Rock In the River Literary Series

The Standing Rock Cultural Arts Rock in the River Literary Series is the literary sector that launched July 2010 with a mission to promote literary arts in our general area and to promote local and national poets with publication.

Our newest author and winner of the 2011 SRCA Second Open Poetry Chapbook Competition is Kelly Fordon of Michigan whose chapbook entitled On the Street Where We Live arrives February 2012. The series is currently edited by Tina Puckett.

Order below through Paypal for $9 (shipping included).
Also available for purchase at the North Water Street Gallery, 257 N Water St, downtown Kent.
**Proceeds benefit arts programming at Standing Rock Cultural Arts including arts scholarships for families and children in need.

$9 (shipping included)


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...


Kelly Fordon has recently 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, The Windsor Review, and various other journals. She is the recipient of several scholarships and awards including third place honors in the SF Pen Kathryn Handley Prose Poem Contest and as a finalist in the 38th Annual Mississippi Valley Poetry Contest.

Kelly also has ties to Standing Rock’s home. She completed her B.A. at Kenyon College and her M.S. in Communications at Ohio University. She is the daughter of the late Bill Stanton, who served as congressman for the district encompassing Kent from 1965-1983.

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


This winning manuscript was entered into the Second Annual SRCA Open Poetry Chapbook Competition, held by Standing Rock Cultural Arts in Kent, Ohio, July 1–September 30, 2011. A number of entries of fine caliber represented an array of states including Alaska, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia were received.

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 Kelly Fordon emerged as this year’s winner.

We seek to offer this annual competition with various guest judges in order to offer diverse backgrounds and aesthetics, and we wish to thank all of the talented writers who shared their work with us and provided the judges
with some excellent reading. We hope you’ll try us again in the future!

Congratulations to Kelly! Thank you to everyone else who is reading this! Your support of this competition and/or chapbook helped defray the expenses of this publication and helps to support our literary series. Remaining funds
will benefit our arts scholarships and arts programming, which includes recurring open poetry readings with poet and professor Maj Ragain at Last Exit Books in Kent, Ohio.


Colleen Clayton (Guest Blind Judge) holds an MFA from the NEOMFA.  In addition to writing contemporary young adult fiction, she has published short stories and poetry in Ruminate Magazine, Rubbertop Review, The Road Not Taken, Gloom Cupboard, and many other literary journals. When she isn't writing, she is teaching writing at Youngstown State University. Her first novel, WHAT HAPPENS NEXT, will be published in October 2012 by Little, Brown and Company.

Gina Tabasso (Guest Blind Judge) holds a master’s degree in English; has been published in many international literary journals and anthologies; and has three chapbooks (From Between My Legs, Disrobing and Front Lines). She earns her living in marketing communications and as an adjunct English instructor. She enjoys practicing yoga, watching films, reading, and spending time with her horse and those she loves.

**We regret that one of our originally declared (and very dedicated) judges could not be with us at the time that readings and rankings began due to unforeseen circumstances beyond anyone’s control. We look forward to working with her again soon in the future.

Tina Puckett (Editor & 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, The Penguin Review, and Jenny amongst other publications and currently has a poem exhibited in The Wick Poetry Center’s Speak Peace Traveling Exhibition. She previously served as Editor-In-Chief for (then national) literary journal Canto at Kent State University at Stark. Her website is

*Tina tracked entries and was involved at the semifinalist and finalist stages of our competition in order to keep the entries as blind and fairly evaluated as possible. Our guest judges were 100% blind judges and involved at all stages of the reading and ranking.


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!



The Rock in the River Literary 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, debuted February 2011.

$8 ( includes shipping)

Also available 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.

Following publication, Jeff received additional publications and a prestigious Pushcart Prize nomination. Check out his latest literary news, updates, and information at his website,


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 fm.