Brain Mill Press Celebrates

Poetry Month


Welcome to another National Poetry Month! – a year of reckonings & awakenings, portents (maybe), and another year to see just what poetry can do.

Maybe you have lines living in you. Maybe you’ve been walking around like the speaker in Maggie Smith’s “Good Bones”: “This place could be beautiful, / right? You could make this place beautiful.” Maybe you’ve been inspired by Isobel O’Hare’s erasures, and have an urge to address some things. Maybe you’ve woken up in the spiked night, with a line swimming out of the deep. Maybe you have a story to tell. Or, maybe you memorized Jericho Brown’s “Colosseum” and have been repeating to yourself:

I cannot locate the origin
Of slaughter, but I know
How my own feels, that I live with it
And sometimes use it
To get the living done . . .

These poetic efforts have touched me in the last few months, in that strange trigonometry of language, chance, and seeking, that we readers and writers do. Brown’s lines resonated with me, brought me low, and offered something – if not quite comfort, then a kind of recognition.

For this month’s April Poetry Month activities, Brain Mill will highlight projects and poets that speak to a mission of widening conversations around inclusivity and recognition. We’ll do this through sharing essays, posts, and poetry, signal-boosting work that matters.

We invite you to enter our annual, fee-free poetry contest. This year in particular, the year of many revelations, we invite you to submit poems that begin, deepen, or continue the necessary, but difficult conversations of the past year.

Please submit 1-3 poems per entry. We’re open to any poems, in any style. We’d love to read your full-throated & strange poems, your erasures & formally experimental work, your collaborative & hydra-headed work. We particularly encourage submissions from poets of color, women, and LGBTQIA+ writers.

The editors will select a poem each week beginning April 13 as the editors’ pick, as well as one grand prize winner at the end of April.

Selected poems will be published on the Brain Mill Press website and social media channels. Editors’ pick poets may select a Brain Mill Press print book of their choice. The grand prize winner will receive a full set of published poetry in the Mineral Point Poetry Series and associated broadsides. Poets retain all rights to their work.

–C. Kubasta, BMP Assistant Poetry Editor & contest judge

Poetry and Essays

Sabine Holzman

2017 Contest Winner

i go into / the living room
not to pray not to recite scripture
but because i am thinking about dying or
possibly living like this like a thing
with teeth for a heart

In Sabine Holzman’s “self-portrait as joan of arc,” the speaker’s question is a question that perhaps cannot be asked (except in a poem). The answer cannot be given, except in a future unwritten poem. May we all stay “hungry / & lonely & sometimes lethal” if it leads to poems like this.

Read Sabine Holzman

Discover BMP Poetry

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