BY LISA MARIE BASILE
I started the Luna Luna monthly flash contest for two reasons: one unselfish—and one selfish. First, I wanted to create a recurring 'contest' where a theme would be announced on-spec, without any notice, on the first day of each month. Why? To bolster creativity and spontaneous response. To create a sense of a goal we could all work toward together (creative work!) and to, well, create a sense of community. Because whenever I've entered a contest—whether I won or didn't—it was always nice to see who did win, and to read their work. I hope this contest can be something you look forward to monthly, a little light in the dark, a little something strange and fun you can do at the beginning of each month. And because the contest runs at the beginning of each month, it's like a little birth, or a little ritual of creative welcoming.
(That said, there is no monetary prize, and no print publication—but Luna Luna will publish your work digitally, pair it beautifully with art, design it, and promote the hell out of it on social).
The second reason was more selfish: I wanted to read your work—lots of it, and quickly. I wanted to just drown in idea and voice and variety, and I wanted to move through my own feelings about the topic (death) by exploring your approach to it. It was so worth it. Thank you all for submitting.
160 of you submitted. I narrowed the finalists down to about 15, and from there I picked three. It was difficult, and I am truly honored to have read all of your work. I loved each and every poem for different reasons. The poems I picked I chose because they were carefully and thoughtfully constructed, the language was startling and surprising, and the treatment of 'death' was unique. All of the poems lingered on my spirit—their shapes, their voices, their pain, their craft, their music. I did NOT pick poems based on the poet or their bio (which I do not read or care for with the slightest). I picked the poem itself.
With no further ado, the winners are below. The poems will be live within the day, and will be widely shared on social media. Stay tuned for the next contest, which will be revealed on September 1 across our social media and on this website.
— Cornelia Barber
Cornelia Barber is a New York writer. In her duel writing and healing work she investigates lineage, intimacy, race and the psychic and physical ecologies of people, plants, places and animals. Her work can be found in Prelude, The Felt, Berfrois, Fanzine, The Poetry Project Newsletter, Entropy, Weird Sister and more. She is an editor at Queen Mobs Teahouse and currently works on her late father, author and political theorist, Benjamin Barber's archive.
— Erin Marie Hall
Erin Hall is a poet and visual artist from South Bend, IN. She earned a BA in English at Indiana University. Her work, which explores sexuality, mental illness, the body, and the apocalyptic, has appeared or is forthcoming in Unlost Journal, After the Pause, Rust + Moth, and your nightmares.
— Freke Räihä
Born in 1978. Educated as a baker. Debut in print 2001. Studied five years at two of the most prestigious creative writing-schools in Sweden: Skurups Folkhögskolas Skrivarlinje and Författarskolan at Lund University. And a course in Comparative Literature Fantasy at Växjö University where I wrote a paper on The alienation of the Hero/Villain: Uppsats om utanförskapet hos hjälten/skurken. Also, amongst other things, former literary curator at Tidningen Kulturen and lector at Telegrafstationen. In 2012-2014 I studied ways of publishing at Malmö University and the publishing business at Lunds University where I wrote essays about literary criticism and the dominant currents in Publishing education. 2016-2017 I attended the Skurups Skrivarpedagoglinje which made me a better teacher of poetry. I normally teach poetry on a freelance basis. 2016 was also the year I debuted as a news journalist and I have written articles for Kristianstadsbladetsince then. Since 2017 I am also a student in creative writing at Konstfack.
Stay tuned for the poems!