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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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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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Three by Five – On Deck Winter and Spring

Three by Five has some interesting writers on tap for the rest of winter and into spring. This month continues with Poet Trish Hopkinson. In February, the 2015 Emerging Writer Prize winner. In March, there’s Texas poet Laurie Kolp. In April it’s Texas poet Ronnie K. Stephens. In May, Canadian poet and novelist Mariah E. Wilson. June brings Canadian poet Carol A. Stephen. Summer and fall will bring other intriguing writers for your discovery.

And as always, if you’re an emerging writer, published author or contributing member of the writing community you’re invited to participate with Three by Five.

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Trish Hopkinson Interview Part I


VAH: Welcome Trish Hopkinson. Thanks for joining the conversation at Three by Five. First up, the fundamental question – Why do you write?TH3

TH: I write for me. I write because I am selfish—a selfish poet. I write because there is something intensely ironic and humane about being human. I write to lift up the heaviness of tangibility, to keep my thoughts light and my breathing deep. I write for my children, to show them that being selfish has a place and makes you more accessible to those you love. I write to uncover sympathy and turn it over, to expose the soft belly of empathy, to peel away layers of hardness, and to be someone’s friend when they need me. I write to relieve the busy-ness behind my eyes, the thoughts that keep me awake when I should be sleepy, and the unsettled havoc of the work week.

VAH: I enjoyed the poetry of your response. Tell us, why did you become a writer and when did you know or feel like you were a writer?

TH: I’ve been writing poetry since I was five or six years old. I have always loved words—in fact, my mother tells everyone I was born with a pen in my hand. I wrote hundreds of poems before turning twenty, most of which I should say were good practice, but nothing notable. I’ve kept them all and I do look back on them from time to time. Writing has always been a part of my life and directed all aspects of it, from my education as an English major to using technical writing to forward my career in the software industry.

VAH: I think most of us have those reams of dusty files tucked away with our first explorations in writing. You’re brave though, to go back through them! Your mom says you were born with a pen in hand, any influences?

TH: The poets I admired growing up certainly influenced me the  most, specifically Sylvia Plath, Allen Ginsberg and the other Beat poets, and of course, Emily Dickinson. On a more personal level, I had some exceptional professors in college, some of whom became good friends and have been very supportive and encouraging.

VAH: What do you remember about your piece of writing? What was it about and what prompted its creation?

TH: I think my very first poem had something to do with church and family and was accompanied by a crayon drawing which I created as a gift for the clergy of our church. Since it was a gift, I no longer have it, but I remember being proud of it.

VAH: Well, seems that gift was blessed in your continued success as a poet. Do you a favorite piece that you’ve written to date?

TH: My favorite poem that I’ve written is “Waiting Around.” It was inspired by Pablo Neruda’s “Walking Around” and in the process of writing it, I very much enjoyed closely reading and studying Neruda’s poem. Often, the process of creating is my favorite part of writing, much more than the finished work itself.

VAH: The journey verses the destination or perhaps the work verses the end product? A good place to pause and interesting idea to consider.

More with Trish Hopkinson later in the month.

Visit Verse-Virtual for a sampler of Trish Hopkinson’s poetry.

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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J. C. Augustine Wetta wins Dr. Ellen Taliaferro Scholarship to SFWC15

From Barbara Santos, of the San Francisco Writers Conference – “The winner of the Dr. Ellen Taliaferro Scholarship for the 2015 San Francisco Writers Conference is J. C. Augustine Wetta, a Benedictine monk. He submitted a beautifully written story with a Gift of the Magi twist at the end. Both Ellen (Dr. T) and I fell in love with the writing and story which we both admitted had us laughing and crying. The Dr. T Scholarship is for memoir writers who use forgiveness to move on with their lives after adversity or illness.”

Congratulations to J. C. Augustine Wetta! Augustine also entered the Victoria A. Hudson Emerging Writer Prize and was a strong contender, having been selected in the top nine of 37 total entries. With selection for Dr. T’s scholarship, this talented writer is no longer in consideration for the Emerging Writers Prize. Congratulations Augustine! I’m looking forward to meeting you next month at the Conference!

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Three by Five Author – J. M. Gregoire Bonus

Author Pic 2J. M. Gregoire Bonus Round

 VAH: Favorite, inspiring quote and why?

JMG: “The problem is not the problem.  Your attitude about the problem is the problem.  Do you understand?” – Jack Sparrow

This is one I recently discovered and it makes SO MUCH SENSE.  It may not be Einstein or Shakespeare, but it’s one of the most brilliant quotes I have ever come across.  Approach obstacles in life with pessimism, and all you’re going to accomplish is making things more difficult for yourself.  Approach it with optimism and you will find the answer to any problem will be much easier to see.

VAH: Three random non writing related facts about you?

JMG: My son and I were both born on Halloween night, 29 years and 3.5 hours apart. If given the choice, and it wouldn’t result in me wearing a wide load sign on my back or a bleeding ulcer, I would live off of buffalo wings alone for the rest of my life. I am one DVD purchase, one book purchase, or one iTunes purchase away from starring in my very own episode of Hoarders.  I am a TV/Movie/Music/Reading junkie equally, but I am told admitting you have a problem is the first step in recovery.

VAH: What would your last meal be?

JMG: Probably shrimp.  Just a great, big shrimp cocktail ring.  I’m allergic to shrimp now, but I wasn’t always.  I ate seafood my whole life, and then one day when I was 26 years old, had a veerrrrrrrrrrrrrrry unpleasant allergic reaction.  I tried it again about six months later with the same result.  After that, my doctor said “Yeah, ummm, stop doing that.”  So, no more seafood for me.  And man, do I miss it!  So, yeah, if I was having my last meal, it would totally be shrimp.

And, of course, it would be my last meal because I probably ended up beating someone to death with a frozen tuna for driving like a moron.  It would be the fishiest instance of road rage ever.

J.M. Gregoire – thanks for being part of Three by Five!

Author Info

J.M. Gregoire was born and raised in New Hampshire, USA, and despite her abhorrence for any season that dares to drop to a temperature below seventy degrees, she still currently resides there with her two children and her two cats. Always a passionate reader, her love of urban fantasy books eventually morphed into a love of writing them. She is currently working on the Demon Legacy series, and has a spin off series, the Killer Instinct series, coming soon.

Visit J.M. Gregoire’s social media or online: Website / BlogFacebookTwitterGoodreadsPinterestInstagram.

Check out The Demon Legacy Series and The Killer Instinct Series.


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And Then There Were Nine

Entries have been further winnowed down to nine semi-finalists for the Emerging Writer Prize.

Congratulations in no particular order to:

Susan Karr

Tonissa Saul

Kristen Falso-Capaldi

J.C. Augustine Wetta

Ali McCart

Eric Maus

Phylise Smith

David Fong

Caroline Zarlengo Sposto

Each writer’s response to the prompt Why I write… brought a spontaneous laugh, a tear, or a sense of resonance that invited me to get to know that writer more. Each response held up as better crafted when compared with others that made it past the preliminary round. The next phase includes reading the writing samples and weighing both their craft in responding to the prompt and the sample of their writing in their chosen genre.

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