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Floating in reverie’s cool darkness, our minds drift with the tide. On the imaginary shore, just beyond our reach, strangely familiar things start happening to people we recognize (let’s call them “characters”) as we tread water and feel the words and phrases flow together. What the hell’s going on here? Ah, dear readers, it’s just a story (or poem) taking shape as someone burns the midnight oil. Then, after much toil and stretching of the mental envelope, a few long-distance writers (or short-form sprinters, as the case may be) get their work printed in Metro Times’ Summer Fiction issue. This year, a whopping 260 entries in three categories (short story, poetry and flash fiction) gave our judges much to consider, as the fictional surf crashed and the poetic manuscripts glowed in the mental moonlight.
Reading through hundreds of works in search of textual satisfaction is not everybody’s cup of tea. But Metro Times is lucky to have a hook-up with some of metro Detroit’s finest writers and literary gourmets, who are happy to oblige.
One of two wordsmiths choosing our short story winners this year, Lynn Crawford has two books forthcoming from Black Square Editions: Simply Separate People, Two, volume two of her most recent novel, and Fortification Resort, a collection of fiction about art in Detroit. And since Brian Smith, Metro Times’ outspoken music editor, just about reads a novel every day for breakfast, we thought he’d be another excellent judge of a good prose yarn.
Wading through the veritable flood of poetry entries were two of the Motor City’s hippest bards: Poet Terry Blackhawk, who directs InsideOut, a literary arts project serving the Detroit Public Schools — her latest collection of poems, Escape Artist, received the 2002 John Ciardi Prize for poetry. And poet-publisher Ken Mikolowski, co-founder with his late wife, painter Ann Mikolowski, of the Alternative Press, one of the most adventurous art-and-writing projects in North America.
Over in flash fiction cove, where the waves are small but the impact powerful, we relied on the expertise of Metro Times staff writer Sarah Klein, never one to shy away from the controversial in its many forms; and poet Ted Pearson, who teaches writing (including flash fiction) at Wayne State University — his latest collection of poetry, Songs Aside: 1992-2002, has just appeared from Detroit’s Past Tents Press.
For the third year in a row, we’ve chosen a writer to be the guest of the Walloon Writers’ Retreat (at Michigania on Walloon Lake), a prize that includes enrollment fee, room and board for the weekend of Sept. 25-28. This year’s winner is Esperanza Cintron of Detroit whose poems “Old Men in Hats” and “Chocolate City Latina (Part 1)” appear in these pages. She’ll participate in the fifth annual weekend of workshops, panel discussions and readings with authors Billy Collins, Jane Hamilton, Marie Howe, Joyce Maynard, Craig Holden et al.
Check out the winners of this year's Summer Fiction 2003
Chapter 1: School Supplies - Jennifer Fine
Untitled - Tammie Gizicki
At 69, Still the Birthing Dream - Mary Ann Wehler
Cuckoo for cockatoos - Lori K.
My mother's funeral, my father's regrets - Kahn Davison
Obviating Squirrels - Kevin Dole 2
Hot Pink - DeLeon DeMicoli
Love Lying on a Smooth Plane - Morgan Frances Campbell
City haiku I - Greg Nannini
Arcturus - Amy Elliott
Old Men in Hats - Esperanza Cintron
send in the clowns - Audrey R. Shangle
Pembroke Park - Luann Rouff
Kitty's Christmas Tree Farm - Molly Brodak
In This Ordinary Myth - Melinda LePere
atlas all over - Kristin M. Hatch
Figure Forty - David Hardin
The Sunset Bus - Michael Boettcher
Cycle - Beth Trombley
Alter - Vince Samarco
At a Denny's on Gratiot — Volume Two - Melissa Sharpe
Cuba - Joanna Goddard
Devotional - Lisa Middleton
Big Jim's new world - M.J. Andrews
First date - T.B. Myers
My dream about Jorge Luis Borges - Jon Muzzall
Wedding gift - Emily K. Morris
Mermaid - Peter Macfarlane
El Dia de Crisis - Joanna Goddard
The Mongoloid Brother Popped In - M.J. Andrews
The Juggler - Peter Macfarlane
Her Needle Name - P.F. Potvin
Return Trip - Michael Murphy
Resolve - Robbin Tenglin
Homeland Security with a side of Fatoosh - A. Zayne Tawil
Friends - Erik V. Wicks
Trying to fit in - Michael O'Reilly
Untitled 4 - Rowan James
E-mail George Tysh at email@example.com.