Only 3 days left to submit to volume 5!


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There are only three days left in our reading period for vol. 5! We’re especially interested in writing that crosses boundaries in genre or geography, and voices that aren’t often heard in mainstream publications. Fiction and poetry submissions are read blind and go through a rigorous editorial process, which involves multiple readings by student and faculty editors at the Lake State Creative Writing Program. Beginning with volume 5, our first online issue, we will feature selected authors. Every year, after all of the work in each genre has been accepted, one author will be chosen from those accepted in each genre for a paid feature. Featured authors will receive prominent placement in the online journal, a published interview with the editors, and a $100 honorarium. Send us your best work now!

LSSU High School Short Story Prize Open for Entries!


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Downloadable poster with art by LSSU creative writing student Daisy Fentiman

Downloadable poster with art by LSSU creative writing student, Daisy Fentiman

The Lake Superior State University Creative Writing Program is excited to announce the inaugural LSSU Short Story Prize, a regional literary competition for high school writers with a cash award and scholarship. Any high school student residing in the Midwest may enter. For the purposes of this contest, the Midwest is defined as the twelve-state region including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Entries will be accepted online through March 30, 2015. Finalists will be selected based on literary merit by May 15, with a winner announced on June 1. The winner of the contest will receive publication and a $500 cash prize, which may be doubled — if the student wishes to attend Lake Superior State University — to a $1000 cash scholarship. The winning story will be published in volume 5 of Border Crossing, currently scheduled for release in summer 2015, alongside fiction, poetry, and nonfiction by professional writers and book reviews by our undergraduate interns. To find out more about Border Crossing, visit our home page at

Regional high school teachers, school volunteers, and university faculty met at the university on December 18, 2014 to discuss current high school students’ reading and writing interests. Based on this discussion, attendees selected post-apocalyptic short stories as the theme for this year’s contest. For the purposes of this contest, post-apocalyptic short stories will be defined as those set after a disaster with a fatal or near-fatal effect on a civilization. All entries must meet the following parameters:

  • Genre: post-apocalyptic short story
  • Maximum word count: 5,000 words  

Interested students, parents, and teachers can find a link to a Common-Core aligned lesson plan that includes optional first-line story starters on the LSSU High School Short Story Prize website. Also on the website are more details on the contest, including how to enter, and reading recommendations for classic and award-winning post-apocalyptic short stories.

High school students can learn more about LSSU’s creative writing courses by visiting the LSSU Creative Writing Program site.

Questions about the LSSU High School Short Story Prize can be directed to contest coordinator, LSSU professor and Border Crossing co-editor, Mary McMyne, via phone at 906-635-2327 or via email at  

Pushcart Prize Nominations for 2014


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During the past several weeks, our six-person editorial board comprised of current student interns and faculty supervisors has had the pleasure of reading through vol. 4 of Border Crossing and deliberating on Pushcart Prize nominations for 2014.

We are pleased to announce the following nominations:

“Expiration Date” by E. A. Durden
“Earth to Earth” by Lisa Pacenza

“The Comfort of Ignorance” by Lori A. May

“The You Alphabet” by Colleen Abel
“Etiquette” by Rachael Lyon
“Category Four” by Janeen Rastall

Congratulations to all of our nominees!

Vol. 4 Online Orders Available Now!

Click here bcv4f2014_coverrev3to order copies of Vol. 4 online! This issue features original fiction, poetry, and nonfiction by award-winning and emerging writers from all over the U.S. and Canada, as well as an original photography portfolio by cover art contest winner, Sault Ste. Marie native Eddie James III.

Read original fiction by E. A. Durden, Glimmer Train Short Story Award for New Writers Winner; Joseph Haske, Michigan Upper Peninsula-native author of the critically acclaimed novel North Dixie Highway and Boulevard Short Fiction Contest for Emerging Writers Winner; short story writer Lisa Pacenza of New York, New York; and award-winning Michigan author of the novel U.P. and many other books, Ron Riekki. 

You can also read new essays by Sault Ste. Marie native essayist and poet Phil Dansdill; essayist Catherine Doucette of New Hampshire; environmental journalist and essayist Roger Real Drouin;  Canadian writer Lori A. May, author of Square Feet and The Write Crowd; and Vermont College of Fine Arts faculty Robert Vivian, author of Tall Grass Trilogy, Cold Snap as Yearning, and other books and essay collections.

The issue also includes poetry by former Diane Middlebrook Poetry Fellow and current Warren Wilson College Fellow, Colleen Abel; tattooed roller derby girl and poet, Gina Marie Bernard; Michigan poet and author of Body and Echo, Jennifer Burd; New York University lecturer, poet, and author of Superloop, Nicole CallihanEscape into Life editor and Nocturnes and Interior Sculpture author, Kathleen Kirk; Michigan/Ohio poet and essayist, Ann Neuser Lederer, author of Approaching Freeze and The Undifferentiated among other chapbooks; Rachael Lyon, author of The Normal Heart and How It Works, winner of the White Eagle Poetry Chapbook Award; Rebecca Macijeski, Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg-prize winning poet and Hunger Mountain and Prairie Schooner assistant poetry editor; Janeen Pergrin RastallMichigan Upper Peninsula poet and In the Yellowed House author; Sarah RehfeldtPushcart poetry nominee, Somewhere South of Pegasus author, and artist/photographer; Elizabeth Schmuhl, writer and dancemaker; M.E. SilvermanBlue Lyra Review and Museum of Americana editor, 32 Poems board-member, and The Breath before Birds Fly author; George Such, University of Louisiana fellow, Where the Body Lives author, and Tiger’s Eye Chapbook Contest Winner;  Keith Taylor, celebrated Michigan poet and National Endowment of the Arts fellow; Savannah Thorne, Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate and recent honorable mention in the Missouri Review Editor’s Prize Contest; and Margaret von SteinenMichigan poet and forest-wanderer.

Order your copy now!

Winner of the Writing the U.P. Award Named

The faculty of the English Department at Lake Superior State University and the Writing the Upper Peninsula Award selection committee are delighted to announce the winner of the 2014 Writing the UP award. The purpose of the Writing the U.P. Award is to honor an author of fiction, who has portrayed through vivid description, believable characters, and story the essence of life in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Of the many writers nominated for the award by U.P. residents, librarians working in the U.P., and the academic community in the region, six writers were selected in October as finalists for the important and significant contribution they have made to the literature of the region. These six finalists are, in alphabetical order, are:

Ellen Airgood
Joseph D. Haske
L.E. Kimball
Steve Hamilton
Jim Harrison
Ron Riekki

After much discussion and counting of votes, the faculty of the English Department at Lake Superior State University and the Writing the Upper Peninsula Award selection committee are happy to announce that Ellen Airgood is this year’s recipient of the Writing the U.P. Award!


Ellen Airgood, 2014 Winner of the Writing the U.P. Award

Airgood receives the award for her vivid portrayal of small town life in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  Ellen’s first full-length novel , South of Superior, released by Riverhead Penguin in 2011, is populated with characters so familiar to resident readers in the U.P. that it is not uncommon to stop and wonder if one hasn’t visited the towns in which they live, or walked the streets and stopped to visit in a diner with at least one or two of them.

The faculty of the English Department at Lake Superior State University and the Writing the Upper Peninsula Award selection committee thank Ellen for her rich and graceful rendering of this place and its priceless people, and look forward to her reading in the area at a time and date to be announced soon.

2014 Launch Party Rescheduled Due to Winter Weather Advisory



Unfortunately, due to extreme winter weather conditions, we regret to announce that the launch event for volume 4 is being rescheduled. Due to the increasing probability of inclement weather conditions from this point on in the year and the necessity for planning event dates at the library far in advance, our plan is to reschedule for spring. Please check back for more information here on the new date, which will be posted as soon as it is decided.

Print copies of Volume 4 will be available for order very soon here. Contributor copies will be mailed to authors within the week.

We apologize for having to reschedule; however, the safety of our presenters and attendees traveling to and from the event is of utmost importance to us. We hope you will join us in the spring!

Finalists of the Writing the U.P. Award Named


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The faculty of the English Department at Lake Superior State University and the Writing the Upper Peninsula Award selection committee are happy to announce six finalists for the second annual 2014 Writing the U.P. award. The purpose of the Writing the U.P. Award is to honor an author of fiction, who has portrayed through vivid description, believable characters, and story the essence of life in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

These writers have been selected from the many nominations we received from U.P. residents, librarians working in the U.P., and the regional academic community for the significant contribution they have made to the literature of the region. Below are the finalists’ names along with a few of the comments made by those who nominated them:

Ellen Airgood: “Airgood’s faithful rendering of place and characters in her novel,  South of Superior, is so flawlessly delivered, that it is not unusual for longtime residents of the Upper Peninsula to read her work and feel certain they’ve walked the streets of the same small towns and spoken with the very characters of her story.”

Steve Hamilton: “Each of Hamilton’s mysteries are exciting in and of themselves, but there is an extra layer of interest as he brings the U.P. to life through locations and characters that are true to the area.”

Jim Harrison: “Harrison is a gifted writer whose name and work have long been connected with northern Michigan. He  should be recognized  for having put this region on the map of imagination for  many readers.”

Joseph D. Haske: “Although Haske now lives in another state, he writes about this place like only a native can, and he does return every year to visit his large family who still live in the area. His novel, North Dixie Highway, is peopled with eccentric characters who truly do feel like they have been lifted from these streets, and its characters speak in the idiosyncratic voices we hear every day.”

L. E. Kimball: “Kimball is a new voice who offers a fresh perspective on life in the U.P. Her work published, among other places, in the anthology, The Way North, is full of promise.”

Ron Riekki: “Riekki’s short stories and his full-length novel UP deliver an unflinchingly honest and gritty portrayal of life in the U.P., and his dedication to seeing that U.P.  writers gain recognition, most notably through his work as editor on the anthology,  The Way North,  is changing the face of U.P. literature. “

The award-selection committee would like to thank those who submitted nominations for this year’s award. The nominees submitted truly reflect the reality of the region: the U.P. is unique.  No one type of story can represent us. Our nominees have penned a diverse body of work, from children’s tales, to difficult coming-of-age stories within native and mixed ethnic cultures, to mysteries, literary novels, and reflective essays.

The winner of the Writing the U.P. Award will be announced later in November.

Vol. 4 Launch Party to be held Nov. 11 at 7 pm


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bcv4f2014_coverRev3The launch party for the fourth issue of Border Crossing is scheduled to be held at the Bayliss branch of the Superior District Library in Sault Sainte Marie on Tuesday, November 11, 2014. There will be readings by Sault essayist and poet Phil Dansdill and Marquette poet Janeen Rastall, as well as a brief discussion with editors on the editorial process, the work selected, and our new group of interns. Refreshments will be provided by the Friends of Bayliss Library.

Copies of the issue will be for sale at the event. Vol. 4 includes fiction, poetry, and essays by nationally recognized and award-winning authors, with a special section featuring work by Michigan and Ontario writers, including Phil Dansdill, Joseph D. Haske, Lori May, Janeen Rastall, Ron Riekki, and Keith Taylor. The issue also includes a series of photographs of the region by the featured artist for vol. 4, cover art contest winner Eddie James, whose work will be on display at the event.

Please help support the literary and visual arts in Michigan and Ontario by coming to the reading and buying a copy! Readers keep Border Crossing alive and in circulation.  Tell your friends about us and keep us going! For those of you who cannot attend, check back soon for a link to online orders, as well as photographs and video of the event.

Vol. 4 author statistics by gender


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Two years ago, in response to the VIDA count, our fiction and poetry editorial board began reading general submissions blind as part of an effort to ensure that our submissions process resulted in a diverse group of voices published in each issue. This switch to reading blind resulted in a 68% female 2013 issue, in which we published 100% female visual artists, 60% female authors of fiction, 50% female authors of nonfiction, and 70% female poets. More details about our Volume 3 statistics by gender are here.

Last year, our fiction and poetry editorial board continued to read submissions blind for the soon-to-be-released Volume 4. A slightly different process was used to evaluate nonfiction and work submitted to the Michigan and Ontario feature, in which residency was used to qualify submissions for consideration. Overall, our process resulted in a 65% female 2014 issue. Below are statistics by gender for the soon-to-be-released Volume 4:

  • Visual artists: 0% female (0 female, 1 male)
  • Fiction writers: 50% female (2 female, 2 male)
  • Nonfiction writers: 40% female (2 female, 3 male)
  • Poets:  81% female (13 female, 3 male)

Looking forward to Volume 5, we will continue to read fiction and poetry blind, as well as seek out writing that crosses boundaries in genre or geography, and voices that aren’t often heard in mainstream publications. You can read more about our submission guidelines here and the many changes we’ll be implementing with this issue, including featuring selected authors, here. We look forward to reading your work!

Julie Brooks Barbour, Mary McMyne, and Jillena Rose co-edit Border Crossing. Learn more about the journal and our Creative Writing Program on the Lake Superior State University website.  This year’s editorial board also includes fiction i
nterns Audrey Hutchison and Jana Tahtinen and poetry intern Brian Heeke. More information about internships is available here.

Introducing Our New Interns!


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The co-editors of Border Crossing are delighted to introduce our new interns! As a “teaching journal,” one of our main goals is to create editing and publishing opportunities for our English and creative writing students prior to graduation. During the fall semester, every year, our interns read submissions with faculty editors, training for the spring when they will become assistant editors in their chosen genre.

This semester, Brian Heeke will be reading poetry submissions with co-editor Julie Brooks Barbour. Audrey Hutchison and Jana Tahtinen will be reading fiction submissions with co-editor Mary McMyne.

Poetry Intern Brian Heeke

Brian Heeke, Fall 2014 Poetry InternBrian Heeke has an admitted writing problem: he just can’t stop. After nine years in the Army and traveling around the world, he has put pen to paper. The results of this, so far, have been MEA Honors, Eastern Michigan State Fair and Tuscola County Fair dominance, and earning runner-up in the Stellanova Osborne Poetry Contest. The Art major at Lake Superior State University enjoys all genres of writing. In his free time he acts, sculpts, paints, and dances. Hailing from the Saginaw Valley region of Michigan, Brian weaves country and family life into many of his works.


Fiction Intern Audrey J. Hutchison

AudreyHutchisonAudrey J. Hutchison was born in Detroit, MI. Before attending Lake Superior State University, she earned an Associate’s Degree from Lansing Community College, studying areas as diverse as Composition and Criminal Justice. Writing has been her desire throughout her life. She has written features for the St. Ignace newspaper; two novels, Corruption at Jamestown Prison and Who is Ellen Roquefort; and various short stories. Currently Audrey is a senior at Lake Superior State University majoring in Individualized Studies with a focus on creative and crime writing.


Fiction Intern Jana Tahtinen

JanaTahtinenJana Tahtinen was born and raised in Petoskey, Michigan. She is a sophomore majoring in Literature and Creative Writing and minoring in Dance and Marketing at Lake Superior State University. As a freshman, last year, one of her short stories was a runner-up for the 2013-2014 LSSU Short Story Contest. She is the vice president of the Honors Club on campus and enjoys spending her free time writing and reading. All she has ever wanted to do is write and she can’t imagine what her life would be without the written word.



Julie Brooks Barbour, Mary McMyne, and Jillena Rose co-edit Border Crossing. Learn more about the journal and our Creative Writing Program on the Lake Superior State University website. 


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