POPcraft: Tarot for Poets

pop craft social media2

Pretty Owl Poetry, a Pittsburgh-based online literary arts journal, is introducing a new prompt series: POPcraft: Tarot for Poets.

Every other week a new writing prompt will be featured on the website and will focus on a Tarot spread readers can use for writing inspiration. A play on the mystery and ritual of witchcraft, POPcraft invites writers to submit their own Tarot spreads, and an accompanying prompt to be featured on the site.

“The idea behind POPcraft is essentially to do Tarot readings for a poem,” said Kimberly Grabowski Strayer, creator and curator of the new series. “Tarot spreads can take almost infinite forms and can reflect the person creating them so closely, I felt like this was a resource we could really be taking advantage of as a community as a form of generating poems.”

Prompt submissions should be original and unpublished. The journal is looking for the disruption and surprise of Tarot combined with the enigmatic logic of a poem’s creation. Elements of both should be present in submissions. How they come together is up to the submitter. It is known that a large intersection of Tarot and writing is ritual and the journal editors encourage submitters to be precise and concrete with the procedure of their prompt. Submitters are welcomed and encouraged to send photos of Tarot card spreads using their favorite decks.

An example of the first prompt, “The Three Souls,” created by POPcraft’s curator Kimberly Grabowski Strayer is available on the Pretty Owl Poetry website. To hear more about POPcraft from its creators and a Tarot card aficionado, listen to the seventh episode of the journal’s monthly podcast: POPcast, which is co-hosted by Kelly Lorraine Andrews and B. Rose Kelly. All episodes can be found at https://prettyowlpoetry.com/popcast/.

To stay up-to-date on POPcraft and other Pretty Owl news, follow the journal on all social media: @prettyowlpoetry.

Pretty Owl Poetry is a feminist quarterly journal that publishes the visual arts, traditional and nontraditional forms, fiction masquerading as poetry, and work that does not snuggly fit into a specific genre, all with a lyrical quality. We’re especially interested in work centered around the bodily experiences of womxn, nonbinary, and trans folx. We’re committed to publishing underrepresented and marginalized voices and encourage submission from such artists. Learn more about our submission guidelines on our website.

Sundress Publications Announces New Series: Craft Chaps

Sundress Publications Announces New Series
of Free Craft Chapbooks

Sundress Publications is pleased to present our new series called Craft Chaps.

Craft Chaps offers substantive essays by contemporary writers on creative writing practice. Each chap focuses on one aspect of craft and also contains a writing exercise and bibliography for further reading. They are freely downloadable at Sundress Publications and can be printed and stapled as 5×8 booklets.

As creative writing teachers, we’ve been frustrated by the lack of affordable texts available for our students. Introductory textbooks from major publishers often include anthologies of creative work which significantly increase cost, while book length works of aesthetic theory privilege one aesthetic perspective.

Craft Chaps aim to democratize creative writing education through making this material accessible for use both inside and outside the academy. We also recognize that “craft” is not a neutral term, and seek to contextualize it within a range of aesthetic and cultural contexts. Through offering chaps from different perspectives and literary communities, we encourage students to resist “universal”, often cis, white, male notions of “good” literature.

The first three writers featured in the new series will be Chen Chen, Ángel García, and Bayo Ojikutu. You can download them for free now! 





2017 Summer Fiction Writing Retreat Sign-Ups Open

The Sundress Academy for the Arts is thrilled to announce its Summer Fiction Writing Retreat, which runs from Friday, June 2nd to June 4th, 2017.  The three-day, two-night camping retreat will be held at SAFTA’s own Firefly Farms in Knoxville, Tennessee.  This year’s retreat will focus on generative fiction writing and include two break-out sessions “Transmogrification: Magic and the Body” and “The Most Weird and Practical Dream: Advice on How to Communicate With Strangers, or, Everything I’ve Learned in the Last 20 Years Cut Down to 2 Hours,” plus discussions on kicking writer’s block, publishing, and more.

A weekend pass includes one-on-one and group instruction, writing supplies, food, drinks, transportation to and from the airport, and all on-site amenities for $250.  Tents, sleeping bags, and other camping equipment are available to rent for $25.  Payment plans are available if you reserve by March 31, 2017; inquire via email for details.

The event will be open to writers of all backgrounds and provide an opportunity to work with many talented, published fiction writers from around the country, including Chen Chen and Emilia Phillips.

M.O. Walsh


M.O. Walsh is from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  He is the author of the short story collection The Prospect of Magic and the novel My Sunshine Away, which was a New York Times Bestseller, an Amazon Featured Debut, and won the Pat Conroy Book Award for Southern Fiction.  His stories and essays have appeared in the New York Times, The Guardian, Oxford American, The Southern Review, and others. He currently lives in New Orleans, LA, where he is the director of the Creative Writing Workshop at the University of New Orleans.


tessa-mellas-for-gristTessa Mellas received the 2013 Iowa Short Fiction Award for her collection, Lungs Full of Noise. She holds an MFA from Bowling Green State University and a PhD from the University of Cincinnati. She teaches writing at the University of Maine at Machias, a college so far east it is the first in the nation each morning to see the sun. Figure skater, vermicomposter, vegan, and tender of a fierce feline twosome, she relates to soil and snow.

We have one full scholarship available for the retreat as well as limited 20% scholarships for those with financial need. To apply for a scholarship, send a packet of no more than (8) pages of poetry along with a brief statement on why you would like to attend this workshop to Erin Elizabeth Smith at erin@sundresspublications.com no later than March 31, 2017. Winners will be announced in April.


Space at this workshop is limited to 15 writers, so reserve your place today!