New contests

No, I'm not going to become THAT kind of site. And I eschew contests in general, but sometimes when a friend is running one to support a really good magazine and you get an actual subscription worth something for the entry fee, or the entry fee is less than I tip the waitress on an average lunch ticket, I take the plunge. As I will for these contests now running:

Atlanta Review
Smartish Pace - Erskine J Poetry Prize
Alehouse - Happy Hour Contest

Alehouse is a new print journal out of San Francisco, edited by Jay Rubin. Last year's contest was judged by Alicia Ostriker and won by Allison Joseph with "Blind Date," an amazing pantoum. They blend free and formal verse easily and include book reviews and essays on poetry. An excellent read, their Issue 1. Though they could use an image or some blurbs on their plain back cover. I look forward to more.

My friend the poet David Alpaugh prints the magazine and that's how I heard about it.

Atlanta Review has produced another unique issue, one featuring contemporary poetry from Iraq. Their claim to be a worldwide poetry magazine is about the most justified of any I've read that make similar claims. Featuring a different country in each issue, they have spanned the globe in the years I've been reading them. Worth submitting and subscribing to, in or out of contest. And Dan Veach writes nice notes even if turning you down.

In other news, signs of a new humanity emerging: a Naomi Shihab Nye poem is making its way around the Internet as evidence that kindness does exist in the world. The same thing happened after Sept. 11 with one of Naomi's poems and I wrote and asked her what she thought about this unauthorized use. She wrote back that if her poem made one person feel better at such a time, she was gratified.

So here's a link to the poem, posted on Kelli Russell Agodon's blog.