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Want to Hear a Poem? Dial 585-546-2531

There’s real pleasure in hearing a poem read aloud. Certain rhythms and textures reveal themselves aurally that may not pop in quite the same way were we only to read them on the page.

There’s pleasure too, these days, in using a telephone. Phone booths are making a comeback, for  example.

While we may never return to the wart-like, wall-mounted landlines of our youth (or some of our youths), dialing a phone number and hearing someone pick up on the other end can remind us of minor miracles. For a lot of folks under thirty, using a telephone is not an every-day, or even an every-week, occurrence. (Don’t forget to call your parents, kids.)

Re-launched for 2018 and serving up a kitschy blend of nostalgia and innovation, Poem by Phone offers a different poem every day. Listeners who call the number are treated to poems written and read by noted poets, one to two minutes in length. It’s a great way for poets to connect with their readers.

Check it out by dialing:


Poem by Phone is dedicated to the creator of Dial a Poem, John Giorno, who made poems available by phone for a number of years between 1969-2012.

These days, our cell phones do so much, we tend to forget there’s a phone function at all. Why not give that keypad a workout and, when you have a minute or two today, give Poem by Phone a ring?

Like Its Namesake, Eno Publishers Offers Fertile Soil

Although only forty miles long, the Eno River punches well above its weight in terms of its psychological and cultural significance.

For over 700 years, first native settlers and then Europeans made the Eno watershed their home. Now residents of Durham and Orange counties, and others who come from further afield, have aggressively preserved 5,600 acres of its basin.

It is in this same spirt that the non-profit Eno Publishers celebrates and preserves North Carolina and the South. Publishing several titles a year, Eno Publishers focuses on the people and places of the state some refer to as that “vale of humility between two mountains of conceit.”

Recent titles include Hidden Hillsborough: Historic Dependencies and Landscapes in a Small Southern Town. With photographs by noted Hillsborough photographer Elizabeth Matheson and essays and maps by a dedicated group of town historians, Hidden Hillsborough brings this small colonial town to life by tracing its roots to its present-day incarnation as a haven for artists, nature lovers, and a tight community of locals.

Other new titles, The Elizabeth Keckley Reader: Volumes I & II, edited by Sheila Smith McKoy, offer:

a collection of essays and other works inspired by the life of Elizabeth Keckley, a slave in Hillsborough, North Carolina, who eventually bought her freedom. She became a noted seamstress in Civil War-era Washington DC, and was most famously the confidante of Mary Lincoln.

Eno Publishers also presents the 27 Views series, offering anthologies of essays about places in North Carolina such as Asheville, Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh, and many more. Editors include Wilton Barnhardt, Rob Neufeld, Daniel Wallace, and Durham mayor Steve Schewel.

Because they are a 501(c)3, donations to Eno Publishers are welcome.

The website is short on submission guidelines, but does offer a contact e-mail. Given their nonfiction focus, it’s probably best to query through e-mail if you think you have a project they’d be interested in.

Vist their website at or follow them on Twitter and Instagram.

Duke University Press Provides Global Access for All

As the publishing arm of Duke University in Durham, Duke University Press follows the University’s dual commitments to quality and access.

In terms of quality, the press hopes to “advance the frontiers of knowledge and contribute boldly to the international community of scholarship.” In terms of access, the press seeks to promote a “spirit of tolerance” in an international community of scholars as well as nonspecialist readers.

Duke University Press is non-profit, which informs their mission in two distinct ways.

First, this means they put scholarship above commercial interests, refusing to sacrifice long-term goals for short-term profits.

Second, as a non-profit, Duke University Press has learned to adapt, innovate, and form strong global partnerships that enable the press to find, curate, enrich, and disseminate scholarship that is vital to readers working at the forefront of their fields in the humanities, social sciences, and mathematics. All of this, of course, is put forward through an efficient, businesslike approach that has sustained them for the past ninety-seven years, since their founding as Trinity College Press in 1921.

Duke University Press publishes more than 120 books a year, some fifty journals, and countless digital collections. New titles include Bright Signals: a History of Color Television by Susan Murray; Erotic Islands: Art and Activism in the Queer Carribean by Lyndon K. Gill; and Territories and Trajectories: Cultures in Circulation by Diana Sorensen.

Prospective authors with full manuscripts should follow the book proposal guidelines for Duke University Press.

If you have an article you think would be a good fit for a journal published by Duke University Press, it’s best to browse by journal on the website and then follow the journal’s specific submission guidelines.

Visit their website at and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

2018 Pulitzer Prize Winners

>Here on the blog of the North Carolina Writers’ Network, we like to try and keep you up to date on national as well as regional literary news. The 2018 Pulitzer Prizes have been announced; here’s a summary of a few of the prizes given out to creative writers:

Fiction: Less (Lee Boudreaux Books/Little, Brown and Company) by Andrew Sean Greer.
“A generous book, musical in its prose and expansive in its structure and range, about growing older and the essential nature of love.”







Poetry: Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) by Frank Bidart.
A volume of unyielding ambition and remarkable scope that mixes long dramatic poems with short elliptical lyrics, building on classical mythology and reinventing forms of desires that defy societal norms.







General Nonfiction: Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) by James Forman, Jr.
An examination of the historical roots of contemporary criminal justice in the U.S., based on vast experience and deep knowledge of the legal system, and its often-devastating consequences for citizens and communities of color.






Drama: Cost of Living by Martyna Majok.
“An honest, original work that invites audiences to examine diverse perceptions of privilege and human connection through two pairs of mismatched individuals: a former trucker and his recently paralyzed ex-wife, and an arrogant young man with cerebral palsy and his new caregiver.”


Congratulations to all!

For the full list of winners, click here.

Words with Friends at Greensboro Bound

NCWN’s exhibitor table at Greensboro Bound

The Network had an exhibitor’s booth at last weekend’s Greensboro Bound Literary Festival. We were happy to be a small part of this new and, by all accounts, wildly successful endeavor.

While the names of the headliners were large and not always local, the event had the feeling of showing up to a massive (and massively fun) party where all our friends were hanging out. And those folks we met for the first time already felt familiar, because all of us had come to the Greensboro Cultural Center for the same reason: to celebrate the written word.

The weather that week looked ominous, and indeed, a few days before the festival, the exhibitors received word that we were going to be setting up on the first floor of the Cultural Center instead of outside under a tent, as originally planned.

It turned out better than we could have hoped.

Positioned between two main event spaces, we talked to so countless authors and festival-goers who stopped by to see what we were all about or just to say hello.

Time to name drop! Over the course of the weekend we chatted with authors who were part of the festival lineup including Ellen Bush, Jeremy B. Jones, Michael Parker, Andrew Saulters, Julia Ridley Smith, Mark Smith-Soto, Michele Young-Stone, and Lynn York. We chatted with literary organizers like Jacob Paul, Beth Sheffield, and the good folks at Bookmarks Festival of Books and Authors, the NC Literary Map, Our State, and more.

And, perhaps best of all, we made tons of new friends.

Special thanks to Steve Cushman, Carla Harper, and Valerie Nieman for helping to staff the exhibitor booth over the weekend.

If you haven’t already, you can hear NCWN membership coordinator Deonna Kelli Sayed and another festival founder, Steve Mitchell, interviewed on Gate City Live, where they chat about the festival.

NCWN Is Greensboro Bound

Like any literary citizen of this great state, we’re out-of-our-minds excited for the inaugural Greensboro Bound Literary Festival, which takes place this weekend at various venues in downtown Greensboro.

NCWN will have an exhibitor’s booth in the Literary Marketplace on the first floor of the Cultural Center, alongside other literary and community-focused groups. If you have a spare moment amid all the terrific programming, stop by and say hello!

And especially, if you’re there with someone who may not be familiar with the North Carolina Writers’ Network, bring them by and introduce them.

What’s on tap for the weekend? Way too much to list here. It’s best if you just amble on over to the website and see for yourself.

Here’s one things we can say, though: it’s all free!


NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee Fred Chappell will kick things off tonight with some opening remarks; tomorrow, John Claude Bemis will be at the International Civil Rights Center and Museum. Saturday brings NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee Lee Smith; NCWN trustee Terry L. Kennedy; NCWN membership coordinator Deonna Kelli Sayed; Naima Coster; Gabrielle Brant Freeman; Joe Mills; Michael Parker; Emilia Phillips; and many, many more.

The festival features over seventy authors in all genres. There will be panel discussions by Muslim, Latinx, LGBTQ, Transgender, and Undocumented writers. There will be events for children and teens featuring Picture Book, Middle Grade, and Young Adult authors. And that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

See you there!

Black Mountain Press and the Worthiness of Lofty Ideals

What is it about Western North Carolina that inspires independence, creativity, and a desire to buck the system? What is it about those hills?

In Swannanoa, the Flood Gallery Fine Art Center houses fine art in the Courtyard Gallery; hosts a monthly open mic; and is home to the venerable Black Mountain Press, established in 1994.

Black Mountain Press turns a steely eye toward the publishing world and takes some uncomfortable truths as givens.

First, that our modern media consumption—movies, streaming television, and the like—means that most “art” these days is created to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

Second, that plenty of as-of-yet unpublished authors have plenty of important things to say.

Third, that these same writers are often ignored by corporate publishers who are “more interested in serving up their chain store consumables for a public lost in our mass produced fast-food induced art world.”

Heady stuff!

As a result, Black Mountain Press strives to publish poetry, fiction, and nonfiction that strive for a higher ideal, which raise the level of public discourse, which are written for people who want a transformational experience while reading. And they’ve been doing this for twenty-four years.

Recent titles include A Poetic Guide to Puerto Rico for Gringos by Jorge Potter; a short-story collection, Artists’ Tales, by Joseph Meigs; and the novel Cut by Adam Cushman.

Out this Spring? Country by North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee and current NC poet laureate Shelby Stephenson, as well as Night, Sleep, and the Dreams of Lovers by David Brendan Hopes, who won Second Place in the 2018 Doris Betts Fiction Prize.

Black Mountain Press accepts submissions year ’round:

For the next ten years from 2018 through the end of 2028 our focus will be in collections of poetry, memoir, novels and collections of short stories. Our editors are looking for the highest quality literary fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry that combines a distinct voice and vision.

There also is a new literary magazine, The Haylcone, which offers opportunities for writers.

Visit Black Mountain Press on the web at or follow them on Facebook.

Teach this Poem Recognized for Innovations in Reading

Each week, Teach this Poem sends one poem, along with a curriculum and related curated teaching materials such as artwork, maps, and photographs, to more than 25,000 K-12 teachers.

Poems are selected to address timely topics, and classroom activities are designed to provide cross-disciplinary strategies for incorporating poetry into daily school work and encourage not only the appreciation of poetry, but also the development of creative and critical thinking skills.

Teach this Poem, a program of the Academy of American Poets, was named the winner of the $10,000 Innovations in Reading Prize from the National Book Foundation.

The Innovations in Reading Prize is annually awarded by the National Book Foundation to an individual or organization that has developed an innovative project which creates and sustains a lifelong love of reading in the community they serve.

Teach this Poem is available free to teachers. Nearly 8,500 poems have been sent so far, and you can browse them all here.

Other programs of the Academy of American Poets include weekly job postings for poets; a search function that allows poets to connect with other nearby poets; and plenty of teacher resources.

Become a member today.

Visit the Academy of American Poets at or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and SoundCloud.

The mission of the National Book Foundation is to celebrate the best literature in America, expand its audience, and ensure that books have a prominent place in American culture.

The National Book Foundation is guided by the following core beliefs:

  • Books are essential to a thriving cultural landscape
  • Books and literature provide a depth of engagement that helps to protect, stimulate, and promote discourse in American society
  • Books and literature are for everyone, no matter where the reader is situated geographically, economically, racially, or otherwise

Visit the National Book Foundation on the web at or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Want to Take Your Writing Seriously? Permission Granted

Writing retreats like the Squire Summer Writing Workshops are good for the head and good for the soul.

You learn a ton. But along with honing our writing chops, there’s the added benefit of being impacted by other writers over an extended period of time.

Call it “community.” Call it “support.” Regardless, being around other writers gives us the freedom—for some of us, for the first time ever—to take ourselves seriously as writers.

Writeaways, run by Mimi Herman and John Yewell, offers annual writing retreats in France and Italy as well as Camden, NC, as part of the “Writeaway by the River” program. These getaways offer memorable meals, useful writing workshops, time to write, and excursions.

Writeaways was recently profiled by the online magazine Books Make a Difference.

One of many takeaway quotes comes from Heather Wiley, an “English teacher at Reynolds High School in Winston-Salem.”

“I have been writing since high school, but I never showed it to anyone. I never would have told anyone I was a writer. I never would have called myself a poet, but at the Chateau I owned the fact I was a poet. It was really important for me.”

For the full write-up, click here.

It’s true though: participants in our own Squire Summer Writing Workshops have occasionally described the experience as “life-changing.” We flatter ourselves and credit the programming, or the exquisite planning, but sometimes writers just need permission to take their craft—and their calling—seriously.

For more about Writeaways, visit or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

A new “Call for Personal Essays” Follows Successful Release of Bearing Up

By Randell Jones

Bearing Up has paid off for those members of the North Carolina Writers’ Network who participated in the “Personal Essay Publishing Project—Winter 2018,” which began last fall and was hosted by Daniel Boone Footsteps Publishing.

Forty authors from North Carolina and Kentucky crafted four-page, real-life stories about facing life challenges with grit, determination, and humor. Their stories of making do, bearing up, and overcoming adversity resonate with the experience of America’s pioneer hero Daniel Boone 250 years ago, when he was trapped by an early snow storm in 1767-68 and had to winter over with dwindling supplies and ammunition.

“A handful of the stories in Bearing Up are laugh-out-loud funny,” says editor and publisher Randell Jones, “but an equal number deal with the darker issues of sexual harassment, abuse, and violence. It is a remarkable collection of engaging writing.”

Both new and experienced writers submitted essays of 750-800 words.

“These writers brought to the page their honest passions for sharing stories they so deeply wanted to tell,” says Jones. “You can feel it throughout the forty-five stories. I think some of the writers really surprised themselves with what they wrote. I was honored to work them all.”

Based on the success of compiling Bearing Up, a new Call for Personal Essays is now open for the “Personal Essay Publishing Project-Spring 2019.”

The new theme is “Exploring: Discoveries. Challenges. Adventure.” It resonates with the 250th anniversary of Daniel Boone’s first excursion into Kentucky through the Cumberland Gap in May/June, 1769. Boone was living in North Carolina when he began this odyssey. That portal through the Appalachians became America’s first gateway to the West and began America’s Westward Movement with all its stories—good and bad.

“Exploring” as a theme opens wide the field of possibilities. Writers are invited to share personal accounts of discoveries, challenges, and adventure.

“We want writers to share their experiences of exploring the new, the different, the unknown, the unfamiliar,” says Jones. “What do we learn when we get outside our comfort zone? We want essays that reflect, consider, share, teach—stories for readers to ponder regarding their own explorations or to consider what they might have done or not done in a similar situation. Nobody is writing about Daniel Boone. We want the writer’s own experiences brought to their minds by this anniversary of America’s pioneer hero first passing through the Cumberland Gap into a new world.”

No fiction will be published.

North Carolina writers are invited to join with writers from other states connected to the life and times of Daniel Boone to participate in this special celebration of this turning point in America’s story.

More information about the Call for Personal Essays for the “Personal Essay Publishing Project-Spring 2019” is available online at

Copies of Bearing Up are available online, as well as several books about Daniel Boone: America’s remarkable, larger-than-life, pioneer hero well worth remembering—a life well worth exploring.