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Steel Toe Books Flies Kites in March

March 3, 2009

Bowling Green, KY--Steel Toe Books has selected My Fatherís Kites by Allison Joseph from fifty-six manuscripts submitted during the pressís most recent open reading period.  This will be the sixth full-length collection of poems by Joseph, whose accolades include the John C. Zacharis First Book Prize, sponsored by Ploughshares; the Word Press Poetry Prize; and fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council, Breadloaf, and the Sewanee Writers Conference.  She directs the MFA program at Southern Illinois University, serves as Editor and Poetry Editor of Crab Orchard Review, and maintains the CRWROPPS-B listserv, an invaluable resource for writers.  At the core of My Fatherís Kites is a sequence of thirty-four sonnets about the poetís late father Ė his life, his death, the burial arrangements, a daughterís grief.  Hereís a sample:

In The Funeral Parlour

The silent woman at my fatherís wake
avoids my gaze, as if she is not here.
there isnít anything that she should fearó
I wonít approach to share in her heartache,
or tell her that my fatherís great mistake
was living with a heart grown so severe
his daughters lost all hope they might endear
themselves to him.  So thin, she might just break
under the weight of what we wonít discuss.
No word seems right for herósheís not his friend,
so sad and plain, sheís no petite mistress.
Sheís just another woman he could bend,
manipulate with widowerís distress.
For both our sakes, Iím glad this is the end.

We would like to make honorable mention of the following manuscripts:  Where I Stood Stranded by Sally Wen Mao; In Thailand It Is Night by Ira Sukrungruang; My Earthbound Eye by Alejandro Escudť; The Ghost of Cesar Chavez by David Dominguez; There, There by George Higgins; Indian Blues by Sanka Roy; Automedon Struggles by D.N. Muranaka; and Cyrillic Letters by Katerina Stoykova-Klemer.

We will select our next two titles through a contest.  There will be a judgeís choice, selected by Denise Duhamel, as well as an editorís choice.  Both winning poets will receive $500 and a publication contract.  The entry fee will be $24, and all entrants will receive copies of both winning books.  The postmark deadline will be June 30.

For more information, contact Tom C. Hunley at
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