Literary Series

SRCA Open Poetry Chapbook Competition

Standing Rock Cultural Arts is proud to announce that Kelly Fordon of Grosse Pointe, Michigan is the winner of our 2011 SRCA Open Poetry Chapbook Competition! Kelly’s winning manuscript entitled On the Street Where We Live will be the second title in our Rock in the River Literary Series and will be available online and at the North Water Street Gallery beginning February 2012. Congratulations, Kelly!

We were very pleased to receive thirty-two entries of fine caliber from a number of states again this year including Alaska, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia. The entries were intriguing, honest, funny, evocative, unique and quite eclectic and this provided much for our judges to consider. In the end, five very different, well-crafted entries moved into the semifinals round and then three finalists underwent grueling debate at the hands of the judges before this year’s winner emerged. As the winner, Kelly will receive $50 and 25 chapbooks of her winning title. Each entrant and volunteer judge will also receive a complimentary copy of the winning book.

At the start of this competition, our winning author had just finished work on her first novel. Prior to writing fiction and poetry, Kelly worked at the NPR member station in Detroit and for National Geographic magazine. Her work has appeared in The Kenyon Review (KRO), Flashquake, Red Wheelbarrow, The Windsor Review, The Bear River Review, Voices in Wartime and various other journals. Kelly has also received honors with a third place win in the Kathryn Handley Prose Poem Contest and as a finalist in the 38th Annual Mississippi Valley Poetry Contest. She is currently working towards her MFA in fiction writing at Queens University and lives in Michigan with her husband and children. Her website is


Meet the Neighbors.

In Kelly Fordon’s haunting, real-to-life, darkly humorous collection, you will travel
through a local cul-de-sac neighborhood filled with cupcake houses, white picket fences,
and the sudden dead ends, glossy false appearances, and dark shadows that reside On
the Street Where We Live.

You will recognize the neighbor that tells too much, the one who keeps the secrets that
should never be kept, and that one who has it all perfectly together (as well as the ones
who definitely do not, no matter how they might pretend). You'll even witness the children
at play—and at risk. Familiar life occurrences like marriage, lovelessness, birth, growth,
and loss will all make appearances, but often here, these evolutions occur in startlingly
unexpected and subtly emotional—sometimes darkly punchy—ways.

In one sleek volume, Fordon creates the neighborhood that you saw and instantly wanted
to move into—as well as the one you fought like mad to escape and survive.

Welcome to the neighborhood...

Available as $10 PayPal pre-sale on this website (includes Shipping & Handling) COMING SOON! / $8 new title launch sale (in gallery only) during February 2012 / $7 member’s price (in gallery only) during February 2012 *Proceeds benefit arts programming at Standing Rock Cultural Arts including arts scholarships for families and children in need.

In addition, we’d like to invite you to visit the website of our first winning author, Jeff Fearnside of Prescott, Arizona: He has been up to some amazing things since his chapbook, Lake, and Other Poems of Love in a Foreign Land, took the 2010 prize last year—like additional publications and his second prestigious Pushcart Prize nomination! (Congratulations, Jeff!)

We at Standing Rock Cultural Arts and the Rock in the River Literary Series most definitely invite, encourage, and welcome new and experienced talented authors to enter future competitions. Each competition features different guest judges allowing aesthetics and tastes to vary with each competition so that a variety of chapbooks featuring eclectic styles and subjects can come to print. Details of any upcoming competitions will be posted to our homepage (as well as through Facebook for our Facebook followers at and through Twitter for our Twitter followers at although entries are currently closed.

Last but certainly not least, we humbly and gratefully wish to thank our wonderful and dedicated volunteer judges, Colleen Clayton and Gina Tabasso, for their gracious charitable work on this competition, as well as all of those who support our literary sector. Remaining funds from this competition (following publication of the chapbook) and proceeds from sales of the chapbook will benefit our many cultural arts events including the Rock in the River Literary Series, as well as arts programming and arts scholarships for families and children in need. Please check out the judges’ bios on our website and check out some of their amazing work too!

Rock In the River Literary Series

The Standing Rock Cultural Arts Rock in the River Literary Series is the new expansion on our literary sector with a mission to promote literary arts in our general area and to promote local and national poets with publication.

The series launched with the Premiere Standing Rock Open Poetry Chapbook Competition in July 2010 and our first title, Lake and Other Poems of Love in a Foreign Land by Jeff Fearnside of Prescott, Arizona, is forthcoming in February 2011. The series is currently edited by Tina Puckett.

$12 (which includes shipping & handling)
A lso available for $10 ($8 for SRCA Members) in the
North Water Street Gallery, 257 N Water St, downtown Kent


In Lake and Other Poems of Love in a Foreign Land, Jeff Fearnside uses his delicately detailed, socially relevant, emotionally moving poems and their rich imagery to lead us through the enlightening—sometimes harrowing—travels of life in another land, where nearly nothing is what has been known to the newcomer speaker.

Readers are led into a world where the speaker becomes foreigner, the foreign becomes familiar, and all that has been familiar is suddenly foreign when examined intimately through the eyes of another culture. As Fearnside winds us through the unfamiliar crumbling, crowded roads and vast empty waterways of his poems, he introduces the reader to an incredible exploration of the senses, an intimate knowledge of one country and culture, and calls subtle attention to both our comforts and, in contrast, our innermost fears.

In ten well-crafted, introspectively thoughtful, and emotionally honest poems, we learn that we are all foreign and familiar in the world and that it’s quite possible that our journey in this world can result in two "foreigners" that form one life, one breath, one bridge.


Jeff Fearnside lived and worked in Central Asia for four years, first as a university instructor through the U.S. Peace Corps and later as manager of the Muskie Graduate Fellowship Program in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

His creative work has appeared in more than two dozen national publications in the U.S., including poetry in Assisi, Blue Earth Review, and The Los Angeles Review; nonfiction in The Sun, Etude, and the anthology A Life Inspired: Tales of Peace Corps Service; and fiction in Rosebud, Crab Orchard Review, and as Featured Winner of the 2005 Flash Fiction Contest in Many Mountains Moving.

A selection from his short-story manuscript, Making Love While Levitating Three Feet in the Air, was chosen a Grand Prize Winner in the Santa Fe Writers Project 2005 Literary Awards Program, while the entire manuscript was named a finalist (Top 7) in the New Rivers Press 2009 MVP Competition. In addition, Fearnside’s fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Other awards for his writing have included fellowships at both the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest in Clermont, Kentucky, and the Mary Anderson Center for the Arts in Mount St. Francis, Indiana. He currently lives with his Kazakhstani wife and two cats in Prescott, Arizona, where he is at work on a novel set in Central Asia.

His website is



This winning manuscript was entered into the Premiere SRCA Open Poetry Chapbook Competition, held by Standing Rock Cultural Arts in Kent, Ohio, July 1–September 30, 2010. Forty-eight entries represented a number of states across the country, which ranged as far west as the Washington-California borders, as far east as Maine, as far north as Minnesota, and as far south as Arizona, Texas, and Florida.

The manuscripts were submitted by a diverse array of authors that included professors and writing instructors, college (including MFA) students, poetry organization leaders, senior citizens, at least one high school student, and numerous published poets. Entries ran the gamut of socially important, touching, comic, experimental, surreal, imaginative, slice of life/local color, and just about everything in between.


Andrew Rihn (Guest Blind Judge) is the author of several slim volumes of poetry, including the chapbooks The Rust Belt MRI (Pudding House), America Plops and Fizzes (sunnyoutside press), and Foreclosure Dogs (Winged City Press). Andrew was the 2008 First Place Stan and Tom Wick Undergraduate Poetry Competition winner and runner-up in the 2009 Working Peoples' Poetry Competition. He has run poetry workshops at both Kent State University at Stark and a domestic violence shelter. He can be found online at his blog Midwestern Sex Talk.

T.M. Göttl (Guest Blind Judge) is a member of the Buffalo ZEF creative community and serves as vice president of the Ohio Poetry Association. Her work has appeared in Pudding Magazine, Verse Wisconsin, Common Threads, The Hessler Street Fair Poetry Anthology, Opium Press, The Poet’s Haven, Deep Cleveland, The Mill, Waynessence, and others, as well as on 91.3 WAPS The Summit and 89.7 WOSU radio, both in Ohio. Her first full-length collection, Stretching the Window, was published in 2008. She can be found online at

Tina Puckett (Editor and Judge*) is a student of the Northeast Ohio MFA (NEOMFA) program with a concentration in Poetry. She has appeared in Phoebe (SUNY), epitome, MUSE, The Listening Eye, and Nexus amongst other publications and currently has a poem exhibited in The Wick Poetry Center’s Speak Peace Traveling Exhibition. Her most recent chapbook is Crushed Sunlight from Spare Change Press. She previously served as Editor-In-Chief for (then national) literary journal Canto at Kent State University at Stark, where she also studied in numerous workshops with writer Robert Miltner.

*Tina tracked entries but remained as blind to entries as she possibly could, separating herself from readings until weeks/months after tracking entries. Our guest judges were 100% blind judges.


At this time, Standing Rock Cultural Arts will only be publishing competition-winning poetry chapbooks once annually with competitions taking place July-September of each year. We look forward to trying to feature various volunteer guest judges to offer diverse backgrounds and stylistic tastes for each competition. Calls for submissions will be posted on our website. No unsolicited submissions will be reviewed.


The proceeds received from each competition’s entry fees (currently $8 per submission) defray the expenses of our poetry chapbook competitions and benefit our arts programming, which includes recurring poetry readings and our goals for poetry enrichment. The author of the winning chapbook receives a cash prize and copies of the chapbook with rights for reprint, as well as author sales at the author’s desire and expense with no fees or commission due to SRCA. SRCA also retains rights to reprint and sell chapbooks with no additional revenue to the author. All rights to the individual poems revert to the author upon publication.

Thank you for your interest in and support of the Standing Rock Cultural Arts Rock in the River Literary Series and our Open Poetry Chapbook Competitions!