Rock In the River Literary Series

The Standing Rock Cultural Arts Rock in the River Literary Series is the press portion of our literary sector witha 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 launched in February 2011. The series is currently edited by Tina Puckett. Please see more detailed information about our titles, authors, judges, and competitions below.

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 home page (as well as through Facebook and Twitter).


Standing Rock Cultural Arts is proud to announce that Elizabeth Kerlikowske of Michigan is the winner of our 2013 SRCA Open Poetry Chapbook Competition! Elizabeth’s winning manuscript entitled Last Hula will be the fourth title in our Rock in the River Literary Series and will be available online, as well as at the North Water Street Gallery and Last Exit Books beginning February 2014. Congratulations, Elizabeth!

Our blinded judges narrowed to four entries before selecting Elizabeth as the ultimate contender. As the winner, Elizabeth 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.


A hula is a dance, a chant, a song—historically of honor and reverence; a celebration. They are stories, preserved genealogies, praised significant people, and even released emotion. In Elizabeth Kerlikowske’s Last Hula, a daughter’s voice cyclically emerges from the storm’s eye of love and loss and hulas with surprisingly sharp, colorful insights that always return to that central focus: honor, reverence, celebration, and send-off of a father unlike any other, preservation of a genealogy with a lost but memorized link, a gratitude, and both a moving hello and goodbye.

Cover Photograph by Dave Knop © 2014

$10 online orders (includes S&H) (Regular $12)
$8 in North Water Street Gallery & Last Exit Books (Regular $10)
$7 member’s price (in gallery only) (Regular $9)
*Proceeds benefit arts programming at Standing Rock Cultural Arts
including arts scholarships for families and children in need.

Elizabeth Kerlikowske is the winner of the 2010 Dunes Review Shaw Prize and also of a (Kalamazoo) Community Literary Award for Poetry. Her work has appeared in the journals SLAB, The Ambassador Project, New Verse News, Cincinnati Review, Passager, Poemeleon, Off the Coast, and recent anthologies, The Disenfranchised and Solace. She is also the author of six books of poetry and prose including Rib (Pudding House Press, 2010) and the one she most enjoyed writing, The Shape of Dad (March Street Press, 2005).

Elizabeth earned her MA from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and her PhD from Western Michigan University. She has taught at Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek, Michigan for 18 years.

In addition, she is the president of Friends of Poetry, a 37 year old nonprofit dedicated to poetry. Friends of Poetry sponsors a yearly reading series, as well as an annual contest for student writers, and collaborates with other small arts organizations in the area.

Elizabeth is a Michigan native, and her work is subsequently infused with forests and lakes. She is the mother of three children who are all great Scrabble players. They are her greatest pride.


Melissa Barrett is the recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, a Tin House writer’s scholarship, an Oboh Prize, a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize, and the Koppenhaver Prize from Wittenberg University. Her poems have received honors from Gulf Coast, Indiana Review, Sonora Review, and Boxcar Poetry Review, and can be found in recent or forthcoming issues of Narrative, Anti-, Beloit Poetry Journal, Kenyon Review Online, and Web Conjunctions. Additionally, her essays can be found in Prairie Schooner and LA Review of Books. Melissa holds degrees from Sarah Lawrence College, the University of Denver, and Wittenberg University. She lives in Columbus, Ohio and teaches at the high-achieving charter school, Columbus Collegiate Academy. Visit her at

Robert Miltner is the author of Hotel Utopia (New Rivers Press Many Voices prize & Ohioana Book Award finalist). He has authored a dozen chapbooks including Against the Simple (Wick award), Queen Mab and the Moon Boy (Kattywompus Press), and Imperative (All Nations Press). His work has appeared in Pleiades, Prose Poem, LIT, Bellingham Review, Ordering the Storm: Making a Manuscript of Poetry (Cleveland State University Press), Field Guide to Prose Poetry (Rose Metal Press), and Christmas Stories from Ohio (Kent State University Press). Miltner edits Quickly and The Raymond Carver Review. He is Associate Professor of English at Kent State University at Stark where he teaches creative writing and literature. He also serves as a Campus Coordinator and faculty member for the Northeast Ohio MFA Creative Writing Consortium.  His website is

*Our guest judges always read only blinded submissions.

We humbly and gratefully wish to thank our wonderful and dedicated volunteer judges, Melissa Barrett and Robert Miltner, for their gracious charitable work on this year‘s 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!

Tina Puckett is currently an Outreach Teaching Artist with the Wick Poetry Center and is completing her MFA in Poetry at the Northeast Ohio MFA consortium. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Phoebe (SUNY), The Rubbertop Review, Ophelia Street, The Lit's MUSE, The Listening Eye, Luna Negra, and Jenny amongst other publications. Tina additionally serves as President of Standing Rock Cultural Arts and has served voluntarily as the Rock in the River Literary Series Editor since its inception in 2010. She has previously served as Editor-In-Chief for (then national) literary journal Canto at Kent State University at Stark.

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.


Artwork on Cover by Michael Weiss © 2010

$12 online orders (includes S&H)
$10 in North Water Street Gallery & Last Exit Books
$7 member’s price (in gallery only) (Regular $9)
*Proceeds benefit arts programming at Standing Rock Cultural Arts including arts scholarships for families and children in need.


The captain says feel free to move but I’m not going anywhere…

Rick Marlatt’s newest collection opens with this take on modern society in a multidimensional dreamlike void where myth meets math, theology meets technology, and spirituality meets the stagnation of a world saturated in electronic static. Like any intriguing and complex dream, Marlatt’s multi-layered collection is woven together through an impressive number of binding threads that lead the reader through a fascinating loop of reflections on everything from ancestral roots, spirituality, myth, and the natural world to the psyche, tension, and the fatigued technological hangover of a desolate decade of “connected” disconnect.

While readers feel as if smoke signals and spirit animals are leaving a web of warning and igniting the speaker’s anxieties at every turn, they will want to learn whether the speaker successfully navigates the mechanics of this over amped dimension where “the buffalo are all gone” and “pigeons are actuated by satellites,” where even “the microwave wants a little rest. / The light switch pines for solitude.” Subsequently, Desired Altitude will leave enlightened readers relieved to relocate the ability to find simple resolution within themselves. In a unique and subtle man-versus-machine missive, a constant bevy of new discoveries to consider both surprises and pleases with each subsequent read.

Photo courtesy of Rick Marlatt © 2013


Rick Marlatt’s first book, How We Fall Apart, was chosen as the winner of the 2010 Seven Circle Press Poetry Award.
Rick is a graduate of the MFA program at the University of California, Riverside, where he served as poetry editor of the Coachella Review. Previously, he studied English and Philosophy at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, where he also earned a MA in Creative Writing, and he is currently a PhD student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

A teacher, poet, screenwriter, and literary critic, Rick’s work has appeared widely in print and online publications. He lives in Nebraska with his wife and their two sons. His website is

Rick Marlatt signs copies of Desired Altitude in 2013 at Last Exit Books in Kent, Ohio

Rick Marlatt Reading, Karma Cafe, 2013



Artwork on Cover by Jill Slaymaker © 2012,

*Proceeds for this edition's online orders now fully benefit the author.

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...



At the start of the 2011 competition, Kelly Fordon had just finished work on her first novel. Prior to writing fiction and poetry, she worked at the NPR member station in Detroit and for National Geographic magazine. Kelly’s 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

Kelly Fordon reads in 2012 at Last Exit Books in Kent, Ohio




Photograph on Cover by Kristian Walter © 2011

*Proceeds for this edition's online orders now fully benefit the author. Limited copies of remaining launch stock also available at the North Water Street Gallery for $5 (walk-in only) and proceeds of those copies benefit SRCA's arts programming and scholarships for those in need.

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 as 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

Lynne Albert (Guest Blind Judge)served as Assistant Editor of the literary magazine The Lighter at Valparaiso University. Her work has appeared in literary magazines at Valparaiso, the University of Findlay, and Ursuline College, as well as anthologies such as Vending Machine: Poetry for Change and Hessler Street Poetry. Lynne’s creative focus includes raising awareness about mental illness and homelessness. Her newest compilation, entitled Her Haunted Hazel Eyes Contradict Her Smile, debuted this winter.

Colleen Clayton (Guest Blind Judge, 2011) 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, was published in October 2012 by Little, Brown and Company.

John Dorsey (Guest Blind Judge)is the author of several collections of poetry, including harvey keitel, harvey keitel, harvey keitel, with S.A. Griffin and Scott Wannberg (Butcher Shop Press/Rose of Sharon Press/Temple of Man, 2005), Teaching the Dead to Sing: The Outlaw's Prayer (Rose of Sharon Press, 2006), and Sodomy is a City in New Jersey (American Mettle Books, 2010). His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

T.M. Göttl (Guest Blind Judge, 2010) is a member of the Buffalo ZEF creative community and has served 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

Allen Michael Hines (Guest Blind Judge)was the winner of a 2007 Stan and Tom Wick poetry scholarship and is currently a writer and researcher for the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador. His chapbook Screaming Freedom was published in 2009. Allen’s poetry has appeared in several publications and is forthcoming in an anthology from BlazeVOX.

Andrew Rihn (Guest Blind Judge, 2010) 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.

Gina Tabasso (Guest Blind Judge, 2011) 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.

*Our guest judges always read only blinded submissions. Editor also judged blinded entries in years 2010-2011.

The proceeds received from each competition’s entry fees (currently $9 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. SRCA currently turns sales and accompanying profits over to authors after initial stock from publication year is exhausted. Please note that our editor, guest judges, and staff are unpaid volunteers in a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
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!

New World Children’s Theatre Playwriting Workshops & Production, 2013


“I’ve been working with editor Tina Puckett on final production details, and her professionalism and enthusiasm have been outstanding. This should be a classy product from what seems to be a classy organization.” –Jeff Fearnside’s website, 2010 Winner/2011 Title Launch

“They [the books] are amazing! Thanks so much for the terrific editing!” –Kelly Fordon correspondence, 2011 Winner/2012 Title Launch

“What I really appreciate is your keen balance between your sharp editor's eye and your poetic sense. To say that you are writer-friendly is an understatement to be sure . . . I'm really blown away! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with you.” –Rick Marlatt correspondence, 2012 Winner/2013 Title Launch



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Standing Rock Cultural Arts is a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit art and educational organization located at 257 N Water St in downtown Kent, Ohio, whose mission is to build community through the arts.

“Poems from the Trees” Poetry Reading, a collaboration between Vandenboom Studios,
the Wick Poetry Center, and Standing Rock Cultural Arts, at SRCA-Produced Annual Earth Day Festival, April 2013

We always welcome donations to assist in the operation of our programs, and all donations are tax-deductible and may be designated for literary programming or for our New World Children’s Theatre Playwrighting Workshops and scholarships if desired.