Nimrod International Journal’s Literary Awards for Fiction and Poetry
It's time to enter the 39th 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. Winners will also be brought to Tulsa for the Awards Ceremony and Conference for Readers and Writers in October.
Established in 1956, Nimrod is dedicated to the discovery of new voices in literature, and the Nimrod Literary Awards are a special way to recognize talented new poets and fiction writers.
- Poetry: 3-10 pages of poetry (one long poem or several short poems)
- Fiction: 7,500 words maximum (one short story or a self-contained excerpt from a novel)
- 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(s), author's name, full address, phone, and email. Entries may be mailed to Nimrod or submitted online at https://nimrodjournal.submittable.com/submit. All finalists will be considered for publication.
For complete rules, visit Nimrod's website: www.utulsa.edu/nimrod
We are proud to present "Grandmother Ruth—Last Day of School", published in our Awards 38 issue.
Grandmother Ruth—Last Day of School
by Markham Johnson
It's still an hour before first bell on the final day of school,
and the ceiling fan is stirring a little breeze
so papers on Mr. O'Malley's desk rise and walk
down the aisle, as if they, too, had someplace better to be.
I'm daydreaming of dancing with Jimmy Dolan when I hear something
rolling down Cincinnati Avenue—the tearing sound of old metal
wheels and an axle that needs grease, and even in 1921,
when the trolley carries me home each evening along downtown streets
paved for fleets of Ford Roadsters, the sound of horses' hooves
is not unfamiliar, though part of a world we've all outgrown.
Now, I can just make them out, Percherons, pounding steel shoes
into asphalt that by midday will be slicked with tar, and pulling
an old buckboard wagon bearing too much weight on its springs.
So I'm wondering what's in back? What's stacked under the heavy tarpaulin?
Maybe cordwood for the big boiler in the school basement.
On the first of June, there's still a chill in the air
when the sun is still waiting, and I've got the school to myself,
and because I'm surrounded by old poets stuck to the walls,
I glance back at Wordsworth and Shelley peering over my shoulder,
and Byron who'd dance the Texas Tommy all night long.
And now the wagon's almost underneath the window,
and a little light is just creeping over the Edison Auto Hotel,
when I notice something sticking out from under the canvas—
feet, shoeless, lots of feet, some turned up and others down.
Manikins for the windows at Vandevers? But these are black.
And oh lord, now I smell smoke and wonder if the school is burning,
and from this second-floor window, I can see a dark cloud rising
from the far side of the railroad tracks—Little Africa,
in the first fingers of gathering light. And later in class, I smell ash
and kerosene on Mr. O'Malley's hands as he smooths the semester final
on my desk. Now, all the students are turning to stare out the window
as sunlight reveals the death of the Dreamland Ballroom
and a thousand homes rendered in flame. And I remember the feet
in the wagon passing Central High and turning at McNulty Field,
where Babe Ruth clubbed a baseball so far over the right field wall
it rolled an extra hundred yards to settle by a gravestone
in Oaklawn Cemetery. And now I know where that wagon was bound,
and by tomorrow no one's ever going to speak of Greenwood again.