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Poetry Editor Ruben Quesada Picks Ten Poems that Make His World Stand Still

Over the past month, I’ve asked the Cobalt team to put together lists of ten works that represent the kinds of writing that excite them, the kinds of stuff they want to flood their inbox.

These lists are meant to give both clarity and inspiration to our submitters, as well as pay homage to great writers and great writing.

In this installment, which is also listed on our submission manager, poetry editor Ruben Quesada chooses ten poems that have made his world stand still. (more…)

Ten Stories that Kind of Represent What Fiction Editor Rafe Posey Might Enjoy Reading

Over the past month, I’ve asked the Cobalt team to put together lists of ten works that represent the kinds of writing that excite them, the kinds of stuff they want to flood their inbox.

These lists are meant to give both clarity and inspiration to our submitters, as well as pay homage to great writers and great writing.

In this installment, which is also listed on our submission manager, fiction editor Rafe Posey chooses ten stories that he wouldn’t mind showing up in his submission pile. (more…)

Creative Nonfiction Editor Samantha Stanco Selects Ten Essays/Memoirs

Over the past month, I’ve asked the Cobalt team to put together lists of ten works that represent the kinds of writing that excite them, the kinds of stuff they want to flood their inbox.

These lists are meant to give both clarity and inspiration to our submitters, as well as pay homage to great writers and great writing.

In this installment, which is also listed on our submission manager, nonfiction editor Samantha Stanco chooses ten essays and memoirs that she loves. (more…)

Cobalt Dedicates Prizes to Mistral, McCourt, Hurston

In our third year of offering writing prizes in fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry, Cobalt is pleased to announce the dedication of our contests to three exceptional and influential writers. Each represents not only a unique voice in literature, but also leadership through struggle and diversity. We have selected these authors for their influence on the literary community as a whole, as well as the creative spirit we wish to bring to our publications. Read more about these contests and the writers to whom they are dedicated below. (more…)

Let’s Have a Serious Talk About James Franco

Okay, writers, let’s have a serious talk about James Franco.

Really.

We have been talking some shit about this guy for a while now, and maybe it’s worth revisiting that. Last year, shortly after Franco made a video of his less-than-inspired and less-than-inspiring “inauguration” poem, we set out on a mission to hate on everything Franco attempted to contribute to the literary world. We even wore cardboard-cutout masks of his face around AWP in Boston.

But the guy is trying, people. He really is. Perhaps what we need to consider is that Franco has so much fame and so many resources, that his trying is significantly more public than our own. I mean, I wrote a really shitty poem the other day, shared it with maybe four people, and then it disappeared into the ether.

The difference is that if Franco tries to share a shitty poem with even one person, that person is most likely going to pass it on to a dozen of their friends. And on and on.

And all of us writerly folks are itching for the next chance to piss on his work.

That’s why we’ve been going nuts over this upcoming Franco adaptation of Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying.

(Don’t get me wrong, here. I definitely was a little weirded out the first twenty times I saw his face below WILLIAM FAULKNER on the updated book covers.)

james-franco-as-i-lay-dyingJust think about it: you’re not going to boycott Franco’s As I Lay Dying because you have such low expectations for it; you’re going to pay $12.00 to see it when it’s still in theaters because you have such low expectations for it. And if it turns out to be a spectacular movie, sure, 75% of you will trash it because you and everyone else thinks it should be trashed; but 25% of you will be glad you paid the price of admission.

When I launched the Last Annual James Franco Award, I was not being serious. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I sincerely want Franco to send me his poetry. And I want it to be good. Should I not encourage him to write great stuff? That would kind of be like having James Franco as a student and telling him in every workshop, “I’m sorry, I just can’t take you seriously, James Franco. Maybe you should just give up or be somebody else.”

Yes, I will turn away any submissions that do not fit with the aesthetic of our press; but I’d be crazy to hate on Franco just because it’s cool to hate on Franco. When he sends me a poem, he will win the Last Annual James Franco Award. And if the poem knocks my socks off, I’ll publish the hell out of it.

Share your thoughts on Franco in the comments section of this post.

*UPDATE:
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