We were overwhelmed in the best possible way by the response to our Heavenly Creatures contest. This year’s contest was partially ekphrastic. Authors were encouraged to consider Sally Gall’s kite photography and to construct a poem or story written as a love letter to the sky. We saw short notes, prophet speak, storms and calms, and space flight and the democracy of it–participants came from all over the country–proved there isn’t any one kind of letter and there isn’t any one kind of love. Free State Review and its publisher Galileo Books have competing philosophies. The magazine would rather trust in “totally limited omniscience” while the press believes “Earth is not the center of the universe.” The fascinating part for us was seeing how both concepts could be blended in fresh ways.
The eleven finalists are:
Ellen Roche
Jessica Stilling
Peter Caccavari
Claire Bateman
Robbi Nester
Sean Johnson
Thomas Gresham
Wayne Lee
Janet Powers
Michael Istvan
Heather Sullivan
The judge for this year’s contest is poet and flash writer Devon Balwit.
Devon Balwit’s individual poems can be found here in the Free State Review as well as in The Cincinnati Review, The Carolina QuarterlyFifth Wednesdayapt, Aeolian Harp Anthology IIIThe Timberline Review, and more. She is the author of the ekphrastic collaboration Risk Being / Complicated, (Amazon) as well as the collections We Are Procession, Seismograph (Nixes Mate Books) and Motes at Play in the Halls of Light (Kelsay Books). She has a Sylvia Plath chapbook, A Brief Way to Identify a Body (Ursus Americanus Press), a Moby Dick chapbook, The Bow Must Bear the Brunt (Red Flag Poetry), and a Flannery O’Connor chapbook, Where You Were Going Never Was (Grey Borders Books), among others. Root around in her work.

STAY TUNED!