Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Smoking Poet Winter 2009-2010 Issue - Online Now!

Alaska Native Alutiiq Girl, painting by Dianne Roberson Hendrix

The snows fly, but the words warm. What artistry we offer you this season! To celebrate: the gorgeous art and photography of Alaskan artist, Dianne Roberson Hendrix. She reminds us of the beauty of this season when the world is covered in white, deep in white silence, deep in sleep to refresh what goes on out of sight: the renewal of root structure so that we can greet spring reenergized.

My own roots, in part, grow deep into the beautiful campus of Kalamazoo College. While another, perhaps better known university appears at the top of my diploma, I feel “K” is my true alma mater. I had the pleasure of being on staff for 11 years, and I freelance for the school’s publications still. I call it my Vitamin K. Keeps my spirit strong and my mind bright. So it is with special pleasure that I introduce our readers to Writer-in-Residence from Kalamazoo College—Diane Seuss. Her poetry is garnering ever greater attention, awards and publishing offers raining down upon her. And, if a teacher’s report card is in her students, after reading her poetry and interview, be sure to read work by her creative writing students. Young talent in their own spring season, these are voices to follow in the future.

Poetry is especially rich in this issue. We boast pages of poets from across the world: from TSP's home state of Michigan, from Oregon to New England, from Alaska to Arizona, across the ocean to Ireland, to Bangalore, India, and even from troops serving in Iraq. Seems fitting to have such a global community in these pages, as Kalamazoo College is known for its innovative and extensive study abroad program. I consider The Smoking Poet very much a global citizen, connecting the literati of the world.

Nonfiction is fun—and thoughtful. Don’t miss the essay about living in a yurt. A yurt, you say? Yes, a yurt. You may just find in it your dream home. Or, share the musings of shoveling snow. It's more than just moving white stuff from place to place.

Fiction spreads across two pages, and while you are thinking about great short stories, don’t miss the announcement of our Third Annual Short Story Contest. We welcome honorary judge, Kevin Morgan Watson, founder and publisher at Press 53, who will be helping us choose first, second, and third prize winners. He may even be keeping an eye out for that exceptional writer to publish at Press 53 ... you?

We also welcome poet Joannie Kervran Stangeland as guest poetry editor for the upcoming issue. You’ll find her own poetry here, and in spring, you will see her poetic choices grace our pages.

A Good Cause always is. So many important causes, and yes, we can make a difference—each and every one of us. As Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever does.” Making a positive change begins with awareness. Please read the essay on the virtues of the movement to eat organic. Vote with your fork, says author Nicolette Hahn Niman (another amazing alumnae of Kalamazoo College). Voting never tasted so good.

And after such a fine dinner, eaten with clear conscience, light up a cigar and visit our Cigar Lounge. Capt. Murray Shugars writes for us from Iraq about a cigar club for our troops. There is also cigar poetry and reviews.

Enjoy! Share! Stay warm by hearth and family, enjoy the holidays, and may your new year be a richly literary one.

Visit The Smoking Poet.

With a good word,

Zinta Aistars

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