Best Resources for Poets and WritersWinning Writers

Recent Honors for Our Subscribers

The Best Free Poetry Contests, May-June

Notable Free Prose Contests, May-June

Calls for

New Literary Resources

New Recommended Book

Reserve Ads Now Before July 1 Price Increase

Critique of Gene Dixon's "Geoffrey and Margot, After the Breakup"


Newsletter Archives

May 2006

Send this page to a friend
We'll donate 15 cents to literacy

Welcome to our May newsletter. This is the companion to our online database, The Best Free Poetry Contests. It alerts you to upcoming contests and important contest changes.

Lost one of our newsletters? Message garbled in transmission? Not to worry. All our recent newsletters are posted online at

Want to make the text on this page (or any other web page) larger or smaller? We recommend using the Firefox browser, available at no charge. Learn more about Firefox.

An Update for 2006 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contestants
So many entries were received this year, the judges have requested more time. The 2006 contest results will now be announced on July 15. We appreciate your patience and enthusiastic participation. The results will be announced in this newsletter and on

Winning Writers Increases Literacy Donation Per Referral from 10 Cents to 15 Cents
Send this newsletter to a friend and we'll donate 15 cents to ProLiteracy for each friend you refer.

Two Scam-Busting Classics Restored
Please enjoy these old favorites just added to our new website:
Silver Cups: An Account of the International Society of Poets Convention in Orlando, March 2004
What to expect from a convention, by Mary Zayas.

"To My Grandmother": A Poem Submitted to
Veteran scam-fighter Charlie Hughes works his parodic magic on Al Case's vanity contest.

Jendi Reiter to Read at Saint Ann's School in Brooklyn, NY
Winning Writers editor Jendi Reiter will read her poetry on May 20 at the 40th Anniversary celebration of her high school, Saint Ann's School in Brooklyn, New York. The reading by contributors to the Saint Ann's Review will also include distinguished authors such as Hanging Loose editor Bob Hershon and Thomas Beller. This event will be held from 2:00-4:30pm on May 20 at Saint Ann's School, 129 Pierrepont Street, Brooklyn, NY. Manhattanites: Saint Ann's is just a short subway ride away. Take the 2 or 3 train to Clark Street, walk south one block down Henry Street to Pierrepont.

New Feature in Contest Profiles: Capsule Descriptions Help You Browse Profiles Quickly
As suggested by our readers, we're adding a "Description" field to the contest profiles in Poetry Contest Insider and The Best Free Poetry Contests. These capsule descriptions can help you decide quickly whether to enter a contest. Located at the top of each contest profile, the description summarizes the type of work sought, any special restrictions and other important features of the contest. No longer do you have to dig through a profile to find out that only a narrow group can enter. Contests with nearby deadlines are getting the descriptions first. Within a few months, all the active contests will have descriptions. If we can make this feature more useful to you, please let us know.


Congratulations to newsletter subscriber Arnot McCallum, whose humorous poems for children recently won several awards. McCallum writes, "My poem 'Kids' placed first in the Writer's Journal Poetry Contest for 2005. I also won First Prize in the Space Coast Poetry Contest and came in third plus two Honorable Mentions in the same contest. I also won the online Fatt Cat contest with my poem 'Forever'. Thanks for your help in locating these competitions." Read Mr. McCallum's work and find out about his books for children at

Judith Goldhaber
Sonnets from Aesop, a collection of poems by Judith Goldhaber, with illustrations by Gerson Goldhaber, has been honored with an Independent Publisher Book Award (IPPY) as one of the ten "Outstanding Books of the Year" published by an independent press in 2005. Ms. Goldhaber has subscribed to Poetry Contest Insider since 2002, and was a finalist in our 2003 War Poetry Contest.

The IPPY Awards, launched in 1996, are designed to bring increased recognition to books published by independent, university, small press and self-publishers in North America. IPPY awards are presented in 60 categories, ranging from art and science to self-help and reference. Among the thousands of books submitted, 10 are honored as "Outstanding Books of the Year".

Sonnets from Aesop is published by Ribbonweed Press of Berkeley, CA. The book consists of 100 of Aesop's fables re-told by Judith Goldhaber in the form of sonnets, each accompanied by a watercolor illustration by Gerson Goldhaber. Aesop’s outfoxed foxes, hapless lions, frisky donkeys, mutinous rabbits, wise insects, exasperated goddesses and bewildered mortals are brought to new and vivid life.

Chloe Brown writes, "I just received news that in a contest called "Art is Ageless" I won two first place awards. One was for a poem and the other for a short story! I am to read them both in Arlington, Texas on May 20. I was very pleased and encouraged! Proving that writing can be done at any age! I am 75." Ms. Brown has subscribed to Poetry Contest Insider since 2005.


Last Call!
75th Annual Writer's Digest Writing Competition
Late Postmark Deadline: June 1
For 75 years, the Annual Writer's Digest Writing Competition has rewarded writers just like you for their finest work. We're celebrating our milestone year by giving away more than $30,000 in cash and prizes! No other writing competition offers so many chances for you to win—or sends you to New York City to meet with editors or agents! Compete and win in 10 categories including Rhyming and Non-rhyming Poetry. For a complete list of prizes, guidelines and an entry form, visit or send an email to


Last Call!
War Poetry Contest
Postmark Deadline: May 31
Sponsored by Winning Writers. We seek original, unpublished poems for our fifth annual contest on the theme of war. Submit 1-3 poems, up to 500 lines in total. $3,000 in prizes will be awarded, including a top prize of $1,500. The entry fee is $12. This fee includes three months of online access to the Poetry Contest Insider database, a $6.95 value. Current subscribers to Poetry Contest Insider will be extended by three months. Judge: Jendi Reiter. Submit online or by mail. Guidelines:

Closing Next Month
Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for Traditional Verse
Postmark Deadline: June 30
Now in its third year, this contest seeks poetry in traditional verse forms such as sonnets and haiku. 30 cash prizes totaling $3,500 will be awarded, including a top prize of $1,000. All winners of cash prizes will be published in an anthology. The entry fee is $6 for every 25 lines you submit. Enter online or by mail. Early submission encouraged. 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. Judges: John H. Reid and Dee C. Konrad. Guidelines:

Get profiles on over 750 poetry contests, plus over 100 of the best prose contests. Search and sort contests by deadline, prize, fee, recommendation level and more. Interviews and links to award-winning work help you refine your craft. Explore Poetry Contest Insider for 10 days on us. If you like it, you'll pay just $6.95/quarter. If it's not for you, cancel and pay nothing. Learn more about Poetry Contest Insider.
"For a really complete list of poetry competitions, including rankings and summaries, I'd suggest subscribing to Winning Writers, a very good service and quite inexpensive."
Jeffery Bahr, "Awards and Competitions for First-Time Authors"


Deadlines: May 16-June 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.

5/24: CreekFest Poetry Contest +
Neutral free contest offers top prize of $150 for adults (age 15+), $100 savings bond for youth, for unpublished poems. All finalists must be present at CreekFest in Ortonville, MI on June 10, 2006 to read their poems at the festival, which celebrates and promotes preservation of Michigan waterways. Contact Margaret Heller for details.

5/31: Bards on the Bayou Poetry Contest +
Neutral free contest offers top prize of $100 for unpublished poems featuring bayous (not limited to nature poetry). Send 3 copies of 1-5 poems, maximum 50 lines each, with a separate cover letter including your contact information and 3-sentence bio. Submit by mail or email to with "Bards on the Bayou" in the subject line. Cosponsored by Spiky Palm, the literary journal of Texas A&M University at Galveston, and other local arts organizations, this contest is designed to educate people about the rich history, wildlife and natural beauty of the Texas bayous.

5/31: Bordighera Poetry Prize ++
Recommended free contest for manuscripts by Italian-American poets offers $1,000 each to the author and a commissioned translator who will translate the book into Italian. The poet must be a US citizen, but the translator may be an Italian native speaker from any country. The poet may translate his/her own work if bilingually qualified. Initial submission should be a 10-page sample from a manuscript of 48 pages maximum. See website for complete details.

5/31: Country Mouse Poetry Contest +
Entries must be received by this date
Twice-yearly neutral free contest sponsored by online poetry journal The Country Mouse offers $500 and publication. Send 1-5 poems, maximum 50 lines each. No simultaneous submissions.

5/31: Rosine Offen Memorial Award +
Neutral free contest offers $200 for the best poem published in every issue of Free Lunch (usually publishes at least two issues per year). There is no separate application process. Follow general submission guidelines. Magazine does not read submissions June through August.

5/31: Triplopia "Best of the Best" Poetry Competition +
Entries must be received by this date
Neutral free contest offers $100 and publication in the ezine Triplopia for poems that have already won first prize in another contest. Maximum 3 single-spaced pages per poem, 3 poems per person. Enter by email only.

6/1: American-Scandinavian Foundation Translation Prizes ++
Recommended contest offers $2,000 for English translations of modern poetry, fiction, drama or literary prose originally written after 1800 in Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian or Swedish. $1,000 Leif & Inger Sjoberg Prize will also be awarded to an individual whose translations have not previously been published. Submissions should be 25 pages of poetry or 50 pages of prose, and previously unpublished.

6/1: Claudia Ann Seaman Poetry Award ++
Entries must be received by this date
Recommended free contest for unpublished poems by US high school students offers $500 and publication in the notable literary journal Hanging Loose. Send 1-2 poems, maximum 10 pages total. Mail or email entries accepted.

6/1: Inglis House Poetry Contest +
Small prizes for poems by disabled authors or on the theme of disability, from a Philadelphia center for wheelchair-bound adults.

6/8: Glen Dimplex New Writers Awards +++
Entries must be received by this date
Highly recommended free contest for a first published book offers top prize of 20,000 pounds, plus 5,000 pounds in each of five categories: poetry, fiction, nonfiction/biography, children's book, and Irish-language book. Authors must have been born in the UK or Ireland, or lived there for at least 5 years. Books must have been published in the UK or Ireland between July 1, 2005 and June 30, 2006. Publishers should send 5 copies of the book plus entry form.

6/15: Towson University Prize for Literature ++
Recommended free contest offers $1,000 for published books of fiction, poetry, drama or imaginative nonfiction by Maryland residents (entries in all genres compete together). By nomination only.

6/30: Juan Rulfo Latin American and Caribbean Literary Award +++
Entries must be received by this date
$100,000 lifetime achievement award is given (by nomination only) to a native of Latin America or the Caribbean writing in Spanish, Portuguese or English or a native of Spain or Portugal writing in Spanish or Portuguese. This is one of several awards sponsored by the Guadalajara International Book Fair.

6/30: National Poetry Anthology +
Entries must be received by this date
Neutral free contest offers 1,000 pounds for an unpublished poem by a UK resident. Over 200 entrants will be published in the National Poetry Anthology and receive a free copy; authors selected for publication vote to determine the prizewinner. Send 1-3 poems, maximum 20 lines and 160 words each.

6/30: Utah Arts Council Original Writing Competition ++
Recommended free contest for Utah residents offers prizes up to $1,000 for unpublished full-length manuscripts of poetry, novels, general nonfiction and juvenile literature, plus smaller awards for individual poems, stories and essays.

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.



Sick of rejection letters? Get Feedback and Revise at
Get your writing read! Get the critical feedback to improve! 80,000 members want to read and comment on your poetry and prose. Basic membership is free, or get extra features like images for $4.95/month. Classes, contests, friends, fun and small writing groups. "All the muse that's fit to print" -

The Giant Book of Poetry
THE GIANT BOOK OF POETRY—Signed by the Author AND Free Shipping!
Order The Giant Book of Poetry today from and use coupon code WW-AS2 during checkout to receive a copy signed by editor Wiliiam Roetzheim plus free shipping! Mr. Roetzheim has collected the greatest poems and poets of all time into one affordable volume. More than 575 poems and 752 pages covering classics through contemporary, 60 illustrations and helpful reader notes about poem form, vocabulary and interpretation. Includes indexes by author, title, subject, source language and first line. Use the comment field during checkout to personalize the signature (e.g., "Happy Birthday, Jill"). Sample pages, reviews and more at Just $29.95 with free shipping. This offer expires soon. Order today.

"The Giant Book of Poetry is the perfect introductory anthology for new poetry readers."
    —Robert Kinsley

Have a Bestseller Ready to Go? Level 4 Press Seeks Authors
Level 4 Press is looking for authors with books complete or almost complete for our 2007 catalog. Prefer nonfiction but will entertain all ideas with the potential to sell 100,000 or more copies. We are a traditional press, not a print-on-demand or vanity publisher. Send your idea in a paragraph or two to or fax it to 619-374-7311. We will request sample chapters and resumes if we like the idea.

"Call of the Canyon", a Story; 2 Poems on Culinary Issues
An older couple, husband and wife, arrive at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon expecting to see a panorama that will be the highlight of a midweek Western excursion. Near an overlook, a foreign tourist posing for snapshots falls over a ledge. Shock waves pulse through the crowd. Search parties rush below. The older couple, deeply disturbed, leaves the park. En route back to Las Vegas, they rehash the incident—accident or murder?—as severe weather envelops them, further fraying nerves and shaking their usually reliable equilibrium. Poems: "Cooking" (on deadline) and "Saffron" (exquisite, out of reach).

New England Writer's Studio
Editorial Expertise offers writers a period of secluded concentration in Tamworth, New Hampshire. Located between the Lakes Region and the White Mountains, it is a village with exquisite mountain scenery and a library within walking distance. The Barnstormers Theatre, in the heart of the village, offers plays and concerts throughout the year. In July and August, actors are heard rehearsing their lines or chatting on the deck of the nearby cafe. The studio, with a private entrance and bathroom/utility room, is $200/weekend, $350/week, and $650/month. Dr. Elizabeth Tillar is available for editing and consultations (at $15/hour). Email or call 603-323-2924.

Writing It Real in Port Townsend Annual June Writer's Conference
Intimate, constructive writer's workshop June 22-26 in Port Townsend, WA with master teachers and writers Sheila Bender of WritingItReal, Jack Heffron of Emmis Books and formerly of Writer's Digest Books, and award-winning poet Susan Rich. Join us in the beautiful Northwest just after solstice when the light is long (family and companions will have plenty to do in the historic Victorian seaport town loaded with galleries, hiking and boating—we are near the Olympic National Park, the San Juan Islands and Victoria BC). Email for more details.

A Dash of Style Attention Creative Writers—A Dash of Style: The Art and Mastery of Punctuation
From Noah Lukeman, literary agent and bestselling author of The First Five Pages, comes a new book on the craft of writing: A Dash of Style: The Art and Mastery of Punctuation. Why did Poe and Melville rely on the semicolon? Why did Hemingway and Carver embrace the period? Filled with examples from literary masters, A Dash of Style is the first guide to punctuation for the readership that needs it the most: creative writers. In the tradition of Elements of Style, it can also be used by anyone hoping to write well.
      Punctuation reveals the writer: haphazard periods, for example, reveal haphazard thinking. Semicolons might indicate affectation; colons might denote melodrama; dashes might point to scattered thought. Yet in the right hands, these marks can also transform your writing from the banal to the exquisite. Punctuation can be used to teach the writer how to think, and subsequently how to write.
      A short, practical book, filled with original exercises, A Dash of Style teaches writers the benefits that can be reaped from mastering punctuation, such as word economy, enhanced style, clarity, progression and intention. Along with the major marks (the period, comma, semicolon, colon, quotation marks, the dash and parentheses) the book examines little-scrutinized marks such as the paragraph break and section break, and finally considers how they all might be used together in "The Symphony of Punctuation".

#1 Bestseller on Amazon Shorts. A selection of the Writer's Digest Book Club.

Dancing Poetry Festival
Last Call!
Artists Embassy International Poetry Contest - 43 Cash Awards
To further understanding and goodwill through the universal language of the arts

Postmark Deadline: June 1
Three $100 grand prizes and a video of your poem being performed at the Dancing Poetry Festival in San Francisco on October 7, plus cash awards for 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes. Reading fee is $5 for one poem, $10 for three poems. Each poem may have up to 40 lines. Send two copies of each poem. Put your name, address and phone number on one copy only. The anonymous copy will go to the judges. Please send your entries to: Judy Cheung - Chair, 704 Brigham Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95404. No entries will be returned. Complete guidelines:

Last Call!
5th Annual Kore Press First Book Award in Poetry
Postmark Deadline: June 1
Publication plus a $1,000 prize will be given to a woman poet writing in English. This competition is open to any female writer who has not published a full-length collection of poetry. Writers who have had chapbooks of less than 42 pages printed in editions of no more than 400 copies are eligible. Judge: Sonia Sanchez. Past judges have included Marilyn Chin, Eavan Boland, Jane Miller and Carolyn Forché. For details and submission instructions see

Closing Next Month
Write On: Free Poetry Contest
Email Submission Deadline: June 15
Twice a year, the editors of Write On's POETRY PLACE pick one outstanding poem to showcase online. Enter our third contest now. Email your poem to Limit one poem per person, up to 55 lines. The winner will be announced and published by July 1. [Note: The Write On website is being upgraded this week. If you can't access it today, please try again at the end of the week.]

Closing Next Month
Autumn House Poetry Prize: $2,500 and Book Publication
Postmark Deadline: June 30
Winner will receive book publication, a $1,000 advance against royalties and a $1,500 travel grant to participate in the 2007 Autumn House Master Poets Series in Pittsburgh. The contest is open to all full-length collections of poetry 50-80 pages in length. If poems have been previously published, then acknowledgement must be given to other publishers, and the poet must control rights to all previously published material. All finalists will be considered for publication. Final judge is Tim Seibles. Please enclose a $25 handling fee, payable to Autumn House Press. Send your manuscript and fee to Autumn House Press, Attn: Poetry Prize, P.O. Box 60100, Pittsburgh, PA 15211.

Autumn House has published full-length poetry collections by Gerald Stern, Ruth L. Schwartz, Ed Ochester, Julie Suk and many other outstanding poets. For more information, please see

The Litchfield Review Summer Contest
Postmark Deadline: July 31
The Litchfield Review seeks original, unpublished poems, essays and short stories for its current contest. We provide a forum to both emerging and established writers; our only criterion for acceptance is excellence. We look for good stories beautifully told, quality poetry of substance, and creative nonfiction that lingers long in the minds of readers. The overall winner will receive $250. Other prizes of $100 may also be awarded. The reading fee is $10 per essay, short story, or set of 1-3 poems; or $15 to submit an unlimited number of prose and poetry entries. All prizewinners will be published in The Litchfield Review. Runners-up may also be published. All writers we publish will receive a free copy of the issue in which they appear.

Please submit two copies of your manuscript and make your reading fee payable to The Litchfield Review. Essays and short stories may be up to 3,000 words long. Poems may have up to 45 lines. Your entry should be typed, double-spaced, on one side of letter-size sheets of paper. Staple multiple pages together. Include a cover page with your name, address, phone number, email address (if available) and title for each submission. Indicate the word count (prose) or line count (poetry) on the cover page.

Mail your submission to: The Litchfield Review, 7 Bonna Street, Beacon Falls, CT 06403.

You may submit the same work simultaneously to this contest and to others. Please notify The Litchfield Review if the work you submit is accepted elsewhere. Questions? Please email Theresa C. Vara-Dannen.

The Natchez Poetry Contest
Postmark Deadline: July 31
First Prize $1,000. Two $250 Honorable Mentions. Seeks original, unpublished poems, 40-line limit, no limit on the number of poems. Winners and other selected entrants will be published in an anthology by year end. This contest is held in conjunction with the annual Art and Soul Festival of Natchez, Mississippi. It is managed by the Natchez poetry community under the aegis of Art and Soul, and will be blind-judged by a New Orleans poet. $7 entry fee per poem, payable to A&S Poetry. Read the complete guidelines and obtain your entry form at Mail your poems, entry form and fee to: Judy Wiggins, Humanities Coordinator, Copiah-Lincoln Community College, 11 Co-Lin Circle, Natchez MS 39120.



These free prose contests with deadlines between May 16 and June 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.

5/31: Bechtel Prize +++
Highly recommended free contest from Teachers & Writers offers $3,500 for the best unpublished essay or article relating to creative writing education, literary studies, and/or the profession of writing. Maximum 5,000 words.

5/31: Jerry Jazz Musician Fiction Contest +
Entries must be received by this date
Thrice-yearly free neutral contest offers $200 and web publication for short fiction. The Jerry Jazz Musician reader has interests in music, social history, literature, politics, art, film and theater, particularly that of the counter-culture of mid-20th century America. Entries should appeal to a reader with these characteristics. Submit stories of 1,000-5,000 words by email to as an MS Word or Adobe Acrobat attachment. Please be sure to include your name, address and phone number with your submission. Please include "Short Fiction Contest Submission" in the subject heading of the email.

6/1: Chicano/Latino Literary Prize ++
Recommended free contest for English- and Spanish-language writing in various genres offers top prize of $1,000 and transportation to the award ceremony in Irvine, CA. Authors must be US citizens or permanent residents, but need not be of Chicano/Latino descent. The award is given in a different genre each year: drama in 2006, novel in 2007, short story collection in 2008, poetry collection in 2009.

6/1: Novello Literary Award +
Neutral free contest for North and South Carolina writers over age 18 offers $1,000 and publication for a manuscript of literary fiction or nonfiction, 200-400 double-spaced pages. One entry per person. Entries in both genres compete for one prize.

6/16: Landfall Essay Competition ++
Entries must be received by this date
Recommended free contest for New Zealand citizens offers NZ$2,500 for the best essay on any topic, maximum 6,000 words. Sponsored by the literary journal Landfall. The purpose of the competition is "to encourage New Zealand writers to think aloud about New Zealand culture, and to revive and sustain the tradition of vivid, contentious and creative essay writing in this country." One entry per person. Offered in even-numbered years only.

6/30: Drue Heinz Literature Prize +++
Highly recommended free contest for an unpublished book-length collection of short fiction (150-300 pages) includes $15,000 and publication by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Open to writers who have published a book-length collection of fiction or a minimum of three short stories or novellas in commercial magazines or literary journals of national distribution.

6/30: L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future Contest ++
Recommended free contest for emerging writers of short science fiction, fantasy and horror offers quarterly prizes of $1,000 plus an annual $4,000 grand prize for one of the four winners. Send only one story per quarter, maximum 17,000 words. See website for eligibility rules.

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.



The Great American Poetry Show
Hardcover poetry anthology is open year-round to submissions of poems in English on any subject and in any style, length and number. Submit by mail or email. Each anthology contains about 100 poems; publication schedule is about 2 years between volumes. Simultaneous submissions and previously published poems are welcome. Response time is usually 1-3 months. Each contributor receives one free copy of the volume in which his/her work appears. See website for table of contents and contributors' list from Volume 1. Site also has an extensive directory of poetry links.

Streetlight Magazine
Postmark Deadline: July 1
Streetlight Magazine: A Journal of Art & Literature seeks poetry, fiction, nonfiction, black and white photos and artwork for their Fall 2006 issue. Streetlight prefers to publish contributors who reside in or have some connection to Charlottesville, VA, and the surrounding areas. The magazine also considers manuscripts without regard to geographic boundaries, but with a bias toward Central Virginia contributors. Poems from Streetlight have been featured on Verse Daily and Poetry Daily. Poetry submissions should be 1-5 poems, maximum 10 single-spaced pages; prose should be maximum 8,000 words/24 double-spaced pages. See website for complete guidelines.

Hayden's Ferry Review: "Works of Witness"
Postmark Deadline: July 30
Hayden's Ferry Review, a well-regarded literary journal based at Arizona State University, is seeking poetry, fiction, essays and visual art for their special feature on "Works of Witness". Entries should "explore social and political injustice on any scale, give a voice to the voiceless, raise a call for awareness and act as a catalyst for change." Pays $25/page, up to $100, plus 2 copies and gift subscription.

Voices Israel Annual Anthology
Postmark Deadline: September 1
The Voices Israel Group of Poets in English seeks submissions for their 33rd annual anthology, edited by poet and artist Helen Bar-Lev. Send 1-4 poems, preferably no more than 40 lines each. A contribution of $10 is appreciated but not required. Previously published poems and translations are accepted if you own the anthology rights. Late submissions will be held for the 2007 anthology. Read the history of the Voices Israel Group here.

News: Zoo Press Contests Discontinued
According to the May/June 2006 Poets & Writers Magazine, Zoo Press, sponsor of the highly regarded Kenyon Review and Paris Review Prizes for poetry manuscripts, has folded under questionable circumstances. Several winners reportedly have not received their prize money, nor were fees refunded for the most recent contests in which no winner was chosen. We apologize to our subscribers for having recommended these contests, whose troubles were unknown to us.



Advice on How to Sell Poetry
Published poet Neile Graham offers a useful basic overview of manuscript formatting, submission etiquette, and researching markets for your work.
Friendly amateur poetry forum allows authors to comment on each other's work, advertise their websites and host contests on their pages. Basic membership is free. For an additional $4.95, you can add graphics to your poem. Most useful for beginning writers. Some of the featured poems on the homepage are quite entertaining.

Animated Poems by Billy Collins
Delightful short animated films in which former US Poet Laureate Billy Collins reads his poems out loud as accompanying images illustrate his words. View online or download to your iPod or PDA.

Ask About Writing
UK writing competition and festival listings, literary news, trivia contests and other information for creative writers.

Cervena Barva Press
This new literary press with connections to the Cambridge, Mass. poetry scene was founded by Gloria Mindock, longtime editor of the Boston Literary Review. Ms. Mindock says, "The press solicits poetry, fiction, and plays from various writers around the world, and holds open contests regularly for its chapbooks, postcards, broadsides and full-length books. I look for work that has a strong voice, is unique, and that takes risks with language. I encourage queries from Central and Eastern Europe." Subscribe to their free monthly email newsletter to read author interviews and find out about upcoming readings and new plays being produced around the country.

Coffee House to Go
ESC! Magazine's monthly podcast for writers and the small press community offers readings of poetry, short fiction, interviews and reviews as well as featured music from independent bands and musicians.

Electronic Poetry Center
Links to dozens of small presses and literary journals that publish poetry, plus selected poets' webpages and historic documents, with a particular interest in experimental, postmodern and "language poetry". We were amused by the "Device for Generating a Contemporary Essay Title". Site is maintained by SUNY-Buffalo.

MyPods Poetry Podcasting Page
Page of links to poetry podcast directories. MyPods homepage offers useful technical advice for the beginner.

National Education Association Foundation Grants
Grants for educators at US public schools, colleges and universities to improve student literacy, develop new education programs, and retain qualified teachers in high-risk communities. Read about the wonderful work that Winning Writers subscriber Jane Guttman is doing with her Read Across America grant at the Juvenile Court School in San Bernardino, CA. Want to help? Find a prison school in your area and donate books, or volunteer to read your favorites to the kids.

Playscripts, Inc.
This service aims at matching authors of new plays with producers who are looking for specific types of work. Searchable database allows you to sort scripts by genre, duration, and casting requirements, and read samples online. Books & Poetry
Eclectic list of over 100 links to literary podcasts, including poetry, journalism, children's literature, and foreign-language works.

Publishing Basics for Self-Publishers
Informative columns by experienced authors and publishers guide you through all the stages of the self-publishing process, including how to avoid scams, how many copies to print, and the meaning of technical terms in your publishing contract. Download editor Ron Pramschufer's free ebooks Publishing Basics and Publishing Basics for Children's Books, or purchase hard copies through the website.

The Punji Pit
Well-crafted poetry by Vietnam veteran John A. Moller recounts the experiences of the New Zealanders who fought in that war. We especially liked 'A Gunner Goes Home'.

Ralan's Webstravaganza
Large link directory of markets and contests for writers, broken down by type of publisher (anthology, paying publication, semi-professional magazines, book publishers and so on). Science fiction, fantasy and horror writers will find the site most useful, but there are also a number of general-interest and poetry links.

The Reanimation Library
Unique online archive of quirky diagrams and illustrations from outdated reference books, which the library makes available for writers and visual artists to appropriate in their own work (within the bounds of copyright law). Interested in tennis manuals from 1948? How about Home Taxidermy for Pleasure and Profit? For those with an offbeat sense of humor, the possibilities are endless. The library was started in 2002 by Andrew Beccone, contributing editor of the literary journal jubilat.

St. Mihiel Trip-Wire
Online newsletter of the Great War Society features historical research, book recommendations and links to materials about World War I.

Multimedia poetry slam site includes video and audio downloads, short animated features, and news of upcoming performances.

The Vietnam Veterans' Wordsmiths
Webring of sites devoted to the writings of Vietnam veterans includes both literary sites and personal homepages of veterans and their families.

War, Literature & the Arts
Handsome literary journal published by the English Department at the US Air Force Academy features writing by well-known authors such as Philip Caputo, Andre Dubus and Carolyn Forché.

See all our resources now at This is also the gateway to our recommended books, magazines, service providers, advice for writers (with manuscript tips) and poetry critiques.



In the Ghost-House Acquainted
By Kevin Goodan. Prizewinning first collection of poetry depicts the farming life unsentimentally yet with wonder at the mysteries of birth, death and transcendence. The language of these poems can be as stark and rugged as a Massachusetts winter, then blossom forth with the joy and terror of encountering the sacred in the cycles of nature. This book won the 2004 New England/New York Award from Alice James Books and the 2005 L.L. Winship Award from PEN/New England.



Last Call!
War Poetry Contest
Postmark Deadline: May 31
Sponsored by Winning Writers. We seek original, unpublished poems for our fifth annual contest on the theme of war. Submit 1-3 poems, up to 500 lines in total. $3,000 in prizes will be awarded, including a top prize of $1,500. The entry fee is $12. This fee includes three months of online access to the Poetry Contest Insider database, a $6.95 value. Current subscribers to Poetry Contest Insider will be extended by three months. Judge: Jendi Reiter. Submit online or by mail. Guidelines:

Closing Next Month
Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for Traditional Verse
Postmark Deadline: June 30
Now in its third year, this contest seeks poetry in traditional verse forms such as sonnets and haiku. 30 cash prizes totaling $3,500 will be awarded, including a top prize of $1,000. All winners of cash prizes will be published in an anthology. The entry fee is $6 for every 25 lines you submit. Enter online or by mail. Early submission encouraged. 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. Judges: John H. Reid and Dee C. Konrad. Guidelines:

Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest
Postmark Deadline: September 30
Now in its fourth year, this contest seeks poems in any style, theme or genre. 30 cash prizes totaling $3,500 will be awarded, including a top prize of $1,000. All winners of cash prizes will be published in an anthology. The entry fee is $6 for every 25 lines you submit. Enter online or by mail. Early submission encouraged. 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. Judges: John H. Reid and Dee C. Konrad. Guidelines:

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 published and receive money for your work! 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.

2006 Poet's Market
The 2006 edition of Poet's Market is on sale for $16.49 at Amazon. Published each August by Writer's Digest, this is the best annual guide to 1,800 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 updated are Novel & Short Story Writer's Market and Writer's Market for works of prose. Writer's Market is "the most valuable of tools for the writer new to the marketplace," says Stephen King in On Writing.

Office Depot - May Coupon
Save on paper, toner, binders and all your writing supplies at Office Depot. Free delivery in select areas when you order $50 or more. Coupon:
Save $30 off any $150 Purchase from Office Depot in May!

Advertise to 16,000 Poets and Writers
Promote your contests, websites, events and publications in this newsletter. Reach over 16,000 poets and writers for $35. Ads may contain up to 100 words and a headline. Our rates are rising to $50/ad starting on July 1. Reserve now at the lower $35 rate:

"Advertising with Winning Writers produced immediate, extraordinary results! Our first ad, as well as our published interview with Jendi Reiter, linked us with fine writers across the world, a connection that continues to enrich our issues, annual contest, and readership."
Susan Cowger, Editor, Rock & Sling

"The ads we have run in the Winning Writers newsletter have garnered more response and inquiry than any other ads we have run in 20 years of publication."
Ted O. Badger, Editor, Lucidity Poetry Journal

"Thanks for the great advertising value your service continues to offer. Your subscriber base continues to serve as the foundation for our submissions."
Robert Woerheide, Editor in Chief, Perigee



Success Stories in Literacy

Adapted from A Way With Words, by Ruth J. Colvin, founder of Literacy Volunteers of America...

THE TUTOR for a lonely 72-year-old widow told us that this woman's personal goal and victory was to read the letters she received from her scattered children. Week after week, she brought the letters to her lesson, where the teacher and the student would decode the mysterious words. The widow was delighted when she could read most of a letter, by herself, and even more ecstatic when she wrote her first letter—to her son.


"WE CAME to the United States of America as Chinese scholars, knowing how to read and write English well. But we had problems—we couldn't understand what the people in the USA said, and they didn't understand us. The LVA tutors helped us with our conversational English, so that we could communicate day-by-day with local residents, students and professors, and they became our friends."


"I AM from Russia. I am in the U.S.A. about two years. I and my husband couldn't speak and understand English and we felt as a deaf people. But we are very lucky, we have a very good teacher. She is a volunteer. For us it is a big surprise, because we never heard about volunteer in Russian. It is wonderful. Now we are not deaf. We can speak and understand English."


ProLiteracy WorldwideLiteracy Volunteers of America has joined with Laubach Literacy International to form ProLiteracy Worldwide. ProLiteracy is now the oldest and largest nongovernmental literacy organization in the world. It sponsors educational programs that help adults and their families acquire the literacy practices and skills they need to function more effectively in their daily lives.

Support ProLiteracy's vital mission. Click here to learn more. Click here to contribute. To order a copy of A Way With Words, please contact New Readers Press.

Winning Writers Increases Donation Per Referral from 10 Cents to 15 Cents
Send this newsletter to a friend and we'll donate 15 cents to ProLiteracy for each friend you refer.



This month, Critique Corner is pleased to present "Geoffrey and Margot, After the Breakup" by Gene Dixon.

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!

by Gene Dixon

On second thought
he should have brought some wine and cheese.
But he showed up, instead,
with a loaf of plain white bread,
some cold cuts and a box of faded memories.

There wasn't anything to drink,
just water from that rust-stained sink.
He would have liked some tea but
she ran out the other day.
So he squeezed a withered lemon slice
and wondered if the awful price
was something that he honestly
could ever hope to pay.

The years they spent together,
like the vagaries of weather,
were highs and lows and arguments,
the kind most people have.
But the roads were getting much too steep,
the wounds were getting much too deep
to be healed by any ordinary antiseptic salve.

He knew it wasn't meant to last.
She ran her life so god damned fast.
He had trouble keeping up with her
just getting into bed.
She was like a lonely rose
thorns disguised in perfumed prose.
Holding on would leave him
with his fingers freshly bled.

So he finally broke it off
announcing with a nervous cough
that he'd rented an apartment
on the other side of town.
There was a sadness in her eyes
that somewhat softened her replies
though she stung his ears with one last taunt,
"You'll never live this down!"

But like a knitted sleeve's unraveling,
love's tether seems an endless string,
so he'd look for vagrant reasons
to take that crosstown ride.
He'd find her scarf among his things.
He'd hear a song they used to sing
and so he'd go, they'd share some bread
and all the truths they used to hide.

Copyright 2006 by Gene Dixon

Critique by Jendi Reiter

Gene Dixon's "Geoffrey and Margot, After the Breakup" is a bittersweet poem that makes the most of the ambiguous terrain between serious and light verse. Like the ex-husband it describes, the poem does not make a show of its romantic intentions, but sidles up to the reader, seeming to have nothing consequential on its mind, till the poignant surprise of the final lines. The irregular number of lines per stanza, and the relaxed meter, similarly disguise the artifice of the consistent "aabccb" rhyme scheme.

I appreciated how all these elements of the poem worked together to create an unbroken mood of quiet intimacy, tinged with equal parts humor and sadness. The characters' names are well-chosen; I pictured a middle-aged British couple who see themselves as too old and sensible for the operatic language of love, preferring the depth of their relationship to remain unspoken. The ending leaves us wondering whether the price of their newfound trust is too high. Did love have to die before friendship could begin—or will they find their way back to each other?...

critique continues here

This poem, our critique and contest suggestions for poems in this style appear in full at:

See all of our 2005-2006 poetry critiques


Links to New Award-Winning Poems
Special Offers for Poets and Writers

The Best Free Poetry Contests for June 16-July 31