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Asheville Poetry Review: A Legacy of Diversity and Quality

The maiden publication of Asheville Poetry Review, published in 1994, featured twenty-two poets from Western North Carolina, including  Thomas Rain Crowe, Ann Dunn, and Keith Flynn, founder and current managing editor.

Since then, the rag has grown to publish over 600 writers from fourteen different countries. Published annually, the journal offers 180–220 pages of poems, interviews, translations, essays, historical perspectives, and book reviews.

To subscribe, click here. To check out back issues, click here.

Recent contributors have included Sherman Alexie; Robert Bly; and North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee and former NC poet laureate Fred Chappell (who, coincidentally, will be giving the Keynote Address at the NCWN 2017 Spring Conference on April 22 at UNCG—save the date!).

Other Carolina contributors include former NC poet laureate Joseph Bathanti; NCWN regional rep for Clay County Janice Moore Fuller; and NCWN regional rep for the Central Foothills, Scott Owens, among many others.

Asheville Poetry Review accepts regular submissions January 15 through July 15 annually, so they’re currently reading. For guidelines, click here.

Winners of the annual 2016 William Matthews Poetry Prize have just been announcedMarilee Richards, from Sedona, AZ, was awarded first prize for her poem, “The Double Zero.” She won $1,000, plus publication in Asheville Poetry Review (Vol. 23, Issue 26, 2016), out now. NCWN rep for Jackson and Macon Counties, Catherine Carter, from Cullowhee, was the third-prize recipient for her poem “First Witch.” Her poem also appears in the current issue.

The website has extensive samples of the kind of poetry they publish, from contributors over the past twenty-three years. Asheville Poetry Review also maintains a presence in the community of Western North Carolina.

“The two most remarkable things about the Asheville Poetry Review have been its diversity and quality,” said Rob Neufeld, who wrote the introduction for the inaugural issue lo those many years ago. “Yes, Asheville, you’ve got a poetry journal of special note here.”

Visit Asheville Poetry Review on the web at They’re also on Facebook.



NC Bookwatch Seeks Undewriting

UNC-TV’s North Carolina Bookwatch with D.G. Martin is the state’s “premier literary series.” Once a week, D.G. sits down with a renowned author and talks about his or her newest book, highlighting not only great new works of literary merit, but North Carolina’s influence on writers everywhere. Past guests have included North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductees Clyde Edgerton and Margaret Maron; Chef & the Farmer founder turned cookbook author Vivian Howard; and sportswriter Art Chansky.

Now in its 19th season, NC Bookwatch is hoping to expand its programming and reach, but needs help. For an investment of $20,000 (or several smaller investments), one or more sponsors will receive:

  • Weekly embedded 15-second credits
  • Opportunity to post show trailer on their website
  • VIP live-taping events
  • Online recognition through year’s end
  • And more!

To view past NC Bookwatch episodes, click here.

Interested in being a sponsor, or know someone who might be? Contact Thomas Schenck, UNC-TV Assistant Director of Development for Corporate Underwriting, at or 919-549-7138.

Call to Action: Support the NEA

You may have heard in the news that the Trump Administration plans to eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. ARTS NC is issuing the first Call to Action (rest assured, there will be more), “to alert our Congress and Senate about this very real threat.”

The following program is a template and will automatically send your message to the correct person according to your district. It will also get your name on the Arts Action network for future Call to Action alerts. You MAY, and we suggest you do, alter the body of the copy into a shorter, more concise statement of NEA support.

Call to Action Link:

Some have suggested that early response on this issue could create advocacy fatigue. Not in North Carolina! We are ready to go on national issues, classroom size, North Carolina Arts Council funding, and any other issue that may arrive. We will not stop and we know you won’t as well until these issues are resolved. Thank you for being READY, WILLING, AND ABLE to stand for our values and to help make positive change for all our citizens.

The National Endowment for the Arts is an independent federal agency that funds, promotes, and strengthens the creative capacity of our communities by providing all Americans with diverse opportunities for arts participation. They fund community programs in Dance, Literature, Music, and much more, as well as provide educational programs, awarding more than $30 million to arts projects nationwide.

Are the arts essential to civilization? Plenty of major historical figures have thought so:

“The arts are essential to any complete national life. The State owes it to itself to sus­tain and encour­age them….Ill fares the race which fails to salute the arts with the rev­er­ence and delight which are their due.”
—Winston Churchill, 1938

Please consider using the link above to contact your government representatives.

Raleigh Review’s Immediate and Lasting Impact

It feels like a rare thing for a fledgling literary magazine to have an immediate impact on its community, but such was the case for Raleigh Review.

Founded in 2010 by North Carolina State University alum Rob Greene, RR’s Poetry on the Bus program was placing poems on Raleigh city buses by 2012. By then, RR had already received two years’ worth of Best of the Net nominations, as well as a grant from the United Arts Council.

Poetry on the Bus continued on the R-Line for four years as additional grants and awards rolled in. RR began hosting readings and workshops in its Writers Studio (2017 schedule TBD), including classes led by Dorianne Laux, Joseph Millar, Elaine Neil Orr, and Marie Howe, the State Poet for New York.

As a literary rag, RR seeks to publish poetry, flash fiction, and short fiction that is “emotionally and intellectually complex.” RR believes that:

…great literature inspires empathy by allowing us to see the world through the eyes of our neighbors, whether across the street or across the globe. Our mission is to foster the creation and availability of accessible yet provocative contemporary literature.

For a taste of what they publish, consider subscribing!

RR is currently reading for its Fall issue; to submit, click here.

Past contributors include fiction writers Jarrett Kaufman, Carrie Jane Knowles, and Paula Martinac; poets Kwame Dawes, Vievee Francis, and Joseph Mills; and book reviews. For the full archives, click here.

RR is active in the online community as well. Click here to visit their Facebook page. Follow them on Twitter @RaleighReview.

They’ve even inspired a spin-off: The Lou Lit Review out of Louisburg College.


Black Cats, Burials, and Ravens

The Poe Museum in Richmond offers a midnight toast

Happy birthday to Virginia’s favorite author of the macabre, Edgar Allan Poe! He would have turned 208 today, although his corpse, we’re sure, doesn’t look a day over 170.

Ravens and other menaces will gather at the Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia, on Saturday, January 21, to celebrate. Housed in the old Southern Literary Messenger building, where Poe got his start as a newspaper writer, the party will offer TWELVE straight hours of “music, performance, tours, and (of course) birthday cake.” There will also be a midnight toast in the Poe Shrine.

For the complete schedule of events, click here. The museum also offers an Enchanted Garden and the world’s most “comprehensive collection of Edgar Allan Poe artifacts and memorabilia,” including Poe’s boyhood bed, his vest, and an 1831 collection of his poems.

In Baltimore, MD, today, the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum will host an “Open House Birthday Fete.” The museum is not typically open on Thursdays, but today they’ll make an exception, offering readings at the top of every hour and free admission to any guest dressed as one of Poe’s characters. Be still my tell-tale heart!

The Edgar Allan Poe House is a National Historic Site, with “much of the exterior and interior original fabric from the 1833-1835 period when Edgar lived there with his aunt, grandmother and two cousins.”

Can’t travel? Why not cozy up today with a few of Poe’s most famous writings, including “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” and the poem “The Raven.”

For the complete biography of Edgar Allan Poe, click here.

Happy Fortieth Anniversary to The Thomas Wolfe Review

The Thomas Wolfe Review turns forty this year. Established as the Thomas Wolfe Newsletter in 1977, the magazine became The Thomas Wolfe Review with issue 5.1 (Spring, 1981) and permanently switched to a perfect-bound format with issue 14.2 (Fall 1990). The journal is published every Fall.

The Thomas Wolfe Review considers the winner of the annual Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize for publication. The Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize, sponsored by the North Carolina Writers’ Network and facilitated by The Great Smokies Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, is open for submissions through January 30. The winner receives $1,000 and possible publication; for full details, and to submit, click here.

This year’s final judge is Wiley Cash, the current writer-in-residence at UNCA.

A recent issue of The Thomas Wolfe Review featured stories by the Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize co-winners and finalist, along with articles such as “Thomas Wolfe, Transnationalism, and the (Really) Deep South” by Jedediah Evans and a review of Out of the West: Notes from Thomas Wolfe’s Final Western Journey, edited by Mark Canada, by David Radavich.

The Thomas Wolfe Review welcomes the submission of critical and scholarly essays on the work of Thomas Wolfe. The Review also accepts articles on all aspects of Wolfe criticism, bibliography, and biography, and news of interest to readers of Wolfe. Manuscripts should conform to guidelines for documentation and presentation outlined in the MLA Style Manual, and, ideally, should be less than 6,000 words.

For full submission info, click here.

North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Thomas Wolfe (1900-1938), was born in Asheville. His Look Homeward, Angel is considered one of the most important coming-of-age novels in the English language. Wolfe was considered at the time of his death to be the greatest talent North Carolina had given to American literature. His novels and collected short stories go beyond autobiography, trying to, in William Faulkner’s words, “put all the experience of the human heart on the head of a pin.” His intense poetic language and thoughtfully developed symbology, combined with his uncanny ability to enter the minds of his other characters and give them powerful voices, elevate the books from memoir to undeniable literary art.

The Thomas Wolfe Society has placed plaques on important Wolfe landmarks; it awards citations of merit for “exceptional creative or scholarly work on Wolfe;” and awards prizes and grants to help scholars with their research on Wolfe. The Society meets annually.

Members of The Thomas Wolfe Society receive The Thomas Wolfe Review as part of the perks of membership. To join/subscribe, click here.

Writers Resist

On Sunday, January 16—Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, birthday—writers around America will participate in Writers Resist Events where speakers will “read from a curated selection of diverse writers’ voices that speak to the ideals of Democracy and free expression.”

All events are free and open to the public.

In Wilmington, Pomegranate Books will host an event from 3:00-5:00 pm. Readers include:

For the full list of events nation-wide, click here.

Writers Resist is not affiliated with any political party; instead, they aim to promote and protect democracy, with an eye on the future. They explicitly encourage readers to represent diverse voices, and also discourage any kind of “anti” language: they want their events to be a “potent source for good around the world.”

For more information, click here: #WriteOurDemocracy.

New Website for Wisdom House Books

If you’ve been to an NCWN conference in the past few years, you’ve likely seen North Carolina-based Wisdom House Books in the exhibit hall. Wisdom House is a “publishing hybrid boutique” whose mission is to “produce quality books that make a positive difference in the world.”

They offer a full slate of publishing services, including editing, proofreading, and ghost writing; cover and interior design, and press production; web design services; and digitization and off-set printing services, among many other offerings. Best of all, authors retain 100 percent of rights and 100 percent of royalties!

They have a brand-new website that looks absolutely fantastic:

The “Services” page is clear and logically presented. The cover art “Gallery” shows off some pretty stunning designs. And for a bit of whimsy, if you scroll to the bottom of the page, there is a row of owl faces all drawn to represent different literary figures. Learn more by clicking on an owl face that appeals to you!

Wisdom House Books is also the genius behind the redesign of the North Carolina Writers’ Network bi-annual newsletter, The Writers’ Network News.

Their authors include NCWN members Adam J. Jones (Fate Ball) and Lucia Powe (The Osprey’s View).

For more information on Wisdom House Books, visit

Ecotone Explores Landscapes, Literary and Otherwise

Ecotone magazine was founded by the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in 2005. Its impact was immediate: the inaugural issue featured an essay by eventual North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Clyde Edgerton; poetry by and an interview with eventual National Book Award winner Mark Doty (2008); and an essay by David Gessner, current host of the National Geographic show Call of the Wild.

Ecotone’s mission? To “champion innovative and underrepresented work” and explore the ecotones “between landscapes, literary genres, scientific and artistic disciplines, modes of thought.”

It also helps to be a bit prescient, and to publish a National Book Award winner, say, a couple years before he actually wins.

In the years since, contributors have included Pulitzer winners and MacArthur, Guggenheim, and NEA fellows.The most recent issue (Summer, 2016) features an essay by NC State’s Belle Boggs and a short story by Dana Johnson, introduced by Tayari Jones.

But Ecotone publishes plenty of emerging writers as well, and in fact, their open reading period is open now through February 1. They’re reading for their next issue, which will focus on the theme of “Craft.”

To learn more about this theme, click here. To read their complete submission guidelines, click here.

Subscribers to Ecotone will have the Submittable fee waived: a one-year subscription is $16.95, over 30 percent off the cover price; subscribe for two years at $29.95 to receive 40 percent off the cover price. Ecotone subscribers receive the print magazine twice yearly, in spring and fall.

Ecotone also serves as the home for the winning essay in the annual Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition, sponsored by the North Carolina Writers’ Network and facilitated by UNCW. The deadline for this contest is January 15.

Their blog is also a must-read. Along with helpful tips on craft, they run a “Seven Questions” series where they interview writers, editors, designers, and others in publishing. Guests so far include Erik Reece, Jamie Poissant, and most recently, Angela Ledgerwood.

For more information about Ecotone, visit their website:

In Asheville, an Indy Audiobook Publisher

Audiobooks are the new growth market for publishers, increasing sales between 20-30 percent each year. On top of that, indy-published e-books accounted for just north of 35 percent in Q4 in 2016, while e-books published by “small and medium presses” made up another 18 percent.

Meaning half of all e-books sold in Q4 were of the independent variety, be it self-published books or titles produced by small or medium-sized presses.

Asheville-based Talking Book, “The Independent Audiobook Publisher,” hopes to provide independent publishers, including those who self-publish, a way to produce audiobooks of their work and distribute them through more than sixteen different channels, including “Audible, Scribd, and more.” Founded by Ben Matchar, Talking Book  wants to produce stories that are “gutsy and innovative.”

Talking Book allows authors to record their own work or hire professional voice actors and they give authors up to 75 percent of royalties.

Their catalog includes biography and memoir; fiction of all stripes including Romance and Mystery & Thriller; books for children; and poetry.

To learn more, visit their website here or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.