October 25 – Backwaters Press Reading Series with Anna Monardo, Emily Borgmann and Roy Scheele

Please join us on October 25 at Gallery 1516 for our next reading event featuring Anna Monardo, Emily Borgmann and Backwaters Press author, Roy Scheele. Visit our Facebook event for more information.  
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Unblocked Workshop Returns November 4 — make your reservation today

Join us for The Unblocked Workshop at Gallery 1516 on Saturday, November 4th. Anna Monardo and Emily Borgmann are our guest presenters. All the details can be found online.

Note: The workshop is free, but we need you to reserve your spot today. Space is limited.

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20th Anniversary Celebration

Thank you to everyone who attended our 20th Anniversary Party on September 30th at Hot Shops in Omaha. We celebrated with the band Prairie Gators and danced the night away.

We enjoyed Swedish meatballs, egg rolls, gelato, the Cattail Quencher (created especially for this event), the fabulous cake above, cookies, cupcakes and brownies. 

Portrait of the Toddfather as a Hot Mess 😀

Todd Robinson mesmerized the crowd with the tale of how our press was created 20 years ago by Greg Kosmicki. Then Greg, Michael Catherwood and Cat Dixon shared their thanks to our team of volunteers who made this party happen and to our authors and to all of you supporters.

Greg and Michael

Photo Credit: Rex Walton

Raffle winners won great prizes like the mini-Todd statue, baskets of Backwaters Press books, book ends and writerly baskets filled with anything a creative person would need to start that novel or collection of poems. Special thanks to the artists who donated fantastic pieces to our silent auction: Robert Klein Engler, Jack & Lori Hubbell, M.A. Prentice, Matt Jones, Kristin Pluhacek, Randi Hunter, and Linda Hatfield. 
We had a blast! Cheers to 20 more years!  

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Backwaters Prize for 2017

The Backwaters Press is excited to announce our 2017 winner of the Backwaters Prize. This year’s top prize is $2,500 and publication of the submitted manuscript. The press received over 300 manuscripts from around the world and our dedicated team of readers winnowed that number to the very best of the best, which were then submitted to our gracious judge, Bob Hicok, for evaluation.

Finalists

Samantha Deal: Taxonomies / Something Opened
Kathy O’Fallon:  Listening for Tchaikovsky
Sarah Fishman: Birds of Avarice
Dennis Hinrichsen: [triage]
Francine Conley: What Sweetness from Salt
Kristi Carter: Aria Viscera
Emari DiGiorgio: Girl Torpedo
Heather Angier: Hewn
Liz Robbins: Nets Full of Breath

The winning manuscript for the 2017 Backwaters is:

Temporary Sacrosanct, Benjamín Naka-Hasebe Kingsley.

Our judge Bob Hicok writes:

“From jump, there was such sonic, emotional, and intellectual drive to these poems, that I couldn’t resist – why would I want to – the pull of Benjamín Naka-Hasebe Kingsley’s vision and sensibility. Verve and élan are words I might use, but they lack sufficient verve and élan. And if I wrote, “his future is bright,” I’d be wrong – his future is here, and this book is as much fire as I can ask for.”

We would like to thank all the poets who submitted their work and congratulate the finalists and Mr. Kingsley for their extraordinary work.

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Twyla Hansen to be featured on the Writer’s Almanac

Twyla Hansen

Friend of the Press, and Nebraska State Poet, Twyla M. Hansen, sent us a delightful note of announcement the other day. The message read, in part, “My poem ‘Trying to Pray’ will be read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac on Sat. July 15. Third one from Rock-Tree-Bird–yay–I am thrilled!”

We are so pleased with Twyla’s continued success and look forward to hearing her poem read on the air!

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Backwaters Press Reading Series with Liz Kay, Greg Kosmicki and David Wyatt

All are welcome to attend our free event!

A founding editor of Spark Wheel Press and the journal burntdistrict, Liz Kay holds an MFA from the University of Nebraska, where she was the recipient of both an Academy of American Poets Prize and the Wendy Fort Foundation Prize for exemplary work in poetry. Her poems have appeared in such journals as Beloit Poetry Journal, RHINO, Nimrod, Willow Springs, The New York Quarterly, Iron Horse Literary Review, Redactions, and Sugar House Review. Liz’s debut novel, Monsters: A Love Story, was published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons in 2016.

Greg Kosmicki is a poet and retired social worker living in Omaha, Nebraska. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he studied under the poet Greg Kuzma. Greg founded The Backwaters Press in 1997, which he now serves as Editor Emeritus. His poetry has been published in numerous literary magazines since 1975, both print and online. His poems have been anthologized many times, most recently in 2015 in A Sandhills Reader: Thirty Years of Great Writing from the Great Plains, edited by Mark Sanders, and in 2017 in Nebraska Poetry: A Sesquicentennial Anthology, edited by Daniel Simon. He received artist’s fellowships for his poetry from the Nebraska Arts Council 2000 and 2006. He is the author of five books and 8 chapbooks of poems. Several of his poems have been selected by Garrison Keillor to be read by him on The Writer’s Almanac. He has been nominated several times for the Pushcart Prize. His newest book, It’s as Good Here as it Gets Anywhere, was published in 2016 by Logan House Press. His selected poems, Leaving Things Unfinished: Forty-some Years of Poems, is forthcoming from Sandhills Press. He and Debbie, his wife of 43 years, are the parents of three children, grandparents of two.

David Wyatt has been employed at UNO’s Criss Library since 1996. Wyatt was awarded a Distinguished Merit Fellowship from the Nebraska Arts Council in 2006, and won the inaugural Loraine Williams Poetry Prize from The Georgia Review in 2013. He has published poems in ABZ, The Christian Science Monitor, Prairie Schooner, Natural Bridge, The Georgia Review and Poetry. He lives in Omaha with his wife, Susan. Gathering Place is his first full-length collection of poetry.

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Imaginary Gardens Reading – June 20

The Backwaters press has joined up with Imaginary Gardens for this special event to celebrate the release of the Backwaters Press 20th anniversary anthology. This event is free and open to the public.

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The Unblocked Workshop by The Backwaters Press – coming June 10

This summer, The Backwaters Press launches its new monthly workshop series with a session on common mistakes and how to avoid them. This free event series will offer information and insight on writing from experienced members of the community. Ranging from elements of craft and style, to feedback and critique of attendees’ work, and anywhere in between, The Unblocked Workshop aims to help writers do what they do: write. We will provide notepads, bottled water, and donuts. No matter your skill or experience, please join us and fellow writers create a network where everyone can grow.

Reserve your seat at Eventbrite.

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Two Backwaters Press Poets on The Writer’s Almanac

This week, two poets we have had the joy and privilege to publish will be featured on Garrison Keillor’s daily radio segment, The Writer’s Almanac.

Friday, May 12, the poem “Moonrise, Aurora, Nebraska” by Nebraska State Poet, Twyla Hansen, will be featured on the program. The poem is from Twyla’s most recent collection published by The Backwaters Press, Rock • Tree • Bird.  

Saturday, May 13th, “Bad News, Good News” from I HAVE NOTHING TO SAY ABOUT FIRE by Backwaters Press author Marjorie Saiser will be read by Keillor.

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BWP National Poetry Month Reading Celebration

Join us Wednesday, April 26 at 7:00 p.m. at Gallery 1516 (1516 Leavenworth, Omaha) to celebrate National Poetry Month.

This event is free and open to the public. Enjoy desserts and drinks. Arrive early to spin our Backwaters Prize Wheel. Celebrate National Poetry Month with these three talented authors, Jen Lambert, Miles Waggener and our very own Michael Catherwood.

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