Monthly Archives: August 2014

2015 Young Writers Contest Now Open!

Meet our 2015 Young Writers Contest Judges

Antonya Nelson, Fiction

Antonya Nelson with dogAntonya Nelson is the author of four novels, including Bound (Bloomsbury, 2010) and seven short story collections, including Funny Once (Bloomsbury, 2014). Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, Esquire, Harper’s, Redbook and many other magazines, as well as in anthologies such as Prize Stories: the O. Henry Awards and Best American Short Stories. She is the recipient of a USA Artists Award in 2009, the 2003 Rea Award for Short Fiction, as well as NEA and Guggenheim Fellowships, and teaches in the Warren Wilson MFA Program, as well as in the University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program. She lives in Telluride, Colorado, Las Cruces, New Mexico, and Houston, Texas.

Steve Almond, Nonfiction

Steve Almond, 2015 Nonfiction JudgeSteve Almond is the author of ten books of fiction and non-fiction, three of which he published himself. His memoir Candyfreak was a New York Times Bestseller. His short stories have appeared in the Best American and Pushcart anthologies. His most recent collection, God Bless America, won the Paterson Prize for Fiction and was short-listed for The Story Prize. His journalism has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, GQ, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and elsewhere.

 

 

Stephen Kuusisto, Poetry

Stephen Kuusisto, 2015 Poetry JudgeStephen Kuusisto is the author of the memoirs Planet of the Blind (a New York Times “Notable Book of the Year”) and Eavesdropping: A Memoir of Blindness and Listening and of the poetry collections Only Bread, Only Light, and Letters to Borges. A graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and a Fulbright Scholar, he has taught at the University of Iowa, Hobart & William Smith Colleges, and The Ohio State University. He currently directs the Renée Crown Honors Program at Syracuse University where he holds a professorship in the Center on Human Policy, Law, and Disability Studies. He is a frequent speaker on disability and diversity issues around the US and abroad.

2015 Young Writers Contest

  • Deadline for submission is March 1st, 2015 at midnight (Mountain Time).
  • There is no fee for participation.
  • Writers, ages 13-19, may submit in one of three categories – poetry, fiction, or nonfiction. Ages are counted from the entry date, and entrants are required to show proof of age, but those images are never shared publicly.
  • Winners and published finalists will be asked to submit an author’s photograph and biography. We encourage you to explore the winners’ pages on the site to see the type of information and pictures the authors share.
  • The contest is open internationally, but all submissions must be written in English and submitted with the completed form. Both American and British English are accepted.
  • All participants, and their teacher/mentor will receive a certificate of participation. Certificates will be mailed by April 1st.

In all divisions your work should attempt to:

  • Show day to day life.
  • Show family relations and friendships.
  • Show outside forces at work (ie. weather, government/politics, social pressures, etc.)
  • Avoid stereotypes and generalizations.  Dig beneath the surface to explore common humanity and universal themes.

View the complete guidelines at https://writingforpeace.org/2015-contest-guidelines/

 

Copyright © 2014 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

And God Is The Water, By Lyla June Johnston

And God Is The Water

When I close my eyes at night
I can feel the rock being cut open
by water.

I hear a grandfather song
and it sounds like sand
walking down the river bottom.

In this song they talk about how even
the mighty canyon rivers began as
a meandering stream.

Beneath the gentle waters there are people.
Not people like you and me.
Stone people.

When I close my eyes at night
I am one of them
and God is the water.

Over lifetimes She eats at me
until I am polished and smooth.

She teaches me
about being gentle and persistent,
about patience and commitment.

When I close my eyes she says to me
in trickles and bubbles:

“Journeys.
Take them.
Try to remember who you are along the way.
I have nothing for you but these words.
Take them with you
and I will see you again when you arrive
at the ocean’s throne
as one million kernels of sand”

Her voice
hums in my blood
quiet as a stream in the night
and it is a song about how
we are all
just
so loved.

The eagles dip their talons into Her soft body
and pull a fleshmeal
from the water.

They sing this grandfather song with her
and it sounds like feathers
cutting into the sky.

It is a song about how even
hatred surrenders
to wonder.

She is breaking my heart apart like
a stubborn puzzle of problems.

Even the hardest doubts and sorrows
give way to
Her infinite grace.

And who knew that
sometimes grace comes from
standing in the wind until
everything we think we own
is torn away from us
and replaced with a weightlessness
so profound that we can’t not cry
tears of absolute praise
and run all around the river banks shouting to the
the minnows and the cattails and the crawdads
about the truth of beauty?

The truth of a God that
breathes through the trees
weaves winter from water and night
weaves bodies from dust and light
and carries us down the river of life over
and over until we finally understand
the meaning of forever.

In the language of the stones there is
no word for mistake.

Only the complete understanding of what it
means to be a beloved son or daughter.

I am the rock
and God is the water.

 

Lyla June Johnston, Writing fr Peace Young AdviserAbout Lyla June Johnston, WfP Young Adviser

Lyla June Johnston is a 24 year-old poet, musician, anthropologist and human being, from Taos, New Mexico. Her passion for peace unfolds both outside of herself through community organizing and within herself through continual prayers to forgive and love a wounded world.

Learn more about Lyla and her work here.

 

Small Writing for Peace logoWriting for Peace News

2014 DoveTales “Contrast” Edition Released

2014 DoveTales, "Contrast" Edition2014 DoveTales, “Contrast” edition, is now available for purchase. The 2014 issue is themed “contrast” and includes the beautiful black and white photography of Writing for Peace Artist-in-Residence Paula Dawn Lietz, as well as the 2013 Young Writers Contest winners, and the following contributors:

Jordi Alonso, Cassandra Arnold, Maggie Bàra, Henry Braun, Lorraine Caputo, William Cass, Lorraine Currelley, Colin Dodds, John Garmon, Diane Giardi, Mark Goad, Veronica Golos, Sam Hamill, Dawnell Harrison, D. Iasevoli, Ed.D, Allan M. Jalon, Shelley Kahn, Richard Krawiec, Paula Dawn Lietz, Cory Lockhart, Shannon K. Lockhart, Veronica Marshall, Sandra McGarry, Iwona Partyka, Sy Roth, Andrew Sacks, Carol Smallwood, Julia Stein, Samantha Peters Terrell, Bänoo Zan

Climate Crisis Connects Us, Climate Justice Requires Unity

Dr. Margaret Flowers, Writing for Peace AdviserBy Writing for Peace Adviser, Margaret Flowers, and Kevin Zeese: What do rigged corporate trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris Treaty, an international climate agreement to be signed in 2015, have in common? They are both tools being pushed by the power elite to rip away our hopes for democracy and to commodify all things to monetize them for profit. Read article here.

2015 Young Writers Contest Guidelines

2013 Writing for Peace Young Writers ContestWriting for Peace Young Writers’ Contest Guidelines for our 2015 Young Writers Contest will be posted on September 1st. We’ll announce our fantastic new panel of judges at that time. The deadline for entry is March 1st, 2015 – not as much time as you might think, so start gearing up by scrolling through the many craft related links and tips on our Facebook page!

Writing for Peace on Facebook

Our Facebook page is your go-to source for inspiration about writing news and craft, peace, and the intersection of the two. Your likes and shares increase our reach and help spread the word, so come by for a visit, share your ideas and questions. We’d love to hear your thoughts about writing and the many ways you are making a difference. Click here to check it out!

Copyright © 2014 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

 

Jigsaw, by David Scott Pointer

Marine Corps coffins ride the ancestral iron horses of Captain Lincoln’s fabled line

Army caskets are tended by the spirits of Ernest Hemingway and Great Uncle Walt Whitman

Navy submersible boxes sometimes request sea burial slowly floating into the divine deep blue

Air Force urn ashes escort eternal winds into a nomadic spirit world cemetery

Coast Guardians keep to themselves about internment or ashes, but actor Buddy Ebsen served and that’s enough Uncle Jed Clampett type goodwill to set the breeze free

Civilian causality mass graves to vast to easily identify or ride out burning on a single squadron of spiritual Thunderbirds do haunt most service folks in the smoky-know

Conscientious objectors like William Stafford sometimes resist, refuse, fight-hard or roam-off through the cross-fire to ponder all the craters, issues or casualties on all sides

Enemy combatants do what they are ordered or asked to do until superior training within a superior force stand atop the finality reading the final sermon

Energy wars somehow drink at the fibers of freedom’s tattered war flag hiding fossil fuel requirements from the enlistee’s collective mother-guard while tipping the dusty top hats to abandoned steam and electrical field research

Banker’s expensive cash suitcases start to over-bloat aboard their elite airbus shuttle like the corpses who built all of this empire

Politicians hope for increased access inside the billionaire’s white administration building with secret symbolic revolution built into each 4 year election cycle facade

David Scott Pointer, Writing for Peace AdvisorAbout WfP Adviser, David Scott Pointer

David Scott Pointer is a long time social justice/political poet. His father, a piano playing bank robber, died when David was just 3 years old, leaving him to be raised by his grandmother, who determined that the best way to keep her young charge from emulating his “scoundrel” father was to socialize him to be a good soldier.  David’s earliest memories are of training for battle in his backyard in Kansas City, Missouri. Learn more about David and his work here.

 

Small Writing for Peace logoWriting for Peace News

  • 2014 DoveTales “Contrast” Edition Released

2014 DoveTales, "Contrast" EditionOur Second edition of DoveTales, An International Journal of the Arts, is available for purchase. The 2014 issue is themed “contrast” and includes the beautiful black and white photography of Writing for Peace Artist-in-Residence Paula Dawn Lietz, as well as the 2013 Young Writers Contest winners, and the following contributors:

Jordi Alonso, Cassandra Arnold, Maggie Bàra, Henry Braun, Lorraine Caputo, William Cass, Lorraine Currelley, Colin Dodds, John Garmon, Diane Giardi, Mark Goad, Veronica Golos, Sam Hamill, Dawnell Harrison, D. Iasevoli, Ed.D, Allan M. Jalon, Shelley Kahn, Richard Krawiec, Paula Dawn Lietz, Cory Lockhart, Shannon K. Lockhart, Veronica Marshall, Sandra McGarry, Iwona Partyka, Sy Roth, Andrew Sacks, Carol Smallwood, Julia Stein, Samantha Peters Terrell, Bänoo Zan

  • 2015 Young Writers Contest Guidelines

Writing for Peace Young Writers' ContestGuidelines for our 2015 Young Writers Contest will be posted  on September 1st. We’ll announce our fantastic new panel of judges at that time. The deadline for entry is March 1st, 2015 – not as much time as you might think, so start gearing up by scrolling through the many craft related links and tips on our Facebook page!

  • Facebook

Our Facebook page is your go-to source for inspiration about writing news and craft, peace, and the intersection of the two. Your likes and shares increase our reach and help spread the word, so come by for a visit, share your ideas and questions. We’d love to hear your thoughts about writing and the many ways you are making a difference. Click here to check it out!

Copyright © 2014 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

manifesto, by radhiyah ayobami

Writing for Peace Welcomes Guest Writer, Radhiyah Ayobami

 

manifesto

Radhiyah Yemayatoday i heard a story that made me very happy. in fact, it actually made me feel joy. it was a story about a close sista-friend of mine. i have known her for about ten years. we met when our children went to the same cultural school (our friendship has outlived the school as well.)  i was in my early 20’s- she was about 30. i was transitioning into the cultural world, growing locs, and exploring different traditions. she had already been married to a community leader, and she eased me into her circle and her way of life. she introduced me to roots reggae dances and was the first person i met who blessed herb before smoking it. she took me to african spiritual events and explained the protocol; how to cleanse before entering, when to stand and when to kneel, how to give an offering and receive a blessing. wherever we went, folks cracked into wide smiles as soon as she was on the scene, she was forever being waved at across a crowded room, greeting other smiling people, and being enveloped by hugs.
 

as the years progressed, we went through the same initiations, starved through the same fasts and partied at the same events in long skirts and headwraps on a wednesday night and were late getting our kids to school in the morning. we piled our children and some other folks children in a half-working car and drove to all-night drum circles where they fell asleep under trees as we meditated by the fire, we survived on the same small handful of greens in a foreign country when it had rained too much and everybody was hungry, and when the sun came out we all washed up outside in broad daylight, everything jiggling, breasts that had nursed babies, waistbeads, and our locs heavy with water from the sea.
 

and then came the curves of life. we went to city offices and through housing systems, patching together the help we needed to move forward. we created resumes and got jobs that paid on the books and took out taxes. we transitioned out of our small communities and found that wearing extra long skirts and yards of cloth around our shoulders was sometimes not practical when working with small children or in various other settings. she was first to cut her locs and put on pants, and one day she came walking around the corner on fulton street with no headwrap, no multi-colored skirt swishing her ankles and no scent of sacred oil, and i walked right by her. she had a short afro, creased pants, and a folder full of resumes, and something about the outfit reminded me of the colorful birds i saw languishing in cages at the zoo. months later, when my son and i lived in a building that awakened us with five am fire alarms, she wrote me a letter that helped me transition out of that place and into an apartment where my porch was the entire roof and i could sit and watch the sky.

 

and then we went into the next decade of our lives, and i listened to her laugh become a little less loud as she watched friends and family marry and waltz across the dance floor in each other’s arms as she raised her children and drove to the occasional roots dance on her own. we began to talk about the beliefs and traditions that kept us bound to the idea of being honorable women. elders told us that we shouldn’t be out past nine o’clock. imams said we should be in by maghrib. at the drumming ceremonies, we couldn’t uncover our hair (even though it was hot by the fire, and the breeze through our locs would have been the greatest blessing.) in almost every tradition, we were lectured against smoking herb, and told to have husbands instead of lovers, so we wouldn’t damage our spirits. so me and my sista-friend began to have conversations. we began to wonder, under the skirts and scarves and rules and admonishments, where we could find the seed of joy. our communities and traditions had sustained and nurtured us, but now we were in a new cycle of life, and it was time for change. we talked and argued with each other, we fasted and went to steam baths and spiritual events and prayed and sat with our own thoughts. and then, we moved.
 

she broke the no lovers rule first, and invited me over for  tea so we could talk about it, and it was a conversation that lasted all night. it was winter when she broke that rule, and it was summer when i broke it, and i ended up writing a lot of poems. and we discovered some things. we discovered that another human being, particularly a partner, fixing a meal that you like or washing your hair or giving you advice on a complicated problem late at night even though they were tired or rubbing your foot deep enough to ease out the soreness of the day was just as holy as a drum ceremony or lighting an incense stick or the pouring of water- and maybe, even more holy than that. we discovered that the best rules to follow were the ones that brought our spirits balance and joy.
 

and after awhile, my sista-friend stayed in pants. she never went back into daily headwraps and long skirts- although she would wear them occasionally for events or if she felt like it. i stayed in long skirts and wraps because my womanself loved them, but sometimes wore jeans if i wanted to, and we never gave up dancing or late nights or wine or bud. we still prayed and chanted and burned and poured sacred water- but we carried no flags but our own.
 

and then today she called me, ashamed, because she was out on a date with a man that made her heart glow, and they had a little taste of wine and a little smoke, and they went to a roots party, and she ran into folks she knew, and there she was in a short skirt and a wild afro, kinda high, kinda drunk, with a strange and non-cultural man, and all the women were in there with headwraps up to the ceiling and skirts down to the floor. well, i fell out. i laughed and laughed. because at the age and stage that we’re in now, does it really matter? we are far enough into this journey that we know most things are between us and the creator. when i was living in the five am fire alarm place, i was plagued with headaches so bad that i walked around with tylenol tucked into every pocket, every bag, and even under my headwrap for emergencies. and her letter helped me get into a house where the birds would come sing at the windows in the mornings when the sky was still pink, and i didn’t have a bottle of tylenol in that whole house. and some of those women in those skirts would never do that for anyone else- some of them were devils. i know, because i wear long skirts and i’m a devil when i wanna be too.
 

and i wish my sista- friend a hundred dances in a hundred short skirts, if that’s what feeds her soul. and for the rest of us, i wish us permission to be unbound to whatever it is that binds us. sometimes i look at my life- i’m in an expensive grad school but got no money. i’m an older black woman in an mfa program, which is generally made up of students who are young, male and white. i’m fat but i do african dance and yoga and i love it, even when i’m the biggest person in the class, which is often. i moved across the country with a teenager, which everyone says is the worst time to move a child, and now he’s closer to the honor roll than he’s ever been. i’ve made a lot of mistakes, but my son and i have also had some great adventures. life has been our guide, our teacher and our protector. and as shaky as my progress is, i’m continuing on my journey to be fully unbound, fully engaged in the process of life instead of watching it drift by, and fully committed to living with joy.

 

i  give myself permission to:
 

honor my inner guidance

create my own family makeup

not explain or apologize for my choices

not explain, excuse or defend my size, culture or style of dress

treat my body kindly no matter what it looks like

tell my truth even when it’s uncomfortable

tell the stories of my ancestors

pursue all my passions

ask for and accept compensation for my talents

not be afraid or ashamed of mistakes

choose teachers by spirit and not external affiliations

walk away when i need to

humble myself only to the elements; water, sun, trees, land & sky

(& of course the creator)

 

and so it is!

 

radhiyah ayobami: brooklyn born by way of the south, telling stories of black womanhood, motherhood & folks in invisible spaces, believes word has the power to shift consciousness, writes & workshops with pregnant teens, inmates & elders, africana studies graduate of brooklyn college & mfa prose student at mills college in oakland, california, where she is working on a collection of nonfiction essays & the trees give her poems.

 

Writing for Peace News

  • 2014 DoveTales “Contrast” Edition Released

DoveTales, a publication of Writing for Peace Our Second edition of DoveTales, An International Journal of the Arts, is available for purchase. The 2014 issue is themed “contrast” and includes the beautiful black and white photography of Writing for Peace Artist-in-Residence Paula Dawn Lietz, as well as the 2013 Young Writers Contest winners, and the following contributors:

Jordi Alonso
Cassandra Arnold
Maggie Bàra
Henry Braun
Lorraine Caputo
William Cass
Lorraine Currelley
Colin Dodds
John Garmon
Diane Giardi
Mark Goad
Veronica Golos
Sam Hamill
Dawnell Harrison
D. Iasevoli, Ed.D
Allan M. Jalon
Shelley Kahn
Richard Krawiec
Paula Dawn Lietz
Cory Lockhart
Shannon K. Lockhart
Veronica Marshall
Sandra McGarry
Iwona Partyka
Sy Roth
Andrew Sacks
Carol Smallwood
Julia Stein
Samantha Peters Terrell
Bänoo Zan

  • 2015 Young Writers Contest

Our exciting 2015 Young Writers Contest Judges Panel will be announced on September 1st, along with our Contest Guidelines!

  • Facebook

Our Facebook page is your go-to source for inspiration about writing, peace, and the intersection of the two. Your likes and shares increase our reach and help spread the word, so come by for a visit, share your ideas and questions. We’d love to hear your thoughts about writing and the many ways you are making a difference!

Copyright © 2014 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

A Gift of Empowerment, by Melissa Hassard

Melissa Hassard, Writing for Peace AdviserI grew up in the South, the daughter of a misogynist who physically abused both his wife and her son. I remember spending a lot of time in my room with books and journals, trying to escape the yelling, trying to escape the dark mood in our home.

My father did well at his work and we had money, that was never an issue, but his demons were deep — he the son of an abusive father and raised by an abused mother. His youngest brother died accidentally, but at his mother’s hand, and so thick was her trauma and mental disease, that she was committed for the rest of her life in Dorothea Dix, the state mental institution in North Carolina.

And while it’s true that women suffer at the hands of men, so do men suffer at the hands of women. In this world of wars and violence, we must listen to the voices that advocate for peace, compassion, and empathy. We ourselves must also speak out.

Writing, to me, is a way of not only expressing yourself, but also — when you find your voice and learn to use it — a gift of empowerment, a gift which comes with the responsibility of speaking up for those who cannot, and speaking out against the inhumane and the wrong, the cruelty and injustice in this world. In that voice, we also find our work.

I am deeply honored to have been asked to serve on the Writing for Peace Advisory Board.

Melissa Hassard is speaker, writer, poet, mother, womanist, and activist — currently residing in North Carolina.

Her background is public relations, advertising, and travel, and she considers herself a student of the world, who loves travel, history, culture, and language.  Writing is as much a part of her life as breathing.

Partner at Sable Books and founder of Women Writers of the Triad, she is blessed to work with writers on meaningful projects — from helping writers publish, to teaching writing to survivors of domestic abuse, to organizing local community workshops and readings.

Her essays and poems have been published in various journals, is she is now revising work for a first book, that will no doubt take her years to finish.

Learn more about Melissa here.

Writing for Peace News

  • 2014 DoveTales “Contrast” Edition Released

DoveTales, a publication of Writing for Peace Our Second edition of DoveTales, An International Journal of the Arts, is available for purchase. The 2014 issue is themed “contrast” and includes the beautiful black and white photography of Writing for Peace Artist-in-Residence Paula Dawn Lietz, as well as the 2013 Young Writers Contest winner, and the following contributors:

Jodi Alonso
Cassandra Arnold
Maggie Bàra
Henry Braun
Loraine Caputo
William Cass
Lorraine Currelley
Colin Dodds
John Garmon
Diane Giardi
Mark Goad
Veronica Golos
Sam Hamill
Dawnell Harrison
D. Iasevoli, Ed.D
Allan M. Jalon
Shelley Kahn
Richard Krawiec
Paula Dawn Lietz
Cory Lockhart
Shannon K. Lockhart
Veronica Marshall
Sandra McGarry
Iwona Partyka
Sy Roth
Andrew Sacks
Carol Smallwood
Julia Stein
Samantha Peters Terrell
Bänoo Zan

  • Facebook

Our Facebook page is your go-to source for inspiration about the craft of writing, peace, and the intersection of the two. Your likes and shares help spread the word about Writing for Peace.

Copyright © 2014 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.