Monthly Archives: October 2008

The Editors are not Robots (Part One): Seth A. Bishop

Seth A. Bishop is Managing Editor for Words and Images 2009. While a student of Political Science at the University of Southern Maine, he has made it a point to pursue interests outside of his major and, through doing so, has manufactured a relatively unique angle of vision influenced by Political Theory, Sociology, Cultural Studies, and Philosophy. The overarching theme of Seth’s studies has been the exploration of the interplay between individuals and social institutions, be they formal institutions such as the state, or informal abstractions of collective identity. He anticipates the completion of his degree in the Spring of 2009, at which point he intends to take a year off before applying to Graduate programs for Political Theory and a few interdisciplinary Social and Political Thought programs.

Seth’s literary interests are predominantly of the so-called ‘low art’ variety. An avid reader of comics and graphic novels, he considers the comic book to be a valuable yet often ignored cultural artifact that deserves greater attention as both an object of admiration and critical analysis. Toward this end, Seth is currently working on a content analysis of Captain America that examines the perpetually evolving nationalist narrative presented within the comic as well as the unique manner comics deliver collective identity narratives to disparate audiences. For similar reasons as his love of comics, he also appreciates film, science fiction in its various forms, and popular music.

Although his writing is exclusively academic, Seth appreciates reading prose and poetry. If he did not, one would assume he would not work for a literary journal.


Words and Images will give this award to the poem or piece of fiction that best explores the following topic: the ways in which seemingly disparate arts (literary and visual) can affect and inform one another, thus erasing the boundaries between them. This is vague, pseudo-intellectual babble for the following: we’re looking for poems and fiction that take their influence from, say, film, or painting, or popular music, or [insert your own]. Since this award can go either to fiction or poetry, the contest will be judged by the entire Words and Images staff, in addition to a panel of four creative writing professors at the university, consisting of two poets and two fiction writers.

Here’s the point: the entry fee is $15, and the prize is $1000, in addition to publication in the 2009 issue of Words and Images. Unless you request otherwise when submitting your work, all entries will be considered for publication in the 2009 issue, regardless of whether they win the contest. Each entry may include one short story or two poems of any length. The deadline for entry is February 1, 2009.

Unlike regular, non-contest submissions to Words and Images, privilege is not given to writers and literature with a connection to Maine for Dos Cosas Award entries; the Dos Cosas Award seeks entries nationally. Though we only accept regular submissions electronically, we ask for hard copy entries for the contest. Any hard copies not accompanied by the $15 entry fee cannot be considered. They can be mailed to Words and Images, University of Southern Maine, PO Box 9300, Portland, Maine, 04104.

Frank Bidart at USM

Words and Images is happy to co-sponsor the 2008 O’Brien Poetry Lecture, at 4 p.m., Friday, October 24, on the 7th floor of the Glickman Family Library, Forest Ave., Portland. For more information, call 780-4291.

The 2008 O’Brien poet is Frank Bidart.

“Bidart has a remarkable ability to capture the nuance and vitality of voice,” says Betsy Sholl, Poet Laureate of Maine and lecturer in the English Department at USM. Bidart has taught at Wellesley College since 1972. He was educated at the University of California at Riverside and Harvard University. His recent volumes of work include “Star Dust” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005), “Music Like Dirt” (2002), and “Desire” (1997), which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critic’s Circle Award.

Bidart has been the recipient of the Wallace Stevens Award, the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Foundation Writer’s Award, the Shelly Award of the Poetry Society of America, and the Paris Review’s first Bernard F. Conners Prize. In 2007, he received the Bollingen Prize in American Poetry.

Katharine E. O’Brien, for whom the celebration is named, was a Deering High School math teacher who bequeathed money to the University of Maine System, a part of which was designated for USM’s Libraries to purchase volumes of poetry and establish the annual O’Brien Poetry Lecture. O’Brien’s papers, documenting her own poetry writing, are housed in Special Collections in the Glickman Family Library. The event is sponsored by USM’s Libraries and the English Department, and this is the first time Words and Images has acted as co-sponsor.

Two poems by our poetry editor

Caroline O’Connor Thomas, the Words and Images poetry editor, recently had two poems appear here. They are both lovely – and O Sweet Flowery Roses is a great blog/journal, seeking to the preserve “the fun in poetry.”

Someone has to do it.

Read Caroline’s poems. And give her congrats.