Thursday, June 19, 2008

upstreet poet wins prize
in Times Square competition

upstreet poet Gretchen Fletcher has been named a winner in the first-ever national contest for poetry inspired by Times Square, “Bright Lights/ Big Verse: Poems of Times Square,” and will read her winning poem, “Two Giant Men in New York,” in Times Square on June 23. This competition, sponsored by the Poetry Society of America and the Times Square Alliance, selected five winners from a pool of close to 700 entrants. Besides the trip to New York to read their poems, each winner will receive a prize of $1,000. A poem by Gretchen, “Recitation in Clover,” appeared in upstreet number three.

Gretchen Fletcher lives in Fort Lauderdale and leads writing workshops for Florida Center for the Book. Her poetry has appeared in journals, including The Chattahoochee Review, Pacific Coast Journal, Northeast Corridor, and Inkwell, and in anthologies, including Sincerely, Elvis; The Cancer Poetry Project, and Poetic Voices Without Borders. She received the grand prize in San Francisco’s Artists Embassy International Dancing Poetry Festival, and first honorable mention in Canada’s lichen literary journal Serial Poet competition. She was a finalist for the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award, and a juried poet at the Houston Poetry Fest. Her poetry chapbook, That Severed Cord, will be published by Finishing Line Press on June 27. You may visit Gretchen on the web at Open Art Space.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Karen Chase wins Bronze IPPY
for Land of Stone

Land of Stone: Breaking Silence through Poetry (Wayne State, 2007), a nonfiction book by upstreet author Karen Chase, was named a Bronze Medal winner in the category of psychology/mental health by the judges of the 2008 Independent Publishers Book Awards (“IPPY”). The award-winning book is an account of Karen’s ten years as poet-in-residence at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, where she taught poetry writing to severely disturbed psychiatric patients. The book focuses on her work with Ben, a handsome, formerly popular and athletic young man who had given up speaking and had withdrawn from social interaction. One day a week for two years, she and Ben passed a pad of paper back and forth, taking turns writing one line of poetry each, a process that ultimately produced 180 poems.

The purpose of the IPPY Awards is to recognize the best independently published books of the past year in 64 national categories. This year’s contest drew 3,175 entries. Karen has traveled all over the country giving readings and talks about Land of Stone, which is in its second printing and has also been named a Best Book of 2007 by Chronogram.

“Karen Chase’s Land of Stone is a poignantly eloquent narrative of the therapeutic relationship between an admirably humane, gifted poet and a schizophrenic young man.”—Harold Bloom

Karen Chase’s poems have appeared in all four issues of upstreet; two poems from her newly released second poetry collection, BEAR (CavanKerry, 2008), will be included in the upcoming upstreet number four. She founded and ran the Camel River Writing Center in Lenox, MA, from 1991 to 2004. She has taught at The Frost Place and has been a Rockefeller Bellagio Fellow. Her work has appeared in the Norton anthologies, Billy Collins’s Poetry 180, The New Yorker, The Gettysburg Review, and The Yale Review. Her first book of poems, Kazimierz Square (CavanKerry, 2000), was shortlisted by ForeWord Magazine as Best Indie Poetry Book of 2000. Karen lives in Lenox with her husband, painter Paul Graubard.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Evison novel available for pre-sale

All About Lulu (Soft Skull, July 2008), a novel by upstreet author Jonathan Evison, is now available for pre-sale on,,, and The publisher describes it as “A freakishly charming tale of star-crossed, would-be step-sibling love in a family of failed bodybuilders in suburban Los Angeles.” The film rights for the book have been optioned by Crossroads Films, which is developing the project. Here are a couple of samples of the advance praise the novel has been receiving:

All About Lulu is an exhilarating, wholly original and brave novel about obsession, love and becoming. With Will Miller, Evison has created a thoroughly modern protagonist steeped in Dickensian complexity, pure yet conflicted, lost yet driven to find truth in the dysfunctional American abyss.”—James P. Othmer, author of The Futurist

“All About Lulu is a novel of tremendous energy and heartbreaking, hilarious insight, a novel with a heart of gold. In a manner that is both breathless and effortless, Evison reminds us of life’s beautiful oddity. A remarkable debut.”—Brad Listi, author of Attention Deficit Disorder

Evison, who lives on an island in Puget Sound, is the author of “Static,” a short story that appeared in upstreet number three. His stories have also been published in Portland Review, Orchid, Knock, Red Wheelbarrow, Quick Fiction, Stringtown, and other journals. An excerpt from All About Lulu, titled “Big Bill Down Under” (estimated reading time 15:02), appeared in Opium Five.