Stop by the PS Collective at 6056 Maple Street this Thursday, August 4th at 7 p.m. for the Omaha Poetry Slam Team Sendoff Show. The team (Steven Evans, Jake Narofsky, Patrick Sather, Tessie Stednitz, and Ben Wenzl) will be headed to Boston to take on the rest of the country in this year’s National Poetry Slam. All Young Girls Are Machine Guns will kick things off. You can probably sneak in for free, but pony up the $7 suggested donation to help the team defray the costs of traveling to the competition. Boston ain’t cheap.

Each year, San Jose State University hosts the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest in an effort to highlight the absolute worst opening sentences. The contest is named after Victorian novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton, the man who gave us “It was a dark and stormy night.”

This year’s overall winner was University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh assistant professor Sue Fondrie, with: “Cheryl’s mind turned like the vanes of a wind-powered turbine, chopping her sparrow-like thoughts into bloody pieces that fell onto a growing pile of forgotten memories.”

While Fondrie’s entry is pretty great, there are some other keepers, such as Jack Barry’s winning entry in the Adventure category: “From the limbs of ancient live oaks, moccasins hung like fat black sausages — which are sometimes called boudin noir, black pudding or blood pudding, though why anyone would refer to a sausage as pudding is hard to understand and it is even more difficult to divine why a person would knowingly eat something made from dried blood in the first place — but be that as it may, our tale is of voodoo and foul murder, not disgusting food.”

Another sterling example was Basil McDonnell’s runner-up entry in the Crime category: “The victim was a short man, with a face full of contradictions: amalgam, composite, dental porcelain, with both precious and non-precious metals all competing for space in a mouth that was open, bloody, terrifying, gaping, exposing a clean set of asymptomatic impacted wisdom teeth, but clearly the object of some very comprehensive dental care, thought Dirk Graply, world-famous womanizer, tough guy, detective, and former dentist.” He was robbed!

To read all the winners in all the categories, go to

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