• March 27, 2012
    by Jenna Hammerich

    The annual Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Competition run by the Munster Literature Centre in Cork, Ireland, is now accepting submissisons (international submissions welcome).


    The winner of the first prize will receive €2,000 (approx. $2690.82), publication in the literary journal Southword, and a week-long residency at Anam Cara Writer's and Artist's Retreat in West Cork, Ireland (see photo!).

    AND, if the winner comes to Cork to collect the prize, he/she will be given hotel accommodation, meals, drinks, and VIP access to the literary stars at the Cork International Short Story Festival (19-23 September 2012).

    Second prize is €500 and publication in Southword.

    Four other shortlisted entries will be selected for publication in Southword and receive €120.

    Deadline: July 31, 2012

    Judge: Ian Wild, author and Fish International Short Story Prize winner

    More information, including submission guidelines: or

    For questions, please contact Jennifer Matthews at

    Seán Ó Faoláin is one of Ireland’s most accomplished story writers and theorists. Southword has previously showcased Haruki Murakami, Colm Tóibín, Patrick Galvin, Richard Ford, and Tania Hershman.

  • March 19, 2012
    by Jenna Hammerich

    Anomalous Press will award $500 plus publication to the winning chapbook-length manuscript in each of the following categories:

    • Translation (specifically innovative translations, translations that draw attention to themselves, hybrid translations, translations that defy convention, translations that prey on, magnify, distort, and bring greatness to source texts)
    • Poetry (original poetry)

    Finalist manuscripts will also be considered for publication, and all submissions will be considered for publication in the journal.

    Submit electronic manuscripts between March 15 and May 15, 2012. Full guidelines available at

    About the judges:

    Christian Hawkey will judge the translation category. Hawkey is the author of Petitions for an Alien Relative (a chapbook by hand held editions, 2010), Ventrakl (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2010), Citizen Of (Wave Books, 2007), Hour, Hour, a chapbook which includes drawings by the artist Ryan Mrowzowski (Delirium Press, 2006), and The Book of Funnels (Verse Press, 2004), winner of the 2006 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. In 2006 he was given a Creative Capital Innovative Literature Award and he has also received awards from the Poetry Fund and the Academy of American Poets. He teaches at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York.

    The poetry judge will be announced soon!


  • March 13, 2012
    by Hannah Kimei

    Hannah Kimei is TIR's fiction editor and a first-year student in the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

    I’ve been approaching the last few months as an exploration through a constellation of interests and experimentation in forms that will come together eventually… somehow. The larger nebulous cloud of this includes the narrative intersection between pictures and words. So, as a part of this investigation, I spent the better part of AWP weekend gathering pieces involved with visual and verbal literacy.

    1. Picture books & children’s poetry

    I attended panels discussing experimental literary forms for children. The idea comes from the way children use language themselves—as they learn, language is dexterous and changing before verbal descriptions are, in a way, harnessed by learned rules. As a part of the forthcoming anthology, Kindergarde: Avant-garde Poems, Plays, Stories & Songs for Children, Giovanni Singleton displayed and read her visual poem, “Caged Bird.”

    birdcage drawing

    The extent of collaboration between artists in multi-disciplinary narratives differs from various industries and presses. The process of creating a picture book involves a writer, editor, and illustrator, though most often the writer and illustrator do not communicate a shared artistic vision. Space, then, is an important factor in the creation of a picture book. As is shown here in Susan Marie Swanson and Beth Krommes’ The House in the Night, space within the text allows the illustration to carry its own narrative:

    House in the Night drawing

    2. Book as Art Object

    I didn’t realize until floating around the book fair how closely related visual art and literature already are to one another—with all the beautiful covers and delicate papers and glossy spreads inside magazines and journals. A few highlights were:

    Ninth Letter

    Ninth Letter coversOne of the editors explained how they integrated design with text to create a reading experience that includes the visual and tactile. Once a story was accepted, a team of editors and designers worked together to present the story in a visual format.

    I was interested by the separation of roles in their process—editors choose the stories, and the designers have no say in the rejection or acceptance of a piece. The designers cannot change the narrative of the story, break apart or rearrange paragraphs, but likewise, the editors cannot ask the designers to change details of the visual components like the font, color, or layout, unless the actual reading of the text is obscured. This collaboration involves respecting different areas of expertise - meaning, different teams are more competent in different languages.

    Small Craft Advisory Press

    Based at Florida University, Small Craft Advisory Press works as a collaboration between writers and visual artists to make books as art objects. The sample images above are from Denise Bookwalter and Frank Giampietro’s “Spandrel.” Through the course of about a hundred pages, the words of Giampietro’s poetry breaks apart, then reforms into a new poem. Bookwalter, the director of the press and visual artist, explained that the first thing they had to teach writers was about the process of making. They taught writers about the physicality of materials and objects, while the writers taught them about words.

    Siglio Press

    Siglio Press is a publisher from Los Angeles with an interest in printing books intersecting art and literature. I chatted with poet Amaranth Borsuk who showed me her book of poetry read with a web cam. As shown in the video, the reader opens the pages of the book to see the words on the screen.

    3. Museums

    I found a display in the Field Museum that used technology similar to the boxes in Amaranth’s book of poetry.

    This is a photo of a screen. The card is projecting the Milkweed image—like magic!

    I was particularly interested in the way the displays at the Field Museum evoked the different senses of the visual, verbal, and tactile to create a holistic educational experience. There was a balance in the way my brain moved around and in took information by looking at a display case, reading a small block of text, then touching fur or stones. It kept a sense of wonder as I wandered up and down each corridor.





    And finally, with stories on the brain, I visited the Art Institute and looked at this photograph:

    Then I read the description beside it and found its narrative somewhere between text and image:





  • March 7, 2012
    by Erica Mena

    Guest blogger Erica Mena is a poet, translator, printmaker, and the co-editor of Discoveries, TIR's forthcoming high school reader. The following is excerpted from her blog, Alluringly Short.

    Well, it has been far far too long. I’ve been buried under my thesis (excerpts of which you can read on Words Without Borders here and here) which is inches away from being announce-ably forthcoming in full. So that’s exciting.

    I’ve also been printing like a madwoman, making, among other cool things, these sweet postcards for Anomalous Press to hand out at AWP and display on the lovely Iowa Review table.

    And wow, was AWP crazy this year. I wasn’t initially going to go, but then being only a few hours away driving, and getting to see all my conference-friends, and invited to a translator’s party, well…it was too good to resist. So I abandoned my responsibilities as a student and drove to Chicago and had a whirlwind three days. From dancing to early-90s hip-hop with Chad Post of Open Letter Books/Three Percent Blog and CJ Evans of the Center for the Art of Translation/Two Lines Journal (who has surprisingly awesome moves on the dance floor) to getting to hear Debra Di Blasi of Jaded Ibis Press talk about multi-modal literature, I had a wonderful conference experience.

    But it was also really overwhelming. 10,000 writers, editors, academics, publishers, and spouses of the aforementioned all in the same space. I think there are a few things I’ve learned about conference attending over the last few years, and I’m going to crystallize them here.

    1. Have a specific and limited agenda.

    My first conference was ALTA in 2010, and I didn’t have any idea what it was going to be like. ALTA is a relatively small conference focused on literary translators, so a good intro to the conferencing experience. But I was still overwhelmed and confused, there were a lot of things I wanted to go to, and I also wanted to meet new people and hang out with friends, etc. It was hard to feel like I was getting what I wanted out of the experience. Then I went to MLA that same year, and talk about big and scary. But, I had a specific agenda at MLA: record the first five episodes of the Reading the World podcast. With that as a concrete agenda, I didn’t feel badly about missing several panels that looked potentially interesting, not going to all the parties and receptions I could have possibly gone to, and not seeing every single one of my friends who happened to be there. My first AWP was similar – I took responsibility for a table, and though I shared the sitting duties with other wonderful folks, I had a specific agenda. Be at the bookfair, hand out handmade broadsides. It was great because I just told people where to find me, and they came to me. And I got to meet a lot of new folks by sitting at the table. I went to only one panel, the last one of the conference, and thoroughly enjoyed it because I didn’t feel stressed about having missed other things happening. This AWP my agenda was to hang out with a specific friend and go to a specific party. It was accomplishable, and left time for a few other things like panels and wandering the bookfair, but in a limited and manageable way.

    My takeaway: there will always be other conferences, so there’s no need to cram everything you might potentially do at the conference into this one. I get more out of what I’m doing when I’m not always thinking about the next thing, and that way I can let things unfold in a way that allows for great surprising things to happen, the real joy of conferences for me.

    2. Warm up my voice.

    Ok, this may just be me, but every conference I’ve been to in the past three years I’ve lost my voice entirely by the third day. It’s all the loud talking in the bookfair, in bars, in the lobby, just always having to shout over others. I apparently have weak vocal cords (thanks, dad) so I absolutely must remember to do vocal chord exercises in the weeks leading up to the conference. There’s nothing worse than wanting to have a conversation with someone and having to hope they can read your lips because your voice sounds like a frog with a sore throat is lodged between your vocal chords. Maybe I do an inordinate amount of talking, but there it is.

    3. See the city, at least a little.

    Some conferences have off-site events, or planned excursions, but I don’t always find those things as exciting as I do the things I just randomly discover by wandering. I’m a city-girl through and through and one of my favorite activities is discovering a new city by exploring and getting a little lost. I set aside a few hours on my second day to do this with a friend, and we wandered in the rain up Michigan Ave. to the Chicago Cultural Center where we discovered two amazing art exhibits, both totally free and open to the public, in an exquisite building. It was a nice interlude in all the conference madness, and a good reminder that there are amazing artistic things happening outside of AWP. Plus, the exhibit Morbid Curiosity was totally inspiring. A victorian-style curio collection of art that has to do with skulls and skeletons. Really a stunning exhibit.

    4. Don’t just talk about yourself.

    Seems sort of obvious, but a few friends have asked how I can hold conversations with complete strangers, and the answer is usually don’t talk about yourself. Ask questions. Be interested. Repeat. I see so many people at the bookfair at AWP especially just going up to tables and trying to talk about their own work, which from the other side of the table gets pretty blurry pretty fast. If you’re looking to make meaningful connections with publishers, editors and writers you admire, talk about things you have in common, not just your own interests and work. The way you find those things out are by asking good questions, and listening carefully. I had some amazing interactions at this bookfair with a few publishers I really admire. And though I do have some work I’m looking to place, I’m much more concerned with building genuine relationships with people I think are doing awesome and interesting things.

    P.S. – The same is true for having a good twitter feed. It’s all about community-building.

    5. Follow up right after the conference.

    I got a bunch of cards, email addresses, and invitations to continue conversations after AWP. That’s what makes me excited about these conferences – the potential future relationships that I’m building. So it’s a good idea to do it right away. In the past, I’ve put it off feeling like I need to catch up on all the things I let lapse during my time at the conference. But now I’ve set aside the day after the conference ends for follow-up correspondance (and blogging, obviously). Otherwise it won’t get done.

    Ok, so that’s it for me.


    Erica Mena is a poet, translator and print designer, not necessarily in that order. She is currently a student in the MFA in Literary Translation at the University of Iowa. Her original poetry has appeared or is forthcoming with Vanitas, the Dos Passos Review, Pressed Wafer, Arrowsmith Press, and others. Her translations have appeared or are forthcoming with Words Without Borders, the Iowa Review, Kenyon Review, PEN America, Asymptote, Two Lines, and others.

    She is the founding editor of Anomalous Press. She is also the coordinator and co-host of Reading the World Podcast, a monthly conversation about literary translation.

  • March 6, 2012
    by Jenna Hammerich

    Dave Morice—writer, visual artist, performance artist, educator, and former TIR contributor (his Poetry Comics appear on the covers of our 2007 issues) has just released Online Poetry Comics issue No. 21, "Pi & Pat"—that's "Pi" for Pi Day and "Pat" for St. Patrick's—which begins with a two-page "entry form" for the first ever Online Poetry Comics Contest. 

    Dave Morice's books include 60 Poetry Marathons, three anthologies of Poetry Comics, How To Make Poetry Comics, The Adventures of Dr. Alphabet: 104 Unusual Ways To Write Poetry in the Classroom & the Community, and The Great American Fortune Cookie Novel. His visual art projects include Rubber Stamp American Gothic and The Wooden Nickel Art Project.

    37/1 (Spring 2007) Iowa Review cover
    "Emily Dickinson's Poem 249" from Morice's Poetry Comics: An Animated Anthology

    comic for cover

    37/2 (Fall 2007)
    "The Adventures of Whitman" from Morice's Poetry Comics: An Animated Anthology

    poetry comic

    37/3 (Winter 2007/8)
    "Howl" from Morice's Poetry Comics: An Animated Anthology

    poetry comic