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GREENSBORO—S.L. Cockerille of New Bern has won the 2021 Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition for her poem "Aproned Literacy." Cockerille will receive $200 and publication in storySouth.

Final judge Jennifer Militello said, “I spent much time with the wonderful array of poems sent: sorting, reading, rereading, making piles, taking notes. 'Aproned Literacy' was the one poem in the batch that my mind most often returned to. It grabbed me from its powerful first moment—a quietly commanding, Biblical assertion--and sustained that level of energy throughout. The initial precision of biscuit makers as 'humble-budgeted, quiet scientists / of the breakfast table' drew me in. From there, the poem took a series of definitive steps, such as the leap from the 'clinical trials / at Sunday dinners' to an image of children clamoring for the result. I loved its expansive use of a seemingly everyday subject, its textured treatment of language, and its measured pacing and music, as well as the sense it gave me as a reader of being in a church of comfort, worshipping at the altar of physical and emotional sustenance. The central metaphor in 'Aproned Literacy' rests under the umbrella of its title and within each smaller, cautious stitch. Its mode of execution matches its intent, and I admired the sense of it as a form of ‘ars poetica’—as it is a poem about making, made with the same attention and exactitude that serves as its subject. The overall effect of the poem is one of being sated even as other, more perfect hungers open up.”

Suzannah L. Cockerille began writing poetry in college while pursuing an architecture degree from Virginia Tech. She has been a semi-finalist in the North Carolina Literary Review’s James Applewhite Contest and a finalist in the North Carolina Poetry Society’s Poet Laureate Contest, won first place in the NCPS’s Thomas McDill Contest, received an Honorable Mention in the NCPS's Joanna Catherine Scott Award, and has received additional recognition from various contests and journals. The Charlottesville, Virginia native lives in New Bern. She is the vice-president of Nexus Poets in New Bern.

Militello named "Black wool coat on a hook" by Catherine Carter as Runner-Up and "the best way to know trees" by Lucinda Trew as an Honorable Mention.

The Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition accepts one-poem submissions and honors poet poet and critic Randall Jarrell, who taught at what is now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro for nearly eighteen years. He was a 1996 inductee of the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame who left behind nine books of poetry, four books of literary criticism, four children’s books, five anthologies, a bestselling academic novel, a translation of Goethe’s Faust, Part I, and a translation of Chekhov’s The Three Sisters, produced on Broadway by The Actors’ Studio.

The competition is administered by Terry L. Kennedy, Director of the MFA in Creative Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

storySouth is an online literary journal dedicated to showcasing the best poetry (and fiction and creative nonfiction) that writers from the "new south" have to offer. Facilitated by the Graduate Program in Creative Writing at UNCG, storySouth aims to prove that "the internet is not just a medium of flash and style; that excellent writing can attract attention without programming gimmicks and hard-to-read fonts." storySouth believes the American South today is a "mix of traditional and new, regional and international."

Jennifer Militello is the author of The Pact (Tupelo Press, 2021) and Knock Wood, winner of the Dzanc Nonfiction Prize (Dzanc Books, 2019). She also is the author of four additional collections of poetry: A Camouflage of Specimens and Garments (Tupelo Press, 2016), finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Award and the Sheila Margaret Motton Prize; Body Thesaurus (Tupelo Press, 2013), named one of the top books of 2013 by Best American Poetry and runner-up for the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award; Flinch of Song, winner of the Tupelo Press First Book Award; and the chapbook Anchor Chain, Open Sail.

The non-profit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to all writers at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.

 

After an involuntary hiatus in 2020, the North Carolina Writers’ Network will award a third Sally Buckner Emerging Writers' Fellowship in 2021, to a writer of prose.

Created in memory of the late Sally Buckner, one of North Carolina’s most beloved poets, editors, and educators, the $500 Buckner Fellowship supports an emerging North Carolina writer, between the ages 21-35, whose work shows promise of excellence and of commitment to a literary career.

Applicants must be in the early stages of their careers and will not yet have achieved major recognition for their work. No specific academic background is required or preferred, but students enrolled in degree-granting programs are not eligible to apply.

Poet Zachary Lunn of Hoke County won the inaugural Buckner Fellowship in 2018, while fiction writer Jasmine Kumalah of Durham won in 2019.

The fellowship awarded this year will cover the calendar year 2022. The fellowship recipient will use the $500 award to allay the costs associated with the business of writing: paper, printing, writing supplies, submission fees, research expenses, travel, conference registration fees, etc. In addition to the cash award, recipients will receive a complimentary one-year membership in the NCWN, as well as scholarship aid to attend the Network’s 2021 and 2022 Fall Conferences and the 2022 Spring Conference.

To honor and carry on the lifelong generosity displayed by its namesake, the Buckner Fellowship will invite each recipient, during their award year, to help at least one other writer—by mentoring a less-experienced writer, by critiquing another’s work, by writing references or editing applications, or in whatever other way the recipient sees fit.

Applications will be accepted as PDF attachments sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. from May 1 to June 30. Application is free, and full guidelines are available at www.ncwriters.org. A committee appointed by NCWN will review all applications, and invite finalists for interviews with committee members. The fellowship winner will be announced and introduced at the Network’s Fall Conference, planned this year for Durham, November 19-21.

For more information about the Sally Buckner Emerging Writers’ Fellowship and NCWN, visit www.ncwriters.org, or contact June Guralnick, Fellowship Program Coordinator, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

WINSTON-SALEM—Through its popular Critiquing & Editing Service, the North Carolina Writers’ Network now will offer its members access to Representation Readers, qualified writers/editors who can help writers avoid false or clichéd portrayals, and bring their characters to life fully and responsibly.

Representation Readers can examine members’ unpublished work for characterizations that seem inauthentic or undeveloped. They can advise writers on how to create accurate and authentic dialogue, descriptions, settings, plot points, and more.

The fees and submission process for a Representation Read are the same as for other Critiquing and Editing Service submissions. The time needed to complete a Representation Read will vary, based on the reader’s availability, the work’s length, and the depth of the critique needed.

“We decided to call this new service Representation Readings, rather than the more common ‘sensitivity reads,’ because the goal isn’t simply to avoid hurting people’s feelings,” NCWN Executive Director Ed Southern said. “The goal is to help writers produce the best work possible: authentic, understanding, and deeply imagined.”

The service currently has five Representation Readers, able to critique representation of race, gender, sexuality, and disability. The NCWN plans to add more Representation Readers as the service grows.

“Clichés and stereotypes are the hallmarks of bad writing,” Southern said. “We hope this service will help our members avoid them in their own work, and produce richer, more compelling portrayals.”

 

 
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