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.

Issue 8: The Somnambulist’s Notebook—Summary, Contents & Editor’s Note

by on May 31, 2016

gnarled_oak_cover8Summary

Issue 8: The Somnambulist’s Notebook (Apr-May 2016) is an unthemed issue featuring poetry, 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

longest night… — Archana Kapoor Nagpal

Ring-Around-Your-Dreams — Steve Klepetar

The Perigee Moon — Tricia Knoll

Dream of Flying — Michele S. Cornelius

The Somnambulist’s Notebook — Steve Klepetar

Joining the Lotus Eaters — Marie Craven

Making Friends with the Bear — Jo Waterworth

Pine — Arielle Lipset

The body that gleams in the depths — Luisa A. Igloria

Medieval saints could read hearts — Rebecca Valley

Sweet Insanity — Ehi’zogie Iyeomoan

Wasteland — Olivier Schopfer

Waiting — Marianne Paul

Dragon’s Breath — Mary McCarthy

Murmurations — Jennifer Hernandez

Worried Man Blues — Harold Whit Williams

Lilies of the Field — Marie Craven

Rural Road — Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco

Train — John L. Stanizzi

Homestead — Debbie Strange

high — Güliz Vural

haiku haiku hai — Marianne Paul

Boy — Casey Stein & Jamie Wimberly

Towards a Larger Physical Stoicism
 — Harold Whit Williams

Washes the Other — Todd Mercer

Winning — Jade Anouka

Dear Zion Canyon, — Carolyn Martin

Reserving Judgment
 — Laura M. Kaminski & Saddiq Dzukogi

brushstrokes — Marianne Paul

Compline — Luisa A. Igloria

Editor’s Note

Simon the Cat likes to bite me sometimes. I don’t really know why. I’m sure he has his reasons, and in the grand scheme of feline justice it all probably makes sense. I’m sure I wronged him weeks or months ago, and as with the US Supreme Court, it sometimes takes months to hand down a decision. The decision tonight: bite.

So I’m sitting here trying to come up with an editor’s note worthy of this issue, and this cat is circling my legs, accepting head scratches and sometimes going for the cheap shot. Does he know he’s going to the vet later in the week for his annual vaccinations?

Or perhaps he’s telling me that I have nothing to add here this time because this issue is so wonderful. Why mess it up, James, he’s saying.

So, I’ll follow Simon’s advice (he is on the masthead, after all) and just say thanks to everyone who submitted, read, shared, commented and enjoyed this issue. I’m probably not supposed to say this as an impartial editor, but it’s one of my favorites.

With gratitude and thanks,

James Brush, editor
May 2016

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Gnarled Oak — Issue 8: The Somnambulist’s Notebook: Read online | Read the PDF (right-click/save-as to download)

Issue 7: Dear Friends—Summary, Contents & Editor’s Note

by on Apr 8, 2016

gnarled_oak_cover-7Summary

Issue 7: Dear Friends aka “The Oldies Issue” (Mar-Apr 2016) is a special mini-issue in which contributors submitted a favorite pre-20th century poem along with a response, commentary, or creative remix.

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

Contents

Translation of Catullus 51 — Sherry Chandler & T.R. Williams

A Description of the Morning by Jonathan Swift — Andrea Wyatt

The Sick Rose by William Blake — Patricia McGoldrick

Lift Not the Painted Veil by Percy Bysshe Shelley — Marie Craven

On Death by John Keats — Sultana Raza

There was an Old Man who supposed by Edward Lear — Olivier Schopfer

Untitled Sonnet by Alexander Smith — Laura M. Kaminski

Binsey Poplars by Gerard Manley Hopkins — Kenneth Pobo

The Old by Roden Noel — Laura M. Kaminski

Dear Friends by Edwin Arlington Robinson — Patrick G. Metoyer

Editor’s Note

This was a short issue, so I’ll keep the note short too. As I wrote in the intro, I had no idea what to expect when I put out the call for submissions back in November of last year. It took a while for these ten poems to show up in my in-box, but they were worth it. I had not read any of them before.

The responses are equally wonderful. Reader and previous-issue-contributor Joan Leotta even described it as being like a poetry course, and that’s how I came to think of it too. I never took a poetry class in college so this was a way for me to expand my horizons a bit. I hope it has done likewise for you.

With gratitude and thanks,

James Brush, editor
April 2016

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Gnarled Oak — Issue 7: Dear Friends: Read online | Read the PDF (right-click/save-as to download)

Issue 7: Dear Friends—Editor’s Note (Intro)

by on Mar 22, 2016

Welcome to Issue 7: Dear Friends aka “The Oldies Issue”. Starting today, we begin an experiment of sorts: a short issue comprised of pre-twentieth century poetry. I’d hoped people would submit a poem they love, like, or that should simply just be shared along with a short statement about or response to the poem. Creative responses intrigued me, and I had no idea what I’d get.

I was interested in “deep tracks” more than the “hits,” so the likes of Poe, Dickinson, and Shakespeare would be fine, but I wanted to avoid the high school English textbook standards since I already know them being a non-standard high school English teacher.

From a copyright standpoint, all submissions needed to be in the public domain and out of copyright, which along with a desire to explore lesser known works, led to the pre-twentieth century requirement.

What I got was what I always get from Gnarled Oak contributors… amazing work that inspires. I hope you enjoy reading this issue as much as I enjoyed putting it together, and thank you to all who submitted and made this experiment possible.

Issues 7 & 8: Call for Submissions

by on Feb 22, 2016

This is the Official Call for Submissions for Gnarled Oak‘s 7th & 8th issues. I’ve still got a few slots left for the “oldies” issue in which I’m asking people to submit a favorite pre-20th century poem along with a brief response, creative or otherwise. I’m hoping it will run in March as Issue 7, and then the next regular unthemed issue will run in April as Issue 8.

For Issue 8, Gnarled Oak accepts poetry, prose, artwork, and videos. 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 8 through April 1, 2016 and plan on starting the issue the week of April 11.

For the oldies issue, an experiment of sorts inspired by the weekly vintage verse feature at Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY (a fine journal, you really should check out) and my son’s love of show-and-tell. I’m interested in putting together a short issue (10-15 pieces) comprised of pre-twentieth century poetry. I’m hoping people will submit a poem they love, like, or that should simply just be shared along with a short (~200 words max.) statement about or response to the poem. Creative responses intrigue me. As do visual and even video responses.

Regarding the poems, I’m more interested in “deep tracks” than the “hits,” so the likes of Poe, Dickinson, and Shakespeare are fine and will be considered, but I’d like to try to avoid the high school English textbook standards (I already know them being a standard high school English teacher).

It is important from a copyright standpoint that all submissions be of poems in the public domain and out of copyright, so they must be pre-twentieth century. As always shorter works are preferred. Translations will be considered but the translation itself must be either in the public domain or the submitters own work.

Submissions for the oldies issue should contain one poem and the submitter’s statement/response. I will keep submissions open for this issue until I have 10-15 pieces at which time I will announce a publication schedule for it. Update: Oldies submissions are closed.

And, as always…

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 6: Cosmology—Summary, Contents & Editor’s Note

by on Feb 18, 2016

gnarled_oak_cover-6Summary

Issue 6: Cosmology (Jan-Feb 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

On New Year’s Day — Christopher Woods

Frost Flowers — Sandy Coomer

Ghosts of Home — Kim Mannix

Cosmology — Laura M. Kaminski

Time Capsule — Bill Waters

Memories — Angelee Deodhar

Chesapeake Beach in October — Andrea Wyatt

Three Crows and a Storm — Joan Leotta

Black Sun Rising — Darrell Urban Black

Wyvern — Holly Day

The Lesson — Natalie d’Arbeloff

Somnolence — Yesha Shah

the heart’s trails — Herb Kauderer

untide— David Kelly

Herring — Elizabeth McMunn-Tatangco

Ripples — Olivier Schopfer

Resting — Mary McCarthy

Rush-hour — Shrikaanth Krishnamurthy

Closed Sign at Bill’s Bait & Beer — Trish Saunders

Discovered/Uncovered — Fabrice Poussin

Reading Whitman on Roque Island — Dervishspin

found poems — Duncan Richardson

Mural with Matching Sky — Jean Morris

Pinned — George Yatchisin

Transmission — Marie Craven

Sister Speed Racer and the Silent Brides of Christ
 — Michael Whiteman-Jones

End of the Road — Debbie Strange

Editor’s Note

When I was very young, living in Virginia, my dad woke me up in the middle of the night to go outside and look through the telescope. He had it pointing at Saturn, and for the first time, I saw the rings. This was back when the Voyager probes were sending images back from the gas giants, the days of Skylab and the Viking missions. Back then, it was easy to imagine that someday I would travel to the planets.

Those starry nights along with thrilling days spent at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum ignited one of the longest running passions of my life: astronomy.

Eventually, Skylab fell, the Moon got farther away, NASA went from exploring to transporting, the speed of light remained inviolable, and I gave up on thinking I would ever travel the stars. But I kept reading. I kept peering out through the telescope, every winter staring for hours on end at the Pleiades and the star nursery of Orion.

In college I took a bunch of astronomy courses. I’m no astrophysicist, and these were the kinds of courses geared for non-science majors so the classes were filled with an interesting mix of people trying to satisfy science credit requirements without having to do math, potheads looking to have their minds blown, and people like me who grew up on Star Wars and Star Trek, Pioneer, Viking, and Voyager. Looking up in wonder at the universe.

My love of observational astronomy developed into a fascination with the bizarre nature of theoretical and quantum physics that always led me back to astronomical weirdness: neutron stars, quasars, magnetars, black holes, radio galaxies. Thinking about this stuff is to ponder the very nature of existence, and it always made me feel like I was studying metaphors as much as the physical universe.

That sense of wonder has never left me. When I look at Hubble images, sunsets and mountains on Mars photographed by rovers, or the moon hanging in the bare elm branches on winter nights, I can’t help but be amazed and filled with curiosity and wonder. Needless to say, Laura M. Kaminski’s wonderful poem “Cosmology” captures that perfectly and spoke to me very deeply and not just about what’s up there, but what’s in here (picture me tapping on my heart).

So it seems literature and art are part of cosmology too in some sense, I think. Not in the physical way, of course, but on the human scale where we attempt to know and understand the universe and our tiny corner of it as we whirl around on this “pale blue dot” as Carl Sagan so aptly described it.

We look out the window and there’s that world out there. And we try so hard to make sense of it. That’s how this issue felt to me… a cosmology made of twenty-seven ways of knowing. Parts of a grand theory, maybe.

Thank you for being a part of this, and as always…

With gratitude and thanks,

James Brush, editor
February 2016

 

Confession: I realized as I was writing this that about half of it had already been written and posted to my blog ten years ago, so I repurposed some of what I’d written then. Here’s the old post: The Universe in a Nutshell

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Gnarled Oak — Issue 6: Cosmology: Read online | Read the PDF (right-click/save-as to download)

Issues 6 & 7(?): Call for Submissions

by on Nov 25, 2015

This is the Official Call for Submissions for Gnarled Oak‘s sixth issue as well as for an experiment of sorts—an “oldies” issue that will come either before or after the next regular issue, which will start in January and be an unthemed issue.

For the next regular issue (probably Issue 6), the standard spiel:

Gnarled Oak accepts poetry, prose, artwork, and videos. 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 6 through January 3, 2016 and plan on starting the issue the week of January 11.

For the oldies issue:

This is an experiment of sorts inspired by the weekly vintage verse feature at Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY (a fine journal, you really should check out) and my son’s love of show-and-tell. I’m interested in putting together a short issue (10-15 pieces) comprised of pre-twentieth century poetry. I’m hoping people will submit a poem they love, like, or that should simply just be shared along with a short (~200 words max.) statement about or response to the poem. Creative responses intrigue me. As do visual and even video responses.

Regarding the poems, I’m more interested in “deep tracks” than the “hits,” so the likes of Poe, Dickinson, and Shakespeare are fine and will be considered, but I’d like to try to avoid the high school English textbook standards (I already know them being a standard high school English teacher).

It is important from a copyright standpoint that all submissions be of poems in the public domain and out of copyright, so they must be pre-twentieth century. As always shorter works are preferred. Translations will be considered but the translation itself must be either in the public domain or the submitters own work.

Submissions for the oldies issue should contain one poem and the submitter’s statement/response. I will keep submissions open for this issue until I have 10-15 pieces at which time I will announce a publication schedule for it.

And, as always…

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.

2015 Pushcart Nominations

by on Nov 24, 2015

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

Burn Job by Lawrence Elliott (from Issue 2: The Velocity of Night)

microwords by Herb Kauderer (from Issue 3: Blue Vegetarian Lions)

bindweed by Robin Turner (from Issue 4: A Parachute in the Wind)

Crooked Smiles by Arika Elizenberry (from Issue 4: A Parachute in the Wind)

Bystander by Mary McCarthy (from Issue 4: A Parachute in the Wind)

the globe in my pocket by Ehizogie Iyeomoan (from Issue 5: The Globe in My Pocket)

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 5: The Globe in My Pocket—Summary, Contents & Editor’s Note

by on Nov 23, 2015

gnarled_oak_cover-5Summary

Issue 5: The Globe in My Pocket (Oct-Nov 2015) is an unthemed issue featuring poetry, prose, 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

the globe in my pocket — Ehizogie Iyeomoan

Poem Where No One Thinks about Death — Glen Armstrong

playing my guitar — Brian Robertson

the blues — Herb Kauderer

Agnes Martin at Tate Modern — Jean Morris

Aubade: A Parallel Poem — Yuan Changming

Big Shot Family — Paul Beckman

Jackie O’s Strange New Life — Elby Rogers

moving sale — Sheila Sondik

Renovation (A Fragment) — Ben Meyerson

a single cloud — Shloka Shankar

Poem — Howie Good

Deconstruction — Olivier Schopfer

masquerade ball — Archana Kapoor Nagpal

The Halloween Quintet — Judy Salz

Boyhood Buoys (4): Frogmeat Sale — Yuan Changming

Apex — Mary McCarthy

Thunder — Leah Browning

read-letter day — David Kelly

Holiday — Rachel Nix

spring breeze — Kala Ramesh

the tightening — Debbie Strange

Shoal — Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco

Year of Glass — Katie Gleason

Eagle — Kenneth Pobo

My Mother’s Voice — Mary Kendall

China Seagull — Jo Waterworth

across the open sea — j.lewis

Nightswimmer’s Purgatorial — Todd Mercer

Mountains Will Break Your Heart, If You Let Them — Trish Saunders

Editor’s Note

Here at the end of the final issue for 2015—an anniversary issue since it’s been a year since we went live—and since it’s Thanksgiving week here in the US, I want to express my gratitude and thanks to all who make Gnarled Oak such a joy.

So thank you to everyone who sends poems, stories, videos, and artwork for consideration. The submissions queue here at Gnarled Oak is so good I sometimes feel like my email is a journal in and of itself, and a good one at that. I can’t publish everything, of course, but everything is read and appreciated.

Thank you also to all of Gnarled Oak’s readers, especially those who help promote and share the work that appears here. This would be nothing without the support of Gnarled Oak’s readers and the community that has grown up around this journal. So thank you for reading and for sharing. Someday a poem is going to go viral like a cat video; I just know it!

While we’re imagining that better world, maybe we can imagine a world in which we stop blowing each other up. Can poetry and artwork, stories and videos help bring that world about? I don’t know. Some days it seems like it doesn’t make a bit of difference. But maybe it does.

And so I’m thankful to all of you who share your words, ideas, stories and visions with the rest of us. You make the world a better place. You give hope, understanding, perspective, insight. I believe that helps. I know it doesn’t hurt.

With gratitude and thanks,

James Brush, editor
November 2015

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Gnarled Oak — Issue 5: The Globe in My Pocket: Read online | Read the PDF (right-click/save-as to download)

Issue 5: Call for Submissions

by on Aug 28, 2015

This is the Official Call for Submissions for Issue 5 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 5 through September 25 and plan on starting the issue the week of October 5 October 12. 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.