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The Process Every year since 1998, The Hal Prize poetry, prose and photography contest has started the same way: with an invitation. It is an invitation we extend to people of all ages, backgrounds and artistic abilities, encouraging them to submit stories, photographs and poems for a chance to be published in our annual literary issue. As we celebrate the 20th issue of The Hal Prize, we also celebrate the fact that its necessary evolutions over the past two decades (online-only acceptance of submissions, for one) have only contributed to the contest’s growth in the Midwest literary scene. One of the ways we keep The Hal Prize fresh and exciting is through selection of new judges every year, allowing for diverse backgrounds and perspectives that influence the final publication. When compiling a list of prospective judges, we ask ourselves: who are the storytellers, photographers and poets whose work we seek out and cherish in our daily lives? Jerod Santek, the executive director of Write On, Door County, drew from his professional experiences working with novelist and English professor David Haynes. Haynes is also founder and director of Kimbilio, a community

of writers and scholars dedicated to developing, empowering and sustaining fiction writers from the African diaspora and their stories. As promoters of new and established writers, it was a mission we felt mirrored our own. Peninsula Pulse sales rep Steve Grutzmacher, whose father Hal is the namesake of this contest, recalled the early days of his own Door County literary journal, the Peninsula Review, and was reminded of the work of Mary Zane Allen, a prose lover who started the literary journal cream city review at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee in 1975. In the more than 40 years since the first issue hit newsstands, the nonprofit journal has published works by distinguished writers such as Charles Bukowski, Billy Collins, Robert Olen Butler, Ted Kooser, Audre Lorde and Adrienne Rich. Steve reached out to cream city review and formed a partnership in which the publication’s poetry team guest judged our Hal Prize poetry contest. The final piece of the prose-judging puzzle was finding an individual with a passion for documenting and sharing stories of people and places of the real world. I was immediately drawn to the idea

of one of Wisconsin Public Radio’s most engaging voices: Erika Janik, executive producer of Wisconsin Life. Janik is an author and historian who spends her days sharing the humorous, surprising and emotional stories of the people who call this state home. Her thoughtful commentary on stories both uplifting and tragic made her the perfect fit for the nonfiction job. With these judges lined up, it was time to consider the photography judge whose background and perspective would inform the final look of the 2017 Hal Prize publication. When we put out the call for photography submissions, we emphasized our desire to see photos of people and places. This mission guided us on our quest to find a photographer who did the same, and we discovered it in Milwaukee artist and photographer Kevin Miyazaki. Among his most recent work on people and institutions is Perimeter, a photography collection-turned-book on the human connection to the Great Lakes. The project, commissioned by the Haggerty Museum of Art, took Miyazaki on a tour of Lake Michigan’s perimeter where he photographed nearly 300 people with

connections to the fresh water lake, from dockworkers to surfers. Prior to the May 1 submission deadline, these judges shared with me the journeys they each took to become successful authors, poets and photographers for feature articles in the Pulse. When the contest closed and our pre-screening committee viewed and selected finalists from the 429 submissions we received this year, the judges stepped in to read (or in Miyazaki’s case, view) these finalists, make their selections and provide thoughtful commentary on why the chosen prose or photos captured their attention. What you hold in your hands is the culmination of a year’s worth of effort from the Hal Prize administrators, judges and sponsors, and the hundreds of individuals from across the country who shared their creative efforts with us. On behalf of The Hal Prize organizers and the Peninsula Pulse, thank you for reading and enjoy this, our 20th annual Hal Prize.

Alyssa Skiba, Contest Administrator

The Judges POETRY



David Haynes is a Professor of English at Southern Methodist University and since 1996 has taught with the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. He is the author of seven novels for adults and five books for younger readers. His most recent novel is A Star in the Face of the Sky. He is the founder and director of Kimbilio.

Kevin J. Miyazaki’s artwork addresses issues of family history and ethnicity. His photographs have been shown nationally, and in Wisconsin at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, St. Norbert College and the James Watrous Gallery in Madison. Photographs from his exhibition, Perimeter, commissioned by the Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University, were published as a monograph by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press in 2014. Miyazaki’s portrait, food and travel assignments have taken him to 30 states and more than 20 countries, for clients including The New York Times, AARP, Travel + Leisure, Architectural Digest and Martha Stewart Living.



NONFICTION The Poetry Editors of cream city review cream city review, started in 1975 by Mary Zane Allen, is Milwaukee’s leading literary journal devoted to publishing memorable and energetic pieces that push the boundaries of literature. Continually seeking to explore the relationship between form and content, cream city review features fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, visual art, reviews of contemporary literature, and author interviews. Published biannually, cream city review is a volunteer-based, nonprofit journal that has attracted readers and submissions from around the world. Approximately 4,000 submissions are received each year from both unpublished and established writers. Alessandra Simmons, whose poems have appeared in Rabbit Catastrophe, WomenArts Quarterly Journal, Post Road, Hawaii Pacific Review, The Other Journal and elsewhere. Tobias Wray’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Blackbird, Third Coast, Bellingham Review, North American Review, American Literary Review and elsewhere.

Erika Janik is a historian, author and the Executive Producer of Wisconsin Life on Wisconsin Public Radio. She is the author of six books, including Pistols and Petticoats: 175 Years of Lady Detectives in Fact and Fiction, A Short History of Wisconsin, and Odd Wisconsin. Her work has appeared in Salon, Slate, The Atlantic, Smithsonian, Edible Milwaukee, On Wisconsin, Midwest Living, and The Onion, among others. She holds master’s degrees in American history and journalism from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Originally from Redmond, Washington, she now knows more about Wisconsin than she ever thought possible.

Profile for Door County Pulse

Peninsula Pulse - 2017 Hal Prize - August 4-11, 2017 v23i31  

Each fall, the Peninsula Pulse newspaper in Door County, Wisconsin invites people of all ages, backgrounds and artistic abilities to submit...

Peninsula Pulse - 2017 Hal Prize - August 4-11, 2017 v23i31  

Each fall, the Peninsula Pulse newspaper in Door County, Wisconsin invites people of all ages, backgrounds and artistic abilities to submit...