Best Resources for Poets and WritersWinning Writers
IN THIS ISSUE

Recent Honors for Our Subscribers

Closing This Month:
Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for Traditional Verse


Links to Award-Winning Poems

Featured Poem:
"Humanity Street"


Featured Poem:
"I Always Give You Words"


Special Offers for Poets and Writers

Reserve Ads Now Before July 1 Price Increase

Interview with Fiction Writer Bruce Holland Rogers

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Newsletter Archives


WINNING WRITERS NEWSLETTER
Summer 2006 Supplement


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Welcome to our Summer newsletter supplement. These quarterly supplements contain award-winning poems, timely Winning Writers announcements and special offers for poets and writers. We'll release our next regular newsletter on June 15.

RECENT HONORS FOR OUR NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIBERS
Congratulations to Elaine Winkler. She writes, "I wish to let you know that I received a Commendation from Vivian Shipley in the Springfed Arts/Metro Detroit Poetry Contest. (Another poem will be published in Paterson Literary Review). How thrilling to get news of both in two days!"

Congratulations to J.C. Todd. Grace Schulman selected his poem "What's Left" as a finalist for the 2006 Lucille Medwick Memorial Award of the Poetry Society of America.

RECENT HONORS FOR POETRY CONTEST INSIDER SUBSCRIBERS
Congratulations to M. Lee Alexander. She won an Honorable Mention in the 2006 Strokestown Poetry Prize Competition for her poem "Humanity Street". Ms. Alexander kindly shares her winning entry below.

Congratulations to Chloe Brown. She won the Poetry & Fiction Category in the 2006 "Art Is Ageless" Contest sponsored by the Texas Association of Homes and Services for the Aging. Ms. Brown kindly shares her winning poem "I Always Give You Words" below.


TRY POETRY CONTEST INSIDER
Get profiles on over 750 poetry contests, plus over 100 of the best prose contests. Search and sort contests by deadline, prize, fee, recommendation level and more. Interviews and links to award-winning work help you refine your craft. Explore Poetry Contest Insider for 10 days on us. If you like it, you'll pay just $6.95/quarter. If it's not for you, cancel and pay nothing. Winning Writers is one of the "101 Best Web Sites for Writers" (Writer's Digest, 2005 & 2006). Learn more about Poetry Contest Insider.


SPONSORS' MESSAGES

10th Annual Robert Frost Foundation Annual Poetry Award
Robert Frost FoundationPostmark/Email Submission Deadline: September 15
The Robert Frost Foundation (www.frostfoundation.org) welcomes poems in the spirit of Robert Frost for its Tenth Annual Award. The winning poem will receive $1,000 and an invitation to be presented at the Frost Festival located at Lawrence Riverfront Park (off I-93, River Road Exit) Lawrence, Mass. on Saturday, October 28, 2006. Festival readers include X.J. Kennedy, Jeffrey Harrison, Maggie Dietz and Rhina Espaillat. Email submissions are also accepted at frostfoundation@comcast.net. Reading fees are $10 per poem (send fees via regular mail, please). Please submit two copies of each poem, one copy with contact information and one copy without any identifying information. Mailing address: Robert Frost Foundation, 439 South Union, Lawrence, MA 01843.


Closing This Month
Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for Traditional Verse
Postmark Deadline: June 30
Now in its third year, this contest seeks poetry in traditional verse forms such as sonnets and haiku. 30 cash prizes totaling $3,500 will be awarded, including a top prize of $1,000. All winners of cash prizes will be published in an anthology. The entry fee is $6 for every 25 lines you submit. Enter 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. Judges: John H. Reid and Dee C. Konrad. Guidelines:
http://www.winningwriters.com/margaret


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LINKS TO AWARD-WINNING POEMS


1652
by Sally Ball
Winner of the 2004 Barrow Street Press Book Contest
Postmark Deadline: June 30
Prestigious $1,000 award for poetry manuscripts is sponsored by a well-regarded literary journal that is friendly to experimental work. This richly textured selection from Ball's prizewinning book Annus Mirabilis pictures the mathematician Leibniz as a child vainly seeking his mother's affection with a gift of sycamore leaves, whose underlying patterns, like her love, he glimpses but cannot quite grasp.


TO A CONDEMNED MAN NOW DEAD
by Don Colburn
Winner of the 2005 Finishing Line Press Open Chapbook Competition
Postmark Deadline: June 30
Established publisher of poetry chapbooks offers a first prize of $1,000, plus publication for up to 15 runners-up. The prize is large for a chapbook contest. In addition to winning this award in 2005 for his collection Another Way to Begin, Colburn (a journalist in Portland, OR and a Pulitzer Prize finalist) also won the 2005 Cider Press Review Book Award for his full-length collection As If Gravity Were a Theory. In this compelling poem, he looks unflinchingly at both the condemned man's vicious crimes and the ugliness of his execution, reminding us that justice is neither simple nor comforting.


THE GIRL WHO WANTED TO SPEAK OTHER LANGUAGES
by Elizabeth Oakes
Winner of the 2004 Pearl Poetry Prize
Postmark Deadline: July 15
Poetry manuscript award from an attractive small press offers $1,000, publication and a foreword by the contest judge, a well-known poet. This radiant poem from Oakes' prizewinning book The Farmgirl Poems imagines that all her experiences of farming—the "writing" of hoofprints around the pond, the "notes" of hay hanging in the barn air like music—are the world's secret languages, which she risks forgetting when she moves into a more isolated urban life.


We are gathering a growing library of award-winning poems in Poetry Contest Insider, over two dozen to date. Enjoy a wide range of today's best work. Sign up for a free trial.


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SPONSORS' MESSAGES AND EXEMPLARY POEMS


LUCIDITY POETRY JOURNAL, in its 21st year of publication, seeks poetry dealing with life issues, people and relationships
We are open to all styles of poetry but the poems must communicate in understandable diction. We shun Jabberwocky and vulgarity, feeling that English is rich enough in meaning without resorting to gutter vocabulary. We avoid much of academia's verse because it is too "ivory tower" to be meaningful to the average reader who grapples with the hard realities of life day by day.

We are one of a few small press publishers that pays modest amounts for poems selected to be included in our twice-yearly issues (ranging from $1 to $15 plus a free copy). Since we have thrived for 21 years of publication, our slant and emphasis on poetry have found an abiding niche. We always seek new voices and welcome all poets, whether beginners or veterans. Please email your request for our submission guidelines to tedbadger1@yahoo.com and visit our website at lucidityjournal.00books.com. No email submissions, please. Lucidity is a 72-page digest-sized paper and ink book. The Editor is Ted O. Badger. Questions? Please call 281-920-1795.


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Ducts.org
The New Issue of Ducts.org Premiers June 1!
Stop by ducts.org today and treat yourself to the best personal stories on the web, along with our usual selection of essays, memoirs, art, fiction, reviews, humor and poetry. Find out where to attend our live reading series, Trumpet Fiction, on June 10 in New York City. Learn how you can submit your work for upcoming issues and readings. All this is yours for FREE on the pages of ducts.org.


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Integral Journeys for Pilgrims, Poets, Fools and Saints
Workshops, Readings and Keynotes Presented by Reggie Marra

"It is a true art to watch Reggie work his magic.... His gentle manner and wonderful sense of humor invite honesty and remove fear.... He has the type of persona that crosses all age, race, and educational barriers."
Sue Cavanaugh, Memorial Middle School, Middlebury, CT

"I came away feeling that change and transformation are not only possible, but necessary, and these techniques provide working and workable maps for such transformation—essential for living new ways of thought in the 21st Century."
Phil Linz, EMD Chemicals, Hawthorne, NY

Books
The Quality of Effort: Integrity in Sport and Life for Student-Athletes, Parents and Coaches (1991)
Who Lives Better Than We Do? (2001)
Living Poems, Writing Lives: Spirit, Self, and the Art of Poetry (2004)
This Open Eye: Seeing What We Do—Poems 2003-2005 (2006)

This Open EyeExcerpts from This Open Eye
"...a powerful, devastating, and stunningly beautiful book"
Trebbe Johnson, author, The World Is a Waiting Lover: Desire and the Quest for the Beloved

This Open Eye

Swollen shut the right
eye seeps semi-clotted
blood that streams
and blotches a map of
hell across the three-
year-old face. Wide
open, the left eye
appears injury-free—
untouched, but
ultimately more
lethal.
Through this open
eye the child sees
the world that has
closed the other.

"Reggie Marra writes with stunning, graphic precision.... These poems are tributes to the nearly-invisible wounded and the honest humanity so many of us yearn for now."
Naomi Shihab Nye, author, You & Yours

Give It Back

Commander-in-Chief
photo op over
we learn the
vehicle that crushed your
legs and pelvis was
American driven. Your
Purple Heart a mistake,
you have to
give
it
back.
Your
splintered bones,
real—
those
you get to keep.

"...Marra’s poems are unflinching poems of witness."
Alan Catlin, Schenectady, NY

What Tries to Escape

Twelve-year-old bandaged
head rests on the garish
green, red and beige pillow.
Eyes full and focused,
lips pressed together
suppress what tries to
escape. Except for
the triangle of neck,
right shoulder, and breast,
his scorched torso hides
beneath white ointment.
Three or four inches of
gauze caress the
stumps that remain
where he once
had arms.

"...bravely steps into the epicenter of world conflict and individual suffering..."
Eileen Albrizio, author, Rain: Dark as Water in Winter

Find out more: www.integraljourneys.com


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The Shorter Decameron
The Shorter Decameronby Larry Lyall
On sale now at Amazon.com
when I pray Lord please let Thy will be done
not only here but for eternity
& find that what He wills is such good fun
I'm certain heaven's for the likes of me
(VII, iii)
Boccaccio's refreshing wit recast as Petrarchan sonnets. The Shorter Decameron is a handbook for Boccaccio's masterwork as well as a stand-alone, comedic romp in the spirit of the original. You'll enjoy a critical gloss, ample quotes from Boccaccio, and, of course, the gist of the tales themselves.
"Pays brilliant tribute to the revelatory and transformative power of poetry, story, and intellectual exchange."
—Marilyn Migiel, author of A Rhetoric of the Decameron
Excerpt from The Shorter Decameron

since you awake to find each day apparrel'd
in sub-moronic wit your natural grace
your gifts your taste by jealousy debas'd
& each new day accurs'd a living hell
then my demesne (this small uncorner'd world)
is meant for none but you a healing place
wherein the bruise of jealousy's eras'd
yet if your fears are such you fear to yield

consider this: remain within that slough
until one day you wake & cruelly find
that his abuse has so diminish'd you
the world has shrunk to his small brutish mind

or share with me a wider brighter view
whereby for those who see we count him blind

(III, vii)


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Last Call!
Port Townsend, WA Writing It Real in Port Townsend Annual June Writer's Conference
Intimate, constructive writer's workshop June 22-26 in Port Townsend, WA with master teachers and writers Sheila Bender of WritingItReal, Jack Heffron of Emmis Books and formerly of Writer's Digest Books, and award-winning poet Susan Rich.

Whether you are experienced or new to writing, have a special project in mind, need a jumpstart or are switching genres, these accomplished instructors offer professional guidance in writing and publishing creative non-fiction, fiction and poetry. Their enthusiasm, warmth and genuine down-to-earth instruction will help you bring your writing to the next level. Morning lectures, evening readings, a breakfast panel on keeping the faith and publishing tips, and afternoon workshops on exercises and works-in-progress will guide you to deeper and more meaningful writing. You'll leave with new work, new ideas for older work and a solid sense of how to further your writing.

Join us in the beautiful Northwest just after solstice when the light is long (family and companions will have plenty to do in the historic Victorian seaport town loaded with galleries, hiking and boating—we are near the Olympic National Park, the San Juan Islands and Victoria BC). Email conference@writingitreal.com for more details.


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June Open Reading Period For Full-Length Poetry Manuscripts
Steel Toe Books Steel Toe Books
Steel Toe Books publishes full-length, single-author poetry collections. We look for workmanship (economical use of language, high-energy verbs, precise literal descriptions, original figurative language, poems carefully arranged as a book); a unique style and/or a distinctive voice; clarity; emotional impact; humor (word plays, hyperbole, comic timing); performability (a Steel Toe poet is at home on the stage as well as on the page). We don't want dry verse, purposely obscure language, poetry by people who are so wary of being called "sentimental" that they steer away from any recognizable human emotions, or poetry that takes itself so seriously that it's unintentionally funny.

Our submission process
Steel Toe has no reading fee, but we ask everyone who submits to purchase one of our existing titles directly from us. Each book is $12 plus $1.20 for shipping. On the Steel Toe Books online order form, please select one or more books to order and complete the form. Print out the completed form and send it along with the following:
  • a check or money order for the selected book
  • a copy of your manuscript for consideration
  • an acknowledgements page
  • a cover page with your contact information
  • a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) for notification
Mail your packet to:

Steel Toe Books
c/o Tom C. Hunley
Department of English
20 - C Cherry Hall
Western Kentucky University
1 Big Red Way
Bowling Green, KY 42101-3576

Our selection process
Each manuscript will initially be read by two members of our editorial board. If the two readers are in disagreement, the manuscript will receive a third reader. We will then narrow the pool down to 8-12 manuscripts and ask the authors to send them as Microsoft Word attachments. Each member of the editorial board will read all of those manuscripts and vote on them at our annual editorial board meeting/pizza party. Each first place vote receives five points, each second place vote receives three points, and each third place vote is good for one point. After voting, we will discuss and debate the manuscripts. Then we will vote again. Upon reaching consensus, as everyone on the board finishes their pizza, we will call a writer and offer him/her a contract.


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Closing This Month
Autumn House Poetry Prize: $2,500 and Book Publication
Postmark Deadline: June 30
Winner will receive book publication, a $1,000 advance against royalties and a $1,500 travel grant to participate in the 2007 Autumn House Master Poets Series in Pittsburgh. The contest is open to all full-length collections of poetry 50-80 pages in length. If poems have been previously published, then acknowledgement must be given to other publishers, and the poet must control rights to all previously published material. All finalists will be considered for publication. Final judge is Tim Seibles. Please enclose a $25 handling fee, payable to Autumn House Press. Send your manuscript and fee to Autumn House Press, Attn: Poetry Prize, P.O. Box 60100, Pittsburgh, PA 15211. More information: www.autumnhouse.org.

Autumn House has published full-length poetry collections by Gerald Stern, Ruth L. Schwartz, Ed Ochester, Julie Suk and many other outstanding poets. For your enjoyment, here is a selection from the winning entry from the 2005 contest...

Lucky Wreck Selecting Things for Vagueness
by Ada Limon
Winner of the 2005 Autumn House Poetry Prize

I want to know some things
for certain, and other things
for vague. Have some vague idea
of where you are, not an address,
no train stop, no telephone,
no relative, no neighbor, no local,
no highway blah blah blah, no turnpike,
no regional, no country, no watershed,
no school district, no supermarket,
no tributary, no mailbox, no corner,
no state bird, no "as the crow flies,"
'cause what I'd do when I find you,
well mister, this I know for certain.

Copyright 2005 by Ada Limon

This poem is reprinted by permission of Autumn House Press from Ms. Limon's prizewinning collection Lucky Wreck, about which the 2005 contest judge Jean Valentine said: "From the first lines of Lucky Wreck, I was drawn in by this smart, jaunty, musing, quirky voice, and as I read the whole book I felt more and more respect for Ada Limon's risky, haunting, wonderfully unexpected work. Like many of the best writers, she is funny and serious at the same time; the depths and heights are one: lucky wreck!" Guidelines for the 2006 prize can be found at www.autumnhouse.org.


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Closing Next Month
Rock & SlingThe Virginia Brendemuehl Prize
Postmark Deadline: July 30
Rock & Sling announces The Virginia Brendemuehl Prize for an unpublished poem, any style, 60 lines maximum. Winner receives $1,000 and publication. Finalists are also published. Send $10 entry fee, payable to Rock & Sling, a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE), and 1-3 poems to The Virginia Brendemuehl Prize, Rock & Sling, P.O. Box 30865, Spokane, WA 99223. Winners will be notified by September 1. No simultaneous submissions, please. See www.rockandsling.org for further details and sample work.

Congratulations to the winner of the 2005 Virginia Brendemuehl Contest, Michelle Bitting. Her poem, "Good Friday Kiss", deftly illustrates how easily, by a mere shift in the light, one changes sides. More disturbing than life/death, this poem shimmies between careless, childish cruelty and less forgivable symbolic transgressions.

Good Friday Kiss
by Michelle Bitting

The choir door left open, we slithered in.
Moving through the musky stacks
of bibles and unlaundered cassocks
we lay down behind the altar,
our bodies an awkward tangle
on the polished floor—a snake with clothes on—
when he pulled me close, whispering his love.
Still, it wasn't the airless sanctuary
or the dead I could hear humming
inside the church's empty pews.
It was Paul's hands that made me cringe
the first time his lips touched mine—
twelve years old and asthma sickly,
the dry, scabbed flesh and little cloth gloves
he wore to cover pink ointments,
that oozed in a line down his wrists.
I looked up and saw the cross floating overhead,
draped in black chiffon for today's Good Friday
like a negligee or widow's grieving veil,
and suddenly revolted by the cotton-coated touch
of his fingers brushing my cheek,
I rolled away from him, forever.
What did I know of suffering? The flesh
pulled taut and stapled, the human canvas
rubbed to transparency?
How my taunts would come to crucify this boy,
my young heart quick to shift in gusts
from like to loathe—
the art of betrayal I was already learning to perfect.

Copyright 2005 by Michelle Bitting. Published in the Fall/Winter 2005 issue of Rock & Sling.

Michelle Bitting has work forthcoming or published in Glimmer Train, Swink, Prairie Schooner, Clackamas Literary Review, The Southeast Review, Gargoyle, Pearl, Rattle, Slipstream, Dogwood, Phoebe and others. Formerly a dancer and a chef, she teaches children and is a devoted outreach worker. Michelle has won both the Glimmer Train and Poets on Parnassus poetry contests. She was a finalist in the 2003 Writers at Work Fellowship Competition and a semi-finalist for the Julia Peterkin Award, and won Honorable Mention in the Art In The Air/Inventing the Invisible Contest. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children.


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Closing Next Month
The Litchfield Review The Litchfield Review Summer Contest
Postmark Deadline: July 31
The Litchfield Review seeks original, unpublished poems, essays and short stories for its current contest. We provide a forum to both 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. 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; or $15 to submit an unlimited number of prose and poetry entries. 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.

Please submit two copies of your manuscript and make your reading fee payable to The Litchfield Review. Essays and short stories may be up to 3,000 words long. Poems may have up to 45 lines. Your entry should be typed, double-spaced, on one side of letter-size sheets of paper. Staple multiple pages together. Include a cover page with your name, address, phone number, email address (if available) and title for each submission. Indicate the word count (prose) or line count (poetry) on the cover page.

Mail your submission to: The Litchfield Review, 7 Bonna Street, Beacon Falls, CT 06403.

You may submit the same work simultaneously to this contest and to others. Please notify The Litchfield Review if the work you submit is accepted elsewhere. Questions? Please email Theresa C. Vara-Dannen.


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Closing Next Month
Sponsored by Copiah-Lincoln Community CollegeThe Natchez Poetry Contest
Postmark Deadline: July 31
First Prize $1,000. Two $250 Honorable Mentions. Seeks original, unpublished poems, 40-line limit, no limit on the number of poems. Winners and other selected entrants will be published in an anthology by year end. This contest is held in conjunction with the annual Art and Soul Festival of Natchez, Mississippi. It is managed by the Natchez poetry community under the aegis of Art and Soul, and will be blind-judged by a New Orleans poet. $7 entry fee per poem, payable to A&S Poetry. Read the complete guidelines and obtain your entry form at www.Colin.edu/calendar.htm. Mail your poems, entry form and fee to: Judy Wiggins, Humanities Coordinator, Copiah-Lincoln Community College, 11 Co-Lin Circle, Natchez, MS 39120.


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Now Open
Anderbo2006 Anderbo.com Poetry Prize
Postmark Deadline: September 15
Anderbo.com is seeking up to six original unpublished poems for a $300 prize and publication. Entry fee $10. Judge: Elaine Bleakney. Also, seven smaller prizes. Guidelines: www.anderbo.com

In March, storySouth, the prestigious online literary journal, announced that it had awarded Anderbo.com the title of "Best New Online Magazine or Journal".

Anderbo.com was launched by Editor-in-Chief Rick Rofihe in the summer of 2005. The work that can be found on Anderbo is a combination of stories, poems and short nonfiction pieces known as "facts".

In announcing the award to anderbo.com, storySouth stated, "This new journal features a top-notch editorial crew and started 2005 out with a bang. The journal should achieve even greater heights in the years to come."



Now Open
2006 RRofihe Trophy/Open City Short Story Contest
Postmark Deadline: September 15
Now in its third year, our award is for an original, unpublished short story of up to 5,000 words. Top prizewinner receives $500, a trophy and publication in Open City magazine. Entry fee $10. Judge: Rick Rofihe. Guidelines: http://opencity.org/rrofihe.html

Rick Rofihe is the author of Father Must, a collection of short stories published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Grand Street, Open City and on epiphanyzine.com. His nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times, The Village Voice, Spy and The East Hampton Star, and on mrbellersneighborhood.com. A recipient of the Whiting Writers' Award, he has taught writing at Columbia University and the Writer's Voice of the West Side Y. He currently teaches privately and at Gotham Writers' Workshop in New York.

Mr. Rofihe on what he likes: "If somebody can write a story that makes me forget I'm reading—just like if you were a storyteller in a non-literate society and you're a storyteller with a cup, you have to draw in those listeners and keep them, because it's at the end of the story that they drop the coins in the cup. So, you have to draw them in, build a world in their heads, get them interested, and hold on to them. And when I find a story like that, I want everybody to know about it. I'm much more interested in that story now than in my own stuff."


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FEATURED POEMS FROM OUR SUBSCRIBERS

Humanity Street
by M. Lee Alexander

New Orleans, August 2005

Won't you all come meet those dancing feet
As the souls rise up from Humanity Street
Cause there's plenty of water & plenty to eat
(If you live a thousand miles from Humanity Street)

And the dogs do howl and the houses sigh
And the children cling and the babies cry
And the old folks moan and the sick folks die
(But we've just come to wave good-bye)

It's true the flood swirls deep and dark
But flotsam makes a handy ark
And you'll soon dry out in the jazz-hot heat
On the blacktop desert of Humanity Street

So come and row your boats ashore
And test our powers to ignore
The Jordan River's chilly & wide
(But we've got a home on the other side)

Just rise like Triton from the sea
And flaunt your dead on live TV
Cause we don't mind the deafening beat
From the stone cold silence on Humanity Street.


Copyright 2006 by M. Lee Alexander

This poem won an Honorable Mention in the 2006 Strokestown Poetry Prize Competition. This is one of several awards Ms. Alexander has received from contests she found through Winning Writers. Previous honors include Third Prize in the 2005 Dancing Poetry Contest from Artists Embassy International, Third Prize in the 2005 MacGuffin Poet Hunt, and Second Prize in the 2005 Poetry West/Eleventh Muse Poetry Contest. She has subscribed to Poetry Contest Insider since 2003.



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I Always Give You Words
by Chloe Brown

Sad, lilting music of unseen guitars
makes me want to be in your arms.
I pass flowers in a pink vase, stark against
a white adobe plastered wall.
I want to share the people, here, with you.
I climbed a narrow, little stairway of a
shop, walls were hung with tin and copper owls,
gleaming brass mariposas.
I touched a heart-shaped earthenware dish.
I bought a miniature sombrero and a Folklorico dancing doll.

I wanted to bring you the man and woman
walking arm in arm through flower-bordered paths
of St. Conchita Square. I would give you their
laughter, their touching and their kisses not mine to share.

I would bring you hot, fresh, crusty bread,
tender chicken baked in chocolate sauce,
called mole poblana, flour tortillas, handrolled,
and crisp, roasted, red peppers.
From the vendors on every corner I would buy
balloons, all colors, shapes, and crazy straw hat
from the man who wears them stacked on his head.

Then I would teach you to lick your hand, sprinkle salt,
holding a tiny crystal glass filled with tequila, and limon.
Teach you as they taught me,
to touch your tongue gently to the flesh between your
forefinger and the thumb, shake the salt, sip,
lift the fresh-sliced limon to your mouth.


Copyright 2006 by Chloe Brown

Ms. Brown's poem won the literary category in the 2006 "Art Is Ageless" Contest for Texas residents over age 65, sponsored by the Texas Association of Homes and Services for the Aging. She resides in San Antonio and is currently working on a chapbook manuscript. She has subscribed to Poetry Contest Insider since 2005.


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SPECIAL OFFERS FOR POETS AND WRITERS

Closing This Month
Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for Traditional Verse
Postmark Deadline: June 30
Now in its third year, this contest seeks poetry in traditional verse forms such as sonnets and haiku. 30 cash prizes totaling $3,500 will be awarded, including a top prize of $1,000. All winners of cash prizes will be published in an anthology. The entry fee is $6 for every 25 lines you submit. Enter 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. Judges: John H. Reid and Dee C. Konrad. Guidelines:
http://www.winningwriters.com/margaret


Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest
Postmark Deadline: September 30
Now in its fourth year, this contest seeks poems in any style, theme or genre. 30 cash prizes totaling $3,500 will be awarded, including a top prize of $1,000. All winners of cash prizes will be published in an anthology. The entry fee is $6 for every 25 lines you submit. Enter online or by mail. Early submission encouraged. 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. Judges: John H. Reid and Dee C. Konrad. Guidelines:
http://www.winningwriters.com/tompoetry


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IMAGINE YOUR STORY IN A BESTSELLING BOOK!
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2006 Poet's Market
The 2006 edition of Poet's Market is on sale for $16.49 at Amazon. Published each August by Writer's Digest, 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 are Novel & Short Story Writer's Market and Writer's Market for works of prose. Writer's Market is "the most valuable of tools for the writer new to the marketplace," says Stephen King in On Writing.


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Advertise to 16,000 Poets and Writers
Promote your contests, websites, events and publications in this newsletter. Reach over 16,000 poets and writers for $35. Ads may contain up to 100 words and a headline.

Our rates are rising to $50/ad starting on July 1. Reserve now and lock in the lower $35 rate: http://www.winningwriters.com/advertisers.php

"Advertising with Winning Writers produced immediate, extraordinary results! Our first ad, as well as our published interview with Jendi Reiter, linked us with fine writers across the world, a connection that continues to enrich our issues, annual contest, and readership."
Susan Cowger, Editor, Rock & Sling

"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


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PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

How My Eyes Were Opened
Excerpted from Wake Up Or Blow Up, by literacy pioneer Dr. Frank Laubach. At the time of writing (1951), Dr. Laubach had advised the peoples of 68 countries. His methods had been used to teach over 60 million people to read in their own language or dialect.

Anybody who had gone through the same experiences would come out with the same certainty that I have, that those who cannot read have a strange, pathetic, even terrible longing to learn to read, when they find it is possible, because they believe that through this door they can get out of their misery.

I did not know this in 1915 when I went to Mindanao as an educational missionary. I had secured my Doctor of Philosophy degree in Sociology and was familiar with the language of sociologists and anthropologists, who often write poetry about the idyllic happiness of the primitive peoples. But my experience with the illiterate millions all over the world has long since exploded this academic fantasy. I have found the illiterate people close to the poverty line, seldom able to get all they want to eat, obsessed with the never-ending problem of satisfying their hunger, sick and plagued with flies and vermin and insects and germs which make every day a battle for life. In my generation, at least, the real illiterates are just plain unhappy, and I believe this is the true picture of ninety-five percent of them, from Adam down to today. They were formerly in dismal despair. The new thing about them is that they no longer despair. They now hope; they are like men trappped in a mine desperately struggling to get out....

There are people who for selfish gain seek to keep these people illiterate.... On a railroad platform in Kenya Colony I fell to talking with a prosperous-looking gold-mine president and told him my business. He told me his position and added, "I never saw you before and have nothing against you personally. But professionally you are my enemy, for if you succeed you will spoil my labor market."

Fortunately such men are the exception, and cooperation is the general rule. But so far as the illiterates are concerned, there are no exceptions.


ProLiteracy WorldwideLiteracy Volunteers of America has joined with Laubach Literacy International to form ProLiteracy Worldwide. ProLiteracy is now the oldest and largest nongovernmental literacy organization in the world. It sponsors educational programs that help adults and their families acquire the literacy practices and skills they need to function more effectively in their daily lives.

Support ProLiteracy's vital mission. Click here to learn more. Click here to contribute.

Send this page to a friend and we'll donate 15 cents to ProLiteracy for each friend you refer.


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Bruce Holland Rogers INTERVIEW WITH FICTION WRITER BRUCE HOLLAND ROGERS

Jendi Reiter conducted this exclusive email interview with award-winning fiction writer Bruce Holland Rogers. Winner of the 2004 World Fantasy Award and a 1999 Pushcart Prize, Rogers has written hundreds of short stories in virtually every genre: science fiction, fantasy, horror, magical realism, mystery, and mainstream literary fiction. His book Word Work: Surviving and Thriving as a Writer is based on his column for Speculations magazine about the spiritual and psychological challenges of being a full-time writer. We publish Mr. Rogers' Ten Tips for Psychological Survival in Writing on our website.

We interview him here about his unique way of building his readership: an email subscription service that sends readers three new short-short stories a month, for the low price of $10 per year. Currently, he has over 700 subscribers in 60 countries. Stories from this service have been republished in well-known magazines such as The Sun, Good Housekeeping and Analog. Rogers is currently working with translators who send out emails with French-, Czech- and Chinese-language editions of his stories, with Portuguese, Spanish, Turkish, Bulgarian and Polish to follow later this year. Read sample stories and sign up now at http://www.shortshortshort.com/


Q: What is the business model of your subscription service? That is, are you primarily interested in the subscription revenue, or in generating potential customers for your other publications and seminars? Have you been able to track whether this plan is succeeding?

A: Business is a secondary consideration. I started the subscription service because I wanted three things: an immediate audience for my work, an audience that would follow me from one genre to another, and real deadlines to keep me writing whether I felt like it or not. Yes, I do have a business model, but it has evolved over the years as the subscription service grew, and the model is "all of the above." Subscription revenue forms a small but reliable income base for my writing, but it also gives me a way to spread the word about new books or seminars. Most importantly, though, the subscription service has brought me a lot of publicity. Two local television stations and newspapers in Oregon and Ontario have done stories about the service.

As for tracking the success of the business plan, it's hard to quantify the value of publicity. But the subscription service does keep growing. That's a positive measure of success.

In any case, my original goals have been fully met. I have a large and (mostly) enthusiastic readership. I have regular deadlines that I must meet. I hope that the subscriber base continues to grow, and with the expansion into a dozen languages in translation, that seems likely. But even if the number of readers tops out here, I'm very happy with what the service does for my writing.


Q: What advice would you give an author who was considering setting up a similar subscription service for her poetry, short-short fiction, or essays? Do you think it would work for genres other than fiction?

A: I do think it would work for other genres. In fact, I got the idea after hearing about a service that supposedly offered a limerick a day for a dollar a year. As far as I'm able to tell, the story of the limerick subscriptions is apocryphal, but it certainly sounded plausible to me!

With any new approach to getting work before readers, I think the writer needs to build his or her practice according to his or her strengths. Some of my friends say they couldn't do their best work if they had a deadline hanging over their heads every ten days. For me, even though the deadlines make me anxious, deadlines have always been the thing that not only made me work, but brought out the best in my writing. Know yourself. And rather than setting up a practice that looks just like what someone else is doing, set up a practice that supports your own creative inclinations.

Also, writers who try something new need some ego strength and patience. A new method of reaching readers will produce plenty of naysayers. One of my academic colleagues earnestly tried to talk me out of starting shortshortshort.com on the grounds that I would make myself look desperate. I had to decide that I could stand looking like a fool, and that I could be content if I met my artistic goals and still had only a few dozen paying readers.

Email is obviously both the strength and the weakness of my subscription service. On one hand, it doesn't cost much to send my stories, but on the other hand some potential subscribers already feel overwhelmed by the email they receive. Would a podcast be a better model now? I'm not sure, but I think part of creating a new service would be thinking about both the advantages and disadvantages of a given medium for literature.


Q: What are the particular pleasures and challenges of writing in the short-short form? Does producing a large volume of unrelated short stories require different skills and work habits than laboring on a single full-length book?

A: I'm writing a novel right now, creating chapters in between short-shorts, and in many ways I prefer writing a novel because I don't have to work so hard for ideas. That is, every chapter in a novel is a creative challenge, but whatever I write next is limited by what I have already written.

With short-shorts, I have to start from scratch every time, with rare exceptions. The exceptions, in fact, are some of the stories I most enjoy writing. The Montreal poet "Donat Bobet" is the hero of what are probably my most popular stories, and every time I write a new story about Donat, I can rely on what I've already learned about him in writing earlier stories.

So one particular pleasure of writing a new short-short is that it can be about anything, and a particular challenge of writing a new short-short is that it can be about anything. In the limitless sea of possible stories, I have to choose one idea.

Whether the piece is a brief essay, a lyric poem, or flash fiction, anyone who practices short forms knows the little neurochemical buzz that comes with writing the last line. Writing short forms means getting to experience that high more often. Of course, if the story that I think is finished and ready for readers doesn't pass muster with my Quality Control Editor, the buzz is followed by a hangover.

My wife is my first reader, and she is a very demanding one. She's the kind of professor who has to keep a box of Kleenex in her office for students. She hasn't made me cry lately, but she has protected my readers from broken stories. I think I would add that to my advice, now: Have a rigorous quality control person.


Q: With so many stories to write, how do you ensure that your work remains fresh and not repetitive? Do you find certain themes recurring?

A: Gabriel Garcia Marquez once said that the author's principal trick lies in disguising that he has only one story to tell. Yes, some themes arise again and again in my work. I have my central concerns. But at the same time, those concerns are changing. Five years ago, I could not have written the stories I wrote this month. I didn't know then what I know now, and the world I am writing for today is a different world.

I don't think that I have repeated myself in any substantive way, any more than any writer repeats him or herself by writing more of his or her kind of stories. But if I ever do write a new story that's a lot like an old one, I'll take comfort in the stories of J.G. Ballard. Ballard re-used some motifs, such as the astronaut stuck in orbit, over and over again. And yet you can read those stories side by side, or one after the other, and they aren't at all the same story.

Borges gave us the example of Pierre Menard, a twentieth-century writer creating Don Quixote, word-for-word, as a text of his era. And because Menard was writing in a different time for a different audience, the book of exactly the same words in the same order was a different book. Metaphorically, at least, I agree with the notion that texts are renewed when they are read in new times. I trust that if I repeat myself, I won't really repeat myself.


Q: Do you have a favorite genre or genres to write in? What attracts you to those genres?

A: I don't have a favorite. I'm allergic to the whole idea of favorites. As a reader, I can enjoy both the work that some consider trashy and the work that others consider arcane. My literary elevator stops at every floor, high or low. I don't want a notion of favorites to limit what I might choose to write next.

I do tend to write a lot of work that uses expressionism, or fantasy, or irrealism. I like completely mimetic writing, too, but most human storytelling throughout time has taken place in subjective reality, or in the borderland where the waking world and the world of dreams can at least look across and see one another.

I'm a bit cranky about the fashion for mimesis. There are those readers and editors who consider any sort of fantasy to be childish. This strikes me as an attitude of permanent self-conscious adolescence: "We are grown up now and have put aside imagination."


Q: Do some magazines consider stories in an email newsletter to have been previously published, and therefore ineligible for submission? How do you describe the publication status of your newsletter stories when sending them out to editors?

A: When I was starting the subscriptions, I queried editors about this. Most did not consider the email to constitute prior publication. A few did. So I generally query a new market about the stories, detailing the number of subscribers, the limitations I put on forwarding my stories, and the fact that I consider the first print or web publication to be "first publication" for the purpose of later credit.

Most editors don't mind that readers have seen the story by email. Some editors who did object previously have changed their minds. And for those who haven't changed their minds, who won't consider a story that I have shared by email, that's their prerogative. For a while, I held back certain stories from subscribers until these magazines could see the stories first, but now I don't bother. Holding back stories was defeating the purpose of having an immediate audience for my work. Now I just don't send anything to those editors.


Q: How did you find the foreign-language translators for your stories, and how do you ensure quality-control if you are not fluent in the language? Any advice to writers who might be considering such a project?

A: I found some translators through the Frankfurt Book Fair, and others through online translation communities. They send me their resumes. Some of them are experienced literary translators, and others are experienced in more mundane kinds of translation but want to branch out. In one case, two potential translators into German are competing head-to-head (or text-to-text) for the job, and an Austrian friend is judging the results of their efforts.

For the most part, though, the translation subscriptions are an experiment for all concerned. If the translators are good, or aren't very good but get better with practice, those subscription services will survive. If the translations are bad and only the translator's mother will pay to receive the stories, the problem is self-correcting.

I did literary translation in my twenties. I know how hard it can be to get started, so I'm happy to give some newcomers a shot along with the veterans I have attracted.


Q: Any other comments you'd like to share?

A: Distributing art by email means that it's easier to get feedback from your audience. And do I ever get feedback! Most of the messages are outright fan mail. But I also hear from readers who didn't like a particular story. These messages have been instructive. I have learned, for instance, that the same story will be someone's new all-time favorite and someone else's occasion for complaining that I have let them down. Among the subscribers who don't renew, most tire of receiving extra email or just cite general business, but a few object that I don't write enough of the kind of thing that they like best in my work. These readers who wish I'd write more stories like their favorites disagree about which stories are the ones I ought to write more of.

I would like all my subscribers to be like the ones who seem to enjoy everything I write. And every successful writer does have some of those ideal readers. However, I've come to especially appreciate those subscribers who wish I'd be more of this and less of that, who want me to be something different but can't agree on what the difference should be. I think they are typical of thoughtful readers, generally. They are someone else's ideal reader. For me, they are my less-than-ideal readers. With every story, they are more likely than my ideal readers to fold their arms and say skeptically, "Try to enchant or amuse me. Give it your best shot."

They are, bless them, the readers who will keep me from ever thinking that I have figured out once and for all how to write a great story.


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COMING IN OUR JUNE 15 NEWSLETTER
Best Free Poetry Contests for June 16-July 31