Award-Winning Poems: Summer 2010
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Welcome to our Summer 2010 selection of award-winning poems. These quarterly specials are included with your free Winning Writers Newsletter subscription. We'll release our next regular newsletter on June 15.
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FEATURED SPONSOR'S MESSAGE
Carpe Articulum Will Accept Free Contest Entries During the Month of June!
We're looking for short fiction, essays, poetry, novellas, and photography. Email your entries with your contact information and a cover sheet to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include code FREEJUNE1WW on the cover sheet.
Carpe Articulum will award $10,000 this year! Winners to be published in our international, cross-genre, quarterly review, and receive 2 copies.
Questions? Please email email@example.com. Yes, we accept unsolicited submissions without a reading fee (but you can only receive publication, not a cash award). Congratulations to this quarter's Short Fiction winners: Harrison Solow, Jaina Sanga, Julian Hoffman, and Ruth Ann Dandrea. Register at the site now and receive one free issue.
RECENT HONORS FOR OUR NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIBERS
Winning Writers editor Jendi Reiter won an honorable mention in the 2010 Just Desserts Short-Short Fiction Prize for her story "Altitude", which will be published in Passages North, the literary journal of Northern Michigan University. The most recent deadline for this $1,000 prize was February 15. Passages North's fiction contests are offered in even-numbered years only, alternating with the Elinor Benedict Poetry Prize and the Thomas J. Hruska Memorial Nonfiction Prize. "Altitude" also won an Honorable Mention in the Short-Short Fiction category of the Winter 2009-10 New Millennium Writings Awards. This twice-yearly contest, offering prizes of $1,000 apiece for poetry, fiction, short-short fiction, and personal essays, is currently open to entries through June 17.
Congratulations to Jeff Walt. His poetry chapbook Soot was published this year by Seven Kitchens Press as the co-winner of the 2009 Keystone Chapbook Prize. He kindly shares a poem from the collection below. For more of his work, visit his website at www.jeffwalt.com.
Congratulations to Harrison Solow. Her story "Mater Amabilis" won first prize in the March 2010 Carpe Verbum Short Fiction Award. This twice-yearly award from Carpe Articulum Literary Review offers a top prize of $1,250. The next deadline will be September 30.
Congratulations to Julie L. Moore. Her first full-length collection of poetry, Slipping Out of Bloom, has just been released by WordTech Editions in Cincinnati, Ohio. She kindly shares a sample poem below. Acclaimed poet John Drury writes, "Julie L. Moore's observant, vivid, calmly moving poems are centered in her own home, in her own everyday life, but they radiate outward, taking in what's distant, invisible, and hard to comprehend as well as what's intimate and 'in close proximity'. ...Her courageous poems face death and inexplicable illness, finding themselves able to 'buoy in the wake / of the passing day.' Through particular acts of noticing, paying attention to friends, family, and a life-list of creatures, she comes to a hard-earned faith, discovering 'magnified / through sun and glass / reason for our being.'"
Congratulations to Rolli. His debut collection of poems and drawings, Plum Stuff, has just been released by 8th House Publishing. He kindly shares a sample poem below. Selections from this book have been published in leading journals in Canada and the US, including The New Quarterly, Quarterly West, subTerrain, Antigonish Review, Wascana Review, Stickman Review, Feathertale Review, Labletter, Barnwood, and Grain. Visit his blog at rolliwrites.wordpress.com.
Congratulations to Timothy Savage. His poem "Welcome Home (1918)" won the $25 award for poem of the day at Lulu Poetry on March 23, 2010. Read this and other poems of his on Lulu's website.
Congratulations to Lori Desrosiers. She won first prize in the Greater Brockton Society for Poetry and the Arts contest for New England Poets. Her poem "That Pomegranate Shine" was chosen by X.J. Kennedy. Visit her website to read her work and see videos of her performing her poetry. Lori is the editor of Naugatuck River Review, a journal of narrative poetry.
Congratulations to Fiona McIlroy. Her poem "There It Is, in Black and White" won the 2010 Writing Rights Competition sponsored by the Human Rights Arts & Film Festival in Melbourne, Australia. This contest awarded A$1,000 apiece for poetry and short fiction. She kindly shares it with us below.
Congratulations to Francine L. Trevens. Short Plays to Long Remember, an anthology of 27 plays by 14 American authors, which she compiled and edited, was a finalist in the anthology category of the 2010 Independent Publisher Book Awards, otherwise known as the IPPYs. See the winners' list here. Published by TnT Classic Books, the collection is available from Barnes & Noble, Samuel French, Inc., the Drama Book Shop, or directly from the publisher by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Interviews with Ms. Trevens will be online at sellingbooks.com/ (May 27) and the BlogTalkRadio show "Healing Through Hurt" (June 12, 11:00 PM EST).
RECENT HONORS FOR POETRY CONTEST INSIDER SUBSCRIBERS
Congratulations to Christian Williams. His poems "Being" and "Between the Branches" were selected for inclusion in the 2010 Spirit First Meditation Poetry Contest anthology. He kindly shares the latter poem below. This new contest sponsored by Spirit First, an interfaith meditation center in the Washington, DC area, offered prizes up to $150 for unpublished poems of any length on the theme of meditation, mindfulness, stillness, or silence. Of the 741 poems received, only 81 were invited to be in the book project, and only 15 authors were invited to have more than one poem included. Mr. Williams writes, "I love the Winning Writers newsletter and highly organized website. It is helpful, substantial and gives good context for developing as a writer." Visit his website at www.cwilliamsart.com.
RECENT PUBLICATION CREDITS FOR OUR SUBSCRIBERS
Christopher Provost's poem "Amherst, Massachusetts, Vintage 1992" was published in Silkworm, issue #4, the annual journal of the Florence Poets Society. He kindly shares it with us below.
Ruth Hill's poem "Redtail" was published in the Spring 2010 issue of Song of the San Joaquin, a publication of the California Federation of Chaparral Poets. She kindly shares it with us below. In addition, her poem "Stairs to the Stars", written in honor of the 2010 centennial of Prince Rupert (a city in British Columbia), will be featured in the June issue of Ascent Aspirations, an online magazine edited by David Fraser.
Susan Tepper's flash fiction "3-Way-Mirror" was published in Issue #24 of BluePrintReview, an English-language online literary journal based in Germany and edited by Dorothee Lang. Visit Susan's website at www.susantepper.com for more poetry and prose.
CONTESTS HOSTED AT WINNING WRITERS & OPEN NOW
|Closing This Month
Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for Traditional Verse
Postmark Deadline: June 30
Now in its seventh year, this contest seeks poetry in traditional verse forms such as sonnets and free verse. Both published and unpublished poems are welcome. Prizes of $3,000, $1,000, $400 and $250 will be awarded, plus six Most Highly Commended Awards of $150 each. Submit poems of any length. The entry fee is $7 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.
Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest
Postmark Deadline: September 30
Now in its eighth year, this contest seeks poems in any style, theme or genre. Both published and unpublished poems are welcome. Prizes of $3,000, $1,000, $400 and $250 will be awarded, plus six Most Highly Commended Awards of $150 each. Submit poems of any length. The entry fee is $7 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.
IN DEFENSE OF SMALL TOWNS
by Oliver de la Paz
Winner of the 2009 Akron Poetry Prize
Postmark Deadline: June 15
This competitive award offers $1,000 and book publication by the University of Akron Press. In this evocative poem from his prizewinning collection Requiem for an Orchard, the poet feels nostalgic despite himself for the hardscrabble desert town of his childhood.
THE ROUTINE AFTER FORTY
by Jacqueline Berger
Winner of the 2009 Autumn House Press Poetry Prize
Postmark Deadline: June 30
This open poetry manuscript prize from a well-regarded independent press based in Pittsburgh offers $1,000 as an advance against royalties, plus a $1,500 travel grant to participate in the Autumn House Master Poets Series the following year. There is also a fiction prize with the same rules and deadline. In this poem from Berger's prizewinning book The Gift that Arrives Broken, the disquieting experience of undergoing a mammogram heightens the narrator's awareness of the bonds between women, both genetic and emotional.
HAMLET UNDERTAKES A COURSE OF ZOLOFT
by Lesley Wheeler
Winner of the 2009 Barrow Street Press Book Contest
Postmark Deadline: June 30
The sponsor of this $1,000 open poetry manuscript prize is friendly to experimental and cross-genre work. Wheeler's collection Heterotopia won the 2009 award. Whether expressed in modern or archaic terms, this poem suggests depression can be a form of political resistance to the artificial happiness of a society that fears uncomfortable truths.
We are gathering a growing library of award-winning poems in Poetry Contest Insider, over 125 to date. Enjoy a wide range of today's best work. Sign up for a free trial. Learn more below.
TRY POETRY CONTEST INSIDER
If you enjoy using The Best Free Poetry Contests, consider upgrading to Poetry Contest Insider. The Best Free Poetry Contests profiles the 150 or so poetry contests that are free to enter. With your Poetry Contest Insider subscription, you'll get access to all of our 750+ poetry contest profiles, plus over 300 of the best prose contests. Contest rules, addresses and deadlines change constantly. We update Poetry Contest Insider nearly every day to stay on top of them. Search and sort contests by deadline, prize, fee, recommendation level and more. Access to Poetry Contest Insider is just $9.95 per quarter, with a free 10-day trial at the start. Cancel at any time.
Most contests charge entry fees. You can easily spend hundreds of dollars and many hours entering these contests each year. Don't waste your time or money. Out of hundreds of contests, there might only be two or three dozen that are especially appropriate for your work. We help you find them fast. Interviews and links to award-winning entries help you refine your craft. Learn more about Poetry Contest Insider.
2005 WAR POETRY CONTEST—HONORABLE MENTION
BREAKING THE CURFEW
by Ben Greer
In the market of Jenin, bread is soggy with their blood—
Children so small they fluttered through tents of honey and fruit.
Hidden in caves a week, they were completely dissolute
with sunlight and the breeze of the dessert. Until a scud
Of gas and the carnivorous bullets of machine guns
scattered and drove them again to their holes, all but a few.
Henan, why didn't you grab what you could and rendezvous
in some subterranean oasis with your loved ones?
Now you lie here among the other shattered vessels,
holding your arms around a brown loaf. No one wrestles
it from you. None of your friends. Their arms are full and still too.
Henan, never in your life have you held so much bread.
May all the makers of all the wars take a piece from your dead
hands, sop it in your blood and say: how sweet is war and true.
Copyright 2005 Ben Greer
This poem won an Honorable Mention in the 2005 War Poetry Contest sponsored by Winning Writers. Author Ben Greer received a $75 award. See the judge's comments on the winning poems from this contest.
Swallow by Jendi Reiter Reviewed in The Pedestal Magazine
Winner of the 2008 Flip Kelly Poetry Prize from Amsterdam Press, Jendi Reiter's poetry chapbook Swallow was favorably reviewed at length in the February-April 2010 issue of The Pedestal Magazine. Critic JoSelle Vanderhooft writes, "The first thing that strikes the reader about Jendi Reiter's Swallow is, naturally, the unusual cover illustration, which appears at once to be a multi-eyed cherub (the proper Old Testament kind), a brace of clothespins, a flock of nightmare birds, sewing needles, bent nails, and a heart-shaped crown of thorns. While one may have a difficult time explaining all of this, one need only know that this image by Richard C. Jackson is the best visual realization of the horror, madness, blood, and beauty that infuse Reiter's work: Like something out of a fever dream, it just makes perfect sense." Vanderhooft calls this book "wonderfully inventive, unsettling, and deeply funny". Read the whole review here.
To order, visit the Amsterdam Press online store or send a check for $8.00 to Amsterdam Press, 6199 Steubenville Road SE, Amsterdam, Ohio 43903.
Enjoy this sample poem from Swallow (first published in The Adirondack Review):
And Sarai Said
by Jendi Reiter
The Lord judge between me and thee dynamite
for a good time call it quits
even a baby can be believed
or bleed wriggle worm snicked by the knife
becomes two blind as one
baby can I call you baby
The Lord judge between me and thee by drowning
cries like a catbird that is to say
no pained mind behind the call believe baby
scientists pulling feathers
from the fallen star apple eater worm
The Lord judge between me and thee severed
severe verily reverberate
helmet lie open on ocean
floor for fish to understand prison
like bright dreams on the locked ward
describe that baby belief painted with food
ripped with crayons the first word
to die like an egg in the hand
The Lord judge between me and thee boiling
for a good time lick thrust murmur crack
dispense as written
under the skin only the lonely cutter's
face reflected in the blade The Lord
judge between thee
Indiana Review's 2010 1/2 K Prize
Postmark Deadline: June 15
$1,000 prize and publication. Reading fee: $15 for US entries, $27 for international entries, $22 for Canadian contestants. All entrants receive a year's subscription to Indiana Review. All entrants considered for publication. Established in 1976, the Indiana Review publishes poetry, fiction, nonfiction, art, and reviews from both emerging and established writers.
All entries considered anonymously. Send no more than 3 pieces, 500 words maximum per piece.
(That's 3 short-shorts or prose-poems max per entry fee.)
If submitting electronically:
- Each piece must be either a prose-poem or short-short. Prose-poems should not have any deliberate line breaks (i.e. no lineated poems). You may send a combination of short-shorts and prose-poem pieces, as long as you have no more than 3 pieces per submission.
- No previously published works, or works forthcoming elsewhere.
- Simultaneous submissions acceptable, but fee is non-refundable. Further, IR cannot consider work from anyone currently or recently affiliated with Indiana University. In addition, IR cannot consider work from anyone who is a current or former student of the prize judge. We also will not consider work from anyone who is a personal friend of the judge.
- Entry entitles entrant to one-year subscription, an extension of a current subscription, or a gift subscription. Please indicate your choice and include complete address information for subscriptions.
- Entrant's name should NOT appear on the prose-poems/short-shorts.
Please click here. For payment instructions, please click here. Electronic submissions will close on June 15th, 2010 at 8:00pm EST.
If submitting by post:
Send entries to:
- Please click here for our official entry form
- Entries must be accompanied by SASE for notification. Manuscripts will not be returned.
- We prefer you to pay online. Payment instructions are available here. With your entry, include a print-out of the receipt that is emailed to you as confirmation of payment.
- If you are unable to pay online, please contact us.
'1/2 K' Prize Indiana Review
Ballantine Hall 465
1020 East Kirkwood Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405-7103
The final judge of this year's contest is Alberto Álvaro Ríos. Born in 1952 in Nogales, Arizona, Ríos is the author of ten books and chapbooks of poetry, three collections of short stories, and a memoir. His books of poems include, most recently, The Dangerous Shirt, preceded by The Theater of Night, winner of the 2007 PEN/Beyond Margins Award, along with The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body, a finalist for the National Book Award, Teodoro Luna's Two Kisses, The Lime Orchard Woman, The Warrington Poems, Five Indiscretions, and Whispering to Fool the Wind. His three collections of short stories are, most recently, The Curtain of Trees, along with Pig Cookies, and The Iguana Killer.
Please see the complete contest guidelines at www.indianareview.org.
Closing This Month
Autumn House Poetry and Fiction Contests
Postmark Deadline: June 30
The winners will receive book publication, a $1,000 advance against royalties, and a $1,500 travel grant to participate in the 2011 Autumn House Master
Authors Series in Pittsburgh.
We ask that all submissions from authors new to Autumn House come through one of our annual contests. All finalists will be considered for publication. The final judge for the Poetry Prize is Claudia Emerson; the final judge for
fiction is Sharon Dilworth.
All poetry manuscripts 50-80 pages and all fiction manuscripts 200-300 pages are eligible. If you wish to be informed of the results of the competition, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE). Autumn House Press assumes no responsibility for lost or damaged manuscripts.
All entries must be clearly marked "Poetry Prize" or "Fiction Prize" on the outside envelope. $25 handling fee (check or money order) must be enclosed.
MANUSCRIPTS WILL NOT BE RETURNED.
Send manuscript and $25 fee to:
Autumn House Press
P.O. Box 60100
Pittsburgh, PA 15211
Learn more about the contests at our website, and please enjoy this poem from A Theory of Everything by Mary Crockett Hill. This manuscript was selected as the winner of the 2008 Autumn House Poetry Prize by Naomi Shihab Nye.
My Sister the Buddhist Prays with the Fleas
by Mary Crockett Hill
She imagines beside her five thousand spirit fleas
fanning out in the endless ellipses of the dead;
a tiny Buddha of Compassion floats above each flea-soul,
ushering them onward with his complicated arms.
Oh Heruka, guide these poor fleas to wherever they're going
—to the Buddha of the Future, the Buddha
of next Tuesday when our rugs are sucked clean
and the cats lick their prickled underbellies
with elaborate care, and the dog like a doormat dreams
all afternoon without scratching, without even wondering
why he is not scratching. Meaning, I guess, forgive me...
And, let all this be about something
other than suffering or math.
Yet the rich nursing home owner who took an ax
to his new wife's locked bedroom door—
yelling (they have it on tape) "I'm going to bash your fucking face in!
I'm going to crush you, crush you, Anne, and love it!"—
was surely not thinking of the great equilibrium in loving,
how Attachment and Release are weary twins
on either end of a see-saw, mocking one another
as they ride.
And the wife, having broken
both ankles and a wrist from her
two-story jump out the window,
did not smile when asked if she was happy
with the million-dollar settlement, but simply stated,
"Happy? The bastard should be in jail."
Meanwhile somewhere, kudzu overtakes a road bank,
covering what we've planted in our own histories—
in that other life—when I was a chick
scraping in the dirt yard,
and my sister, the boy who scattered corn before me.
As I scurried from the shed to peck
kernels off his boots, he never flinched or kicked
—and when the family finally ate me,
the boy was the one to speak the blessing at the table.
We can't return. Still,
sometimes wetness glistens
like early morning in my feathers.
I almost hear him call me from his back porch stoop.
First published in Gargoyle, 2008
Closing This Month
Snake Nation Press: Violet Reed Haas Prize for Poetry
Postmark Deadline: June 30
Now in its twentieth year, Snake Nation Press announces the 2010 Violet Reed Haas Prize for Poetry:
• $1,000 prize and publication
• $25 entry fee must accompany the manuscript
• 50-75 page manuscript; previously published poems eligible
Reduced fee for students and those aged 65 or older—just $15 per entry.
Please mail your entry and fee to:
Snake Nation Press
Attn: Poetry Contest
2920 North Oak Street
Valdosta, GA 31602
Snake Nation Press provides an informative, non-threatening venue for writers to submit their work in the midst of an often chaotically diverse publishing world. Over the twenty-year history of the Press, the staff and volunteers have found great satisfaction in forging personalized editorial relationships with both emerging and established writers. The Snake is committed to keeping an honest and open dialogue with authors and to furthering the literary arts on a local and global scale. Many hours of volunteer labor and the electronic resources of the Web have allowed a small press to help present many new literary voices to the world-wide community.
The editors of Snake Nation Press look for manuscripts that concretely render the writer's actual and imaginative experiences. We publish writing that both newly interprets life in its everyday reality and that opens the reader's eyes to internal landscapes that have not yet been envisioned. We believe that good writing fortifies a belief in the value of human life and effort, but above all the work must connect intuition and experience to cast a spell of surprised recognition that shocks the reader with what was thought to be familiar.
Please enjoy "Rosemary" from Tania Rochelle's The World's Last Bone, published by Snake Nation Press.
Also at Snake Nation Press: Serena McDonald Kennedy Award
by Tania Rochelle
for Kathy, in Denver
Eighty in good shape
She looks like heaven—
Pleated sky-blue dress
White cloud of hair.
She stands in the street,
post-church and watches
as her old friend, bent
like a question mark
over a hot pink skirt, skritch
of walker on concrete.
She must not help her friend
this much is understood
I jog past, past forty
Postmark Deadline: July 31
Submit a novella of up to 50,000 words or a manuscript of short stories up to 200 pages long. Fiction and nonfiction accepted. Any well-written manuscript on any topic will be considered. Previously published works may be entered. An entry fee of $25 must accompany the submission. Winner receives $1,000 award and publication.
Please mail your entry and fee to:
Snake Nation Press
Attn: Serena McDonald Kennedy Award
2920 North Oak Street
Valdosta, GA 31602
Closing Next Month
The Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Literature (no fee)
Postmark Deadline: July 30
The Vilcek Foundation shall award a prize of $25,000 to a foreign-born writer who demonstrates outstanding early achievement. In addition, four finalists will receive awards of $5,000 each. There is no fee to enter. Four categories of writers are eligible to apply:
- Short Fiction Writers
- Short Creative Nonfiction Writers
To be eligible for The Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in the Arts and Humanities, applicants must meet all of the criteria listed below.
- Applicant must have been born outside the United States.
- Applicant must not be more than 38 years old as of December 31, 2010 (born on or after January 1, 1972).
- Applicant must be a naturalized citizen or permanent resident (green card holder) of the United States.
- Applicant must intend to pursue a professional career in the United States.
- Applicant must be the individual who has authored the submitted work.
A panel of distinguished members of the literary community will evaluate each application based on its quality, the level of creativity, clarity of vision, impact and the individual's ability to present his/her work in a professional manner.
The prize winner selected by the jury will be a candidate whose work best exemplifies the characteristics indicated above. Additionally, the jury will identify four finalists, each of whom will receive an award of $5,000. Recommendations of the jury will be submitted to the Vilcek Foundation's Board of Directors for final approval.
The winner will be notified in November 2010 and will be invited to attend an awards ceremony in New York City in the spring of 2011. Travel expenses and accommodations will be covered by The Vilcek Foundation.
Learn more at our website.
Download a PDF of the application guidelines.
As previously noted, our New Literary Resources and Recommended Books features now appear in our quarterly supplements, which are published on March 1, June 1, September 1, and December 1. Contest announcements and calls for submissions appear in the regular monthly newsletters.
92nd Street Y Virtual Poetry Center
The Unterberg Poetry Center at the 92nd Street Y is an important New York City cultural center where many prominent writers have read. Their website now includes videos and archival recordings from decades of readings. Featured authors include Truman Capote, Chinua Achebe, Joyce Carol Oates, Doris Lessing, and Norman Mailer.
Allison Amend's Instructions for a Do-It-Yourself Book Tour
In this article from the Glimmer Train website, literary fiction author Allison Amend shares road-tested practical advice for small press authors. Amend's IPPY Award-winning debut short story collection, Things That Pass for Love, was published in October 2008 by OV/Dzanc Books, and her novel, Stations West, is due out from Louisiana State University Press's Yellow Shoe Fiction Series.
American Translators Association
ATA, founded in 1959, is the largest professional association of translators and interpreters in the US, with over 11,000 members in more than 90 countries. ATA's primary goals include fostering and supporting the professional development of translators and interpreters and promoting the translation and interpreting professions.
This virtual press edited by Andrew Topel publishes e-chapbooks of visual poetry, a form that combines text with abstract art and other images. Email submissions to email@example.com.
Clickinks.com Resources For Writers
This printer-ink company's website features a page of links that will be of interest to writers, especially teachers and students. Topics include advice for young writers, creative writing lesson plans, basic publishing and self-publishing tips, and links to a few amateur forums for posting one's work.
Dorothee Lang, editor of BluePrintReview, an English-language online literary journal based in Germany, began this blog in March 2010 to review new books of poetry and prose from small independent presses. The site looks beyond the usual university press prizewinners to showcase innovative writers and publishers.
An Economy of Talents
In this essay from Iota Magazine, Paul Maddern (co-winner of the 2009 Templar Poetry Pamphlet and Collection Competition) surveys the history of poetry chapbook publishing and its current status in the UK. The article includes a list of publishers seeking submissions.
Alistair Scott's EuroWriter blog lists information about European writing markets for English-language writers. EuroWriter includes everything from literary journals to newspapers and trade magazines, plus writing competitions. The one common denominator is that the market/contest must be based in Europe. Site is updated daily.
Hans Christian Andersen: Fairy Tales and Stories
The 19th-century Danish author Hans Christian Andersen wrote some of our most beloved fairy tales, such as 'The Ugly Duckling' and 'The Little Mermaid'. This website includes the full text of many of his stories in the 1872 English translation by H.P. Paull, plus links to biographical information and other resources.
How to Write in 700 Easy Lessons
In this essay from The Atlantic's 2010 fiction issue, novelist Richard Bausch argues that writers' manuals are a poor substitute for honing one's aesthetic sense through immersion in great literature. "One doesn't write out of some intellectual plan or strategy; one writes from a kind of beautiful necessity born of the reading of thousands of good stories poems plays... One is deeply involved in literature, and thinks more of writing than of being a writer. It is not a stance."
Online journal publishes prose poetry and 3-line poems. Submit year-round by email.
Jewish Review of Books
Launched in 2010, this print and online journal features critical essays about religion, literature, culture, and politics, as well as fiction, poetry, and the arts.
Founded in 1987, this English-language quarterly based in Japan publishes thought-provoking writings and visual explorations that dispel stereotypical views of Asia, for a worldwide readership. See website for submission guidelines for poetry, prose, and artwork. Recent themed issues have included "Unbound: Gender in Asia" and "Transience: Dwelling in the Moment".
Pen World Voices Festival Video: "War"
This 80-minute video from the 2010 Pen World Voices Festival, held April 26-May 2 in New York City, features journalists Deborah Amos, Philip Gourevitch, Arnon Grunberg, Sebastian Junger, Daniele Mastrogiacomo, and Sarah Montague, speaking about the challenges of reporting from war zones and the writer's role as witness.
Poetry of Henry Reed
This website collects critical and biographical information for the poet, radio dramatist, and translator Henry Reed (1914-1986), best known for his antiwar poem 'Naming of Parts'.
Authors of fiction and poetry for children can submit their unpublished work to Smories for a chance to win a monthly prize of 1,000 pounds ($1,500). Fifty stories will be shortlisted each month, get narrated by kids and filmed, and the film attracting the most traffic on the site will win the prize. This new site has the potential to be a good source of alternative media for children.
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.
By Dorothea Lasky. Marrying surrealism to a childlike matter-of-factness, in a voice reminiscent of Gertrude Stein, these poems convey the delight and bafflement of having "your mind...whipped by the large whisk of God."
Folding Ruler Star
By Aaron Kunin. Described by its author as "a value-neutral 'Paradise Lost'," this distinctive poetry collection explores the free-floating shame that arises from our simultaneous desires for connection and self-protection. Objects acquire human faces and vulnerabilities, while human faces are deconstructed into schematics ("five security zones"). The book is comprised of paired poems with the same title, enacting the imperfect mirroring of the self in intimacy with another. Runner-up for the 2006 Fence Modern Poets Prize.
Three Drunk Angels
by Jeff Walt
squat down in the cool shadow of a dumpster
behind Fat Jack's Tavern, sneaking
cigarettes, the tips of their wings
dragging in puddles of mud and urine. Sick
of saving lives, escorting
each delirious spirit from its hollow
body. Tired of no vacation, no union rep,
hanging out at 7-elevens waiting
for some nut with a gun to shoot the girl
behind the counter, then having to greet her
with a fake smile like a host
who wants the party to end.
So they continue to inhale long, deep hits
knowing a baby is being drowned by his mother
in a bathtub and his tiny soul, soaked,
will float with soap scum down the drain.
And the suicide they could have talked from a rooftop
jumped this morning
while they read The New York Times and ate
Grand Slams for breakfast.
Souls are not arriving where they should.
They sweep endlessly like plastic Foodland bags
ripped and flapping past.
Flutter down the sidewalk. Stuck
to the bottoms of shoes. Just another something
for the dog to bark at, its owner asking,
"What is it boy, what's there, what do you see?"
Copyright 2010 by Jeff Walt
This poem is reprinted from his chapbook Soot, which was published this year by Seven Kitchens Press as the co-winner of the 2009 Keystone Chapbook Prize.
Reasons to Stay
by Julie L. Moore
There's light on water, for starters.
The way a sunbeam splinters
into glitter tiny as minnows
splashing upon every ripple, then
fuses again in one sleek skin.
And there's land as well.
Like these Ohio pastures
sprouting timothy and clover,
alfalfa and sprigs of soy, wild
with memory of the farmer's
deep blade, the seed's blue
breath. And of course there's
love. The same hands that cut
grass cup my breasts like bulbs,
coax full bloom.
Surely, these are all good
reasons to stay.
I don't love this world so much
that I want to stay forever.
Copyright 2010 by Julie L. Moore
This poem is reprinted from her first full-length collection, Slipping Out of Bloom, recently published by WordTech Editions in Cincinnati, Ohio.
I's biting pomes
when a lovely one plummed
to earth, what's tongue
ly spicing flavoury
dreaming fruit munif
I bit th'it, pitched
in hole the core
of fox kits
only lone, though
So my tears
is limricks drip-
ing privy walls
oh my tears
Copyright 2010 by Rolli
This poem is reprinted from his debut collection of poems and drawings, Plum Stuff, which has just been released by 8th House Publishing.
There It Is, in Black and White
by Fiona McIlroy
Snowy squatted with us
scratching in the dust
under the shade of a truck
in sleepy Katherine
"your whiteman education
no good for blackman"
ripping up paper)
(lights up a fag)
"whiteman law change
not blackman law;
blackman law in the rocks
You say blow up the rocks—then what?
No. My law is in the air,
Snowy rolls his eyes around
then claps them on my soul:
a flickering in the shadow of the truck
Take a quick swig of the fizzy
drink he gives me,
splutter explode, stumble out into the bleaching
Gubba got it, and how—
nearly choked on blackman law
Now, as I write
It is hard to pin down
the literal truth
of the spoken word
but if what he says is so
the law must hover between
shiver in the leaves of the trees
that fed these pages
From cave to condominium
our common ear inherits
the air waves
Can we whitemen
learn to listen to the wind
in the silence; can we discern
there for those who wish to
wake from the coded sleep
My law is in the air
Left with these skeletal words
have I stripped the sinew off
the ribs of truth
only to obscure the issue?
Why is the bird of abstraction
so inert? Why does the pinned
wing sting the eye?
Here it is, in black and white
Snowy's law as tort
as the sip of fizzy drink
caught in the throat
Copyright 2010 by Fiona McIlroy
This poem won the 2010 Writing Rights Competition sponsored by the Human Rights Arts & Film Festival in Melbourne, Australia.
Between the Branches
by Christian Williams
There is knowledge to be had
In this world.
Not like pouring liquid
Into a bucket.
Not like collecting
Small round tokens.
Not like amassing anything.
Knowledge is admiring
Beautiful tiny veins
Of a small soft leaf.
It just left the tree
And now lives
Between these two fingers
Pinching it together.
Knowledge creates a smile
Aware that the leaf
We two have broken away.
We two are falling slowly and gracefully.
We two have touched
The leaf turns over.
It shows its face.
That sees through me,
And the infinite blue
Between the branches.
Copyright 2010 by Christian Williams
This poem was selected for inclusion in the 2010 Spirit First Meditation Poetry Contest anthology.
Amherst, Massachusetts, Vintage 1992
by Christopher Provost
Uptown is a riot of backwards baseball caps and Birkenstocks,
sundresses and dreadlocks. The man selling tagua nut necklaces
on the blanket outside the record shop offers a heady aroma
of patchouli and marijuana. I imagine the girl wearing
Raybans, window shopping outside the clothing store, gives a juicy
mouthfeel. Walking by the strip of bars past the restaurant reveals
charming notes of stale beer, grease, and vomit. North Pleasant serves up a
mix of creamy intellectualism and latent homosexuality,
accenting pipe tobacco and cloves. The schizophrenic baglady
on the town hall steps shows notes of alcoholism and
suicide. The town common is being invaded by miniature
aliens lazily flying through the air in round plastic spaceships.
Beanbag meteorites crash land on Chuck Taylors and Vans. Somewhere
someone is protesting something. The New Age girl in the organic
cotton dress handing out fliers emits a full-bodied ripeness
of earth. A delicate nose of overripe figs and licorice entices
me farther towards the college, where an intriguing mix of polo
shirts and Xanax exhibits a tender profile. A zesty blend
of unemployed wannabes and struggling artists supports a firm
structure of cracked pepper and grilled meat at the bus stop. The drunken
Cambodian man with the obese wife sitting on the boulder
outside the apartment complex delivers an uninterpretable
diatribe reminiscent of plum fruit and black cherry. As I
backtrack and work my way down Amity towards the brewpub, there
is a definite signature of luscious apathy highlighted
by an underlying layer of malaise. The entire experience
is wrapped up by a well-integrated finish of longing,
featuring complex flavors of wild oats and nostalgia.
Copyright 2010 by Christopher Provost
This poem was published in Silkworm, issue #4, the annual journal of the Florence Poets Society.
by Ruth Hill
A hawk sits on a fencepost
Riding varied vagrant breezes
from his pin
He looks down on a brave shrew
Hiding under a piece of tin
He looks down on the poor shrew
Passing time does torture victims
He can wait, who
soon shall win
Copyright 2010 by Ruth Hill
This poem was published in the Spring 2010 issue of Song of the San Joaquin, a publication of the California Federation of Chaparral Poets.
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2008 WERGLE FLOMP HUMOR POETRY CONTEST—HONORABLE MENTION
THE CAPTAIN OF CRUNCH
by Cody Jurs-Allen
Captain of Crunch, that is my name
The one I chose myself,
If you don't like it, I don't care,
Just take me off the shelf.
Don't start your day the healthy way,
Don't buy nutria-grain,
If you buy Tony's frosted flakes
Then you must be insane.
Lucky charms, they are so gross
A fucking leprecon?
Just look at me, I'm Captain Crunch,
I'm the magic one.
Quick take me home to eat me and
You might find a surprise,
The sooner that you open me
You'll find out what's inside
The magic starts when you add milk
And stir me up a bit,
For once you put me in your mouth,
You'll find I taste like shit.
My golden pieces look so good
But that is not the case
For if you eat me there's a chance
You'll lose your sense of taste
Pretend you bought a llama and
It spat you in the face,
Then you ran a marathon
But finished in last place
When you eat my cereal,
The feeling is the same.
You hate your life and want to die
And bow your head in shame
My jagged edges tear your gums,
You'll bleed until you cry.
But I'm your favorite cereal
And I will tell you why:
You smile when you see me in
My fabulous blue hat,
The other reason being that
I have zero fat
I wear a fancy captain's suit
Like of Napoleon
And the shoes I wear to work are
The ones that I go bowling in
I always pop my collar when
I have a photo op
And my style is more colorful
Then snap, crackle, or pop
Something you might not know of me
My real first name is Rob.
Another secret that I keep,
I wipe my ass with Sponge-Bob.
I'm captain of the S.S. Guppy,
I own Toucan Sam.
I made the rabbit walk the plank
Because Trix tastes like spam.
I was born at General Mills
But that place is corrupt,
They've made obese children
By selling coco-puffs.
So now you know the reasons why
I'm better than the rest
Go gather all your friends to tell them
I'm the very best
I am the Captain, of the Crunch
And things are going swell
Remember to buy my cereal
Or you will go to hell.
Copyright 2008 Cody Jurs-Allen
Sent as a joke to PoetryAmerica, this poem won an honorable mention in the 2008 Wergle Flomp humor poetry contest sponsored by Winning Writers. Author Cody Jurs-Allen received a cash prize of $72.95. See the judge's comments on the winning poems from this contest.
The Best Free Poetry Contests for June 16-July 31