Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Crab Creek Review's Annual Poetry Contest (Feb.1-May 31) Guest Judge: Nancy Pagh

Beginning February 1st, we are accepting submissions for our 2010 Poetry Contest!

•Submit up to 5 previously unpublished poems
•Entry fee: $10, check payable to Crab Creek Review
•Deadline for all submissions: May 31, 2010
•The winner will receive $200 and publication in CCR 2010 Vol.II
All entries will be considered for publication
•Guest Judge: Crab Creek Review Advisory Board member and poet, Nancy Pagh
Please read the complete guidelines on our contest page.

Nancy Pagh is the author of No Sweeter Fat (Autumn House Press, 2007) and After (Floating Bridge Press, 2008), and her poems appear in many publications, including Crab Creek Review, Prairie Schooner, Rattle, Fourth River, The Bellingham Review, O magazine, and When She Named Fire: An Anthology of Contemporary Poems by American Women. She received an Artist Trust fellowship in 2007 and was the 2008 D. H. Lawrence Fellow at the Taos Summer Writers Conference. An enthusiastic performer, she was a featured poet at the Skagit River Poetry Festival and a headliner in the Gist Street Masters Series in Pittsburgh. She has taught workshops at the Whidbey Island Writers Association conference and with the Field’s End program on Bainbridge Island. She currently teaches at Western Washington University.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Writer's Notebook: A time and place for writing (or not) by Midge Raymond

A time and place for writing (or not)
Midge Raymond

I have several writer friends who write in the morning. In the early hours of the morning. In fact, at least one of them is done with her daily writing around the time I’m getting out of bed. This me feel sort of lazy, as though I’m not a very dedicated writer.

But I’m not a night owl like many writers, either. I used to write simply whenever the mood struck me — and even once I got serious about writing fiction, I never managed to stick with a routine. Eventually I got very anxious about that. It seemed that everywhere I looked, writers were talking about their writing schedules, their dedicated spaces. Having a strict routine, and a writing sanctuary, seemed to be a prerequisite for success.

Then I learned that Raymond Carver wrote “Cathedral” on a train to New York City. And that he used to write in the back seat of his car. This — along with a few other stories from successful writers who admit to having no real schedule — helped me see that the when and where isn’t what’s important. What matters is that you write.

A lot of us become disciplined because we have to: day jobs, kids, and other aspects of Everyday Life force us to set aside that precious time to write. But what happens when you sit down for your Writing Time and absolutely nothing happens? Or if something else comes up that forces you to skip your writing hour(s)? This is when it’s good to have a Plan B.

I’ll admit that my entire writing routine is a Plan B. I still don’t have a set time of day to write, even when I’m in the middle of a project. In a way, this is a good thing: when I’m really into something, I’d never want to limit my writing to a couple hours a day anyway. But when I’m in a more challenging phase — say, that horrible first-draft stage — I have to work harder to stay inspired.

So what I do to keep a project going is to set goals, rather than dates and times. This way, I can be flexible about when and where I write but still get the work done. Some days, I’m able to devote four hours to writing; others days, I’m lucky to write for an hour. When I find myself blocked, I’ll do some research, which doesn’t result in words on the page but nevertheless keeps the project moving forward. If I find that I simply can’t stare at the computer any longer, I’ll take a notebook somewhere — and the change in perspective is almost always illuminating.

A few tips…

Know that you can write anywhere. I wrote my first published short story in a tiny corner of a railroad flat in New York City. When I moved to an even smaller apartment after that (which I didn’t think was possible), I wrote at university libraries. Even if you don’t have enough space at home (and you’d be surprised by how little you need), you can find it somewhere.

Make your writing space a special one. Wherever your writing space is, make it a place you want to be — and one you want to keep returning to. If you’re writing in the tiniest corner of your kitchen table, for example, surround yourself with books. If you’re in a cubby at the library, bring your iPod to tune out noise, or leave the laptop at home and write by hand (as Natalie Goldberg writes: “Arm connected to shoulder, chest, heart”).

Set your own rules and make people follow them. One of my early-morning writer friends put an outgoing message on her voice mail that said, “If you’re calling before 1:00 p.m., this is my writing time. I’ll get back to you after 1:00.” Ask the people in your life to take your writing time as seriously as you do.

Be flexible. Whether you’ve set aside time in the early hours of the morning or the late hours of the night, eventually you’re likely to be struck with some form of writer’s block. You can use this time for extra sleep (the subconscious can do wonders), or simply do something else that’s related, even tangentially, to your work. Research. Read. Watch a film set in the era in which your novel takes place. Listen to the type of music your character listens to. Even these little things can help create a mood that will inspire you and help get you back into the work.

And finally, if you don’t already, carry a notebook. My favorite ideas have come to me in random places, and if I hadn’t written them down, they’d have been lost. And the notebook is a good reminder that no matter where you are, you’re a writer.


Midge Raymond's short-story collection, Forgetting English (Eastern Washington University Press, 2009), received the Spokane Prize for Short Fiction. Her work has appeared in American Literary Review, Ontario Review, Indiana Review, North American Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Passages North, the Los Angeles Times, and other publications. She is on the editorial board of the literary journal Green Hills Literary Lantern.

You can learn more about Midge and her projects here:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thank you from Crab Creek Review...

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Crab Creek Review Thanks You!
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Here are some images from our last year at Crab Creek Review. Though the journal has been around for 26 years, last year was our first year as editors (Annette Spaulding-Convy, a fantastic poet whose book will be picked up soon is the other editor). We had to learn a lot and realize just what goes into publishing a literary journal. The first big realization is that "your work is never done." Once we finish an issue, there's another one biting at our heels.

But really, it is so worth it.

It is so worth it opening a folder of poems put together by our wonderful poetry editor, Lana Ayers, and falling in love with someone's writing. I fell in love with a couple poets this morning. I spoke up for their poems.

In so many other places in life, poetry doesn't matter. But in our group, in our pages, it does. We stand up for our favorite poems. There will be a poem overlooked and someone will say, "Wait, that was my favorite" and then it is published. Someone will say, "I love this poem, we have to take it."
And we do.

It's a magical moment. This morning in my living room with Lana & Annette, saying, "We need this poem in our journal." Needing poetry. It's a good place to be on a Thursday morning.

If you're interested in seeing Crab Creek Review for yourself and reading the poets I fall in love with, you can subscribe here.

It's only $15 a year (or 2 years for $28).

And we create a lovely perfect-bound with poems and stories from writers all over the world. It's kind of magical receiving that in your mailbox 2 times a year.

And I'll tell you a secret about the next issue and what it will include-- the first interview I've done for Crab Creek Review with Snow Falling on Cedars author, David Guterson. And poems from Molly Tenenbaum, Rachel Contreni Flynn, Kate Lebo, Cati Porter, and others who will be receiving their acceptances quite soon...

With so many print journals ending because of financial issues, we are so thankful to have such a strong readership that keeps us afloat.

Thank you all for your support of the literary arts and our journal. We so appreciate it! ~


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Please note correct email address for Ekphrastic Submissions Series in Crab Creek Review

The first call for submissions by CRWOPPS had an incorrect email address (it was missing the 7).

To submit poems to Susan Rich, our guest editor, for the Ekphrastic Poem Series, please use this email address:

duende3417 (at)

Sorry about the confusion!

Monday, January 18, 2010

call for Submissions - Crab Creek Review on Ekphrastic Poetry

Crab Creek Review Call for Submissions

We are pleased to have our very first guest editor, Susan Rich, who will be putting together a section of poems for an upcoming issue on the theme of Ekphrastic Poetry.

Here are the details below...

Special Editor's Portfolio edited by Guest Editor, Susan Rich
Theme: Ekphrastic Poetry

We begin with the visual. Ekphrastic poetry is a response in words to a painting, photograph, dance, building, sculpture, Ikea catalogue, child’s drawing, or bumper sticker. An ekphrastic poem begins with inspiration from another piece of art and with the intuitive understanding that art begets art. In a sense, the art object becomes the rough draft of the poem.

We are looking for the best ekphrastic poems, 30-lines (or less) to showcase in an upcoming issue of Crab Creek Review.

For this project, we are accepting email submissions to the email address below. To submit to this special portfolio of ekphrastic poetry, write your name and title of the submission in the subject line and then send your previously unpublished poems in the body of an email to Editor, Susan Rich at: duende3417 (a)

Please send 3-5 poems at the most.
Also, include a short bio and contact info as well.

Deadline is May 31, 2010