Posts Tagged ‘BkMk Press

27
Jan
17

On Bonnie Bolling’s The Red Hijab

A version of this review (and a better edited version) may appear in a future issue of Redactions: Poetry & Poetics.

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bonnie-bolling-the-red-hijabBonnie Bolling’s The Red Hijab (BkMk Press, 2016, and winner of the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry) is set in Bahrain, a kingdom of more than 30 islands in the Persian Gulf between Saudi Arabia and Qatar. According to H. L. Hix’s “Foreword,” “Of what happens in the Middle East, most North Americans receive little word except from what news media present. Consequently, the readily available image of the Middle East is biased toward conflict and violence” (7). Bolling, who lived there for several years, provides a unique view of Bahraini culture, an insider’s view, a journalistic view but with empathy.

The first image of empathy occurs in the opening poem, “The Red Hijab.” After describing an ancient area in the Persian Gulf (perhaps Diraz) with an “abandoned double-wide” trailer, a “tangle of razor wire,” stray cats, dirty windows, and a man “wrapped in a potato sack” picking through the trash, a woman appears walking in the rain with a laundry basket and an umbrella. Images like this of people trying to go about their daily business and tasks occur throughout the book, but here, in the poem “The Red Hijab,” a housemaid wears a “red hijab.” It immediately, at least for me, conjures images of the girl in the red coat from Schindler’s List. In that movie, the girl in the red coat enables Schindler to fully understand that the Holocaust is happening around him, and she inspires him to do everything he can to stop it and to save as many Jews as possible. Bolling, who I assume is the speaker in these poems, however, does not act as a savior. She also does not try to simplify or generalize the Bahraini culture, as western news media might. Bolling’s observation of this housemaid allows us to see a side of life we may not hear about in North American media. In effect, Bolling becomes something like a journalistic embed, who “stand[s] on the corner, leaning next to the sign / that says in three languages: no uncovered women allowed / adjusting and re-adjusting my black hijab, me [a white, female, United States citizen] / on this narrow, broken footpath keeping my silence and distance” (“In Diraz” 7). The woman wearing the red hijab is the reader’s entrance point into the book and Bahrain.

As part of her journalistic acclimation, Bolling uses cultural signifiers, such as Bahraini foods and words like hijab, azan (a call to prayer five times a day by the muezzin), muezzin (the crier who calls for azan from a high part of a mosque at stated hours), Shahada (the Islamic profession of faith), Shamaal (a northwesterly wind blowing over Iraq and the Persian Gulf, which is often strong during the day but weaker in the night), among others, as points of cultural exchange, or at least points of cultural encounter. The encounter for the reader is the disorientation he/she feels when experiencing the unfamiliar and looking for a translation (as I did above with Dictionary.com). This defamiliarization helps the reader shake off the stereotypes of those who live in the Middle East. The speaker must have experienced something like this, too, but now these signifiers are familiar to her. With all this said, one may wonder if Bolling is just wearing a comfortable mask – trying to act like Bahraini while holding on to the security of her white, American privilege. In part I, this may seem the case, but later we realize, part I was just a tour inside the walls of Diraz, and an intimate tour as we sometimes feel the “Oh, we want it all, don’t we?” (“Above the Azan” 28) judgmental disdain some Bahraini have of American tourists.

Perhaps the thematic thesis of part II is best stated in “Gathering Plumeria,” the last poem of section I, when the speaker says, “I am taking / it all in, every side because stories / from the heart don’t lie” (32). By taking the reader behind the walls, deeper into the community where she lives, Bolling introduces us to a few of its citizens and tries to get inside their hearts, such as a woman at home, a young man who will suicide-bomb a coffee shop, “young boys wearing black” harassing an older man because they are bored, and a family whose father’s tongue was cut our and the people who cut it, among others. In “Stars, Moon Rooster” (37), one of the poems I return to most, Bolling, referring to herself in the third person, walks at night and looks into a “house with linoleum,” where she sees a woman and imagines what the woman is feeling and thinking. Using the same third-person “she” to describe herself, Bolling shifts into the woman thinking about hope and how a new born baby is “the embodiment of hope,” until the baby is “thrust / into the arms of another,” and how over the years of life hope “doesn’t matter so much.” Eventually, the wind wakes her from trance, and she returns to her own night journey.

One might consider this presumptuous to assume what someone else is thinking. Perhaps they would be correct. However, she lived in the community for quite some time and observed and listened to the people. She was a poetic embed, unlike the disembodied “they” providing commentary and generalizations. Frequent phrases in section II are “they say,” “they are saying,” “someone says,” and other variations, and this “they” often makes statements about the Bahraini. Because we don’t know who the “they” is, the statements become almost Orwellian. For instance, in “A Silencing” (49-50), the poem opens with an active voice describing the speaker cooking a meal, then there is the volta “Deep in the village / the blind rooster’s / crowing.” This volta hinges on the apostrophe in “rooster’s.” Do we read “rooster’s” as subject and verb, “rooster is,” or as possessive, “the crowing of the rooster”? Perhaps both as the poem then segues into “This village / is said to be ancient.” This sentence is in the passive voice, as we don’t know the subject, or who is doing the saying. It’s just stated, and the reader wonders if that voice is the same as the next sentence’s voice, “Been the same for centuries, / they say, except for air conditioning.” The community’s character, personality, and culture are anonymously inscribed. This unknown speaks for its citizens. Even the local news realizes that “Someone from outside is fooling them / into going up against each other,” where the “someone” is the unknown voice and the “other”s are at times the young and the old. That “someone” is so strong, it can command young people to cut out the tongues of old people:

     Then, they were on him.
     Do it, someone said, do it now.
     So they did it with scissors.
     They cut-out his tongue –

In essence, the unknown “they” and “someone” are performing a type of erasure on its citizens by telling them what they are and not allowing the citizens to have an ability speak back, while at the same time also erasing their religion, as evidenced by cutting out the tongue of a man who memorized the Qu’ran.

What Bolling does in section II’s other poems and throughout the book’s poems is to give voice to the people who have been erased or overwritten. Through her journalistic end-paused and end-stopped lines (there is very little enjambment in these poems), and her movements between physical and psychological realism, she allows us to read below this anonymously created palimpsest to reveal more than “conflict and violence” and to show how

                       so many stories separate us.
     So many nations.
                       We search our tongues,
     desperate for a phrase, some scrap
                       of language or utterance
     that will allow our worlds
                       to come together for a moment (“Only Bread, Only Water” 51-3),

Perhaps this is why we hear a rooster announcing morning so often in The Red Hijab. It’s a language we all understand, as well as the food and love that persist throughout this collection of poems.//

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Bolling, Bonnie. The Red Hijab. Kansas City, MO: BkMk Press, 2016.

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16
Jun
12

Presses with Open Readings for Full-Length Poetry Manuscripts

Below is a list of presses with open readings for full-length poetry manuscripts. Most of the listings have free open readings, but I have included some that charge a Submittable fee or a reading fee, but I do try to limit it to just free open readings. Before the pandemic, I kept it up to day, but during the pandemic I did not. 😟 From now on, I will try to keep this list up to date.

Press with Open Reading for Full-Length Poetry Manuscripts

All the Time Open Readings (Updated 7-21-2022.)

January Open Readings (Checked and updated 1-3-20.)
February Open Readings
  • Astrophil Press (University of South Dakota. Open reading period has changed. No known dates.)
  • BkMk Press (February 1 through June 30. Process begins with a sample of 10 pages of poetry. See guidelines. . . . “BkMk Press is not accepting open submissions at this time. We will make an announcement here when we are able to consider new work” as of 5-25-2022.)
  • Broken Sleep Books (“We particularly wish to encourage more working-class writers, LGBTQ+, and BAME writers to submit.” January 1 through February 28)
  • Canarium Books
  • CavanKerry Press (For Laurel Books, Emerging Voices, and Notable Voices imprint only. $20 reading fee.)
  • Cherry Castle Publishing (February 5 to March 5.)
  • ELJ Publications (February 1 to April 1. $5.)
  • Galileo Press (Ends 3-1-19. An imprint of Free State Review.)
  • Inside the Castle (January 1 to March 1. Closed in 2022.)
  • McSweeney’s Books (“Submissions are currently closed. We don’t have an exact date when they’ll reopen, but we’d suggest checking back in a few months. Thank you for considering McSweeney’s. (3/1/20).” This message still appears on 5-25-2022.)
  • Milk and Cake Press (January 1, 2020, to April 30, 2020.)
  • Panhandler Books
  • Terrapin Books (January 24 to February 28, 2020 and August 1 to August 31. $12.)
March Open Readings
  • Astrophil Press (University of South Dakota. Open reading period has changed. No known dates.)
  • BkMk Press (February 1 through June 30. Process begins with a sample of 10 pages of poetry. See guidelines. . . . “BkMk Press is not accepting open submissions at this time. We will make an announcement here when we are able to consider new work” as of 5-25-2022.)
  • CavanKerry Press (For Laurel Books, Emerging Voices, and Notable Voices imprint only. $20 reading fee.)
  • Cherry Castle Publishing (February 5 to March 5.)
  • Cormorant Books. (“Publishes writers who are both Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada.” March 1 – April 15, 2020.)
  • ELJ Publications (February 1 to April 1. $5.)
  • Galileo Press (Ends 3-1-19. An imprint of Free State Review.)
  • Glass Lyre Press (. March 15 to April 31. $15 reading fee. Checked 1-3-20.)
  • Gold Wake Press (Open reading begins March 1. There is no specified end date. Next open reading begins September 1 with no specified end date. Checked 10-10-2022.)
  • Inside the Castle (January 1 to March 1. Closed in 2022.)
  • McSweeney’s Books (“Submissions are currently closed. We don’t have an exact date when they’ll reopen, but we’d suggest checking back in a few months. Thank you for considering McSweeney’s. (3/1/20).” This message still appears on 5-25-2022.)
  • Milk and Cake Press (January 1, 2020, to April 30, 2020.)
  • Panhandler Books
  • Sibling Rivalry Press (March 1 – June 1. . . . “After a decade of disturbance, we’re hitting pause on our annual open-submission period. Watch this space or follow our social media accounts, and we’ll let you know when we open for submissions again.” This message appears on 5-25-2022.)
  • University Press of Kentucky: New Poetry and Prose Series. (Begin with query. March 15 – May 15. “There are presently no open calls for submissions.” Checked 5-25-2022.)
  • The Waywiser Press (“Authors who have published two or more previous collections of poems.” March 1 – July 1.)
April Open Readings (last checked and updated 4-2-18)
  • Astrophil Press (University of South Dakota. Open reading period has changed. No known dates.)
  • Barefoot Muse Press (April 1 – April 30. “Poems should demonstrate an allegiance to meter/form.”)
  • BkMk Press (February 1 through June 30. Process begins with a sample of 10 pages of poetry. See guidelines. . . . “BkMk Press is not accepting open submissions at this time. We will make an announcement here when we are able to consider new work” as of 5-25-2022.)
  • Close-Up Books (April 30 to July 30. “Close-Up Books is currently on hiatus as of February 2021.”)
  • Cormorant Books. (“Publishes writers who are both Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada.” March 1 – April 15, 2020.)
  • Glass Lyre Press (. March 15 to April 31. $15 reading fee. Checked 1-3-20.)
  • McSweeney’s Books (“Submissions are currently closed. We don’t have an exact date when they’ll reopen, but we’d suggest checking back in a few months. Thank you for considering McSweeney’s. (3/1/20).” This message still appears on 5-25-2022.)
  • Milk and Cake Press (January 1, 2020, to April 30, 2020.)
  • New Rivers Press
  • Octopus Books
  • Panhandler Books
  • Sibling Rivalry Press (March 1 – June 1. . . . “After a decade of disturbance, we’re hitting pause on our annual open-submission period. Watch this space or follow our social media accounts, and we’ll let you know when we open for submissions again.” This message appears on 5-25-2022.)
  • University Press of Kentucky: New Poetry and Prose Series. (Begin with query. March 15 – May 15. “There are presently no open calls for submissions.” Checked 5-25-2022.)
  • The Waywiser Press (“Authors who have published two or more previous collections of poems.” March 1 – July 1.)
  • Willow Books
  • Woodley Press (“Woodley Press strives to publish books by Kansans or books that focus on Kansas.”)
  • YesYes Books (April 1 – May 15. $22. “There are presently no open calls for submissions” as of 5-25-2022.)
May Open Readings (Checked and updated 5-25-2022)
  • Able Muse Press (May 1 to July 15.)
  • BkMk Press (February 1 through June 30. Process begins with a sample of 10 pages of poetry. See guidelines. . . . “BkMk Press is not accepting open submissions at this time. We will make an announcement here when we are able to consider new work” as of 5-25-2022.)
  • Close-Up Books (April 30 to July 30. “Close-Up Books is currently on hiatus as of February 2021.”)
  • The Elephants ($15. May 1 to June 30.)
  • McSweeney’s Books (“Submissions are currently closed. We don’t have an exact date when they’ll reopen, but we’d suggest checking back in a few months. Thank you for considering McSweeney’s. (3/1/20).” This message still appears on 5-25-2022.)
  • New Rivers Press (“General Submissions are temporarily on hiatus” as of 5-25-2022.)
  • Ninebark Press (“As of March 2020, Ninebark Press is on hiatus.” Checked on 5-25-2022.)
  • Sibling Rivalry Press (March 1 – June 1. . . . “After a decade of disturbance, we’re hitting pause on our annual open-submission period. Watch this space or follow our social media accounts, and we’ll let you know when we open for submissions again.” This message appears on 5-25-2022.)
  • Sundress Publications ($13 reading fee.)
  • Unicorn Press (May 1 to June 30.)
  • University Press of Kentucky: New Poetry and Prose Series. (Begin with query. March 15 – May 15. “There are presently no open calls for submissions.” Checked 5-25-2022.)
  • The Waywiser Press (“Authors who have published two or more previous collections of poems.” March 1 – July 1.)
  • Willow Books
  • YesYes Books (April 1 – May 15. $22. “There are presently no open calls for submissions” as of 5-25-2022.)
June Open Readings (Checked and updated 6-1-2022)
  • Airlie Press (June 1 to July 31. Pacific Northwest poets.)
  • Able Muse Press (May 1 to July 15.)
  • BkMk Press (February 1 through June 30. Process begins with a sample of 10 pages of poetry. See guidelines. . . . “BkMk Press is not accepting open submissions at this time. We will make an announcement here when we are able to consider new work” as of 5-25-2022.)
  • Black Lawrence Press
  • Close-Up Books (April 30 to July 30. “Close-Up Books is currently on hiatus as of February 2021.”)
  • Four Way Books ($30 reading fee. June 1-30.)
  • McSweeney’s Books (“Submissions are currently closed. We don’t have an exact date when they’ll reopen, but we’d suggest checking back in a few months. Thank you for considering McSweeney’s. (3/1/20).” This message is still there on 6-1-2022.)
  • Red Hen Press 
  • River River Press (June 1 – July 31. “Pay-what-you-can reading fee.”)
  • Sibling Rivalry Press (March 1 – June 1. . . . “After a decade of disturbance, we’re hitting pause on our annual open-submission period. Watch this space or follow our social media accounts, and we’ll let you know when we open for submissions again.” This message appears on 5-25-2022.)
  • Sundress Publications (June 1 – August 31. $13 reading fee.)
  • Unicorn Press (May 1 to June 30.)
  • The Waywiser Press (“We regret we cannot consider submissions from authors who have published two or more previous collections of poems.” March 1 – July 1.)
  • Willow Books
July Open Readings (Checked and updated 7-1-2022 through 7-25-2022)
August Open Reading (Checked and updated 8-1-22)
  • Cavan Kerry Press (“‘Pay what you can’ structure, with $10, $18, and $25 options.”)
  • Deerbrook Editions (“Suspended until further notice. . . . The normal reading period is August 1 to October 1.”)
  • The Emma Press (July 18 through August 14)
  • FutureCycle Press (They read July through September.)
  • Gasher Press (Not sure when it opened, but it closes on August 31)
  • Kore Press (Currently closed.)
  • Lummox Press (July 1 to August 31. Begin with query.)
  • Mayapple Press (Currently closed to submissions.)
  • McSweeney’s Books (“Submissions are currently closed. We don’t have an exact date when they’ll reopen, but we’d suggest checking back in a few months. Thank you for considering McSweeney’s. (3/1/20).” This message still appears on 5-25-2022.)
  • Rose Metal Press (“We are not currently accepting manuscripts or manuscript queries. . . . and plan to have a submission period in 2023.”)
  • The Song Cave (“We are not taking submissions at this time.”)
  • Sundress Publications (June 1 – August 31. $13 reading fee.)
  • Terrapin Books (January 24 to February 28 and August 1 to August 31. $12.)
  • Tupelo Press (July 1 to August 31. $30 open reading fee.)
  • University of Pittsburgh Press (August 1 to September 20. Pitt Poetry Series. For poets who have previously published a poetry book.
September Open Readings (Checked and updated 9-11-2022)
  • Bat Cat Press (“We welcome the submission of complete manuscripts throughout the year. We read in the fall (September-December) and typically send out accept/decline letters in December and January.” . . . They plan to reopen “in the 2022/2023 school year.” )
  • Black Ocean (They are currently accepting “submissions of poetry by BIPOC authors.” September 9 to October 15.)
  • Deerbrook Editions (“Suspended until further notice. . . . The normal reading period is August 1 to October 1.”)
  • FutureCycle Press (They read July through September.)
  • Kore Press (Currently closed.)
  • McSweeney’s Books (“Submissions are currently closed. We don’t have an exact date when they’ll reopen, but we’d suggest checking back in a few months. Thank you for considering McSweeney’s. (3/1/20).” This message still appears on 9-11-2022.)
  • Sidebrow Books (Currently closed. “Sign up for our mailing list to be notified of our next reading period.”)
  • Tarpaulin Sky Press (“Will open soon. Please join out mailing list to be notified.”)
  • University of Pittsburgh Press (August 1 to September 20. Pitt Poetry Series. For poets who have previously published a poetry book.)
October Open Readings (Checked and updated 10-20-2022)
  • Bat Cat Press (“We welcome the submission of complete manuscripts throughout the year. We read in the fall (September-December) and typically send out accept/decline letters in December and January.” . . . They plan to reopen “in the 2022/2023 school year.” )
  • Black Ocean (They are currently accepting “submissions of poetry by BIPOC authors.” September 9 to October 15.)
  • Carnegie Mellon University Press (They plan to reopen in October 2023.)
  • co-im-press (“Likes works in translation that are strange, transgressive, visceral-mystical, or “unpublishable” through traditional means.”)
  • Counterpath (Begin with a query and a short sample.)
  • Deerbrook Editions (“Suspended until further notice. . . . The normal reading period is August 1 to October 1.”)
  • El Balazo Press
  • Gold Wake Press (Open reading begins March 1. There is no specified end date. Next open reading begins September 1 with no specified end date. Checked 10-10-2022.)
  • Jacar Press: The New Voices Series ($15)
  • Kore Press (Currently closed.)
  • McSweeney’s Books (“Submissions are currently closed. We don’t have an exact date when they’ll reopen, but we’d suggest checking back in a few months. Thank you for considering McSweeney’s. (3/1/20).” This message still appears on 10-10-2022.)
  • Milkweed Editions (“Milkweed Editions is not currently open to unsolicited submissions. We will make an announcement via our newsletter and update this page if plans change.”)
  • Sidebrow Books (Currently closed. “Sign up for our mailing list to be notified of our next reading period.”)
  • Tavern Books: The Wrolstad Contemporary Series ($15 reading fee. “The Wrolstad Contemporary Poetry Series is only open to female poets aged 40 years or younger. Entrants must be US citizens.” October 1 to January 15.)
November Open Readings (Checked and updated 11-14-18)
  • Bat Cat Press “We welcome the submission of complete manuscripts throughout the year. We read in the fall (September-December) and typically send out accept/decline letters in December and January.” . . . They plan to reopen “in the 2022/2023 school year.” )
  • Black Lawrence Press
  • Copper Canyon Press (Our open reading period is currently closed. We will reopen for submissions in Fall 2023.)
  • McSweeney’s Books (“Submissions are currently closed. We don’t have an exact date when they’ll reopen, but we’d suggest checking back in a few months. Thank you for considering McSweeney’s. (3/1/20).” This message still appears on 5-25-2022.)
  • Tavern Books: The Wrolstad Contemporary Series ($15 reading fee. “The Wrolstad Contemporary Poetry Series is only open to female poets aged 40 years or younger. Entrants must be US citizens.” October 1 to January 15.)
  • WordTech Communications (Includes the following imprints Cherry Grove Collections, CW Books, David Robert Books, Turning Point, Word Press, and WordTech Editions.)
December Open Readings
  • Bat Cat Press (“We welcome the submission of complete manuscripts throughout the year. We read in the fall (September-December) and typically send out accept/decline letters in December and January.” . . . They plan to reopen “in the 2022/2023 school year.” )
  • Brick Road Poetry Press (75-100 pages. December 1, 2019 – January 31, 2020.)
  • Future Poem Books (December 1 through January 15.)
  • Green Lantern Press (December 1 through January 30.)
  • Tavern Books: The Wrolstad Contemporary Series ($25 reading fee. “The Wrolstad Contemporary Poetry Series is only open to female poets aged 40 years or younger. Entrants must be US citizens.” October 1 to January 15.)
  • Tinderbox Editions (December 1-7 fee-free open reading period. December 1 – January 30 $22 donation period.)
  • WordTech Communications (Includes the following imprints Cherry Grove Collections, CW Books, David Robert Books, Turning Point, Word Press, and WordTech Editions. Closes December 15.)

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More to come.

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Ultimate Update: October 10, 2022

  • Removed from October:
    • boost house
    • Orison Books

Penultimate Update: September 11, 2022

  • Added University of Pittsburgh Press to August
  • Removed from September, October, and November: Arktori Books

Antepenultimate update: August 1 2022:

  • Added to All the Open Readings: co•im•press
  • Removed from August:
    • Arktori Books
    • Spork Press
    • Spring Gun Press
    • Willow Books

Preantepenultimate update: 7-1-2022 through 7-25-2022:

  • Added to All the Time Open Readings:
    • Arteidolia Press
    • Blue Figure Press
    • Grieveland
    • Moon Tide Press
    • Wood & Water Press
    • Querencia Press
  • Added to July:
    • Bad Betty Press
    • Belle Point Press
    • The Emma Press
    • Gasher Press
  • Added to August:
    • Sundress Publications
    • Tupelo Press
    • The Emma Press
    • Gasher Press
  • Added to October Open Readings:
    • Jacar Press: The New Voices series
    • Terrapin Books
  • Removed
    • Harpoon Books from July, August, September, October, November, and December
    • Lynx House Press from July
    • Short Flight/Long Drive Books from July
// 
199 presses that print paperback and/or hardcover poetry books.
//



The Cave (Winner of The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award for 2013.)

The Cave

Material Matters

Poems for an Empty Church

Poems for an Empty Church

The Oldest Stone in the World

The Oldest Stone in the Wolrd

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Pre-Dew Poems

Pre-Dew Poems

Negative Time

Negative Time

After Malagueña

After Malagueña

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