Literary Offerings into the World | August 2017 Report

Poetry: 8 submissions (Salt Hill Journal, Zone 3, Washington Square Review, The MacGuffin, Coldnoon, Potomac Review, South 85, Contrary), 1 acceptance (Coldnoon), 1 rejection (South 85).


Creative Nonfiction:
 10 submissions (Lunch Ticket, The Smart Set, Rose Red Review, The Capra Review, Lindenwood Review, Lascaux Review, Saranac Review, West Branch, Diagram, The Forge), 1 acceptance (Drexel University’s The Smart Set, a paying market!), 6 rejections (Puritan, Pleiades, American Scholar, West Branch, The Forge, Lascaux Review).

Read my The Smart Set essay, “A Day with Murray,” here.

Fiction: 0 submissions, 0 acceptances, 0 rejections. My two short stories in progress continue to take a backseat for the moment.

Other August 2017 activities: I workshopped a Holocaust-related middle-grade novel in verse at the Jewish Children’s Literature Tent Program at the National Yiddish Book Center in Massachusetts. My  YA biography for Carolyn P. Yoder’s Alumni Retreat at the Highlights Foundation in Pennsylvania has morphed into a YA novel in verse, which my prospective editor, my agent, and I are very excited about. Magical things always happen at Highlights!

Coming up in September!

Cycle 7 begins for The Whole Megillah online fiction students. I’m working on a Holocaust book for hire followed by another one with German content. I’m teaching six courses at one college and one university, ranging from composition to fiction writing to American Ethnic History. I’ll be finishing my draft of the YA biography/novel in verse, writing three articles about 19th-century women for Cobblestone, and writing five biographical entries (two about Jewish personalities) for a volume about Paterson Lives for William Paterson University, where I teach in the both the English and History departments. After the High Holy Days, I will be continuing my work with my poetry mentor on a new chapbook dealing with my experiences in 2011 in the Czech Republic.

The reading period for many lit mags opens this month, so I’d like to carve out some time between teaching and physical therapy to send out some more work. My goal is to have any piece out to at least five places at a time.


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Report on Tent: Jewish Children’s Literature, August 2017

National Yiddish Book Center
Amherst, MA

From August 13-August 20, 2017,  the National Yiddish Book Center, in partnership with PJ Library, and funded by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, hosted the first-ever Tent program of Jewish Children’s Literature. They received about 130 applications and selected 20 writers to attend this inaugural event. I was one of them.

We gathered on August 13 in Amherst, Mass. We represented a variety of Jewish practices, including one pulpit and one recovering female rabbi. There were three attendees from Israel and one from Spain. All of us had children’s writing in common; some were published authors several times over and some had their first books just coming out.

Here’s the gist of the program:

Workshop: Three workshops met three times each for three hours. Emma Dryden and Leonard Marcus led picture book workshops. Kendra Levin led the middle grade workshop. I was in Kendra’s, workshopping a novel in verse. There were six of us; the work was diverse, including historical fiction based in America and Israel and contemporary coming-of-age novels. Kendra led us through several exercises to deepen our understanding of the balance between backstory/exposition and action and characterization. I received some great suggestions for my work in progress.

Lecture: National Yiddish Book Center academic director Josh Lambert delivered several lectures that more or less centered on some brief readings. We had guest lectures, too, most notably one by professor Miriam Udel of Emory University, who spoke of Yiddish tales and the need to modernize them. My biggest take-aways:

  • The market is looking for books about diversity of Jewish life so today’s Jewish kid could find herself in the book
    • Mixed race
    • Mixed culture
    • LGBT
  • Yiddish tales need modernizing to be relevant to today’s kids and we’re the writers who can take this on

Panels: We attended panels on the state of the industry (facilitated by Marjorie Ingall, panelists Emma Dryden, Leonard Marcus, Kendra Levin) and diversity (facilitated by Josh Lambert, panelists, Nicole Tadgell, Grace Lin, and Lesléa Newman). My biggest take-aways:

  • Middle grade is inching toward what we used to call lower YA
  • Picture books are getting shorter, 500 words or fewer
  • A gap exists for young YA, high school freshmen
  • Publishers are hiring sensitivity readers

PJ Library: PJ Library staff attended most sessions and gave a talk on the next to last day. We were able to sign up for one-on-one consultations with them to discuss our book projects, questions we had, etc. My biggest takeaways:

  • Both PJ Library and PJ Our Way are offering author incentives
  • PJ Library needs a lot of high-quality books!
  • Gaps–board books and early chapter books

The Grinspoon back yard is prepared for a BBQ

Dinner at Harold Grinspoon’s home: Another highlight of the week was to hear Harold speak about his mission, to meet him and his gracious wife, and to meet area authors. I sat at a table with Ilan Stavans and his wife. Grinspoon’s foundation, run by his daughter-in-law, funds PJ Library. Key staff members spoke briefly about their responsibilities and what they’re looking for.

My biggest takeaways:

  • To participate in Tent is a huge honor and privilege
  • PJ Library needs a lot of high-quality books!



Eric Carle Gallery
Eric Carle Museum
Amherst, MA

Eric Carle Museum: We had a special tour of the museum and several of us participated in book signings. Needless to say, I left there with a few more picture books to add to my collection, most notably Eric Carle and Friends’ What’s Your Favorite Color? and Uri Shulevitz’s How I Learned Geography.

Exploration: For some participants, the week provided a period of deep reflection. For others, an opportunity to write. For me, I reflected and I wrote. I learned some new sources like Moses Gaster’s book of Jewish tales and Nathaniel Deutsch’s discussion of S. An-sky’s pre-war ethnography study in The Jewish Dark Continent. The week felt like an MFA mini-residency.

The program is funded for 2018. Stay tuned for announcements. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to connect with fellow Jewish children’s writers, your own practice of Judaism, and your identity as a writer.

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Time Is Running Out–Pre-Order Your Copy of Chicken Fat Now!

The pre-order period for Chicken Fat ends August 18.

Note from Barbara: I really hope you’ll check out my book. The poems are personal. The people on the cover? My grandmother, Rose Entel Perlman, an immigrant from Poland, my mother, Lillian Perlman Krasner, and I think that’s my twin sister, Andrea, visible in the stroller. The photo was taken in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, where my grandparents lived and my mother was born and raised.

To pre-order your copy, click here>>>

Chicken Fat


by Barbara Krasner



Barbara Krasner’s collection of poems, Chicken Fat, is rich and soulful, redemptive, and full of the soothing spice that makes poetry come alive. She writes about heritage, family, the Jewish experience and identity in a way that is fresh and robust. Her poetry is warm, accessible, and utterly singular in its ability to put you right into the middle of the simmer and let you feel all the spice and ‘fat’ of the human experience. There is a love in these poems that is tangible. She has mastered the art of the ‘living language’—an ability to take very personal moments, the small intimate details of a life, and make them speak to a universal scaffold of truths that anyone can acknowledge. This book is called Chicken Fat but there is nothing excessive here, just the rich and full flavor of poetic voice that is beautifully rendered.

–Matthew Lippman, author of Salami Jew and The New Year of Yellow

In Chicken FatBarbara Krasner displays a gift for linking moving memories of her New Jersey Jewish childhood and life with the collective memories of her parents’ and grandparents’ history of the Jewish ghettos of Eastern Europe. Krasner’s narrative poems contain both directness and tenderness as she details family and personal loss as well as a tenacious endurance.  She demonstrates a rare gift of describing current and traditional Jewish food (kishka, gribenes, lungen stew) in a way that is not only tantalizes but also provides an ethnic background of this endangered cuisine.  Krasner’s Chicken Fat is a powerful book of poems that transcends her personal story and connects to her readers with a compelling immediacy.

–Laura Boss, author of The Best Lover ( New York Quarterly, 2017) and Editor, Lips

To pre-order your copy, click here>>>


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New One-Day Sessions from The Whole Megillah

It’s Back to School time!  The Whole Megillah is delighted to introduce a series of one-day sessions to take your writing to the next level:

  1. Setting and Achieving Your Writing Goals—Learn from an experienced project manager how to set your long- and short-term goals for your writing and hold yourself accountable. Optional: Sign up for a dedicated writing goal-setting and sharing community on a private Facebook page.
  • Sunday, September 10, 1-3 pm ET, $30, private Facebook page

2. Sending Your Literary Offerings into the World—Maybe you’ve been reading the monthly report of submissions, acceptances, and rejections from The Whole Megillah and want to send your work out, too. This two-hour session will introduce you to online tools and tracking mechanisms to make the process less intimidating and more efficient.

  • Sunday, August 27, 1-3 pm ET, $30, private Facebook page
  • Encore, September 17, 1-3 pm, ET, $30, private Facebook page

3. Writing in Real Time—Generate new fiction, nonfiction, and/or poetry by writing to timed prompts using Google Hangouts video chat (if you’re video shy, you can just turn off your computer’s camera). Sessions led by certified Amherst Writers & Artists method facilitator.

  • Sunday, October 1, 2-4 pm ET, $30, Google Hangouts
  • Sunday, November 5, 2-4 pm ET, $30, Google Hangouts
  • Sunday, December 3, 2-4 pm, ET, $30, Google Hangouts

How to Register

Send an email to barbarakrasner(at)att(dot)net to register. Payment can be made by check or PayPal after registration.

Registration deadlines:

  • Setting and Achieving Your Writing Goals, September 3
  • Sending Out Your Literary Offerings, August 21
  • Writing in Real Time, September 24 (for October session), October 29 (for November session), November 26 (for December session)
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Literary Offerings into the World | July 2017 Report

Poetry: 2 submissions (Penn Review, BOATT Journal), 1 acceptance (Kelsey Review), 3 rejections (The Literary Review, Rattle, Penn Review). This last rejection was personal!

Fiction: 0 submissions, 0 acceptances, 0 rejections. Fiction has taken a backseat for the moment.

Creative Nonfiction: 6 submissions (Penn Review, Pleiades, Minerva Rising, Creative Nonfiction, The Fourth River, Hippocampus), 0 acceptances, 5 rejections (Penn Review, Missouri Review, Paris Review, Origins, Images) but 2 of them personal. I revised another essay and am signed up for two online essay/memoir classes in the fall. I also completed the first full draft of my YA biography during Camp Nanowrimo. Now I just have to work on the image file and, of course, revisions!

Other July 2017 activities: I completed an article and activities for a Scholastic magazine, a new client for me, and I’ve begun research on a new work-for-hire assignment for an educational publisher. I also drafted a new article for Cobblestone. I continue to teach The Whole Megillah online fiction classes and work with picture book biography authors to develop their manuscripts. I think I’ve completed a new poetry chapbook. More on that in the fall as well as info on new The Whole Megillah online classes.

Coming up in August 2017: Workshopping a Holocaust-related middle-grade novel in verse at the Jewish Children’s Literature Tent Program at the National Yiddish Book Center in Massachusetts and the YA biography at Carolyn P. Yoder’s Alumni Retreat at the Highlights Foundation in Pennsylvania.

Central New Jersey Opportunity!
If anyone lives in the central Jersey area and would like to be part of a group where we write to timed prompts using the Amherst Writers & Authors method (I’m a trained facilitator), please let me know!

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2017 Year of the Book | Second Quarter Progress Report

I pledged 2017 as the Year of the Book. my year to sell a book manuscript. Now that the second quarter of the year has closed, here is my progress report:

Poetry: My poetry chapbook, Chicken Fat, is available for pre-sale until August 18 from Finishing Line Press. We anticipate October release and I have two book readings lined up in northern and central New Jersey.

Creative Nonfiction: Of the six essays I wrote for my online class from Creative Nonfiction magazine, three relate to my genealogical memoir in progress. I’ll be taking another course in the fall and working on it some more. I also just applied for a 2018 writing residency.

I used Camp Nanowrimo, the July event patterned after the popular November National November Writing Month (Nanowrimo) to draft another narrative nonfiction project for young adults. I have an opportunity next month to work directly with an interested editor for a week.

Picture Books: I just revised two picture book biographies and will take those with me to the National Yiddish Book Center’s Tent Program for Jewish Children’s Literature (one of twenty authors selected to participate) next month. Even though I’m workshopping middle grade (see below), it might be a great place to get some feedback on these two other manuscripts.

Novel in Verse: I will be workshopping my middle-grade work in progress next month in Amherst, MA at the Tent Program. My agent is interested in seeing it. I hope to make any necessary revisions before the end of Labor Day weekend to get it to her. I already have an editor interested.

Fiction: I have a YA Holocaust novella and a YA immigrant novel that await revision and I’d like to use Nanowrimo in November to draft two chapter books of Jewish content, one historical and one contemporary. The Tent Program may also give me the opportunity to learn more about chapter books.

Other projects: I have a middle-grade biography that need revision.  I continue to write books for hire for educational publishers and my university asked me to contribute several short biographies about legendary people of Paterson, New Jersey for a collection it’s publishing, a joint venture of the English and History departments.

Question 4U: How is your Year of the Book coming along? Please share!

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Literary Offerings into the World | June 2017 Report

Pretty much a month of rejections…

Poetry: 0 submissions, 0 acceptances, 1 rejection (Foundry).

Fiction: 0 submissions, 0 acceptances, 0 rejections.

Creative Nonfiction: 1 submission (Passager), 1 acceptance (Jewish Literary Journal), 7 rejections (Lascaux Review, J Journal, Front Porch, Agni, Malahat Review, Salmagundi, New England Review), but I am still hopeful! I’m about to begin revisions on another piece and signed up for a four-week Iota Conference online course for the fall.

Other June 2017 activities: I attended the Highlights Foundation Novels in Verse Workshop, presented and launched new website and database at the annual Association of Jewish Libraries conference in New York City. Also completed an article on James Fenimore Cooper for Cobblestone Magazine.

Coming up in July 2017: I joined Camp Nanowrimo to generate the first full draft of a YA biography. I already had three chapters in my book proposal, so six more to go! By July 31, I’ll have something. This month I’ll also be working on an article and activities for a Scholastic magazine, a new client for me.

Question 4U: What has your activity been like?

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