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Winning Writers Newsletter

August 2005

Welcome to our August newsletter.

Congratulations to our 2005 Wergle Flomp winners Alan Farrell, Kakie Mashburn and Courtney Siebring, and honorable mentions Jennifer Biggs, Apryl Hutson, Robert Klaslo, Garrett Marcus and Peter Taylor. Their humor poems were judged the best of the 1,398 entries we received. We awarded $1,609 in cash prizes.

In " Blaming of Parts", this year's winning poem, Dr. Farrell perfectly captures the expletive-laced patter of a drill sergeant who doesn't know whether to laugh or cry at the idiocy of both his distant commanders and his hapless recruits. Bizarrely interspersed with this narrative, we hear the languid, effete voice of the Poet describing the pretty nipa palms. This poem is a parody of Henry Reed's famous war poem " Naming of Parts", which contrasts the beautiful, lively world of nature with the sterile and cramped mentality of the warmaking machine. Whereas in Reed's poem, incongruity serves a serious political purpose, Dr. Farrell comically exaggerates that incongruity to create a more affectionate portrait of the military. He also uses the f-word a lot, which means that once again, our winner gets the coveted NC-17 label. Don't forward it to granny.

Read all of this year's winning Wergle poems now at:
http://www.winningwriters.com/wergleflomp/2005/winners.htm

Congratulations to the winners of the 2005 Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for Traditional Verse. Osmond Benoliel, Raymond Southall and Jacqueline Cooke earned the top three awards. $2,000 was awarded in all. See the complete list of winners and commended entrants. The next contest will open at WinningWriters.com on November 15.

Our 2006 Wergle Flomp Poetry Contest is open for your entry. Once again we seek the best bad poem that has been submitted to a 'vanity contest' as a joke. There's no fee to enter, and we will give away a fresh $1,609, including the top prize of $1,190. Submit online by April 1, 2006. See the complete guidelines at:
http://www.winningwriters.com/contestflomp.htm

Also open now is the 2006 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest. The prize pool has again been increased and is now $3,000. Prizes of $1,000, $600 and $400 will be awarded, plus four High Distinction awards of $250 each. The top entry will be published in a triennial anthology. Other entries may also be published. Early submission is encouraged. This year's entry fee is $12 for each work submitted. (All amounts are in US dollars.) Short stories or prose on any theme are sought, up to 5,000 words. You can enter a story that's already been published or even won prizes in other competitions (so long as you still have the anthology and online publication rights). Unpublished stories are also welcome. Submit online or by mail. The postmark deadline is March 31, 2006. Winning Writers is assisting with entry handling for this contest. See the complete guidelines at:
http://www.winningwriters.com/tomstory.htm

Closing Next Month
Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest
Postmark Deadline: September 30
Open to poems in any style, theme or genre. $2,000 in prizes will be awarded, including a top prize of $1,000. The winning entries will be published. The entry fee is $5 for every 25 lines. Submit online or by mail. You may submit poems that have been published or won prizes elsewhere, as long as you own the anthology and online publication rights. Unpublished work is also welcome. Winning Writers is assisting with entry handling for this contest. Guidelines:
http://www.winningwriters.com/tompoetry.htm

All best,

Adam Cohen & Jendi Reiter
WinningWriters.com
One of the 101 Best Web Sites for Writers

(Writer's Digest, 2005)

The Best Free Poetry Contests

Deadlines: August 16 - September 30

8/31: Jerwood Aldeburgh First Collection Prize +++
Entries must be received by this date
Prize is awarded for the best first full-length collection of poetry published in Great Britain or Ireland since September 1 of the preceding year. Winner receives 2,000 pounds and a fee-paying invitation to read at the following year's Aldeburgh Poetry Festival in November. Number of contestants in 2004: 49.

8/31: The Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize ++
Entries must be received by this date
Honors books published by authors who were under 35 at the time of publication. Authors must be British or Commonwealth citizens, and the books must have been published in the United Kingdom in the preceding year. Any work of literature, including poetry, is eligible. Top winner receives 5,000 pounds. The publisher should submit the entry, not the author.

9/1: Close Quarters Literary Contest +
Winner receives C$100 for the best poetry or prose on the theme of crowded urban living. "So you want to live in the city? So does everybody. Urban living means sharing your space: on public transport, in the elevator at work, with that strange new roommate you found through the classifieds. Tell us your tale, you sardine." Entries should be 8-800 words; maximum one prose piece or two poems per person. First-person narratives preferred.

9/1: Helen Schaible Shakespearean/Petrarchan Sonnet Contest +
Submit a sonnet using a Shakespearean or Petrarchan rhyme scheme. Modest prizes. Sponsored by the Poets' Club of Chicago.

9/1: "In the Beginning Was the Word" Literary Arts Contest ++
Seeks poems, short fiction and creative nonfiction that "engage/illumine/explore some question animating the human spiritual quest." Top prize $500.

9/15: Greensboro Review Literary Awards +++
Poems and short fiction sought. Prizes of $500 will be awarded in each category. All entries will be considered for publication in the Greensboro Review. You may make multiple submissions, but each one must be exclusive to this contest until the results are announced.

9/15: Kate Tufts Discovery Award +++
"The Kate Tufts Discovery Award is presented annually for a first book by a poet of genuine promise." Winner receives $10,000. Must be a citizen or legal resident of the US.

9/15: Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award +++
"The Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award is presented annually for a work by an emerging poet, one who is past the very beginning but has not yet reached the acknowledged pinnacle of his or her career." This is one of the largest prizes in poetry. Winner receives $100,000. Must be a citizen or legal resident of the US.

9/30: International Tanka Splendor Award +
Entries must be received by this date
31 tanka and three tanka sequences will each receive publication in an annual anthology and a $20 gift certificate from AHA Books. This unusual contest is judged anonymously by the entrants who submitted their work online. Past winners are good.

See our complete list of free poetry contests by deadline date

Key to Ratings
Highly Recommended: +++
Recommended: ++
Neutral: +

All deadlines are postmark deadlines unless otherwise specified.

FREE CONTESTS WITH ROLLING DEADLINES
There are six active free contests with rolling deadlines. These typically accept entries at any time of year. See them now at:
http://www.winningwriters.com/winfree/contests/indexbydate.htm


Sponsors' Messages

Perigee Seeks Poetry and Prose for its Winter Issue
Starting today, Perigee welcomes submissions to its winter issue, to be released in January. This issue will showcase the genre of memoir, both in poetic and prosaic form, but we remain open to writing which isn't memoir oriented. We want to publish your best and brightest poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Even if you've submitted work to our autumn issue and haven't yet heard from us, we invite you to submit more work now! We've updated our submission guidelines, raised the prose word limit, and are welcoming a new editor. Submit online or by mail. Visit us now at www.perigee-art.com


WE PAY YOU FOR POEMS USED!
Lucidity Journal of Verse celebrates 20 years of publication. We give modest pay (from $1 to $15) for poetry published plus a free bonus copy. We seek clear and lucid poetry dealing with people, relationships and life encounters. For required submission guidelines, contact Editor Ted O. Badger, 14781 Memorial Drive, No. 10, Houston TX 77079-5210, call 281-920-1795 or email at tedbadger1@yahoo.com.


Newspapering: Never Enough Characters--Or?
Newspaper tales from decades past, during a time when the mainstream press enjoyed wide respect and before it became apparent that the "Woodstein" Watergate reportage had opened a Pandora's box for journalists and their profession.
????? Four droll episodes, three concerning copy editors, who in aggregate have been called "a dear (sometimes) and exasperating (usually) breed." "The Copy Editor Who Flew the Coop", "The Wire Editor and His Inestimable Aide" and "The Copy Editor Who Blew Them Away". The last story, "The Mockingbird", offers kaleidoscopic glimpses of irrepressible spirits on an old afternoon paper in its final throes. www.edalbaugh.com


Robert Frost Foundation: Ninth Annual Award
Postmark Deadline: September 15
The Robert Frost Foundation welcomes poems in the spirit of Robert Frost for its Ninth Annual Award. The winning poem will receive $1,000 and an invitation to be presented at the Frost Festival in Lawrence, Mass. on October 22, 2005. This year's judges are Ted Deppe and Annie Deppe. Email submissions are also accepted at frostfoundation@comcast.net. Reading fees are $10 per poem (via regular mail, please). Please submit two copies of each poem, one copy with contact information and one copy without any identifying information. All entries must be postmarked or emailed by September 15, 2005. Robert Frost Foundation, Attn: 2005 Annual Award, 439 South Union, Suite 205a, Lawrence, MA 01843. www.frostfoundation.org


The Litchfield Review Contest
Postmark Deadline: October 31
The Litchfield Review ( www.thelitchfieldreview.com ) seeks original, unpublished poems, essays and short stories for its current contest. The overall winner will receive $250. Other prizes of $100 may also be awarded. The reading fee is $10 per essay, short story, or set of 1-3 poems. All prizewinners will be published in The Litchfield Review. Runners-up may also be published. All writers we publish will receive a free copy of the issue in which they appear. We are a new journal offering a forum to emerging and established writers; our only criterion for acceptance is excellence. We look for good stories beautifully told, quality poetry of substance, and creative nonfiction that lingers long in the minds of readers. See the complete contest guidelines:
http://www.winningwriters.com/special/1031-litchfield.htm


World's Largest Short Fiction Award
Entries must be received by November 30
Fish International Short Story Prize
Open to all English language writers. Winner receives 10,000 Euros ($13,000+) and publication. Submit a story of up to 5,000 words, open content. Winners selected every year, no exceptions. Judging is blind, final judges are acclaimed authors. Open annually - July 1 to November 30. Enter online at www.fishpublishing.com and see full details, or mail to Fish Short Story Prize, Durrus, Bantry, County Cork, Ireland. Please read the rules before submitting. Tel: 00 353 27 55645. Most recent winner Marc Phillips, Galveston, Texas.


Doris Bakwin Award for Gutsy & Talented Women Writers
Postmark Deadline: December 1
Carolina Wren Press seeks submissions of long fiction (novel or short story collection) or memoir. Prize: $2,000 plus publication. Final Judge: Quinn Dalton. Submit a manuscript of 150-400 pages with a $15 entry fee, payable to Carolina Wren Press. Seeking diverse voices. For full guidelines send SASE or visit www.carolinawrenpress.org. Mail your entry to Carolina Wren Press, Attn: Doris Bakwin Award, 120 Morris Street, Durham, NC 27701.


Poetry Contest Insider
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"I wasn't on top of the contest circuit until I subscribed to Winning Writers. Since I joined the site a year ago, I have won the top prize or placed in poetry contests 24 times and have had 11 publications. In the five years I wrote poetry prior to joining this site, I had only one publication. Clearly, Winning Writers has had a huge impact on my career. Thank you!"
Dr. Linda Dove, Arizona

"I have often used Winning Writers as a source of information on writing competitions and publication possibilities. This is far and away the best site of its kind, anywhere on the Internet. As a result of submitting to some of the contests they have recommended, I've won various awards for my poetry and these, in turn, have led to other types of recognition. As well, the competitions directly associated with Winning Writers are of very high quality. The site administrator is always readily accessible by email and responds in a friendly and helpful manner. The newsletter is also very informative. I have recommended this site to many of my peers and as a senior high school teacher, have included it for reference in a list of writing resources for students. It is WELL worth numerous visits!"
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New Resources


Any Holy City
By Mark Conway. Winner of the Gerald Cable Award, Conway reclaims the story of Abraham and Isaac as token of the fierce, ambivalent love of fathers for sons, and perhaps of God for man - a love that in one moment could devour its creation or die for it. Other poems take us from the American prairie to the permeable border between the worlds of the living and the dead. "This is how we came to/ love this life - / by wanting/ the next."

Christian Science Monitor: Of Poems & Poetry
Interviews and profiles of major contemporary poets, plus book reviews and poetry news.

Cyber English's Glossary of Literary Terms
Definitions of literary devices, from the well-known (allegory) to the obscure (polysyntedon), with examples and links for further reading.

Fish Publishing
Well-regarded Irish literary publisher sponsors competitions for short fiction and unpublished novels. Their largest prize, for short stories, is 10,000 euros. Also offers critique service and editorial consulting.

" If I'm as Bad as I Can Be, Won't You Please Not Publish Me?"
Journalist Dru Sefton ventures into the world of vanity contests and the poets who parody them. Included: great parody websites, how to write a poem so bad it's good, and vanity contest organizers talk back.

Jess Mowry's Manuscript Submission Tips
Invaluable basic information on manuscript formatting, query letters, submission etiquette and more. Advice is geared to African-American authors, but will be helpful to all prose writers. Jess Mowry is the author of several novels for teens.

Literature and Belief
Intelligent, thought-provoking journal publishes poetry, literary criticism, book reviews and interviews with a moral/religious focus. No website; send submissions to 4145 Jesse Knight Humanities Building, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602. Email poetry editor Lance Larsen for submission guidelines.

Philip Nikolayev: Interview
Insights on formal innovation, "self-subversion" and the growth of the artist, from the editor of the innovative annual journal Fulcrum. Nikolayev's book Monkey Time won the 2001 Verse Prize.

Poet Warrior Project
Online archive seeks poems from military personnel and their families. Email submissions to Kristin. Include your name; name of the author of the poem (if different); your relationship to the author; author's branch of service; date poem was written; author's hometown; and any additional information that you feel is relevant.

Random Act
Humor columnist David Agosta used a random-word-generator to write this poem, but poetry.com published it anyway.

Ropeless
By Tracy Koretsky. Ropeless is a comic, poignant story about an old-fashioned Jewish mama, her mentally disabled son, and a dutiful daughter learning to follow her dreams. Told from multiple first-person perspectives, every character's voice is pitch-perfect. Koretsky is the winner of a dozen literary awards and has received three Pushcart Prize nominations. Fans of Wally Lamb will enjoy this new author.


Selected Prose Contests and Calls for Submissions

Jerwood Awards for Non-Fiction +++
Entries must be received by August 31
Free contest from the Royal Society of Literature offers grants up to 12,500 pounds for UK and Irish authors completing their first commissioned nonfiction book.

Riverton Racing Club Short Story Competition +
Postmark Deadline: August 31
Seeks short stories relating to thoroughbred racing for anthology honoring Riverton's Centennial Great Western Steeplechase. $1,000 first prize, $500 second prize, $25 third prize and 20 short-listed entries receive $50. (Prizes in New Zealand dollars.) All winners will be published. Request guidelines from dougstuart@xtra.co.nz.

Gratitude Essay Contest +
Entries must be received by September 1
Free contest from Small Town Life magazine offers a $100 US savings bond and publication for the best "informal essay on what thankfulness and gratitude mean to you," 250-500 words. Submit by mail or email (no attachments). See website or email editor@smalltownlifemagazine.com for details.

Happy Tales Literary Contest ++
Postmark Deadline: September 1
Free contest from the Montana Festival of the Book seeks alternate happy and humorous endings to great literary tragedies. The new ending must more or less parody the idiom, style, atmosphere, and so on, of the original. Entries will be judged on the bases of humor, insight, and quality of parody. Prize is $100, publication on website, and reading of your work at the festival in September.

Search for a Story Competition +
Entries must be received by September 1
Free contest seeks short fiction suitable for a children's picture book (ages 0-6) by authors with no previous children's book publication. Stories should be 200-750 words. Prize is 2,000 pounds. No simultaneous submissions.

Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest for College Students +++
Postmark Deadline: September 16
Free contest awards $5,000 top prize, plus thousands of dollars in runner-up prizes, for the best essay on Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged. Choose one of three essay questions on website. The Ayn Rand Institute also offers lucrative essay contests for high school students in March and April.

LILITH Magazine Fiction Competition +
Postmark Deadline: September 30
Free contest offers $250 and publication for the best unpublished original story "with heart, soul and chutzpah illuminating issues in the lives of Jewish women." Maximum 3,000 words.

Vanity Fair Essay Contest +++
Entries must be received by September 30
Free essay contest offers a top prize of $15,000 plus a week at a writers' retreat in Italy, as well as other large prizes. 2005 theme is "What is on the minds of America's youth today?" US residents only. Submit by email: EssayContest@vf.com, but read website rules and past winners first.

RTE Radio 1 Short Story Competition ++
Entries must be received by October 7
Free contest for fiction suitable for radio performance. Top prize 3,000 euros. Entrants must be born or normally resident in Ireland.

FundsforWriters Essay Contest +
Postmark Deadline: October 31
Seeks essays of 700 words maximum on the theme, "They Actually Paid Me to Write." Fee-paying category ($5 per essay) offers $150 top prize, free category $50 prize. FundsforWriters is an excellent resource for both literary and commercial freelance writers.

Stickman Review Fiction Contest +
Entries must be received by November 1
Free contest offers top prize of $250 and online publication for a story, maximum 8,000 words. Submit online only. Acceptable formats are MS Word, .txt or RTF attachments, or stories pasted into the email message. Send entries to fiction@stickmanreview.com.

Encore Award [link opens a .pdf file] +++
Entries must be received by November 30
Free contest from the Society of Authors for second published novels. Either the author must be a British or Commonwealth citizen, or the submitted book must have been first published in the UK in 2005. Prize is 10,000 pounds.

Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics +++
Postmark Deadline: December 9
This essay contest for junior and senior undergraduates at US colleges offers a top prize of $5,000 for essays on ethics and society. See website for complete rules and topics for this year's contest.

Betty Trask Prize +++
Entries must be received by January 31, 2006
Free contest for published or unpublished first novels (traditional or romantic, not experimental) by Commonwealth authors under 35 as of December 31. Winners share up to 25,000 pounds. Prize money must be used for foreign travel. See website for other good free contests from the UK's Society of Authors.

The Caine Prize for African Writing +++
Entries must be received by January 31, 2006
Free contest for published stories by African writers. Winner receives $15,000, shortlisted entrants receive travel stipend. Must be submitted by publisher.


More Sponsors' Messages

Closing Next Month
Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest
Postmark Deadline: September 30
Open to poems in any style, theme or genre. $2,000 in prizes will be awarded, including a top prize of $1,000. The winning entries will be published. The entry fee is $5 for every 25 lines. Submit online or by mail. You may submit poems that have been published or won prizes elsewhere, as long as you own the anthology and online publication rights. Unpublished work is also welcome. Winning Writers is assisting with entry handling for this contest. Guidelines:
http://www.winningwriters.com/tompoetry.htm


Open Now
Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest
Postmark Deadline: March 31, 2006
Now in its 14th year. Prizes of $1,000, $600 and $400 will be awarded, plus four High Distinction awards of $250 each. The top entry will be published in a triennial anthology. Other entries may also be published. Submit any type of short story, essay or other work of prose, up to 5,000 words. You may submit work that has been published or won prizes elsewhere, as long as you own the anthology and online publication rights. $12 entry fee. Submit online or by mail. Early submission encouraged. Winning Writers is assisting with entry handling for this contest. Guidelines:
http://www.winningwriters.com/tomstory.htm


Open Now
Wergle Flomp Poetry Contest - No Fee
Online Submission Deadline: April 1, 2006
Now in its 5th year. Sponsored by Winning Writers. Prizes of $1,190, $169, $60 and 5 honorable mentions of $38 each. A humor contest with a special twist. Judge: Jendi Reiter. Guidelines:
http://www.winningwriters.com/contestflomp.htm


Publish Your Book From Your Computer for as Little as $1.00 Each
InstantPublisher.com will take your manuscript over the Internet from any Microsoft Windows-based program. Publish a book in trade quality from 25 to 5,000 copies in about 7-10 working days. Ideal when you want to publish books to give as gifts, sell at events and readings, or sell from your website. Specify the kind of book you want to print and get an instant price quote. Customers say, "the published book is exactly what I had envisioned. And the cost was so reasonable, I'd recommend InstantPublisher.com to anyone." "I experimented with several different short-run and POD printers during my 90-day adventure from self-published to major book deal, and I have to say that the quality of your books was BY FAR the best. When sending press kits to the media, and anyone we wanted to impress, we'd always send your books, which we affectionately referred to as 'The GOOD books.' "
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IMAGINE YOUR STORY IN A BESTSELLING BOOK!
Do you have a personal story that belongs in today's bestselling anthologies, like Chicken Soup for the Soul, A Cup of Comfort, and Chocolate for Women? You could get published and receive money for your work! Julia Rosien, a publishing veteran and editor at ePregnancy Magazine, will mentor you and show you how to turn your memories into essays that warm the heart...and sell.
http://www.absoluteclasses.com/Rosien/soulstories.htm


Poet's Market - 2006 Edition Just Released!
Writer's Digest has released the 2006 edition of Poet's Market ($16.49 at Amazon). Published each August, this is the best annual guide to 1,800 journals, magazines, book publishers, chapbook publishers, websites, grants, conferences, workshops and contests. Helps you find publishers who are looking for your kind of work. Also updated is Writer's Market for works of prose ("the most valuable of tools for the writer new to the marketplace," says Stephen King in On Writing).


WriteSuccess Newsletter
Sign up now for WriteSuccess's free biweekly newsletter for freelance writers. Editor Mary Anne Hahn has a knack for finding the most interesting literary sites and markets. It's easy to feel lonely as a freelancer. Mary Anne's inspiring attitude and success notes from readers create a sense of community.
http://www.listpartners.com/cgi-local/subscribe?4338


Put Your Poems and Pictures on Apparel, Cards, Gifts and More
CafePress.com makes it easy to put your words and images on shirts, greeting cards, postcards, mugs, magnets and posters. Order them for yourself or for gifts, or sell them online at a profit. CafePress makes each item to order, so you don't have to commit to a large batch all at once. It's quick and easy to set up your store, and there's no set-up charge. We've been getting a kick out of our Judge Jendi mugs. Get started here:
http://www.cafepress.com/cp/info/storeref.aspx?refby=winwrit


Office Depot - August Coupon
Save on all your school supplies at Office Depot. Free delivery in select areas when you order $50 or more. This coupon expires on August 31.
Save?$30?off?Purchases?of?$150?or?More!


SAVE UP TO 90% ON TEXTBOOKS AT ALIBRIS
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Public Service Announcement

The Fire Safety Literacy Project
90 million grown-ups in the US have low reading ability, a serious barrier to learning necessary home fire safety skills and to understanding and applying key fire protection measures in the home, such as installing and maintaining adequate smoke alarm protection and emergency escape preparedness.

The Fire Safety Literacy Project was developed to provide an effective, low-cost alternative to the fire safety education materials typically available in the US today, which tend to be exclusively in English, in the form of text-heavy brochures and other handouts that don't accommodate less-proficient readers.

Firefighters, public health educators and other fire and life safety professionals are encouraged to join the Home Safety Council Expert Network at www.firesafetyliteracyproject.org. Members receive a free packet of home injury prevention materials and free updates.

Free safety information for the public is available at
http://www.homesafetycouncil.org/index.aspx

Teachers can access free safety resources at
http://www.homesafetycouncil.org/teacher/teacher.aspx

The Fire Safety Literacy Project is a cooperative venture of ProLiteracy Worldwide, the Home Safety Council and Oklahoma State University's Fire Protection Publications, with support from US Department of Homeland Security Fire Prevention and Safety Grants.


Advertise to 15,000 Poets and Writers
Promote your contests, websites, events and publications in this newsletter. Reach over 15,000 poets and writers for $35. Ads may contain up to 100 words and a headline. Place your reservation at:
http://store.yahoo.com/winningwriters/wiwrnead.html

"The ads we have run in the Winning Writers newsletter have garnered more response and inquiry than any other ads we have run in 20 years of publication."
Ted O. Badger, Editor, Lucidity Poetry Journal

"Thanks for the great advertising value your service continues to offer. Your subscriber base continues to serve as the foundation for our submissions."
Robert Woerheide, Editor in Chief, Perigee



Jendi's Critique Corner

This month, Critique Corner is pleased to present 'At First Light' by John Alexanderson.

If you would like a chance to be critiqued, please email your poem to me at critique@winningwriters.com. Send the poem in the body of your email message (no attachments) and put "poetry critique" in the subject line. One submission per poet per month. Thanks!

At First Light
by John Alexanderson

...greater is He that is in you.... [ 1 John 4:4]

Half-past five. I am wan and waste.
Destruction clutches
hard beneath these ribs and brows.

Before the sheets are first thrown off,
passions resurrect that nurtured
in the day now past, pestered
on the breaths of night. I mourn
near certain sin in this new day,
yet try to snuff the spark that whispers
Peace, be still.

Please ...
Dew the deserts, salve the stings,
fill this pardoned purgator.
Kindle fresh your resurrection,
warm like anthracite inside.
Bend my spirit's steel
by your holy brawn and brooding.
Guide me with your strong hands,
since I fear that more astrays will come.

Draw near, sweet guest.
Transform my thorns that should be fruit,
Fill me for another day,
that I might not grieve you
even once.

Copyright 2005 by John Alexanderson


Critique by Jendi Reiter

This month's critique poem, John Alexanderson's "At First Light," caught my attention because of its economical yet densely textured language, and its continuity with the tradition of classic Christian poetry. The tone and theme recollect 17th-century metaphysical poets such as George Herbert, while the style pays homage to Gerard Manley Hopkins' delight in word sounds, adapted to a more modern idiom.

In the opening stanza, Alexanderson uses alliteration and assonance to intensify the sound of his words, lifting them beyond mere prose. We hear a dark harmony in the clenched sound of "destruction" and "clutches," the grinding "R" of hard/ribs/brows. The slightly old-fashioned vocabulary ("wan and waste") also signals that the author is introducing a subject of more than everyday importance. In a more overwritten poem, such language might seem affected, but Alexanderson skirts that trap by using simple, short sentences that maintain the natural and direct style we expect from contemporary verse.

The second stanza concisely lays out the universal dilemma that torments the narrator. Returning to himself from sleep, he sees himself as the flawed element that will spoil the gift of the new day just as he did before. How soon the passions that seemed to "nurture" in the morning turned pestilent before evening!...

critique continues

This poem, our critique and contest suggestions for poems in this style appear in full at:
http://www.winningwriters.com/critiques/2005/0508-alexanderson.htm

Coming in the September 1 Quarterly Supplement
New links to award-winning poems

Coming in the September 15 Winning Writers Newsletter
Best Free Poetry Contests for September 16-October 31

Forward this email to a friend and Winning Writers will donate 10 cents to ProLiteracy Worldwide! Use the link at the bottom of the email.
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