Winning Writers Newsletter

January 2005

Welcome to our January newsletter.

Traveling, the anthology of winning entries from the 2nd Tom Howard Poetry Contest, is now available as a free download at:

To obtain the download without charge, click the "Download a preview (MS Word)" link. Don't click "Add to Cart". This offer will expire when the book is released to stores in about two months' time.

We'd like to share with you some of the kind words we're hearing about our new Poetry Contest Insider database...

"The database is a top-notch resource tool. As President of Southwest Writers Club, I'll be using it constantly. If I learn about a contest from another source, I can access the database to cross-check the details. In today's sea of misinformation, scams and sp*ms, it's a lovely change to find that the information in the database is correct and up-to-date, and I can trust its accuracy."
Sami Swan Thompson,

"I think the website is awesome. I don't know how you do it. I find the format a lot more concise, and there is more you can access on one page."
Ellen Morgan, November 2004 Critique Poet

"I like your new look...more attractive and easier to navigate."
Michael Simms, Autumn House Press

Try Poetry Contest Insider free for 10 days. Access all our 650+ contest profiles. If you like it, you'll pay just $5.95 for three months of access. If not, cancel and owe nothing.

All best,

Adam Cohen & Jendi Reiter

Vote for Winning Writers in the 2005 Preditors & Editors Poll
If and its newsletter have been helpful to you, please vote for us in the 2005 Preditors & Editors Readers' Poll. Voting closes on January 31. We're listed in the Writers' Resource category:

The Best Free Poetry Contests

Deadlines: January 16 - February 28

1/19: Poetry Society of Virginia (Student Categories) +
Individual Poems: Several small prizes for students in grades 1-12 and college. You don't have to be from Virginia to enter.

1/31: Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards +++
Published Book: Two awards of $10,000 each will be given for books of poetry and prose published in 2004. Honors books that have made important contributions to our understanding of racism or our appreciation of the rich diversity of human cultures.

1/31: Ann Arlys Bowler Student Poetry Contest ++
Individual Poems: For students in grades 6-12. Winners receive $100 and publication in Read magazine.

1/31: Jackson/Phelan Literary Awards ++
Manuscript: Honors works of poetry and prose by authors aged 20-35. For Jackson award, author must be a resident of Nevada or northern California for 3 consecutive years prior to deadline; for Phelan award, must have been born in California.

1/31: Lohmann Poetry Prize +
Individual Poems: For residents of Washington State.

2/1: Japanese Literary Translation Prize ++
Honors published and unpublished book-length translations of classical or modern Japanese literary works

2/1: Paterson Poetry Prize ++
Published Book: A work of 48 pages or more published in 2004. Publisher should submit entry.

2/1: Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Scholarship Awards +++
Individual Poems: Entrants must be undergraduates at Kent State University

2/4: Toronto Poetry Competition +
Individual Poems: Open to Canadian citizens and landed immigrants. Teens (13-18) should live or attend school in Toronto, and may enter free.

2/13: Arts & Letters Awards ++
Individual Poems, Prose, Musical Composition, Visual Art: Open to residents of the Canadian Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Junior and senior divisions.

2/27: Lynn DeCaro Poetry Contest +
Individual Poems: Open to Connecticut high school students.

2/27: Toronto Book Awards +
Honors authors of books of literary and artistic merit that are evocative of Toronto. Total prizes of C$15,000 will be awarded.

2/28: Chistell Writing Contest +
Individual Poems and Short Stories: Theme of courage. For writers who have not yet had their poems or short stories published in a major publication.

See our complete list of free poetry contests by deadline date

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

All deadlines are postmark deadlines unless otherwise specified.

We have found eight free contests with rolling deadlines. These typically accept entries at any time of year. See them now at:

Sponsors' Messages

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Get your creative juices flowing in 2005!
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Time Spent - Poetry for Everyone!
Bored by conventional poetry? This book is for you! Time Spent is an autobiography in storytelling, rhyming poetry and prose of a man's life covering his 20s through his late 40s. Of interest to both men and women, Time Spent explores the psychological and physical changes through which this individual travels to reach manhood and midlife. From Mr. Trusskey's evolution through his confused and wanderlust 20s, to the revelations brought about by a disastrous accident, Time Spent takes you through it all (4 books in one, 3 poetry and 1 prose)! If you are old enough to drive a car on a date, you are old enough to enjoy this colorful story of one man's life and times! Autographed copies are available. See website for excerpts and purchasing details! or

Let Art Be As Timeless & Enduring As The Legacy Of Its Master
My name is James Alexander Papastamos. I've been writing lyric poetry for over fourteen years. Two of the works that appear on my site pay homage to the legacy of Alexander the Great and the glory of Greece itself. I do not write epic poetry but these poems are my attempt to materialize the spirit of a nation. Let Greece show the world - just one more time.

Last Call for the New Contest!
Online Submission Deadline: January 30; no entry fee
Write an opening line and a paragraph on the photograph shown at:
First prize is a $25 gift certificate to CoolStuff4Writers. There's no fee to enter, but you must be subscribed to our free ezine "Writer to Writer". If you're not already subscribed, you can sign up online or send a blank email to

Writer to Writer is produced specifically for writers by award-winning Australian author Cheryl Wright, a working writer making income from her writing. Cheryl's current books include Think Outside the Square: Writing Publishable (Short) Stories and I Wanna Win! - Tips for Becoming an Award Winning Writer. Check out our website:

O'Hara Award for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transgendered Poets
Postmark Deadline: February 1
$500 Frank O'Hara Award Chapbook Competition for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders. Award: $500, publication, 25 free copies. Poetry (free verse, traditional, postmodern), prose poems, cross-genre texts accepted. Include SASE for results. Submissions not returned. $15 reading fee/submission. Guidelines, queries: Guidelines, queries, submissions: Frank O'Hara Award Chapbook Competition, Thorngate Road, Jim Elledge, Department of English/Humanities, Pratt Institute, 200 Willoughby Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11205.

Utmost Christian Poetry Contest
Postmark Deadline: February 28
C$2,700 in cash prizes are offered in our 5th annual contest, open to poets of Christian faith. Prizes are: C$1,000 first prize, C$250 second prize, C$150 third prize, 10 prizes of C$50 each for honorable mention, 12 merit prizes of C$25 each for special achievement, C$100 Young Poet's Award, C$100 Formal Poetry Award, C$100 for best rhyming poem, C$100 for best poem by a Canadian citizen, and US$100 for best poem by an American citizen. (All cash prizes in Canadian dollars except for the American Merit Award.) Four Winning Writers Awards will also be made, consisting of a year of online access to the Poetry Contest Insider database (value US$19.95). Entry fee is C$15 per poem (non-Canadian entrants please send US$15 per poem), with maximum of 7 entries per contestant. Entrants must follow contest rules and use the official entry form available at This contest is sponsored by Utmost Christian Writers Foundation, a registered non-profit association.

Dare to Care for a Hare Poetry Contest
Postmark Deadline: March 1
All poems must relate somehow to rabbits and be 30 lines or under. All entries considered for an anthology. No limit on number of entries. First place winner receives $250 and publication onto an artistic broadside, plus 4 copies. Second and third place winners receive 2 copies of the winning broadside. All winners will be published in the HRS newsletter and at the website. Judged by poets C.J. Sage and J.P. Dancing Bear. All proceeds to support House Rabbit Society charity. Send poem titles, name, and contact info on separate sheet; poems must not contain poet's name. Include SASE. Fee is $5 per poem or 3 poems for $12. Send poems, contact info, and check made out to Speed Bump Press to HRS Poetry Contest, 48 Avon Road, Berkeley CA 94707. For additional information see website or email No calls, please. Website:

Amnesty International Poetry Competition
Entries must be received by April 30
This competition is organised by the local AI group in Reading, UK. We offer prizes of 250 pounds, 100 pounds and 50 pounds for poems of up to 40 lines (any subject). There is also a Human Rights prize of 100 pounds for poems promoting our campaign to Stop Violence Against Women, and an under-16s prize of 100 pounds. The judge is Jane Draycott. The entry fee is 4 pounds for adults (2 pounds for under-16s) and you can enter online using PayPal. For details please visit our website at:

Don't Be a PR Numbskull

Anyone can print up a few hundred copies of a book. Getting them sold is another matter. Give yourself a fighting chance with these 11 publicity tips from Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't.

1. Don't assume your publisher will publicize for you.

2. Don't publicize your book; instead brand yourself.

3. Don't ask an editor, producer or host for publicity. They are not in business to do favors for you.

4. Don't send material to media professionals who have been dead for over a year or were fired for showing preferential treatment to friends.

5. Don't avoid all controversy. It may be your prescription for getting noticed.

6. Don't discard the word "ethics" from your campaign.

7. Don't pretend those who visit your website are only there to purchase your book.

8. Don't depend only on emails and faxes to get the word out to editors and booksellers.

9. Don't toss your books on marketing into your circular file once your book has been launched.

10. Don't treat your book sales like a hobby.

11. Don't believe everything about publicizing books (or writing them!) that you read on the Web. Consider the source. Check credentials.

Learn more about each no-no in The Frugal Book Promoter, with recommendations for how to correct each faux pas. It's the #1 bestselling e-book at Starbooks. Prefer a paperback? They're available at "After reading The Frugal Book Promoter," says Tim Bete, director of the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop, "you may know more about book publicity than your publisher." Read a recent review by Jenna Glatzer.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the award-winning author of This is the Place and Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered. This tip sheet is one of many she uses to share her publicity secrets with fellow authors. Learn more at

Special Contest Announcements

Drunken Boat's First Annual Panliterary Awards
Entries must be received by April 5
Drunken Boat, International Online Journal of the Arts, announces its first-ever Panliterary Awards. We recommend this contest. Awards of about $300 will be given in each of the following genres: poetry, fiction, non-fiction, web art, photo/video and sound. Winners will be announced at the Boston Cyberarts Festival in May 2005, will be featured in a subsequent issue of Drunken Boat, and will be invited to perform at future multimedia events and performances. Other finalists will also be considered for publication. Submit up to three works, either via email to or via physical mail to: Drunken Boat, 119 Main Street, Chester, CT 06412. A $15 entry fee (money order or check) must accompany all submissions, or pay online at:

Works will be accepted as URLs of work online, as attachments (MS Word files or .jpg/.gif/.zip/.swf/.html/.mp3/.mov/.wav files), or else as hard copy, disk, or CD/DVD. Please include the phrase "Panliterary Awards" in the subject line of any email submission and do not paste text submissions into the body of the email. Drunken Boat is a non-profit organization. Email for more information.

Institute for Humane Studies Spring Essay Contest
Postmark Deadline: March 1; no entry fee
Prizes of $2,000, $1,500, $750 and $250 (four) will be awarded for essays that address the question: "To what degree are the creative powers of individuals influenced by the structure of the society in which they live? What legal, social, cultural, or educational conditions would be needed to fully realize their creative powers?" IHS is a libertarian think tank. We recommend this contest, which is open to full-time students of any age (graduate students or undergraduates) during the 2004-05 schoool year and to those 25 years of age or younger as of March 1, 2005 (including high school students). See the website for additional guidelines, recommendations and information:

Update on New Resources

This newsletter and the next will be light on new resources while we complete our new Winning Writers website. We'll do our best to make it worth your wait, and appreciate your patience.

More Sponsors' Messages

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WriteSuccess Newsletter
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Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest
Postmark Deadline: March 31
Enter the 2005 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest. $2,575 will be awarded, including a top prize of $1,000. Short stories or prose on any theme are sought, up to 8,000 words. You can enter a story that's already been published or even won prizes in other competitions (so long as you still have anthology rights). Unpublished stories are also welcome. Submit online or by mail. The entry fee is $10. Winning Writers is assisting with entry handling for this contest. See the complete guidelines at:

2005 Wergle Flomp Poetry Contest
Online Submission Deadline: April 1; no entry fee
Our 2005 Wergle Flomp Poetry Contest welcomes your entry. We seek the best bad poem that has been submitted to a 'vanity contest' as a joke. Total prizes of $1,609 will be awarded, including a top prize of $1,190. See the complete guidelines at:

2005 War Poetry Contest
Postmark Deadline: May 31
We seek original, unpublished poems on the theme of war. Submit 1-3 poems, up to 500 lines in total. $3,000 in prizes will be awarded, including a first prize of $1,500. The entry fee is $12. This fee includes free online access to the Poetry Contest Insider database for three months, a $5.95 value. Submit online or by mail. For complete guidelines please see:

See the 2004 winning poems by Robert Hill Long, Rob Cook and Marsha Truman Cooper at Drive-By Poets, a poetry postering project funded in part by the Northampton Arts Council.

Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for Traditional Verse
Postmark Deadline: June 30
The Margaret Reid Poetry Contest seeks poetry in traditional verse forms, such as sonnets and haiku. $2,000 in prizes will be awarded, including a top prize of $1,000. The winning entries will be published. The entry fee is $5 for every 25 lines. Submit online or by mail. Winning Writers is assisting with entry handling for this contest. Guidelines:

Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest
Postmark Deadline: September 30
Open to poems in any style, theme or genre. $2,000 in prizes will be awarded, including a top prize of $1,000. The winning entries will be published. Early submission is encouraged. The entry fee is $5 for every 25 lines. Submit online or by mail. Winning Writers is assisting with entry handling for this contest. Guidelines:

Your Poems and Pictures on Apparel, Cards, Gifts and More makes it easy to put your words and images on shirts, greeting cards, postcards, mugs, magnets and posters. Order them for yourself or for gifts, or sell them online at a profit. CafePress makes each item to order, so you don't have to commit to a large batch all at once. It's quick and easy to set up your store, and there's no set-up charge. We've been getting a kick out of our Judge Jendi mugs. Valentine's Day Sale. Save $5 off an order of $50 or more during 1/18-2/3. Use code VDAY50. Get started here:

Poet's Market - 2005 Edition On Sale
We recommend Poet's Market: 1,800 Places to Publish Your Poetry ($16.49 at Amazon). Published each August by Writer's Digest, this is the best annual directory of journals, magazines, book publishers, chapbook publishers, websites, grants, conferences, workshops and contests. Helps you find publishers who are looking for your kind of work. Also recommended: Writer's Market for works of prose ("the most valuable of tools for the writer new to the marketplace," says Stephen King in On Writing).

Write Ways to Win Writing Contests
John H. Reid, a widely published Australian novelist and award-winning poet (under the name Tom Howard), has written a witty and practical guide to finding the best contests for your work. Topics include identifying the judges' tastes, "popular" versus "literary" styles of writing, preparing a professional-looking manuscript and avoiding scam contests. Though his examples are drawn from fiction, poets will also find this guide indispensable. Order it now for $14.99 from Amazon.

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Public Service Announcement

ProLiteracy Partners in Areas Impacted by Tsunami
ProLiteracy Worldwide has partners in several countries that have been devastated by the tsunami disaster, including Indonesia, India, Thailand, and Bangladesh.

In Indonesia, our partners work in the communities of East Java, Seloliman, Trawas, Mojokerto, Japanan, Porong, Pandaan, Mosojari, Jawa Timur, Bali, South Sulawesi, Balekambang, Surabaya, and Rungkut. In India, our partners work in the Dingidul and Madurai districts of Tamil Nadu and also in the state of Kerala. Our partners in Thailand work in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Both Tamil Nadu and Kerala are located in the southern area of India that has been affected by the tsunami. We also have partners in Bangladesh working in a number of communities around Dhaka.

International Programs has contacted these partners to express ProLiteracy's sympathy. We remain committed to supporting them as they work to rebuild their communities.

Learn more about ProLiteracy's humanitarian partners in Southeast Asia:

Make a donation to support ProLiteracy's work in Southeast Asia:

Advertise to 12,000 Poets and Writers
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Praise from Advertisers

"I want to thank all of you at Winning Writers again for providing such a wonderfully beneficial service for poets and writers.... The staff at Perigee is impressed with how many of our readers and contributors learned about our online publication through Winning Writers."
Ben Arnold, Co-Editor, Perigee

"The first ad I placed was for your October 15th [2003] issue and my web stats show clearly that it was a success.... You obviously have sincere and dedicated poets on your list."
Constance Campbell, Editor, Wild Plum

Jendi's Critique Corner

We welcome Martin Steele to Critique Corner this month. Mr. Steele was a finalist in our 2003 War Poetry Contest. If you would like a chance to be critiqued, please email your poem to me at 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!

New World
by Martin Steele

I crawled for days across the arid Indian plains
until my knee caps bled red and old scars opened
leaving irregular patterns on the hard soil,
seeking the slow flowing Ganges
and searching for silk prayer shawls in the shallow mud.
I dipped my head under the holy waters
looking across to the mouldy green and peeling orange walls
of the eroding temples. Blue saliva stains playing patterns
on the sidewalks seemed to throb and pulse
and the breast pains that I endured pumped up my stomach
into elastic balls that floated with the tides
and currents below, carrying offal and soap suds
that burnt my eyes until I ceased noticing
blank worshippers urinating on banks not so far away.
Holy men limped by and waved with crooked sticks.
Had I transgressed their holy territory and disturbed the calm
as the trees nearby vaguely stirred? I had not seen this sector before
and peeled off my clothes pronouncing that I carried no weapons
nor bibles of the New Testament.
It was only fair that I should float naked.
A holy man with black match stick legs and purple toes
strolled across my wake - the strange strains of sitar rhythms
pierced my ears and deep subterranean tunnel noises
rose to the murky surface in yellow translucent cubes.
My tattered heart tangled in the easy river flow.
My half closed eyes just above the line sought rusty river trams
or logs of debris to help me stay afloat.
But the relentless bloated soap suds burnt my tongue
as I struggled to chant select bible songs.
Laughing filled the blue air and young chocolate coated children
tugged on their garland wreaths, flinging buds and thorns
to where I swam. I choked and coughed
and slowly wore down as the muezzin
From the nearby tower mosque search lighted for
my soul. The high screams of prayers cascaded,
pushing me further down as four black hooded men
dragged me from the flow; I hoped and hoped
they would not sacrifice me in holy flames. I tried to whisper
as they held my arms that I was only looking
for love. Why brand me in sati tradition? I told them,
I know many verses off by heart from the Hindu bible
and the Bhagavad-Gita which is a Song of God. I am untouchable.
I was married to Christ. I was born on a cross.
Does it not count in this new century?

Copyright 2005 by Martin Steele

Critique by Jendi Reiter

This month's critique poem, "New World" by Martin Steele, presents an instantly recognizable character: the naive traveler who is seduced and destroyed by a culture he does not understand. This nightmare recurs often in colonial and postcolonial literature, embodying Western fears that our political dominance is neither deserved nor secure. In depicting the alien culture as a primitive destructive force, the writer can suggest both the powerlessness of Western ideals and, paradoxically, their superiority to the natives' barbaric behavior. (This theme was central to the work of 20th-century fiction writer Paul Bowles.)

The narrator of "New World" seems to have come to India on a spiritual pilgrimage. He seeks out extreme experiences that will break down the boundaries of his old self and put him in touch with a deeper reality. To that end, he immerses himself in pain, dirt and decay, violating "civilized" taboos to reach a state where another's bodily fluids are no more alien to him than his own. In his new world, even humble saliva glows in psychedelic colors, and clean and unclean elements commingle shamelessly. A silk scarf could be found in the mud; "offal and soap suds" combine in the holy river.

Yet how real is this oneness? Using the exotic culture as a tool for his own enlightenment, the protagonist fails to comprehend it on its own terms, with fatal consequences. Despite his physical self-abandonment in the first half of the poem, he is in control of the experience. He chose these privations and could turn back if he felt like it....

critique continues

This critique and contest suggestions for this poem appear in full at:

Read Jendi Reiter's award-winning poetry at:

Vote for Winning Writers in the 2005 Preditors & Editors Poll
If and its newsletter have been helpful to you, please vote for us in the 2005 Preditors & Editors Readers' Poll. Voting closes on January 31. We're listed in the Writers' Resource category:

Coming in the February 15 Winning Writers Newsletter
Best Free Poetry Contests for February 16-March 31

Forward this email to a friend and Winning Writers will donate 10 cents to ProLiteracy Worldwide! Use the box at the bottom of the email. •