Calling All Bob Dylan Fans!

Desi Miller

Visiting Bob: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Bob Dylan edited by Alan Davis and Thom Tammaro has opened its doors for submissions! The book is planned to contain 100 Poems by 100 poets that are inspired by the life and works of Bob Dylan.

For those who are not familiar with the man, Bob Dylan was born in Duluth, Minnesota on May 24, 1941. Dylan has been a part of the music and art world for over five decades and has become one of the most prominent artists to date, incorporating political, social, philosophical, and literary influences into his work.

Since 1994, Dylan has published six books of drawings and paintings, and his work has been exhibited in major art galleries. Spanning his career in the music industry, he has sold more than 100 million records, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time. The awards he has received include: eleven Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and an Academy Award, and the Pulitzer Prize jury awarded him a special citation in 2008. Most recently, Dylan received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in 2012. He has also been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Minnesota Music Hall of Fame, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and Songwriters Hall of Fame.


For more information or to submit a poem please visit:

New Rivers Press Submittable

For similar titles, see Visiting Emily; Visiting Walt; Visiting Frost; and Visiting Dr. Williams; (University of Iowa Press, ed. by Sheila Coghill and Thom Tammaro).

MSUM’s Certificate in Publishing


So, as you are well aware, New Rivers Press publishes books. We aim to allow new and emerging authors with unique voices to share their messages with the world. However, that is not our only goal. Since 2001, New Rivers Press has been based out of Minnesota State University Moorhead (a relatively short portion of its 48 years of operation). In 2003, New Rivers Press launched its Certificate in Publishing program, whereby students from MSUM could acquire hands-on experience of all aspects of small-press operations including copyediting, typography, marketing, and business. That program endures to this day and numerous MSUM students participate in the program each year, including several New Rivers Press interns.


But what exactly does one have to do in order to acquire this Certificate in Publishing? What sort of things will the program teach you?


There is a very handy mint-green printout available on the 2nd floor of Weld Hall explaining all the required courses for completion of the Certificate (located with the other degree-requirement documents.) The program is 12 credits total, and has two core classes worth 3 credits each. The remaining 6 credits are made up of a fairly generous array of electives.


The two core classes are Introduction to Publishing and the Practicum in Publishing. In the past, the Introduction has been offered as a night class in the Spring and the Practicum as a night class in the Fall. They are generally taught by New River’s Press’ managing editor, this academic year by Nayt Rundquist, and previously, by Suzzanne Kelley. Nayt has expressed interest in changing the courses from night classes to more traditional two-days-per-week daytime classes.


I personally have completed the Intro course and heartily recommend it not only to anyone interested in entering the business of publishing, but also anyone interested in writing professionally or getting their own work (novels, poetry, non-fiction, what-have-you) published. It offered me a valuable inside-view of the publishing world that will aid me greatly in my future as a writer and possibly a publishing professional. Subjects covered ranged from the purpose of ISBN numbers; an introduction to the intricacies of professional book typography; what makes an attractive book cover; how to market a book and how to garner donations; to, of course, where to start when you want to get a book published.


The Introduction class also includes the highly-student-rated end-of-semester Publishing Field Trip, in which students bus down to Minneapolis/St. Paul to take part in a day of literary exploration. Among other things, students visit New Rivers Press’ book printer and supplier, as well as The Loft Literary Center. The year I went, we also visited Capstone Publishing, a children’s book publisher. It was while visiting their office that I really cemented my goal to work professionally in the publishing world.


The Practicum in Publishing picks up from there and expands on student’s growing knowledge of the publishing industry. They are given the hands-on experience of preparing a book for publication by interacting directly with NRP manuscripts. Though I wasn’t enrolled in the class, I was given the opportunity to engage in this aspect. The students are broken up into groups and each given a manuscript to edit and proofread. They correspond directly with the authors in order to fully realize their vision.


This year we are returning to allowing MSUM design students to create attention-grabbing covers for our books and also to interact with the books’ layout and typography. Our interns are also directly involved in the aspects of publishing beyond the actual creation of the book, participating in the marketing and business aspects of the press.


In addition to the two publishing courses, students are encouraged to fill out the rest of their requirements with such English/Communications classes as Creative Writing; Copy Editing; Children’s Book Publishing; Writing for the Web; and Special Topic courses which change each year.


In addition to coursework, an internship with New Rivers Press may also be applied to the Certificate in Publishing’s requirements (as long as its not already counting towards, say, an Honors Apprenticeship.)


For more detailed information about the Certificate in Publishing’s requirements, including a course/elective list, you can visit it’s page in the MSUM academic catalog.

7 Reasons Why Winter is the Best Time to Write


It may be cold and frightful outside, but it’s actually the perfect season to stay inside and write. Here’s why:

If you live in Minnesota or any place else where it snows a lot, chances are you won’t want to spend much time outside. Really, you have nothing better to do than write.

The inspirational weather. Snowflakes swirling through the night sky, creating a contrast of white and black? Perfect time to write. Sunlight glinting off the snow, making it look like a thousand diamonds covering the earth? Write some more.

New Year’s resolutions. Now is the perfect time to sit down, develop a writing strategy, and stick to it!

There isn’t much daylight. For me, I prefer writing when it’s dark outside. There are fewer distractions, and it helps me concentrate. Plus, it’s perfect for mood lighting. Snuggle up to the fireplace and let its warm glow tempt your creative spirit.

Holiday get-togethers with crazy family members. Some of their quirks might bring one of your characters to life. Plus, it’s a great way to “research” speaking styles and relationships.

Holiday breaks give you FREE TIME (wait, that still exists?). That means you have TIME TO WRITE.

There’s something magical in the air. The end of one year turns into the beginning of another. Winter is full of fresh starts. It seems like anything’s possible. And that means it’s possible for you to finish your novel.

Happy writing

I Love To Write Day


Desi Miller

November 15th marked the thirteenth anniversary of I Love to Write Day, a day meant to celebrate writing in all forms. Founded in 2002, by author and ghostwriter John Riddle, I Love to Write Day encourages everyone to sit down for a moment to write something. It can be a thank you card, a letter to a friend, an essay, a poem, a short script, you could start a novel, or you could end a novel.


When I Love to Write Day was still in its infancy, Riddle traveled around the country teaching at writer’s conferences, meeting many who loved writing, but didn’t think that they had time to do so. From there the idea of holding what he calls “the worlds biggest party for writers” came about; from there I Love to Write Day slowly developed, as a day where everyone could write something.


“I want people to take the time to put their thoughts down on paper.” Riddle said, “People need to be challenged, and writing is but one of many creative ways to express yourself.”


Currently, the governors of nine states recognize I Love to Write Day: Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan and Texas. And since its creation, over 30,000 schools across the country have participated. There have also been events hosted by various libraries, community centers, churches and even a few malls have joined the excitement.


It’s fitting that I Love to Write Day is in the middle of November, as the month is known for being National Novel Writing Month, also known fondly as, NaNoWriMo, by it’s participants. As writing is a journey and sometimes once you start going, you don’t want to stop at just one piece, and sometimes a writer just needs a bit of encouragement to keep that spark for writing alive.


“For many people, that will be the beginning of their writing career,” said Riddle in regards to his goals for the event. ”I Love To Write Day has the potential to launch the career of the next John Grisham, Mary Higgins Clark, Stephen King or Toni Morrison.”



Water Rising Release November 9th

In anticipation of Water Rising’s upcoming release, we wanted to give our blog followers a special taste of what’s to come in our newest publication. This book is far different from the majority of our other works for several reasons. The most important is that this is a collaborative work involving both poems and paintings placed side by side to emphasize, inform, and complement each other. While either could be standalone works, they bring considerably more meaning when paired together.

The creators also challenged themselves to stretch outside their comfort zones to reach for something unique and inspiring by both trying a different medium from what they have previously been immensely successful in. Leila Philip, an award-winning prose and nonfiction writer, wrote poems. Garth Evans, an internationally renowned sculptor, created watercolor paintings.

This surprising collaboration created some spectacular results, which any who see the book can certainly vouch for. Not only is this project incredibly unique in its combination of art forms, but also rare in its philanthropy and strong mission. The purpose of this book and its proceeds, as explained in greater detail on Philip’s and Evans’s website, is to donate all net proceeds towards environmental organizations aimed at helping preserve the majesty and natural wonder of our remaining green spaces. They are particularly focused on helping the area around Northeastern Connecticut, which is where both Philip and Evans created their art over a 12-month period.

This mission is at the core of the project and is definitely reflected in the poems and watercolors throughout the book that have a strong environment- and nature-driven theme. In fact, the title poem, “Water Rising,” is one of Philip’s poems that reflects the scenic beauty of that area and ones like it across the world. The poem was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2014. We hope you enjoy this sneak peek of this incredible collaboration and look forward to its release.

Again, for more information on the book and its mission, please visit the Water Rising website or the Forthcoming Titles tab on New Rivers Press’ website. And so, without further delay, this is Leila Philip’s poem “Water Rising,” from the like-titled book to be released November 9th, 2015:

Water Rising

Beavers are the Shiva of the animal world. Who knows how a beaver chooses where to
make her pond? But once she does, trees fall like spears of light then overnight disappear,
dragged to underwater lairs, or left to float eerie carcasses, every branch and shred of
bark stripped clean.

Last week I saw the beaver who’s been cutting down the woods near my house. It
was evening, the weary light thinning through the trees by the time I reached the bridge.
Sound came first, a crack so loud I flinched, thinking my neighbor had shot his gun. But
across the newly flooded swamp, I saw a brown head cutting a silver vee. Beaver, the
first I’d seen.

One black eye visible, staring, back and forth she swam, a crease in flat silver,
then she dove like some huge furious fish and her dark tail flicked up and slammed the
surface. Another crack echoed through the trees, her warning.

Now my beaver swam faster and faster, back and forth before me on the bridge,
fierce, her whole being focused on this one resolve, to make me go away. Again she
slammed the water, sound booming through the trees.

This swamp was hers, her trickling dam, her fallen trees, her growing pond. Each
day water rising. When I didn’t move she began to track me, that dark eye locked on my
standing figure.

This time, when she dove, she took me with her, my svelte younger self moving
through the hot water ladled with silt, down to the bottom of the pond where she had
carved her underwater trails, clawing roads through the deep muck.

When I surfaced I was middle-aged, messy in my ways as if I had grown four sets of
yellow teeth, two layers of fur, claws, and dark scales cascading down the thick paddle
tail. Half fish, but no mermaid.