Saturday, November 15, 2008

Message Found in a Calvados Bottle Floating Down Shit Creek

Thoughts from the Commander-in-Chief

Due to the retrograde influence of a mysterious but demanding phenomenon known as 'Real Life', not much work has appeared on the Chimaera/Shit Creek Blog news front. This post is an attempt to catch up on some of that.

From J.J. Steinfeld, Canadian writer whose brilliant flash fiction apppeared in The Chimaera's issues #3 and #4:

"Thought you might be interested in knowing that Chimaera has entered Canadian academe in the form of an essay topic for an English literature course at the University of Guelph (Ontario, Canada). Attached are the course outline for "ENGL 1080-06 F08: Reading the Past" and the (May 2008) Chimaera topic from that course. So, some eager Canadian literature students should soon be visiting Chimaera."

I tell you, Lads and Lad-esses, that eventually The Chimaera and the Shit Creek Review will be required reading for every student on the planet! Untold wealth and fabulous fame will flow from these mighty enterprises. Even as I rant, 60,000 New South Welsh students, their teachers, and tutors, as well as the massive educational support industry, are searching for additional texts for the mandatory Year 12 Higher School Certificate Area of Study question on 'Belonging' — and many of them are starting to find The Chimaera's 'Belonging' themed feature from issue #3. Another 60,000 + will do the same thing next year, and the next, until about 2012: many of these will end up at The Chimaera, and find poems or prose relating to Belonging that they can discuss at school and write about in the HSC. There are worse things for writers than finding your way into Senior High and University courses and essays.

Dennis Greene's lovely poem 'One Tree Bridge' was published in SCR #2. Now Dennis tells me that the state officer given the task of updating the signage at One Tree Bridge ( in Western Australia )has written to him, saying that he was searching around on the internet for information and came across'One Tree Bridge' on Shit Creek Review, adding 'I would like to use this poem at the [One Tree Bridge] site as I think it is a great description of the area and alludes to the history which is the major focus of the interpretation.' Who says that poetry has no impact on the real world? Well done, Dennis!

Jack Large has posted nearly 100 short videos of US poets reading on his YouTube (jakvid) channel . You may also be interested in looking over the website at Jack's recommendations for the YouTube foray: Janine Pommy Vega ("Habeas Corpus"); Klyd Watkins, ("Nipple of light"), Charles Potts ("The English Verbs", "Pahsimeroi Eki"), Andy Clausen ("Deconstruction of an erection") and Corrine De Winter ("Heroin poem").

Sally Cook has a poem 'The Face Of Morning' in the June/July 2008 issue of First Things. Seven poems by Sally are now on The Hypertexts. Sally also joins Margaret Menamin, Jared Carter, David W. Landrum, and Joseph S. Salemi on the Featured Poet roster at The Formalist Portal. But there's more! Sally has reviewed The Conservative Poets: A Contemporary Anthology, by William Baer (published by University of Evansville Press (Evansville, Ind.) 192 pp., $20.00 cloth, 2006.) The review, 'Rhyming The Right', appears in the Summer 2008 University Bookman.

More readings on Youtube with Leo Yankevich's White Horse Tavern page:, where Leo reads a number of his own poems. Leo edits The New Formalist and other Formalist literary magazines.

Australian poet Peter Nicholson has an very interesting online site at, with poetry, essays and student notes; see also his blog on 3 Quarks Daily.

A reminder for New South Wales poets, especially Novocastrians and those on the Central Coast, that Poetry at the Pub is held at the Northern Star Hotel in Hamilton, normally on the third and fifth Monday of the month (check their website first) — a good chance to drink a schooner or two of Black Ale pure inspirational water from the Muses' fountain.

Paul Hostovsky, who appeared in The Chimaera's Belonging feature in issue #3, has a new book out, Bending the Notes, from Main Street Rag Store.

Kathryn Jacobs, whose work also appeared in issue #3 of The Chimaera, has a book out, Advice Column, with Finishing Line Press (the titles are arranged alphabetically; scroll down to find Kathryn's book).

Juleigh Howard-Hobson, who has been with us since way back, has had a few gigs lately: work in 14 by 14, HawkandWhippoorwill, Soundzine and Bumbershoot Candelabrum, The Road Not Taken Journal of Formal Poetry and PanGaia. Doubtless more, since she told me this back in August!

I've put a lot of news items in here, but may have missed some that people have sent in. I'll have another go very soon: promise! In the meantime, if you are an SCR or Chimaera poet who is sending me an item, it really helps (now that we have a great many authors on board) if you tell me which issue your work appeared in so I can quickly find it and link to it; or better still, send me the actual URL. This would expedite considerably these news relays.

I experience the submission process from both sides of the equation: I receive submissions as an editor, but I also send poems out to editors in hope of publication. Sometimes they are published, more often they are not; sometimes editors are impressively prompt in replying, more often they take 6-12 weeks; depressingly fequently I never hear back from them at all. So, Dear Poets, without whose contributions there would be no Shit Creek Review or Chimaera, what I'm saying is that I know what it feels like to wait and wait. All of us working on both magazines are practising poets: we know the angst. Editors at SCR and TC try hard to move things through quickly, given that they all have day jobs, families, and all sorts of other commitments. And poems have to be emailed to and fro betweeen, and considered by, several editors: this takes time.

Also, with our system of selection there remains the fact that if you submit near the beginning of any particular submission cycle, that is just after the latest issue came out, you are probably going to wait longer than if you submitted late in the cycle, since decisions tend to be made when sufficient submissions have accumulated. So please factor that into your submission-response-freak-out-tolerance quotient. And finally: a percentage of my replies bounce — that is, the submitter's isp or mailbox just refuses to accept them. Unless I have another way of contacting that person (for example through a poetry board's PM facility) there's nowt I can do except feel sorry for the submitter. I always retry several times, but I'm often left with submissions from authors to whom I am unable to reply. I'm sure some replies end up in Spam folders, so if you're keen to hear your submission's fate it pays to check those from time to time. But If your emailer totally bounces my reply, I'm afraid it's Game Over. And the bugger is that you will not realise that this has happened, and think, 'Oh, bloody slack Stevens is probably drinking rounds of Calvados, flirting with poetry groupies, partying around the clock and generally skiving off while totally ignoring my poems!' Not so, alas! Not so!

PS: Rose Kelleher's Bundle o' Tinder is now on sale at Waywiser. Buy it, or we'll position the Shit Creek Corporation peace-keeping nuclear-armed gatling-gun satellite over your house and it will be the worse for you!