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Showing posts from 2020

A Different Tune with the Same Notes: Guitars, Parkinson's, and People Along the Way—creative nonfiction from Mia Hinkle

The love of my life, and I do mean this in the biggest way possible, came down with Parkinson's about four years ago. W. T. actual. F. Big, strong, and vibrant  when we met forty years ago, and now, weak as a kitten and racked with pain. I cannot stand it! We recently had a virtual appointment (one benefit out of this COVID mess) with his neurologist, and after we described the new laundry list of ailments, the doctor looked straight into the camera, into Karl's eyes, and said, "It looks like we have reached a new level in the progression of your Parkinson's. I don't like it. And I can't stop it.  Karl when we met, in 1981 I don't like it  and  I can't stop it . His words rattled around in my head for days. That is true about a lot of things, I guess. It is certainly true of all the losses that pile up as the years fly by. Gerald Sittser said it best in his book  A Grace Disguised , a book in which he describes the deep grief he encountered after his mo

Sing Hildegard, Sing Mechthild, a poem by Norbert Krapf

  Sing Hildegard, sing Mechthild Sing Hildegard, sing Mechthild, sing Julian, bring Isaiah and Jeremiah along for the holy prayer gathering in the forest. May all birds sing and most of us listen and respond. Open ears and eyes. The false prophets tweet ugly, vindictive, soulless song. Sing together our soul-saving song. Turn our eyes away from ugly greed. Sweet soul song, save us in our need. Former Indiana Poet Laureate Norbert Krapf' 's most recent of fourteen collections are Indiana Hill Country Poems (2019) and Southwest by Midwest (2020), both from Dos Madres Press. Next year his Homecomings: A Writer's Memoir , will appear.

Pushcart Award Nominations 2020

Indiana Writers Center is honored to provide a platform for writers from Indiana or with strong ties to Indiana through our literary journal the Flying Island , and through our publishing imprint INWords . Each year we support the writers we publish by submitting their works to the Pushcart Prizes. This year we submitted the following works for consideration of the Pushcart Prize Anthology. The Pushcart Prize celebrates writing published by small presses. Prose from What Was and What Will Be: Life in the Time of COVID-19 Leah Lederman, “My Bleeding Heart” Ania Spyra, “…But Some of Us Are Looking at the Stars” Poetry from the Flying Island David J. Bauman, “Home” Laurel Smith, “Loaded” Bethany Brengan, “Kitchen Romance” Roger Pfingston, “Pausing for Beauty”  

Mascara and a Funeral, fiction by James Matthew Lee Wilson

Leaving the gentle din of the church behind, Mattie pushed past the vestibule door and plunged headlong into the painful glare of day. She descended the concrete steps, ignoring the handrail while bringing a hand up to shield her eyes. Behind her, the heavy wooden door swung shut, and then her heels were cracking loud against the fractured asphalt of the parking lot. Mattie tugged at her hemline. For a moment the tanned, smoothness of her thighs disappeared beneath the formfitting black fabric. She allowed herself a rueful smile. Dress too short; her heels too long. But the color was right. At the far end of the parking lot, her faded red hatchback waited. At the sight of her misshapen ride, Mattie’s jaw tensed. “Goddamn it, Carl.” It had been several months since her boyfriend had backed into her car, yet the sight of the dented driver-side door still managed to infuriate her. She quickened her stride, already anticipating the familiar struggle. The passenger side door had never opene

Pheromones, a poem by Skye Nicholson

Pheromones Before you were the sharpness of Jameson and cologne (the seduction and conquest kind) of cigarettes freshly lit and love freshly made Then later you were the faded longing of pillow memories and anticipation of abrasive government-issue detergent and seasalt and (too often) hops and pungent rage Now you are the comfort of treebones citrus and skunky like your medicine rubbed soft by sawdust of sage or armpits I am no longer bothered to know the difference Skye Nicholson is a mother, writer, teacher, tree-hugger, and magic-seeker. She writes about life: her years of drinking, her awakening, trying to be present and figuring out how to be a parent.  She uses words to heal herself.  She currently lives in Columbus, Indiana, with her husband and two small children. Her writing appears on her blog, , under the pseudonym Vixen Lea. 

Shield, fiction by Joel Fishbane

Victoria comes from Victoria and she's small with a dreamy gaze that's always looking out the window. She arrives on a Wednesday and by Thursday I'm thinking of her in lengthy, PG-rated films. We're all eleven - I want Victoria but I don't know what I'd do if the daydreams came true. She has a magnificent lisp. I imagine her saying, "Teddy, I'm yourth." One day, she asks if she can rent a square on my desk. The school board bought new ones and they’re all too small but I still have one of the older ones and I've been leasing sixteen square centimetres for ten cents an hour. As far as independent businesses go, I'm doing well. The boys rent space for their liquid paper. Jenny gives me her mood ring, since it interferes with her writing. So far, Miss McConachie is letting me get away with it but I’m worried one day she’ll want a piece of the pie. For days, Victoria from Victoria doesn't give me anything and I'm thinking she looks down

Beginning with a Line from Ernie Pyle, a poem by Matthew Graham

  Beginning with a Line from Ernie Pyle                        --- from The Indiana Series And yet you know. Always in your heart… You have never really left. When Ernie Pyle walked the high tide line Of Omaha Beach the morning after D-Day, Of all that he stepped over what he remembered most Were the cartons of soggy cigarettes, stationary, French phrase books, sewing kits, snap shots, Playing cards, metal pocket mirrors, A tennis racket still clamped in its rack, A broken banjo. Sea birds circled What history brings. What history leaves behind. Matthew Graham is the current Indiana State Poet Laureate.

Jack-O’-Lantern, a poem by Hiromi Yoshida

                                       Jack-O'-Lantern Jack of all trades, of shivering, shriveling Indiana summer days & nights, the jagged mouth spews forth orange shadows-- grins syrupy candy corn sweetness, the hollowed head a  luminous void, its moist, fibrous, pulpy rind a house for a blackening candle stub--flickering Cinderella, her askew        ballgown petticoats reeking soot & ash--hot molten striptease of dripping wax, the jack-o'-lantern a leering promise of plump, uncouth        autumn days--pumpkin seeds spilling into meat grinders of the fairy-taled imagination. Hiromi Yoshida , one of Bloomington’s finest and most outspoken poets, was a semi-finalist for the 2018 Wilder Series Poetry Book Prize. Her poems have been published in The Indianapolis Review, The Asian American Literary Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, Evergreen Review, and The Rain, Party, & Disaster Society. She is the author of Joyce & Jung: The "Four Stages of Eroticism" in

Pausing for Beauty, a poem by Roger Pfingston

Pausing for Beauty Clawing at leaves to spread and hasten their drying before shredding, I can’t help pausing to marvel at the colors of their demise, a crazy quilt enhanced by the wetness of dew: maple’s red, green’s tenacity, Bradford pear’s purpled curl among the honey locust’s gold, kaleidoscopic sassafras, even the nasty mulch of the early fallen, their oily hues glistening in the tines. What a glorious dying off is this, so unlike flesh and bone’s pale palette. Roger Pfingston is the recipient of a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and two PEN Syndicated Fiction Awards. His most recent chapbook, What’s Given , is available from Kattywompus Press. New poems are appearing this year in I-70 Review , U.S. 1 Worksheets , Innisfree Poetry Journal , Dash , Passager and Front Range Review .  

Book-Burning, a poem by Jared Carter

Book-Burning They were convinced, and set about           destroying things That were not pure. They had no doubt           the fire would bring A better world. But soon they found           what is conveyed In books and manuscripts is bound           together, laid  Like corner stones. The more they burned,           the more those who Could still remember sought to learn.           Though they were few. Jared Carter ’s most recent book, The Land Itself, is from Monongahela Books in Morgantown, West Virginia. His collection of new and selected poems, Darkened Rooms of Summer, is available from the University of Nebraska Press.

The sky is falling, a poem by Amy Ash

  The sky is falling Once, the sky dove down and devoured this town. Filmy green light at dusk and the sound of sirens slicing air. The sound is circling, looming. I’m breathing hard now, please let me in. House of straw, house of sticks, house of brick. Under the pressure of breath, it gives. Bramble of branches, bended bough. Trash and broken glass. Carrying kindling in their arms, they insist this is a table, this is a bannister, this is a home. Amy Ash is the author of the full-length collection of poetry The Open Mouth of the Vase , winner of the Cider Press Review Book Award and the Etching Press Whirling Prize. Her poetry, creative nonfiction, and collaborative writing have been published in various journals and anthologies. She is an Assistant Professor of English at Indiana State University, where she directs the Creative Writing Program .

Best of the Net Nominations

 Congratulations to the following writers, our Best of the Net nominees: " Hey, Moon ," by Doris Lynch " Harbinger ," by Susanna Childress " My Favorite Pen Pal of the Deepest Strokes ," by Distinctly Unique   " After the Fire ," by Hiromi Yoshida " The Photographer Considers His Mother's Gift ," by Roger Pfingston "Summer Solstice on the West Coast of Ireland," by James Green       About Best of the Net Anthology: The annual Best of the Net Anthology is a project of Sundress Publications . This project continues to promote the diverse and growing collection of voices who are publishing their work online. This anthology serves to bring greater respect to an innovative and continually expanding digital world in the same medium in which the work was originally published.

September, a poem by Lylanne Musselman

September Sunlight glows low through my windows, a changed position from high summer light, the golden hour that casts a robust yellow glare across roads, signs, rearview mirrors, blinding reflections surrender to sunsets sooner each day. Hummingbirds fatten for long flights, summer solitary they share nectar at last. Dry cornstalks stiffen in fields, waiting for harvest. Leaves fall to the ground. Pumpkin spice scents, apples ripen into cider amid bushels of fall festivals, perennial as forget-me-nots. Lylanne Musselman is an award-winning Hoosier poet, playwright, and visual artist. Her work has been published in many journals including Flying Island, The Tipton Poetry Journal , and The New Verse News , among others, and many anthologies. Musselman is the author of five poetry chapbooks and a full-length poetry collection, It’s Not Love, Unfortunately (Chatter House Press, 2018).

Fountain, a poem by F. Richard Thomas

Fountain          for Linda on her 77th birthday Hot summer nights after parking on the levee to watch and listen to the slow glide of barges up and down the Ohio River, Dad drove up Main Street, sometimes stopping to get fresh donuts or vanilla bean ice cream cones at Lik’s, but almost always to Garvin Park. Sis and I tussled to stand on the drive-shaft hump in the back seat to be the first to catch the glow. One hazy night she tried to convince me she saw it from as far away as the Woodlawn Theater. But always, when we crossed the train tracks at Maxwell Avenue, it glistened at the end of the long tunnel of giant elms that lured us in. Dad parked in the Braves’ stadium lot, stayed in the car with Mom, as we leapt from the back seat and raced to the fountain that flowered, hissed, and danced above us. As we edged up step by cautious step, first a slight chill,  then a fine mist tickled our faces.  Closer and closer, it pricked our hair  and the backs of our hands,  the water repeating

Piano bench, a poem by Eric Chiles

Piano bench The only music we ever heard was the symphony of voices during Sunday family pasta dinners, clinking dishes in the sink, cabinet doors slapping shut. So, the piano and bench posed a question for years in the living room. Who sat there to play? Instead, they got piled with books, picture frames, flower vases. It wasn't until the old lady passed and her grandson hauled both of them away that the piano bench divulged its secret—scores of music she once played. Long ago in the dusty past her fingers danced waltzes on the keys. Her smile lingered in the pages at odds with the dour duty of feeding husband and family. There was a different gaiety once in that house, not that there wasn't laughter all those Sundays, but something she enjoyed enough to learn was stored away and forgotten in that bench. Until it was moved, the lid flopping open in the bed of the truck, and the wind picking up the yellowed sheet music,