The Crossing Over by Jen Karetnick

The Crossing Over by Jen Karetnick

Winner of the 2018 Split Rock Review Poetry Chapbook Contest

We are so thrilled to announce the release of Jen Kartetnick’s The Crossing Over, winner of the 2018 Split Rock Review Poetry Chapbook Contest. This terrific chapbook is available at our e-store, Amazon, and independent booksellers.


These poems about the migrant experience in the Mediterranean, narrated from the boat's point of view, begin with the crafting of the vehicle – the birth of its voice – and end with its destruction. As much participant as it is victim, the boat is the lens through which the reader sees all that happens to the refugees: smuggling, hunger and thirst, rape, drowning, organ stealing, deportation, and repatriation – and, for some, survival in a new country Embodied by its burden of human experience, from birth in open international waters to an airplane exploding overhead from a bomb, the boat strives to interact with humans, good and evil, as well as the Mediterranean Sea itself, and all that it contains and maintains, both natural and made. As such, it takes on a variety of personas, becoming at turns unwitting witness to and un/willing partner of the refugees of various global crises, who have no choice but to make these desperate ocean journeys.


“Boat as metaphor for what we carry. Boat as vessel (woman), boat as adventure (man and conquest). Boat as witness to abominations that befall immigrants and refugees. Boat lost at sea, ‘a brief dream the ocean / once had’ – as we all are sometimes lost. Boat as death, driven by Charon. Jen Karetnick’s The Crossing Over is a political, moral journey, a tour de force built by sonnets, lists, a ghazal, a concrete poem, a pantoum, and literary magic.” — Denise Duhamel, author of Scald

“This book is our most awaited guide for understanding what it means to be human among humans – or as the poet says, for ‘learning the rites for search and rescue.’ And, in order to command this search, Karetnick, like the most masterful of guides and poets, is willing to lead us and to look where most of us cannot. For this book, for this guide, this poet, we are right to be grateful.” — M.B. McLatchey, author of The Lame God


Jen Karetnick is the author of four poetry collections, including The Treasures That Prevail and The Burning Where Breath Used to Be, four other poetry chapbooks, and author/co-author of four cookbooks, including Ice Cube Tray Recipes: 75 Easy and Creative Kitchen Hacks for Freezing, Cooking, and Baking with Ice Cube Trays. Her work has appeared in Crab Orchard Review, JAMA, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Missouri Review, Ovenbird, Salamander, and Tampa Review. She is co-founder/co-editor of the daily online literary journal, SWWIM Every Day. She works as the dining critic for MIAMI Magazine and as a freelance lifestyle journalist.  

2018 Chapbook Contest Winner!

Congratulations to the 2018 Split Rock Review poetry chapbook winner Jen Karetnick for her manuscript The Crossing Over, which explores migrant experiences in the Mediterranean that are told from the boat's point of view. The Crossing Over will be available in early 2019 via Amazon, independent booksellers, and Split Rock Review's online store. 

Jen Karetnick is the author of three full-length poetry collections, including The Treasures That Prevail (Whitepoint Press), finalist for the 2017 Poetry Society of Virginia Book Prize, and four poetry chapbooks. The winner of the 2017 Hart Crane Memorial Poetry Contest, the 2016 Romeo Lemay Poetry Prize, and the 2015 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Prize, her work has appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Cutthroat, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Missouri Review, Prairie SchoonerVerse Daily, among many other publications. Jen is the co-editor of  SWWIM Every Day, a daily online literary journal. She works as the Creative Writing Director for Miami Arts Charter School; the dining critic for MIAMI Magazine; a freelance lifestyle journalist; and a cookbook and guidebook author. Jen received an MFA in poetry from University of California, Irvine, and an MFA in fiction from University of Miami. You can find her on Twitter @Kavetchnik.

We would also like to recognize the strong collections submitted by the finalists and semi-finalists, listed in alphabetical order: 


  • Thirteen Moons by Robert Carney
  • From the Dictionary of Geological Terms by Jolie B Kaytes
  • Easy Street by Cindy King
  • Salt, Rock, Spine by Abby Murray
  • Beautiful Water by Sara Shearer
  • Endangered Animals by Elizabeth Vignali


  • Forty-Six Degrees North by Milton Bates
  • This Document Should Be Retained as Evidence of Your Journey by Colleen Coyne
  • Sewn from Water by Deborah Rosch Eifert
  • Riverside Song by CJ Giroux
  • In Knots by Jacob Hall
  • Ten Minutes North by Hope Jordan
  • The Replaceable by Toshiaki Komura
  • Dark Matter by Martha McCollough
  • To Where Are We Bound by Benjamin Mueller
  • River Carry Me by Robert Okaji

Many thanks to all the writers that submitted to the 2018 Split Rock Review Poetry Chapbook Contest. We received over 100 manuscripts this year, and it was a very difficult decision due to the high quality of submissions. Thank you for your continued support and interest in Split Rock Review!

Winner of 2017 Poetry Chapbook Contest

Many thanks to everyone who submitted to the 2017 Poetry Chapbook Contest! We received a large number of manuscripts this year, and it was a very difficult decision due to the high quality of submissions. 

We are thrilled to announce that Rosemarie Dombrowski's manuscript The Cleavage Planes of Southwest Minerals [A Love Story] is Split Rock Review's 2017 Poetry Chapbook Contest winner!

Rosemarie Dombrowski is the founder of rinky dink press, an editor at Four Chambers Press, and the inaugural Poet Laureate of Phoenix, AZ. She is the recipient of four Pushcart nominations, an Arts Hero Award, and a fellowship from the Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics. Her collections include The Book of Emergencies, which was the recipient of a 2016 Human Relations Indie Book Award, and The Philosophy of Unclean Things. She teaches courses on poetics, women’s literature, and ethnography at Arizona State University’s Downtown Phoenix campus.

Additionally, we would like to recognize the strong collections submitted by the finalists (in alphabetical order): "Humming at the Dinner Table" by Joanne Esser; "After the Drought" by Jeff Ewing; "Love’s Test" by Jed Myers; "The Sadness of Old Fences" by Robert Okaji; "Homework" by LeRoy Sorenson.

Thanks again for all your interest and support in Split Rock Review






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