Best Resources for Poets and WritersWinning Writers
IN THIS ISSUE

Recent Honors for Our Subscribers

Recent Publication Credits for Our Subscribers

The Best Free Poetry Contests, March-April

Notable Free Prose Contests, March-April

Calls for Submissions

Featured Poem:
"The Mother Superior" by Ellen LaFleche


Featured Poem:
"Courageous Goodbye" by Rosemarie Wilson


Advertise in This Newsletter

Critique of "Concerto of Snow" by Ryan Sauers and "Pelagic Zone" by Joan L. Cannon

Newsletter Archives



WINNING WRITERS NEWSLETTER
March 2011

One of the "101 Best Websites for Writers"
Writer's Digest, 2005-2010


Welcome to our March 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.

Follow Winning Writers on Twitter Lost one of our newsletters? Formatting doesn't look right? Not to worry. All our recent newsletters are posted online at http://www.winningwriters.com/news

Be among the first to learn about new contests and resources. Follow Winning Writers on Twitter.

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FEATURED SPONSOR'S MESSAGE

Share your writing, get feedback, and have fun on FanStory.com. At FanStory.com you get:FanStory.com
  • Helpful Feedback. Get detailed feedback for every poem, short story and book chapter that you write.

  • Contests. Over 50 new contests every month. Always free to paid members. Participate for cash prizes.

  • Rankings. See how you compare to other writers. Online statistics will show you how you are doing.

  • Motivation. Participate in an active online writing community. Improve your writing and get motivated.


Start getting feedback in less than 5 minutes

Upcoming Contest Deadlines


Nonet
Write a nonet poem for this contest. This is a poem with a specific format. See an example in the announcement. The winner of this contest will take away a cash prize.
Deadline: In Three Days! - March 18

New Arrival - Acrostic
Write an acrostic poem for this contest for new members to the site. An acrostic poem is a poem where the first letter of each line spells out a word. Read the announcement for a sample poem. Cash prize to the winner.
Deadline: March 29

Acrostic Poetry
Another Acrostic contest. A fun and challenging poetry type. See an example in the announcement. This contest also has a cash prize.
Deadline: April 3

Naani
Naani is a form of poetry with a specific syllable count. See an example in the announcement. This writing contest awards a cash prize to the winner.
Deadline: April 8

A Love Poem
Your love poem can be fictional or non-fictional. It can be a humorous or a serious love poem. Cash prize for the winner of this contest for poets.
Deadline: April 15


Enter all contests for free with your upgraded membership. Upgraded membership is only $6.95 per month. These are only a few of our contests. View our full listing here.

"Finding this site three years ago was a blessing to me. I am becoming the writer I wanted to be because of what I've learned at FanStory. I have had stories published (the publishers came to me), won the state contest last year in the short story category, and have been asked to speak at writers groups. Three years ago I couldn't write a grocery list."
- Marti Hurst - More Testimonials

Find Out More About FanStory.com

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CONTESTS HOSTED AT WINNING WRITERS & OPEN NOW
All entries that win cash prizes in these contests will be published on WinningWriters.com (over one million page views per year) and announced in the Winning Writers Newsletter, with over 35,000 subscribers.

Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest Last Call!
Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest
Postmark Deadline: March 31
Now in its 19th year. Prizes of $3,000, $1,000, $400 and $250 will be awarded, plus six Most Highly Commended Awards of $150 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. $15 entry fee. Submit online or by mail. 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.

Last Call!
Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest (no fee)
Online Submission Deadline: April 1
Winning Writers invites you to enter the tenth annual Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest. We'll award $3,600, including a top prize of $1,500. Submit one humor poem online. No length limit. Both published and unpublished poems are welcome. No fee to enter. Final judge: Jendi Reiter. See the complete guidelines and past winners.

War Poetry Contest
Postmark Deadline: May 31
We seek 1-3 original, unpublished poems on the theme of war for our tenth annual contest, up to 500 lines in total. We will award $5,000, including a top prize of $2,000. Submit online or by mail. The entry fee is $15. Final judge: Jendi Reiter. See the complete guidelines and past winners.

Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for Traditional Verse
Postmark Deadline: June 30
Now in its eighth year, this contest seeks poetry in traditional verse forms such as sonnets and free verse. You may submit work that has been published or won prizes elsewhere, as long as you own the online publication rights. Prizes of $3,000, $1,000, $400 and $250 will be awarded, plus six Most Highly Commended Awards of $150 each. 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 ninth year, this contest seeks poems in any style, theme or genre. You may submit work that has been published or won prizes elsewhere, as long as you own the online publication rights. Prizes of $3,000, $1,000, $400 and $250 will be awarded, plus six Most Highly Commended Awards of $150 each. 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.

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RECENT HONORS FOR OUR NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIBERS
Congratulations to Anna Scotti. Her poem "Grief" won the 2010 Parnell Poetry Prize from Compass Rose Magazine, the literary journal of Chester College of New England. The most recent submission period for this $400 award was August 1-November 15.

Congratulations to Sally Bellerose. Her short story "Fishwives" won first prize in the 2011 Saints and Sinners Short Fiction Competition from the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival. This contest offers prizes up to $250 and anthology publication for short fiction with GLBT content on the broad theme of "Saints and Sinners". The most recent deadline was December 1. In other news, Bellerose's essay "Swear" will appear in Hayden's Ferry Review in June, and her poem "Rumors" in the webzine A Handful of Dust in April. For news about her forthcoming novel, The Girls Club, visit the Bywater Books website.

Congratulations to Darrell Lindsey. He won first prize in the 12th annual Calico Cat International Bilingual Haiku Contest. Read the winners and judges' comments here. Other recent publication credits include the anthology Moments of the Soul (Spirit First, 2010), Midwest Literary Magazine, and Magnapoets.

Congratulations to Ricky Rapoport Friesem. Her essay "The House of David" won first prize for nonfiction in the 2010 Women in Judaism Writing Competition. This award offers prizes up to $250 for poetry, fiction, and essays that touch the lives and experiences of Jewish women. The most recent deadline was October 1. See the winners' list here. In other news, Friesem's story "Stuck on Jew" will appear in the anthology Israel Short Stories, forthcoming from Ang-Lit. Press.

Congratulations to Valerie Collins. Her story "Ecuador" was published in the special women's issue of Barcelona INK magazine. Visit her website to learn more about her fiction and travel writing.

Congratulations to Edward P. McMorrow. His poem "In My Orange Chair" won an honorable mention in the Winter 2010 Heart Poetry Award from Nostalgia Press and will be published in the Spring/Summer issue of Heart. Mr. McMorrow thanks Winning Writers for finding this contest. Held twice-yearly with deadlines of June 30 and December 31, the Heart Poetry Award offers $500 for "insightful, immersing" free-verse poems.

Congratulations to Yossi Faybish. His poem "Beauty" received one of ten Special Commendations in the Firstwriter.com Ninth International Poetry Competition and will be published in an upcoming issue of their magazine. This contest for unpublished poems offers prizes up to 500 pounds. The Tenth International Poetry Competition is currently accepting entries online through October 1. FirstWriter.com is a British writers' resource site.


RECENT HONORS FOR POETRY CONTEST INSIDER SUBSCRIBERS
Congratulations to Ellen LaFleche. Her poetry chapbook Workers' Rites won the 2010 Philbrick Poetry Award from the Providence Athenaeum. She kindly shares a sample poem below. This $500 prize is open to authors with no published books who live in the New England states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, or Vermont. The most recent submission period was July 15-October 15. Contest judge Dana Gioia had this to say about the winning collection: "Reviving the lyrical realist tradition of Sherwood Anderson, Edgar Lee Masters, and Edwin Arlington Robinson, Ellen LaFleche's collection, Workers' Rites, creates a gallery of alternately evocative and disturbing portraits. LaFleche introduces each character by profession—midwife, undertaker, parish housekeeper, librarian—suggesting the quotidian quality of what might seem to be ordinary lives. But the real point of Workers' Rites is to reveal the dark secrets of people we might normally take for granted. No life, the poet insists, is ordinary. To be alive is to be charged with invisible inner forces—consumed by longing, radiant with love, or transformed by imagination—even if we all must put on disguises to earn our daily bread."

Congratulations to Ron Howland. His poem "One of those" won an honorable mention in the 2010 Genomics Forum Poetry Competition. Read the winners here. This free contest offers prizes up to 500 pounds for unpublished poems about the social and moral implications of genetics research. The most recent submission period was August 19-October 7.


RECENT PUBLICATION CREDITS FOR OUR SUBSCRIBERS
Gerardo Mena's poem "Jesus Owns an Electric Guitar" was published in the March 2011 issue of Burner Magazine, a digital pop-art magazine that combines original artwork, creative writing, and music criticism.

Larry Berger's poetry collection Instant Poetry (Just Add Words!) is now available from iUniverse. The poems in this book are completely derived from interactive poetry readings in Los Angeles, CA, including comments from the audience. Read an interview with the author on Facebook.

Ruth Hill's poem "Land of Long Shadows" was featured on the "Poems for Winter" page of the About.com Poetry Guide, selected by Bob Holman and Margery Snyder.

Rosemarie Wilson's poems "As One", "Butterflies", and "Courageous Goodbye" appear in Don Savant's anthology Battle of the Sexes: Poetry Edition, now available in paperback from Lulu.com. This collection pits male and female authors against each other for "poetry battles" on various themes relating to relationships, to see which sex gets the better of the argument. Visit Wilson's website at http://www.onesinglerose.com/. She writes about her poem "Courageous Goodbye", which she kindly shares with us below: "I shall continue to sound off against domestic violence in honor of my very dear friend who was killed last month by her abusive boyfriend after having spent years with him in an abusive relationship. I was unable to help her and will do what I can to hopefully save lives in her honor. If we maintain healthy relationships, WE ALL WIN!"

Regis Schilken's novel Demons of Justice is now available from Comfort Publishing and can be found on Amazon.com. From the book cover: "Unspeakable sorrow and unrequited justice lead the bereaved townsfolk of two small, yet modern, mountain towns to sidestep issues of morality. These decent folk seek out their own secret punishment under the guise of justice, mercy, self-preservation, and religious redemption. If their dark deeds are uncovered, should all be punished or has each citizen suffered enough?"

Winning Writers Editor Jendi Reiter was the featured poet for March 2011 at MUTT Online, a new online forum for writers and visual artists. MUTT stands for "Making Us Think Together".

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TRY POETRY CONTEST INSIDER - NOW PROFILING OVER 1,250 LITERARY CONTESTS
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 1,250+ active poetry and prose contest profiles. Search and sort contests by deadline, prize, fee, recommendation level and more. We don't just list contests, we point you to the ones that can benefit your career the most, whether you are just starting out or are well-established. Exclusive interviews with contest judges and editors help you understand how your submissions are evaluated.

We update Poetry Contest Insider nearly every day. Be among the first to learn about new contests and late deadline changes. 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. Learn more about Poetry Contest Insider.
"I love using winningwriters.com. I send poems and manuscripts out to probably 20 contests each month from your listings... I recommend it to all my writer friends and students, too. I don't see how a writer can live without it. It's like air or water."
Tom Lombardo, Georgia

See more testimonials here, plus coverage of Winning Writers in Writer's Digest and The Writer, or start your trial now.

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THE BEST FREE POETRY CONTESTS
Deadlines: March 16-April 30

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
We will email your password to you within minutes.

Winning Writers gathers contest information from a wide variety of sources including publishers' press releases, online link directories, Poets & Writers Magazine, and e-newsletters such as TOTAL FundsforWriters, The Practicing Writer, and CRWROPPS. We encourage readers to explore these useful resources, and let us know about worthwhile contests we may have missed.

3/25: Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award ++
Entries must be received by this date; formerly March 26
Recommended free contest offers prizes up to $10,000 for published authors of poetry, fiction or creative nonfiction books, who were born in Indiana or have lived there for at least five years. Winners must attend the award ceremony and work with their local library to promote related literary programs. Nomination forms may be submitted by mail or online. Finalists will be asked to send copies of their published books.

3/25: Jo-Anne Hirshfield Memorial Poetry Awards +
Formerly March 5
Neutral free contest offers prizes of $100, $50 and $25 in each of four age categories: children who live or attend school in Evanston, IL (grades K-5 and 6-8), and Chicago-area high school students and adults. Send 2 copies of 1-5 unpublished poems by mail or email.

3/25: Nicholas A. Virgilio Memorial Haiku Competition for High School Students +
Entries must be received by this date
Neutral free contest offers six prizes of $50 for the best haiku by students in grades 7-12 as of the previous September (no home-schooled students). Send 1-3 haiku, typed in triplicate on 3"x5" cards, with author's name and contact information on only one copy. No simultaneous submissions. Sponsored by the Haiku Society of America.

3/25: Poetry Matters Award +
Neutral free contest for unpublished poems offers prizes up to $75 in each of four age categories: middle school, high school, adult (ages 20-60), and senior (61+). Winners will be invited to read at the Poetry Matters festival in Evans, GA in April, and videos of their readings will be posted on the contest website. Send 3 poems, any length.

3/30: bpNichol Chapbook Poetry Award ++
Recommended free contest offers C$2,000 for the best English-language poetry chapbook published in Canada in the preceding year. Author or publisher should submit 3 copies of book plus author's curriculum vitae.

3/30: Leonard Milberg '53 Secondary School Poetry Prize ++
Formerly March 29
Recommended free contest sponsored by the Princeton University creative writing program offers prizes up to $500 for unpublished poems by 11th-graders (high school juniors). Submit 1-3 poems, any length. Contest is judged by the Princeton University creative writing faculty, which includes such acclaimed authors as Jeffrey Eugenides and Joyce Carol Oates.

3/31: Foley Poetry Contest ++
Recommended free contest from the Jesuit magazine 'America' offers $1,000 and publication for a poem of 30 lines or less. (Past winning poems have touched on morally significant issues, but have not been "religious" poetry in the conventional sense.) No simultaneous submissions.

3/31: Jacklyn Potter Young Poets Competition +++
Highly recommended free contest for high school students in the Washington, DC region offers two winners an honorarium plus reading at Rock Creek Park with an established poet. Send 5-6 poems, published or unpublished. Sponsored by The Word Works, which also runs a prestigious manuscript prize for adults.

3/31: Lampman-Scott Award ++
Recommended free contest for published poetry books by residents of Canada's National Capital region (Ottawa) offers C$1,500. Send 4 copies of a book published during the preceding calendar year by a recognized publisher.

3/31: Mildred Kanterman Memorial Merit Book Awards +
Entries must be received by this date
Neutral free contest from the Haiku Society of America offers $500 for the best book of haiku, or primarily haiku, published in the previous calendar year. Books should be at least 24 pages. Early entries encouraged.

3/31: Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award +
Entries must be received by this date
Neutral free contest for African-American poets offers $500 and publication for a poetry manuscript, 60-90 pages. Authors who have already had books published by Lotus Press are not eligible.

3/31: Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowships +++
Entries must be received by this date
Highly recommended free contest from prestigious Poetry magazine offers five fellowships of $15,000 for US authors aged 21-31 as of the deadline. Upload 10 pages of poetry (published work may be included), introductory page, and list of published poems (optional) using their online submission manager. As of 2010, only online entries accepted.

3/31: Sarah Mook Memorial Poetry Prize for Students +
Neutral contest offers prizes up to $100 in four age categories for unpublished poems by students in grades K-12. Submit 1-3 poems, any length. Optional $5 entry fee will be donated to Smile Train, a charity that provides free cleft-palate surgery for poor children in developing nations. This contest is sponsored by David Mook in memory of his daughter, a young writer who died suddenly of an aortic aneurysm when she was in third grade.

3/31: Sunken Garden Poetry Festival's Young Poets Competition ++
Recommended free poetry contest for Connecticut high school students. Four to six winners will be published in a special-edition chapbook and be invited to read their poems during the "Night of Fresh Voices" in August at the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival at the Hill-Stead Museum. Send 1-5 pages of unpublished poetry and completed entry form by mail or email.

3/31: Toronto Book Awards +
Entries must be received by this date
Neutral free contest for published books of literary or artistic merit that are evocative of Toronto. C$15,000 will be awarded in all. Each shortlisted author (usually 4-6) receives C$1,000 and the winning author is awarded the remainder. There are no separate categories: novels, short story collections, books of poetry, biographies, histories, social studies, books about sports, children's books, photographic collections, etc. are judged together.

4/1: Balticon SF Poetry Contest +
Neutral free contest offers top prize of $100 for poems with science fiction, fantasy or horror themes. Send 1-3 poems, maximum 50 lines each. Sponsored by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society. Winners invited to read at Balticon, their annual convention, in May.

4/1: Betsy Colquitt Award for Poetry/Frank O'Connor Award for Fiction +
Neutral free contests offer $500 apiece for the best poetry and fiction published in Descant: Fort Worth's Journal of Poetry & Fiction. General submission guidelines apply. Editors prefer poems 60 lines or less, stories 5,000 words or less.

4/1: Fairleigh Dickinson University/Serving House Books First Book Contest +
Entries must be received by this date
Neutral free contest offers publication by Serving House Books, a print-on-demand literary publisher, for poetry collections and full-length prose manuscripts by authors with no published books in the genre they are entering. Fiction and nonfiction compete together. Winners also receive a reading in NYC and a week-long residency at the FDU Madison campus in NJ. Enter online only. Poetry collections should be 50-100 single-spaced pages; prose manuscripts (novels, short story collections, or creative nonfiction) should be 40,000-75,000 words.

4/1: Washington State Book Awards ++
Recommended free contest offers prizes of $1,000 each for published books of poetry, fiction, history/biography, general nonfiction for adults, along with the Scandiuzzi Children's Book Award for picture books, early reader books and young adult books. Authors must have been born in Washington State or have lived in the state for at least three years. An author who lives in Washington part of the year and considers Washington to be her or his home is eligible. Publisher or author should submit 6 copies of book (4 copies for children's books) plus entry form from website.

4/15: Claudia Ann Seaman Award ++
Entries must be received by this date; formerly June 1
Recommended free contest for poetry, fiction, and nonfiction by US high school students offers $200 in each genre. Send 1-3 poems, essays, or stories (1,500-word limit for prose). Online and email entries preferred.

4/15: Iris N. Spencer Undergraduate Poetry Award +
Formerly March 1
Neutral free contest offers prizes of $500 and $250 for formal poetry by undergraduates enrolled in a college/university in the Delaware Valley of Pennsylvania (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, or Philadelphia counties). Send one unpublished poem, any length.

4/18: Birdsong Writing Contest +
Entries must be received by this date
Thrice-yearly neutral free contest offers prizes of $50 apiece for poetry and prose (short fiction and creative nonfiction compete together), plus publication in the zine Birdsong and a featured spot in their Brooklyn reading series. Send up to 3 single-spaced pages of poetry, or one prose piece, maximum 1,500 words, by email as an MS Word .doc attachment to birdsongmag@gmail.com. The Birdsong publishing collective shares a commitment to social movements of feminism, anti-racism, queer positivity, class-consciousness, and DIY cultural production.

4/30: Arabic Translation Award +++
Entries must be received by this date
Highly recommended free contest for book-length translations of Arabic literature into English offers $5,000 each for translator and original author. (An author who translates his or her own work will only receive one $5,000 award.) Submit manuscript as hard copy and on CD. Winner published by Syracuse University Press.

4/30: Knoxville Writers' Guild Young Writers' Poetry Prize +
Neutral free contest for students attending high school in the Greater Knoxville area of East Tennessee offers a top prize of $100. Submit 1-3 poems of 100 lines or less by mail or email.

4/30: Lucidity Poetry Journal Clarity Awards +
Twice-yearly neutral free contest offers top prize of $100 for poems about the human experience. Authors must be 18+. Editor Ted Badger says: "Seeking poetry that deals with people, relationships, life issues and events, written in clear and concise English. Form of the poem is open but it must have something to say without resorting to vulgarity. Clarity is crucial. We publish poetry that everyday people can relate to, understand and enjoy." Submit 1-5 poems, maximum 38 lines each (including stanza breaks).

4/30: New England Poetry Club Student Contests +
Neutral free contest offers prizes up to $100 for unpublished poems by authors in three categories: New England college students and Massachusetts grade school and high school students.

4/30: Odes to the Olympians Poetry Contest +
Entries must be received by this date
Neutral twice-yearly free contest offers $50 apiece in adult and youth categories for unpublished poems up to 30 lines about Greek and Roman mythology. Enter by email only. Themes change with each contest; the Spring 2011 contest is for poems about Apollo. This contest is sponsored by Victoria Grossack and Alice Underwood, authors of The Tapestry of Bronze, a series of historical novels set in the ancient world.


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


FUNDSFORWRITERS — Grants, contests, markets and publishing calls for submissions. Over 35,000 readers. Chosen by Writer's Digest for its 101 Best Websites for Writers commendation for 2001-2010. Ten years of recognized excellence. www.fundsforwriters.com

From a grateful reader:
I opened an e-mail from the Ligonier Valley Writers' Conference - I was awarded a scholarship. Having discovered that conference thru you I thought it only proper you should know of my award. Small steps, small successes, large rewards...




Writecorner Press Writecorner Press Poetry Prize
Postmark Deadline: March 31
First Place $500; Editors' Choices, $100.
Seeks the best unpublished poems of 40 lines and under. Any style, any theme. Send 2 copies of each poem, with author's name, address, phone, short bio, and email address on only one copy. Make other copy anonymous. Fee: $5 first poem, $3 each additional poem, payable to Writecorner Press. Read the complete guidelines. Read past winners.

E.M. Koeppel Short Fiction Contest
Postmark Deadline: April 30
First Place $1,100; Editors' Choices, $100. 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 the complete guidelines. 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. Fees are used to pay awards and site expenses. Read the contest guidelines, then mail your submissions to Writecorner Press Contests, P.O. Box 140310, Gainesville, FL 32614.

Please enjoy "immediately after the epitaph" by Sarah Marx, winner of our 2010 Writecorner Press Poetry Prize.
"immediately after the epitaph"
inspired by Emily Dickinson

by Sarah Marx

—and I know something about
alone, about finding sympathy
in a bird's feathers or the cracks of a windowpane,
or in an exercise tape, all smiles and limber kicks—
or in tortilla chips, or coiled strings
or in a type pad with hyper-used Enter key
jammed into limbo—

—and I can play the quiet contrarian too
at home, picking fights for the hell of it,
rational and prickly, all erudition no faith
and I can rub myself numb when I need to
with graphite and old paper—

—and when I walk my feet are unaccustomed,
like yours must have been, to the feel of strange ground,
and when I walk I am swollen like a rain cloud full to bursting,
vapor oozing from my ears, turning to fog—

—and you and I, we know the truth
in sailing away on hyphens, or hoisting uppercase;
there's an escape hatch when we praise the folds
of a cherry blossom not yet blown, when our hands become the petals
and we can settle a new perch, peeking through sunshine
while we wait for winter to scatter us.



2011 FutureCycle Poetry Book Prize





Tupelo Press First/Second Book Award Closing Next Month
12th Annual Tupelo Press Award for a First or Second Book of Poetry
Postmark Deadline: April 15

The 12th Annual Tupelo Press Award for a First or Second Book of Poetry is an open competition with a $3,000 prize. Submissions are accepted from anyone writing in the English language, whether living in the United States or abroad (translations are not eligible for this prize). The final judge will be D.A. Powell. Prior winners include Jennifer Michael Hecht, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Bill Van Every, Kristin Bock, and Jennifer Militello. All entries must be postmarked or uploaded to the online Submission Manager between January 1 and April 15, 2011. To submit your manuscript electronically and to see full guidelines, please visit our website:

http://www.tupelopress.org/first.php

You may also send your manuscript via postal mail. Please include a $25 reading fee, payable to Tupelo Press, a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) for notification, as well as a self-addressed stamped postcard (SASP) if you would like acknowledgment that we received your manuscript. Manuscripts will not be returned. You may include an acknowledgments page listing previously published poems. Make sure that you include two cover pages. One with manuscript title, your name, address, phone number and email address. One with only manuscript title. Send your manuscript to:

     Tupelo Press
     Attn: First/Second Book Award
     P.O. Box 1767
     North Adams, MA 01247

Bellini in Istanbul Here is a poem by Lillias Bever from her book Bellini in Istanbul (Tupelo Press, 2005), winner of the Tupelo Press Judge's Prize, now known as the First / Second Book Award:
Statue
by Lillias Bever

It was a kind of suffering,
his hands forging my body,
sculpting cool ivory into fluid shapes

that moved and spoke without me,
nudes ascending and descending,
each one a possible end to the story:

a pair of gold earrings in the bathroom cabinet,
a red hair on the pillow;
headless torso, a marble hand

grasping at nothing. No form
without content
, he'd say,
as he bent over me in the darkness,

letting his left hand roam over me
in scholarly ecstasy: gluteus maximus, majora, minora,
such heavy words for the loveliness of the body, like shackles

restraining a freedom of movement; except
I wasn't free to move
without language to order my movements.

I, who without will, without volition,
had slept in the darkness
with only my irregularities to commend me,

a kind of potential, was now
a dream taking shape,
an idea struggling to the surface:

an end to possibilities.



19th Annual Writer's Digest International Self-Published Book Awards Closing Next Month
19th Annual Writer's Digest International Self-Published Book Awards
Co-sponsored by Book Marketing Works, LLC
Postmark Deadline: April 15

Writer's Digest is searching for the best self-published books of the past few years. Whether you're a professional writer, a part-time freelancer, or a self-starting student, here's your chance to enter the only competition exclusively for self-published books! Click for the guidelines.

ONE GRAND PRIZE WINNER will be awarded $3,000 cash and a trip to the Writer's Digest Conference in New York City. The editors of Writer's Digest will endorse and submit 10 copies of the Grand Prize-Winning book to major review houses. Brian Jud & Book Marketing Works, LLC will provide a one-year membership in the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), guaranteed acceptance in a special-sales catalog giving you national representation through 1,800 salespeople selling to non-bookstore markets, guaranteed acceptance by Atlas Books, a top distributor to wholesalers, chains, independents, and online retailers, six hours of book shepherding from Poynter Book Shepherd Ellen Reid and a guaranteed review in Midwest Book Review.

10 FIRST-PLACE WINNERS will receive $1,000 cash and promotion in Writer's Digest. In addition, Brian Jud & Book Marketing Works, LLC will provide a one-year membership in the Small Publishers Association of North America (SPAN), a guaranteed review in Midwest Book Review, a one-year membership to Book Central Station where you can find lists of suppliers rated by previous clients, an ebook of Beyond the Bookstore by Brian Jud (with CD) and a copy of Grassroots Marketing for Authors and Publishers by Shel Horowitz.

Plus, all Grand Prize and First-Place winners will receive promotion on the Writer's Digest Web site at writersdigest.com, a copy of The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, 4th Edition by Tom and Marilyn Ross, $100 worth of Writer's Digest Books and a Notable Award Certificate.

HONORABLE MENTION WINNERS will receive promotion at www.writersdigest.com, $50 worth of Writer's Digest Books and a Notable Award Certificate.

All other entrants will receive Certificates of Participation, a brief judge's commentary and a listing with a link on the Writer's Digest Web site, provided an accurate URL is provided.

THE CATEGORIES:
  • Mainstream/Literary Fiction
  • Genre Fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Inspirational (Spiritual, New Age)
  • Life Stories (Biographies, Autobiographies, Family Histories, Memoirs)
  • Children's/Picture books
  • Middle-Grade/Young Adult books
  • Reference Books (Directories, Encyclopedias, Guide Books)
  • Poetry





Alabama Writers Conclave Closing Next Month
Alabama Writers' Conclave (AWC) Contest at www.alabamawritersconclave.com
Postmark Deadline: April 20
Prizes awarded in July: $100, $75, $50 and $25 plus online publication (optional) of first through fourth place winners in the Alalitcom at www.Alalit.com. Categories and maximum word limit: Fiction (2,500), Short Fiction (1,000), Juvenile Fiction (2,500), Nonfiction (2,500), Traditional Poem (any form, maximum 40 lines), Free Verse Poem (60 lines), Humor (fiction, nonfiction, or poetry – 2,000 words or 50 lines for poem), First Chapter Novel (up to 10 double-spaced pages).

Entry fee for each submission in all categories (EXCEPT Poem and First Chapter Novel): $5.00 if AWC member, $8.00 non-member. For First Chapter Novel: $10.00 if member, $12.00 non-member. For all poems: $3.00 per poem if member, $5.00 non-member. Multiple entries accepted, but you may win only one prize per category. Entries must be original, unpublished, and may not have won a money prize in any AWC contest.

Organized in 1923, the Conclave is reputedly the oldest continuing writers' organization in the United States. Members include writers, aspiring writers and supporters of the writing arts. Sharing information, developing ideas, honing skills, and receiving practical advice are hallmarks of the annual meeting (July 15-17, 2011 at the Huntsville Marriott, Huntsville, AL).

The Conclave nominates, for the governor's appointment, Alabama's Poet Laureate, a post currently filled by Sue Brannan Walker. Further information: www.alabamawritersconclave.com.

Please enjoy this excerpt from "The Night the Bed Broke" by Dick Michener, a winning entry in our humor category in the Alabama Writers' Conclave 2010 Literary Competition.
My wife and I recently took up the carpet in most of our home. We love the look of wood, but we can hear the patter of paws on it. They remind me of the night the bed broke, a comic drama which achieved legendary status in my childhood family. These were its leading characters: a venerable but wobbly bed; two loving but skittish relatives; and a smart but sneaky dog.

Mom was the eldest of six miner's daughters and the only one to leave their home in the mountains. Dad was a farm boy. We lived in a southern port city. My parents had differing attitudes about dogs. Dad regarded them as valued animals which were kept outside or in the barn. Mom considered them as family members who were given the run of the house. A compromise was reached. We would have a dog, but it should be confined to our back yard, our kitchen, or our basement...

Click for the complete story and work by other winners in our 2010 competition (PDF).




Nimrod International Journal's Literary Awards for Fiction and Poetry Closing Next Month
Nimrod International Journal's Literary Awards for Fiction and Poetry
Postmark Deadline: April 30
It's time to enter the 33rd annual Nimrod Literary Awards: The Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry and the Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction. The Awards offer first prizes of $2,000 and publication, and second prizes of $1,000 and publication.

One of the oldest "little magazines" in the country, Nimrod has continually published new and extraordinary writers since 1956. Nimrod is dedicated to the discovery of new voices in literature, and the Nimrod Literary Awards are a special way to reward talented new poets and fiction writers.

     Poetry: 3-10 pages of poetry (one long poem or several short poems)
     Fiction: 7,500 words maximum
     Fee Per Entry: $20 payable to Nimrod, includes a one-year subscription (two issues)

No previously published works or works accepted for publication elsewhere. Author's name must not appear on the manuscript. Include a cover sheet containing major title and subtitles, author's name, full address, phone & email. "Contest Entry" should be clearly indicated on both the outer envelope and the cover sheet. Manuscripts should be stapled, if possible; if not, bind with a black clip. Manuscripts will not be returned. Include self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) for results only. Winners will also be brought to Tulsa for the Awards Ceremony in October. All finalists will be considered for publication.

For complete rules, visit Nimrod's website: www.utulsa.edu/nimrod

Please enjoy this poem by Terry Blackhawk, part of her first-prize entry in our 2010 Pablo Neruda poetry competition.
I think of my ex-husband standing in sunlight

but it's a frozen tree frog I hold
in my hand, capturing the evening
sun as it slants through the palmettos.

He's hollowed, stiffened in position,
and I balance him on my desk top
poised and posed like a football lineman

ready for the hike. One leg stretches
twice the length of the forward-crouching
body making a stem I can twirl

between my fingers. The other forms
a Z, its toenails barely touching
the desk, as if he's about to spring.

Decay would not have left him so fixed
and exact, like a paper lantern
or a cicada's husk. Some abrupt

and thoroughgoing freeze must have caught
him thus, midstride, his claws still clinging
to the bark. Hold him up to the sun,

the spine's an x-ray, the skull a dark
spoon above half-closed eyes, crescent slits
admitting light. The dried pod of him

fairly glows, revealing veins, vessels
still red but no longer pulsing. I
wonder what he saw as the cold fell,

if the lids lowered as the blood slowed,
the abdomen puffed out, innards turned
to vapor and he became his shell.




The Writers 2011 Short-Story ContestClosing Next Month
Enter your short story in The Writer's 2011 Short-Story Contest!
Online Submission Deadline: April 30

Do you have a short story just sitting around waiting for the right contest? Or an idea for a story that you didn't get around to putting on paper? Now's the time to dust off that story you never submitted or write that story you were always meaning to write, and submit it to The Writer's Short-Story Contest!

In partnership with Gotham Writers' Workshop, The Writer invites submissions of unpublished short stories up to 2,000 words. We're looking for original, previously unpublished fiction on any theme that is brilliant, bold and concise. Michelle Wildgen, novelist and executive editor at Tin House, will be our finalist judge.

Prizes: Cash prizes of $1,000/$300/$200 for the top three entries. The first-prize winner will also receive a free 10-week online creative-writing workshop from Gotham Writers' Workshop and publication in The Writer; second- and third-place winners receive free enrollment in "How to Get Published", a four-week online seminar taught online by a literary agent and Gotham Writers' Workshop. All winners receive a one-year subscription to The Writer and will have their stories posted on WriterMag.com.

Submit online only. Entry fee: $10 per submission. For the official rules and more information about how to submit online, see www.WriterMag.com/2011contest





Lorian Hemingway Short Story CompetitionLorian Hemingway Short Story Competition 2011
Postmark Deadline: May 1

$2,500 Awaits Winners of Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition

Writers of short fiction are encouraged to enter the 2011 Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition. The competition has a thirty-year history of literary excellence, and its organizers are dedicated to enthusiastically supporting the efforts and talent of emerging writers of short fiction whose voices have yet to be heard.

Lorian Hemingway, granddaughter of Nobel laureate Ernest Hemingway, is the author of three critically acclaimed books: Walking into the River, Walk on Water, and A World Turned Over. Ms. Hemingway is the competition's final judge.

Prizes and Publication

• First-place winner: $1,500 and publication in Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts
• Second- and third-place: $500 each
• Honorable mentions will also be awarded to entrants whose work demonstrates promise

Eligibility Requirements

• Stories must be original, unpublished fiction, typed and double-spaced, 3,500 words or less. There are no theme or genre restrictions. Copyright remains property of the author.
• Open to all U.S. and international writers whose fiction has not appeared in a nationally distributed publication with a circulation of 5,000 or more.

Entry Fee: $15. Visit our website at http://www.shortstorycompetition.com/ for complete details. Queries may be sent to shortstorykw@gmail.com.





Tiferet Writing Contest 2011





Dancing Poetry Festival
Artists Embassy International Poetry Contest - Three Grand Prize Winning Poems to be Danced and Filmed
Postmark Deadline: May 15

  • 3 Grand Prizes will receive $100 each plus their poems will be danced and filmed. Each Grand Prize winner will be invited onstage for photo ops with the dancers and a bow in the limelight.
  • 6 First Prizes will receive $50 each
  • 12 Second Prizes will receive $25 each
  • 30 Third Prizes will receive $10 each
All prize winners will receive a prize certificate suitable for framing and a ticket to the Dancing Poetry Festival 2011, and be invited to read their prizewinning poem at our 18th Festival at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco (September 24, 2011, Noon-4pm). The top three poems chosen as Grand Prizes will be choreographed, costumed and recorded live in an on-stage performance at the Festival. See pictures from our 2010 Festival. Dancing Poetry Festival

Last year's Grand Prize winners included Ana Elsner, Art Schwartz and Pat Tompkins. Recent topics of winning poems have touched on the travels of Matisse, a Picasso painting, falling leaves, love, Iraq, China, history, dance, current events, reverie, socially significant situations and even some humor sprinkled here and there. Please don't feel constrained to write a poem about dancing.

The entry fee is $5 per poem or $10 for 3 poems. Each poem may be up to 40 lines long. Send two copies of each poem. One copy should be anonymous (just title and poem), the other should have your name, address, phone, email address and where you heard about this contest (e.g. Winning Writers Newsletter). There is no limit on the number of entries. Entries should be typed.

When the judges evaluate entries, they look for innovative perspectives on ordinary or unusual subjects as well as excellence of craft. Your entry should be suitable for a general audience since our following is comprised of people of all ages and ethnicities. English translations must be included with non-English poems. Dancing Poetry Contest

Our judges consist of poets, dancers, musicians and visual artists of various media, all members of Artists Embassy International. Judging is done with the anonymous copies of the poems. Artists Embassy International is a non-profit, volunteer, arts and education organization whose goal is to further intercultural understanding through the arts.

Three poets, the Grand Prize winners, will be rewarded with seeing their poems danced by Natica Angilly's Poetic Dance Theater Company, a well-known dance troupe that has performed around the world and throughout America. This company is dedicated exclusively to creating new avenues by combining poetry, dance and music together for presentation and the expansion of poetry with dance in the life of our culture.

To enter the contest, please visit our website at www.dancingpoetry.com or submit to AEI Contest Chair W, Judy Cheung, 704 Brigham Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95404. Questions? Please email Ms. Cheung at jhcheung@comcast.net.




On The Premises

Now Open
On The Premises Short Story Contest (no fee)
Email Submission Deadline: May 31
Since 2006, On The Premises magazine has aimed to promote newer and/or relatively unknown writers who can write creative, compelling stories told in effective, uncluttered, and evocative prose.

Every four months, On The Premises sponsors a short story contest. Entrants pay no fees, and winners receive cash prizes in addition to exposure through publication. Every contest challenges authors to write creative, compelling, and well-crafted stories based on a broad premise that the magazine's editors supply.

Prize money: $180 for 1st, $140 for 2nd, $100 for 3rd, and $40 for honorable mentions, all in US dollars. Usually, two or three honorable mentions are published.

Our short story contest for Issue #14 launched on March 13. In some way, numbers must be important to the story for this contest. Either specific numbers, or the concept of numbers, or maybe just one number. (And we don't mean "musical numbers", we mean what you write with numerals.) You can find details at http://www.onthepremises.com/current_contest.html. To be informed when new contests are launched, subscribe to our free, short, monthly newsletter.

"On The Premises" is recognized in Duotrope, Writer's Market, Ralan.com, and other short story marketing resources.




Anderbo 2011 Anderbo Creative Nonfiction Prize
Postmark Deadline: June 15
  • Submit one entry, up to 1,500 words
  • Winner receives $500 cash and publication on anderbo.com
  • Judged by Elizabeth Wurtzel, assisted by Emma Stockman
Guidelines:
  • The creative nonfiction piece should be typed on 8 1/2" x 11" paper with the writer's name and contact information on the upper right corner of the first page, and the writer's name on every page
  • Writer must not have been previously published on anderbo.com
  • Mail submissions to:
         Anderbo Creative Nonfiction Prize
         270 Lafayette Street, Suite 1412
         New York, NY 10012
  • Enclose self-addressed stamped business envelope (SASE) to receive names of winner and honorable mentions
  • All entries are non-returnable and will be recycled
  • Reading fee is $10. Check or money order payable to RRofihe
  • See the complete guidelines at http://www.anderbo.com/anderbo1/andernonfictionprize2011.html
Elizabeth Lee Wurtzel, an American writer and journalist, is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School. She published her groundbreaking memoir of depression, the cultural phenomenon Prozac Nation, at the tender age of 26. Already a cultural critic and literary light for The New Yorker and New York magazines, Elizabeth Wurtzel had only dared to dream when growing up of the rarefied world and success Prozac Nation opened to her. Yet, no success could staunch her continuous battle with depression. Following the success of Prozac Nation, Elizabeth Wurtzel published Bitch, and after a stint in rehab, released More, Now, Again about her battle with drugs and how she overcame her addictions. She has since published two other books, The Bitch Rules, and The Secret of Life: Commonsense Advice for the Uncommon Woman. Currently she practices law and writes regularly on current culture for TheAtlanticWire.com.




PhatSalmon Poetry Contest




Robert Frost Foundation
15th Annual Robert Frost Foundation Annual Poetry Award
Postmark/Email Submission Deadline: September 15
The Robert Frost Foundation welcomes poems in the spirit of Robert Frost for its 15th Annual Award. The winner will receive $1,000 and an invitation to present the winning poem this fall at the Frost Festival located at the Lawrence Public Library in Lawrence, Massachusetts, the library in which Frost first explored the traditions of English and Irish poetry.

Please submit two copies of each poem, one copy with contact information (name, address, phone number, email address) and one copy free of all identifying information. Reading fees are $10 per poem (send fees via regular mail, please). Make your check payable to The Robert Frost Foundation. Mail your entry to: The Robert Frost Foundation, Attn: Poetry Award, Lawrence Public Library - 3rd Floor, 51 Lawrence Street, Lawrence, MA 01841. Include a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) or an email address if you'd like to receive the contest results. Email submissions are accepted at frostfoundation@comcast.net if you send your entry fee by regular mail.

You may submit up to three poems of no more than three pages each. Both published and unpublished works are accepted. See the complete contest guidelines at www.frostfoundation.org and more on recent winners.

Please enjoy "Twiggin'" by Matthew Miller, a finalist in our 2010 competition.
Twiggin'
by Matthew Miller

Whenever a nor'easter dumped
snow all night on top of town
there'd be no one in the streets
except slow groaning plows
and us, in pick ups, low-gearing
over uncleared roads and lots,
low-lifed cases of beer sliding
in the bed between our boots,
as we watched whosever turn
it was get dragged through drifts
from fifty feet of rope tied around
the trailer hitch. Chancing
speed bumps and pot holes,
you'd hold on as the truck sped
and turned, as your body rolled
and skipped along streets no longer
nameable. Legs flailed cold and
soggy. Teeth gritted a breath
above asphalt while your buddies
hooted in the back of the truck,
icy cans in their gloved hands,
lips swollen with road rash
and Skoal. The driver, always next
to go, would open it up to buck
you. He'd hard cut the wheel,
swinging you from one buried
curb to another. Or he'd just crush
down on the brakes. You'd slide
toward slack and the shine
of tail lights and fender, skidding
almost under the black rusted
axles and manifolds, rolling
away in time from a skull pop
of tires all because boys in winter
won't suffer death. Then the steel
hearted tug as the truck started up
again, as your shoulders yanked
to just short of snapping. And if
you held on your time was up
as the driver fishtailed and cast
you across the covered concrete
to bury you in a six foot bank
of snow, everyone cackling, blood
electric, all the pieces of your face
inches away from the hydrant
you wouldn't see till spring.


Open City's 2011 RRofihe Trophy Short Story ContestOpen City's 2011 RRofihe Trophy Short Story Contest
Postmark Deadline: October 15
8th year! The RRofihe Trophy for an unpublished short story! Limit: 5,000 words. Winner receives: $500, trophy, an announcement on the Open City magazine website, followed by publication on the anderbo.com website. Judge: Rick Rofihe, assisted by Carolyn Wilsey.

Guidelines:
  • Stories should be typed, double-spaced, on 8 1/2" x 11" paper with the author's name and contact information on the first page and name and story title on the upper right corner of the remaining pages
  • Limit one submission per author
  • Author must not have been previously published in Open City
  • Mail submissions to:
         RRofihe
         270 Lafayette Street, Suite 1412
         New York, NY 10012
  • Enclose a self-addressed stamped business envelope (SASE) to receive names of winner and honorable mentions
  • All manuscripts are non-returnable and will be recycled
  • Reading fee is $10. Check or money order payable to RRofihe
  • See the complete guidelines at http://opencity.org/the-rrofihe-trophy
Rick Rofihe is the author of FATHER MUST, a collection of short stories published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Grand Street, Open City, Swink, Unsaid, and on epiphanyzine, slushpilemag and fictionaut. His nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times, The Village Voice, SPY, and The East Hampton Star, and on mrbellersneighborhood. A recipient of the Whiting Writers' Award, he has taught MFA writing at Columbia University. He currently teaches privately in New York City, and is an advisor to The Vilcek Foundation for their 2011 prizes in the field of literature. Rick is the editor of the new online literary journal, anderbo.com.


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SELECTED FREE PROSE CONTESTS

These free prose contests with deadlines between March 16 and April 30 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.

3/18: It's All Write Short Story Writing Contest for Teens +
Entries must be received by this date; formerly March 19
Neutral free contest for short fiction by middle and high school students offers prizes up to $250 in each age category: grades 6-8, 9-10, and 11-12. Send one story, 4-8 pages (with line spacing set to 1.5), by email.

3/20: Anthem Essay Contest for High School Students +++
Highly recommended free contest for 8th, 9th and 10th graders offers top prize of $2,000, other large prizes, for essays on Ayn Rand's novella Anthem. See website for essay topics and background on Rand's rationalist, libertarian worldview. Length limit is 600-1,200 words. Enter by mail or online.

3/21: Glass Woman Prize ++
Entries must be received by this date; late submissions held for the next contest
Recommended twice-yearly free contest offers prizes up to $500 and online publication for the best short fiction or creative nonfiction by women. Both published and unpublished work welcome. Entries should be 50-5,000 words. Contest sponsor Beate Sigriddaughter says, "Subject is open, but must be of significance to women. My criterion is passion, excellence, and authenticity in the woman's writing voice." Enter by email (no attachments).

3/31: Bevel Summers Prize in the Short Short Story ++
Entries must be received by this date
Recommended free contest for short fiction up to 1,000 words offers $250 and publication in the online version of Shenandoah, the prestigious literary journal of Washington & Lee University.

3/31: Eric Hoffer Award for Short Prose +
Entries must be received by this date
Neutral free contest from Hopewell Publications offers $500 and anthology publication for short fiction or essays (both genres compete together) up to 10,000 words. Enter online only. No simultaneous submissions. Deadlines are quarterly, but there is only one annual prize. You can enter one story per quarter. Enter by email only.

3/31: L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future Contest +++
Highly recommended free contest for emerging writers of short science fiction, fantasy and horror offers quarterly prizes of $1,000 plus an annual $5,000 grand prize for one of the four winners. Send only one story per quarter, maximum 17,000 words. See website for eligibility rules. Entrants may not have professionally published a novel or short novel, or more than one novelette, or more than three short stories, in any medium.

3/31: Modern Love College Essay Contest ++
Entries must be received by this date
Recommended free contest for US college students offers $1,000 and publication in The New York Times Style Section for personal essays, 1,500-2,000 words, that illustrate the current state of love and relationships. Read past "Modern Love" columns to get a sense of their style and topics. Enter by email only.

3/31: Sylvia K. Burack Award ++
Formerly March 1
Recommended free contest for personal essays by 11th and 12th grade students in the US or Canada. Prize is $500 and publication in The Writer, a monthly magazine with advice and markets for creative writers. Submit a 600- to 800-word personal essay in English on the theme of a "work of fiction, poem or play that has influenced you. Discuss the work and explain how it affected you."

4/1: Madeline P. Plonsker Prize ++
Recommended free contest for emerging writers under 40 with no major book publication offers 2-month residency at Lake Forest College in Illinois, with $10,000 stipend, to complete a manuscript, followed by possible publication by Northwestern University Press. Send a 30-page sample of your manuscript-in-progress, CV, and plans for completion of the project. Alternates between poetry (even-numbered deadline years) and prose (odd-numbered years). The 2011 contest is for literary fiction or nonfiction.

4/1: Paterson Fiction Prize ++
Recommended free contest from the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College offers $1,000 for the best book of fiction published during the previous calendar year. Publisher should submit 3 copies plus entry form.

4/13, 6/15, 8/10: Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize ++
Entries must be received by these dates; former deadlines were April 23, June 25, and August 6
Recommended free contest offers C$25,000 for novels or short story collections published in Canada during the calendar year by Canadian citizens or landed immigrants. Deadline varies depending on when your book was published: books published between October 1 and April 12 must be received by April 13; those published between April 13 and June 14 must be received by June 15; and those published between June 15 and September 30 must be received by August 10. Publishers should submit 5 copies of the book (or 3 bound galleys, to be followed by at least 2 copies of the book), press kit, entry form, and list of titles published by that publisher, to establish eligibility. See website for detailed requirements.

4/13, 6/15, 8/10: Writers' Trust Non-Fiction Prize ++
Entries must be received by these dates; former deadlines were April 23, June 25, and August 6
Recommended free contest offers C$25,000 for nonfiction books published in Canada during the calendar year by Canadian citizens or landed immigrants. Deadline varies depending on when your book was published: books published between October 1 and April 12 must be received by April 13; those published between April 13 and June 14 must be received by June 15; and those published between June 15 and September 30 must be received by August 10. Publishers should submit 5 copies of the book (or 3 bound galleys, to be followed by at least 2 copies of the book), press kit, entry form, and list of titles published by that publisher, to establish eligibility. See website for detailed requirements. Formerly known as the Nereus Writers' Trust Non-Fiction Prize, changed name in 2009.

4/26: Fountainhead Essay Contest for High School Students +++
Highly recommended free contest for high school students (11th and 12th grade) offers $10,000 top prize, other large prizes, for essays on Ayn Rand's novel The Fountainhead. Essays should be based on one of the three questions on the website, and be 800-1,600 words long. Online entries preferred. Contest is looking for entries that are sympathetic to Rand's rationalist, libertarian philosophy. See website for other student contests.

4/28: Norman Mailer College Writing Awards +++
Highly recommended free contest for creative writing by 2- and 4-year college students offers $5,000 and $10,000 respectively. Four-year winners also receive scholarship to the Norman Mailer Writers Colony in Provincetown, MA. Contest is open to current full-time college students. 2011 genre is creative nonfiction. Submit one or more essays, maximum 15 single-spaced pages total, through their online form.

4/28: Norman Mailer High School Writing Awards +++
Highly recommended free contest for creative writing by currently enrolled high school students offers $5,000 and a trip to NYC for the award ceremony. 2011 genre is creative nonfiction. Submit one or more essays, maximum 10 single-spaced pages total, through their online form.

4/29: Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence +++
Formerly April 30
Highly recommended free contest for published books of fiction by African-Americans offers $10,000 and all-expenses-paid trip to Baton Rouge, LA to read from winning book at ceremony in January. Send entry form and 10 copies of a book published in the previous calendar year. Certain self-published books may also be eligible if they have substantial sales, were reviewed in well-known journals, or were the choice of a major book club.

4/30: Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz Award +++
Entries must be received by this date; formerly May 31
Highly recommended free contest offers $10,000 for a novel first published in Spanish after 2009 by a female author. Winner also receives travel expenses to the award ceremony at the Guadalajara International Book Fair in Mexico. Send 6 copies of the published Spanish-language book, a curriculum vitae, and author photo.


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

Best Poems Anthology
Postmark Deadline: April 20
Best Poems Anthology, a free online compendium of contemporary and classic literature, seeks submissions of unpublished poems for their first annual print anthology. All authors selected for print publication receive a free copy, and authors selected for online publication receive a discount on purchases of the book. Editors say, "We hope to receive submissions of creative work that deal in some way with modern poetry of any genre. The approach may be primarily sociological and inspirational, or literary in nature. What we want are submissions that address the theme(s) of Love, Life & Death, Inspiration and Human Relationships...in new and exciting ways that allow our readers to see the multiplicity of angles and issues these broad headings generate." Submit by mail or through online form.

Poetry Chapbook Cover Art
Entries must be received by May 25
Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Magdalena Ball, co-authors of the Celebration Series of themed poetry chapbooks, seek submissions of cover art for their fifth chapbook, Deeper Into the Pond: A Celebration of Femininity. Winner receives two copies of chapbook, and promotion of their work on Ball's book-review site The Compulsive Reader and Howard-Johnson's book-marketing site How to Do It Frugally. Submissions should be emailed to maggie_ball@bigpond.com with "Submission: Deeper Into the Pond" as the subject line. See past book covers in this series on website.


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FEATURED POEMS FROM OUR SUBSCRIBERS

The Mother Superior
by Ellen LaFleche

Opening Day: Sister Beatrice Throws out the First Pitch

Sister ascends the mound,
quiets the organist with her palm.

The catcher kneels. He needs a god-
damn miracle to rise out of
this minor-league limbo.

The stadium lights flicker on,
glowing in tiered
rows like votive candles.

Beatrice is a Sister of Mercy
but her windup looks brutal,
her leg-kick wicked. The faithful
fans murmur to see the cool white whisper
of holy underclothes.

Sister's hooded head spits forward.

The catcher's glove opens like a heart,
contracts against the fastball's whomp
and slam. His head has stopped
hoping for salvation
but his heart holds on.

Organ music booms against the dome.

The leadoff hitter waits.
Twenty years since his last
confession, but he crosses himself,
steps hopefully to the plate.


Copyright 2011 by Ellen LaFleche

This poem is reprinted from her forthcoming chapbook Workers' Rites, which won the 2010 Philbrick Poetry Award from the Providence Athenaeum.


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Courageous Goodbye
by Rosemarie Wilson

Can't view you as a man to be held in high esteem
You are vulgar, immoral, selfish and mean
The kind words I formerly heard you say
Very seldom now, if ever, come my way
Fingers with which I locked when we recited our vows
Are connected to the hands I presently disavow
The hands I held while walking through the streets
Became weapons of destruction knocking me off my feet
The charming voice I heard conveying the words "I love you"
Relays profanity while my skin is beat black and blue
You repeatedly apologized saying you'd never strike me again
Those words promptly changed after you drank Five O'Clock gin
When I'd ask you why you treat me the way that you do
You reply, "Baby, it's me and has nothing to do with you."
I worked, raised our children, I cooked and I cleaned
Made sure your needs were fulfilled and our home stayed serene
The special things I'd do for you were never quite enough
I loved you as your woman; you made being your wife tough
I was here with you when we had no wealth
Stood by your side in sickness and in good health
I did what I could, and endured all that I can
Before reality set in and I realized you're not a real man
My mind, heart and eyes no longer saw the man I once knew
For you were just a shell of a man who had not one clue
What an example you've set for the children we're raising
I'm being sarcastic, darling, not singing your praises
A real man would never hit a woman, that's a cowardly affair
I've felt enough toxic taps and suffered more than I can bear
We've gone through counseling and even met with our priest
Neither session worked, so I must find my own relief
I love you darling, with my entire mind, heart and soul
I need to live a good life before my body goes cold
I'm a fool to leave you and a bigger fool if I stay
I'm a blessed fool as some can't or just won't walk away
Living life itself can be a difficult task
Without the added stress of a man who wears a mask
A man whose love song is sung via his fists
The same man who's unafraid of compelling jail risks
I rid myself of your wicked ways
And pray that the future brings our kids and I better days



Copyright 2011 by Rosemarie Wilson

This poem is reprinted from Don Savant's anthology Battle of the Sexes: Poetry Edition, now available in paperback from Lulu.com.


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Tracy Koretsky TRACY'S CRITIQUE CORNER

This month, Critique Corner is pleased to present "Concerto of Snow" by Ryan Sauers and "Pelagic Zone" by Joan L. Cannon.

If you would like a chance to be critiqued, please email your poem to 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!

Concerto of Snow
by Ryan Sauers

the symphony of a falling snowflake
plays like a lone violist
secluded   in a moment

one single flake
drifts back and forth
in a soft rhythm
heard only in my head

a soft melody of snow crystals
unfolds within me like
an ageless hymn
of quietude and tranquility

a night sky   nearly blank
adds to the serenity
like canvas to an artist

here   at this street corner's
lonely stoop   I focus upon
one single crystalline fleck

   with even   smooth strokes
through tree tops   the little white
sparkle   somehow   misses every branch
   hovering in a crisp night's breath

like soft notes in a gentle chord
only to land upon a snowman's nose
this humble moment blanketed
with a warm and tender silence

one opus ends for another to begin
as a second crystal descends


Copyright 2010 by Ryan Sauers



Pelagic Zone
by Joan L. Cannon

In the deeps, where memory's the record keeper,
All our truths are subjects now of sea-change—
Wrought by tides of time and waves of green experience.
Where grey grotesques reveal their nacre only after cleavage,
Rosy anemones disguise the moray's lair
And lure to numbing extinction all the small unwary.
Relics huge and impotent, bedecked with useless trinkets,
Are duned by the million million sifting grains of everyday details,
Their bulk and history sleeping, forever obscured by trivia.

In these mermaid caves, where lurk the myths? Where's the real?
Echoes reflect in patterns peacocked with iridescent hues;
Facts ephemeral as the uttered word, now ambered in silence—
Prism'd entities that mirror endlessly the mind's compounded masquerade.


Copyright 2011 by Joan L. Cannon



Critique by Tracy Koretsky

In the October 2010 Critique Corner, I highlighted how two poets conveyed meaning in their poems by using extended metaphors. This month I will demonstrate, in a very practical way, just how that's done, with the help of two poems: Ryan Sauers' "Concerto of Snow", and Joan L. Cannon's "Pelagic Zone".

Let's begin with "Concerto". In this poem, it is easy to see how a metaphor can be extended by using a diction family—words that are related. Here, the predominant family is, of course, music: both its forms, such as concerto, symphony, hymn, and opus, and its qualities, like melody, rhythm, and chords.

The repetition of the word "soft" might raise a flag for the poet interested in revision. In this case, however, the poet has used the repetition to bring the words "rhythm" and "melody" into parallel. Notice, too, how Sauers has underscored his metaphor by selecting a second diction family of words that communicate music's opposite: silence. Indeed, he has utilized space throughout the piece to emphasize its pauses. I wonder if you can't identify a third diction family? Words that conjure aloneness: secluded, lone, only in my head, etc.

By interweaving these several families, Sauers complicates his poem and adds interest...

Click to continue reading this critique

These poems, our critique and contest suggestions for poems in these styles appear in full at:
http://www.winningwriters.com/resources/critiques/2011/urc_1103sauers.php

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