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. 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)

Issue 10: Call for Submissions

by on Aug 30, 2016

Here we are. It’s the Big 1-0. Gnarled Oak is heading into double digits. This is the Official Call for Submissions for Issue 10 of Gnarled Oak, which will start in October and be an unthemed issue.

Gnarled Oak accepts poetry, prose, videos and artwork. I don’t like to 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 10 through September 30 and plan on starting the issue the week of October 10 (yes, Issue 10 starts on 10/10) October 17. 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 9: Harbor, Home, Hard Love—Summary, Contents & Editor’s Note

by on Aug 29, 2016

gnarled_oak_cover-9Summary

Issue 9: Harbor, Home, Hard Love (Jul-Aug 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

I Am April — Tiffany Grantom

Gossamer — Jeanie Tomasko

composing for voice & breath — Scott-Patrick Mitchell

Westbound PA Turnpike — James Esch

Acutance — Jack Bedell

prairie storm — Debbie Strange

Texas Life Story, Six Words — Lisa Bubert

and if you sketched the view from here minus
 — Jeanie Tomasko

The Meeting Ran Long — Marie Craven

Multilingual — Steve Klepetar

The Elephant in the Room — Juliet Wilson

After Ekphrasis — Marie Landau

Geography of the Dream — Joan Colby

Talking You to Sleep — Margaret Holley

Sea Song — PJ Wren

Daydream — Olivier Schopfer

Moon Kisses — Kelsey May

Super Moon— Cathryn Essigner

In a Dark Room — Steve Klepetar

Once Upon a Time — Consuelo Arredondo,
 Cristina Ortiz, Ferrie = differentieel,
 Johann Mynhardt & Luis Rojas

My Cross — Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto

Skins — Mary McCarthy

ECT — Mary McCarthy

Ominous Dreams — Bill Waters

Only the Lonely — Marie Craven

old footbridge — Pravat Kumar Padhy

tequila sunset — Christina Sng

riddle of renewing — j.lewis

from Orchards — Marilyn McCabe

Shorts-and-long-sleeved-shirt-kinda-perfect-Sunday
 afternoon at the beach — Jeanie Tomasko

Editor’s Note

Back to school. That’s why this note and issue wrap-up is so late. Should I tell you the dog ate my work? It’s a great excuse since dogs will eat anything: paper, plastic, Legos, spatulas, curtains, coffee tables, trash. Why not the last page of this issue?

So I’m back to school and already I hear this from my students: “Writing is boring.”

My mind short circuits. This simply does not compute.

Lately, I’ve tried responding with, “Why are you writing boring things? Try writing something interesting.”

This stumps them sometimes, but I figure why not? Many of my kids act like they want me to entertain them, but maybe they should try to entertain me.

This year, I’ll tell them to try to think like writers: entertain me, inform me, persuade me. Show me your world as only you know it.

Now here we are starting the second week of school and a few at least seem willing to try. Maybe I can find a seat in the back of the classroom, sit down and learn from what they’ve got to say.

It’s what I like to do here at Gnarled Oak, and so, thank you as always for writing and reading, for sending your work and letting me publish some of it. For letting me sit in the back and learn so much. It’s always an honor, and I hope you’ve enjoyed this issue as much as I did.

And for those of you teachers, students, and parents of school and college-aged kids, best of luck to you in the new school year, and may all your dogs keep their teeth off your work.

With gratitude and thanks,

James Brush, editor
Aug 2016

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Gnarled Oak — Issue 9: Harbor, Home, Hard Love: Read onlineRead the PDF (right-click/save-as to download)

Issue 9: Call for Submissions

by on Jun 1, 2016

This is the Official Call for Submissions for Issue 9 of Gnarled Oak, which will start in July and be an unthemed issue.

Gnarled Oak accepts poetry, prose, videos and artwork. I don’t like to 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 9 through June 30 and plan on starting the issue the week of July 4 July 11. 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.