AWP 2014

Thanks to everyone who made this a great AWP!

Did you pick up one of our teaser postcards? Click below and enter the password from your postcard to read the rest of the piece:

Aaron App’s “Barbecue Catharsis”

Suzanne Marie Hopcroft’s “Turn and Return”

Philip Holden’s “Stranger”

Like what you see and ready to submit? Find our submission guidelines here.

Need to get in touch? Here’s how.

See you next year!

El Dorado

By Michael Leal García

A Carolina Quarterly web exclusive


    From birth until the sixth grade, home was a room on the tenth floor of the Hotel El Dorado in downtown Los Angeles. During its heyday in the 1910s and the 1920s, the hotel stood at the foot of the Spring Street Financial District—the Wall Street of the West—amidst the Braly Building (at twelve stories tall, the city’s first skyscraper), the Hotel Alexandria (frequented by Humphrey Bogart and Greta Garbo), and, just blocks away, City Hall, all regal and white, looming over the blooming metropolis. For a brief period of time the El Dorado even laid claim to its own celebrity resident in Charlie Chaplin. By the 1960s the financial institutions had mostly fled west to Wilshire and Figueroa, and the burgeoning quarter was rendered hollow, splendor laid waste.

    By the 1980s the El Dorado was home to rats and roaches, and the elevator was jumpy, alternately lurching and painfully still. Apprehensive of those on the other side of our thumping walls, Mom wouldn’t let my siblings and I venture alone into the hallways, cast in the dingy, unsaturated hues of seventies film stock. The fire escape creaked under the rumbling footsteps of anonymous neighbors. The rats, with their tiny pink feet, scurried along our walls. At midnight sirens wailed angry and sorrowful songs, occasionally in response to a neighbor free falling to earth – or at least that was the story concocted by my father before he up and left.

Continue reading El Dorado

Tar Heel Poet Laureate

We at Wordsmiths, Carolina Quarterly, and Cellar Door envision a world of in which the greatest artists and creators are those whom seek to push the boundaries of their chosen craft. The same holds true for poetry.

As a result, the boundaries between performance and print are in a constant state of fluctuation. The realm of poetry is not meant to be about dichotomies, but about the expression of human experience in it’s purest form, regardless of whether that medium lies on the page or the stage. This evolution of poetry could not be more visible than it is at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

In order to enable the burgeoning young minds of our historic institution and push forth the progression of the art, we will be conducting an annual manuscript submission competition in order to deem one exceptional young creator of poetry as the UNC poet laureate. Submissions will be open from January 1st, 2014 until February 15th, 2014 at 11:59pm. The winner will receive: publication of their chapbook, 25 free author copies, will serve as the feature of the Wordsmiths year-end poetry open mic, and earn a $50* honorarium. All finalists’ work will be considered for inclusion in Carolina Quarterly and Cellar Door.

Click here to submit your manuscript.

Submission Guidelines listed below.

Continue reading Tar Heel Poet Laureate

Holy Jockstraps, Batman!

by Sjohnna Bruce McCray

A Carolina Quarterly web exclusive


     There comes a time in every superhero’s life when he must reveal his identity to the ones he loves. He’s kept his late-night acrobatics hidden to protect his family and friends from enemies who would strike when he was most vulnerable: ordering a caramel macchiato, taking little Johnny to hockey practice, picking up mom from dialysis. Gay people face a similar dilemma. When we reveal our rainbow tights, it’s usually because the jig is up.

     Some parents never catch on, while others put the evidence together—like a disco-themed CSI but with more body glitter. “The only sport he ever played was that Dance Dance Revolution, always making a racket with those high kicks.” Observant parents suspect their son is gay well before he decides to double major in theater and blowjobs. Or, if you’re like me, your father might casually mention that if his son were a fag, he would kill him with his bare hands. He says it would be satisfying, too, and glances in my direction before asking for the salt.

Continue reading Holy Jockstraps, Batman!

Pushcart Nominations

We love all the work we publish in the pages of CQ – but sometimes we are called upon to play favorites. Our 2013 Pushcart selections represent the strength, range, and diversity of the writing we publish each year:

“Apartment on Market Street” by Jack Christian. Published in Vol. 63 no. 1
(Spring 2013).

“Preludes” by Leslie Bazzett. Published in Vol. 63 no. 2 (Fall 2013).

“Barbecue Catharsis” by Aaron Apps. Published in Vol. 63 no. 2 (Fall 2013).

“Song” by Russel Swensen. Published in Vol. 63 no. 1 (Spring/Summer 2013).

“Turn and Return” by Suzanne Marie Hopcroft. Published in Vol. 63 no. 1
(Spring 2013).

“The Word Worried is the Word Straw” by Brandon Amico. Published in Vol.
63 no. 2 (Fall 2013)

Congratulations to all our nominees. Thanks for letting your words find at home at CQ.