Monday, March 24, 2014

Introducing Crab Creek Review Co-Editor Ronda Broatch

“Everything you didn’t understand / made you what you are.”
    Charles Simic

This is the epigraph to Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem,”Who?” which appeared in Crab Creek Review’s Bread for This Hunger, an anthology of poems published in 1996, that respond to the final two lines of William Stafford’s poem “Listening at Little Elkhart” :

“The world has this voice; it wanders; it is lost / in the night and the stars. It cannot find where to go.”

I came to poetry in college. A student of art from a very young age, poetry allowed me to make sense of what I didn’t yet understand. The words came to me, and from me, and went in directions both exciting and surprising. Poetry was so immediate, allowing a freedom of expression that in speech came in fits and starts. I’d often tell people, “I’m better on paper than I am verbally.” I was finding my voice in the written word, when spoken ones frequently teased and eluded me.  People often said to me, “you are such a good listener.” Sure, I thought. It’s because my voice gets stuck on its way out of my mouth. It gets lost.

Much conspired to bring me to the medium of poetry. From the age of 3 months I came to be raised primarily by my grandparents. In around 1940 Karl and Theodora made the trip to Seattle from Vienna, putting distance between them and a mother country suffering beneath the growing weight of Nazi oppression. My grandfather worked at the Ullstein Haus, a publishing firm in Berlin founded by Leopold Ullstein, and carried on by son Hermann. Jewish born Ullstein junior emigrated from Nazi Germany in 1938, following the rise of Hitler. Because of his connection to Ullstein Haus and other publications he either created or took part in, and that were against the Nazi regime, my grandfather, Karl, a writer and editor, spent 4+ months in Dachau before he, too, left Germany and Austria behind, taking with him his wife and two young children. My grandmother, Theodora, was an artist and illustrator of children’s books, who was also known for her compelling political illustrations that also went against the highly charged and changing times in the place they’d called home for so long.

Shihab Nye’s poem, “Who?” begin with the lines, “I studied German for years / but all I can remember is ‘over the chimneys, / here and there’,” and I can’t help but think about how my grandparents arrived in Seattle, and there remained until they passed away, never once returning to the land of their birth. Because it was deemed best at the time, I spent my week days in their home, and weekends with my young, working parents. Even as they were far from “home,” I was well cared for and nurtured by these people who spoke a strange and exotic combination of German and English in conversation. I - rebellious or self-conscious, I don’t know - never mastered their language, but did take from them the gifts of written language and visual arts that permeated the air I breathed, so that had I been forced to move suddenly into a house without these things in it, I might be quite lost. Wandering room to room in a place devoid of the sounds of typing, bookshelves filled floor to ceiling, the smells of paint, the swish of brush in water, pen to paper.

How is it, then, Karl and Theodora were able to hold onto their “language?” That they, having become separated from the familiar and shunted (thankfully, by some kindness) to the safety of new terra, didn’t leave behind also their words and art?

“It’s impossible to understand / where things go, / how we get / other things back / when they are missing.”

Shihab Nye’s poem ends without explaining, and yet implying so much. With my quiet mentors gone now, I still question my place in the world. I write about that, leaving behind my voice in journals, and capturing what I see in minute detail in photos, like a little trail of crumbs. And at times I remember some little event or interaction with either of my grandparents, and marvel at the brief flash of understanding that comes, informing my work, and at the same time pulling me forward to the next point of discovery. Maybe we don’t get everything back, but we can, in time make sense (and poetry) of the things that are missing.

Shihab Nye, Naomi. (1996). Why? In L. Clifton, & C. Orlock (Eds) final issue of Crab Creek Review anthology Bread for This Hunger (pp. 9-10) Seattle, WA: Crab Creek Review Association.

Ronda Broatch is the author of Shedding Our Skins, (Finishing Line Press, 2008), and Some Other Eden, (2005). She has received Pushcart nominations, an Artist Trust GAP Grant, and has been a finalist more than once for the May Swenson Poetry Book Award. Ronda is Co- Editor for Crab Creek Review. In her spare time she photographs birds and poets in their natural habitats. Schnitzel and Zwetschkenknödel have the power to bring her world into balance.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

We Have a Winner!

Congratulations to Kelly Cressio-Moeller! Kelly is the winner of the "Deviled Crab Creek Review" tray! Thank you to everyone who donated to Crab Creek Review! We appreciate your incredible generosity, and look forward to bringing you the next issue of the journal this spring.

Stay tuned for Phase 2 / Prize 2 of the Crab Creek Review fund drive!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Crab Creek Review 2014 POETRY CONTEST is Underway!

2014 Crab Creek Review Poetry Contest

The entry period for the 2014 Crab Creek Review Poetry Contest begins on February 15th with entries accepted until May 15, 2014. A $200 prize will be awarded for the winning poem. 

This year's judge is Sarah Vap (Arco Iris, End of the Sentimental Journey: A Mystery Poem). 

Picture Sarah Vap grew up in Missoula, Montana. She attended Brown University, where she studied English and American Literature. She received her MFA from Arizona State University, and is completing her PhD at the University of Southern California.

Vap is the author of four collections of poetry. Her first book, Dummy Fire, was selected by Forrest Gander to receive the Saturnalia Poetry Prize. Her second, American Spikenard, was selected by Ira Sadoff to receive the Iowa Poetry Prize. Her third book, Faulkner’s Rosary, was released by Saturnalia Books in 2010. Her fourth book, Arco Iris, was just released in November, 2012, and was named a Library Journal Best Book of 2012. Her book End of the Sentimental Journey is forthcoming from Noemi Press in 2013. She is a 2013 recipient of an NEA Fellowship for Poetry.

Vap has taught poetry and literature at Arizona State University and University of Southern California, and for many years now she has taught creative writing to kids in public schools.

She lives with her family in Santa Monica, CA. 


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Contest Submission Guidelines:

*We welcome up to 3 poems per writer, 6 pages maximum.
*The entry fee is $10 per submission. Multiple submissions are allowed, but each batch must be submitted separately, with its own entry fee.
*Please submit works in .doc, .docx, PDF, or .rtf format.
*Choose a standard 12 pt font (Arial, Times New Roman or similar), and standard margins between 1” and 2”.
* Do not include graphics or embed any objects in your document.
* Poetry may be single spaced or double spaced. If formatting preservation is a concern, please send your submission in PDF format. 

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The winner and finalists will be featured in the 2014 edition of Crab Creek Review. In addition, all entries considered for publication. 
Submit to Crab Creek Review today!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Improve Your Poetry Karma ...

. . . with a donation to Crab Creek Review. Crab Crab Creek Review is committed to publishing the best writing from the Northwest, and beyond. 30 years have passed since founder Linda Clifton put together the first issue of Crab Creek Review. Much has changed since 1984, but one thing remains the same—our love of literature and dedication to publishing fine poetry and prose.

If you love literature too, we hope you will consider helping Crab Creek Review continue to bring innovative and thought-provoking writing to the literary community. Become a friend of Crab Creek Review and the authors and audience of the journal become your friends. A nonprofit company, Crab Creek Review depends on the kindness of strangers, and the generosity of friends like you.
Donate to Crab Creek Review now through March 15th, and your name will be entered for a chance to win this devilishly handsome vintage poet-tray, signed by poets Nikky Finney, Dean Young, and Nick Flynn, generously donated by Kelli Russell Agodon, out-going Editor.

Thank you for your support, and may the muse be ever at your side.


Jenifer Lawrence & Ronda Broatch

Editors, Crab Creek Review
From left to right: Jenifer Lawrence, Editor, Ronda Broatch, Editor, Kelli Russell Agodon, former Editor~