Issues 14, 15 & Beyond

by on Oct 11, 2017

Please remember the deadline for submissions for Issue 14 is this Friday October 13, and we plan to start Issue 14 the week of October 23 November 13.

Issue 15 is going to be a micropoetry issue (similar to our first issue). Please adhere to the general submission guidelines, but for this issue, we would like to see micropoetry, microfiction, videopoems based on micropoetry, and artwork that works with this micro theme. We’re defining micro along the lines of the Twitter model, and ask that all submitted writing be tweetable. That doesn’t mean you need to be on Twitter, it just means we’re setting a 140ish-character limit for each submitted piece. There’s more on the submissions page.

The deadline for submitting to Issue 15 will be January 5, 2018, and we will plan to start the issue the week of January 15.

And then, that will likely be it.

I love running Gnarled Oak. It has been a blast, and I have learned so much and met so many wonderful writers and artists, but life is taking over and increasingly I find I don’t have the headspace to keep this going at the moment. I also find myself chomping at the bit to focus for a while on my own writing again. And I want to read (and try to review) more chapbooks. I may change my mind and this may just be a hiatus, but I think, for now anyway, it is near time to bid Gnarled Oak farewell. I hope you’ll send us your best micros/shorts to help close this thing out in fine style.

Issue 13: Once Upon a Linear Time—Summary, Contents & Editor’s Note

by on Oct 9, 2017

Summary

Issue 13: Once Upon a Linear Time (Aug-Sep 2017) is an unthemed issue featuring poetry, prose, videos, and artwork from writers and artists around the world.

Read online | Read the PDF (click to read online, right-click & save-as to download)

Contents

first day of school — Anthony Q. Rabang

Once Upon a Linear Time — Marianne Paul

Before We Stepped Outside — James Croal Jackson

Trees and Names — Clyde Kessler

Saving Face — Mary McCarthy

Natural Light — Anna Kander

In the Temple — Marie Craven

Boat — Olivier Schopfer

abandoned home— Billy Antonio

On the Way to the Ocean — Marianne Szlyk

Three Poems — Tara Roeder

There Must Have Been Starfish — Jeanie Tomasko

summer heat — Mark Gilbert

into the night — Marianne Paul

Hollow — Steve Klepetar

Skeletons — Alixa Brobbey

Bad News — Helina Hookoomsing

parachute silks — Debbie Strange

our tracks — Marilyn Fleming

At the Edge of the Forest — Ben Groner III

Growing Alone — W. Jack Savage

In the Wadi — Devon Balwit

In Homage to Those Who Metamorphose
 — Sarah Bigham

Death Meditation — Marie Craven

country road — Jennifer Hambrick

Editor’s Note

I tend to say yes when volunteers are needed, which is how I wound up coaching soccer and leading a Cub Scout den (and getting way behind on Gnarled Oak). I did both of those things growing up and now that my son is old enough for these sorts of activities, I’m happy to help make them happen for him. It’s fun.

As a Cub Scout leader, I had the pleasure of taking a bunch of first grade boys for a nature walk last week.  Being quiet to listen for birds was tricky, but they discovered so much: rocks, caterpillars, mushrooms, dragonflies, fish and turtles. It was a joy to see these kids look beyond the playground and themselves to the natural world that exists even in one little pocket of the suburbs.

It’s a beautiful thing to open your eyes on what is old and all around in such a way that it all seems new. Seeing things through their young eyes was a gift, and it made me think of Gnarled Oak (because I was running late) and how through it we experience so much made new.

And I’ll leave it here because this issue ran so late. So, without further ado, let me just say thank you to our contributors for their work and our readers for their time. See you in a few weeks for an October issue that will hopefully be more on time.

With gratitude and thanks,

James Brush, editor
Oct 2017

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Gnarled Oak — Issue 13: Once Upon a Linear Time: Read onlineRead the PDF (right-click/save-as to download)

Issue 13 Call for Submissions

by on Jun 18, 2017

This is the Official Call for Submissions for Issue 13 of Gnarled Oak, which will start in July and be an unthemed issue.

Gnarled Oak accepts poetry, prose, videos and artwork. I don’t impose rules on what is and isn’t acceptable (other than the no hate speech, no pornography one), but as a general guideline, I tend to favor shorter works, which for our purposes means poems of less than 20 lines, prose less than 1000 words, and videos less than 7 minutes long. Regarding form and style, I’m open to almost anything. Check out previous issues to get a sense of things.

I’ll be reading for Issue 13 through July 7 and will plan to start the week of July 24 August 14. Please visit the Submissions page for more in-depth guidelines. I look forward to seeing what comes this way, and I hope you’ll send something and help spread the word. Thank you.

Issue 12: Refuge—Summary, Contents & Editor’s Note

by on Jun 17, 2017

Summary

Issue 12: Refuge (Apr-May 2017) is an unthemed issue featuring poetry, prose, videos, and artwork from writers and artists around the world.

Read online | Read the PDF (click to read online, right-click & save-as to download)

Contents

Lenting — Tiffany Grantom

i woke this morning — Neil Creighton

Avoidance — Mary McCarthy

Landmine in a Field of Flowers — Matt Mullins

snow angel — Tom Sacramona

The Island — Barbara Young

Look Both Ways — Jane Williams

The Two Ends — Shrikaanth Krishnamurthy

Song for Awe & Dread— Tommy Becker

long night moon — Deborah P. Kolodji

whiteout — Marianne Paul

Practice Makes Perfect — Elizabeth Vrenios

Enchant(ed) — Misha Penton

highway dusk — Malintha Perera

Sacred Stones — Lawrence Elliott

Trees — Olivier Schopfer

The Spoilt Season — Steve Klepetar

Ode to the Corner of the Drug House Down the
 Gravel Road Off the Two Lane Highway #51
 — Darren C. Demaree

The Stars Are All Dead and Have Fallen
 — Barbara Young

heel cups — Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco

usual questions — Christina Sng

crow moon — Debbie Strange

Listen — Ken Poyner

Anatomy — Marie Craven

Refuge — Steve Klepetar

Editor’s Note

This week I took my son to the Bullock Museum of Texas History to check out the Stevie Ray Vaughn exhibit. They had his old Stratocaster under glass, beautiful and beaten to near ruin.

“Why does it look all messed up?” my son asked.

We turned and watched some footage of him performing “Pride and Joy” on Austin City Limits. “He could play like that,” I said, “because he practiced so much that his guitar wound up looking like that,” I said pointing back to the old Strat.

Maybe it’s true, or maybe he bought it already beat up. Still, there’s a good lesson there about practice, I think.

Later, I sat at the table to do a little reading and work out exactly what I would write here, cup of coffee topped with whipped cream on the table beside me. The fly that Simon the Cat has been too lazy to kill the past two days buzzed nearby and then I heard more intense buzzing, high pitched and fast. Desperate.

I glanced at my coffee cup just in time to see the fly disappear beneath the whipped cream to a hideous high-temperature doom, those buzzing notes still ringing in my ears.

Then after a moment of silence for the fly and a quick trip to the coffee pot for a fresh cup, I continued reading Fear of Music by Jonathan Lethem, an analysis of one of my favorite albums, Fear of Music by Talking Heads. That album, and their next one, Remain in Light, are the kinds of work that make me want to write until my computer and pen look like Stevie Ray’s guitar.

I’ve a suspicion that pens and computers of many of Gnarled Oak’s contributors must look pretty well-used too. How else does such fine work as appears here come about except through long practice and hard work. And coffee, too, perhaps.

* * *

This issue ended three weeks ago, and so my apologies for the tardiness. But here we are at last.

I especially liked this issue for the number of videos I was able to include (thanks to Dave Bonta at Moving Poems for a well-timed shout-out to Gnarled Oak that resulted in substantially more video submissions than usually come my way).

And, as always, thank you to all who submit to and read Gnarled Oak.

With gratitude and thanks,

James Brush, editor
Jun 2017

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Gnarled Oak — Issue 12: Refuge: Read onlineRead the PDF (right-click/save-as to download)

Issue 12 Call for Submissions

by on Mar 2, 2017

This is the Official Call for Submissions for Issue 12 of Gnarled Oak, which will start in April and be an unthemed issue.

Gnarled Oak accepts poetry, prose, videos and artwork. I don’t impose rules on what is and isn’t acceptable (other than the no hate speech, no pornography one), but as a general guideline, I tend to favor shorter works, which for our purposes means poems of less than 20 lines, prose less than 1000 words, and videos less than 7 minutes long. Regarding form and style, I’m open to almost anything. Check out previous issues to get a sense of things.

I’ll be reading for Issue 12 through March 31 and plan on starting the issue the week of April 10 and will start on April 24. Please visit the Submissions page for more in-depth guidelines. I look forward to seeing what comes this way, and I hope you’ll send something and help spread the word. Thank you.

Issue 11: Natural Outlaws—Summary, Contents & Editor’s Note

by on Mar 1, 2017

Summary

Issue 11: Natural Outlaws (Jan-Feb 2017) is an unthemed issue featuring poetry, prose, videos, and artwork from writers and artists around the world.

Read online | Read the PDF (click to read online, right-click & save-as to download)

Contents

Natural Outlaws — Melissa Fu

The Past Is Not Where I Left It — Stephanie Hutton

The Teenager Who Became My Mother
 — Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto

In the Feet of a Refugee — Frank Eze

In Merciless Air — Steve Klepetar

Sometimes the Water — Marie Craven

In the Clouds — Cui Yuwei

kite festival — Anthony Q. Rabang

There Was a River— Micki Blenkush

I Have Me Some Hobbies — Paul Beckman

Journey — Olivier Schopfer

a boy draws a bird — Nicholas Klacsanzky

The Boy by the River Told — Matt Dennison

Dis-Spelling — Mary McCarthy

fistfuls of hair — Marilyn Fleming

Carried Away — Micki Blenkush

Hats Off — Betsy Mars

Scattering in Harmony — Tony Press

frost-filigreed — Debbie Strange

Grief’s Engine is a Flower — José Luis Gutiérrez

The Sound of Taste — Steve Klepetar

Poem for Rent — Marie Craven

The Road Dreamers Take — Robert S. King

beneath the surface — Marianne Paul

their affair — Deborah P. Kolodji

The Next Generation of Stones — Amy Kotthaus

When My Youth Catches Up with Me — Robert S. King

And When — Chumki Sharma

Have Made It — Matt Dennison & Michael Dickes

Editor’s Note

In a fit of helpfulness, I volunteered to be an assistant coach for my son’s t-ball team. Having no experience with t-ball, baseball, or athletic coaching didn’t stop me, but now on the eve of the first practice, I realize I have no idea about any of this: my sports were soccer and swimming, and my coaching was academic (high school debate).

I start flipping through the literature books in my classroom looking—as all reasonable people do—to poetry for guidance and come upon “Casey at the Bat” by Ernest Lawrence Thayer, “Analysis of Baseball” by May Swenson, and a personal favorite “Slam, Dunk & Hook” by Yusef Komunyakaa. Good stuff but probably not much help with the mechanics of coaching little kids. Still, where would we be without poetry?

Not without a sudden lesson plan to coax a bunch of hardened teenage boys to write poetry about their favorite sports and surprise themselves by how much they enjoyed doing it.

And certainly not here at the end of this latest issue of Gnarled Oak. Which brings me back round to coaching t-ball but mostly the trying-new-things aspect of it. Poetry was a new thing once (and remarkably, still strikes me as such though I’ve been at it eight years now). So was starting up this journal that still feels new to me. May all good things in life always feel that way.

With gratitude and thanks,

James Brush, editor
Feb 2017

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Gnarled Oak — Issue 11: Natural Outlaws: Read onlineRead the PDF (right-click/save-as to download)

 

Issue 11 Call for Submissions

by on Nov 30, 2016

This is the Official Call for Submissions for Issue 11 of Gnarled Oak, which will start in January and be an unthemed issue.

Gnarled Oak accepts poetry, prose, videos and artwork. I don’t impose rules on what is and isn’t acceptable (other than the no hate speech, no pornography one), but as a general guideline, I tend to favor shorter works, which for our purposes means poems of less than 20 lines, prose less than 1000 words, and videos less than 7 minutes long. Regarding form and style, I’m open to almost anything. Check out previous issues to get a sense of things.

I’ll be reading for Issue 11 through December 31 and plan on starting the issue the week of January 9 January 16. Please visit the Submissions page for more in-depth guidelines. I look forward to seeing what comes this way, and I hope you’ll send something and help spread the word. Thank you.

2016 Pushcart Nominations

by on Nov 29, 2016

Here are Gnarled Oak’s six Pushcart nominees for 2016 in order of appearance. I hope you’ll go back and reread them:

Ghosts of Home by Kim Mannix (from Issue 6: Cosmology)

Cosmology by Laura M. Kaminsky (from Issue 6: Cosmology)

Sister Speed Racer and the Silent Brides of Christ by Michael Whiteman-Jones (from Issue 6: Cosmology)

Worried Man Blues by Harold Whit Williams (from Issue 8: The Somnambulist’s Notebook)

Gossamer by Jeanie Tomasko (from Issue 9: Harbor, Home, Hard Love)

The Animals Are Gone by Steve Klepetar (from Issue 10: Dark Water)

Congratulations to these authors and my sincerest thanks to them and everyone who allows me the honor of publishing their work at Gnarled Oak.

Issue 10: Dark Water—Summary, Contents & Editor’s Note

by on Nov 28, 2016

gnarled_oak_cover-10Summary

Issue 10: Dark Water (Oct-Nov 2016) is an unthemed issue featuring poetry, prose, videos, and artwork from writers and artists around the world.

Read online | Read the PDF (click to read online, right-click & save-as to download)

Contents

Inkchester — Jo Waterworth

‘A Man Was Lynched by Police Yesterday’
 — Howie Good

Ocean Watch — Mary McCarthy

Crossing — Alan Perry

Dark Water — Martha Magenta

There Is a Season #2 — Steve Tomasko

Shaky Hands — Cheyenne Bilderback

still not yet done — Adjei Agyei-Baah

Jake Forgets It — Todd Mercer

on that bench — Debbie Strange

Night of the Dead — Annie Prevost

Two Years Ceased — Ann Howells

What If a Tree — Richard Weaver

One Dream Opening into Many — Marie Craven

We Sat Outside — Jean Morris

With the County — Robert Joe Stout

Inside Job — Steve Tomasko

Purple Angel Bottom — Howie Good

Warm #115 — Darren C. Demaree

@ The Limekiln State Park II — Samantha Tetangco

monsoon — Goran Gatalica

Your Shadow — Jean Morris

Shorty, the Crow — Tricia Knoll

License — Larry D. Thacker

The Animals Are Gone — Steve Klepetar

in your old backyard — Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco

a new silk scarf — Mary Kendall

love note — Christina Sng

Positive Vibration — John L. Stanizzi

Taking Off — Olivier Schopfer

Editor’s Note

I am a bit surprised that Gnarled Oak has made it to ten issues. When I launched it two years ago, I had no idea if I would even get any submissions let alone enough to publish even one issue. Needless to say, I’m thrilled that we’ve made it this far, and during this post-Thanksgiving season here in the US, let me just say how thankful I am for everyone who entrusts Gnarled Oak with their work and all who read and share this journal. My sincerest thanks.

In addition to post-Thanksgiving, it’s also post-election season here in the US. It’s been an ugly one for sure and it seems the internet has exploded with vitriol, fake news, propaganda, and poorly fact-checked memes. Fortunately, Gnarled Oak has helped keep me sane and hopefully you as well. It seems we’re navigating some dark waters indeed, something I wasn’t thinking of when I selected the title for this issue, but it seems apt on many levels.

When I started this project I wanted to add a bit of light and beauty to this little backroads corner the internet. And so we’ll continue with that project amid the ugliness around. Now more than ever. Thank you all for being a part of this.

With gratitude and thanks,

James Brush, editor
Nov 2016

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Gnarled Oak — Issue 10: Dark Water: Read onlineRead the PDF (right-click/save-as to download)