Winning Writers Newsletter

Summer Supplement

Here is the summer 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 June 15.

Closing this month...
Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for Traditional Verse
Postmark Deadline: June 30
The Margaret Reid Poetry Contest seeks poems 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. You may submit poems that have been published or won prizes elsewhere, as long as you own the anthology and online publication rights. Unpublished work is also welcome. Winning Writers is assisting with entry handling for this contest. Guidelines:

All best,

Adam Cohen & Jendi Reiter
One of the 101 Best Web Sites for Writers

(Writer's Digest, 2005)

Award-Winning Poems

The Holy Men of Jersey

by Sharmila Voorakkara
Winner of the 2003 Akron Poetry Prize
Postmark Deadline: June 30
Magical-realist selection from Voorakkara's prizewinning book Fire Wheel reimagines down-and-out Jersey workingmen as holy beggars and mystics. This prize is sponsored by the well-regarded University of Akron Press.

The Crazy Maps
by Susan Stenson
Winner of the 2004 Arc Poem of the Year Contest
Postmark Deadline: June 30
Powerful lyric describes a family's grief, anger and guilt after the death of a parent. This contest, sponsored by Arc: Canada's National Poetry Magazine, offers prizes of C$1,000, C$750 and C$500.

by Shanna Compton
Winner of the 2004 Winnow Press Open Book Award in Poetry
Postmark Deadline: July 14
Playful but with a critical bite, this poem from Compton's prizewinning book Down Spooky revels in fantasies of objects to be acquired ("Garage next door contains clutter/more interesting than our own"), yet warns that our consumerist dreams have become more real to us than the actual life we live. The sponsor of this manuscript prize is Winnow Press, a high-quality independent press.

Sponsors' Messages

Robert Frost Foundation: Ninth Annual Award
Postmark Deadline: September 1
The Robert Frost Foundation welcomes poems in the spirit of Robert Frost for its Ninth Annual Award. The winning poem will receive $1,000 and an invitation to be presented at the Frost Festival in Lawrence, Mass. on October 22, 2005. This year's judges are Ted Deppe and Annie Deppe. Email submissions are also accepted at Reading fees are $10 per poem (via regular mail, please). Please submit two copies of each poem, one copy with contact information and one copy without any identifying information. All entries must be postmarked or emailed by September 1, 2005. Robert Frost Foundation, 439 South Union, Suite 205a, Lawrence, MA 01843.

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Poetry Contest Insider
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More than a contest directory, a guide to excellence
Poetry Contest Insider subscribers have access to penetrating interviews with contest judges and poetry editors, and to a growing library of links to award-winning poetry. We liked our upcoming summer interview so much, we wanted to share this excerpt with you...

Excerpt from an interview with Kris Christensen, editor of Rock & Sling: A Journal of Literature, Art, & Faith
The full interview will be made available to Poetry Contest Insider subscribers on June 15

Jendi Reiter conducted this exclusive email interview with Kris Christensen, one of the founding editors of the new literary magazine Rock & Sling.

Christensen holds an MFA from Eastern Washington University, where she also taught undergraduate creative writing and served on the staff of the literary journal Willow Springs. Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies including The Sycamore Review, Puerto del Sol, Permafrost, Pontoon: An Anthology of Washington State Poets, Hubbub, The Iowa Review, Passages North, Hayden's Ferry Review, and Many Mountains Moving.

Rock & Sling is a handsomely designed twice-yearly publication that showcases visual art and literature "with broad or explicit associations to Christian faith or its history."

In its premier issue last fall, the editors (Christensen, Laurie Klein and Susan Cowger) announced that one of their missions was to explore the intersection of Christianity and postmodernism. The journal offers the Virginia Brendemuehl Prize for Poetry, a $1,000 award with a July 15 postmark deadline.

Q: In elite literary publications, one rarely encounters creative work that approaches faith from the perspective of the orthodox believer rather than the outsider, seeker or skeptic. Meanwhile, the Christian media subculture often seems afraid of art that explores darker emotions or moral ambiguities. By contrast, throughout most of Western history, the greatest literary and artistic achievements were in the service of a religious tradition. In your opinion, how did the current gap come to be?

A: To answer your question adequately would require a book, but I can sketch one way of examining this gap. One factor is, of course, postmodernism, which swept through intellectual circles in the early 20th century. It didn't completely strip art and literature of its religious or spiritual elements - think of T.S. Eliot, W.B. Yeats, and even Theodore Roethke with his rich, organic spirituality. But it did make the structures of religion highly suspect. This aversion or suspicion runs astoundingly deep in academic and literary communities. A fellow poet, who is also an experienced editor, recently warned us against using the word "spiritual" in connection with Rock & Sling. The word has become so freighted, not only with Christian connotations but with New Age baggage, that many serious poets who are actively writing of their inner lives eschew that label. At the same time that they are teaching Gerard Manley Hopkins or Flannery O'Connor, some writers succumb to a quite simple and human fear: what will people think? What will my colleagues think if I write or publish work that acknowledges there could be a higher power? Irony and cynicism are viewed - wrongly, I think - as evidence of intelligence. Academic poets and writers, who largely control the elite literary journals, are human like the rest of us. They don't want to risk looking foolish.

On the Christian side of the equation, I think media is the operative word here. Keep in mind the goal of many, especially fundamentalist, Christian organizations: evangelism. Many people don't realize that Christian evangelism comes in waves and that it didn't exist in its current form until the eighteenth century. More recently, the influence of fundamentalism in many religions, not just Christianity, has burgeoned. The result: a desire to win converts. And the most efficient way to win converts is more akin to advertising than to educating or even inspiring. Advertising delivers a message (Cleano soap gets you cleaner), then requests an action (Buy Cleano soap). Current evangelism is also based on delivering a message (God's plan for salvation), then requesting an action (Repent and be saved). Complicate the message with doubt, tension, or questioning (elements of good art and literature), and you lose the sale or the soul. So the media, with its ability to deliver uncomplicated messages in a convincing way, makes a much better vehicle for evangelism than do serious art and literature. Because taking a deep look at dark or difficult subject matter muddies the simplicity of the salvation message, some Christians reject such explorations as wrong. So, the current emphasis on salvation and evangelism makes literature and art of little value to the church. Visual art's early role as a way to educate illiterate devotees in the stories and ideas of the Bible has become largely obsolete. With little power to convert, art has been demoted to a largely decorative role in the church.

So you have the elite, often academic, writers and artists on one side afraid of looking stupid. You have Christian writers and artists afraid of looking un-Christian or humanistic, secular, evil. The two sides demonize each other - and I use that word very purposefully - and the gap gets wider. Personally, we've each taken some heat over Rock & Sling. Susan and Laurie have had Christian friends challenge their involvement in Rock & Sling, going so far as to say they are "working against God" because we are not evangelizing. I've had friends assume that my interest in Christianity means I've checked my intellect at the door. I don't think this gap can be closed by the entrenched parties. It will require a third group, a new contingent of artists and patrons, to reunite art and faith....

Order Poetry Contest Insider and get access to the full interview when we release it on June 15, plus all 650+ contest profiles. Your subscription will begin within 24 hours of your order.

Contests Affiliated with Winning Writers

Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for Traditional Verse
Postmark Deadline: June 30
The Margaret Reid Poetry Contest seeks poems 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. You may submit poems that have been published or won prizes elsewhere, as long as you own the anthology and online publication rights. Unpublished work is also welcome. 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. You may submit poems that have been published or won prizes elsewhere, as long as you own the anthology and online publication rights. Unpublished work is also welcome. Winning Writers is assisting with entry handling for this contest. Guidelines:

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