Volume 2Fall '03

How You Can Be Published || Books || Classes || Writers || Contests || Calls for Writing & Events ||

Welcome to "In Our Own Words," the Ezine from BBBooks. We publish and distribute books, list "Calls for Submission," Contests, and Writing Classes here on our web site.

We are a grass roots organization, not a corporate entity, so we don't dance to the dollar sign. You can expect to find thought-provoking, creative, alternative writing, information and politics right here. We offer the "People Before Profits Poetry Prize" each year and offer all kinds of other stuff for writers, poets, students, educators, spiritual types, feminists, humanists, and activists. We're people who follow their conscience, but like to have fun too!

The writers in this edition of In Our Own Words range in age from their teens to their 80s and came to our attention as a result of their entering our annual PBPP Prize.

Our editorial philosophy is simple: Writers respond to life; they chronicle our times and remind us what it is like to be human. Extraordinary writing strikes a truth and reflects how events in our nutty world affect us. While vulgarity is often a part of our daily lives, the profane used for its own sake, rarely benefits anyone. Nevertheless, since expression is largely a matter of individual taste, we accept all styles and forms of poetry and prose. While the writing we've chosen reminds us that life isn't always pretty, we choose writing that reminds us that life can be extraordinary!

About Writing
Rarely do difficulties between humans have simple solutions that can be solved by "products" (other than basic food, shelter, medical care). Attempts to buy a remedy for an intellectual, emotional, spiritual quandary "in a box" inevitably masks and delays the hard work we must do to evolve as humans. Many writers discover, process, clarify and make evident their own and even our human collective intellectual, emotional and spiritual evolution through their work.
Should we choose to look outside ourselves to the ever-present, always-willing-to-hook-our-attention commercial media, we will be find simplistic formulas. Actual life is enormously complex. Commercial interests rarely present us with accurate versions of history.

At BBP we believe writing is an artform, a process, and a fundamental human right. We understand that all writing has a political context, even through omission. On the other hand, overly polemic, dogmatic writing does little to inspire readers to think for themselves. At BBP we wish to support the power to think independently, the most precious component of human free will.

BBP is not affiliated with any particular political or religious group. Writings contained on this web site do not necessarily represent the opinions of the staff or management of BBP.

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BIOS of Authors: IN OUR OWN WORDS, Fall '03

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Nantambu Abdul-Ahota
There is no category, Nantambu’s a poet straight up. He unflinchingly tackles some of the issues that plague our society on the one hand, and on the other, some of those internal battles which can take hold of your spirit. Ahota’s verbal images are as clear and crisp as you would find in any photograph. Then there’s the beat. As you read his work, rhythm enters your head and follows you throughout the flow of the piece, like the tight rhythm section of a smokin’ band. In the end you feel that you’ve been taken to a new space, and that’s cool.
Nantambu currently works with the performance poetry troupe Sol Griots out of his native Florida. His recently published chapbook, Present Tense is available through the group’s site, solgriots.com. Visit them soon and "Catch the Vibe"!

Leonardo Alishan
was born of Armenian parents in Tehran, Iran. He came to the U.S. for graduate studies in 1973 and from 78-97 he taught Persian literature and comparitive literature at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. His poems and stories have been published in a variety of national and international journals and have been the recepient of a number of literary awards. Alishan's first collection, Dancing Barefoot on Broken Glass, appeared in New York in 1991. His second, Through a Dewdrop was published in Glendale, California in 2002. "Tired Thoughts" was awarded the People Before Profits Poetry Prize for 2003.

Carol Alena Aronoff, Ph.D - psychologist, teacher (co-founded SAGE; taught at San Francisco State, 1983-1996; Tibetan Buddhist Meditation Center, 1985-1991) and writer. She published Compassionate Healing: Eastern Perspectives, co-authored Practical Buddhism: The Kagyu Path, has had numerous poems accepted for publication in literary magazines, and received the spiritual poetry prize from Common Ground.

Forest Arnold
lives in Maryland.

Lynne Bama
lives in Wyoming.

Minnette Coleman is an actress, writer and Grants Administrator for The New World Foundation. She has written and toured a one woman show "Hand-Me-Downs" about the civil rights movement. About the Work was inspired by the collective and ongoing work and experience in social justice of NWF's Board and staff. "About the Work" received an Honorable mention in The People Before Profits Poetry Prize, 2003.

Deidra Suwanee Dees' poem, "Muscogee Feathers" originally appeared in Absorbing Destruction (Guild Press, 1999). She is now pursuing a doctoral degree in Education at Harvard.

Ann Folwell Stanford teaches at the School for New Learning at DePaul University and, for the last 7 years, she's been conducting creative writing workshops for women in Cook County Jail. Her book, Bodies in a Broken World: Women Novelists of Color and the Politics of Medicine, will appear this September from UNC Press. "Metallurgy: Symbol Ag" won an Honorable Mention in the People Before Profits Poetry Prize, 2003.

Donna Lisle Gordon
was raised in eastern Ohio but has lived in the South for the past 40 years. She was a teacher for 40 years and since retirement has had a number of her poems published in literary magazines. She now lives near the Blue Ridge Parkway, in Fairview NC. "Decision" first appeared in Illuminations in Aug. 2001;"Words Retrieved" in Owen Wister Review, Spring 2002; and "Impetuosity" in The Minnesota Review in 2002.

Brigette Hernandez
daughter of Mildred Rose, daughter of Josephine Lilly, daughter of Blue Blanket Woman, daughter of Rattle Snake Woman—currently resides in Nampa, Idaho where she dreams of freedom and being able to travel the world. "Indian Woman" first appeared in Blind Man's Rainbow.

Leticia Hernández-Linares' poem, "Sweat" first appeared in her chapbook Razor Edges of My Tongue (Calaca Press, 2002). She lives in San Francisco.

Dr. A. Jabbar is a Professor of English and Interdisciplinary Studies at City College of San Francisco for over 30 years, including 6 years as Department Chair. Also a Fulbright Scholarship recipient, he has taught at UC Berkeley as a Visiting Professor.

Sara Littlecrow-Russell's poem "Wounded Knees" first appeared in Meridians, Vol.. 2. No. 2, 2002. She lives in Massachusetts.

Morgan Morwen Johnstone was raised in Ohio Amish country. She is an anthropologist who has been a fire-tower watcher, a commercial fisherwoman, and teacher. Much of her work comes from family experience in the immigrant and working class tradition, and their struggle to give their children the American Dream. Her work has previously appeared in the San Fernando Poetry Journal.

Barbara Leon, a writer, editor and longtime political activist, lives in
Aptos, California. Her poetry has been published or is forthcoming in americas review, Porter Gulch Review, and Wide Open, a collection of Santa Cruz women poets. In 2002, she received an honorable mention in the People Before Profits Poetry competition.

Lyn Lifshin is "American's most published poet...the Madonna who writes ten poems a day [and] spins the straw of everyday life into something fine"—The Washington Post Magazine. Her most recent prizewinning book (Patterson Poetry Prize) is Before the Light (Black Sparrow Press, 2000). She has published more than 100 books of poetry including Cold Comfort (1997), Marilyn Monroe, Blue Tattoo, Tanged Vines, Ariadne's Thread and Lips Unsealed. An award winning documentary film Lyn Lifshin: Not Made of Glass is available from Women Make Movies. For extensive information about her work see www.lynlifshin.com.

Richard Luftig
is a professor of educational psychology and special education at Miami University in Ohio. His poems have appeared in over one hundred national and international journals as well as in a chapbook in the United States, Japan, Australia, England and Canada.

Kirk Lumpkin
is man of many hats, host of San Franciscos Cafe International Series, coordinator of the Berkeley Farmers Market, involved with the Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival, member of theWord-Music Continuum, and: a distinguished environmental poet.

Vladimir Orlov is 29, born on October 29, 1973, in Volgograd, Russia. In 1996, he graduated from Volgograd Pedagogical University, the Foreign Languages Department. Since 1992, his work has appeared in more than 50 US, UK and Australian literary magazines and US  Christian periodicals

Lottie E. Porch has loved poetry for as long as she can remember. Her poems have appeared in the Paterson Poetry Review, LIPS, and Nimrod. Her poem, "Roundabout Table Love" won the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award and was featured in an exhibit about Black Family Life at the Haggerty Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Lottie lives in Hackensack, NJ with her pillows, sheets, walls, doors, and more words than she can count.

Former college president Dr. Lynn Veach Sadler won The Pittsburgh Quarterly’s 2001 Hay Prize; tied for first in Kalliope’s 2002 Elkind Contest; was a runner-up for the 2002 Spoon River Poetry Review Editors’ Prize Contest; and won the Poetry Society of America’s 2003 Hemley Award and Asphodel’s 2003 Poetry Contest.

Vivian Shipley,
Editor of Connecticut Review at Southern Connecticut State University, is the Connecticut State University Distinguished Professor. In 2003, she won the Hart Crane Poetry Prize from Kent State University and was awarded a Connecticut Commission of the Arts Grant. Her tenth book, When There Is No Shore, won the 2002 Word Press Poetry Prize and was a Finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize. She has also won the Robert Frost Foundation Poetry Award, the Marble Faun Award for Poetry from the William Faulkner Society, the Daniel Varoujan Award from The New England Poetry Club, the Lucille Medwick Award from The Poetry Society of America, the Ann Stanford Prize from the University of Southern California, and the Reader’s Choice Award from Prairie Schooner. Her most recent chapbooks are Echo & Anger, Still (Southeastern Louisiana University Press, 1999) and Down of Hawk (Sow’s Ear Press, 2001.) Her books of poetry include Crazy Quilt (Hanover Press, 1999), Finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize,  Fair Haven, (Negative Capability, 2000), nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and Gleanings: Old Poems, New Poems (Southeastern Louisiana University Press, 2003). "May 17, 1720: Superiour Court Justice Counsels Elizabeth Atwood in His Chambers Before Sentencing Her to Hang" previously appeared in When There is No Shore (Word Press, 2002).

Ellen Stern
, Mosaicist, Assemblage and Installation Artist:
Bronx, Buffalo, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Michigan. Story of My Life. Stuff comes together, stuff breaks: words, objects, people, continuity.  Finding the right adhesive is the biggest pain you should ever have. Voids are invitations to create. Appreciators are the reason to continue. "The Gravity of Combustion" received an Honorable mention in The People Before Profits Poetry Prize, 2003.

Leslie Suzanne is a poet from the Denver area where most of her poetry has been presented in a spoken word format. In addition, her work has also recently appeared in The Peralta Press and Events Quarterly. "Jalat Khan" has appeared in Events Quarterly, Spring '03.

Sue Swartz
lives in Bloomington, Indiana, where she teaches courses on social change, writes, step-parents, and creates innovative Jewish ritual and prayer. Much of her poetry uses biblical text to explore current events and the human condition. She hopes to learn to stand on her head before age 50.

Chris Volkay lives in Southern California.

Jose Zapata Calderon
is a Professor in Sociology and Chicano Studies at Pitzer College in Claremont, California. Flowing from his family’s life as farm workers and as immigrants, he has devoted his life to creating social change through political activism, coalition building, and community/campus organizing.

Gerald Zipper
is published in national and international journals, including Mid-America Poetry, Bibliphilos, Möbius, Icon, Skylark, Amherst Review, Iconoclast, Small Brushes, Confluence, Nebo, Maryland Review, Ellipsis, and Apropos. He has appeared on NPR and lectured at New School in NYC. His plays have been produced Off-Broadway and in theatres throughout the country. "Baked Boulders and Sand" originally appeared in Connecticut River Review.

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 How You Can Be Published:

There are several ways. You can also send in poetry or short prose of your own to be considered for IN OUR OWN WORDS, THE EZINE FROM BBBOOKS. We also recommend looking at the Classifieds in Poets and Writers Magazine, visiting our Calls for Submission Page, or entering one of the contests like our "People Before Profits Poetry Prize". Only entires that include a SASE (self addressed stamped envelope) will be returned, so be sure to include this with your work. See our editorial philosophy.


 "If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation wants crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters... Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will..."
Frederick Douglass 1857

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