Transmissions from a Teen Sequin: Daniel Blokh, feat. 2015, at age 14

I admit – I miss the days of Teen Sequins. I was in junior high at a magnet art school, but as much fun as I had writing short stories to share with my classmates, my true, secret passion was for poetry. At that age I was privately discovering the possibilities of unrhymed poetry for the first time, constantly both dazzled and bewildered by the strangeness of the work I ran into on The Poetry Foundation. The only way I knew how to deal with this feeling of fervent engagement was to write my own poems. I would read, be stricken with an idea, and run with it – not because I wanted recognition or publication or a book deal, but out of necessity. I didn’t know how else to deal with my excitement about words.

I submitted to Teen Sequins at my friend Katy Hargett’s suggestion, expecting no result. When I found out that my work would be featured, I honestly didn’t know quite what that meant. I Googled my judges and read their work, and then I read the work of my fellow winners, and then I read the other poems published in Gigantic Sequins. I found new poets to admire — not the famous and established PoetryFoundation.org authors, not the “top ten experimental poets” search results, not the 8th grade English class curriculum classics, but fresh voices like mine finding their own ideas and running wild with them. The recognition Gigantic Sequins exposed me to was delightfully validating, but the way it influenced me most was by exposing me to all the presses, zines, chapbooks, and poets I’m still exploring. 

When I say I miss Teen Sequins, I mean I miss that leap. I miss the realization that I’m not alone, like walking around a beautiful but overgrown path all alone and suddenly emerging from the brush to encounter a huge crowd of friendly travelers walking the same road, inviting me to join them. I miss that sudden understanding that my work was wanted, that poetry was wanted. When I realized that, I found my notebook, bought a new pen, and I wrote and wrote for years. 

 


 

  • Daniel Blokh is an 18-year-old American-Jewish writer with Russian immigrant parents, currently attending Yale University. He was one of the 5 National Student Poets for 2018, representing the Southeast region. He is the author of the memoir In Migration (BAM! Publishing 2016), the chapbook Grimmening (forthcoming from Diode Editions), and the chapbook Holding Myself Hostage In The Kitchen (Lit City Press 2017). His work has won 1st in the Princeton High School Poetry Competition and has appeared in The Kenyon Review, The Adroit Journal, Cosmonauts Avenue, Permafrost, Blueshift, Cleaver, Gigantic Sequins, and more. He’s bad at taking naps, which sucks, because he really needs a nap right now.

Submissions OPEN for TEEN SEQUINS 2020!

DRUMROLL PLEASE! Teen Sequins is back from hiatus and OPEN for submissions!

Since our initial feature in 2015, Teen Sequins has received over 500 poems submitted by teenagers across the globe, as far-reaching as India, Singapore, and New Zealand! Open to writers between ages 14 through 18, Teen Sequins will feature one poet per day in each age category during a week in September, with ALL submitting writers receiving honorable mention! Participation in Teen Sequins is a distinction that any teen could happily include in a college or summer program application as evidence of ambition, independence, and unique talent.

If you are a teenager between 14 – 18, we’re looking for your poetry!

And to those of you over 18, whether you’re student, a teacher, a parent, a pal, or all of the above, please share this submission call with the teens in your life!

Check out our previous features, see our FAQ for questions, and submit!

GS 2019 Pushcart Prize Nominations

“Being the Murdered Bride” by Cathy Ulrich (10.1, fiction)

“I enjoy finding so much hair” by Rachel J. Bennett (10.1, poetry)

“Feather Rousing” by Rebecca Meacham (10.1, creative non-fiction)

Lauren T. Yates “Origin Story” (10.2, poetry)

Brody Parrish Craig “The Shape I’m In” (10.2, poetry)

“Liesl: A Cartography” by Pete Segall (10.2, fiction)

8th Annual Summer Contest Results!

8th Annual Poetry Contest Finalists & Winner

“Pelt” by Clare Welsh – finalist
“Of The Macho” by Christopher Rubio-Goldsmith – finalist
“When I Say Love I Mean El Greco’s The Assumption of the Virgin” by Sara Quinn Rivara – finalist
“Foreplay” by Samuel Piccone – finalist
“My Mania as an Alaskan Summer” by Zackary Medlin – finalist
“LOVE IN THE ANTHROPOCENE” by Rachel Harkai – finalist
“I Have Not Taken Proper Advantage of Scorpio Season” by Lauren Eggert-Crowe – finalist
“I wish all children could touch the sky at least once” by Kayleb Rae Candrilli – winner, selected by Marwa Helal

8th Annual Flash Fiction Contest Finalists & Winner

“Take Their Body” by Jen Cox-Shah – winner, selected by Imogen Binnie
“Higher! Higher!” by Ellen Rhudy – finalist
“A Hundred Small Lessons” by Daniel Goff – finalist
“The Name of Death is—a Fungus—Girdle—Chitin Teeth—the Graying Valley” by Ashely Adams – finalist
“Climate Change” by Epiphany Ferrell – finalist

 

 

Issue 10.2 Contributors!

Hello! We are pleased to announce the contributors to issue 10.2 of Gigantic Sequins!  Here they are…!

A shiny pause and a birthday special

You may have noticed that we’ve not opened our usually-annual Teen Sequins feature. Never fear — this celebratory project is far from finished! Our editors are simply taking a breather.

In the meantime, enjoy our current issue, We are 10 this year (!!!) and to celebrate our tenth birthday, take 10% off any order in our shop this week! Help keep us around for another ten years by subscribing or ordering an issue – the offer ENDS Monday 4/22 at 10:10am CT. The code is TENMORE4GS

You can also peruse our past Teen Sequins features here. Teens, we look forward to reading your work in 2020 !

Our 10.1 Contributors!

The GS squad is happy to announce the work we’ll be publishing in GS 10.1!

ART BY…

Best of Math Class and Scott Minzy

POETRY BY…

Thea Anderson, Rachel J. Bennett, Derek Berry, Stephen Brown, Dorothy Chan, Joshua Clayton, Chelsea B. DesAutels, jayy dodd, Kari Ann Ebert, Joseph M. Gerace, Shelby Handler, Len Lawson, and Jacob Nantz

FICTION BY…

Julia Coursey, Ben Gitkind, Cathy Ulrich, and Zach VandeZande

CREATIVE NONFICTION BY…

Rebecca Meacham and Judy T. Oldfield

 

 

 

GS 7th Annual Summer Contest Results!

Thanks to our judges & all who entered. Here are the results!

POETRY

“Maadulampazham (In Which Her Daughter Hears the Diagnosis).” by Kari Ann Ebert, winner selected by celeste doaks
Annotations for [Redacted] Elegy” by Derek Berry, finalist
“An Oral History of a City Destroyed by Fire” by Kitt Keller, finalist
“IF I WERE ANY MORE AMBIDEXTROUS I’D SLAP MY OWN ASS LEFT HANDED” by Zachery Elbourne, finalist
“Passed Down on Slow Hands” by Claire Fallon, finalist
“Portrait of George Stinney, Jr, as Police Report and Trial” by Len Lawson, finalist

FLASH FICTION

“The Collectors” by Julia Coursey – winner, chosen by Rachel B. Glaser
“Evolution” Katheryn McMahon, finalist
“Father’s” by Zach VandeZande, finalist
“My Fake Brother” by Leonora Desar, finalist
“The Murderous History of Tumbleweeds” by David Drury, finalist
“Timber” by Christopher Linforth, finalist
“Walks Like a Lion” by Nancy Au, finalist

TEEN SEQUINS 2018! Day 6: “CURE” by Annabelle Crowe, AGE 19

To me this poem reads as one of resilience. “Make me a boulder striped with tide stains/on the salt marsh.” Striped but stable within. “Make me a coastline/of shattered language.” A coastline nonetheless, revised lexicon. And those last four lines. What is the cure? Mercy or resilience? What survives? “[An] idea of the sea.” Make me. Unknown only to others. Infinite. – Robert Auld

Cure

Have mercy on me, gods
of transformation.

Make me a boulder striped with tide stains
on the salt marsh.

Make me a pennant, regardant
a lung, fluttering

itch, a tough flank stretched
between birch sticks.

Make me a coastline
of shattered language.

/

I want to age evenly.
You can carve me out

through hard winters,
you can bend my ribs back

like a two-page spread.
Have mercy.

I’m no bigger than
your fingertip. I’ve sent my name

winging away. Just bones now
and an idea of the sea.

Annabelle Crowe is a rising sophomore at Rice University and hopes to double major in English and the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality. Her poetry has been published in Asheville Poetry Review, The Adroit Journal, and diode poetry journal and has been recognized by the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award. She is the poetry editor of R2: The Rice Review, her campus lit mag.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Olivia Alger (University of Rochester, Rochester, NY); Alixa Brobbey (Brigham Young University, Provo, UT); Reuben Gelley Newman (Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA); Annabelle Kang (Concordia University, Montreal); Hannah Pandya (Simmons College, Boston, MA); Noel Peng (Princeton University, Princeton, NJ); Simran S. Shaju (Travancore Medical College, Kollam); Sahara Sidi (Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT); Amelia Van Donsel (Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY); Kelsie Ward (Sage College of Albany, Albany, NY); Lisa Zou (University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA)

TEEN SEQUINS 2018! Day 5, “Antonia” by Morgan Levine, AGE 18

The first half dozen times I read this poem I was mesmerized by Morgan Levine’s diction. Pink bathrobe, plastic flamingos, moonshine. Elvis, Mary, rosemary oil. “I hold my children/close to me like minutes.” Close like words, prayer, a manifestation of love. “I have prayed,/I have produced.” Having read the poem a dozen more times, I am further entranced by the “I” of “Antonia,” a voice reflecting the persistence required to continue living, the voice of someone in love with family and legacy, and the symbol of Mary, both prayer and a “chipped porcelain platter of sky.” -Robert Auld

 

Antonia

for my great-grandmother

 

…Mary’s chief glory is in her nothingness, in the fact of being the “Handmaid of the Lord,” as one who in becoming the Mother of God acted simply in loving submission to His command, in the pure obedience of faith. – Thomas Merton

 

 

 

Amen I have braved another

locust night to stand sentry

in my pink bathrobe among

the plastic flamingos.

I have come for my evening

visit, for my single sip

of moonshine.

 

I hold my Elvis mug

& snip a gardenia

for you.  Cream petals

like pages I turn for you,

Mary, name of my mother,

sweet rosemary oil on my

temples & wrists.  I once

had a name that tangled

on the tongue when spoken

in the Texas heat, sinful

& sweet as a man named

George.  O Mary, he called me

Toney.  & he married me.

 

Claudia & Carol,

David & Daryl,

I have prayed,

I have produced.

 

If a woman is a window

through which immaculate light

can shine, then you, Mary,

are so glorious in your thinness.

I paste your prayer on my bathroom

mirror.  I throw my old name

into the sky like a lost tooth &

I walk in this house

with a hundred clocks

& a dozen calendars

& I hold my children

close to me like minutes.

 

When the clouds allow,

I stand here &

gaze at the moon.

If there are two things

I will give my children,

it is you,

Mary,

prayer I lay over their beds like fine lace,

& you again,

Mary,

chipped porcelain platter of sky.

 

 

Morgan Levine is a multimedia poet currently studying at Columbia University in New York City.  Her works have been published both in print and online, and she is a three-time finalist for Houston Youth Poet Laureate.

 
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Miranda Sun (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Wilmett, IL); Alexis Noga (Denison University, Granville, OH); Jackson Neal (University of Houston, Houston, TX);  Lily Zhou, Enshia Li, Maya Salameh (Stanford University, Stanford, CA); Ben Togut (Columbia Preparatory School, New York, NY); Peyton Toups (Jesuit HS of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA); Andrew Tye (Princeton University, Princeton, NJ); Quinn Lui (University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada); Jessica Meng (Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA) Isabel Garcia (Bennington College, Bennington, VT); Zack Tambone (Passaic Valley HS, Little Falls, NJ); Grace Clifford (Columbia University, New York, NY); Katrina Rojas ( UMass Amherst, Amherst, MA); Harper West (Bentonville HS, Bentonville, AR); Tom Bosworth (Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH); Kate I. Foley (Homeschool, Lebanon, PA); CG Aquingel Plabrica (Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepcion – Mandaue, Cebu, Philippines); Rebecca Northup (University of California, Santa Cruz, CA); Amery Segovia (Alamo Heights HS, San Antonio, TX)