Best Resources for Poets and WritersWinning Writers
IN THIS ISSUE

War Poetry Contest Winners Announced

Now Open - New War Poetry Contest, Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for Traditional Verse

Recent Honors for Our Subscribers

The Best Free Poetry Contests, November-December

Notable Free Prose Contests, November-December

Calls for Submissions

New Literary Resources

New Recommended Books

Featured Poem:
"Becoming"


Featured Poem:
"Gacela of the Color Coded Threat Assessment System"


Advertise in This Newsletter

Critique of Katherine Fleissner's "The Popsicle Planet"

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Newsletter Archives

One of the "101 Best Web Sites for Writers" (Writer's Digest, 2006)

WINNING WRITERS NEWSLETTER
November 2006


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Welcome to our November newsletter. This is the companion to our online database, The Best Free Poetry Contests. It alerts you to upcoming contests and important contest changes, highlights quality resources for writers, and announces achievements and great poems by our readers.

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Status of the 2006 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest
The judges are now reading the 1,000+ entries received. We appreciate the enthusiastic participation. The results will be announced at WinningWriters.com on February 15, not November 15 as originally stated. We apologize for the delay. Thanks for your patience.


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Ed Frankel
WAR POETRY CONTEST WINNERS ANNOUNCED

Winning Writers is pleased to announce the results from its fifth annual War Poetry Contest. 868 entries were received from around the world. Ed Frankel of Los Angeles, CA won first prize and $1,500 for his poems "Instrumentum Vocale" and "Gladium Vocale", a retelling of episodes from Spartacus' slave rebellion against the Roman Empire.

Second prize went to William Pitt Root of Bayfield, CO for "El Comandante Has Asked for a Song", which recounts the martyrdom of poet-activist Victor Jara under General Pinochet's dictatorship in Chile. Carrie Preston of Boston, MA movingly describes the struggles of a pacifist married to a US Marine in her third-prize poems, "I Also Married the War", "The camis come out", and "War Paperwork".

Ten Honorable Mentions and 12 finalists were also chosen. Read the winning poems and judge Jendi Reiter's comments here. Read the press release.

New Contest Now Open
War Poetry Contest - $5,000 in Cash Prizes
Postmark Deadline: May 31, 2007
We seek 1-3 original, unpublished poems for our sixth annual contest on the theme of war, up to 500 lines in total. We will award $5,000, up from $3,000 in the previous contest. The top prize is $2,000. Your entry fee of $15 includes three months of online access to Poetry Contest Insider, a $6.95 value. Submit online or by mail. Judge: Jendi Reiter. See the complete guidelines and past winners.

Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest
Postmark Deadline: March 31, 2007
Now in its 15th year. Prizes of $1,200, $800 and $400 will be awarded, plus four High Distinction awards of $200 each. 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 online publication rights. $12 entry fee. Submit online or by mail. Early submission encouraged. Winning Writers is assisting with entry handling for this contest. Judges: John H. Reid and Dee C. Konrad. See the complete guidelines and past winners.

Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest - No Fee
Online Submission Deadline: April 1, 2007
Winning Writers invites you to enter the sixth annual Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest. The prize pool has doubled to $3,336.40 in cash, with a top prize of $1,359. There is no fee to enter. Submit online. Judge: Jendi Reiter. See the complete guidelines and past winners.

Now Open
Margaret Reid Poetry Contest - $4,500 in Cash Prizes
Postmark Deadline: June 30, 2007
Now in its fourth year, this contest seeks poetry in traditional verse forms such as sonnets and haiku. Both published and unpublished poems are welcome. 50 cash prizes totaling $4,500 will be awarded, including a top prize of $1,000. The entry fee is $6 for every 25 lines you submit. Submit online or by mail. Early submission encouraged. This contest is sponsored by Tom Howard Books and assisted by Winning Writers. Judges: John H. Reid and Dee C. Konrad. See the complete guidelines and past winners.

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RECENT HONORS FOR OUR NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIBERS
Congratulations to A.D. Winans. This October, he received the 2006 PEN Josephine Miles Literary Achievement Award for his book This Land Is Not My Land. To order a copy ($6.00), contact Presa Press at P.O. Box 792, Rockford, MI 49341 or presapress@aol.com. Mr. Winans is the author of over 45 chapbooks and books of poetry and prose, including The Holy Grail: Charles Bukowski and the Second Coming Revolution (Dustbooks). Read more of his work at http://www.voleur-de-feu.com/issue1/ad-winans.html

Congratulations to J.C. Todd. Her poem "In So Deep" won second prize in the River City Poetry Contest and will be published this winter by The Pinch, the literary journal of the University of Memphis.

Congratulations to Diana Anhalt. Her essay "A Letter to 'La Güera' Rodríguez" won second prize in The Litchfield Review Summer Story Contest. Ms. Anhalt says, "Without your publication I never would have learned about [this contest]....You do us freelance writers a great service." According to Ms. Anhalt, "'La Güera' Rodríguez (1778-1850) was an unconventional and not totally respectable Mexican woman endowed with a caustic wit, keen intelligence, beauty, wealth, and cunning with, according to an unknown writer, 'an actress's morals; a statesman's wit and a serpent's tongue.' Her liaisons with the political and cultural leaders of her time, such as Simón Bolivar, Alexander Humboldt and Agustín Iturbide, short-lived emperor of Mexico, placed her in the public eye and allowed her to exercise considerable influence during the Mexican Independence and the period following."

Congratulations to Julie L. Moore. Her first poetry chapbook, Election Day, will be published in December by Finishing Line Press. Award-winning poet Jeff Gundy says of this book, "Attentive to the natural world and human relations, resisting all easy consolations, Moore explores her own mysterious illness, a friend's suicide, and the complex network of her life with clarity and insight. She discovers among the terrors and confusions of this life a tender music, a beauty 'so intense, it didn't look real'—and even the possibility of a tough-minded faith." Ms. Moore kindly shares a poem from this chapbook below, which was first published in the online edition of the Miller's Pond literary journal. Ms. Moore's poem "Somewhere Else" also won second honorable mention in The MacGuffin's 2006 National Poet Hunt, and will appear in the journal's Winter 2007 issue.

Congratulations to Charlet C. Estes. She was one of the third-prize winners in the Writing for Money contest for Best Character Description. We critiqued Ms. Estes' poem "Persistent Armageddon" in our March 2006 newsletter.


RECENT HONORS FOR POETRY CONTEST INSIDER SUBSCRIBERS
Congratulations to Laura Van Prooyen. Her book Inkblot and Altar will be published later this year by Pecan Grove Press. We critiqued her poem "Whiteout" in our May 2004 newsletter. Read more of her recent work at http://www.blackbird.vcu.edu

Congratulations to J.P. Dancing Bear. His chapbook, Gacela of Narcissus City and Other Gacelas, was a runner-up in the 2006 Main Street Rag Poetry Chapbook Contest and will be published in December. Get a discount if you pre-order before December 10. Bear is the editor of American Poetry Journal and Dream Horse Press. He kindly shares a poem from this chapbook below.

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Like What We Do? Please Nominate Us!
Writer's Digest is calling for nominations for its 2007 101 Best Web Sites for Writers. As you know, we were grateful to be named to this list in 2005 and 2006. Please consider sending an email to writersdig@fwpubs.com. Put "101 Best Web sites" in the subject line and include a brief note about how Winning Writers helps you. Copy us on your nomination if you feel like it. We appreciate it!

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TRY POETRY CONTEST INSIDER
Get profiles for 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. Learn more about Poetry Contest Insider.
"I really appreciate your selective work: you don't just throw a bunch of stats at us and hope we'll figure it out."
Jane Carpenter, Poetry Contest Insider subscriber

"Your site is the best! I've sent a lot of my fellow writers to you. I'm on the board of a local writers' group here in the Tampa Bay area called PINAWOR (Pinellas Writers and Authors Organization), and we have 140 members. I will often announce contests that I see on your site. I also tell them that it is well worth the subscription cost to have access, so that they will have links to the guidelines, submissions and information about of all the contests you list. I believe in Winning Writers."
Wayne Williams, Poetry Contest Insider subscriber

"For evaluations of the merits of individual contests, consult Winningwriters.com (a paid service)."
From the FAQ at Creative Writers Opportunities (CRWROPPS), a highly active mailing list announcing quality literary contests and publication opportunities

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THE BEST FREE POETRY CONTESTS
Deadlines: November 16-December 31

Here is a summary of upcoming free poetry contests. Click the contest names to be taken directly to their profiles (you may be asked to login on your first click of the day). You may also view the profiles by logging in to The Best Free Poetry Contests here and clicking the Find Free Contests link to search for contests by name.

Forgot your password? Need a password?
Please go to http://www.winningwriters.com/forgot_password.php
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11/24: New Words Poetry Competition +
Formerly February 24
Neutral free contest for Ohio residents offers prizes of $125, $100 and $75 for 1-3 unpublished poems, maximum 5 pages total. Series judge is award-winning poet Elton Glaser.

11/30: Country Mouse Poetry Contest +
Twice-yearly neutral free contest sponsored by online poetry journal The Country Mouse offers $500 and publication. Send 1-5 poems, maximum 50 lines each. No simultaneous submissions.

11/30: Daily News Prize +
Neutral free contest offers $300 for the best poem accepted by The Caribbean Writer during this year. All eligible submissions to the magazine are also considered for the David Hough Literary Prize for an author residing in the Caribbean ($500), the Marguerite Cobb McKay Prize to a Virgin Islands author ($200), and the Charlotte & Isidor Paiewonsky Prize for first-time publication ($200). Send 1-5 unpublished poems, double-spaced. The Caribbean should be central to the work, or the work should reflect a Caribbean heritage, experience or perspective.

11/30: Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers +++
Highly recommended free contest for high school sophomores and juniors throughout the world. Prize is tuition to The Kenyon Review's two-week summer seminar for writers aged 16-18; winner and runners-up also published in the highly prestigious journal. Submit one poem via their online form.

12/1: Anna Davidson Rosenberg Awards for Poems on the Jewish Experience ++
Formerly December 15
Recommended free contest offers prizes of $1,000 and $500 for poems about the Jewish experience. You may enter 1-3 poems, maximum 10 pages total. Submit 4 copies of your entry. Sponsored by the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco.

12/1: Atlantic Monthly Student Writing Contest +++
Formerly November 1
Highly recommended free contest for full-time college or graduate students at a US institution of higher education offers prizes up to $1,000 each for poetry, fiction, and essays (personal or journalistic). Sponsored by The Atlantic Monthly, a venerable journal of politics and culture. Entries should be 1-3 poems or one prose piece up to 7,500 words. One entry per person per genre.

12/1: Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award +
Entries must be received by this date
Neutral free contest offers $500 for a published book of poetry for children or young adults, by an author with no more than two prior books in that field. Contest is offered every three years. Books copyrighted between 2004 and 2006 are eligible for the December 1, 2006 contest. Send 9 copies of your book to the judges, whose addresses are on the entry form. You may submit an English translation of a book that you published in another language.

12/1: Northern California Book Reviewers Awards +
Entries must be received by this date
Neutral free contest offers a certificate, publicity, award ceremony and reading for the best books of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and children's literature published in the current year by Northern California authors. Send 3 copies of book. Contest sponsor was formerly known as the Bay Area Book Reviewers Association (BABRA), changed in 2005 to the Northern California Book Reviewers (NCBR).

12/1: Poetry Center at Smith College High School Prize ++
Entries must be received by this date
Recommended free contest offers $500 for the best poem by a high school sophomore or junior girl in Massachusetts. One poem per person, 25 lines maximum. Winner and three finalists will read their poems at Smith College in Northampton, MA with the contest judge, a well-known poet. 2006 judge is Naomi Shihab Nye. Enter by email only. See website for rules and required entry form.

12/15: California Book Awards ++
Formerly January 7
Recommended free contest for published books whose authors lived in California when the work was written. $2,000 and gold medal for poetry, fiction and nonfiction, plus several prizes of $300 and silver medal in various genres. Poetry winners have been established writers. Entries must have been published during the current calendar year. Author or publisher should send 5 copies of book plus a completed entry form.

12/15: Grant MacEwan Author's Award ++
Entries must be received by this date; formerly December 29
Free recommended contest offers C$25,000 for the best book published during the current year by a living Alberta resident. Award honors the late Dr. Grant MacEwan, who wrote more than fifty books on subjects including nature, folklore, agriculture, politics, environment, literature, history and the people of Alberta. The prize will be given to the Alberta author whose book best reflects Alberta and/or Dr. MacEwan’s interests. English and French entries accepted; for translations, both author and translator must live in Alberta. Writers should send 4 copies of book, entry form, CV and cover letter. Must be received by noon local time on December 15.

12/15: PEN Award for Poetry in Translation +++
Entries must be received by this date
Highly recommended free contest offers $3,000 for the best book of poetry in translation that was published in the US during the current calendar year. Publisher, agent or translator should submit two copies of a book-length translation of poetry from any language into English. Past winners have been well-established translators.

12/15: Puffin Foundation Artist Grants ++
Formerly December 30
Recommended contest offers grants of $1,000-$2,500 to US citizens. Recipients are emerging artists in the fields of art, music, theater, dance, photography, and literature whose works due to their genre and/or social philosophy might have difficulty being aired. Send SASE for application packet. Application will include an entry form, project description and goals, budget, biographical information, and either a small work sample or references.

12/20: Somerset Maugham Awards +++
Entries must be received by this date
Highly recommended free contest for published books of poetry and prose offers stipend of up to 6,000 pounds for foreign travel. Entrants must be UK residents and British subjects by birth, and under age 35 as of December 31. The work submitted may be poetry, fiction, criticism, biography, history, philosophy, belles-lettres or a travel book. Dramatic works are not eligible. Entries in all genres compete for one prize.

12/23: Poetry Society of America Awards +++
These highly recommended contests on various themes, with prizes up to $1,000, are free to Poetry Society of America members. We highly recommend joining ($45 per year, $25 for students). For nonmembers, $15 fee covers all contests for which you are eligible. One entry per person per contest.

12/30: Charlotte Newberger Prize for Poetry +
Neutral free contest offers $150 for unpublished poems touching on the experience of Jewish women. Send 1-3 poems, maximum 100 lines each. Sponsored by LILITH, a Jewish feminist magazine.

12/31: Desert Writers Award +
Neutral free contest offers annual fellowship of $1,000 for writers of poetry and prose to spend time writing in and about the desert landscape. Send 10-page writing sample, project description and biographical statement. Finalists may be interviewed.

12/31: Euphoria Annual Poetry Contest +
Entries must be received by this date
Neutral free contest offers $100 and online publication for the best set of 1-5 poems, 50 lines maximum per poem. Submit by email only. Previously published poems accepted. Best for emerging writers.

12/31: Griffin Prize for Excellence in Poetry +++
Highly recommended free contest offers two prizes of C$50,000 for poetry books published in the current calendar year. One prize will go to a living Canadian poet or translator, the other to a living poet or translator from any country (including Canada). See website for detailed eligibility rules. Publisher should send 4 copies of book plus a press packet. This is probably the most lucrative poetry prize around, as well as one of the most prestigious.

12/31: Harold Morton Landon Translation Award +++
Highly recommended contest from the Academy of American Poets offers $1,000 for the best book of poetry in translation published in the US during the current calendar year. Translator must be a living US citizen. 3 copies of book should be submitted by publisher.

12/31: Jack Wolford Memorial Prize +
Entries must be received by this date
Neutral free contest offers $500 for the best poem or prose work published in the e-zine Hot Metal Press during the calendar year. Entries in all genres compete together. Send 1-7 poems or one story/essay of 1,500 words maximum, pasted into the body of an email message to Carole Sineni or Lois Greenberg.

12/31: Michael E. DeBakey Medical Student Poetry Award ++
Recommended free contest for US medical students offers $1,000 and possible publication in a leading medical journal for one poem, maximum 2 pages. No simultaneous submissions.

12/31: Ohioana Poetry Award: Helen & Laura Krout Memorial ++
Recommended contest offers $1,000 to an Ohio poet for a body of published work that has made, and continues to make, a significant contribution to poetry, and through whose work as a writer, teacher, administrator, or in community service, interest in poetry has been developed. Award is by nomination only. Nominees must have been born in Ohio or lived there for at least 5 years.

12/31: ORBIS Readers Award +
Neutral free rolling-deadline contest offers 50 pounds per issue for the best poem published in each issue of Britain's ORBIS Quarterly Literary International Journal, as determined by reader vote. Online submissions accepted from non-UK entrants only. Translations eligible.

12/31: Raiziss/de Palchi Translation Award +++
Formerly November 1
Highly recommended free contest from the Academy of American Poets alternates between a $20,000 fellowship for translators of 20th-century Italian poetry to complete a work-in-progress (even-numbered years), and a $5,000 prize for published books of English translations of 20th-century Italian poetry (odd-numbered years). The 2006 contest is the fellowship for a work-in-progress. US citizens only.

12/31: Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Contest ++
Recommended free contest offers top prize of $500 and publication for an unpublished poem of 100 lines maximum that "expresses, directly or indirectly, a sense of the holy or that, by its mode of expression, evokes the sacred. The tone may be religious, prophetic, or contemplative." Send by mail, email or fax.

12/31: William Carlos Williams Poetry Competition +
Free neutral contest for students of medicine or osteopathy in the US and Canada offers prizes of $300, $200, $100 for a poem on any subject. Winners invited to read at Northeast Ohio Universities College of Medicine in April, possibly published in scholarly journal. Submit 1-3 poems, maximum 750 words each.


Login to The Best Free Poetry Contests now to view these and all our profiles of free contests. You can browse contests by deadline date, name, recommendation level and more.

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

All deadlines are postmark deadlines unless otherwise specified.


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SPONSORS' MESSAGES

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by Larry Lyall
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when I pray Lord please let Thy will be done
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ah how her sweet perversions do belie
the high esteem her beauty takes in stride
& all our adulation set aside
she revels high to low then back to high
thus gay in fact she's never less than sly
how else her husband take her lover's side
assume her virtue dote on her with pride
while all the while she's that which she denies

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intend to mate the king contest his throne
play'd best in that silk dress cut lively low
whose sweet distractions fetchingly condone

their silent tryst—the gist we both well know:
to play a little end game all their own

(TSD VII, vii)

Sheila Bender Writing It Real
Read our Personal Essay Writing Contest guidelines to make our December 30 deadline. Both print and electronic submissions are accepted, and multiple submissions are okay. Prizes include cash, LifeJournal for Writers software and feedback from author and master teacher Sheila Bender. Winners announced in January. Each $15.00 reading fee (one per essay) entitles you to a six-month subscription to Writing It Real effective when your entry arrives. Enjoy weekly instructional articles and four years of archived articles focused for those who write memoir, essays, poems and stories from personal experience. Questions? Email info@writingitreal.com.


Closing Next Month
The Litchfield Review The Litchfield Review Winter Contest
Postmark Deadline: December 31 (extended from October 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. Make checks payable to The Litchfield Review. 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.

California Institute of Arts and Letters
The Robert G. Cohn Prose Poetry Award
Postmark Deadline: January 15, 2007
The California Institute of Arts and Letters is pleased to announce the Robert Greer Cohn Prose Poetry Award in honor of Professor Cohn's lifetime of work dedicated to literature and poetry. Professor Cohn worked primarily in the field of French Literature, writing over 16 books, numerous articles, and essays focusing on the life and work of Mallarmé, a major book on Rimbaud and several books of cultural criticism. While a student at Yale University, just after World War II, Professor Cohn founded the highly regarded literary journal Yale French Studies. Read sample poems by Professor Cohn: "The Slender Girl" and "Request to Simon".

A prize of $300 will be awarded. The editors will also work with the winning poet to select up to ten additional unpublished poems from their body of work for publication in a limited edition chapbook. The reading fee is $10, payable by check to California Institute of Arts and Letters.

Please submit two copies of one unpublished prose poem on separate pages. One page must have your contact information and one page the poem only. Appropriate length of poems: 500 words or less, or one single-spaced page approximately 50 lines or less. See the complete guidelines at www.calartsandletters.org, then mail your submissions to:

California Institute of Arts and Letters
Cohn Prose Poetry Award
P. O. Box 470746
San Francisco, CA 94147

Writecorner Press
Writecorner Press - Call for Poetry & Fiction Contests Submissions

Writecorner Press Poetry Prize
Postmark Deadline: February 28, 2007

First Place $500; Editors' Choices, $100 each.
This new contest seeks the best unpublished poems under 40 lines. Any style, any theme. Send two copies of each poem with author’s name, address, phone and email address on only one copy. The other copy should be anonymous. Fee: $5 first poem, $3 each additional poem, payable to Writecorner Press.

E.M. Koeppel Short Fiction Contest
Postmark Deadline: April 30, 2007

First Place $1,100; Editors' Choices, $100 each.
Seeks unpublished stories, 3,000 words maximum. Any style, any theme. $15 fee for one story, $10 each additional story, payable to Writecorner Press. Send one title page with author’s name, address, phone, email address and short bio. Send second title page with title only. Read past winners.

Writecorner Press judges all submissions anonymously. Winning poems and stories will be published on our literary site, www.writecorner.com. After publication, writers retain all rights. No email entries, please.

Read the contest guidelines, then mail your submissions to Writecorner Press Contests, P.O. Box 140310, Gainesville, FL 32614.

Sky Saje Enterprises
Announcing the 3rd Annual Skysaje Enterprises Poetry Contest
Postmark Deadline: April 30, 2007
Haiku to homilies, form to free verse, slam to sonnets. All styles eligible! We also accept previously published work and multiple entries! Songs are welcome. Minimum $100 prize, additional prizes and/or publication depending on the number of entries received. Include a $5 reading fee with each entry. An entry is a set of 1-5 poems. Please put each poem on a separate page. Poems should be a maximum of 50 lines each. Make checks payable to L. Berger and mail your entries to: Skysaje Enterprises, 50 Amesbury Road, Rochester, NY 14623-5314.

Someone will win! Why not you? For additional information, please visit the Skysaje website.

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SELECTED FREE PROSE CONTESTS

These free prose contests with deadlines between November 16 and December 31 are included as a bonus in The Best Free Poetry Contests.

Click the contest names below to go straight to their profiles, or login to The Best Free Poetry Contests here. After you login, please click the Find Free Contests link, then search by Prose Contest Type to find prose contests.

11/30: Canute A. Brodhurst Prize for Short Fiction +
Neutral free contest offers $300 for the best story accepted by The Caribbean Writer during this year. All eligible submissions to the magazine are also considered for the David Hough Literary Prize for an author residing in the Caribbean ($500), the Marguerite Cobb McKay Prize to a Virgin Islands author ($200), and the Charlotte & Isidor Paiewonsky Prize for first-time publication ($200). Send 1-2 stories, maximum 15 double-spaced pages each. The Caribbean should be central to the work, or the work should reflect a Caribbean heritage, experience or perspective.

11/30: Encore Award +++
Entries must be received by this date
Highly recommended free contest from the UK-based Society of Authors offers 10,000 pounds for a second novel published during the current or preceding calendar year. Either the author must be a British or Commonwealth citizen, or the submitted book must have been first published in the UK. Submit 5 copies plus entry form.

12/1: Arleigh Burke Essay Contest ++
Recommended free contest from the US Naval Institute offers top prize of $3,000 for essays on any subject relating to the goal of the Naval Institute: "to provide an open forum for those who dare to read, think, speak, and write in order to advance professional, literary, and scientific understanding of sea power and other issues critical to national defense." Maximum 3,500 words. One entry per person; no simultaneous submissions.

12/1: Independent Women's Forum College Essay Contest ++
Recommended free contest for female undergraduates offers prizes up to $5,000 for essays of 750 words maximum. Topic changes annually. The 2006 theme is "What can proponents of individual liberty, free market economics, limited government, liberal democracy and personal responsibility do to reclaim feminism?" The IWF is a conservative/libertarian feminist organization, and seeks essays that are sympathetic to their views.

12/1: Langum Project for Historical Literature Fiction Prize +
Neutral free contest offers $1,000 for the best historical novel published by a small press or university press during the current calendar year. Publishers or authors should submit 2 copies of book. See website or email David Langum for details.

12/1: Schneider Family Book Award +++
Highly recommended free contest for published books of children's literature offers $5,000 in each of three categories: books for ages 0-10, 11-13, and 13-18. These awards honor an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences. Book must have been published during the past three years. Sponsored by the American Library Association.

12/1: W.Y. Boyd Literary Award for Excellence in Military Fiction +++
Highly recommended free contest offers $5,000 for the best published book of fiction set in a period when the United States was at war. Book must have been published in the calendar year prior to the award. For example, books published in 2006 are eligible for the 2007 award, which has a December 1, 2006 deadline. Sponsored by the American Library Association.

12/8: Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics +++
Formerly December 9
Highly recommended free contest for US college students offers top prize of $5,000, other large prizes, for essays about ethical issues and the place of ethics in human life. See website for specific themes. Entrants must be registered undergraduate full-time juniors or seniors at accredited four-year colleges in the US during the semester in which the deadline falls.

12/15: Grant MacEwan Young Writer's Scholarship ++
Entries must be received by this date; formerly December 29
Free recommended contest offers four awards of C$2,500 for short fiction and essays by young Alberta residents. Award honors the late Dr. Grant MacEwan, who wrote more than fifty books on subjects including nature, folklore, agriculture, politics, environment, literature, history and the people of Alberta. The prize will be given to young writers whose entries best reflect Alberta and/or Dr. MacEwan’s interests. Writers aged 16-25 should send 4 copies of story/essay, entry form, letter of reference and cover letter. Entrants must be able to prove enrollment in an acceptable program of study or mentorship. If a winning applicant is not enrolled at the time of application, funds will be held on their behalf by Alberta Community Development for no more than three years. Must be received by noon local time on December 15.

12/15: PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize +++
Entries must be received by this date
Highly recommended free contest offers $3,000 for the best book of literary prose in translation that was published in the US during the current calendar year. Publisher, agent or translator should submit two copies of a book-length translation of fiction, nonfiction or drama from any language into English. Past winners have been well-established translators.

12/15: PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award +++
Entries must be received by this date
Highly recommended free contest offers $10,000 for the best book of general nonfiction published in the US during the past two calendar years. Biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs are not accepted. Author, publisher or agent should submit 3 copies plus letter of nomination. They are seeking "a distinguished book of general nonfiction possessing notable literary merit and critical perspective and illuminating important contemporary issues." Offered in even-numbered years only.

12/15: Wild Blue Yonder Short Fiction Contest ++
Recommended free bimonthly contest for stories on selected themes includes $250, publication in Frontier Airlines' in-flight magazine, and free online or in-person writing workshop from Lighthouse Writers, a Denver-based literary group. Stories should be 2,500 words maximum. See website for other thematic restrictions. Enter by mail or email.

12/29: PEN/Beyond Margins Awards +++
Entries must be received by this date
Highly recommended free contest offers five awards of $1,000 for the best book of literary prose by an author of color that was published in the US during the current calendar year. Preferred genres are fiction, literary nonfiction, biography/memoir. Publisher or agent should submit 5 copies plus letter of nomination.

12/30: David Dornstein Memorial Creative Writing Contest ++
Formerly December 31
Recommended free contest offers prizes up to $1,000 (top prize will be at least $700) for an original story of no more than 5,000 words on a Jewish theme or topic. Entrants must be aged 18-35 as of the deadline. Sponsored by the Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education. Winners published in CAJE newsletter.

12/31: Black Caucus of the American Library Association Literary Awards ++
Recommended free contest offers two prizes of $500 for books of fiction and nonfiction (creative or scholarly) written by an African-American and published in the US during the current year. The awards honor books that depict the "cultural, historical, or sociopolitical aspects of the African Diaspora." Must be nominated by publisher.

12/31: L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future Contest ++
Recommended free contest for emerging writers of short science fiction, fantasy and horror offers quarterly prizes of $1,000 plus an annual $4,000 grand prize for one of the four winners. Send only one story per quarter, maximum 17,000 words. See website for eligibility rules. Entrants must not have professionally published a novel or short novel, or more than one novelette, or more than three short stories, in any medium.

12/31: Lantern Books Essay Contest +
Entries must be received by this date
Neutral free contest offers $1,000 top prize for essays on the animal advocacy, vegetarian, or environmental movements, maximum 1,500 words. Entrants should familiarize themselves with Lantern's core subject areas and viewpoint by exploring their website. Online entry preferred. No simultaneous submissions.

12/31: Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction ++
Recommended free contest offers $2,500 for the best novel about the Civil War published during the current calendar year. Publishers, critics or authors should send 10 copies of the book to the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College.

12/31: Premio Aztlan Literary Prize +
Neutral free contest offers $1,000 for published books of fiction by Chicano/Chicana authors who have published no more than two books. Books must have been published in the calendar year in which the deadline falls. Winner must agree to attend the award ceremony and deliver a lecture at the University of New Mexico in April (the prize includes travel and lodging expenses). Send 5 copies of book plus supporting materials.

12/31: TCU Texas Book Award ++
Recommended free contest offers $5,000 for the best book of fiction, nonfiction, art or photography about Texas, which was published in the past two years. All genres compete together. Author, publisher or agent should send 3 copies of the book. Winner must give speech at awards banquet in Fort Worth in the spring.


Login to The Best Free Poetry Contests now to view these and all our profiles of free contests.

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

All deadlines are postmark deadlines unless otherwise specified.


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CALLS FOR SUBMISSIONS

Anthology of Black Formalist Poets
Postmark Deadline: July 1, 2007
Poems and critical essays are sought for an anthology titled Not the Master's Tools: Black Poets Writing Formal Poetry, which will reflect interests of African-American poets in using, subverting and transforming forms such as the sonnet, the sestina and others that are often affiliated with the European, Judeo-Christian and English-speaking literary canon. (Examples: Claude McKay, Marilyn Nelson, Gwendolyn Brooks.)

The editors say, "We are looking for a range of pieces that include sonnets and Japanese forms such as haiku and tanka, but we are especially looking for poems written in French, Italian, Spanish and other forms. In an effort to explore tools of African-American poetic forms developed in the African diaspora, we will also be considering poems written as the blues, Eugene Redmond's kwansaba, Ruth Ellen Kocher's gigan and Afaa Michael Weaver's Bop and other forms." Poets whose work is accepted will be asked to write a 250-400 word essay discussing why you chose or prefer this poetic form, poets who use this form that you read and any thoughts you'd like to share about the poem.

Please send a cover letter that includes your name, address, phone number(s) and email address. Indicate in your cover letter which poetic form your poems are written in and include a brief bio. Your cover letter should be accompanied by 2-5 poems, but no more than five. Email submissions to Tara Betts. Please put SUBMISSION in the subject heading. Feel free to send questions to this email address as well.

Cinnamon Press Anthology
Postmark Deadline: February 28, 2007
Welsh publisher Cinnamon Press seeks poems up to 50 lines for an anthology on the theme of inner stillness, edited by Gail Ashton and Jan Fortune-Wood. "In a modern world of noise, activity and emotional displacement, there seems little room for inner stillness. But sometimes a moment arrests us and we make connections of hope, strength, even wisdom. 'Only Connect' will be an anthology of concrete instances of these moments: a child's hands... a landscape... a city bus stop..." Send 1-6 poems, preferably by email. If mailing your entry, send two copies of your poems to Only Connect Anthology, Meirion House, Glan yr afon, Tanygrisiau, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Gwynedd, LL41 3SU, United Kingdom. Complimentary copy of book for all selected contributors.

Crab Orchard Review: Occasions, Ceremonies, & Celebrations Issue
Postmark Deadline: November 30, extended from October 31
This prestigious literary journal seeks submissions of unpublished poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction for a special issue on the topic: "Come Together—Occasions, Ceremonies, & Celebrations." The editors say: "We are open to work that covers any of the multitude of ways that our world, our media, and ourselves mark the public and private, communal, familial, and individual holidays, rituals, and rites of passage we define and define ourselves around." Translations and interviews are also accepted (query first for interviews). Writers whose work is selected will receive $20 (US) per magazine page ($50 minimum for poetry; $100 minimum for prose), two copies of the issue, and a year's subscription. See their submission guidelines for length and formatting requirements.

Kalliope "Women and War" Issue
Postmark Deadline: April 1, 2007
Kalliope: A Journal of Women's Literature & Art, one of the oldest US journals of women's writing, seeks submissions of poetry and short fiction for a special issue on the theme of Women and War. Both men and women may submit. "Throughout the course of history, women have worked and fought on the front lines of war, whether it be the war to end slavery, the war to end all wars, the war against discrimination and injustice, the war on drugs, the war against the exploitation of children, all wars in which the United States has deployed its military. In remembrance and celebration of the countless wars in which women have dedicated themselves, the Fall 2007 edition of Kalliope will be a special themed issue. We invite submissions of poetry and short fiction for this special issue that relate to the theme of women involved in or responding to war in its broadest or most specific context." Send your work to the attention of Dr. Margaret L. Clark, Editor-in-Chief.

Six Little Things
Postmark Deadline: November 30
Attractive, edgy new online journal of prose poems/flash fiction seeks entries up to 250 words on selected themes. Each issue features the work of six writers, plus original illustrations (visual artists encouraged to apply). Submissions are currently open for issues number five (theme: "Tiny Tiny Objects": deadline November 30) and six (theme: "Mortal Enemies": deadline February 28). Send submissions and questions to Bard Cole. Their latest issue, "Hooray for Reality", features powerful work by Michelle Bitting, Jessica Del Balzo, and others.

Upstreet
Postmark Deadline: March 1, 2007
Upstreet, an annual literary magazine based in the Berkshires, seeks submissions of poetry, fiction and essays for its third issue. Edited by Vivian Dorsel, this journal has published interviews with well-known authors such as Jim Shepard and Wally Lamb, plus creative writing by emerging and established writers. Send up to 3 poems, 2 stories and 2 essays. Prose submissions should be 4,500 words maximum. Email entries preferred.

William Carlos Williams Review
The William Carlos Williams Review, a publication of Texas Tech University, seeks essays of 12-36 pages on any aspect of the life and work of William Carlos Williams, and on his relationship to the artistic, philosophical, social, and political movements of his day. New theoretical approaches to Williams's work are particularly encouraged. Send submissions by mail or email (MS Word attachment) to Bryce Conrad, Managing Editor, William Carlos Williams Review, Department of English, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409-3091.


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NEW LITERARY RESOURCES

Avoiding Literary Agency Scams
J. Paul Dyson, editor of the very useful resource site Firstwriter.com, tells writers how to recognize unscrupulous literary agencies and unfavorable deals. Warning signs include agents who advertise too aggressively for new clients, or gather most of their fees from the writer rather than the publisher.

Florence Poets Society
Writers' group located in the dynamic literary and academic region of Western Massachusetts sponsors an annual poetry festival, poetry slam events, readings, and a contest with good-sized prizes. See their website for announcements of local poetry events.

Fulcrum: An Annual of Poetry & Aesthetics
Erudite literary journal with an international focus, edited by prizewinning poets Philip Nikolayev and Katia Kapovich, aims at furthering communication between poets, critics and philosophers from different cultures and literary traditions.

MysteryAuthors.com
Webzine showcases the work of aspiring writers of mystery fiction. They are seeking submissions of flash fiction for their quarterly e-zine, Minute Mystery.

Relief: A Quarterly Christian Expression
Relief is a new Christian literary journal that seeks short fiction submissions. Online entry system lets you track the progress of your story through the evaluation process. "The goal of this publication is to pursue a complete picture of Christ and life—real, gritty, painful, wonderful, this-side-of-heaven life. In an effort to never offend, too many Christian publications fail to express the power of a real Christ in a real world, opting instead for clichés and placating expressions of the ideal. Relief seeks to bridge the gap between mainstream fiction and cotton-candy Christianity. Christ's goal was never to keep us sheltered and comfortable. He did not pull his punches. The primary measuring stick for good Christian writing cannot continue to be safety. It must be skill—the ability to expose what is real, express it eloquently, punch the reader."

Singing of War
War poetry scholar Peggy Rosenthal reviews two anthologies on the topic, and discusses the place of poetry in the curriculum of the famed West Point military academy, in this article from Christianity Today.

Stone Table Review
New webzine publishes luminous and spiritually profound poems, stories and personal essays. Contributors to the first issue include Henry Alley, Jeff Knorr and Diane Lockwood. The work on their site is among the best we've seen in the online literary journals.

VOYA Magazine
VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates) is a bimonthly journal addressing librarians, educators, and other professionals who work with young adults. See their website for article submission guidelines, new books for young adults, and a free teen poetry contest with small prizes.


See our complete directory of resources at http://www.winningwriters.com/resources/ur_web.php. This is also the gateway to our recommended books, magazines, service providers, advice for writers (with manuscript tips) and poetry critiques.


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NEW RECOMMENDED BOOKS

The Elusive Embrace: Desire and the Riddle of Identity
By Daniel Mendelsohn. Provocative, elegant memoir explores gay male desire, the mythic allure of doomed love, and the creative tensions of a life divided between incompatible worlds. Mendelsohn is a classics professor at Princeton, and some of his most interesting reflections involve the application of Greek myths to modern homosexual culture, and the contrast with his family-oriented Jewish heritage.

Floating Girl (Angel of War)
By Robert Randolph. Luminous poems depict the spiritual tragedy of warfare through the idealized figure of the dead child, who amazingly deigns to comfort us with her beauty even as she indicts the ways we fall short of true humanity. The title poem in this prizewinning collection from Elixir Press took first prize in the 2003 Winning Writers War Poetry Contest. The book cover and design are also first-rate.

The Position
By Meg Wolitzer. Witty novel chronicles the romantic travails of the authors of a 1970s sex manual and their four children, who are first mortified by their parents' unabashed passion, then wounded and disillusioned by their divorce. Wolitzer treats her characters' failings tenderly, managing both nostalgia for the Free Love generation's idealism and clear-sighted compassion for the Generation X'ers living in the wreckage of sexual utopia. The style is so light and clever that one realizes only later how many deep truths have been communicated.


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MORE SPONSORS' MESSAGES

Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest
Postmark Deadline: March 31, 2007
Now in its 15th year. Prizes of $1,200, $800 and $400 will be awarded, plus four High Distinction awards of $200 each. 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 online publication rights. $12 entry fee. Submit online or by mail. Early submission encouraged. Winning Writers is assisting with entry handling for this contest. Judges: John H. Reid and Dee C. Konrad. See the complete guidelines and past winners.


Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest - No Fee
Online Submission Deadline: April 1, 2007
Winning Writers invites you to enter the sixth annual Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest. The prize pool has doubled to $3,336.40 in cash, with a top prize of $1,359. There is no fee to enter. Submit online. Judge: Jendi Reiter. See the complete guidelines and past winners.


Now Open
War Poetry Contest
Postmark Deadline: May 31, 2007
We seek 1-3 original, unpublished poems for our sixth annual contest on the theme of war, up to 500 lines in total. We will award $5,000, up from $3,000 in the previous contest. The top prize is $2,000. Your entry fee of $15 includes three months of online access to Poetry Contest Insider, a $6.95 value. Submit online or by mail. Judge: Jendi Reiter. See the complete guidelines and past winners.

Now Open
Margaret Reid Poetry Contest
Postmark Deadline: June 30, 2007
Now in its fourth year, this contest seeks poetry in traditional verse forms such as sonnets and haiku. Both published and unpublished poems are welcome. 50 cash prizes totaling $4,500 will be awarded, including a top prize of $1,000. The entry fee is $6 for every 25 lines you submit. Submit online or by mail. Early submission encouraged. This contest is sponsored by Tom Howard Books and assisted by Winning Writers. Judges: John H. Reid and Dee C. Konrad. See the complete guidelines and past winners.


Start a Great-Looking Blog in Minutes with GoDaddy
www.godaddy.com Blogs are a great way to publicize literary work and timely information, but you may have been intimidated by the cost or technical considerations. We have had good results using the Quick Blog service at www.GoDaddy.com . You'll pay $2.99/month or less. If you need a new domain name as a home for your blog, it's just $1.99 to reserve one for a year. Upload text, images and audio recordings. Multiple authors can add to the same blog, so you can share the work. GoDaddy has several handsome templates to choose from. No technical or design expertise needed, nor will GoDaddy place ads on your blog. Learn more at www.GoDaddy.com .


LEARN TO WRITE FOR MAGAZINES!
Want to freelance for magazines but don't know how? Need a little motivation to get started? Learn how to develop ideas, research markets, write your query letter, and make your pitch to editors! In only eight lessons, veteran freelancer Linda Formichelli will show you the ropes. She's written for more than 120 publications, including USA Weekend, Family Circle, Men's Fitness, and Women's Day. Let Linda show you how you can, too!
http://www.absoluteclasses.com/Formicelli/writing_for_magazines.htm


2007 Poet's Market
The 2007 edition of Poet's Market is on sale now 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.


Office Depot - November Coupon
Save on paper, toner, binders and all your writing supplies at Office Depot. Free delivery in select areas when you order $50 or more. Coupon:
Save $30 off any $150 purchase from Office Depot in November!


Discount Coupon Codes at Alibris
Good gifts cheap. Free shipping when you order $49 or more of eligible books. Use the coupon codes below at checkout for extra savings. They are valid through November 30.
Save $4 off $40 or more: GOBBLE4
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Search over 60 million new and used books at Alibris!


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FEATURED POEMS FROM OUR SUBSCRIBERS

Becoming
by Julie L. Moore

Spring-thick with snowy
blossoms, the ornamental

pear tree slowly slips
out of bloom, sloughing off

petal by skin-soft petal, bleeding
green as leaf after spear-

like leaf thrusts through,
laying down one life

for another. How
willingly it becomes

and becomes.


Copyright 2006 by Julie L. Moore

This poem is reprinted from Ms. Moore's chapbook Election Day, which will be released by Finishing Line Press in December.


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Gacela of the Color Coded Threat Assessment System
by J.P. Dancing Bear

The wolves are running with blood in their mouths.
My friends have disappeared like wolves in shadows.
They pant rhetorically in the shadows of war,
their breaths make a hot anthem of fear and hate.

The march of huge green boots on my street, the rifles, the rifles.
The rifles cradled like babies' arms to a blue crib.
They've built yellow barricades at the ends of my street.

I say the word love before the background of their prayers.
I say the word God before the background of their flames.

The marching green boots devour the purpled landscape,
beating the landscape like wheat to reveal our new enemy.
The devil hides in a house. The devil hides in the street.
The devil pounds his feet on the black asphalt.
The devil finds shelter in unwitting hearts.

The orange light of flames dies on the faces of the houses.
The light dims to a shadowed quiet inside these houses.
All night the wolves throw shadows on our faces.


Copyright 2006 by J.P. Dancing Bear

This poem is reprinted from Gacela of Narcissus City and Other Gacelas, which was a runner-up in the 2006 Main Street Rag Chapbook Contest and will be published in December.


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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 $50. Ads may contain up to 150 words, a headline and a graphic image. (Ads in our December 1 Winter Supplement may contain up to 400 words—same price!) Find out more and make your reservation here:
http://www.winningwriters.com/advertisers.php

"Whatever success we have with this first-year contest, we will be giving winningwriters.com a lion's share of the credit. We thank you for your personal attention to our account, and for just being there."
Peter Buttross, Natchez Poetry Contest

"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

"I'm very pleased with the variety of responses we've received, and I very much appreciate the care you took in adding links and generally improving the copy I sent you."
Mark Schorr, Executive Director, The Robert Frost Foundation

"Thanks so much for looking out for Perigee: for working on our behalf. You have my personal gratitude for going the extra mile, and for putting the product before the profit. With customer service and marketing savvy like yours, Winning Writers is sure to continue to go far. And you can quote me ;-)"
Robert Woerheide, Editor in Chief, Perigee


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PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

ProLiteracy International Programs Literacy Initiatives
ProLiteracy, the oldest and largest nongovernmental literacy organization in the world, announces that it and its partners have developed expertise in the following special interest areas:

The International Family Literacy Initiative
The International Family Literacy Initiative (IFLI) fosters projects that teach parents together with their children to read and write. Programs use ProLiteracy’s Literacy for Social Change method, which combines literacy instruction with effective parent-child education techniques. Tanzania, Rwanda and India are current IFLI project sites.

The ProLiteracy Himalayan Initiative
The ProLiteracy Himalayan Initiative links eight partner organizations in China, China/Tibet, Nepal and Mongolia that combine literacy instruction with health, self-sufficiency and peace projects. These partners share cultural similarities, high mountain geography, rural isolation, and agricultural and livestock livelihoods, but each responds to distinctive local concerns.

The Literacy and Economic Self-Reliance Initiative
This learning-based micro-finance and enterprise program helps residents of poor communities in 34 countries start grassroots savings, credit, and income-generating projects. Participants create, manage and operate profitable small enterprises in such areas as livestock, crops, prepared food, services, manufactured items and retail sales.

The Literacy and Peace Initiative
By integrating literacy and peace building, ProLiteracy and its partners in 17 Middle Eastern countries develop nonviolent solutions to conflict-based problems. Men, women and children living in conflict zones, in indigenous communities that struggle with discrimination, in oppressed minority groups, and who are victimized by abuse learn how to avoid and prevent violence in their homes and communities.

The Literacy and HIV/AIDS Prevention, Control, and Treatment Initiative
Through literacy instruction, ProLiteracy helps adults solve acute health problems in their families and communities. In Africa, with ProLiteracy’s help, many partner programs have developed effective local-language manuals about HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment.
ProLiteracy Worldwide
Read more about these initiatives at ProLiteracy.org, and join us in advancing ProLiteracy's vital mission. 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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Jendi Reiter JENDI'S CRITIQUE CORNER

This month, Critique Corner is pleased to present "The Popsicle Planet" by Katherine Fleissner.

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!


The Popsicle Planet
by Katherine Fleissner

Gears shift, thin wheels sip asphalt
as I ride through soda-water
evening air. A flash of orange leaps out
at my periphery, a sizzling circle
wavering towards the dirt.
It takes my eyes, tricks them
with feverish brightness
like a sickness I somehow wish to catch
and suddenly the bicycle
is not merely going, but hunting,
its toothy metal is bored with
the blue glass twilight,
those abandoned barns which tilt
as arrogant antique lampshades
(the stuff which has already touched its frame:
stone, cool, clear, and moon).
It drinks the small streets of the Midwest suppertime
taut rubber whispery, clinging but smooth,
as the hot candy filters
quick through tree tops
and its elusive flavor
is close to dissolution.

But I find the spot
where it oozes completely; sagging,
so pregnant it could split,
its trembling vicious gas scrapes and shines
the dull rock of this town.
I think it is unfathomably huge
But the Universe is even much larger still.

Riding back there is fire
smeared like butter
on the pedals.


Copyright 2006 by Katherine Fleissner


Critique by Jendi Reiter

This month's critique poem, Katherine Fleissner's "The Popsicle Planet," dazzled me with its playful blurring of sensory boundaries. The 19th-century Symbolist poet Arthur Rimbaud once described his innovative poetic method as an "immense and rational derangement of all the senses," exemplified in poems like "Vowels" (Les Voyelles) where each vowel-sound is associated with a color. Similarly, Fleissner's unusual verb choices (a bicycle that drinks) and comparisons (fire "smeared like butter") merge seemingly incompatible physical states to produce a mystical vision, pregnant with meaning and intensity. The gentle surrealism of this poem also invites comparisons to the Beatles' famous psychedelic ballad "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds".

The first line immediately signals that the author is taking us on a ride through a world that is more dynamic and unpredictable than what our ordinary vision perceives. The bicycle has become a living creature that "sips asphalt" as the normally solid surface of the road takes on a liquid quality. What does it mean for the air to be like soda-water? Perhaps it is sweet, or moist, or effervescent with energy. This intriguing image further blurs the lines between solid, liquid, and gas. Meanwhile, the delicacy of "sips" sets a benign mood. Although the barriers of perception are dissolving, there is still a feeling of safety and control. Soda-water suggests innocence, a drink for children instead of a liqueur...

critique continues here

This poem, our critique and contest suggestions for poems in this style appear in full at:
http://www.winningwriters.com/resources/critiques/2006/urc_0611fleissner.php

See all of our poetry critiques.


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COMING IN OUR DECEMBER 15 NEWSLETTER
2007 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest Opens
The Best Free Poetry Contests for December 16-January 31