Our annual Summer Contest Issue is a testimony to the high caliber of the hundreds of fine writers who submitted! Thank you to all! Also, deepest gratitude again to Brenda Prescott, valued Solstice staff reader, for her collaboration with me on choosing the fiction short list, which spans diverse ethnicities, races, cultures, and styles.
In fiction, Celeste Ng was our fabulous judge. Please watch for our upcoming interview with Celeste and read her latest book, Everything I Never Told You, a NYT bestseller!
Celeste chose as the Fiction Winner: “Cat Calls” by Gregory Wolos, a darkly humorous, poignant story of a laborer hit by a falling eagle’s nest, whose life takes a turn for the better, or the worse. Our Fiction Finalists are: Nola Schiff’s “The Favour,” in which a British woman marries a gay Polish man to save him from being deported to Warsaw; YZ Chin’s “The Butler,” where a butler is more than a butler in colonial, post-WWII Malaya; Jessica Lipnack’s novel excerpt “Some Peculiar Errand” in which a journalist seeks out love and politics in 1960’s Paris; and Kim Suhr’s “Night Vision,” an unsettling story of a veteran who stalks women, while believing he is protecting them.
And as Editor’s Pick: Jonathan Escoffery’s “Stripper Pants,”in which an ironic Jamaican man struggles to hold together a dysfunctional, biracial family.
In nonfiction, Michael Steinberg, founding editor of Fourth Genre and author of Still Pitching, chose as the winner “In Remembrance” by Melanie Brooks, a Canadian’s perspective on war. “Perhaps remembering does not have to mean celebrating.” Nonfiction Finalists are: Ryan Daily’s “Wait Wait, Sweet Nothing,” lyrical fragments of a daughter’s ruminations on a distanced father, and “Bordersong” by Cecilia Weddell, who questions her identity and does not feel that she is Mexican enough.
In addition, we offer a separate section of Featured Nonfiction: J.D. Scrimgeour’s “View from Sunset Rock,” a lyrical meditation on how five paintings reveal The Consummation of Empire in America; Jenny Forrester’s “A Wilder Agenda,”in which a narrator rebels against the pioneer mythology in Colorado and goes “to the chaos of wildness from the authority of fences;” Jean Hey’s “Behind My Mother and Mandela,” a meditation on race in South Africa as embodied in a photograph; and DeWitt Henry’s “Notes on Contemporary Writing,” a panorama of literary works expressing the Zeitgeist.
In photography, William Betcher’s images represent ten years of meditations on Nature, selected from his forthcoming book, Anthem: For a Warm Little Pond.
Also, we present an interview by Lee Hope with the internationally acclaimed photographer Lou Jones.
We welcome to our staff Olivia Cahoon as Acting Managing Editor from the Solstice MFA program, and two new interns: Amy Grier, also our new Blog Editor, from the Lesley MFA program; and Christopher Cutrali from Emmanuel College.
We welcome back Amy Yelin, as a Consulting Social Media Editor. As always, deep gratitude to our Nonfiction Editor Richard Hoffman, and to our Poetry Editors: Ben Berman, Dzvinia Orlowsky and Regie O. Gibson. We also thank January O’Neil for her terrific service as Poetry Editor; she is now a Consulting Poetry Editor.
Please delve into these fine works. It is even the more vital now to reflect our diverse world in our literature.
Poetry Editor’s Note
It is an honor to share with you the winners and finalists of this year’s Stephen Dunn Prize, selected by Richard Blanco.
The Winner of our annual Stephen Dunn Prize in Poetry is Lynne Thompson, for her timely poem, Politics.
And we are also excited to present you with two runner-up selections, as well: Erasure by Arne Weingart and For the Most Part by Don Colburn.
We also have many other compelling poems and translations from around the world that we are sure you will enjoy.
Lastly, we’d like to offer a fond farewell to January O’Neil, who will be changing her role from Poetry Co-Editor to Poetry Consulting Editor. It will be an honor to consult with her.
Thank you to everyone who entered this year’s contest – it was a pleasure to read so many fine submissions.
The Poetry Editors