SRR Poetry Chapbook Now Available!

We're thrilled to announce the release of Marc J. Sheehan's poetry chapbook Limits to the Salutary Effects of Upper-Midwestern Melancholy!

Winner of the Split Rock Review 2016 poetry chapbook competition, Marc J. Sheehan's Limits to the Salutary Effects of Upper-Midwestern Melancholy often explores a sense of isolation; however, these poems abound with a wry sense of humor and word-play that keeps them from becoming predictable or maudlin. They attempt to find “the invisible grace raining down” upon bullet-riddled road signs, beach weddings, and a cereal maker’s warehouse of decoder rings. Through such particular and carefully-drawn details, Sheehan makes that elusive, invisible grace visible.

You may purchase a copy of Sheehan's chapbook at Split Rock Review's online storeAmazon, or CreateSpace


NOW/HERE Available at SRR Store


Split Rock Review is now selling copies of Crystal S. Gibbins' full-length poetry collection NOW/HERE (Holy Cow! Press). 

People and events can’t be divided by a line on the ground or drawn on a map. Many of Gibbins’ poems in NOW/HERE blend history, naturalist observations, and experiences about living on both sides of the 49th parallel—the international border that separates Canada and U.S.

Other poems in the collection focus on the diversity, struggle, and power of nature, examining the tensions and oppositions that exist within climate, time, and change. Like the lake waters of the northern wilderness, the power of these poems lies beneath the surface.

An original new voice, Crystal Spring Gibbins' poetry collection surprises with innovation while celebrating the natural landscape.

To order your copy, visit SRR's online store, your independent book seller, or Amazon

Winner of 2016 Poetry Chapbook Contest

Marc Sheehan of Grand Haven, Michigan, won the 2016 Split Rock Review Poetry Chapbook Contest for his collection Limits to the Salutary Effects of Upper Midwestern Melancholy. His collection will be published by SRR in 2017. 

The finalists were Cynthia Anderson for Flying by Night, Sharon Dolin for The Pocket Oracle, and Jamie Buehner for Found Language

Many thanks to all those who entered the chapbook contest! We are honored to have read your work. 

The deadline for the next chapbook contest has not been set. 

Contributor's Spotlight: Cara Chamberlain

As a writer, I have absolutely no discipline. Some people write something every day. I don’t. Other people carefully set aside specific times and places for writing. I don’t. I guess I don’t even like to think of myself as a writer. It’s a little embarrassing. Like having a wart or a rash that you’d rather keep covered. I don’t know why I feel this way. Perhaps it’s because I don’t see myself as a “real” writer. I don’t make a living from my writing, after all. (Of course, most “real” writers don’t either.) Perhaps it’s because writing seems like a private process (the slam poetry scene disheartens people like me who became writers because we weren’t very good talkers). Perhaps it’s because I admire people who do work that has socially practical, socially helpful results. And rarely does writing seem practical. A big part of me wants to make the world better. I’m not sure how my writing does that.

On the other hand, a recent report on NPR indicated that in just a few years, if current trends continue, 50% of jobs in the USA will be performed by robots. So what does that mean? Humans have got to fall back on what humans (and not robots) do best: art, beauty, craft, skill. Perhaps just trying to write a sonnet is a way to stay alive and therefore remain viable.

When I’m writing, of course, I don’t think about all this. Poetry is a chance to work with an impression, idea, or thing that nudges me. Fiction is a way to disengage from my ego and enter into those of my characters. Nonfiction prose (like this piece) is an opportunity to discover things I don’t know I know.

The beauty about writing, as opposed to the other arts, is that you can do it with very few tools. A computer with good software is nice, but all you really need is a notebook and a pencil. Very low tech. Another jab at mechanization.

Words, of course, are difficult to work with. They are irreducibly complex. Even such small questions as “Should I put the‘the’ in this sentence?” or “Where should the line break fall?” are enough to make me tear up what I’m writing. And the difference between my ambition for a poem, say, and how it becomes embodied in words is often heartbreaking. From being the greatest piece ever written to finding its unceremonious way into the trash can be a small step for just about everything I write. If something, though, survives the initial disillusionment, editing can go on and on and on, and sometimes (often) be as heady as the initial creating.

Writing is a curse that I wish had never struck me. Sometimes it makes me feel as if I live a double life: there’s all the stuff I do and see and feel, and then there’s all the stuff I put down in words to try to capture all the stuff I do and see and feel. Several times I have thrown out all I’ve written. But I just keep playing with words. Someday, I think, I will be mature enough to not ask for outside approbation. (And by “outside,” I include my post-first draft self.) Someday, I think, I will be merciful with myself and embrace what I’ve written as the evidence of a valid and valiant human soul wrestling with the external and externally internal world. So what if it didn’t measure up to snuff? Until then, though, I will keep writing and editing, editing, editing, to try to recapture that original beauty I envisioned before I wrote, that inspiration that broke into my daily existence and told me to stop everything for a while and write.