Page 2 of 5

EMPOWERING WRITERS AND JOURNALISTS: PEN America launched “Online Harassment Field Manual” . . . While the content is geared toward writers, much of the advice and techniques are relevant to anyone confronting hostility online.

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

On Friday PEN America launched its Online Harassment Field Manual, a first-of-its-kind resource to equip and empower writers, journalists, and all those active online with practical tools and tactics to defend against hateful speech and trolling.

Research with more than 230 writers revealed alarming findings that highlight the relevance of the Field Manual and the threat that online harassment poses for free speech: two-thirds of those trolled reported reactions including refraining from publishing their work, deleting social media accounts, and fears for personal safety; over a third avoided certain topics in their writing. Writers were targeted for their viewpoints, but also based on their race, gender, and sexual orientation. Those belonging to marginalized communities or speaking out on injustice faced more egregious forms of online hate.

PEN, Exc. Dir. Suzanne Nossel

“Online harassment poses a clear threat to free expression, as evidenced by the results of our survey,” said PEN America Chief Executive Officer Suzanne Nossel. “When certain voices are muzzled, when people choose not to write about topics that matter, and when they remove themselves from the public debate, everyone loses. As an organization of and for writers, PEN America is especially disturbed by the ways in which online harassment affects their work. Journalists and writers whose web presence is a professional imperative can’t be left defenseless in the face of rampant digital intimidation, provocation, and vitriol when they dare to stick their heads above the parapet.”

The Field Manual offers a one-stop bank of advice, guidance, and resources on cyber-stalking, doxing, hate speech, and other forms of digital vitriol, intended to fortify writers and journalists with the best available methods and means to protect themselves and secure their own freedom to write.

The Field Manual also offers recommendations directed to employers, tech companies, and law enforcement on the parts they need to play to prevent online harassment. While the content is geared toward writers, much of the advice and techniques are relevant to anyone confronting hostility online. Manual highlights include:

  • A number of first-hand accounts of online harassment and their aftermath
  • Step-by-step guides for enhancing cyber security and preventing doxing
  • An online harassment glossary with proposed responses
    Ideas for leveraging online writing communities to combat online harassment
  • Tips for combating hate speech with counterspeech
  • Guidelines for allies and witnesses interested in intervening in online harassment
  • Best practices for employers of writers and journalists to improve institutional support during episodes of online abuse
    Information about online harassment and the law

    “In the digital age, all writers and publishers of online content are vulnerable and susceptible to web attacks,” said PEN America Journalism and Press Freedom Project Manager Laura Macomber. “Those facing online harassment must make an impossible decision: engage and put themselves at risk, or disconnect and miss out on important online discourse. Our goal is to equip writers and their allies—especially those whose livelihoods are at stake—with resources to push back against online hatred and harassment so they can continue to do their jobs.”

The Online Harassment Field Manual launched Saturday in New York City during a panel discussion on combating online hate, which is part of the PEN World Voices Festival. To continue the conversation, PEN America and the National Press Club Journalism Institute will host a panel about journalists fighting back against online harassment on April 27, the day before the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, in Washington, D.C.

The Online Harassment Field Manual is available at


PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. The organization champions the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our 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 Information and News

“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”  John Muir

May all the residents of Mater Terra find peace.


Opportunity Knocks

ALASKA QUARTERLY REVIEW, a literary journal of the University of Alaska, Anchorage with the Center for the Narrative and Lyric Arts, encourages new and emerging poets and writers. Of interests: short stories, novel excerpts, poems, literary nonfiction, and photo essays. Experimental styles are welcome. The reading period for unsolicited manuscripts closes on May 1.  Details HERE.

FURROW MAGAZINE publishes fiction, poetry, nonfiction art, and comics and the next reading period will open on December 1, 2018 for the 2019 issue. Details HERE.

NEW LETTERS reviews submissions of essay, novel chapter, poetry, short story, book review and art submitted between December 2 and April 30. Payment and contributor copies. Details HERE.

MiDWAY JOURNAL reading period for prose, poetry, and art/ephemera/multi genre/interview through May 31. Submission fee. Details HERE.

THE MOTH, arts and literature, invites submissions of poetry and prose from around the world . Details HERE.  Note: There’s also a junior edition, The Caterpillar, with an open call for poetry.

ORISON BOOKS “seeks to publish spiritually-engaged poetry, fiction, and nonfiction of exceptional literary merit.” Submissions are welcome year-round for nonfiction, poetry and anthology proposals.  General fiction is accepted in October only. Submission fees. Details HERE.

TERSE JOURNAL invites submission of the following themes: “worlding, futures, identity, technology, hyperreality, embodiment, healing, mourning, the tarot/divination, memory, small press culture, captivity/confinement/incarceration, disability” expressed in “poetry (erasure poetry, found poetry, experimental poetry, all poetry!), collage, critical essays (academic-style essays are considered), reviews, interviews, mixed media, audio recordings, visual art (drawings, paintings, photographs), creative non-fiction, science fiction, flash fiction, letters, mix tapes.”  This is a volunteer run publication with no submission fees and a rolling submission policy. Details HERE.

The BeZine

Call for submission for the June issue.

THE BeZINE, Be Inspired, Be Creative, Be Peace, Be. Submissions for the June issue – themed Sustainability –close on May 10 at 11:59 p.m. PDT.  

New rules: Please send text in the body of the email not as an attachment. Send photographs or illustrations as attachments. No google docs or Dropbox or other such. No rich text. Send submissions to

Publication is June 15th. Poetry, essays, fiction and creative nonfiction, art and photography, music (videos or essays), and whatever lends itself to online presentation is welcome for consideration.

No demographic restrictions.

Please read at least one issue and the Intro/Mission Statement and Submission GuidelinesWe DO NOT publish anything that promotes hate, divisiveness or violence or that is scornful or in any way dismissive of “other” peoples. 

  • June 2018 issue, Deadline May 10th. Theme: Sustainability
  • September 2018 issue, Deadline August 10th, Theme: Human Rights/Social Justice
  • December 2018 issue, Deadline November 10th, Theme: A Life of the Spirit

The BeZine is an entirely volunteer effort, a mission. It is not a paying market but neither does it charge submission or subscription fees.

Previously published work may be submitted IF you hold the copyright. Submissions from beginning and emerging artists as well as pro are encouraged and we have a special interest in getting more submissions of short stores, feature articles, music videos and art for consideration. 


Opportunity Knocks

THE MOTH SHORT STORY PRIZE invites submissions of up to 5,000   words. Entry fee €12 per story. Cash awards: 1st prize €3,000; 2nd prize week-long writing retreat at Circle of Misse in France plus €250 travel stipend; 3rd prize €1,000. Deadline 30 June 2018. Details HERE.

MiDWAY JOURNAL’S -1,000 BELOW FLASH PROSE AND POETRY CONTEST closes May 31st. There is a $10 submission fee. Cash awards: First Prize: $500 + publication in Midway Journal; Second Prize:$250 + publication in Midway Journal; and, Third Prize: $50 + publication in Midway Journal. Details HERE.

NEW LETTERS & BKMK Press is offering $5,500 in awards for writers | Deadline: May 18, 2018: the $2,500 Conger Beasley Jr. Award for Nonfiction for the best Essay; The $1,500 New Letters Prize for Poetry for the best group of three to six poems. Submission fees. Details HERE.

THE ORISON ANTHOLOGY AWARDS IN FICTION, NONFICTION, AND POETRY is open for submission through August 1. Cash award and publication. Entry fee. Details HERE.


Accessible anytime from anywhere in the world:

  • The Poet by Day always available online with poems, poets and writers, news and information.
  • The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, online every week (except for vacation) and all are invited to take part no matter the stage of career or status. Poems related to the challenge of the week (always theme based not form based) will be published here on the following Tuesday.
  • The Poet by Day, Sunday Announcements. Every week (except for vacation) opportunity knocks for poets and writers. Due to other Sunday commitments, this post will often go up late in the day.
  • THE BeZINE, Be Inspired, Be Creative, Be Peace, Be – always online HERE.  
  • Beguine Again, daily inspiration and spiritual practice  – always online HERE.  Beguine Again is the sister site to The BeZine.


 Not the continent with 54 countries

AFRICA IS A COUNTRY was founded by Sean Jacobs in 2009, growing out of the blog Leo Africanus (2007-2009). It started as an outlet to challenge the received media wisdoms about Africa from a left perspective, informed by his experiences of resistance movements to Apartheid.

Since then it has grown in size to include a larger geographic scope and, crucially, launched the careers of a number of young African and diaspora writers, scholars and artists to a point where as the South African newspaper Mail & Guardian concluded:

Try as you might, it is hard not to turn an online corner in Africa without bumping into Africa is a Country.

*SEAN JACOBS, a native of Cape Town, South Africa, holds a Ph.D. in Politics from the University of London and a M.A. in Political Science from Northwestern University. He is currently writing a book on the intersection of mass media, globalization and liberal democracy in post-apartheid South Africa. He is co-editor of Thabo Mbeki’s World: The Politics and Ideology of the South African President (Zed Books, 2002) and Shifting Selves: Post-Apartheid Essays on Mass Media, Culture and Identity (Kwela Books, 2004). His most recent scholarly articles have appeared in Politique Africaine(2006) and Media, Culture, and Society (2007); and has contributed reviews and opeds to The Guardian, The New York Times, Volkskrant, The National and The Nation. Previously he taught African Studies as well as communication studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He also worked as a political researcher for the Institute for Democracy in South Africa. Jacobs founded Africa is a Country.Today it features online commentary, original writing, media criticism, videos, audio, and photography, becoming one of the leading intellectual voices in the African — particularly from the left — online media sphere.

© 2018, words and photograph, Sean Jacobs and Africa Is Not a Country

Good Books Cooking

Pski’s Porch is almost ready to welcome Spring time, shake the snow and dry pine needles off, and sit in the morning sun. But before we can do that, BOOKS.

What books? Well, we started a quarterly journal with Catfish McDaris and Mendes Biondo a while back, the Ramingo’s Porch. Each issue is bursting with literary wonderment, too much quality for too few units of currency: Ramingo 1   Ramingo 2, and Ramingo 3 is on the way. No subscriptions available, since we don’t know how long it will last, or in what form, making each issue even more precious,

We also published Constimocrazy: Malafricanizing Democracy, by Nsah Mala, a sharp, thoughtful collection from Cameroon. These are excellent, funny, fiercely political poems meant to provoke and instruct and inspire in equal measure.

In March, we set free Jay Passers’s they lied to me when they said everything would be alright, the first collection of poems from a Bay area poet who whispers in his reader’s left ear while barking in the right, “like a bear with a chain on its bullring, both the pain and desire for freedom are connected in the expression the poems manifest,” as Ben John Smith so eloquently put it. Still surprised, here at the Porch, that this is Jay’s first book, but glad we could help him put out.

In April, we have the privilege of publishing Guinotte Wise’s latest book of poems, Horses See Ghosts. Wise’s poems set the reader aflame in a field of tall grass and waits for the fire to work down the hill toward town. This is the second of Guinotte’s books we have had the opportunity to publish, and the first to feature Ben Carmean’s meticulous, engaging design skills.

So much good stuff on the way: new books from John Doyle, Peter Clarke, Marianne Szlyk, John Lambremont, Sr., Ryan Quinn Flanagan, and more….

Books are good people–

Pski’s Porch Publishing

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.


The Taste of Baklava, a poem … and your Wednesday Writing Prompt


Honestly, there are times
when the taste of baklava
finds my tongue and speaks to me
in the language of my grandmother’s hands,
when the honey and fresh mint in tea
vitalizes my very being ~
and I remember everything
. . . . . everything
even the scent of you, your eyes
the way we lingered over dessert,
tapered candles flaming wisps of hope,
your red roses wilting in a crystal vase,
dropping velvet petals like dreams
on the white damask of our forever

© 2012 poem and photograph, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved



A singular moment – romantic or otherwise – that is etched in mind, yesterday or years ago, full of color and vigor.  Write about your moment in poem. Fill it with detail: scent and hues, setting (indoor or out), include one object that references another in the scene and makes their role evident and alive. Take your time and have fun with this.

Leave your poem/s or a link to them in the comment section. Feel free – encouraged – to participate no matter the status of your poetry career: novice, emerging or pro. If this is your first time responding to Wednesday Writing Prompt, send you bio and a photo to  These will be used to introduce you to readers.  PLEASE DO NOT EMAIL YOUR POEM. PLEASE USE THE COMMENTS SECTION FOR THAT. Thank you! 🙂 All poems shared on theme will be published here next Tuesday, April 24. You have until Monday evening, April 23, 8 p.m. PDT to respond.


“Identical with a Twig” … and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

I shed more than one tear when reading these responses to Our Small Beginnings, the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, April 11. May you be touched and inspired.

Thank you to bogpan (Bozhidar Pangelov), Paul Brookes, Frank McMahan, and Sonja Benskin Mesher for coming out to play. Of special note, Sonja has once again shared her art along with her poetry. Paul has created an ekphrastic poetry challenge for himself in honor of  National Poetry Month. Visit his blog to see what he’s been up to.  Worth your time.

Do join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt.

New Soft

nervous she does
what she knows
pushes a pram
cuddles a baby

moves others’
toys that get
in her way

chews her toast,
sups her juice
asks where mummy is.
where her sisters are.

sobs at a boy
in a Spiderman mask,
rough and tumble
older boys.
wants her comfort cloth

climbs, head over heels
explores a soft world

© 2018, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow)

Cuddled Sobs Cradled

hawk back shudder
at vacuum absence
of hugwarm.

Gutempty, boneneed
heartgripe ache
for those once close
now ashed in earth.

in my arms she sobs
for her mam’s voice,
and my heartsob
for my late mam’s voice.

Rhythm of her grief
as she nods on my chest
almost lulls me to sleep.

She shudders awake
heaves herself to the floor
as her mam, only on an errand
walks a smile through the door.

© 2018, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow)

Fixes It

As a parent you believe
you can fix everything.

when they’re in pain,
regrow bones, restore lost

blood, a pillow for their head,
neck hugged in bright,

playcentre foam
while enquiries are made,

you cry hugfulls,
then, you drive

as fast as you can,
imagine their absence as the worst

now, you make them laugh
warm their cold hands

push their hair away from their eyes
hold it, together

hold it …..together
hold it together

I can’t have

dogshit on surfaces,

settee and chairs,
kids in mucky diapers.

hold it together

but I have.

hold it together

but I have.

© 2018, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow)

Identical with a Twig

At some unnamed night,
and it will be bright,
I’ll go away.

The door I will never
the flowers will keep
My children will have fallen asleep
the most deeply
covered and caressed
and somebody will cant to them again
a cradle song.
It will be light like in a temple
and clear like a voice
in mountains.
Then I’ll leave
forgotten all the words…

A branch in the white snow.

© 2018, bogpan (bogpan – блог за авторска поезия, блог за авторска поезия)


Silence was your fortress. Sometimes you would

venture  to whisper through its narrow slits,

granting entry to very few across

the drawbridge, nursing your tenderness while

watching for wolves prowling from the forest.


Time and the winds brought seeds, sun, soft  rain.

Now kingcups fill the moat, campion the keep.

Briony and rose are capturing the walls;

swallows return  to their niches every year

and  in the valley, blackbirds sing your songs.

© 2018, Frank McMahan


You would converse with otters if you could,

count the bubbles as they break the river’s

sheen, your mind a submarine to follow

them wherever they and the waters run;

surface then to roll amongst the meadow

-sweet  and thyme, newest of their brood.


You would take a felucca on the Nile,

cresting its yearly flood, turning back time

to  etch hieroglyphs on the temples’ walls, grind

corn in a quern, dine at the High Priest’s

table, look up as the Pharoah passes.

© 2018, Frank McMahan


We were all ready, our homes and our

imagined worlds, waiting to give you,

day by day and year on year, the best

of our  imperfect selves, to watch you

climb the branches of our love

and catch the world’s excitement.

But you were overwhelmed.

Our earth-bound pathways have diverged.

Yet you will voyage with us, there

in every season,in the dappled sunlight

of our days, learning all the steps

of your childhood’s dance.

© 2018, Frank McMahan

.. boy ..


some shops

sell fairy dust in                 small bottles,

various shades of pastel.                 cork

stoppers, a wee note inside at just £1.99.


i bought you      one,

to treasure. to place

on your bedroom shelf,

in case.

of emergencies.

© 2018, poem and illustration, Sonja Benskin Mesher  (; Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA paintings;

.. driving past woods..

oh you are a beauty, showing your legs,                dress swinging.


in rhythm. in photos , little gifs,                                      to share.


how can we  look the same?                   i think i look different


now. now that i have grown,                          watched you grow.


now. now.


now that i helped  when you were sick.         


now i am older and watched you die.                          all of you.


i say goodnight to some and remember                       all of you.


how can i look the same.                                                  now. now.


remember all that has been done.                                           how

can i look the same?


you are still a beauty.


dress swinging.

© 2018, poem and illustration, Sonja Benskin Mesher  (; Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA paintings;