Winning Writers Newsletter

Spring Supplement

Here is the spring supplement included with your Winning Writers Newsletter subscription. These quarterly supplements contain award-winning poems, timely Winning Writers announcements and special offers for poets and writers. You receive them directly from Winning Writers. We never share your contact information with third parties. Look for our next regular newsletter in your inbox on March 15.

All best,

Adam Cohen & Jendi Reiter

Award-Winning Poems

No Comment and The Coast of Oklahoma

by Chris Forhan
Winner of the 2004 Washington State Book Awards (4/15 deadline)
These selections from Forhan's The Actual Moon, the Actual Stars, which also won the 2003 Samuel French Morse Poetry Prize, explore our emotional responses to the natural world while acknowledging that the meanings we find there may be a human projection.

The Links
by Cathryn Shea
Winner of the 2004 Marjorie J. Wilson Award for Excellence in Poetry (4/15 deadline)
Taut, understated poem indicts our wish to pretend that racism's legacy is easily overcome.

Manila Zoo (PDF file)
by Joel Barraquiel Tan
Winner of the 2004 Spoon River Poetry Review Editors' Prize (4/15 deadline)
A child's fascination with elephants leads to a loss of innocence. Use Adobe Reader to read this poem.

The Mouse and the Human
by Tryphon Tolides
Winner of the 2004 Foley Poetry Contest (entries must be received by 4/16)
The extermination of a mouse occasions uncomfortable reflections about human violence and selfishness.

The Long Road
by David Shumate
Winner of the 2003 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize (4/30 deadline)
In Shumate's prose-poems, ordinary objects become the gateway into surreal yet strangely recognizable landscapes. His award-winning first collection is High Water Mark.

Announcement - Grub Street 2005 Poetry Revision Fellowship
Postmark Deadline: March 31; no entry fee
The Grub Street 2005 Poetry Revision Fellowship will provide a cash grant, plus artistic and institutional support to an emerging poet from the greater Boston literary community. We recommend this contest. The fellowship is designed to help one poet revise and prepare for publication a first book-length project. The Grub Street Poetry Revision Fellow will receive a $2,500 cash stipend, and an in-depth review of his/her manuscript by an established writer. Applicants must have completed and compiled a draft of a book-length collection of poems, but not yet published a book. They must also agree to help other Grub Street writers during the six-month fellowship period by giving a reading and holding office hours twice a month. Anyone who can get themselves to our Somerville offices twice per month may enter. Linda Bierds will judge. See guidelines and details:

Sponsors' Messages

Antidotes for an Alibi by Amy King
Amy King's first full-length collection, Antidotes for an Alibi, insists that we examine the deceptive clarity of our actions and the goals that motivate us. How does one actually get from "A" to "B" and is there ever really a "B"? What color is the white space between "A" and "B"? Upon closer inspection, surface realities reveal themselves to be porous and fragile, layered with textures and grains that lead the eye on varying pathways. So what are we to do in a world of newspaper narratives that instruct us toward tidy endings, murmuring that such endings are possible and even inevitable?

"Don't just read this book because it's nominated for a Lambda Book Award. Read this book to experience Amy King's uncanny ability to maintain a sense of infinite wonder while simultaneously seeming ancient and jaded. 'I confess/ to shaking like a lost dog at the feel of nothing at/ all against my skin, that this creamy absence could/ pass on into pauses forever, ones atheists hesitate/ but pray for nonetheless."'
Julie Dill

Sex in the Confines
From Amy King's Antidotes for an Alibi

I was in the next-door bar sober
by you standing one night suddenly
a desperado among the people,
a tall boy upon your strict girl
approach, never the one to go
to hands that hardly burn or
give into submission. Shall
we count on even digits in
the bathroom line? We do and
a cloak of incense suits Hart Crane's
sleep. Within his sea drowning
briefcase still exists handwritten
pillow manuals: how to fertilize
and rain haloes from the color
of light. Keep writing skins
of homemade poems pressed
to rims of open salt cans. I pass
off your vodka tonic for this palm
wrung dark thin pink, discuss
welcome mat greenery, always
skipping the reach of private tentacles
to lean out & gather over your space.

Buy Antidotes for an Alibi now for $11 plus shipping at BlazeVOX.

I Stole a Rock, Poems of Love and Romance by Sara King
Full of longing and despair, bitter humor and the joys of romantic communion, this is an incredibly varied collection of love poems. King takes us from the pigeons making love at the train station, to black olives on branches, and from flies on the wall, to a steaming cup of sake; everything brings us back to love and its promises and lies. Says Rambles, "There are plenty of great moments, which is her strength: capturing the errant situation that we can all relate to that doesn't seem like it's been done a million times before. She's got a great contemporary eye...." Read more about this remarkable work at Amazon, on sale for $8.95.

From Sara King's I Stole a Rock, Poems of Love and Romance

Don't say you'd mourn my passing;
you a writer and a liar.
Writers are the worst of liars --
their audience has no face,
so they don't have to smile,
don't have to weep,
don't even pretend to love.

I know you will forget me
when I sleep with the worms.
You have forgotten me already
and I am breathing still,
here in the wet leaves and wind,
you, hiding somewhere in the city,
behind Dostoyevsky and cognac.

If I only were a book,
then maybe you would read my body --
run your eyes left to right
over my flesh,
bury your face in the pages of my breasts.

But I am only a bookmark,
a place to rest,
when you are reluctantly tangled,
a voracious reader,
a vicarious lover.

Buy I Stole a Rock now for $8.95 plus shipping at Amazon.

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

A Pure and Simple Faith
A first book of Christian inspirational poetry by Ruth Y. Nott is now available for review or purchase. Reflecting the author's style which she calls "word-dancing with God," this 66-page work allows her faith and love to shine through while also acknowledging the doubts we all sometimes feel. In her poetry, Ruth emphasizes that, in a world filled with temptation, disappointment and heartache, God's love and support are still available to us all. For more information, contact the author at and visit her website at:

Entering Contests Effectively

Adapted from The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Winning a contest may bring one or more perks including prestige, a cash prize, and an offer to publish your book. Such an event is also an opportunity to publicize yourself and your work.

Getting Started

  • Set a goal based on the kind of writing you do and the size of your pocketbook. No-fee contests work well until you refine your contest IQ. Some journals award prizes to the best work submitted for their pages in a given year. Pick contests that impose fees at least as carefully as you might select a tomato from the produce department at your market.

  • Find contests from a source that lists less popular contests as well as the giants.

  • Choose contests that match your needs. Most first-time authors should submit their work for some small awards as well as large ones.

  • Pay attention to the contest guidelines. Don't enter a competition that seeks experimental fiction if your book is a mystery. It wastes your time and theirs even if no fee is involved.

  • Many contests permit simultaneous submission, allowing you to submit your best work to more than one venue at a time.

Looking Professional

  • When mailing an entry, include a cover sheet with your contact information and the titles of the works submitted.

  • Track your entries so you don't submit the same work to the same contest twice.

  • If your work is published or wins an award, notify the other contests that you sent it to.

  • Don't recycle copies from one contest to another. Editors complain about entries that look as if they have spent a night in the rain.

Making the Most of an Award

  • Mention the award on your resume, information sheet or media kit.

  • Write a media release announcing your award.

  • Post your release on press sites that allow you to post them yourself. An example is

  • Notify your professional organizations (writing and otherwise).

  • Notify bookstores where you had signings or would like to have a signing.

  • Notify the press offices of schools and colleges you have attended.

  • Mention the award when you send proposals to publishers, editors and other media people. It sets your proposal apart.

  • For book awards, announce it on the cover of your book with a sticker.

To help you find quality contests, Winning Writers links to several information sites at:

Learn more about effective promotion in The Frugal Book Promoter. 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

Contests Affiliated with Winning Writers

Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest
Closing Soon - 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 - No Fee
Closing Soon - Online Submission Deadline: April 1
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. Entry is free. 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:

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:

Sponsors' Messages

Publish Your Book From Your Computer for As Little as $1.00 Each will take your manuscript over the Internet from any Microsoft Windows-based program. Publish a book in trade quality from 25 to 5,000 copies in about 7-10 working days. Ideal when you want to publish books to give as gifts, sell at events and readings, or sell from your website. Specify the kind of book you want to print and get an instant price quote. Customers say, "the published book is exactly what I had envisioned. And the cost was so reasonable, I'd recommend to anyone." "I experimented with several different short-run and POD printers during my 90-day adventure from self-published to major book deal, and I have to say that the quality of your books was BY FAR the best. When sending press kits to the media, and anyone we wanted to impress, we'd always send your books, which we affectionately referred to as 'The GOOD books."'

Do you have a personal story that belongs in today's bestselling anthologies, like Chicken Soup for the Soul, A Cup of Comfort, and Chocolate for Women? You could get PAID for it and get published! Julia Rosien, a publishing veteran and editor at ePregnancy Magazine, will mentor you and show you how to turn your memories into essays that warm the heart...and sell.

WriteSuccess Newsletter
Sign up now for WriteSuccess's free biweekly newsletter for freelance writers. Editor Mary Anne Hahn has a knack for finding the most interesting literary sites and markets. It's easy to feel lonely as a freelancer. Mary Anne's inspiring attitude and success notes from readers create a sense of community.

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. 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.

Choose from over 40 million new, used and out-of-print books at Alibris. Slash your textbook costs in literature, poetry, philosophy, art and all academic subjects. Free shipping when you order $49 or more of items that are in stock at Alibris. Go to Alibris nowicon

Take 25% Off at VistaPrint
We use and recommend VistaPrint for quick printing. Design your own holiday cards, postcards, greeting cards, business cards, flyers, stationery and promotional materials. Use VistaPrint's templates or upload your own artwork. It's easy to create professional-looking work at reasonable prices. Rush delivery is available. First-time customers enjoy a 25% discount. Please use this link:

Try Poetry Contest Insider - Over 650 Contests Profiled

Poets sometimes ask why they should pay for a contest directory when there are some free ones on the web. Here's what makes Poetry Contest Insider different:

Comprehensive. Most free directories list perhaps 50-150 poetry contests. We profile over 650. You have a much better chance of finding specialized contests that suit your work well. Each profile reports all the rules for a contest whenever possible, so you don't have to research further or send away for them.

Searchable. You can search our contest profiles by name, contest type, prize, fee, deadline, location, experience level, genre and more. Go straight to the contests that interest you without wasting time.

Expert Guidance. We tell you which contests we recommend, and how highly. We spotlight contests that are good for emerging poets, and contests that are good for poets with more experience. Concentrate your time, effort and entry fees on the contests that can do you the most good.

Contest Backgrounds. We link to the work of contest judges and recent winners. See for yourself if a contest has been choosing work that appeals to you.

Constantly Updated. Deadlines, addresses and rules change frequently. Printed annual directories are weeks or months out of date the moment they hit the stores. Many websites aren't much better. We update Poetry Contest Insider nearly every day to get you the most accurate information possible.

Poetry Contest Insider makes it easy for you to make quick, informed decisions about which contests to enter.

Our customers say,

"I am extremely impressed as a new subscriber with your enterprise. For the past 20 years I have edited and published a national poetry journal ( Lucidity ) and wondered why no one had ever assembled a list of ongoing contests. That you have done extremely well, plus sharing clues about where not to submit. I shall recommend you to my readers. Bravo!"
Ted O. Badger, Editor, Lucidity Poetry Journal, Texas

"Poetry Contest Insider is a fabulous resource. It's easily accessible, well organized and fun.... This has already become one of my two Must-Have's, along with Poet's Market. Be sure I'll be renewing. Thanks for the wonderful resource!"
Bridget Cougar, California

"Very satisfied with service, all personal contact and quality exceptional."
Niki Nymark, Missouri

"The immediacy and specificity of online information makes your service so efficient that I can make better use of my time - that is, I can spend more time writing poetry. :-)"
Leisha Wharfield, Oregon

Read more testimonials from our subscribers

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.

Public Service Announcement

ProLiteracy Worldwide President and CEO Robert Wedgeworth's Letter to the Editor

February 23, 2005
To the Editor:

On Monday, February 7, President Bush presented his proposed fiscal 2006 budget to Congress. While many elements of the budget have generated controversy since the budget's release, the proposed reduction in federal funding for adult basic education and literacy has received little media attention.

In 1992, the US Department of Education released a study estimating that one in five adults lack the reading, writing, comprehension and math skills needed to be successful in their daily lives. These adults may have dropped out of school or may have graduated without acquiring these fundamental literacy skills. They may have undiagnosed learning disabilities or other problems that prevented them from learning to read and write. They may have immigrated to the US without English proficiency. The Department is planning to release a new study later this year, and I believe that the numbers will show that adult illiteracy is a challenge of growing dimensions for this country.

Across the nation, hundreds of thousands of adults who want to acquire or improve their literacy skills are waiting to get into instructional programs. Although state dollars and charitable gifts supplemented by federal funds have not been enough to meet existing needs, the President has proposed a 63% decrease in federal funding for adult literacy programs.

I applaud the President's efforts to reform the country's public school system. But research shows that the single biggest factor to predict a child's success in school is the educational attainment of the mother or primary caregiver. Adults who read raise children who are able to access and use information to succeed in their lives. Literate adults are able to participate fully in their children's education and in family health care decisions. They can obtain jobs and be economically self-sufficient. They participate in the civic life of their communities and they vote.

The President stated in his inaugural address that: "For as long as whole regions of the world simmer in resentment and tyranny - prone to ideologies that feed hatred and excuse murder - violence will gather, and multiply in destructive power, and cross the most defended borders, and raise a mortal threat. There is only one force of history that can break the reign of hatred and resentment, and expose the pretensions of tyrants, and reward the hopes of the decent and tolerant, and that is the force of human freedom."

I would argue that, clearly, freedom and democracy abroad and at home require a literate citizenry.

Robert Wedgeworth
President and CEO
ProLiteracy Worldwide

About ProLiteracy Worldwide
ProLiteracy Worldwide is a nonprofit international literacy organization based in Syracuse, NY, that was formed by the 2002 merger of Laubach Literacy International and Literacy Volunteers of America, Inc. ProLiteracy Worldwide is now the oldest and largest nongovernmental literacy organization in the world and pursues a mission of sponsoring educational programs that help adults and their families acquire the literacy practices and skills they need to function more effectively in their daily lives. Learn more at

Advertise to 14,000 Poets and Writers
Reserve now before prices increase
Promote your contests, websites, events and publications in this newsletter. Reach over 14,000 poets and writers. Prices are going up to $35 per ad starting March 16, so reserve now to lock in the current $25 rate. Ads may contain up to 100 words and a headline. Reserve now at:

Praise from Advertisers

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Ben Arnold, Co-Editor, Perigee

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Constance Campbell, Editor, Wild Plum

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