Clayton’s poem “chokecherry” has just gotten the group-reading treatment at Whale Sound, an online audio zine curated by Nic Sebastian. For the group reading, Nic is joined by Peter Stephens and Carol Novack, each with a strikingly individual interpretation of the poem in the natural style favored at the site.

Thanks to the lovely people at Artpost for not only hosting the reading — which included Clayton’s colleagues Nancy Botkin and David Dodd Lee, and drew a standing-room-only crowd — but also for making and uploading this video. Now we know where that poem came from!

The first of what we hope will be many online reviews of Watermark is up at The Good Typist, the blog of poet Kristen McHenry. McHenry is the author of The Goatfish Alphabet, which was published by Naissance chapbooks last year after coming within a hair’s breadth of winning qarrtsiluni’s 2009 chapbook contest.

It’s a glowing review. McHenry writes, in part:

Though many of the poems read as splinters and refractions of the author’s idiosyncratic mind, all of them are cohesive and carefully constructed, never falling into the realm of the aloof or inscrutable. Michaels employs an elegant balancing act. The sadness, loneliness, and small tragedies evoked in these poems could easily begin to feel oppressive, but within each one there is always a sense of a coming thaw, of life germinating in the desolation.

Click the read the rest.

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In other news, we’re grateful to the editors of Anti- for nominating “melancholia is a collective noun” for the annual online Best of the Net anthology.

The South Bend Examiner‘s Jessica Peri Chambers gave a good review to a prose and poetry reading in which Clayton participated, along with three of his colleagues from Indiana University South Bend.

Reading for less than ten minutes apiece, each writer offered up a handful of little jewels and thus exposed the strength of their department. Lucky IUSB students! Not every English department can boast of such a talented faculty pack. A department might have one important or formerly important or somewhat important someone to trot out for special occasions, it’s true. In this case, the talent is young, trots itself out even for smallish audiences and, most impressively, is actively publishing.

(We’re grateful for the link, too.)

Launch day is here at last! This site went live at noon, and the announcement post appeared on qarrtsiluni a few minues later — the last of a series featuring the 2010 chapbook contest finalists. Break out the shotguns. We’re going to town.

Book trailer videos have become a fashionable way for publishers large and small to promote new titles in the age of YouTube. We thought it would be more interesting to make a videopoem, however, and luckily enough, the first filmmaker we approached — poet, novelist and regular qarrtsiluni contributor James Brush — loved the manuscript and was inspired to make a short film for the poem “drylung.” He blogged about why he chose this poem at Coyote Mercury. We wrote about our interest in videopoetry in the announcement post at qarrtsiluni. You can watch the video on the home page of this site.

We’re not sure if the budget will support this every year, but we sure hope so. The initial reaction has been very positive.

In addition to Clayton Michaels’ first-place manuscript, there were also two runners-up: itching, itching by Teresa Gilman, and Alchemy and Atrophy by Tim Lockridge. Ken Lamberton said he found the overall quality of the eleven finalists “amazing.” Read the official announcement at qarrtsiluni for the full details.

It’s also worth noting that, for the second year in a row, the winning manuscript was by someone who has not previously published a collection of poems.

Thanks to everyone who submitted or who helped spread the word. We received 66 manuscripts in all. Twelve first-round readers, all accomplished writers and many of them former guest editors of qarrtsiluni, now begin reading the submitted manuscripts in order to narrow the field to a shortlist. Each chapbook, identified only by title, will be read by at least two readers. A shortlist of eleven anonymous manuscripts will then be advanced to Ken Lamberton at the end of May for his final decisions.

We are deeply grateful to our readers, who this year include Teju Cole, Dale Favier, Brent Goodman, Leslee Masten, Kristin McHenry, Tom Montag, Jean Morris, Pamela Johnson Parker, Susanna Rich, Carolee Sherwood, Peter Stephens, and Jill Crammond Wickham.

We’ve never shared the poetry establishment’s assumption that the primary audience for poetry is other poets, and we’ve labored to make the magazine appealing to anyone with an interest in literature and the arts. In keeping with that philosophy, we’ve again asked a non-poet to judge our chapbook contest, and are delighted to have him with us. Ken Lamberton‘s first book, Wilderness and Razor Wire (Mercury House, 2000), won the 2002 John Burroughs Medal for outstanding nature writing. He has published four books and more than a hundred articles and essays in places like the Los Angeles Times, Arizona Highways, the Gettysburg Review, and The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2000. In 2007, he won a Soros Justice Fellowship for his fourth book, Time of Grace: Thoughts on Nature, Family, and the Politics of Crime and Punishment (University of Arizona Press, 2007). Ken’s fifth book, Dry River: Stories of Life, Death, and Redemption on the Rio de Santa Cruz, will be published by the University of Arizona Press early next year. We’re happy to note that Dry River will contain some stories first published in qarrtsiluni! Ken holds degrees in biology and creative writing from the University of Arizona and lives with his wife in a 1890s stone cottage near Bisbee.