Hello! We are pleased to announce the contributors to issue 10.2 of Gigantic Sequins! Here they are…!
Thanks to our judges & all who entered. Here are the results!
“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
“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
A dead deer, a dick pic, obedience; girlhood, sainthood; plastic flamingos and shattered language: Welcome to the 4th Annual TEEN SEQUINS celebration! We are honored this week to present another galaxy of poems.
This year, poems flew to us from all over the U.S., from Canada, Indonesia, France, Japan – from all over the world. One hundred and fifty-one teen writers (yes, you!) bravely sent us your voices , and as always, we ardently wish that we could feature more than just one poet in each age category!
Our 2018 Teen Sequins featured poets are Ottavia Paluch (14), Taylor Fang (15), Sophie Paquette (16), Vidhima Shetty (17), Morgan Levine (18), and Annabelle Crowe (19). The work offered by these writers is exemplary of what we see teenage writing is in 2018: full of wonder and watchfulness, furious and self-aware.
As we put together this feature, it was a pleasure to realize that all of our 2018 poems are written by women, some of who are people of color, some of who are disabled. We don’t look for any particular kind of voice or background when we read work – we choose poems that chime with us most deeply- but we are proud to find that we are holding up voices which often must struggle to be heard.
On a similar note: We read somewhere recently that women are much less likely than men to re-submit to literary journals, but our 19 year old featured poet, Annabelle, has been submitting to TEEN SEQUINS for three years, and it wasn’t until we accepted her poem this year that we realized this fact! We hope that Annabelle’s story can serve as an example to all of our teens who submitted this year, and to anyone who might read this feature – a rejection from a publication doesn’t always mean no. Sometimes it means, not yet. As Rainer Maria Rilke wrote: Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Enjoy this week of poetry, follow along with all the Gigantic Sequins social media, and share share share this wonderful work with everyone you can! Until tomorrow…
Happy reading and writing,
Robby Auld and Sophie Klahr
Teen Sequins co-editors
As we look forward to our time in Tampa, we’ve been relishing in seeing the GS contribs & other members of our Shiny Family who are reading or speaking or hosting or just generally doing awesome things during this year’s AWP! We will be at table T-635 in the book fair, and we truly hope you have the opportunity to come say hello if you’ll be attending the conference
Here’s a list of some of these events, onsite and offsite, that you should consider trying to make it out to–each event we have listed here features members of the GS Shiny Fam–including our own event with the UL Lafayette Graduate Creative Writing Program and Yellow Flag Press.
Contributors from issues 1.1, 1.2, 2.2, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 5.1, 5.2, 6.1, 6.2, 7.1, 7.2, 8.1, 8.2, & our most recent issue, 9.1, as well as staff and contest judges, past & present are included, and we are proud and honored to have such a long history of publishing active voices in the literary world.
WEDNESDAY MARCH 7
THURSDAY MARCH 8
9-10:15am, R120. Deep-Fried Mic: Running Reading Series and Building Literary Community Down South, feat. Carrie Lorig (GS 6.1)
10:30-11:45am, R143. Depictions of Class in Contemporary Southern Fiction, feat. Chase Burke (GS 5.1)
12-1:15pm, R189. Fierce Muses: Inspiration During Times of Social Unrest, feat. Paul Lisicky, current Flash CNF contest judge)
12-1:15pm, R191. “The Art of the Possible”: Making and Teaching Graphic Narratives and Poetry Comics, feat. Bianca Stone (GS 6.2)
12-1:15pm, R194. The Revival of Aphrodite’s Daughter: Rhetoric in Contemporary Poetry, feat. Jericho Brown (2nd annual Poetry Contest judge)
1:30-2:45pm, R227. Navigating Uncertain Terrain: Essayists of Milkweed Editions, feat. Alex Lemon (GS 4.1)
***** 4-6pm, ULL Graduate Creative Writing, YFP, & GS Pop-Up Off-Site Reading, co-hosted by Kimberly Ann Southwick (GS EIC), feat. Eloisa Amezcua (GS 9.1), Emrys Donaldson (GS 9.1), Emily Brandt (GS 8.2), Saul Lemerond (GS 8.1), Clinton Craig (fiction reader), and Patti Pangborn (poetry reader) *****
4:30-6:30pm, Sundress/Flaming Giblet/Hyacinth Girl/Shelterbelt Reading, feat. Kimberly Ann Southwick (GS EIC), Eloisa Amezcua (GS 9.1) and Liz Bowen (GS 7.2)
5-6:30pm, AWP Offsite Reading: Barrels Grimly Crashing into the Sun, feat. Chris Tonelli (GS 6.2) and Emily Corwin (GS 8.1)
6:30-9pm, AWP Off-Site Poetry Reading (Grey Book Press / Anhinga Press), feat. Candice Wuehle (GS 3.1)
7-9pm, Strange Theater: A Menagerie of Fabulists – AWP Offsite Reading, feat. Adrienne Celt (GS 3.2) and Melissa Goodrich (GS 7.1 & 6th Annual Flash Fiction Contest Judge)
7:30-10pm, Wine & Words: AWP18 Offsite Reading, feat. Paul Lisicky (Current Flash CNF Contest Judge)
9-10pm, National Poetry Series Winners Reading: AWP 2018 Offsite Event, feat. Chelsea Dingman (GS 9.1)
10-11:30pm, AADOREE / Apogee / No Tokens Offsite Marathon Reading at AWP18, feat. Colette Arrand (GS 6.2), Muriel Leung (GS 7.2), Kayleb Rae Candrilli (GS 8.2),
FRIDAY MARCH 9
10am-2pm, Billie R. Tadros Book Signing at ULL’s Creative Writing Booth, feat. Billie R. Tadros (GS 7.1)
1:30-2:45pm, F215. Open Pedagogies: Teaching Poetry Through Art Inside and Outside of the Workshop, feat. Wendy Xu (GS 3.2)
3-4:15pm, F247. A Reading and Conversation with Tyehimba Jess, Shara McCallum, and Morgan Parker. Sponsored by Cave Canem, feat. Morgan Parker (GS 5.1)
4:30-5:45pm, F270. De Aquí y de Allá: Emerging Central American Writers on Finding Their Voices in the Literary Community., feat. María Isabel Alvarez (GS 8.1)
6:30-8pm, Queer, Sweet Home: Foglifter Press & Co. Redefining Home, feat. Carson Beker (GS 6.1)
7-9pm, Reading Queer: Poetry in a Time of Chaos AWP off-site reading, feat. Jericho Brown (GS 2nd Annual Poetry Contest Judge)
7-9pm, Tarpaulin Sky / Essay Press/ Reality Beach AWP Offsite Reading, feat. Carrie Lorig (GS 6.1)
7-9:30pm, 4X4: Four Readers from Four Literary Organizations, feat. Ronaldo V. Wilson (GS 4th Annual Poetry Contest Judge)
7-10pm, GREMLINS 3: AWP (WONDER + UGLY DUCKLING PRESSE + CIVIL COPING MECHANISMS + THEME CAN), feat. Ben Fama (GS 1.1), Liz Bowen (GS 7.2), and Bianca Stone (GS 6.2)
SATURDAY MARCH 10
9-10:15am, S112. Beyond Genre: Writing, Editing, and Publishing Hybrid Forms in the Age of Fake News, feat. Kathleen Rooney (GS 1.2)
12-1:15pm, S171. Bread on the Waters: How Giving to the Community Gives Back, feat. Emily Brandt (GS 8.2)
1:30-2:45pm, S201. Reports from the Field: Recent Candidates Discuss the Academic Job Hunt, feat. LaTanya McQueen (current GS CNF Editor, GS 2.2 contributor)
1:30-2:45pm, S222. Why [Not] Say What Happened?: On Writing Confessional Poetry, feat. Jericho Brown (GS 2nd Annual Poetry Contest Judge) and Rachel Mennies (GS 5.1)
6:30-9:30, American Literary Review / Cutbank / New Ohio Review at AWP!. feat. Chelsea Dingman (9.1)
SUNDAY MARCH 11
12pm, Poetry Marathon: Readings by Poets in Florida for AWP, feat. Jim Daniels (GS 2.2)
Where “wires are like black eels” and wind is seen as “a bright coil,” Lucie Richter-Mahr engages with a world we have seen and yet, not-imagined. The title tells us of a more than reluctant invitation, but invited, we are given glimpses of a landscape containing immense strangeness, a strangeness we might not otherwise see without Richter-Mahr as our guide. The speaker’s world seems to tilt as she observes the ‘you’ in a space where she has not wanted to see them; how different the world can be, depending on who stands beside us, or who we stand there thinking of. — Sophie Klahr
I didn’t want to take you to the Scots pines
Lucie Richter-Mahr was born in London and moved to Scotland when she was five. She grew up in Berlin, finished high school in Oxford, and will be attending Edinburgh university this autumn. She believes in Anne Carson and Patti Smith.
Honorable mentions: Matilda Berke (Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA); Alixa Brobbey (Brigham Young Univeristy, Provo, UT); Jessica Chang (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI); Steven Chung (Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT); Annabelle Crowe (Rice University, Houston, TX); Jasmine Cui (SUNY Geneseo, Geneseo, NY); Amelia Van Donsel (Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY); Logan February (University of Ibadan, Nigeria); Justin Han (Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI); Caldwell Gregg Holden (Bennington College, Bennington, VT); Avelynne Kang (Concordia University, Montréal, QC); Devanshi Khetarpal (New York University, New York, NY); Caroline Lee (The Hill School, Pottstown, PA); Hannah Leonard (Homewood-Flossmoor High School, Flossmoor, IL); Sharon Lin (Stuyvesant High School, New York, NY); Courtney Munkres (New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, New Orleans, LA); Reuben Gelley Newman (Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA); Erin O’Malley (University of Rochester, Rochester, NY); Annasofia Padua (Miami Arts Charter, Miami, FL); Emily Ramsey (John Burroughs High School, Burbank, CA); Khamil Olivia Riley (Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT); Svetlana Sterlin (Queensland University of Technology, Australia); Emma Stinson (Mt. Blue High School, Farmington, ME); Emily Yin (Princeton University, Princeton, NJ); Zuyi Zhao (Stanford University, Stanford, CA)
I was in graduate school the first time that I heard the term PoBiz, a clipped, half-cynical half-shruggingly sarcastic way of referring to the Poetry Business, which I had also never heard of. I gathered that the Poetry Business entailed marketing one’s self. Are you a female poet? A poet of color? A poet with a disability? With a disease? A queer poet? A religious minority poet? An eco-poet? Etcetera.…I had always written about the things that I felt made me different, the things that stung, because I was alone, lonely with those weights. I wrote about abortion not because I thought I was going to tap into some niche market, but because it weighed heavily on my heart. I wrote about alcoholism because it was the center of my life, not because I was a Bukowski devotee (though there’s nothing wrong with that). I wrote about god and faith not because I had an academic interest in religion and spirituality but because it felt at many points that my life depended on whether or not I was able to tap into a power greater than myself. I never really had any idea about marketing myself. It was true that I wrote mostly about what was hard in my life, but I also wrote about traveling and fish and movies.
Carl Phillips wrote a great essay awhile ago in which talked about being asked why he doesn’t say what color the people in his poems are. And here is what I’m trying to say, in a roundabout way: The System, any program, any school, any magazine, is going to somewhat judge you through what makes the actual you unique and not wholly on the quality of your writing. It’s a double-edged sword, and a fluid one. Sometimes it can feel as if the system rewards the person, not the poem.
Here is what I’m trying to say: of course the rejection feels personal. It is personal. Some folks got into the program, and you didn’t. You said that you thought you shouldn’t take it personally, but you have every right to take it personally. We pour our hearts into something, toss the thing out into the world, and watch as nobody puts out their arms to catch our beloved pieces. We watch the gears of the PoBiz grinding along, rewarding writers who maybe we think our work is equal to or better than. We think both Why me?! and Why not me!?
But — the poem is also an artifact. It’s something that has been done, a past action. It’s a product of a different moment, a past self. I love the Buddhist saying of “Do your work, then step back.” It’s very simple, but I have thought about it for many years. Some days I am better at stepping back than other days.
If you feel like quitting writing sometimes, that’s ok. The place where a poem comes from is the place where the urge to paint comes from, the place where the urge to swim comes from. It’s something that wants to move. So, let yourself move around. Make a collage, sing a song, pick up an instrument you’ve never played before. Learn to bake bread. But don’t stop embracing the muscular impulse of your creativity. If writing feels daunting, that’s ok. But make something else. Even if it’s just a dance in your bedroom. And, go outside for awhile, without your phone. That helps. It usually helps everything.
I think the real thing to quit is the search for validation, which is insidious. I have to remind myself sometimes of the same thing. When sending out a poem, the thought should not be: I hope that XYZ publication takes this poem so that everyone knows my poem is good enough to be in XYZ publication… it should be: I hope that XYZ publication takes this poem because i really think it is beautiful / strange / insightful / cathartic / funny / etc. and I want to share it with people – I think it might be important for someone. Writing poetry is about the urge to share something, even just with yourself. It’s not about gold stars. There’s no endgame to poetry, as the PoBiz might have you believe. A bio full of laurels and fellowships means almost nothing. Right before my book came out, and I had to choose what my bio in the book would say, I decided that it would be very short. It lists where I was born, and where I live now, two journals where my poems have been published, and the fact that I do interdisciplinary work. What’s most important to me in my bio is the latter, the fact of interdisciplinary work, because I hope, someday, that a visual artist or dancer or painter will write to me and say they’d like to collaborate. It’s almost like a little Personals posting, an ISO. I chose to leave out my education and prizes and residencies not because I don’t value them, but because — that’s not really what I want to talk to people about.
So, don’t worry about being rejected from the residency. Let it be a Not this time instead of a No, never. If you keep writing, and I get the sense that you will always write, there will be dozens of opportunities you might reach for and dozens of times you may be rejected. You get to decide how, and how long, to hold each disappointment. You get to decide what to expect of your writing. Don’t worry about being too much of one thing, or not enough of another. Don’t worry if you don’t publish anything for awhile, or for a long while.There is no right path for a poet, and there millions, literally millions, of incredible poets and writers and literary journals you and I have never heard of. And what a joy! What an absolute joy, to know there are so many more writers we will meet, who will mean so much to us, and to know that the writers we are today might be vastly different than the writers we are in 10 years, in 20 years…There’s no finish line. In the end, there is only the work itself. Enjoy the moment of your work, and how it feels to read your poems aloud, and how those poems can nourish you. Let the rest fall away. Onwards.
( Teen Sequins Co-Editor )
We’re psyched to announce the contributors for our 8.1 issue, debuting this winter!
ART: Yokim Snow, Sarah Shields, and Miguel Angel Soto
COMICS: Jason Hart and Anna McGlynn
FICTION: María Isabel Alvarez, Andy Myers, Elizabeth Gibson, Kim Hagerich (5th annual Flash Fiction contest winner), and Saul Lemerond
CNF: Benji Alvey, Jacob Little, and Bailey Pittenger
POETRY: Zoë Bodzas, Kristi Carter, Brian Clifton, Emily Corwin, Dan Encarnacion, Dana Fang, p.e. garcia, Marlin M. Jenkins, Paige Lewis, Xandria Phillips (5th annual Poetry contest winner), Katie Prince, and Michael Martin Shea
Welcome to day six of Teen Sequins 2016! Today’s poem is “Scene from a Western” by Brad Trumpfheller.
“Landscape is character,” wrote Henry James, and perhaps nowhere is this remark more visibly true than in the traditional genre of Western films, where landscape saturates and governs every character’s action. In Brad Trumpfheller’s “Scene from a Western,” a family is fused with the mythical Western landscape. In this poem an absent father’s palms are plains, his eyes “like the rolling yucca trees,” and the land itself gives a ragged cough “which the wind would then fashion / into the shape of my mother.” A newborn foal drags itself down the steps of a family home, no—Trumpfheller, the actor, the director, the author, draws a newborn foal down the steps of a family home, “..and this is how / the audience knows my father….” This a poem of clear pulse, astute attention, and wide horizons, swallowing a rider in the sunset. -Sophie Klahr
SCENE FROM A WESTERN
Below the canopy of day, a foal
drags itself down the stairs
of my childhood home, threadbare
mane slick with blood. & this is how
the audience knows my father
is never home for any of my birthdays.
I will only see him when the night swallows
the sun or something needs
to be fixed. & after my mother came home
from the hospital, the storm
door had come off one of its hinges. O God –
his hands like flat & empty plains, his eyes
like the rolling yucca trees. Now do you see
how the sandstorm crawled its way across
the desert? A dead landscape mustering up
some slow seize, some cough of dirt & bone
which the wind would then fashion
into the shape of my mother: bed-ridden
for days, thighs reddened
into clay. But there is something honest
about the sand. How it shocked the windows
with rattling. How the house was buried
& unburied while my mother’s pillows etched
epitaphs into themselves.
Before the audience leaves the theater,
or before my father can disappear
again – the scene ends with the foal, collapsed
in the desert, its body curled into the shape
of an empty crib.
Brad Trumpfheller is a student at Emerson College, studying literature & musicology. He was raised in the south, but spent time all over the United States. His writing has appeared in / will appear in the Nashville Review, Lambda Literary, Red Paint Hill, and elsewhere. He reads poetry for Winter Tangerine and handles business development for The Adroit Journal. In his free time, he writes about music.
Honorable mentions: Ariella Carmell (University of Chicago, Chicago, IL), Deepali Gupta (DY Patil University, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, India), Samantha McLaughlin (Denison University, Granville, OH), Eloise Sims (University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand), Em Sutliff (Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, OH), Oriana Tang (Yale University, Livingston, NJ), Eli Winter (University of Chicago, Chicago, IL)
Welcome to day five of Teen Sequins 2016! Today’s poem is “& soil” by Talia Flores.
The opening ampersand of “& soil” signals right away to the reader that this will be an intimate poem, a particular coiled fertility. Thalia Flores’ poem is serpentine and rich with mystic undergrowth, a poem to be whispered. With short lines flayed by slashes, Flores’ hand visibly crafts a directive for the reader: where a sharp inhalation is required. In “& soil,” where “blood / seeps tulips,” plant life not only inhabits but is knit into the essence of a human body. Flores’ surreal poem is a fecund field of reversals, busy with the music of new life. — Sophie Klahr
in the bulb of a wet cheek /
a plant sprouts. illuminated
prism / in the spit of caves.
here grows / the heart of a
flower, / a black hole or /
reverse birth. / out of cracked
blood / seeps tulips
freshened stems / caught in
vermilion; / a skin bark and
muscled green. / she combs
her hair to turn it into moss. /
her legs / are those fallen logs
inverted, earthy sestinas /
bark muscled green.
Talia Flores is from Eden Prairie, Minnesota, and graduated from Eden Prairie High School in 2016. She is the recipient of the 2015 Texas Book Festival Fiction Prize and has been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Her work appears or is forthcoming in National Poetry Quarterly, Words Dance, Souvenir Lit Journal, Glass Kite Anthology, and more. She was a mentee in The Adroit Journal’s Mentorship Program, and she works as a reader for Polyphony H.S. and as an editorial intern for The Blueshift Journal. She will be attending Stanford University in the fall.
Honorable mentions: Mernine Ameris (George Mason University, Fairfax, VA), Lia Bernhard (Lewis & Clark College, Portland, OR), Lauren Gay (Jefferson Community College, Watertown, NY), Emmi Mack (Northside College Prep High School, Chicago, IL (graduate)/ (incoming) Columbia University, New York City, NY), Caroline Tsai (Canterbury High School, Ft.Wayne, IN (graduate)/(incoming) Harvard University, Cambridge, MA)