SLANT Forum: News & Reviews

The Hudson-Fowler Prize in Poetry

Michael Hettich

The editorial staff of Slant is pleased to announce that Michael Hettich of Black Mountain, North Carolina, has been named the inaugural recipient of the Hudson-Fowler Prize in Poetry.

The twofold purpose of the new award created by the Department of English at UCA is to honor the invaluable contributions of Slant’s two longest-serving editors (Richard Hudson and James Fowler) and to recognize truly distinctive originality and quality of poetic expression. Richard Hudson, now retired from the UCA English Department faculty, founded Slant in 1986 and served as its first editor until 1993. He was succeeded by James Fowler, also an English faculty member, who served as editor for 25 years. The timing of the first award has been planned to coincide with Fowler’s retirement from UCA in May of this year.

Beginning with the May 2023 issue and continuing with each Spring issue moving forward, members of the Slant Committee will select from among the previous year’s submissions the group of five poems from a single poet that is judged to be deserving of special recognition. The Hudson-Fowler Prize carries a cash award, the publication of the poet’s winning submission in the Spring issue, and the invitation to come to campus as our Visiting Poet the following year with an additional stipend to cover travel expenses.

Michael Hettich was born in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in Manhattan and Mamaroneck. He attended Hobart College in Geneva, New York, where he earned a BA in English. He also earned an MA in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Denver and a Ph.D. in English and American Literature from the University of Miami.

Michael’s poems first began appearing in Slant in 1992. His first book of poetry, Lathe, was published in 1987 by Pygmy Forest Press. Since then, he has published over a dozen book-length collections and an equal number of poetry chapbooks. His most recent book, The Halo of Bees: New and Selected Poems, 1990-2022 was published this month by Press 53.

His work has appeared in such other journals as Orion, Prairie Schooner, Ploughshares, TriQuarterly, Poetry East, Alaska Quarterly Review, Witness, and The Literary Review. His writing has also appeared in a number of anthologies, including Visiting Bob: 100 Poems for Bob Dylan (New Rivers Press, 2018) and Rewilding: Poems for the Environment (Flexible Press, 2020).

Slant Launches Poetry Coffeehouse for Students

Aithne Emmons

 On the evening of April 5, members of the Slant Advisory Committee hosted its first Poetry Coffeehouse as a venue for student poets to display their talents. A total of ten students, both undergraduate and graduate, signed up to read in advance of the event and dazzled the standing-room-only audience with their original work and their reading of other poems by favorite writers. Slant Graduate Assistant Paul Perroni, a former professional actor, served as master of ceremonies.

One of those who read was junior English major Sebastian Queen of Conway. He offered the following feedback on the event: “The Poetry Coffeehouse was a wonderful and memorable experience. I didn’t expect to see so much laughter and joy, even when discussing heavy topics. The aura of support was palpable.”

Another was Aithne Emmons, a freshman Creative Writing major and English minor from Hot Springs. She summed up the feeling of the group by saying, “Thank you for providing us this wonderful opportunity. There just aren’t enough chances like this for students anywhere around. We’d love to have more.”

Based on audience response and the fervent request from student poets for more such opportunities, the Slant Committee has committed to making the Poetry Coffeehouse an ongoing series, with readings in both the fall and spring semesters.

Wild Muse – An Anthology of Poems about the Ozarks

 A number of Slant contributors are featured in a new anthology from Cornerpost Press titled Wild Muse: Ozarks Nature Poetry. The collection was edited by and includes poems by Philip Howerton, who teaches at the University of Missouri-West Plains. He is also the editor of the 2019 collection The Literature of the Ozarks, published the University of Arkansas Press. The new anthology also contains works by Gerry Sloan, a former member of the Slant editorial board; the late Mark Spitzer, also a former editorial board member; and Paulette Guerin, an alumna of the UCA graduate program in English and former Slant graduate assistant to then-editor James Fowler.

A Debut Publication by Christopher Fettes

 Little Rock native Christopher Fettes published his initial chapbook in April. A Loneliness in the Distance Between is a collection of 24 poems, some of which were previously published in journals such as Slant, Nude Bruce Review, Import Sky: Synchronicity, Art from the Heart, and Medicine and Meaning.

 Christopher earned both his BA and MA degrees in English from the University of Central Arkansas. He is currently poetry editor for Medicine & Meaning: A University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Literary Journal and he is a program coordinator and instructor in the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health at UAMS, where he teaches writing workshops. He is also a member of the Slant editorial board.

He was one of a trio of poets who were on the UCA campus April 18 as part of our Visiting Poet Series. Among the poems he read that evening were “Celestial Bodies,” which contains the lines from which the book’s title was drawn, and “Strata,” which first appeared in the historic Volume 35 of Slant, the last print edition of the journal.

A New Book by Marcus Cafagña

 Finishing Line Press has recently published a new collection of poetry by Marcus Cafagña, one of our two feature poets for January. Titled All the Rage in the Afterlife This Season, this is his third book, following The Broken World, a National Poetry Series selection, and Roman Fever.  His poems have also appeared in The American Poetry Review, Arts & Letters, Harvard Review, Quarterly West, Rattle, The Southern Review, and The Threepenny Review, among other journals and anthologies. Born in Michigan, he left Pennsylvania for the Ozarks and Missouri State University, where he has taught poetry writing for the last 24 years.

About this new collection, fellow poet Jim Daniels has written, “All the Rage in the Afterlife This Season resonates with Marcus Cafagña’s masterful sense of compression and  compassion that have always been hallmarks of his work. Clear, direct, and honest, these poems resonate with a slow burn that penetrates deeper and deeper with each reading. There is no questioning the authority or motivation for these haunting, powerful poems—they had to be written, and they have to be read.”

Share the News

In addition to your poems, we welcome submissions of news about yourself or a fellow poet, reviews of recently published collections of poetry (yours or others), and interviews with poets. As we note above, the submission period for poems is February 1-March 31 for the Spring 2023 issue. However, we welcome your news and reviews at any time during the year.

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