Little Patuxent Review at AWP

The following was written by Little Patuxent Review Co-Publisher, Desirée Magney.

How fortunate for Little Patuxent Review (LPR) and local writers that the AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) Conference is taking place in Washington, DC this year! AWP is celebrating its 50th anniversary and the conference – running from Wednesday, February 8 through Saturday, February 11 – will be held at the Washington Convention Center and Washington Marriott Marquis Hotel!

Come visit LPR at table 613-T in the Exhibit Hall at the Convention Center.

Take at look at our newly released “Prisons” issue featuring the art work of Lania D’Agostino, interviews with poet and novelist Chris Abani and activist Betty May, as well as poetry, fiction and nonfiction from numerous writers.  Peruse some of our back issues with themes ranging from “Social Justice” to “Food” to “Myth” and our unthemed issues as well. This is our 11th year of publishing a high quality literary journal. While based in Columbia, MD, we welcome writers nationwide to become part of our LPR family.

This will be my first AWP Conference. I will be joined by our editor, Steven Leyva, Deputy Editor, Ann Bracken, and some of our interns.  We are looking forward to reconnecting with LPR friends and meeting new ones. We would love to talk with you about our journal and the submission process, so stop by our table for a chat.

If you’d like to know more about the conference or haven’t yet registered to attend, here is the link.

Contributor Post – “Kathy”

The following was written by Little Patuxent Review Co-Publisher, Desirée Magney.

I was sitting at my breakfast room table a few months ago, talking on the speakerphone with our editor, Steven Leyva about LPR’s upcoming “Prison” themed issue. As the new co-publisher, I was furiously taking notes about the publication schedule. Our conversation then switched from the minute details of producing the issue to the prison theme itself.  We spoke of the body as a prison and the artist, Lania D’Agostino, whose work represents those confronting issues of gender identity. But another type of bodily imprisonment immediately came to my mind and the pencil I was using to take notes froze in my hand as an image of my eldest sister Kathy flashed before me.

About two years ago, my sister, Debby, and I signed a sheet at the front desk of our sister, Kathy’s new assisted living apartment and began the walk towards her room. The odor hit me first – a faint hint of urine covered with a thick blanket of Lysol’s Crisp Linen scent.  But it was as nice as these places can be and I had seen a number of them over the past few years.  The carpet was forcefully bright and cheery – forest green to hide the stains but with red, pink, and white flowers to soften the look.  I glanced up and on the wall to my left was a framed print, an exact replica of the one at my mother’s assisted living apartment building in Washington, D.C., where I had been her caregiver.

I hadn’t expected to be in a place like this again so soon.  Our mother had passed away from Parkinson’s disease and Vascular Dementia in mid-March 2014.  All my sisters and I joined together for the funeral in Pennsylvania, where we grew up.  During those few days back in Camp Hill, it struck me once again how different we all were. Kathy with her dark hair, once olive-skinned, now pale but meticulous about her vitamins, herbal supplements, healthy eating, conspiracy theories, and Mormon religion.  Linda, with her light brown hair and eyes to match, pinned like a sorority girl with a four-inch Catholic cross fastened to her long, loose, nun-like dresses.  Debby, blond like me but blue eyed against my green ones, both of us lapsed Catholics and of no religious denomination but accepting of our sisters’ rights to believe in whatever religion or politics they chose, so long as we didn’t have to discuss them.

It was mid-October of that same year, when Debby and I met up outside Atlanta to visit Kathy.  Around the time of Mom’ s funeral, Kathy had been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome and was wearing a soft splint on her right forearm.  The weakness wasn’t improving and when a friend commented to her how painful it must be for her to work all day on a computer, she responded she had no pain.

“Then you can’t have carpal tunnel syndrome,” her friend replied.  “It’s very painful.”

Kathy sought a second medical opinion. By then she had started to experience weakness in her left hand and arm as well.  After tests to eliminate a brain tumor and something called Stiff Man’s Syndrome the doctor told her the news.

“You have ALS.”

ALS, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, is more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. If you Google it, you will find it is often described as “the cruelest disease.”  Over time, you lose your capacity to do everything, including swallowing and breathing, while your mind remains fully engaged and aware. Following a diagnosis, the life expectancy of an ALS patient is typically three-to-five years.  In Kathy’s case the disease was progressing at a speed the specialists at the ALS Center at Emory Hospital in Atlanta had never seen. The only positive thing I could think of was that she had access to the best ALS doctors in the world. They could walk her through the progression and make practical recommendations along the way. But there is no cure.

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Winter 2017 Launch Reading

Celebrate LPR’s latest print issue by attending our Winter 2017 launch reading. On Sunday January 22, 2017, from 2 to 4 p.m. writers from the issue and members of the LPR staff will read their work and discuss current projects.

Readers will address the issue’s theme, Prison. Editor Ann Bracken will talk of her writing workshops in the Patuxent Institution for offenders sentenced when they were youth. Other readers of poetry and prose include Leona Sevick, Cynthia Greer, Shirley Brewer, Kendra Kopelke, Ann Quinn and Akewi “Anthony” Barnes. A reception will follow. All are welcome.

Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017, 2 to 4 p.m., Oliver’s Carriage House, 5410 Leaf Treader Way, Columbia, MD 21044. 


Readers include:

Anthony “Akewi” Barnes is an aspiring artist from West Baltimore who uses his creativity to liberate the souls of hopeless minds. He is a freshman at Baltimore City Community College but a senior in the struggle!

Ann Bracken is the author of two collections of poetry, No Barking in the Hallways: Poems from the Classroom (2017) and The Altar of Innocence (2015), both published by New Academia Publishing, Scarith Imprint, and she is the new deputy editor for Little Patuxent Review. Her poetry, essays, and interviews have appeared in anthologies and journals, including Little Patuxent Review, Bared: Contemporary Poetry and Art on Bras and Breasts, New Verse News, Reckless Writing Anthology: Emerging Poets of the 21st Century, and Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence, among others. Ann’s poetry has garnered two nominations for the Pushcart Prize. She is the founder of the Possibility Project, which offers expressive arts and creativity workshops for people of all ages, as well as poetry and writing workshops in prisons and schools. Ann has two grown children and lives in Columbia, Maryland.

Shirley J. Brewer of Baltimore, Maryland, graduated from careers in palm reading, bartending, and speech therapy. She serves as poet-in-residence at Carver Center for the Arts and Technology in Baltimore County. Recent poems have appeared in Barrow Street, Poetry East, Slant, Gargoyle, Comstock Review, and other journals. Shirley’s poetry chapbooks include A Little Breast Music (2008, Passager Books) and After Words (2013, Apprentice House). Forthcoming in 2017 from Main Street Rag Press is her first fulllength poetry collection, Bistro in Another Realm.

Cynthia Greer was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas. She currently resides in Washington, DC, where she is associate professor of counseling and education at Trinity Washington University. Her essay “Doris and the Dolls” was published in Little Patuxent Review in the summer of 2014 and selected as a “notable” essay in The Best American Essays of 2015, edited by Ariel Levy.

Kendra Kopelke is the author of four books of poetry, including Hopper’s Women, a collection of poems based on the paintings of Edward Hopper. She is co-editor of Passager Books and Passager, a press and journal devoted to older writers, and directs the MFA in Creative Writing & Publishing Arts program at the University of Baltimore.

Betty May is a theatrical director, writer, high school teacher, circus coach, and clown. Her career in theater has taken her across the United States; to Europe, where she toured England, France, and Switzerland with her Teens Onstage troupe; and to Central America, where she founded a company of ninety street children in a Guatemalan squatters’ settlement. She is an activist in the judicial system, testifying before congressional committees and advocating for people she once only knew through horrific newspaper headlines. Betty and her late husband, Gerald ( Jerry) G. May, MD, have five grown children: Earl, Paul, Greg, Julie, and a late addition: Chris. She lives in Columbia, Maryland, with a wussy dog and a neurotic bird. Her work with the women of I-WISH (Incarcerated Women Inside Seeking to/for Help) has been a fulfilling and life-changing journey, and she is grateful to them for sharing their lives.

Leona Sevick’s poems have appeared in Barrow Street, North American Review, Potomac Review, Slipstream, Poet Lore, The Journal, The Florida Review, and the anthologies Circe’s Lament (Accents Publishing, 2016) and All We Can Hold (Sage Hill Press, 2016), among other publications. Her poems are forthcoming in American Arts Quarterly and The Golden Shovel Anthology (University of Arkansas Press, foreword by Terrance Hayes). She is the 2012 winner of the Split This Rock Poetry Contest, judged by Naomi Shihab Nye, and she was a semifinalist for this year’s Levine Prize. Her first chapbook, Damaged Little Creatures, was published in 2015 by FutureCycle Press. She is a provost at Bridgewater College in Virginia.

Ann Quinn lives in Catonsville, Maryland, with her husband and two children. She teaches clarinet and writing and plays clarinet and bass clarinet with several local orchestras. She won first prize in the 2015 Bethesda Literary Festival Poetry Contest, judged by Stanley Plumly, and is a Pushcart Prize nominee. Her poems have appeared in Little Patuxent Review, Beechwood Review, Haibun Today and Snapdragon Journal. She is working towards an M.F.A. in poetry at the Rainier Writing Workshop of Pacific Lutheran University.


Holiday Book Fair & Birthday Celebration

Sat, 17 Dec, 2016 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM


On this day 40 years ago, The Writer’s Center first opened its doors, and has been inspiring and supporting an extraordinary community of writers ever since. Help us celebrate our 40 years with a day of holiday book shopping, readings, and even a champagne toast!

12:00- 3:30 Holiday Book Fair

Small press publishers, editors of local literary journals, workshop leaders, and staff from The Writer’s Center will be on hand to offer advice and help you select gifts for all the readers in your life, including books, literary journals, and gift certificates for workshops. Participating presses, literary journals, and organizations include Abbey, Amanita Books, A Splendid Wake, The Baltimore Review, Brickhouse Books, Broadkill River Press, Casa Mariposa Press, Cat and Mouse Press, Delmarva Review, District Lit, The Federal Poets, Folio, Gival Press, Iceland Writers Retreat, Little Patuxent Review, Maryland Writers’ Association, Passager Books, Phoebe, Poets’ Choice, Poet Lore, Potomac Review, Rose Metal Press, Shout Mouse Press, Summit Crossroads Press, Washington Writers’ Publishing House, and Wineberry Press.

2:30-3:30 (MEMBERS ONLY) Editor Speed “Dating” -SOLD OUT

Members of The Writer’s Center are invited to bring a poem or up to five pages of prose to be read by an editor and be given quick feedback and advice on where to submit. Members will spend ten minutes with the editor.

3:30-5:00 Readings by workshop leaders in the theatre

Readers include Melanie Figg, Kathy Ramsperger, Brenda Clough, Gina Hagler, Lucian Mattison, Nancy Naomi Carlson, Claudia Gary, Virginia Hartman, Alan Orloff, Dave Singleton, Cathy Alter, Marija Stajic, Kathryn Johnson, Robert Friedman, Patricia Gray, Lucinda Marshall, Neal Gillen, C.S. Friedman, and Bennie Herron.

5:00-6:00 (MEMBERS ONLY) 40th Birthday Party

Members of The Writer’s Center are welcome to stay to for cake and prosecco, and to socialize with editors, workshop leaders, and staff.

To become a member and take advantage of these perks, plus 13% off all workshops and discounts on other events, sign up here.

If you plan to attend, please RSVP to

Location:              The Writer’s Center

4508 Walsh Street

Bethesda, MD 20815

Fees:     Free admission

December Events

As New Year’s arrives, there are still quite a few events to celebrate the end of the year. From an art gallery to open mic nights and book readings, take the family to different sites across the area. Below is a listing of arts-related events in Maryland and DC.

Wilde Reading Series – December 13, 7-8:30 p.m.

6310 Hillside Court, Suite 100, Columbia, MD 21046

The Wilde Reading Series is a monthly reading series exploring craft sponsored by the Columbia Arts program. This month’s event features Nancy Naomi Carlson and Sue Ellen Thompson. A poet, translator, and editor, Nancy Naomi Carlson’s poetry has been published in The Georgia Review, Poetry, and APR. Sue Ellen Thompson has authored five books of poetry and is a winner of the Pushcart Prize and the Pablo Neruda award. The event is free and open to the public.

“New Beginnings” Art Gallary – November 18 – January 27

8197 Main Street in Ellicott City, MD

The Artist’s Gallery has reopened at a new location. The new exhibit, “New Beginnings,” features work by members of the Artist’s Gallery , many of whom are award-winning artists. Various visual art forms are represented, from glassworks, painting, photography, woodcuts and mixed media. The new gallery space begins a new chapter for the Artist’s Gallery as well as for old and new patrons.

Nancy Isenberg – White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America — The Den

Wednesday, December 14 at 6:30 p.m.

Acoustic Open Mic – The Den – Wednesday, December 28 at 8 p.m.

5015 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC, 20008

Politics and Prose final events for the year include an author reading by Nancy Isenberg and two Acoustic Open Mic performances. Nancy Isenberg’s book, White Trash, covers the history of class in America, historicizing the treatment of class since America’s founding. Acoustic Open Mic sessions are a landmark at The Den, starting musicians perform guaranteeing a new show each session. Free to attend, find your next favorite band with Politics and Prose.

L. Price: Playing Through The Whistle – December 14 at 7:30 p.m.

Bird in Hand, 11 East 33rd Street, Baltimore, MD 21218

The Ivy Bookshop is hosting a reading by senior sports writer S.L. Price for his new book Playing Through the Whistle. Price, in his book, tells the story of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, a small town that produced prominent NFL players and suffered a sharp decline after the shutdown of its successful steel mill. Sports exceptionalism is contrasted against economic strife, painting a picture of a contrasting American through the history of one town.

National Book Awards

As the year draws to a close, the inevitable tide of award ceremonies is underway. Many have already taken place, from the Pulitzer Prize to the Emmys, but probably one of the most important award ceremonies for this year was The National Book Awards.

As many such as NPR have mentioned, the 67th National Book Award took a political focus, several of the winning texts directly address race and politics. The winners include novelist Colson Whitehead as Fiction prize winner for The Underground Railroad, Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America took the Nonfiction prize, and Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell collectively won the Young People’s Literature award for their collaborative work on the graphic novel series March.

The winners for Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry, and Young People’s Literature directly address race in America in one context or another; historicizing racial ideology, reimagining the underground railroad, contending with immigration, or chronicling the life of a prominent figure since the civil rights movement. Like many other classical art forms, literature isn’t above being white-centric, so this year’s winners and finalists are a welcome change. The awards are also a prime example of how art can engage with race and other issues.

Congressman Lewis’s acceptance speech, where he told the story of how, as a teenager, he was denied a library card because of his race, was both heartbreaking and a testament to social progress. March illustrates the history of the civil rights movement for young audiences through Lewis’s life experiences. Lewis’s life, work, and speech highlights that the civil rights movement must be preserved for future generations because it is not just the history of the past, but history in the making.

This award season shows that art can and does take an active role in the present, and that there are many voices that still need to be heard. Colson Whitehead ended his award speech with the statement, “Be kind to everybody, make art, and fight the power. That seemed like a good formula – for me anyway.”

Many of the speeches by the winners are worth viewing. For those who missed the award ceremony, hosted by writer and comedian Larry Wilmore, footage is still available on the official National Book Foundation’s website and youtube channel.

Subscribe and support Little Patuxent Review for a bi-annual publication of art, poetry, and photography.

The Deaf Poets Society



Sarah Katz. Photo Credit Leanne Bowers.

While literary journals abound, few take the time to focus on the experience of people with disabilities, both in content and the accessibility of the medium. The Deaf Poets Society, is an online literary and arts journal created by and about people with disabilities. The journal’s website offers audio readings of all text, including prose and poetry submissions, and written descriptions of visual art pieces. But the mission of Deaf Poets Society goes far deeper than just making an online journal that is accessible for all.


As stated in their manifesto, The Deaf Poets Society “look[s] for narratives about the experience of disability that complicate or altogether undo the dominant and typically marginalizing rhetoric about disability” and explores the complexity of identity. Many of the pieces in The Deaf Poets Society’s volumes investigate the interplay of race, sexuality, and gender with disability, challenging the dominant narratives our culture perpetuates.

Co-Founder and Poetry Editor Sarah Katz talked about the literary journal’s mission and origins.


JF: What impact do you hope to have on the representation of people with a disability?

SK: Life with a disability means something different to each person. Those differences are meaningful–whether they stem from identifying as black and disabled, or queer and D/deaf, or indigenous and crip. Those differences make up different strands of a larger web of a disabled life that we share in common. Understanding and communicating that complexity will foster a dialogue that I think we haven’t had in a long time. It’s my hope that The Deaf Poets Society will start to crack through that wall, and open disabled and able-bodied readers alike to the idiosyncrasies of disabled life.

JF: The journal also acknowledges what it is like to be a member of multiple marginalized groups and the pressure to package oneself into a single identity. How do you think more artists can address this issue?

SK:  It’s important for artists to consider what they’re risking in their art or writing. What does your work mean in the larger context of humanity? Marginalized individuals, especially those with multiple identifiers, have so much to offer to the conversation–given how few are canonized and included in anthologies. That said, there are so many authors and artists who are doing that work of being an advocate for multiply marginalized groups and people–Leroy F. Moore, Jr, an African American writer and activist dedicated to exploring the intersections between race and disability, Vilissa Thompson of Ramp Your Voice, Alice Wong of the Disability Visibility Project, Nicola Griffith, who co-founded the #CripLit chat with Wong (Twitter conversations about disabled characters in literature or the writing life as a disabled person), Raymond Luczak, who edited “QDA: A Queer Disability Anthology.” Leah Lakshmi-Piepzna Samarasinha, a queer, sick, and disabled nonbinary femme writer of  Burger/ Tamil Sri Lankan and Irish/ Roma descent, is a lead artist with the disability justice performance collective Sins Invalid, who works with Syrus Marcus Ware, co-director of the Toronto disability justice collective, PDA (Performance/Disability/Art). Wordgathering, Breath & Shadow, Tiny Tim Literary Review, Rogue Agent, and many more literary journals are also doing some of this crucial work as well.

JF: The journal focuses on making the content accessible to those with different disabilities. What steps do you take for your prose and art pieces? How can other journals make their work more accessible?

SK: We try to make our journal as accessible as possible through various means. We provide alt text/image descriptions with all art and images, including author photos (which provides textual access to visual information for blind folks either using the computer, screen reader, or braille display); audio for all text on all pages of the website, with the exception of image descriptions; and finally, we offer a PDF of every issue in APHont, which is a sans serif typeface created by the American Printing House for the Blind (and is free for download on their website). We decided to offer PDFs of every issue for readers who might want to bypass navigating through the website to read the issue.

All of these steps are pretty simple–a little time-consuming, maybe, but we request that each submitter send image descriptions, audio files, and any other necessary forms of access (such as captions for video), which makes our jobs as an all-volunteer staff easier. Plus, by engaging our fellow artists and writers in the process of making the journal more accessible, we’re contributing to and benefiting from a community that sustains all of us.

JF: What works are you most proud of in your past issue or upcoming issue?

SK: I am so pleased by every person we’ve published so far, but if I had to pick a few favorites, I’d go with Mary Peelen’s “Barometer” in Issue 1, and Travis Chi Wing Lau’s three gorgeous poems in Issue 2. For me, these poems are striking because of the sense of boundlessness and gravitas contained in their narrow contours. Both poets employ quiet, idiosyncratic voices that are dynamic and that feel omnipotent in their explorations of the disabled body.

JF: What are your hopes for the journal’s impact?

SK: I hope that The Deaf Poets Society becomes a home to all people with disabilities. While we might have different backgrounds and experiences, this is a community where, I hope, people are committed to learning from and honoring the other’s experience.

JF: How can people support journals like Deaf Poets Society?

SK: The Deaf Poets Society is an online journal of disability literature and art that produces six issues a year and offers programming in the form of writing workshops, readings, and exhibitions. Beginning with Issue 2, which was just released this month, we began paying our contributors. We hope to continue to pay contributors–this has been our goal from the start–but we’re completely reliant on donations. They’re not tax-deductible yet–we’re exploring the possibility of nonprofit status or obtaining a fiscal sponsor–but we can assure you that every dollar goes toward the costs of journal production and author and artist payment. Every dollar helps! Learn more at

JF: What else would you like to mention?

Keep on the lookout for some exciting programming coming your way soon, including the first few DPS writing workshops, a reading, and an art exhibition!


The Deaf Poets Society releases and issue about six times a year and accepts submissions on a rolling basis. More information on submitting work and guidelines can be found here. Support the journal by making a donation today.