2022 Pushcart Nominations

The editors of South 85 Journal are pleased to announce this year’s Pushcart Nominations:

“Yellow Bird” by Shannon Bowring (flash fiction)

“Paraiso” by Donna Obeid (flash fiction)

“El Roca” by Hayley Nivelle (flash fiction)

“Feathers and Wedges” by Karen Kilcup (poetry)

“Elixir for Knowing When to Surrender” by Katherine Seluja (poetry)

“If I get Alzheimer’s – Instructions for my Wife” by Justin Hunt (poetry)

Watch for the December 15th Issue to read these winning works and more!

Winners of the 2022 Julia Peterkin Award for Flash Fiction and Poetry

South 85 Journal is honored to announce the winners of the 2022 Julia Peterkin Literary Award for Flash Fiction and Poetry:

Flash Fiction Winner

Yellow Bird by Shannon Bowring. Bowring’s work has appeared in numerous journals, has been nominated for a Pushcart and a Best of the Net, and was selected for Best Small Fictions 2021. Her debut novel, The Road to Dalton, is forthcoming from Europa Editions. Shannon lives in Bath, Maine. 

Judge’s Comments: “A spellbinding story of tragedy’s aftermath, beautifully written and tightly constructed, with character development that transcends its pithiness. Having lost a son, a couple find their grief transforming into an emotion that leads to dramatic, unexpected—even shocking—actions. The story proves that brevity need not constrain narrative force.”

Poetry Winner

Feathers and Wedges: A Golden Shovel by Karen Kilcup.  A New Englander with old farming roots, Karen Kilcup is the Elizabeth Rosenthal Excellence Professor of American Literature, Environmental & Sustainability Studies, and Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies at UNC Greensboro. Her forthcoming poetry book The Art of Restoration was awarded the 2021 Winter Goose Poetry Prize. She’s an avid cook, runner, and rock climber who has difficulty resisting the urge for More Garden.

 

Winners receive a $500 award and have their work published in the December issue of South 85 Journal.

 

Flash Fiction Finalists

First Runner-Up, Flash Fiction

Paraiso by Donna Obeid. Obeid holds a BA in English with an Honor’s Concentration in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan, and an MA and MFA from American University. Her work has appeared in Carve Magazine, Detroit Metropolitan Woman, Flash Fiction Magazine, Hawai’i Pacific Review, The Malibu Times, and elsewhere. She lives in Palo Alto, California.

Second Place, Flash Fiction

El Roca  by Hayley Nivelle. Nivelle is an emerging writer and a practicing attorney. She has a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law and a M.S. from the Honor’s Program at Kansas State University. Hayley lives in Harrison, New York with her husband and two boys.

Third Place, Flash Fiction

Santa Monica by Wynne Hungerford. Hungerford’s work has appeared in EPOCH, Subtropics, Blackbird, The Literary Review, The Brooklyn Review, The Normal School, and SmokeLong Quarterly, among other places. She received her MFA from the University of Florida.


Poetry Finalists

First Runner-Up, Poetry

If I Get Alzheimer’s: Instructions for My Wife by Justin Hunt. Hunt grew up in rural Kansas and lives in Charlotte, NC. His work has won several awards and appears in a wide range of publications in the U.S., Ireland and the U.K., including Five Points, Barrow Street, River Styx, New Ohio Review, Nimrod, Terrain.org, and The Bridport Prize Anthology.

Second Place, Poetry

Elixir for Knowing When To Surrender by Katherine DiBella Seluja. Seluja  is the author of Gather the Night, and co-author of We Are Meant to Carry Water. Recent work can be found in FENCE, and upcoming in Cutthroat and Thimble. Her third book of poetry, Point of Entry, will be published by UNM Press in 2023.

Third Place, Poetry

a mother mulls her son’s self-injuries by Dean Gessie. Gessie is an author and poet who has won dozens of international awards and prizes. Among recent honours, Dean won the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award in England, a Creators of Justice Literary Award in New York, the COP26 Poetry Competition in Scotland and the UN-aligned Poetry Contest in Finland.

 

This Year’s Judges

 

The judge for the 2022 Julia Peterkin Flash Fiction contest is Cary Holladay. Holladay has published six short story collections, including Horse People, The Quick-Change Artist, and most recently, Brides in the Sky, as well as two novels and over 100 short stories and essays in journals and anthologies, including Alaska Quarterly Review, Arkansas Review, Five Points, The Georgia Review, The Hudson Review, Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, Sewanee Review, Southern Review, and Tin House. Her awards include an O. Henry Prize and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is Professor Emeritus at the University of Memphis. She lives in Virginia.

 

The judge for the 2022 Julia Peterkin  is Ashley M. Jones. Jones is Poet Laureate of the state of Alabama (2022-2026). She received an MFA in Poetry from Florida International University (FIU), where she was a John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Fellow. She is the author of three poetry collections: REPARATIONS NOW! (Hub City Press, 2021); dark // things (Pleiades Press, 2019), winner of the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize for Poetry; and Magic City Gospel (Hub City Press, 2017), winner of the silver medal in poetry in the Independent Publishers Book Awards. Her poems and essay appear or are forthcoming in many journals and anthologies, including CNN, the Academy of American Poets, Poetry Magazine, Tupelo Quarterly, Prelude, and The Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy, among others.

 

Julia Peterkin Literary Contest:

Established in 1998 by the Creative Writing program at Converse College, the Julia Peterkin Award is a national contest honoring both emerging and established  writers. The award is named for Converse graduate Julia Mood Peterkin, whose 1929 novel,  Scarlet Sister Mary, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in literature.

Submissions for the annual Julia Peterkin Literary Awards are open yearly from June 1 to August 15 . Full submissions guidelines can be found on our Submittable page: Literary Awards Guidelines Finalists in each category will also have their work published in the winter issue of South 85 Journal.

Past Winners

2020

Humankind needs larger birds by Justin Jannise (Poetry)  

The Holy Waters of the Ganges by Krista Buecler (Flash Fiction)

2019

 Mourning Dove by Benjamin Garcia (Flash Fiction)

2018

 What You Said by Natalie Troy (Flash Fiction)

 

 

 

2022 Best of the Net Nominations

About

South 85 Journal is pleased to announce the nomination for the following works, which appear in the Summer 2022 issue, for this year’s Best of the Net Anthology.

The Best of the Net is an awards-based anthology designed to grant a platform to a diverse and growing collection of writers and publishers who are building an online literary landscape that seeks to break free of traditional publishing. This space has been created to bring greater respect to the continually expanding world of exceptional digital publishing. 

Poetry:

Imagine a Raw Egg  by Katerina Stoykova
Junk Trees  by Kristen Rembold
Voracious and Vegetarian  by Ivy Raff
A Faint Ticking  by Roger Pfingston
Prolapse: Etymology  by Lisa Allen
Open/Close/Open by Marjorie Maddox

Fiction:

Drenched  by Emily Fontenot

Girls Night  by Anthony D’Aries

Nonfiction:

Otherwise  by Michael Levan
10 Ways to Mother  by Madelaine Gnewski

Interested in a Writing Residency? Consider the Kimmel Harding Nelson.

Kimmel Harding Nelson Center

South 85 Journal is happy to present the first in a series of interviews featuring directors and administrators of various writing residencies to give our readers a peek into how these programs are organized and facilitated. Or first interview is with Holly McAdams Olson who is the current director of the Kimmel Harding Nelson Artist Residency in Nebraska City, Nebraska, and welcomes both visual artists and writers. Their twice yearly application deadlines are March 1 and September 1. You can apply here.

Tell us a little about the origins of the Kimmel Harding Nelson Artist Residency.

The Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts is a program of the Richard P Kimmel and Laurine Kimmel Charitable Foundation. Laurine Kimmel was a well-known watercolor artist from Nebraska City. The residency program continues her and her husband Richard’s legacy of supporting the arts in Southeast Nebraska.

KHN is located in a unique Prairie-style residential complex built in 1969 by another established Nebraska City couple, Peg and Karl Nelson. Mrs. Nelson’s maiden name was Harding, and the complex was built on the site of a past Harding home. In honoring this history, the program was named the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts and opened as an artist residency program in 2001.

What makes the KHN residency distinct from others?

KHN is known for its serenely quiet and homey feel. Just as the Nelsons designed the multi-unit luxury home to facilitate both independent living and ease of socializing, the facility’s architecture provides a superb layout and an intimately spacious setting for a small-cohort artist residency program. The facilities support up to five residents, generally in the mix of two visual artists, two writers, and one composer.

Main Gallery

Residency program models are as varied as their facilities and locations. While some programs are known for their chef-prepared meals and daily networking opportunities, KHN provides uninterrupted time and minimal obligations so that each individual can deep-dive into their own rhythms of work and exploration.

Nebraska City is a vibrant rural town with just over 7,000 people. As the home of Arbor Day, the town’s tree-lined brick streets, small museums, local shops, and sprawling parks provide many opportunities for residents to explore local attractions without the burden of too many events and “places to be” to detract their focus from their creative work.

What is your role in the organization today?

I have been the Program Director since 2017. I oversee all aspects of the residency program, our regional exhibition program, and the Kimmel Permanent Collection, which comprises over 250 visual artworks, 200 literary works, and 75 musical works (albums or scores) donated to the center by former residents.

What do you find most rewarding about your work with KHN?

I had fallen into grant writing and development work before coming to KHN five years ago. I often joke that after years of building case statements for why people should want to support, talk to, and listen to artists, now, I just get to. Taking part in boundless cross-disciplinary conversations between visual artists, writers, and composers is the most rewarding part of my job. As much as I love art of all varieties, even more, I love hearing artists talk about what they do and why. Considerations such as composition, design, and character development, as well as the hustle and logistics of piecing together a career, are both unique and universal for all media and disciplines. I just love the “aha” moments for myself and others when one individual’s work or process spurs someone of a different discipline to say, “huh, I never thought of it that way before. Say more”.

What about the residency most surprises writers who attend?

KHN is their first experience in Nebraska or the Midwest for many of our residents. Most report that the residency, our facilities, and their experiences with the local community exceed their expectations. For writers especially, we repeatedly hear that although time went faster than they had expected, their productivity exceeded their goals. In hindsight, many resident writers have stated that each week at KHN seemed the equivalent of a month’s worth of productivity in their daily lives.

Autumn in the Midwest

When and how do writers and artists apply?

We host two application cycles each year: March 1st and September 1st. The March deadline determines awards for the second half of the current year (July – December), and the September deadline determines the first half of the following year (January – June). All applications must be submitted through our online application portal (via Slideroom), and there is a $35 fee to apply. Writers submit up to 10 poems totaling no more than 30 pages, or two stories, essays, or book chapters totaling no more than 7,500 words; a résumé; two artist statements; and contact information for two references. Additional guidelines can be found on our website (https://www.khncenterforthearts.org/residency/how-apply). Writing applications are always our largest pool of applications. We generally receive about 100-120 writing applications each deadline and award approximately fifteen, two- to eight-week writing residencies each session.

What makes you laugh?

My husband would tell you that I do. I have an extremely dry and punny sense of humor, so often, other people in the room only awkwardly laugh because I am laughing. Or they just roll their eyes.

~

Holly McAdams Olson joined KHN as Director in February 2017. She holds a BFA in Ceramics from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, as well as a BA in Arts Management and a Master of Business Administration from Bellevue University. Prior to joining KHN, Holly established her love for supporting artists and cultivating the Arts in Omaha, working at The Union for Contemporary Art, the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, and as a former board member of WhyArts? Inc. Holly lives in Union, Nebraska.

Summer Poetry and Flash Fiction Contest Underway

Submissions are now open for the Julia Peterkin Literary Awards in Flash Fiction and Poetry.

Established in 1998 by the Creative Writing program at Converse College, the Julia Peterkin Award is a national contest honoring both emerging and established  writers. The award is named for Converse graduate Julia Mood Peterkin, whose 1929 novel,  Scarlet Sister Mary, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in literature.

South 85 Journal seeks submissions of unpublished flash fiction of 850 words or fewer and previously unpublished poems of 50 lines or fewer.  We are especially interested in stories and poems that demonstrate a strong voice and/or a sense of place, but consider all quality writing.

The winning selection in each category will be awarded $500 and publication in the December issue of South 85 Journal. Contest finalists will also be selected and published alongside the winning selection.  Submissions are read blind by an outside judge.


Judges for this year’s contest are Cary Holladay for flash fiction and Ashley M. Jones for poetry.

Cary Holladay has published six short story collections, including Horse People, The Quick-Change Artist, and most recently, Brides in the Sky, as well as two novels and over 100 short stories and essays in journals and anthologies, including Alaska Quarterly Review, Arkansas Review, Five Points, The Georgia Review, The Hudson Review, Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, Sewanee Review, Southern Review, and Tin House. Her awards include an O. Henry Prize and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is Professor Emeritus at the University of Memphis. She lives in Virginia.

Submit Flash Fiction Here


Ashley M. Jones is Poet Laureate of the state of Alabama (2022-2026). She received an MFA in Poetry from Florida International University (FIU), where she was a John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Fellow. She is the author of three poetry collections: REPARATIONS NOW! (Hub City Press, 2021); dark // thing (Pleiades Press, 2019), winner of the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize for Poetry; and Magic City Gospel (Hub City Press, 2017), winner of the silver medal in poetry in the Independent Publishers Book Awards. Her poems and essays appear or are forthcoming in many journals and anthologies, including CNN, the Academy of American Poets, Poetry magazine, Tupelo Quarterly, Prelude, and The Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy, among others.

Submit Poetry Here

SUBMISSIONS CLOSE AUGUST 15, 2022

Summer Poetry Contest: $500 Prize

The Julia Peterkin Award for POETRY:

South 85 Journal seeks submissions of previously unpublished poems of 50 lines or fewer for for the annual Julia Peterkin Literary Award for Poetry from June 1 to August 15 each year. The winning selection will receive $500 and publication in the Fall / Winter issue of South 85 Journal. Contest finalists will also be named and their work published alongside the winning selection.  Submissions are read blind by an outside judge.

This year’s judge is Ashley M. Jones.

Ashley M. Jones is Poet Laureate of the state of Alabama (2022-2026). She received an MFA in Poetry from Florida International University (FIU), where she was a John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Fellow. She is the author of three poetry collections: REPARATIONS NOW! (Hub City Press, 2021); dark // thing (Pleiades Press, 2019), winner of the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize for Poetry; and Magic City Gospel (Hub City Press, 2017), winner of the silver medal in poetry in the Independent Publishers Book Awards. Her poems and essays appear or are forthcoming in many journals and anthologies, including CNN, the Academy of American Poets, Poetry magazine, Tupelo Quarterly, Prelude, and The Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy, among others.

  • Submit up to three unpublished poems of 50 lines or fewer. 
  • All submissions will be read blind. Please do not include personal information on your manuscript or file. Submissions that include identifying information will not be considered.
  • The winning poem will be awarded a cash prize of $500.
  • Four semi-finalists will also be named and published in South 85 Journal.
  • Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please withdraw your entry if your poem is accepted elsewhere. Partial withdrawals are allowed.
  • Multiple contest submissions will be considered as long as a separate submission fee is paid for each contest entry.
  • Work may be submitted in both Flash Fiction and Poetry categories as long as the submission fee is paid for each contest entry.
  • All winners must be over 18 years old and reside in the U.S. in order to claim cash prize.
  • Please use 12 point, standard font. We suggest Times New Roman.
  • We consider only previously unpublished work.
  • Current and former South 85 Journal staff members are not eligible for participation.
  • Current Converse College students and Converse MFA alum are not eligible for participation.
  • Results will be announced in October.
South 85 Journal does not publish work which has been previously published either in print or online. We acquire exclusive first-time Internet rights only. All other rights revert to the author at publication. Works are also archived online. We ask that whenever an author reprints the work that first appeared on our pages, South 85 Journal be given acknowledgment for the specific work(s) involved. Only the main contest winner will receive a prize.

Submit Here

Spring / Summer 2022 Issue

*Featured Image by Lauren Peterson

Fiction

Drenched  by Emily Fontenot
Girls Night  by Anthony D’Aries
Losing Claire in Pioneer Square  by Kimm Brockett Stammen
Cut Chords  by D.B. Gardner
Noe Valley  by Scott Laughlin
The American Mother  by Tanya Perkins
Just Desserts  by Chris Stuck

Nonfiction

Family History   by Luanne Castle
Playground Love  by Paloma Thoen
Is Anyone Home   by David Meischen
Otherwise  by Michael Levan
10 Ways to Mother  by Madelaine Gnewski

Poetry

Imagine a Raw Egg  by Katerina Stoykova
Junk Trees  by Kristen Rembold
Voracious and Vegetarian  by Ivy Raff
Question Mark  by Ann Chadwell Humphries
A Worrier’s Villanelle  by Dustin Brookshire
Slipping the Halters On  by Donna J. Gelagotis Lee
A Faint Ticking  by Roger Pfingston
Perspective  by Allison Thorpe
At The Hourglass Resort  by Daniel Edward Moore
Ode to the haiku  by Ralph Long
Paradox  by Lisa Zimmerman
Nosara  by Kelly DuMar
Open/Close/Open by Marjorie Maddox 
Prolapse: Etymology  by Lisa Allen
Baptism, 1985  by Brad Barkley
Sleeping Apart  by James K. Zimmerman

Book Reviews

Heart Speaks, Is Spoken For   by by Marjorie Maddox
Review by Pamela R. Anderson-Bartholet
Sana by Maria Bolaños
Review by Elsa Valmidiano

Literary Contest Now Open: $500 Prize

Submissions are now open for the Julia Peterkin Literary Awards in Flash Fiction and Poetry.

Established in 1998 by the Creative Writing program at Converse College, the Julia Peterkin Award is a national contest honoring both emerging and established  writers. The award is named for Converse graduate Julia Mood Peterkin, whose 1929 novel,  Scarlet Sister Mary, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in literature.

South 85 Journal seeks submissions of unpublished flash fiction of 850 words or fewer and previously unpublished poems of 50 lines or fewer.  We are especially interested in stories and poems that demonstrate a strong voice and/or a sense of place, but consider all quality writing.

The winning selection in each category will be awarded $500 and publication in the December issue of South 85 Journal. Contest finalists will also be selected and published alongside the winning selection.  Submissions are read blind by an outside judge.


Judges for this year’s contest are Cary Holladay for flash fiction and Ashley M. Jones for poetry.

Cary Holladay has published six short story collections, including Horse People, The Quick-Change Artist, and most recently, Brides in the Sky, as well as two novels and over 100 short stories and essays in journals and anthologies, including Alaska Quarterly Review, Arkansas Review, Five Points, The Georgia Review, The Hudson Review, Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, Sewanee Review, Southern Review, and Tin House. Her awards include an O. Henry Prize and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is Professor Emeritus at the University of Memphis. She lives in Virginia.

Submit Flash Fiction Here


Ashley M. Jones is Poet Laureate of the state of Alabama (2022-2026). She received an MFA in Poetry from Florida International University (FIU), where she was a John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Fellow. She is the author of three poetry collections: REPARATIONS NOW! (Hub City Press, 2021); dark // thing (Pleiades Press, 2019), winner of the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize for Poetry; and Magic City Gospel (Hub City Press, 2017), winner of the silver medal in poetry in the Independent Publishers Book Awards. Her poems and essays appear or are forthcoming in many journals and anthologies, including CNN, the Academy of American Poets, Poetry magazine, Tupelo Quarterly, Prelude, and The Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy, among others.

Submit Poetry Here

SUBMISSIONS CLOSE AUGUST 15, 2022

Someone to Clean

by Walter Cummins

When the hospice nurse came down into the living room to tell Mason that Virginia had died, his first thought was to call Lila and ask her to clean.   Even as he followed the nurse back up the steps to the guest room, he wondered why of all things that notion came into his mind when he had to inform his children, some friends, and then the funeral home.  He hardly knew Lila, rarely saw her during the ten years she had arrived once a week to scrub and polish for Virginia.  She had been there the past Monday, sitting on the edge of Virginia’s bed, speaking softly.  From the hallway, Mason, working at home, had watched Virginia gaunt and ashen, barely nodding.  Then the nurse came, and Lila left without even dusting.

The nurse was a sturdy woman, hair cropped short, reading glasses dangling from a chain. At the doorway, she touched his arm, eyes soft with sympathy, but said nothing, just gestured toward the bed where she had pulled the covers up to Virginia’s chin. His wife’s mouth was open, jaw contorted as if she had made one last gasp for breath and froze in the midst of it. Had she wanted him to call Lila? Were those her last words, gasped to the nurse because he wasn’t there to hear? He shook his head, aware that he was being foolish.

Mason phoned the children, miles away, forewarned and awaiting his message.   He called the two daughters and a son in the order of their ages, the way he always did in an attempt not to pick favorites.  They had visited separately a month ago, spending time alone with their mother, saying their goodbyes, and Mason gave them privacy.  But despite the doctor’s predictions Virginia had lingered, and Mason put off sharing his own farewell, wanting more time as he rehearsed the words in his head, not believing he would ever have to speak them.

This night the conversations with his children were brief, his gulp of hesitation and then, “She’s gone.”  Soft sobs from both daughters despite the inevitable.  He could feel them squeezing their phones, groping for words.  He promised to give them details about the funeral tomorrow.  “All right,” they told him, both of them speaking in the same tone of voice.   It struck him how alike they had always sounded.  His son asked the exact time his mother had died, and that struck Mason as odd.  He hadn’t thought to look at his watch.  The nurse would know.   She was writing on forms in the next room, giving him privacy, but he could hear the tap of her pen.

While he waited for the undertakers, alone, the nurse gone to make another visit, he wondered if he really should call Lila, this stranger whose name had popped into his head. But she wasn’t a stranger to Virginia, who spoke of her often, recounting their weekly conversations, shaking her head at the endless series of miseries in Lila’s life. For all those years the day Lila was due to clean, his wife had left her work at the shop for an hour to unlock the door and talk over coffee before Lila began her chores.

“Do you consider her a friend?” he had asked Virginia once.

The question seemed to surprise her,  “I never thought of it that way, but I suppose she is.”

The word “suppose” echoed in Mason’s memory as he opened a kitchen drawer and searched through Virginia’s address book, realizing he didn’t know Lila’s last name.  But there was her number, under L, as if Virginia had not known either.

[Lately when sorrows come]

by Susan Laughter Meyers

                                                —with a line from Sappho

Spring 2012

Lately when sorrows come—fast, without warning—
whipping their wings down the sky,
I know to let them.
Not inviting them, but allowing each
with a deep breath as if inhaling a wish I can’t undo.

Some days the sky is so full of sorrows
they could be mistaken for shadows of unnamed
gods flapping the air with their loose black sleeves:
the god of head-on collisions,
the god of amputated limbs,
the god of I’ll-dress-you-in-mourning.

Is the buzz in the August trees,
that pulsing husk of repetition, an omen?
I hear it build to a final shaking. I hear it build
louder and louder, then nothing.
Like a long, picaresque novel that’s suddenly over.
Like the last inning of kickball until the rain.

What falls from the sky is not always rain
or any kind of weather. Call it precipitous.
I’m fooling myself, of course. Wearing sorrow
is nothing like skin shedding water.
It’s more like the weight of a cloak of crows.

And yet the sun still shines on the honey locust
arching its fringe over grass. Lit, too,
the pasture and its barbwire strung from post
to leaning post. See how the stump by the road
is rotting and how the small yellow leaves, twirling,
catch light on their way to the ground.

Susan Laughter Meyers, of Givhans, SC, is the author of Keep and Give Away (University of South Carolina Press), winner of the inaugural SC Poetry Book Prize, the SIBA Book Award for Poetry, and the Brockman-Campbell Book Award. Her poetry has also appeared in The Southern ReviewBeloit Poetry Journal, and other journals, as well as Poetry Daily, and Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry column. Her blog is at http://susanmeyers.blogspot.com.