Monday, December 24, 2007

Season's Greetings from Post Foetry...

Best Wishes,

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

New Address for Hernandez Family Fund

See previous post for details about this family's tragedy.

New fund address:

Hernandez Family Memorial Fund
c/o Commerce Bank
1098 Haines Road
York, PA 17402

If you already sent a donation to the address in yesterday's post, it will get to the right place.

York isn't that large.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Electrical Fire Last Thursday Night...

But we are so fortunate; we are alive and well and only lost part of a wall (and cheap paneling). The fire was contained to a laundry room and started inside a wall. An inside wire went haywire, and that was enough to set off a spark, which set off the insulation. We could smell smouldering, but we couldn't find the flames.
Then we saw the swirling smoke.
We called 911; two fire trucks and about six firefighters arrived, and they spent two hours putting out the hot spots. Just as they arrived, the fire was JUST to the point of igniting and would have spread rapidly. The chief said that the house would have probably burned to the ground.
Fortunately, we were home and it was early in the evening; had we been away, we would have lost our house. Worse yet, had we been home but asleep, we might have lost our lives.
Unfortunately, the very next night (Friday), the Hernandez family wasn't so lucky; four people (two children and their parents, the mother four months pregnant) died in a fire that started in their basement.
Unlike us, they were dealt a bum hand, and they had almost no chance. Three teenage girls did escape the fire, but they had to jump from a second and third story window.
My husband and I will be donating some money to a fund that will help defray their funeral expenses and the transport of their bodies to Mexico for burial.
If some readers of this blog could find it in their hearts to make a small donation to this family that has suffered so greatly, that would help them so much. This blog has about 50 readers a day (sometimes more, sometimes fewer), so every little bit would surely help.
The address:
Salvation Army
Hispanic Worship Center
257 E. South Street
York, PA 17403
Make out any checks to the Salvation Army, with a Hernandez family notation.
By the way, I don't know the Hernandez family at all, but I do feel a connection with them.
Most important: hug your children, family, and significant other.
And check your fire alarms. Tonight. Before you go to bed.
Best to all,

Friday, December 14, 2007

It's JUST War! Relaunched! Call for War Poems, Stories, and Essays

Check out our associated blog It's Just War!

We would like to read your war stories, poems, and essays and, possibly, even post them.

The comment section of It's JUST War! is open for creative work having to do with war; we may elevate works from the comment section to actual posts.

It doesn't matter if you're anti-war, pro-war, or neutral. We don't even care if you hate Foetry or Post Foetry.

We just want to hear your voice.

Best, Jennifer

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Connection Between Ted Kooser and Claudia Emerson

From a correspondent whose identity I'm keeping secret:

I am very curious about this.

News from the Library of Congress: 2005 Witter Bynner Fellow Claudia Emerson Wins Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Claudia Emerson, the 2005 Witter Bynner Fellow at the Library of Congress, has won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for her volume of verse titled Late Wife.

Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry Ted Kooser had chosen Emerson last year as a Witter Bynner Fellow, along with Martin Walls. As fellows, Emerson and Walls each received $10,000, which was granted by the Witter Bynner Foundation, in conjunction with the Library of Congress.

Ted Kooser happened to be a juror for the prize that year. There were over 200 entries and the winner was...gasp... someone he actually knew personally and had previously assisted.

I also notice that Copper Canyon Press, the publisher of his Pulitzer winning book, is on your Watch List.

Curiouser and curiouser. I was thinking that someone may be aware of even deeper connections that might explain how such terrible poetry has won such important awards. (I'm still trying to figure out Franz Wright).

We welcome comments and debate.

Response From Former Editor of The Spoon River Poetry Review

A response from former Editor Lucia Getsi:

Hi there,

I am no longer the editor, having retired from that position after twenty years, but I am happy to answer. The fall issue, in a twice per year journal that has never been late in 25 years, has been published in December for the past 17 years. It is sent NFP mail, so it is usually mid December or even January before it gets to those on the mailing list, approximately 1200. I have seen the galleys--the winners are right in there, just like always. Does this contestant know that fall extends through the winter solstice on Dec. 21?

We have never, nor will we ever, announce the judges before the contest is judged and announced. You cannot imagine how judges are hounded if some people know who they are in advance, and most writers will not even consider judging a contest if their names are announced in advance. We try for blind judging, and keeping identities secret helps.

We've never had a complaint about our rules, after which many other journal contests have modeled their own. They are clear enough so that had I gotten such an email, I may have ignored it, but I doubt that our Publication Director did, as she answers everything. Many times, emails from those not in the computer address book are routinely routed to Junk Mail, and sometimes some slip into Junk even when they are.


Dr. Lucia Getsi
20 year Editor,
The Spoon River Poetry Review
University Distinguished Professor Emerita,
English and Comparative Literature
Illinois State University


Thank you for your quick response.

I still have some questions:
  1. If the judge is kept anonymous, how does he or she know that she/he isn't awarding a prize to his/her current student, a friend, lover/spouse, or family member? (See Jorie Graham Rule)
  2. Do you have a mechanism in place for avoiding this potential problem?
  3. If a finalist turns out to have a personal or professional relationship with the final judge, do you disqualify him or her? If so, is that entrant's fee returned? (In other words, it would seem unfair to penalize an entrant who doesn't know the identity of the final judge before submitting).
  4. I still don't see a link on your website about the 2006 winners, and our correspondent said he/she had entered the 2007 contest. Please clarify.


Jennifer Semple Siegel

Spoon River Poetry Review, Where are You????

Just when I think I'm "over it," someone reminds of why I got involved in Foetry and then Post Foetry...

Today, I received the following email from a poetry contest entrant:

I decided to e-mail you to ask about the Spoon River Poetry Review.

[Note from Bugzita: by the way, the SRPR contest rules seem waffly and incomplete, although offering a subscription in return is a step in the right direction, although it looks as though our correspondent has not been receiving his issues. In any case, the judge should be announced before entrants send in their money.]

I have received no word from that publication since I submitted poems to its annual poetry contest. I e-mailed them to find out and did not get an answer. It has been since April 15th since the deadline, meaning it is now going on eight months. Maybe that is typical of poetry contests?

I understand that things take time but since SRPR does not allow for simultaneous submissions I can't submit my poems elsewhere in the meantime. Why do they take their merry old time to get back and keep me from submitting elsewhere? It doesn't seem fair to me. Or else I should "get over it" as that may be the world of poetry - slow as glacial ice!!

I have noticed that there has been no Fall issue of SRPR in which the contest winners will be published. Winter comes and the Fall issue is nowhere to be found. None in the mail and none posted on SRPR's website. I guess I'm either impatient or a sucker. Do you have any insight into this?

Thanks for your time and indulgence.

First of all, you're not a sucker; you have done all the right things: followed the rules and waited patiently for an announcement of 2007 winners. Secondly, I think that the "no simultaneous submission" rule is complete and utter BS, which is mostly ignored, anyway. Trust me, as a former editor, I have first-hand knowledge of this.

However, if your personal ethics dictate that you follow contest rules that dictate no simultaneous submissions, then I would say that you are off the hook after six months. It's your work, after all. Who are editors to say that you must wait an eternity for their answer?

Evidently, they have yet to announce the 2006 contest winners, so, my friend, you may have a very long wait.

It troubles me that your email was ignored--if the people running this contest are taking money from entrants, then they owe their paying-customer base answers. At the very least, the editor or other representative should post a message on the website, explaining the reason for the backlog and apologizing for the delay. Otherwise, they just look like another fly-by-night outfit.

How about it, Spoon River Poetry Review?

1. Answer your customers' questions.
2. Post an explanation/apology on your website homepage.
3. SRPR editor: feel free to email a response to me, which I'll post here.

In the future, contest entrants should take care and consider contests that incorporate these guidelines.



Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A New Direction for Post Foetry?

Here's the deal: this site is not going to be a watch dog--it never really was.

Foetry was unique because Alan and his outrage were behind it. Alan has decided to pursue other directions in his life and is no longer on the Post Foetry team. I wish him the best as he pursues his myriad other interests.

While I understand that cronyism, etc., etc., is going on, I no longer feel the outrage I once did. I have simply made a personal commitment to avoid fee-based contests and stay away from publications that are insider friendly/outsider contemptuous. Why should I waste my money and time?

Others will do what they will do, although I hope that Alan allows the Foetry archive to remain on the internet, but if he doesn't, there are certainly enough other warnings around the web.

I'm also pursuing other interests of my own, so I won't be posting here regularly.

Having said that, I'd like to see Post Foetry remain, but I'm not quite sure what form it will take. I would to see more articles like Anca Vlasopolos' "Silencing Writers in the Corporate Nation," articles that touch upon important issues in writing.

I know. That topic is fairly open ended, and I don't care if you're friend or foe, I'd like to hear what you have to say, as long as your essay is well-written and well-reasoned.

You may submit your essays, unpublished or previously published, directly to me.



Monday, December 10, 2007

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

I am finally reading this novel. Ironically, I was offered free tickets to a screening of the movie last week, and knew that I'd want to read the book first...Well, I'm at chapter 17, so please post(tell me) nothing about its ending.

I'm not sure if I can comment about this without cliches. A friend had told me that he couldn't "get into it" and so my expectations weren't high...It's not light reading, but it's compelling. My son read the back cover and asked why I'd want to read something so horrible. ! Blurbs gone wrong!

Some times a bestseller is deservedly so.

I think the narrator and I were born in almost the same year...into such extremely distinct settings...I don't know where my ex husband is, but this is the kind of book we talked about and led me to fall in love.

Monday, December 3, 2007 is Now Resolving Completely

I don't know what was up, but there was a glitch in which was going to a construction page, while was resolving here, but now both are resolving properly.

According to Blogger, and will still work, so no need to change your bookmarks.


Sunday, December 2, 2007

Offline for 24 Hours...

As some of you may have noticed, we were off line for 24 hours. I was attempting to change the blogspot URL into; I was partially successful, except for, which still resolves to a construction page. I'm still trying to figure out why. My other blogs are resolving just fine.

People who know me that I have arrived to the internet age, kicking and screaming, and that the techno aspect makes me want to curl up into the fetal position.

Anyway, I should have announced the planned website outage issue beforehand; I thought we'd be offline for about an hour (which is why I chose a Saturday night for the change).

Anyway, over the next few days, I may be tinkering with the site to how I can resolve the issue, so we may be offline for brief periods. In the meantime, the should work okay.

I hope.

Best, Jennifer