Thursday, August 11, 2011

Call for Submissions: Dogfish Head Poetry Prize

Submission Guidelines for the Ninth Annual Dogfish Head Poetry Prizes

The Ninth Annual Dogfish Head Poetry Prize for the winning chapbook-length poetry manuscript, by a poet residing on the Delmarva peninsula, will consist of $200, Two Cases of Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Beer, Chapbook publication, 10 copies of the Chapbook (in lieu of royalties), and participation in the Thirteenth Annual John Milton Memorial Celebration of Poets and Poetry in Milton, Delaware, December 2011. The Prize will be officially awarded by Sam Calagione, Founder and CEO of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and Distillery (or a Company official).

Send your manuscript in an MS Word document file attached to an e-mail to:

Send two cover pages with each submission: one with the title of the manuscript, your name and address and phone numbers and e-mail address (if you have one), the second with just the manuscript title. This will be a blind judging by a jury of prominent, published poets. If you do not send the second title page with title only your manuscript will be dropped from consideration.

Include one page with dedication and acknowledgements for individual poems in the collection which were previously published, and another with the table of contents.

Send a check for $15 for a copy of the winning chapbook if you would like to receive one.

Dogfish Head Poetry Prize,
c/o John Milton and Company Books,
104 Federal Street,
Milton, DE 19968

(This includes the price of the chapbook plus shipping and handling.) Ordering of the winning chapbook will not affect your chances of winning.

Make your check payable to: The Broadkill Press, and note on the face of the check that it is for a copy of the winning chapbook.

The reading period for the Dogfish Head Prize Competition runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day, 2011. Manuscripts received after Labor Day will not be considered.

The author of the winning manuscript agrees to submit a color photograph suitable for use in promotion within five days of notification, and agrees to appear in person at the Thirteenth Annual John Milton Memorial Celebration of Poets and Poetry, on a date to be determined in December, 2010, in Milton, Delaware for awarding of the Prize.

The Publisher reserves the right to reprint and distribute the chapbook as demand warrants.

Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales retains the right to use any of the winning work in promotional materials.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Check out Gargoyle Literary Magazine


Review of Bobbie Ann Mason's The Girl in the Blue Beret


Bobbie Ann Mason’s new novel, The Girl in the Blue Beret is a richly detailed and insightful look at the human capacity to -- if not recover, so much, then to soldier on after the most astonishing adversity, told through the eyes of a WWII aviator who sets out to retrace his steps in the hands of the resistance network which smuggled him out of occupied France after his bomber went down in Belgium. Marshall seeks to reconnect, where possible, with the surviving members of that network after retiring as a commercial pilot. Widowed, with his two children grown and on their own, he is rootless, and feels himself drawn back to the scene of his escape.

There is a phenomenon among survivors of war that makes the memories they have of their time in battle or survival far more vivid than those of their ordinary lives; it is why many men who survived the trauma of a combat tour in Viet-Nam signed up for another, and it is clear that, for Marshall (a deliberately chosen name, one suspects, for its resonance with that of General, and later Secretary of State, George C. Marshall) this is still the case.

But Bobbie Ann Mason is such a writer’s writer that her work is never what it simply appears to be on the surface. Like the work of Vladimir Nabokov, on whose work she wrote her graduate thesis, the subtle intricacies begin way below the visible layer.

What we have here, in addition to being an exceptionally well-researched and absorbing story, is, in fact the story of Odysseus some twenty-five years after his return to Ithaca.

In this reading, time has passed: faithful Penelope has died, Telemachus, never having bonded with his father, has drifted away (Marshall also has a daughter who is even less visibly a part of Marshall’s life), and Marshall/Odysseus remembers the horrors of the war and his remarkable journey home, but he also remembers his sojourn with Circe/Calypso/Nausicaa, in this case, Annette, the young member of the French resistance — the girl in the blue beret of the title — who is instrumental in his rescue, with great fondness, more fondness, perhaps, than he had felt at the time, when all he had wanted was to return home safely.

Annette is now widowed, and, also like Marshall, with children who have grown and left the nest, and they find themselves, in the narrative “now” of the mid-1970s, free to give themselves to each other without fear of abandonment or self-recrimination.

Marshall’s interest had been piqued by one of his last trans-Atlantic flights to Europe, when he revisited the crash site in Belgium, and found, to his surprise, the son of a farmer who had helped him evade capture, and who was, Marshall learned, subsequently shot by the German occupiers. At the point that he learns this, a wave of suppressed emotion begins to push its way to the surface of his awareness.

The loss of many of his crew — like Marshall, some escaped, but they were separated — chewed, euphemistically, by the Polyphemus of Nazi brutality, has come to be re-felt, re-examined in the pastoral countryside long after. That there had been no such time for reflection that was not colored by the danger to himself and his crew after the crash until now is a measure of how far Marshal has stuffed his feelings.

Was the monstrous threat as large in reality as it had been in his memory?

Yes, the answer comes, for he begins to understand that the war had taken its toll in many much worse ways than the temporary frights and discomforts and hardships which he had suffered. Annette, herself, and her mother were both imprisoned in a labor camp and subjected to atrocities to which Annette can only obliquely refer. The family’s having been betrayed by collaborators, her father had been summarily executed at the time of her arrest. The number of women who were literally worked to death in the hard, Baltic winter, forced to work without any protection from the elements other than the street clothes in which they had been arrested, causes Marshall to reappraise his own sense of fugitive deprivation and discomfort.

The Girl in the Blue Beret draws the reader in, but the author refuses to pander to the reader’s desire to know more about her characters; they are so compelling that you might find yourself wishing it had gone on for another hundred pages.

— JB