absolutely want your essay, surf on over and read her June 11, 2014 post How to Write a Personal Essay That Will Dazzle an Editor.

By the way, over at the HerStories Project, there is a call for submission for a new column called HerStories Voices for personal essays of 2000 words that will “highlight the best of women’s voices and show the uniqueness and commonalities of women’s experiences.” Here’s the link. Pays $40 when accepted for publication.

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Three by Five Welcomes Back Trish Hopkinson with Three by Five Part II

TH1

VAH: Welcome back to January’s conversation with Utah poet, Trish Hopkinson. In this installment, let’s talk a little about what the writer reads. Trish who would you say is your favorite literary character?

TH: Dean Moriarty from Jack Kerouac’s novel On the Road. I really loved the free spirit and mystery of Neal Cassady, of whom the character was based upon.

VAH: What about a favorite author?

TH: I really love Ernest Hemingway. His writing seems accessible, inspiring, and entertaining. I need to read much more of his work.

VAH: He was once my favorite also. I’ve moved on to Diana Gabaldon now as my all time favorite. Trish, imagine you’re stranded in a snowstorm, stuck on a deserted island. What books would you hope to have with you or find?

TH: Moby Dick. Because I still haven’t finished it! I just never seem to have the time I want to spend reading it as carefully as I’d like to.

VAH: Your likelihood of being stranded in a snowstorm there in Provo is probably higher than on an island. That’s a good long read to have on your phone or tucked in your bag. Do you have a most memorable book, story or poem you’ve read?

TH: “Daddy” by Sylvia Plath. I discovered her work when I was in my early teens and it fascinated me. I had never really read confessional poetry until then and I was hooked immediately.

VAH: There’s a lot to unpack in that one. And what is your favorite book, poem, or story?

TH: “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain, (340)” by Emily Dickinson. I love her concise style and the power she packed into every syllable.

VAH: That’s an interesting one to spend some time with.

Thanks Trish, for this delightful look into what the writer reads.

And now, a bonus, random life question. If you had a super power, what would it be?

LH: Well, to stop time of course!

More Trish Hopkinson later in the month. Till then, enjoy this poem – A Poet Searches for ‘Sex’ in the Salt Lake Tribune.

Provo, Utah poet Trish Hopkinson contributes to the writing community with her blog where she shares interesting writing tips, articles, calls for submissions (no fee only), and other info to help promote writing and poetry in general. She has always loved words—in fact, her mother tells everyone she was born with a pen in her hand. She has two chapbooks Emissions and Pieced Into Treetops and has been published in several anthologies and journals, including The Found Poetry ReviewChagrin River Review, and Reconnaissance Magazine. She is a project manager by profession and resides in Utah with her handsome husband and their two outstanding children. You can follow her poetry adventures online at her website, or Facebook or visit her on Linkedin.

Three by Five interviews publish on days that end in 3!

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Support the Emerging Writer Prize

The competition for the 2015 Emerging Writer Prize is now complete. This was the 8th year for the writing scholarship contest which provides the registration for one emerging writer to attend the San Francisco Writers Conference. Fundraising for this annual competition is ongoing. Please contribute to the Emerging Writer Prize here. Thank you.

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Emerging Writer Prize Winner Announced

The 2015 Victoria A. Hudson Emerging Writer Prize winner is:

Kristen Falso-Capaldi

“ You always stop writing eventually,” my inner voice said. “Wouldn’t you rather make cheese…I’m going to make some coffee now. It’s very early, and I’ve got lots to say before I leave for work.”

Kristen Falso-Capaldi is a writer, musician and public high school teacher. The latter position has led her to believe she could run a small country if given the opportunity. She is the singer and lyricist for a folk/acoustic duo Kristen & J, she has finished a novel and has co-written a screenplay, Teachers: The Movie, which was an official selection for the 2014 Houston Comedy Film Festival. Kristen’s short story, “Of Man and Mouse” was published in the December 2013 issue of Underground Voices magazine, and several of her micro-fiction pieces have received accolades in various contests. Kristen lives in a small town in northern Rhode Island with her husband and cat.

Kristen will receive a scholarship for her registration to attend the 2015 San Francisco Writers Conference, February 12-15. She will also receive a signed copy of No Red Pen: Writers, Writing Groups and Critique as well as the E-book version. Her winning entry will post here in February.

Congratulations Kristen!

This year there were 37 entries for consideration. There were more semi-finalists than ever before and competition for the final four was quite strong. Each of their entries are expected to post here over the next few months.

Competition for 2016 opens on September 1st.

 

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Emerging Writer Prize Runner-up Announced

Runner-up and Honorable Mention for the 2015 Victoria A. Hudson Emerging Writer Prize goes to:

Caroline Zarlengo Sposto

“I write because writing is the final thing I want to do.”

Caroline Sposto began writing poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction in earnest four years ago when her daughters went off to college. Her work has since been published in The Saturday Evening Post, Family Circle Magazine, and an assortment of literary magazines and anthologies in the U.S., the U.K and Canada. She is a Memphis correspondent forBroadwayworld.com, and Poetry Editor of the Humor in Americablog. In 2011, she was chosen to participate in the Moss Workshop in Fiction at the University of Memphis with author Richard Bausch. In 2013, she won second place in The Great American Think-off––an amateur philosophy competition that culminates in a public debate in New York Mills, Minnesota. In 2014, she was chosen to spend the summer as a writer in residence at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, New Mexico. She feels grateful a wistful turning point in life became a happy adventure!

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Finalists for the Victoria A. Hudson Emerging Writer Prize

Introducing the four finalists for this year’s Emerging Writer Prize.

Kristen Falso-Capaldi

“I’m going to make some coffee now. It’s very early, and I’ve got lots to say before I leave for work.”

Kristen Falso-Capaldi is a writer, musician and public high school teacher. The latter position has led her to believe she could run a small country if given the opportunity. She is the singer and lyricist for a folk/acoustic duo Kristen & J, she has finished a novel and has co-written a screenplay, Teachers: The Movie, which was an official selection for the 2014 Houston Comedy Film Festival. Kristen’s short story, “Of Man and Mouse” was published in the December 2013 issue of Underground Voices magazine, and several of her micro-fiction pieces have received accolades in various contests. Kristen lives in a small town in northern Rhode Island with her husband and cat.

Ali McCart

“I write because I will no longer censor my narrator.”

Ali McCart’s first publishing job was collating and saddle-stitching a quarterly travel journal before she could even read—that’s what happens to a child of printers and publishers. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in English from Willamette University and a master’s degree in book publishing from Portland State University. She’s the founder and executive editor of Indigo Editing & Publications, where she’s helped authors hone their craft since 2005. Despite all this experience in publishing, she only recently began her journey as a writer.

Phylise Smith

“I write because why I write is an essay, an essay of life, an essay on writing. Why do I write? I write Because.”

Phylise Smith is a dancer storyteller who is transitioning from speaking through movement to speaking through the written word. Before attempting fiction, she published scholarly articles on dance in Choreography and Dance Journal and other dance periodicals.

More recently, she has worked with fiction writers, Ayana Mathis, Leslie Schwartz and Debra Dean. As evidence of her emerging talent, Phylise has been awarded several writing scholarships including scholarships to participate in the Eckert College Writers’ Conference in Florida and the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference.

Phylise has studied writing at UCLA Extension Writer’s program and is currently working on a novel on how tradition impacts women’s lives.

Caroline Zarlengo Sposto

“I write because writing is the final thing I want to do.”

Caroline Sposto began writing poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction in earnest four years ago when her daughters went off to college. Her work has since been published in The Saturday Evening Post, Family Circle Magazine, and an assortment of literary magazines and anthologies in the U.S., the U.K and Canada. She is a Memphis correspondent for Broadwayworld.com, and Poetry Editor of the Humor in America blog. In 2011, she was chosen to participate in the Moss Workshop in Fiction at the University of Memphis with author Richard Bausch. In 2013, she won second place in The Great American Think-off––an amateur philosophy competition that culminates in a public debate in New York Mills, Minnesota. In 2014, she was chosen to spend the summer as a writer in residence at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, New Mexico. She feels grateful a wistful turning point in life became a happy adventure!

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I Write Because I am a Coward

Victoria A. Hudson Emerging Writer Prize Semi-finalist Augustine Wetta’s response to the prompt – Why I write…

I Write Because I Am a Coward

I write because I am a coward. I am aware that this sounds like false humility. It is false humility. But it is also true.

Twenty-­‐four years ago, when I was working as a lifeguard in Galveston, Texas, I had to pull a corpse out of the water. The body had been drifting alongshore among the crabs and sharks
for three days. When I arrived on the scene, there was a crowd gathered at the water’s edge, jittery and hushed and expectant; and I remember that I was very frightened because no one knew exactly where the body was. That meant I’d have to swim out there and just keep swimming in circles until I bumped into it. I remember calling into my radio for backup, but knowing that help would be a long time coming because Tower 53 was seventeen miles from Headquarters. And I remember how warm the water was that day, and how every tendril of seaweed that brushed against my skin made me gasp and grit my teeth.

But most of vividly of all—and this is the part that still gives me nightmares—I remember realizing that at any moment, I might just…come unglued. There was a real chance that, in front of all those people, I’d throw my buoy in the sand and run away. That was a real possibility. And I remember saying to myself as I pushed deeper into the water that if I could just set one foot in front of the other, eventually it would all be over.

I am a monk now. I have lived as a Benedictine monk for seventeen years, and I think the reason I write is the same as the reason I pray. Frightening and lonely as it can be, I find that more often than not, one foot follows the other. And I take
consolation in this act of writing, because on that day in 1990, when I stepped into the surf to retrieve the body of an unidentified thirty-­‐year-­‐old Caucasian male, I never found him. Deliberately. I shuffled around in the shallows where I knew I’d never find him—and I stayed there until my supervisors showed up. Then they swam out and retrieved the corpse while I pretended to help.

So you see, I’ve thrown my lot in with the cowards. And although I don’t imagine that I’m much worse of a sinner than anyone else, the fact remains that I’ve stood in the shallows while someone else swam deep and did my job. And I’ve done this more than once. My soul is littered with corpses: unspoken apologies, unwritten letters, unpunished wrongs and unanswered prayers.

Twenty years later, alone in my cell, looking out over the cloister garden, I sometimes think of these failures, and of that day at the 53rd Street Beach, and I am ashamed. But then I begin to write. I put one foot in front of the other. And out of the depths, the corpses begin to surface. I drag them to shore and I give them names.

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Down to Five!

There are some really interesting entries in this year’s Emerging Writer competition and it’s been tough to whittle down the field. Working through the semi-finalists to identify the top three requires critical reading of both the prompt response and the writing sample. With such a large bucket full of semi-finalists, both the writing sample and the prompt response must evoke a strong resonance. Some years, a grand writing sample or stellar prompt response will tip the scale. This year, both facets of the entry must be outstanding not just as a stand alone reading, but ranked within the field of entries.

I’ll be posting a few of the semi-finalists’ prompt responses between now and the conference. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed reading them.

Congratulations in no particular order to the top five:

Tonissa Saul

Kristen Falso-Capaldi

Ali McCart

Phylise Smith

Caroline Zarlengo Sposto

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