Brain Mill Press Celebrates
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 Month Schedule
April 10 – Poetry Month Feature: A Profile of Rogue Agent
April 12 – Poems by Travis Chi Wing Lau from Rogue Agent
April 13 – “Chicagoshit” by Kwyn Townsend Riley and “Lolita Learns To Drive” by Courtney Felle: contest entry editors’ picks, week 1
April 17 – Poems from Kiki Petrosino’s Black Genealogy & Christine Brandel’s A Wife Is a Hope Chest
April 19 – Poetry Month Feature: The Matador Review & torrin a. greathouse
April 20 – “A Young Girl Pares Fruit,” “You Gotta Let It Hit the Skin,” “Like a Poor Girl,” and “Oyinbo Banana”: Poetry Month Editors’ Choice Picks, Week 2
April 24 – Poems by Wren Hanks & Tracy Mishkin
April 26 – Poems by Rita Feinstein & Sarah McCartt-Jackson
April 27 – “A Meme Reimagined,” “The Sound + The Fury,” and “B (If I Should Have a Son)”: Poetry Month Editors’ Choice Picks, Week 3
May 4 – Poetry Month Contest Winners: Brittany Adames and Alex Stolis
Poetry and Essays
Brittany Adames’s “A TANK WITHOUT GASOLINE” and Alex Stolis’s “Never isn’t as long as we think” are selected as the winners of our April National Poetry Month contest!read more
“A Meme Reimagined,” “The Sound + The Fury,” and “B (If I Should Have a Son)”: Poetry Month Editors’ Choice Picks, Week 3
Three poems by Paramita Vadhahong are this week’s editors’ choice selections.read more
Poetry about bad romance, a lonely planet, womanhood, and disasters both natural and human, by Rita Feinstein and Sarah McCartt-Jackson.read more
Poetry about politics, sexuality, gender identity, marriage, and grief by Wren Hanks and Tracy Mishkin.read more
“A Young Girl Pares Fruit,” “You Gotta Let It Hit the Skin,” “Like a Poor Girl,” and “Oyinbo Banana”: Poetry Month Editors’ Choice Picks, Week 2
Poems by Brittany Adames, Shirley Jones-Luke, Mira Martin-Parker, and Uche Ogbuji are the editors’ choice selections this week.read more
We spotlight The Matador Review, “a quarterly missive of alternative concern,” & their featured poet, torrin a. greathouse.read more
For National Poetry Month, we highlight work from Kiki Petrosino’s BLACK GENEALOGY and Christine Brandel’s A WIFE IS A HOPE CHEST.read more
Poetry month contest editors’ choice picks, week 1: “Chicagoland” by Kwyn Townsend Riley and “Lolita Learns To Drive” by Courtney Felleread more
“Breathing Rites,” “Night Terror,” “Scoliosis: A Portrait,” and “Doctor K”: four poems by Travis Chi Wing Lau.read more
Jill Khoury on disability, the body, poetry, and the founding of the journal ROGUE AGENT.read more
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.