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.

Interview and five poems in Connotation Press

Kaite Hillenbrand interviewed me for the November issue of Connotation Press and published five of my poems that range from tattoos to flat tires to the dangers of muddy and snowy roads.



My thanks to Kaite for her thoughtful questions and most generous gift of her time. While you’re at the issue, be sure to check out the poems of Treasure Shields Redmond and Amorak Huey. Yowsa! Great stuff! 

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. 

Poem in Swarm

My poem “Homunculus” is in the inaugural issue of Swarm! Here’s the link:

“Homunculus”

I mentioned in the previous post how fabulous it was working with Brandon Amico, one of the four editors at Swarm. I just got a thank-you note from him in the mail. Got that? – a thank-you note. Handwritten. On a cute card. How sweet is that? 

So: writers, I encourage you to read Swarm and submit your best. Now I’m off to read the fiction in this issue. 

Interview in Swarm

The new literary journal Swarm has begun posting interviews with the four writers from their inaugural issue, and I’m one of them. Here’s the link:

Karen Skolfield’s interview in Swarm

Brandon Amico was the editor that asked me to be part of Swarm, and really, there was no way I could say no. He sent the nicest, most amazing request I’ll probably ever get. And oh, was it flattering. Do writers like flattery? – yes, we can’t help it, since mostly we spend our days hauling ourselves out of the mudpit of rejections. His note was so laudatory that I had to read it with my hands over my eyes, the way someone else might watch a horror movie. Like so many New Englanders, I don’t know what to do with praise. I’m sure I blushed. Writing this, I’m blushing again.

The inaugural issue will come out mid-February. In the meantime, read the interviews, submit some work to them! I’ll post some more Swarm links:

Submissions: http://swarmlit.com/submit/

Interview with Gregory Sherl: http://swarmlit.com/interview-with-gregory-sherl/
(I will admit I teared up when I read Sherl’s interview. It’s very unpretentious and open). 

Interview with Barbara Westwood Diehl: http://swarmlit.com/interview-with-barbara-westwood-diehl/ (I love her no-nonsense attitude and how she’s trained herself to take charge of writing).