2014 Split This Rock poetry contest

I just got word that I won the 2014 Split This Rock poetry contest, judged by Tim Seibles. Am I jumping up and down? Oh, yes. Here’s the link to the announcement and the poem:

“At the Mall, There’s a Machine That Tells You If You Are Racist”

While I’m at it, because I know I should, here’s a link to my book Frost in the Low Areas, which won the First Book Award for Poetry from Zone 3 Press and was published October 2013. Free shipping!

Frost in the Low Areas by Karen Skolfield

Enough about me, yeah? Instead, let’s celebrate a poem of Tim Seibles that’s sexy and body-powerful and positive and just all around fun. 

“Ode to My Hands” by Tim Seibles

My gratitude to Split This Rock – I have enjoyed the poetry they put forward for years, and I’m so happy to be invited to the Split This Rock festival in D.C. in March. Looking forward to it!

Interview & poems (reprise) in Extract(s): Daily Dose of Lit

Jenn Monroe, one of the editors over at Extract(s), interviews me, and I get to talk about conversational tone, energy in lines, and when revising is “eat-a-scoop-of-chocolate-ice-cream fun.”

Extract(s) Interview

They also reprinted three poems of mine: “Where Babies Come From,” “Backblast Area Clear,” and “Rumors of Her Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated.” Link below.

Three poems

Many thanks to Jenn and the others at Extract(s) for the interview, and for giving me space in the interview to talk about one of my favorite poems, “Ming” by Jill McDonough.

Reading at APSU / Zone 3 with Nancy Eimers

I traveled to Clarksville, TN, this month for the launch of my book. Clarksville is home to Austin Peay State University & Zone 3 Press, and every other year they hold a first book contest in poetry and fly in the winner AND the judge for a reading and meeting with a creative writing class. Nancy Eimers, author of Oz (Carnegie Mellon 2011), Grammar to Waking (Carnegie Mellon 2006), No Moon (Purdue 1997), and Destroying Angel (Wesleyan 1991), was the judge, and let me say, a fabulous reader and all-around amazing person. I have never felt so welcome – by Ms. Eimers, but also by the incredible staff and faculty and students of APSU and Zone 3. A special shout-out to Susan Wallace, Andrea Spofford, and Barry Kitterman – I know I saw the tiniest sliver of their responsibilities at APSU and Zone 3, and yet I was impressed by their dedication to students and literature and their own writing.

The book contest and many of the creative writing activities are thanks to Tennessee’s funding and dedication to its Centers of Excellence; the Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts is housed at APSU. It’s funding and foresight like this that keeps literature and creative endeavors moving forward.

Here are a couple of photos from the event – one of me and Ms. Eimers; one of me signing books & greeting. Both are grainy (low light, my brother’s phone). But that’s a very happy me in both photos.

Frost in the Low Areas

After more than a year of anticipation (on my part), my book Frost in the Low Areas is now available for pre-order, with shipping happening around the middle of October. You can get it from Zone 3 Press, the publisher, and shipping is FREE.

Please, when you can, support small presses by ordering from the press or through Small Press Distribution. When you order from Amazon, the press gets a measly and evil 20-some percent of the cost back – not enough to sustain a small press. 

Here’s the link to Zone 3 Press, out of Austin Peay State University in Tennessee: https://epay.apsu.edu/C20023_ustores/web/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCTID=163

Frost won the First Book Award from Zone 3 Press. 

Picking cover art for Frost in the Low Areas

One of the tasks I’ve been given by Zone 3 Press is to come up with some cover art ideas. I’ve read other people’s blogs and interviews on cover art for their first books of poetry, and so many people seem to have had some art already picked out, sometimes by a friend who’s an artist. I do have friends that are artists and have considered this, but I haven’t landed on anything specific. So I’ve been cruising the Internet. The name of the manuscript is Frost in the Low Areas, bringing to mind… well… cold stuff. Here are some links to fabulous images of cold stuff, or getting-to-be-but-not-yet cold stuff.

Photography by Dan Brown 

I especially like the last two images by Dan Brown on the page – the one in blue, and the one that looks like a palm tree or pressed fern.

And here are a bunch of images by photographer Lars van de Goor of the Netherlands.

Image 1   Image 2   Image 3   Image 4   Image 5
Image 6   Image 7

Nice photos. I especially like the images with people in them, though I worry that most of those are too wintry and monochrome.

Here’s one that caught my eye early on, by photographer Robert Fulton of the UK. It’s the first image on the page.

Robert Fulton’s photo

I found the fractals by Matt Walford interesting. My favorite is the blue one – that image doesn’t seem to load directly, so you’ll need to click on the thumbnail at the bottom of the page.

Fractal

…and that’s it so far. This is a lot harder than I thought it would be. I have some Zone 3 books on my nightstand right now, and they’re gorgeous – and the covers seem so perfect. Here are links to a couple of Zone 3 books that I own.

John Pursley’s If You Have Ghosts 
Amanda Auchter’s The Glass Crib 

Nice covers, eh?

New poem in Used Furniture Review, & more

New poem out in Used Furniture Review. My friends on Facebook have been having fun passing it around because, well, it’s so trashy. Truly trashy. Here’s the link:

“Disposal”

What did you think I meant by “trashy”? 

Other news: I just got a letter from the Hudson Valley Writer’s Project (Slapering Hol Press) that my chapbook manuscript “A Whole Set of Words Not To Use Around Children” was a finalist for their contest. Nice! This week, at least, I don’t mind being the bridesmaid. 

Zone 3 First Book Award (alternate title: I won! I won! I won!)

It’s been a sleepless week. On Monday (six days ago as I write this) I got a call from Blas Falconer at Zone 3 Press out of Austin Peay State University, letting me know I won the First Book Award in Poetry for my manuscript Frost in the Low Areas. So I jumped up and down for a while, sent a thumbs up to my hubby in the next room, tried to shush my two small kids (who were not impressed by my recent good luck), spoke incoherently on the phone to Blas, and wondered if this could be an elaborate hoax. Well, I hope not, ’cause I’ve been telling everyone and I’ll feel silly if I have to take it back.

Zone 3 has been marvelous – so kind and reassuring. The final judge, Nancy Eimers, sent me an incredible note and suggested I not make too many changes to the manuscript before it goes into book form. That’s pretty amazing, considering her name will always be on it.

I’ll have a book. A book! I’ll get to hold that little sucker in my hands.

Here’s the press release.

Publication is set for fall 2013. Now to think of some cover art…

2011 Best of the Net – Sundress Publications

Now online, and I’m in it. Here’s a link to the poetry section – full of lots of great stuff. 

2011 Best of the Net – poetry

I’m still chuckling over Robert Wrigley’s “Short Answer: Mishap With Nail Gun” and Nick McRae’s “An E-mail from God Concerning the Recent Plague of Locusts.” Oh, and Nancy Reddy’s “The Case of the Double Jinx” is so fabulous. Props, folks! 

2011 Oboh Prize in Poetry

February 22, 2012: Fabulous email today from Boxcar Poetry Review. The poem they published of mine, “Rumors of Her Death…” (see post below) was selected as the winner of their 2011 Oboh Prize in poetry by external judge Kelli Russell Agodon. Thanks Boxcar!

And if you’ve never checked them out, you should. I love how editor Neil Aitken works at building community: Every time a new issue comes out, all the writers published by Boxcar since the journal began get to vote on their favorite poems. Top three winners from each issue are advanced for consideration for the Oboh Prize. It’s a huge compliment to get chosen by your peers, and Neil Aitken is fantastic about sending along the reviews from writers. I see Boxcar having a really positive effect on the writing community – certainly a very positive effect on me.