“We are over the moon with joy to announce Rebecca Hoogs as the contest judge of this spring’s poetry contest! Rebecca has published books of poetry on subjects ranging from language play and myth revision, to the self-portrait and personal understanding Such books include Grenade (2005) and Self Storage(2013). She has also closely examined the role of the love poem in Jeremy Richards’ “How to Write Love Poems.”” — A.K. Padovich, StS’s Poetry Editor
Rebecca Hoogs is the author of a chapbook, Grenade (2005), and her poems have appeared in Poetry, AGNI, Crazyhorse,Zyzzyva, The Journal, Poetry Northwest,The Florida Review, and others. She is the recipient of fellowships from the MacDowell Colony (2004) and Artist Trust of Washington State (2005). She is the Director of Education Programs and the curator and host of the Poetry Series for Seattle Arts & Lectures and has taught poetry in Rome for The University of Washington. Read Rebecca’s work here.
We are looking for poetry that formalistically, stylistically, and linguistically engages with the feminist world in some way. Please send us up to 5 poems (not to exceed 10 pages) and a cover letter, through our Submission Manager. The reading fee is $15 and can be paid through our Submission Manager.
All entrants will receive a free copy of our Spring 2015 issue.
Deadline: October 15, 2014
Filed under: Announcements, Contests, Fiction, News, Nonfiction, Opinion, Poetry, Starring Local Feminists
Like many people who love school (or have residual nightmares of it), for me, January 1st has never felt like the start of a new year. Rather it’s September, the time of backpacks and book buying, that signals a fresh start. Whether I’m a student, a teacher, or working in a non-academic job, the new school year signals a time for reflection. How do I want to be this year?
Now, as I begin my first autumn as Editor-in-Chief of So to Speak, I wonder, too: what kind of feminist do I want to be? Initially, answers are easy. I want to be a strong feminist. I want to treat others—women who are and are not self-identifying feminists, men, myself—equally and with respect. I want to challenge the patriarchy and stand up for equality. I want to spread the message of feminism with both gentleness and strength, through words, actions, and my own thoughts. I believe that feminism, though often made up of individual choices, is also a communal paradigm, movement, and experience. As with empathy, generosity, and random acts of loving kindness, individual feminism—my feminism, your feminism—increases through being a shared experience. It can inspire others, make them think. That is what I want to do: I want to be a “good, strong feminist,” to inspire others to consider or adopt or increase their own feminist lives. I want So to Speak to do that.
But here’s the reality: all through high school, Septembers passed and I never stopped procrastinating on my Spanish homework. New Januaries turn to Februaries and I never get around to eating more kale. And I know that, most likely, October of this year will enter with its orange leaves and swollen pumpkins and I will still be struggling to be the kind of feminist that I want to be.
I’ve identified as a feminist for going on fifteen years, since high school. I can speak of Helene Cixous and Simone deBeauvoir; I support pro-choice causes; I feel comfortable with the notion that one can be feminist and be a stay-at-home mom, and also that one can be a feminist and burn her bra. The concept of what feminism is, and how open it can be, is not especially troubling to me. What is troubling is doing it: turning beliefs and intellectual knowledge into action and attitude.
I am a feminist, but the other day I still thought nastily that another woman shouldn’t wear her short-shorts because of her body type. I routinely make stereotypical assumptions about what men want women to be—agreeable, needless, pretty objects—which are disrespectful and condescending toward all genders. I catch myself thinking that my female gym instructor is bossy and annoying, while accepting a similarly tough male instructor as motivational. But I want to be better. I want to not have these thoughts, and the first step to not having them is acknowledging that I do.
My point is that being a feminist is a journey. It’s filled with obstacles and struggles. Feminism as a movement struggles, and individual feminists struggle within their own minds. We are all on a journey to be better feminists and better people. As a new (school) year starts, I realize that that’s what I really want to be: someone who takes steps on her journey.
That’s also what I want So to Speak to do. Stories of empowerment and success are always welcome, but so are stories of struggle. I invite you, readers and writers, to share with us your stories of setbacks in your feminist lives. Perhaps you’ve taken steps to overcome your problems. Perhaps you’re just acknowledging them for the first time and beginning your walk toward being the type of feminist, the type of person, that you want to be.
So to Speak is a feminist journal, which to me means that at its core it is a human journal. It is a place that celebrates humanity in its various forms—the beautiful and good, the ugly and difficult. I look forward to hearing your stories and engaging with your art, however it explores the complexities of life, and wherever you are on your own journey.
Our reading period is currently in full swing. Click here for submission guidelines for our blog, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry categories. And don’t forget to enter our Spring 2015 Nonfiction Contest!
So to Speak is thrilled to announce the winners of its 2014 Fiction Contest, judged by Charles Blackstone. The winning pieces will be published in our Fall 2014 issue, so be sure to order your copy today!
CONTEST WINNER: Maurice Carlos Ruffin, “The Anchor Song”
Maurice Carlos Ruffin is a graduate of the Creative Writing Workshop at the University of New Orleans and a member of several writing collectives, including the Peauxdunque Writers Alliance and the Melanated Writers of New Orleans. His work has been published or is forthcoming in Apalachee Review, Regarding Arts & Letters, Ellipsis, South Carolina Review, Unfathomable City, Redivider Journal, Knickknackery, Writing Tomorrow Magazine, and 94 Creations. He is also the recipient of the 2011 Ernest Svenson Fiction Award and the 2013 Joanna Leake Prize for Fiction Thesis, both awarded by the University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop.
HONORABLE MENTION: Rachel Mangini, “Classic Manhattan”
Rachel Mangini’s fiction has been published in Smokelong Quarterly and The Fourth River, among other journals. She is currently at work on a novel.
CONTEST JUDGE: Charles Blackstone
Chicago-native Charles Blackstone, one of Newcity’s Lit 50 in 2012 and 2013, is the author of 2013 novel Vintage Attraction. He is co-editor of the literary anthology The Art of Friction and the author of the novel The Week You Weren’t Here. His short fiction has appeared in Esquire’s Napkin Fiction Project, the &NOW Awards: The Best Innovative Fiction anthology, Lewis University’s Jet Fuel Review, and the University of Maine’s Stolen Island. Blackstone has also written essays for the Chicago Sun-Times and The Millions, and his short plays have been produced by Victory Gardens and Lifeline Theaters. Blackstone is managing editor of Bookslut, an internationally acclaimed book review publication and blog.
Blackstone holds degrees from the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Colorado, where he directed the Graduate Reading Series and received the Barker Award for Fiction. He has taught at Colorado, Wright College, The University of Chicago’s Graham School, and Shimer College. Currently he is a private-practice ghostwriter, coach, and editor for clients at all stages of the publication process.
Filed under: Announcements, Contests, Post By: Michele J
Despite the arctic temperatures and after-holidays depression, So to Speak is open for submissions to our Fall 2014 issue! The Fall 2014 issue will feature the work of our fiction contest winner, as well as the usual heaping helping of fresh poetry and intriguing nonfiction.
Submissions to all genres will be accepted from January 1 to March 15 through our Submission Manager.
We’re very excited to announce that our fiction contest judge for this issue is Charles Blackstone, managing editor of Bookslut and author of recent novel Vintage Attraction. His novel about a downtrodden academic falling in love with a world-renowned sommelier has been called “egregiously charming,” and he has been praised for his “craftsmanship” and “inimitable personality.” He is also the co-editor of the literary anthology The Art of Friction (University of Texas Press, 2008) and the author of The Week you Weren’t Here (Dzanc Books and Low Fidelity Press, 2005) a novel.
Winners of the Fiction Contest will recieve prize money and publication in the magazine; other finalists will be published. The contest entry fee of &15 includes a free copy of the Fall 2014 issue for all entrants. Full submission guidelines are available on our Contests page.
Please send us your best and brightest work–we look forward to reading it!
Filed under: Announcements, Art, Contests, Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Post by: Sheryl R, Uncategorized
So to Speak is accepting submissions for the Spring 2014 issue until October 15th. The Spring 2014 issue of So to Speak will feature our poetry and nonfiction contest winners, as well as fiction and art. Submissions for all genres are accepted through our online submissions manager.
The contest judge for the Spring 2014 Poetry Contest is Beth Ann Fennelly, who teaches poetry and nonfiction writing at the University of Mississippi. Her first book of poetry, Open House, won the 2001 Kenyon Review Prize and the Great Lakes College Association New Writers Award, and was a Book Sense Top Ten Poetry Pick. It was reissued by W.W. Norton in 2009. Her second poetry collection, Tender Hooks, and her third, Unmentionables, were published by W.W. Norton in 2004 and 2008. She also published a book of nonfiction, Great with Child: Letters to a Young Mother (Norton), in 2006. The Tilted World, the novel she has cowritten with her husband, Tom Franklin, will be published by Morrow in the fall of 2013.
The judge for the Spring 2014 Nonfiction Contest is Jana Richman, the author of a memoir, Riding in the Shadows of Saints: A Woman’s Story of Motorcycling the Mormon Trail, and two novels, The Last Cowgirl, which won the 2009 Willa Award for Contemporary Fiction, and The Ordinary Truth. Jana’s provocative prose has been compared to that of Pam Houston, Barbara Kingsolver and Pat Conroy.
Winners will receive prize money and publication in the magazine; other finalists will also be published. The contest entry fee of $15 includes a free copy of the Spring 2014 issue for all entrants. Full submission guidelines are available on our Contests page.
If you’ve been putting off submitting, be sure to enter your piece in the submission manager this week. We look forward to reading your submissions!