The Creativity of the Crowd

The Crowdsourced Poetry Project is under way! We have three lines so far and are excited to see more contributions to our sestina. Go to our Facebook page to submit your contribution for the next line. Our poem so far:

I began to ask myself the questions
With answers hanging in the air
What is here is noise, above which we can hear

For those of you who don’t already know, the Press is doing an experiment in creativity where we are hoping to harness the wisdom and imagination of the public to create a stunning poem. We have chosen to use the sestina for our form, mostly because it requires no rhyming or syllable counting, making it more accessible to contributors, while its use of repeated end-words gives it just enough complexity and structure so that it won’t spin off into a wild dervish. A sestina is a poem of six stanzas that are each six lines long and then a final, three line envoi. The stanzas all end with the same six words as the first stanza, though in a very specific order. In “Sestina: Altaforte” Ezra Pound uses these words at the ends of the first six lines: peace, music, clash, opposing, crimson, and rejoicing. According to the form they reappear in the second stanza in a new order as: rejoicing, peace, crimson, music, opposing, and clash, and so on throughout the next four stanzas. The repetition of these words both allows and forces the writer to use them in new ways and with new meaning imbued each time, creating a rich tapestry of language where the pattern continues to reveal itself throughout. Please join us in our quest to crowdsource a poem; the results are sure to be interesting and possibly very beautiful indeed.

Free Peek — Stonepile Writers’ Anthology: Wasabi Daydream

Wasabi Daydream
by Dara M. Bergmann

Sometimes I get a little to much wasabi.
At these times my ancestors remind me
that Northern Europe is not known for spice.

Had they ever tasted sushi though,
they would have sailed their dragon-headed boats
past bland-tasting Britain and all the way to Japan,

seeking nori and vinegared rice,
trading war axes for chopsticks
as they surged ashore, demanding tamari tribute.

Terrifying in their nakedness or bear skins
they would have warmed the sake
and shouted a Viking “kampai!”

Had they know of sushi,
the Mongols of my father’s blood
would have cut a swath East, not West.

The Khans would have women
and the spider rolls!
They’d ride off to
the next conquest on horses
heavy-laden with futomaki.

But, that never happened,
I eat pickled ginger to calm the fire
and attack
tiny little seaweed wrapped islands
for myself.

The Author invites you to send her any questions or comments. To contact Dara Bergmann, email her at

This poem was reprinted with the Authors permission.

Want to win your very own copy of the Stonepile Writers’ Anthology, which contains this and many other poems? Sign up for our newsletter. We’re giving away Vols 1 & 2 to two lucky people who sign up for our e-newsletter between now and Feb. 14th, 2012! Click here for more information.

Win The Stonepile Anthology Collection!

Want to win free copies of both volumes of the Stonepile Anthology? Here’s your chance! Simply sign up for our e-Newsletter, and you’ll be entered to win The Stonepile Writers’ Anthology Volumes I & II.  It’s that easy! Follow the link below, put in your email (and make sure it’s typed correctly; we’ll contact the winners by this email).

Two winners will be chosen at random on February 14th, 2012. Chances of winning depend on how many entries are received. One entry per email address.

Note: If you’re already signed up for the newsletter, but want to enter the contest, just put your email in again. We’ll still get notified of your entry, and you will not receive double emails.

Free Peek – Stonepile Anthology: At Michael’s, After

At Michael’s, After  
By Steven Brehe

I tell you, Michael, fine folk are strange, and the ones I work for are the strangest of all.

Oh, they’re what you call Congregationalists.  I don’t know what it means neither, but Father says it’s almost as bad as Unitarians.

Now you don’t believe that, do you, Michael?  No, it ain’t true.  I worked there sixteen years, since I come to this country, and been allowed in their parlor many times, and I never saw nor heard of no statue nor painting nor book she ever made.

She was no artist, Michael. She was a lunatic, to say it plain, and that’s why they kept her locked up up there all them years.

Of course, they said that.  When fine families have someone who’s wrong in the head, they lock them in a far room in their grand houses and tell people she’s painting or writing or praying, and mustn’t be disturbed. They do it out of pride, you see.

They might have let her out sometimes. She was no danger to nobody.  Me and the others, working outside, we’d see her at her window, looking out, and we’d send her up flowers and such.

And yesterday, when they let us upstairs to bring down the coffin, it was the first time in all these years I seen her face close.  She was near sixty, Michael, but her hair was dark and she had the face of a child, like my niece, Anne, sleeping.

Here, I’ll tell you something I never told another soul:  Years ago, when the others was off working at the son’s place, I’m left behind to look after things.  And I’m tending the yard, and I see the old woman looking out her window, and I follow her eyes to a far corner, where there’s a great cloud of butterflies, the orange and black ones, busy over the asters.

And being young, I get a fool idea, and I run over and catch one of them between my hands and run it through the back door, to the kitchen, and put it on a saucer and quick put a cup over it.  And I hand it to the housemaid, Maggie, who’s standing there with her mouth hanging open as usual, and say, “Up to Miss Emily and no dawdling.”  And I’m back to work.

So the next day I’m tending things alone still, and I hear a window open upstairs.  And I look up, and out that window comes that butterfly, working its wings and hanging there in the air, like it’s saying good-bye, and “You must come see me some time,” and off it goes to God knows where.

And out the window comes a long string, and at the end of it a paper rolled like a cigar and tied with a bow. So I go and undo the bow and take the paper, and up goes the string and down goes the window.

And this, Michael, is that very paper. And I open it and here’s what it says:

Two Butterflies went out at Noon
And waltzed upon a Farm
And then espied Circumference
And caught a ride with him —

Then lost themselves and caught themselves
In Rapids of the sun —
Till Rapture missed her footing —
And Both were wrecked in Noon —

To all surviving Butterflies
Be this Biography —
Example —and monition
To entomology —

Well, there it is, for anyone to see:  completely mad. And from that day to this, out of respect for the family, I never showed it to nobody, and as long as I live, I will not humiliate them with it.

But I like to take it out and read it now and then.  And now the poor woman’s gone, it makes me think of her at that window, looking out and smiling.

Oh, Michael, it was a crime never to let her out, and now I see I should have said something, but what’s a working man to do?

But if our Lord forgives harmless madwomen, as surely He must, then she’s with Him now and happy at last, and for her sake I hope He has a garden.  Here’s to her.

I believe I’ll have another.

Want to read more great works from North Georgia writers and poets? Purchase The Stonepile Writers’ Anthology (Vol. I) from The Campus Connection Bookstore ONLY $15.00

At Michael’s, After was reprinted with permission from the author.

Covers Needed!

Yes, it’s officially fall and temperatures are dropping slowly, but we’re not looking for that kind of cover.

The Stonepile Writers’ Anthology needs a cover, so we’re having a contest.

The prize is (drumroll) YOU will become the designer of a book cover!

Oh yeah, there’s the $100, too.

Fame and fortune can be yours, and we’d like to help.  We ask that you read the stipulations below and then submit your entry.

We know you’re talented and creative.  Here’s your chance to prove it!

Good luck.

Contest is open to ALL NGCSU students, staff, and faculty.

Submissions will be reviewed by the University Press of North Georgia Faculty Board.

The winning submission will be used as the permanent cover for the anthology, with the artist credited on the Acknowledgements page (and included in all advertising for the book).


Submissions need to stay true to the Stonepile Writers Association mission which is best described by the inception of the group’s name:

When helping decide on the group’s name, Dr. Alice Sampson, Director of the Georgia Appalachian Studies Center, wrote: “For several months while in graduate school, I passed Princess Trahlyta’s grave at Stonepile Gap, making my way up the mountain to Woody Gap School…It is also called Stonepile Gap.

“Here one pays respect to her by adding a rock to the Princess’s grave. I see our group as building a place that may be temporary as a pile of rocks, but it is of solid material and composed of individual contributions, plus the name is ‘place-based’.”

According to, Stonepile Gap is the burial site of a Cherokee Indian princess. It has become a custom for a passersby to drop a stone on the grave for good luck.

The submitted art-work should be some form of visualization of this concept (an example of such visualization is available at


Art-work can be in any two-dimensional medium in .tiff (preferred) or jpeg with a minimum of 600 dpi, so that the image can be either reduced or blown up to fit a 6X9 cover with clear resolution

Submission Requirements

Please email all submissions as an attached file to The subject line must read: COVER ART/Stonepile Writers. Please include in the email your contact information.

Contest Deadline

Nov. 15, 2010