Thursday, July 11, 2013


There are certain unwritten rules about the relationship between the publisher and author. The advent of digital publishing has created new problems. Copyright and print on demand have given both writer and publisher new freedoms and new headaches. Online submissions are proving Sturgeon's Law, "ninty percent of everything is crud." My new law is, "most writers suck."

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Snake Handler’s Literature & Literacy Conference

Celebrating Snake Nation Press’s 20th year in existence, the Press will hold a one-day Snake Handler’s Literature and Literacy Conference in October at the Turner Center for the Arts in Valdosta, Georgia. All events will be free and open to the public. The featured speaker will be Starkey Flythe, Jr., of South Carolina.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Serena McDonald Kennedy Award for Fiction

Snake Nation Press is proud to announce the winner of the Serena McDonald Kennedy Award for fiction, non-fiction, and novellas. The prize is named after Barbara Passmore’s maternal grandmother, who valued reading and education. $1,000 and publication are given annually.

Final winner: Wendy Marcus of Seattle, WA, for Polyglot, chosen by renowned southern author Janice Daugharty.


Cecilia Pinto of Chicago, IL, for Imagine the Dog

Perry Glasser of Haverhill, MA, for Ballsy

Jean Braithwaite of Edingburg, TX for Fat

Starkey Flythe of N. Augusta, SC, for Driving With Hand Controls

Norton Girault of Norfolk, VA, for Dragon in the Box

Terry Marshall of Las Vegas, NV, for American Model

Hal Ackerman of Los Angeles, CA, for Long Women, Short Stories

Michael Schiavone of Gloucester, MA, for Skin

Eleanor Swanson of Lakewood CO, for Fireflies

Wayne Harrison of Eugene, OR for Wrench

Friday, April 3, 2009

Deadline Extended

The Violet Reed Haas Prize for Poetry
Postmark Deadline: May 30
Snake Nation Press sponsors the Violet Reed Haas Prize for Poetry:

* $1,000 prize and publication
* $25 entry fee must accompany the manuscript
* 50-75 page manuscript; previously published poems eligible

Please mail your entry and fee to:

Snake Nation Press
Attn: Poetry Contest
2920 North Oak Street
Valdosta, GA 31602

Snake Nation Press provides an informative, non-threatening venue for writers to submit their work in the midst of an often chaotically diverse publishing world. Over the sixteen-year history of the Press, the staff and volunteers have found great satisfaction in forging personalized editorial relationships with both emerging and established writers. The Snake is committed to keeping an honest and open dialogue with authors and to furthering the literary arts on a local and global scale. Many hours of volunteer labor and the electronic resources of the Web have allowed a small press to help present many new literary voices to the world-wide community.

The editors of Snake Nation Press look for manuscripts that concretely render the writer's actual and imaginative experiences. We publish writing that both newly interprets life in its everyday reality and that opens the reader's eyes to internal landscapes that have not yet been envisioned. We believe that good writing fortifies a belief in the value of human life and effort, but above all the work must connect intuition and experience to cast a spell of surprised recognition that shocks the reader with what was thought to be familiar.

Please enjoy "No More Taps" by Starkey Flythe, Jr. This poem is from The Futile Lesson of Glue, winner of the 2009 Violet Reed Haas Award. See the judge's comments. (Mr. Flythe was also a finalist in the 2007 Winning Writers War Poetry Contest.)

No More Taps
by Starkey Flythe, Jr.

no flag folding, no boots
turned backwards in stirrups,
no full, partial, fractional
military honors, no twenty-one,
two, three, four or more gun salutes,
no medals, epaulettes, stripes, bars, stars, oak leafs, eagles,
no brass, leather, feathers, ribbons, buzz cuts,
no songs, sabers, no old men in hats, no more
remembering, no more lest we forgets,
no marches, goosesteps, bagpipes,
no black dresses, no children too young,
men too old, no shoulder broadening, hip narrowing
uniforms, no soldiers known but to God,
no Gods known but to soldiers,
no bullet stopping Bibles,
no wreathes, speeches, purple hearts,
bronze, silver, gold stars,
no When you walk through a storm,
no Climb every mountain, no muffled drums,
no chaplain, no officer knowing
the front walk, no telegram,
no president's letter from
multigraph name-signing machines,
no huit hommes et quarante chevaux—
I'm a veteran, I can say—no monuments,
obelisks, statues, paintings, cycloramas, no
looking for names on walls, no finding. No more,
He wanted to go, no re-up bonuses,
no more army traveling on its stomach,
its hind legs, hands, high-heel jack boots,
no more cap pistols, fire crackers, bombs,
pump, pellet, BeeBee guns, no more,
You have not died in vain.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Winner of the Violet Reed Haas Poetry Contest

Snake Nation Poetry Contest, Judge John Guzlowski

Reading manuscripts submitted for a contest is always a chancy proposition. You never know what you’re going to get, and you are usually thankful if you have a handful of manuscripts that rise above the average. The manuscripts submitted to this contest were anything but average. Most of them were very, very good, and six were excellent. This makes reading a pleasure, but it doesn’t make choosing a winner and a second place and a third place manuscript easy.
“Something Made of Earth,” the third-place winner, creates a portrait of the poet that is full and complex. As the poems slowly unfold, the reader discovers a voice that can talk about anything in a compelling way: shopping, religious conversion, war, aromatherapy, dying, and lovers who have left and will never return. These are poems of remembering, and the poet has the gift of remembering – as in the poem “Wintering” – both the past moments that are just “white stitches in the night” and those that are “a blizzard,/irresponsible, out of control.” Shaping her memories and sharing them with us, the poet gives us a gift that stops us, makes us pause and wonder.
“The Orpheus Complex,” the second-place winner, is an ambitious sonnet sequence that combines the myth of Orpheus with the poet’s reflections on various other issues including the state of spirituality in America today, the problem of “translating” an ancient myth into a contemporary context, and the nature of poetry and its relationship to what poets are writing. Poetry at the start of the twenty-first century has become familiar, comfortable, safe. We read the first line of a poem, and often we know where the poem will take us, the familiar domestic tragedy or joy, the grandmother left dying in a nursing home, the lover left stranded in his Buick in the snow. The author of “The Orpheus Complex” seems to declare, “I’ve enough of that.” He asks us instead to imagine Orpheus, the ancient poet, sprung loose in America and writing intricate, rhymed sonnets that look at the world as it is and as it has been imagined by the poets who have come after him. The wonder of this book is that these poems don’t seem academic, simply a Modernist or Postmodernist exercise in literary self-consciousness. Rather, what stands out in “The Orpheus Complex” are the author’s erudition and considerable craft combined with his own life concerns. The mix results in poems that are always surprising, knowing, and effecting.

“The Futile Lesson of Glue,” the first-place winner, is a collection of deeply imagined poems that asks us to reconsider what we have thought and what we have felt. Take, for instance, the poem “This Small Object.” It asks us to think about some simple keepsake in a cabinet. We’ve all done this before, and we’ve seen poems about this before, maybe even written them ourselves. What the author of this poem does, however, is to approach this subject in a new way. It’s as if he looks at the small object, an old porcelain plate or a Grecian Urn, and asks, “What should I do with my desire to smash it. And where does this desire come from? And why is it valuable, important?” This is the kind of magical thinking the author of “The Futile Lesson of Glue” does over and over again. We see it everywhere in this book: in a poem about postage stamps dedicated to great Southern writers, we see it in the poem about a young man’s happy suicide, and we see it in the patriotic poem calling for “No More Taps.” The author of these poems does what all the great poets do. He awakens us and asks us to re-think and re-feel what we have thought and felt to be true in language that is both fresh and familiar, crafted and free.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Violet Reed Haas Finalists

Dear Poets,

All the reading has been done, whee, on the VRH submissions. The finalists are:

David Evans of Charbondale , IL, for A Chorus of the Wild

Dion Farquhar of Santa Cruz, CA, for Wonderful Terrible

Leonard Dress of Perrysburg, OH, for The Orpheus Complex

Veronica Patterson of Loveland, CO, for Around the Block of the World

Juditha Dowd of Stockton, NJ for Temporary Offices

Arthur Gottlieb of Tigard, OR for Believe You Me

Christopher Bursk of Langhorne Manor, PA, for Happiness Anonymous

Renny Christopher of Camarillo, CA, for Why I Want to Colonize Mars

Kevin Cantwell of Macon, GA, for One of Those Russian Novels

Gary Hawkins of Norman, OK, for Paradise for the Rest of Us

Robert Parham of Augusta, GA, for The Ghosts of Montparnasse

Suzanne Wadley Rhodenbaugh of St. Louis, MO, for The Whole Shebang and Silver for the Long Haul

Lucas Carpenter of Oxford, GA, for The Mutilated Man

Christina Lovin of Lancaster, KY for Settlement

Scott Owens of Hickory, NC, for ?

David Salner of Frederick, MD, The Feta, the Olives, the Wine

Lianne Spidel of Greenville OH, for Something Made of Earth

Starkey Flythe of North Augusta, SC, for The Futile Lesson of Glue

Rupert Fike of Clarkston, GA, for This One Shot We All Get

Judith Hemschemeyer of Winter Park, FL, for Hope

Gregory Byrd of Clearwater, FL, for Florida Straits

Peter Kahn of Chicago, IL, for Swing (and Miss)

We will announce the name of the judge, who has the poems now, when we announce the name of the winner and the runners up. It has been an honor to read and decide on the finalists. I commend you on all of your efforts---you got it into the mail.

All the best, Roberta

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Welcome to our new blog. The history of Snake Nation Press is on the site now.