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Protecting a Free and Open Society: PEN America speaks out about the Facebook debacle

PEN America nonprofit logo courtesy of Mltellman  under CC BY-SA 4.0

“It’s difficult to imagine the power that you’re going to have when so many different sorts of data are available.”– Tim Berners-Lee, father of the World Wide Web

In response to last week’s revelations on the use of Facebook consumer data to target voters in the United States and abroad, PEN America Chief Executive Officer Suzanne Nossel issued the following statement:

PEN, Exc. Dir. Suzanne Nossel

“This week’s revelations about the uncontrolled flow of consumer data from Facebook to unscrupulous influence peddlers determined to manipulate voters in the United States and abroad have jolted the public into really recognizing that platforms we delight in for communication and connection can pose grave risks to our privacy, our discourse, and our democracy. That company and other leading platforms need to be far more aggressive in protecting data, vetting their business partners and customers, and offering the public the transparency and accountability necessary to restore trust. While Americans have the choice to forswear Facebook in favor of other channels, elsewhere in the world it is virtually the only route to online access. Having secured its own ubiquity and preeminence, Facebook now owes it to the public to prove that it is worthy of the position it has staked.”

Find out more about PEN America’s position on personal data and privacy, the protection of open discourse, and the transparency and accountability online platforms owe their users HERE.


PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. PEN champions the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Its mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.


SUNDAY ANNOUNCEMENTS: Calls for Submissions, Contests, Events and Other News and Information

Excuse the modesty and lateness of this week’s announcements. I’m still in the process of unpacking and settling in after my recent relocation. Good luck with your submissions. / J.D.


Opportunity Knocks

ABYSS & APEX MAGAZINE publishes fiction, flash fiction, poetry and small press reviews.  Next fiction deadline is February 2019. The reading period for poetry opens this May. Details HERE.

NINTH LETTER accepts submissions of fiction, poetry and essays from September 1 – November 30 for its print edition. Details HERENinth Letter is interested in submissions of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for a special online edition to be published at in Winter 2018.  Submissions (poetry and short fiction or nonfiction) will be open from September 1 to November 5. Details HERE.

SPLICKETY PUBLISHING GROUP “fills gaps in the modern reader’s day with concise, poignant fiction under 1,000 words. We want stories that hit fast and strike hard––stories that, no matter the genre, can cut through the day’s troubles and grip readers with short attention spans.” Paying market. $0.02 per word. Submissions Guidelines HERE.

THE BeZINE’s next issue is scheduled for June 15, 2018 and the deadline for submissions is May 10, 2018. More details to come in a post next week.  Meanwhile, please read to prepare for submissions.

TIFERET (tiff-éh-ret), Fostering Peace Through Literature & Art is “a non-sectarian, non-dogmatic publication and community at the nexus of literature and spirituality.” The editors consider fiction, nonfiction, poetry, art and photography. This journal is published twice yearly. Submission guidelines HERE.

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Opportunity Knocks

NINTH LETTER LITERARY AWARDS is open through April 30 for submissions of fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction. Cash award: $1,000. Publication in Fall/Winter 2018-19 issue. Entry free $17. Details HERE.

SEQUESTRUM’S LITERARY JOURNAL 2018 Editor’s Reprint Award is $500 to writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Prose and poetry are judged separately, with a first-prize winner and a minimum of two runners-up per genre.  Deadline: April 30, 2018. Details HERE.


  • DISABILITY POETRY WORKSHOP. Poetry of Disability, Thursday, March 29, 5-7 p.m CDT Room 200A of the Library of Health Sciences – Chicago UIC, 1750 W.Polk Street, Chicago, Illinois 60612. “All experience levels are welcome to a discussion and creative writing workshop led by Poetry Foundation Library Coordinator Maggie Queeney. In March, we will read and discuss poetry of disability. A creative writing workshop, where participants will be guided through composing an original poem, concludes the session.”
  • POETRY OFF THE SHELF hosted by the Poetry Foundation & Poetry Magazine and featuring Jorie Graham on Thursday, March 29 from 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. CDT at 61 W Superior St. Chicago Illinois.
  • JASON BAYANI IN LOCUS OF CONTROL hosted by the Poetry Center San José at Cafe Stritch, 374 S. 1st St. San Jose, California. Tickets HERE. Early purchase: $10. At the door: $15. Directed by award-winning performing artist, Kat Evasco, the show explores the lives of Filipino immigrants in America, taking you through Bayani’s hip-hop inspired youth, club-going college days, and turbulent adulthood. Locus of Control navigates his experience dealing with race, mental health, addiction, and his status as the first American-born child in his family. Utilizing poetry, storytelling, music, and multimedia, Bayani pieces together the different threads of his life while struggling to make sense of Walter Benjamin’s notion of redeeming the past in present time.

Jason Bayani is the author of Amulet (2013 Write Bloody Publishing). He’s an MFA graduate from Saint Mary’s College, a Kundiman fellow, and works as the Artistic Director for Kearny Street Workshop. Jason performs regularly around the country and recently debuted his solo theater show, “Locus of Control” in 2016. His second book, Locus, is forthcoming from Omnidawn Publishing in 2019.

  • MIKE McGEE, SANT CLARA COUNTY POET LAUREATE INAUGURATION, April 7, Noon – 2 p.m. Milpitas Library Auditorium, 160 N. Main Street, Milpitas, California 95035. A celebration of the beginning of Mike’s two year term as Poet Laureate, 2018 to 2020. Enjoy a lively performance by the Poet Laureate, Mighty Mike McGee, international poetry slam champion and local artist and icon. Free. (408) 262-1171

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APRIL 10, 2018, 7:30 PM – 10 PM UTC+03. The arc 25 public reading in Tel Aviv. Hosted by Mark L. Levinson and Lois Michal Unger at 17 Rashi Street, Tel Aviv




Food, Music, Books, Books, Books

YOUR SUNDAY ANNOUNCEMENTS may be emailed to Please do so at least a week in advance.

If you would like me to consider reviewing your book, chapbook, magazine or film, here are some general guidelines:

  • send PDF to (Note: I have a backlog of six or seven months, so at this writing I suggest you wait until June 2018 to forward anything. Thank you!)
  • nothing that foments hate or misunderstanding
  • nothing violent or encouraging of violence
  • English only, though Spanish is okay if accompanied by translation
  • your book or other product  should be easy for readers to find through your site or other venues.



PLEASE do not mix the communications between the two.

Often information is just thatinformation – and not necessarily recommendation. I haven’t worked with all the publications or other organizations featured in my regular Sunday Announcements or other announcements shared on this site. Awards and contests are often (generally) a means to generate income, publicity and marketing mailing lists for the host organizations, some of which are more reputable than others. I rarely attend events anymore. Caveat Emptor: Please be sure to verify information for yourself before submitting work, buying products, paying fees or attending events et al.


a yellow bee whispers poems in my good ear

Setting-up a garage sale one Saturday provided me with enough exercise to last a week. I needed Sunday and Monday to recuperate. Because I was too intimidated to advertise, business was slow. The best part of the day – like the best part of life – was spent visiting with my sturdy helpers, a friend and the CitySon Philosopher. We sat in the sun, traded stories and observations, and enjoyed a faint breeze.

Turns out that my friend likes Sunset’s cookbooks too. The recipes are always kitchen tested, and the books are compact, don’t take up much real estate. We talked about monks of any religion and their habit of eating once a day. My world is at once stable and ephemeral. A little yellow bee whispers poems in my good ear …

The wall-eyed gentleman sees double

A great mountain becomes a demarcation

or perhaps it’s a divination in stone

By moonlight I watch my shadow dance

 where matter ends and pure energy begins

© 2018, stray thoughts, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; Photo credit; Anna Langova, Public Domain


Wild Women in Art, Poetry and Community featuring Gretchen Del Rio’s Art and Victoria Bennett’s “The Howl or How Wild Women Press Came to Be”

Spirit of the Wolf

‘The spirit of the wolf resides in my heart
Mostly peacefully, but ever wild
Running in time to the blowing wind,
Dancing in the clouds that drift in the heavens
The spirit of the wolf resides in my soul.”
– Gretchen Del Rio

The Howl or How Wild Women Press Came to Be

by Victoria Bennett

Snow Owl by Gretchen Del Rio

At twenty-six, I met an owl. It turned out to be one of the axis moments on which my life pivoted. It was a cold January day where frost lingered in the shade but the sun was shining, the kind of day where things seems possible because you have survived the darkness of winter. The trees stood bare of leaves, branch-fingers stretched out expectantly, waiting for Spring. I was waiting too, holding a sense of change quietly behind my eyes. I watched the crows fly, black wings against blue sky, looking for carrion, listened only to the sound of water and wind and some crow caw above. This was what I was trying to remember – the feel of my touch, the scent of the sky, the hopeful warmth of sun just after the midwinter. My life had become so much darkness, so much noise and pollution and not seeing. This was the counterbalance and so far, it was working. Slow, slow days, allowing the words to surface and sound and where words could not come, allowing the brush to paint or the body to move. All was changing. I was changing. The woman I was underneath was beginning to take shape, and to my surprise, I liked her.

But first, the owl. I was stood beside the ash, eyes closed, when I heard a scratch from above. I opened my eyes and saw the owl, white feathers thick for winter, watching me. Awake. Not daring to move, I simply looked and allowed it to look at me, until after a few moments, it flew away. The owl came, and I was listening because I was ready to hear, and I was ready, it seemed, to shift shape again.

One week after the owl and I met, I had a dream. In this dream, I was with a woman walking along the river. She told me I was to call the Wild Women together. This did not seem strange or unusually prophetic. I had found a deep resonance with the stories I had found in the Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ book Women Who Run with the Wolves and so the archetype of the Wild Woman was something I was familiar with, but the sense of purpose was surprising, and so, the next morning I got up and started to write the posters for what was to be the very first of the Wild Women workshops.

“The reason that people awaken is because they finally stop agreeing to things that insult their soul.” Gretchen Del Rio

Six weeks later, I stood in my living room, the fire in the stove burning and the tea hot in the pot. Before me sat twelve women, very different in ages and styles, but all sharing something special: they had all responded to the call. And so it came to be, the Wild Women group was born and I was to be their mother-wolf for this journey. As I stood there, faced with women whose individual and collective ages outstripped my own, I felt petrified. Who was I to stand here and say “this is the way of being woman”? Yet, that is exactly what I was to do. I did not know where it would take us, take me. I was just willing to begin, brave enough to speak out and hopeful enough to believe.


… and in that one word, I started something that would sustain me through my twenties, thirties and into my forties. I had met my clan. Together, we found the courage to stand up and say, “This is who I am…”.

That was nearly twenty years ago. Since then, working with the Wild Women, I have gone on to set up Wild Women Press, published several books of poetry from the group, worked with over 2000 women (and some brave men) on a number of amazing projects, hosted the (in)famous Wild Women Salons, made creative connections around the globe, and performed live at events around the UK and USA. It is a space of celebration and activism. There is no business plan or professional career path. It can lie dormant, hibernating as we nuzzle down and grow our ideas in the dark, or it can awake with passion and create for change on a global scale. We have used our creativity to create positive change, to be part of the world we want to live in andleave for those who follow. Sometimes we act on a very local level, sometimes on a global one.

Recently, I have been collaborating with the creators of the #MeToo poetry anthology. This is a very important movement for me personally, and for us as a group. As soon as I heard Deborah Alma was wanting to put together an anthology of poems from this movement, I offered my support, and the platform of Wild Women Press. It was obvious from the very beginning that there would be many more poems than there were pages in the book, and so #UsTogether was created, to give a platform for some of these other voices. Alongside the launch of the book, Wild Women Press are hosting a selection of these poems, in honour and celebration of the courage and sisterhood of all those who have spoken out as part of the #MeToo movement.

One of the core aspects of the group is the respect and celebration of each individual woman. Although in the beginning it was me who stood at the front of the room, every woman in the group was to go on to inspire and lead, using their own experiences, passions, talents, and knowledge to guide them in how they would to do that. In a similar vein, we will be launching an online Wild Women Press blog later in 2018, sharing our ideas and perspectives. Over the next year, we will be gathering Wild Women from around the globe to contribute, extending our circle of clan further. We would love to hear from other women, who would like to be part of a clan of contributors. If you are passionate about something, and would like to be part of a global group of Wild Women writing, creating, and being part of a positive change, please do get in touch.

In 2019, it will be our 20th Anniversary, and 20 years since we published our first book, Howl at the Moon: Writings By Wild Women. To celebrate this, we will be publishing a new book of poems by Wild Women – and this time, we are extending the howl out to others. We will be putting out the call for submissions soon, on our website, Twitter, and Facebook page.

For now, we continue to meet as a group every couple of months, and once a year, we spend four days at our Wild Women Gathering, celebrating, creating, and sharing our stories (and eating way too much food). We have witnessed births, marriages, divorces, unemployment, career changes, graduations, new beginnings, and painful goodbyes. What began as a workshop group, has become a place we now call home, and a wild family. You can sometimes find us on the fells or beside fires. We howl often, laugh lots, and when prompted, bare our teeth. Our coats are all a little more silver, and our eyes a little more wise, but we are still discovering. We are the Wild Women, and we welcome you.

Victoria Bennett
Founder, Wild Women Press

© 2018, “The Howl or How Wild Women Press Came to Be” and the wild-women word-heart illustration, Victoria Bennett, All rights reserved; 2011 and 2018, water color paintings, Gretchen Del Rio, All rights reserved

Poet, publisher, activist and wild woman, Victoria Bennet

VICTORIA BENNET (Wild Woman Press) is an award-winning poet, creative activist and full-time home-educating Wild Mama to her son, Django. Originating from the borderlands below Scotland, she is the Founder of Wild Women Press and has spent the last quarter of a century instigating creative experiences in her community. Her poetry has appeared in print, online and even in the popular video game, Minecraft. She has published four collections and performed live across the UK, from Glastonbury Festival to a Franciscan Convent.

Poetry publications include:
Anchoring the Light
Fragile Bodies
Byron Makes His Bed
My Mother’s House – a Poetry & Minecraft Collaboration with Adam Clarke, that explores grief and letting go

What We Now Know – digital VR music collaboration with Adam Clarke and The Bookshop Band, inspired by the #MeToo anthology

angel300-c12182011© Gretchen Del Rio


she’s present

returned to bite through the umbilical of tradition,
to flick her tongue
and cut loose the animus-god of our parents,
like a panther she roams the earth, she is eve wild in the night,
freeing minds from hard shells
and hearts from the confines of their cages,
she’s entwined in the woodlands of our psyches
and offers her silken locks to the sacred forests of our souls ~
naked but for her righteousness,
she stands in primal light,
in the untrammeled river of dreams
the yin to balance yang
the cup of peace to uncross the swords of war ~
through the eons she’s been waiting for her time
her quiet numinosity hiding in the phenomenal world,
in the cyclical renewal of mother earth,
whispering to us in the silver intuition of grandmother moon
watching us as the loving vigilance of a warming sun ~
she, omen of peace birthed out of the dark,
even as tradition tries to block her return,
her power leaps from the cleavage of time

© Jamie Dedes

Gretchen Del Rio

Illustration ~ the lovely watercolor painting by Gretchen Del Rio with its girl-tree, panther and other spirit animals was the inspiration for my poem, Her Power Leaps, on the return of the divine feminine. The back-story on the painting is interesting. Gretchen says, “I painted this for a fourteen year old Navaho girl. It is for her protection and her power. She sees auras and is very disturbed by this. She is just amazing. Beauty beyond any words. You can see into the soul of the universe when you look at her eyes. She has no idea. I loved her the moment I saw her. My blessings for her well being are woven into the art.” Such a delightful piece. I purposely posted it full-size so that everyone can enjoy the detail. Bravo, Gretchen, and thank you. / Jamie Dedes

©2011, water color painting; Gretchen Del Rio, All rights reserved; 2016, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved.