Inaugural Issue: The Rush

Hello friends and writers,

I am so honored to have a poem in the inaugural issue of The Rush, a literary magazine published by the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles. They typically seek high-energy pieces that reflect the rush of life. To my delighted surprise, they are actually able to pay writers. Many fledgling journals or magazines are unable to pay writers until they have published several issues and accrued a following. This first issue is special to me for another reason – my poem appears alongside the experimental prose of someone I had the privilege of work-shopping during my graduate poetry workshops, Judith Roney. You can find her piece, “How to Operate with a Blown Mind,” here. You can also find my poem, “SE 14th Avenue Evenings,” here, and the entire first issue is available on their homepage.

I haven’t written an update in a long while, but there have been many blessings for me and Josh recently. I am excited to sit down and gather all of my thoughts soon. Until then, happy writing.

With love,

Brianne

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SRR Volume 36, Issue 3 is live!

Hello friends and writers,

My poem, “Staring into the Sun,” went live in the volume 36, issue 3 of The Sandy River Review, the undergraduate literary journal run by students at the University of Maine at Farmington. My poem starts on page four, and check out all of the other lovely literary works and photographs that made it into this issue.

Download a PDF version

Source: Current Issue

First UCF MFA Reading of the Year

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This summer was an absolute whirlwind, and I imagine you must feel the same way. As I mourn the passing of August and contemplate the fact that there are no more semesters for me to look forward to anymore (unless I suck it up and go for the PhD), I was overjoyed to be invited to read at UCF’s first PARCELS reading of the academic year. This will be the third premier PARCELS reading that I’ve been a part of and I am so glad to share the few poems I wrote this summer with UCF’s current creative writing students, alumni, and faculty. The reading series will no longer be held at Stardust Video & Coffee but will, instead, take place at Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts in Winter Park from about 7:30 until 9 p.m. this coming Sunday (9/11/2016). There will be a total of four readers sharing new works in fiction, literary nonfiction, and/or poetry. I look forward to seeing some new and familiar faces!

If you or someone you know might be interested to learn more about UCF and its MFA or Graduate programs, please feel free to visit them online or leave a comment below and I will be happy to answer any questions you may have or refer you to the best possible resource. The MFA program in Creative Writing offers concentrations in fiction, poetry, and literary nonfiction, and features a curriculum fueled by aesthetic values and focused on students’ original creative work. UCF’s faculty members are deeply committed to cultivating a diverse community of high-quality literary writers and preparing them for careers in writing, editing, teaching, and/or other creative endeavors. They prepared me, and I’ve found good fortune publishing my poems in this very competitive literary market while utilizing tools learned in the classroom in my marketing strategy career. The sky is the limit, and no one can stifle your creativity. Dare to discover your capabilities.

You can also follow the fun events and advice or topic articles consistently posted to the MFA program’s blog.

Self-portrait featured in The Sun Magazine

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Shocked and elated to come home to my (September 2016) Issue 489 of The Sun magazine, who incredibly selected a photograph of mine for publication last autumn and now it’s really real! What a wondrous belated birthday gift.

I hope to one day publish a poem or two with The Sun, but photography is another great love of mine. I took this particular photograph, “Head South,” in October of 2010, nearly six years ago from today while standing in a backyard in Kissimmee. I was new to the Orlando area then, and I had no idea where life would take me. Thank you to Rachel Elliott and the talented editorial team in Chapel Hill, and thank you for pairing my photograph with Claire Halliday’s unique essay, “The Possible Universe.” I am so honored to be a part of this amazing publication.

PS: Stay tuned for hopefully more exciting news!

Prose poem live in Crab Fat Magazine

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My fiancé and I were finishing up a long weekend trip to the Carolinas and eating at a Fort Mill, SC BBQ joint when I received the word that one of my very first prose poems ever written, “I did a lot of things,” went live (yesterday) in Crab Fat Magazine‘s August 2016 issue. I want to thank Crab Fat for featuring me and the many talented writers and artists in this issue, including but not limited to E.F. Schraeder, Tricia Yost, and Colin Talmage. Take a break from your day and read a little!

PS: Stay tuned for some hopefully exciting news.

Still Here: Year of Publishing, Graduating, and Reconfiguration

Hello friends,

It’s been a while since I last posted an update. What surprises and successes this last year has afforded me. In March, I successfully defended my thesis before my committee at the University of Central Florida. In April, I read at least half of my poetry collection before my peers and literary fellows. This May, I walked across stage to symbolically earn my Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing, though I’m still waiting for the hard copy diploma…

In bittersweet news, the company that my fiancé and I worked for closed its doors on Friday, March 11, 2016. I was booze-drowning my unemployment sorrows at a friend’s birthday party when I received a Facebook message from an old colleague. Cut to the chase, I met with him that following Monday and became his new Marketing Strategist. Although I’m not writing creatively for money, I get to proof content and coordinate development for websites we launch to market services throughout the country. And after a few weeks running food and serving sushi, Josh got a job as a Paid Search Specialist for a small agency with big clients. Pretty exciting stuff.

Creatively speaking, I’m on a roll! My poem, “Blind Tomorrow,” was accepted for publication in print by Blue Monday Review, a quarterly Kansas City publication that draws inspiration from the works of Kurt Vonnegut. Then the title poem of my thesis collection, “The Gasoline Tree,” was accepted for publication online sometime this coming June by Yellow Chair Review in Waco, Texas. Then four of my poems were published online by The Galway Review in Ireland: “Departure from Loneliness,” “Vacancy,” “Bring Me Back,” and “Sandwich Generation.” You can read all of them here! Last but not least, Crab Fat Magazine accepted my confessional prose poem, “I did a lot of things,” and should be publishing it online sometime in July or August.

As often as I refresh my inbox hoping to receive good submission news, the bad news I’ve been receiving hasn’t been all that bad. For those of you that don’t already know, RejectionWiki is a fantastic source for discovering and differentiating the types of rejections you receive from journals. Sure, I get a lot of form rejections. But personal rejections are what really keep me motivated:

  • It’s not you, it’s us: Unfortunately, the piece is not for us. This does not necessarily reflect the quality of your work.
  • Holloback girl! Unfortunately, after much discussion, we ultimately decided we would have to pass this time around but I hope you will consider us in the future.
  • Tried & true: We wish you the best placing it elsewhere.

I treat the process of submitting my work like a full time job, because it is. I don’t limit myself to specific markets, such as: genre journals or magazines, themed contests, non-simultaneous submissions, print only, online only, prose only, rhyming only, etc. Why limit yourself right out of the gate?

My checklist for journals to submit to:

  1. Acceptance vs. rejection ratios: You have to have some kind of confidence to exclusively send your writing to markets with 1% or less acceptance ratios. Tough markets often take longer to get back to you too. I don’t necessarily want to wait 180 days for a NO, but that choice honestly depends on the poems. I know my best poems and I usually always want to save them for more reputable journals. Just remember that all journals have a reputation. Do your research and explore their published examples.
  2. Response time: As I mentioned above, journals have a variety of average response times. Some accept within two weeks or four months while others reject within two weeks and accept in four months. Set realistic expectations based on statistics, and I strongly recommend you get a Duotrope account so you can keep track of simultaneous submissions. If a poem of yours gets accepted somewhere, you need to alert the other journals that you sent that poem to right away.
  3. Print vs. online publication: Although your work is still as important when published online as it is in print, I typically reserve my best pieces for journals that do publish in print. There’s always a risk of a website becoming defunct. This happened to me when I published my first poem online in Dead Beats, a UK literary blog dedicated to the Beat Generation. When I went back a year later to read new work, the site was nowhere to be found.
  4. Pay vs. no-pay markets: We all want to get paid for our creative work. After all, I did spend five years in school earning my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. As we all know, education doesn’t necessarily equate to prosperity these days. You need to be smart. You can’t expect to be paid for each poem or short story you write, but you should always try.

Now that I’m done with school, I’m focusing on my career and expanding my horizons. Josh and I can start planning our wedding, but we’re still waiting to find out how long we’ll stay in Florida. Can’t take the heat anymore! Or the flat landscapes! But I will miss the sunsets.

Feel free to say hello, tell your own publication stories, or ask any questions in the comments section. I’ll respond as soon as I can.

 

With love,

Brianne (& Huxley)

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by Jerry Martin, 5/21/2016