BASS RIVER PRESS – CALL FOR ENTRIES
Posted: Aug 12, 2020
Bass River Press seeks cover art for its fifth annual poetry publication. The winning artwork will be featured on the cover of FROM THE FARTHER SHORE: DISCOVERING CAPE COD AND THE ISLANDS THROUGH POETRY, an anthology set to release in the spring of 2021.
Please read the complete guidelines before submitting your work.
Bass River Press in an imprint of the Cultural Center of Cape Cod.
ENTRIES MUST BE SUBMITTED THROUGH CAFÉ AT WWW.CALLFORENTRY.ORG
If you are a true luddite and simply cannot manage this procedure, please contact Lauren Wolk at email@example.com
Bass River Press will accept only original artwork. Art submissions may be either vertical or horizontal in orientation. All media are accepted, including painting, drawing, photography, and photographs of three-dimensional works. Multiple submissions are accepted but must be accompanied by a separate entry fee for each submission.
The winning artist will retain their original work, but the Cultural Center will possess copyright of the artwork for limited use pertaining to the needs and requirements of Bass River Press. This includes, but is not limited to, the use of the selected artwork for publicity purposes, cover design, future editions of the publication, and more. The artist will retain ownership.
There will be a non-refundable submission fee of $15 for the first piece of art submitted, $5 for additional pieces. The maximum number of submissions allowed is 20.
As an independent, nonprofit literary press, Bass River Press will use submission fees to cover some – but by no means all – of the cost of reviewing, publishing, and distributing materials.
The submission deadline for cover art is October 1, 2020. No late entries will be accepted.
The winning artwork will be featured on the cover of FROM THE FARTHER SHORE: DISCOVERING CAPE COD AND THE ISLANDS THROUGH POETRY, a poetry anthology to be published and distributed by Bass River Press. In addition, the artist will also receive a cash prize of $200, along with two complimentary copies of the publication upon release in 2021.
Please contact Supervising Editor Lauren Wolk at firstname.lastname@example.org or 508-394-7100 with any questions, or consult our website at www.cultural-center.org.
Please review the following sampling of poems for inspiration and tailor your submission accordingly. We seek art that is “suggestive” of the history, people, place and “spirit” of the Cape & Islands, not necessarily representational.
All work is copyrighted by the poets and may not be reprinted in any form.
The Properties of Light
Isn’t the whole world heaven’s coast?
—from Heaven’s Coast, Mark Doty
I come for the light, the artist says.
Dawn and again at sunset,
he goes to the Provincetown beach,
sets up his easel. At just the right angle,
he can catch that light on the canvas.
He uses words like shimmer, glow, radiance.
He talks about what our forefathers must have seen
when they woke that first dawn just off the coast.
He darkens the room, lights up the wall
with his slides. We see
not the play of light against dark,
but the play of light against light.
We see it in the rocks, the beached whale,
the bones of dead fish.
In the last days of my father’s life,
he kept calling me—Elaine, Elaine—
even though I was in the next room
or the same room and he didn’t need
or want anything. He kept doing it.
If I answered, he’d know
he was still alive. If I didn’t,
he was dead.
The last time he called, he held out
his hand, all blue veins and bones now.
His head fell back, and the skin
on his face smoothed out.
What I remember is the light,
how it slipped into the room and took him.
In that moment, the light was different,
and I saw my father as I had never seen
him before—young, full of wonder,
and in no pain at all.
For Those Who Stay
It is winter in Cotuit, my village cradled by the sea.
North wind scours gray shingles, scrubs away all
traces of summer ease, bleaches the air white
as frozen sheets.
In humble cottages, sand shirrs across bare floors.
Ghosts hungry for jelly sandwiches, settle into wing chairs
by the cold fireplace, listen for laughter caught in wall
cracks, bureau drawers, linen closets stuffed with towels.
Summer houses shiver and sigh, faceless windows stormed
with snow. We walk by, whisper condolences to plates in musty
cupboards, dried-up spigots, a timed lamp in a corner, unslept
beds, yellowed fliers stuck in doors.
We pass a single crow on the beach, walk up Main Street, past
library, post office, busy tavern to home, its furnace breathing,
its leftovers in the fridge, frying pan in the sink, thirsty geraniums,
vacuum cleaner left in the hall.
After a storm, when there is no light, no heat, when doors
seal with drifts, silence works its way into the heart, speaks
of an exquisite loneliness human as blood and bone, winter’s
poem for those who stay.
Some trees loft their heads
like symmetrical green bells,
but these, blown one-sided
by winds salted out of the northeast,
seem twisted from the germ.
Not one will lean the same way as another.
Knotted but soft, they mingle
ragged branches and rot to punkwood,
limbs flaking and dying
to ribs, to antlers and spidery twigs,
scaly plates slipping off the trunks.
Hanging on, oaks rattle maroon clusters
against winter. But these, resinous in flues,
blamed for a history of cellar holes,
snap in the cold and fall
to shapes like dragons asleep,
or thin out by dropping sour needles
on acid soil. For one week in May
they pollinate windows, a shower
that curdles water to golden scum.
From Bartholomew Gosnold’s deck,
Brereton saw this cape timbered to its shores
with the hardwoods that fell to keels
and ribbing, to single meetinghouse beams
as long as eight men.
Stands of swamp cedar, cleared for cranberries,
were split to shakes or cut lengthwise
for foundations, while sheep cropped
elm and cherry sprouts
and plows broke the cleancut fields
Fifty cords at a time, birch and maple
melted bog iron in pits; elm and beech
boiled the Atlantic to its salts; red oak
fired the glassworks at Sandwich—
till the desert floundered
out of the backlands and knocked
on the rear doors of towns
and this peninsula drifted
in brushfire haze,
and, clenching their cones
under crown fires, the grandfathers
of these pines held on until
heat popped their seeds
to the charred ground.
Someone must have set it so—
this lone Adirondack chair
on a whiskered bluff
where sea blots sky
beyond the veer.
How many visits to get the angle right?
There had to be a giving over
as sand echoed off
its splintered legs until
the chair sunk no more
and anyone could lean,
then lean back,
watch shells buff to porcelain.
Or was it tossed like so much wrack and spawn,
bladders of kelp,
the sea a rigging
of scallop-shuck and straw?
And what of the lone beachcomber
at the bottleneck waist
of the sandbar during low tide?
She walks through
brief tidal pools.
Eddies rush her like run-off,
mollusks scribble beneath sand.
Her tracks fill in
(for Stanley Kunitz 1905-2006)
Keeping the ocean on my left,
I wended through Provincetown
the summer after he died,
past the landscape galleries,
roller skating drag queens,
the ice cream and T-shirt shops,
and hand-carried dogs
with apologetic eyes—
to a quieter part of town.
I didn’t know if I could find
his house, but there
was the rusty gate.
Here were the good bones of the stone
terraces he’d built, hauling loads
of seaweed from the beach
half a century ago.
I’d imagined it as somber,
overgrown, since he’d died.
But the leaves and petals
shimmied in the sunlight,
his beloved wind anemones
swaying gently. All, all
was nearly vibrating with joy.
He’d caressed these plants,
just as, the one time
I met him and read him a poem,
he took my face gently
in his hands, a poet
a hundred years old
touching me as if
I were a flower.
East End Postcard
I love the mosaic these shacks make
as they gerrymander the air for their views
of the harbor. Some tiptoe on stilts
right down to the water, precarious
as drag queens in Fifties stilettos.
An unleashed Labrador studies the jetties.
Laundry lines shiver with year-rounders’ skivvies.
At night Route 6 wears a fabulous topaz
necklace on the décolleté bay, the marina,
a tiara of lights near where I stay.
What life might I live were I brave enough
to love the right woman? Hourly all of us fall
in the circle of P-town’s sole church bell—
the gulls, quaint cottages of lovers, and me.
Time has no tourists, unlike the sea,
or love, although unwillingly.