Paying Market for 2019

We’ve got a special announcement today, one that has us thrilled, giddy, over the moon—you name it.

*drum roll, please*

Nimrod International Journal will, for the first time in its history, be a paying market for all work printed in our pages in 2019!

Excuse us while we do a happy dance and throw lots of streamers in the air!

*throws streamers, toots horns, clashes cymbals*

Here are the specifics:

For work printed in our two 2019 issues, Voices of the Middle East and North Africa and Awards 41, we will pay $10/page, with a maximum payment of $200. Visual artists whose work appears internally will also be compensated at a rate of $10 per image used. All contributors will also receive two copies of the issue in which their work appears. Work selected for publication through our two annual contests, the Nimrod Literary Awards and the Francine Ringold Awards for New Writers, will also receive this payment (though monetary prizes for winners will remain the same: $2,000 and $1,000 for the Literary Awards; $500 for the Francine Ringold Awards). And you don’t have to wait until 2019 to submit for these issues—all work currently in process and work submitted from this point for our 2019 issues will fall under this category.

We’re excited to be able to pay contributors in 2019. This is a goal we’ve hoped to achieve for a long time, so 2019 is going to be a very special year for us. We want to get the news out to as many writers as possible, so please help us spread the word that Nimrod will be a paying market in 2019 and, if you are a writer yourself, send your work in for consideration!

And, while we hope to continue paying our contributors beyond 2019, this is a trial effort to assess the effects on submissions and our budget. We’ll be monitoring to see if this is practical. We know it’s something we want to keep doing if possible, so we’re starting here.

 

 

 

 

Contributor Interview: Steve Bellin-Oka

As part of the launch of our Spring/Summer 2018 issue, Let Us Gather: Diversity and the Arts, we sat down with contributors to talk about their work in the issue and more. The following interview is part of this series. Please visit our website to see the complete list of contributors to Let Us Gather, to purchase the issue, or to subscribe.

Bellin-Oka, Steve

Tell us a little about your work in Let Us Gather: Diversity and the Arts. What inspired it, how you came to write it, etc.

Two of these poems, “Dalet” and “Zayin,” are parts of a longer sequence I refer to as a metaphysical love poem. I’ve studied some ancient languages in my life, and the beauty and strangeness of the Hebrew alphabet, and how the letters originally were pictograms, is fascinating to me. Hebrew also ascribes mystical qualities to its letters, and I’m hoping to capture what’s both knowable and unknowable in my own 20-year marriage to my husband, who is Japanese. The sequence will move on to Japanese alphabets when I finish the Hebrew part. “Letter to John Ashbery” is an elegy of sorts for him and is a true story about a likely apocryphal story he told me when I met him in graduate school.

Do you have a favorite line, image, or scene from this work?

I’m haunted by my memory of Ashbery’s brilliant blue eyes and his way of looking at you when you spoke, as if it was the most important thing to say in the world at that moment in time. I tried to capture that in the elegy for him.

What is your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Read as much as you write, and write as much as you possibly can. Seek out other writers you trust to give you honest feedback on your work. You can’t underestimate the importance of community, especially in poetry.

Tell us something fun, strange, or interesting about yourself. It can have to do with writing—or not!

I’m an American, but I lived in Canada for 10 years before returning to the U.S. in 2015 after the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriages. My husband is a Japanese citizen, and after a while, there were no legal ways to keep him in the U.S. any longer. Not many people think about how the need to protect the equal rights of LGBQT people is even more imperative for binational couples like us.

What’s on the writing horizon for you/what are you working on now?

I have my first book of poems coming out next year (I hope). It’s called Ash Sonata. I only finished it at the end of 2017, so I’m waiting for the poems I’m writing now to reveal to me what a second book is going to be about. I’m listening and I think they’re telling me.

Steve Bellin-Oka is the author of a chapbook, Dead Letter Office at North Atlantic Station (Seven Kitchens Press, 2017). He earned his M.F.A. from the University of Virginia and his Ph.D. from the University of Southern Mississippi. He has received fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. He teaches at Eastern New Mexico University.

Contributor Interview: Robert Thomas

As part of the launch of our Spring/Summer 2018 issue, Let Us Gather: Diversity and the Arts, we sat down with contributors to talk about their work in the issue and more. The following interview is part of this series. Please visit our website to see the complete list of contributors to Let Us Gather, to purchase the issue, or to subscribe.

Thomas, Robert

Tell us a little about your work in Let Us Gather: Diversity and the Arts. What inspired it, how you came to write it, etc.

My poems are part of a series on jealousy. It may be counter-intuitive, but I believe that exploring jealousy (rather than transcending it) is a dynamic engine of spiritual growth. Better than yoga!

Do you have a favorite line, image, or scene from this work?

One of my favorite passages is these lines from “Sonnet with Clerk and Genghis Khan”: “Not mere love letters / but letters that would cut steel, show the blind / the Milky Way, a/k/a Winter Street, / Path of Cranes, the Road to Santiago.”

What is your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Read outside your comfort zone. If you love Armantrout, read Milton. If you love Milton, read Szymborska. If you love Szymborska, read Chekhov. If you love Chekhov, read Basho. If you love Basho, read Armantrout.

Tell us something fun, strange, or interesting about yourself. It can have to do with writing—or not!

I saw Jimi Hendrix set his guitar on fire at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. It was memorable, but from my perspective not as memorable as Otis Redding backed by Booker T & the MG’s. If you listen closely you may hear their influence in my poetry.

What’s on the writing horizon for you/what are you working on now?

I’m putting together a collection of sonnets. The working title is Sonnets with Carpenter and Dirty Snow. So far I’ve whittled 144 sonnets down to 96 for the collection, which is more like hacking with a machete than whittling.

Website: www.robertthomaspoems.com

Robert Thomas’s most recent book, Bridge, is a lyrical novella, published by BOA Editions, that won the 2015 PEN Center USA Literary Award for Fiction. His first book, Door to Door, was selected by Yusef Komunyakaa and published by Fordham University, and his second collection, Dragging the Lake, was published by Carnegie Mellon. He has received an NEA poetry fellowship.

Get My Attention . . . the Right Way

by Eilis O’Neal

“Get my attention.” It’s a phrase writers hear from editors a lot these days. Writers are told over and over again how busy editors are, how much material they receive, how brief the attention is they’re going to give any random piece of work from the slush pile. It’s the new maxim:

“How do you get published? Get my attention, and get it fast.”

And it’s true. Editors, whether they are magazine editors or book editors (and this goes for literary agents as well), are busy. We get tons of material, and we want to move through it as quickly as we can, both to find good material before it’s taken by someone else and to respond to writers in a timely fashion. So your work does need to separate itself from the stack on the desk—it does need to shine to get noticed.

But I worry that we sometimes emphasize too much the importance of getting an editor’s attention, without qualifying what we mean by that, which leads to writers making choices that definitely do get attention—but the wrong kind of attention.

What do I mean by that? Attention is attention, right? Unfortunately, no.

“The turd in the toilet bowl looked like a rotten squash.”

“‘Fuck you, bitch,’ Eugene screamed at his mother.”

“Eugene leaned back, opened his fly, and let forth a steaming stream of urine.”

“I could taste the leftover sweet and sour chicken as I leaned over in the alley and vomited into the gutter, flecks staining my pant legs.”

“Holly grabbed Mark’s dick and climbed on, boobs jiggling as she started to ride him.”

“Blood spurted and bits of bone grated as Kyle sawed through the man’s neck.”

Poop. Pee. Unpleasant bodily functions of all kinds. Unnecessary swearing. Graphic sex or violence. I see these things and more in opening lines, stanzas, and paragraphs all the time. Whatever you can think of that’s shocking or gross, I’ve seen it in real writers’ work, often right there at the beginning. And, almost every time, it does get my attention, but it is negative attention.

Why? It’s not like I’m a hardcore literary conservative. Nimrod publishes work that contains swearing, sex, bodily functions—sometimes beyond what would get an R rating in a movie. But when we publish work that contains these things, their use is earned and necessary to the story. In the pieces that have gotten negative attention, it isn’t.

Think of it this way: Your first page is like the opening of a conversation, but a conversation between strangers at a bus stop. I don’t know anything about you as I start to read your work—I just know that you’re here at this bus stop with me. If I’m standing at the bus stop and you open with, “My boyfriend’s penis looks just like an eggplant,” or, “This morning while I was taking a shit,” I’m probably going to back away slowly and not make eye contact. You might have an amazing story to tell, but I’m not going to stick around to hear it. Why? Because we don’t have any rapport yet.  A conversation involves a measure of connection and trust, and you’ve strained mine to the breaking point right at the start.

Am I saying that a good story or poem can never start with anything shocking? No, but I am saying that the bar is very, very high—and 95% of the time, the writers who jump for it don’t make it. Instead, all that happens is that I’m turned off from the get-go, and winning your way back into my good graces, making me want to read your work, is that much harder.

So what do I mean when I say “get my attention”?

What I want when I’m starting a piece of fiction or a poem is something that makes me want to keep going: a distinctive voice, a unique facility with language, a surprising turn, or an unexpected situation, just to name a few possibilities. What I don’t want is something that turns me away, that makes me want to stop reading. Again, think of that conversation at the bus stop. You don’t want to get my attention only to have me run away—you want to make me desperate to hear the rest of the story. For me to nod my head and say, “Keep going.”

So that’s how you get my attention. Make your opening line or paragraph or stanza unique and inviting. Can it be weird? Sure. Can it be unusual? Definitely. Can it be arresting? Yes, please. You don’t have to write the literary equivalent of a Thomas Kinkade painting when I say inviting. What you do need to do is make me want to listen to you, to follow you and your story. And there are better ways to do that than with poop.

Eilis O’Neal is Nimrod’s Editor-in-Chief. She is also a writer of fantasy and the author of the young adult fantasy novel The False Princess.