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Featured Poem:
"The Fibonacci Series"

Featured Poem:
"The Bird Girl of Savannah"

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September 2007

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Welcome to our September newsletter. This is the companion to our online database, The Best Free Poetry Contests. It alerts you to upcoming contests and important contest changes, highlights quality resources for writers, and announces achievements and great poems by our readers.

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


Last Call!
Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest
Postmark Deadline: September 30
Now in its fifth year, this contest seeks poems in any style, theme or genre. Both published and unpublished poems are welcome. 30 cash prizes totaling $3,500 will be awarded, including a top prize of $1,000. The entry fee is $6 for every 25 lines you submit. Submit online or by mail. This contest is sponsored by Tom Howard Books and assisted by Winning Writers. Judges: John H. Reid and Dee C. Konrad. See the complete guidelines and past winners.

Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest
Postmark Deadline: March 31, 2008
Now in its 16th year. Prizes of $2,000, $1,000, $500 and $250 will be awarded, plus five High Distinction awards of $200 each and five Most Highly Commended Awards of $100 each. Submit any type of short story, essay or other work of prose, up to 5,000 words. You may submit work that has been published or won prizes elsewhere, as long as you own the online publication rights. $12 entry fee. Submit online or by mail. Early submission encouraged. Winning Writers is assisting with entry handling for this contest. Judges: John H. Reid and Dee C. Konrad. See the complete guidelines and past winners.

Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest - No Fee
Online Submission Deadline: April 1, 2008
Winning Writers invites you to enter the seventh annual Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest, called "infamous" by Writer's Digest. Fifteen cash prizes totaling $3,336.40 will be awarded, including a top prize of $1,359. There is no fee to enter. Judge: Jendi Reiter. See the complete guidelines and past winners.


Tom Howard Books is pleased to announce the results from its fourth annual Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for Traditional Verse. Johnmichael Simon of Metulla, Israel won first prize and $1,000 for his poem "On the Border". Hundreds of poems were received from around the world. See the press release announcing the winners.

Of Mr. Simon's entry, the judges said, "It is difficult to make a political statement in a poem without appearing gauche, over-emphatic or unpardonably declamatory. Johnmichael Simon has risen to the challenge nobly. By writing three vividly visual impressions of life 'on the border' in poetic rather than newspaper-headline terms, he has captured the essence of a powerful plea for Middle East harmony."

The second prize of $400 went to Sally Odgers of Tasmania for "Spinning Pearls". This dream-like poem portrays a mysterious, magical woman whose gifts are now neglected by the world. Cynthia Rausch Allar of Pasadena, CA won third prize and $200 for her poem "Uncovered". In this poignant poem, the rituals of a Catholic girlhood are the context for feelings of grief and helplessness when prayers seem to go unanswered.

A total of $4,800 in cash prizes were awarded. See the complete list of winners and commended entries, plus the judges' comments. The next Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for Traditional Verse will open here on November 15.


Winning Writers editor Jendi Reiter was one of ten "Poets of Distinction" (honorable mentions) in the Florence Poets Society Annual Poetry Contest. Winning Writers subscribers were well-represented on the winners' list, including Poets of Distinction Michelle Bitting and Ute Carson, and "Poets of Merit" (finalists) Judith Goldhaber, Carol Bachofner, Charles Atkinson and Dion Farquhar. The most recent deadline for this $1,000 prize was July 15. The winners and runners-up will be reading their work at the Florence Poetry Festival, October 7, from 12:30-6:00 at Look Park in Florence, Massachusetts.

Congratulations to Carol Gilbertson. Her poem "Hercules" won first prize in the poetry category of the Flyway Sweet Corn Prize. This award from Iowa State University's Flyway Literary Review offers $150 and a basket of sweet corn. The most recent deadline was March 1.

Congratulations to John Alexanderson. He won an honorable mention in the "Rhyme Time" contest from Time of Singing, a Christian poetry magazine. This journal offers several themed contests per year, with prizes based on a percentage of entry fees received. Mr. Alexanderson was also a finalist (top 5%) in Atlanta Review's International Poetry Competition.

Congratulations to Judith Goldhaber. Her poem "The Fibonacci Series" won a Third Prize in the Dancing Poetry Contest from Artists Embassy International. She kindly shares this poem with us below. The Dancing Poetry Contest offers prizes up to $100 plus the opportunity to have your poem presented as an interpretive dance at the annual Dancing Poetry Festival. This year's festival will take place on September 29 from noon-4pm at the Florence Gould Theater, Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco. The most recent deadline was May 15.

Congratulations to Noble Collins. He also won a Third Prize in this year's Dancing Poetry Contest from Artists Embassy International, for his poem "The Bird Girl of Savannah". He kindly shares this poem with us below.


If you enjoy using The Best Free Poetry Contests, consider upgrading to Poetry Contest Insider. The Best Free Poetry Contests profiles the 150 or so poetry contests that are free to enter. With your Poetry Contest Insider subscription, you'll get access to all of our 750+ poetry contest profiles, plus over 100 of the best prose contests. Search and sort contests by deadline, prize, fee, recommendation level and more. Access to Poetry Contest Insider is just $6.95 per quarter, with a free 10-day trial at the start. Cancel at any time.

Most contests charge entry fees. You can easily spend hundreds of dollars and many hours entering these contests each year. Don't waste your time or money. Out of hundreds of contests, there might only be two or three dozen that are especially appropriate for your work. We help you find them fast. Interviews and links to award-winning work help you refine your craft. Learn more about Poetry Contest Insider.
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"I love using I send poems and manuscripts out to probably 20 contests each month from your listings... I recommend it to all my writer friends and students, too. I don’t see how a writer can live without it. It's like air or water."
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"As a beginning writer, I had no idea where to send my work for submission or for contest entries... With guidance from your website, I was able to figure out which contests my poetry, short stories and essays might do well in. I've also used it to sign up to receive wonderful magazine and journal publications of contemporary poetry, short stories and nonfiction that I would never have found without your website.

"Since using your website in the summer this past year (just six short months ago), I won First Prize in the Margaret Reid Traditional Verse Contest, a short story of mine, "Magnolia", was a finalist for the 2006 New Letters Alexander Cappon Award for Fiction, my poem "The Blue Laptop" was long listed for the 2006 Bridport Prize, and now, I'm waiting to hear if my poem, "Tombstones", moves up from the short list of the Poetry at Work Challenge. That almost averages out to one placement or prize a month due to your website!

"...I've got a bunch of other pieces out for consideration. I'll keep you posted if anything else wonderful happens. This really has been a tremendous year for me and I truly couldn't have done it without your website."
Susan Keith, California

See more testimonials here, plus coverage of Winning Writers in Writer's Digest and The Writer, or start your trial now.


Deadlines: September 16-October 31

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.

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Winning Writers gathers contest information from a wide variety of sources including publishers' press releases, online link directories, Poets & Writers Magazine, and e-newsletters such as TOTAL FundsforWriters, The Practicing Writer, and CRWROPPS. We encourage readers to explore these useful resources, and let us know about worthwhile contests we may have missed.

9/28: Abolition 2007 Poetry Competition ++
Entries must be received by this date
Recommended free contest offers 500 pounds and publication on the Arts Council England website for poems of any length on the theme of slavery. Entrants must be UK residents with no published books of poetry. This contest is a one-time event commemorating the 200th anniversary of Britain's abolition of the slave trade.

9/30: Familia Books Writing Contest +
Neutral contest offers prizes up to $500 for prose, $100 for poetry, on the theme "Things Mother Taught Me". Winners published in anthology. Fifty percent of the profits from the book will be donated to shelters for mothers and their children escaping from abusive relationships. Entries should reflect life's lessons learned from one's mother, regarding values, ethics, relationships. They should be generally positive, but may explore areas of disagreement or conflict with one's mother. Maximum 3,000 words.

9/30: International Tanka Splendor Award +
Entries must be received by this date
Neutral free contest offers small prizes for unpublished tanka, a Japanese form. 31 tanka and three tanka sequences will be published in annual anthology and the authors will receive a $20 gift certificate from AHA Books. Send either 1-3 tanka or one titled sequence of 3+ tanka. A tanka is five lines and up to 31 syllables. No simultaneous submissions. Contest is judged anonymously by those entrants who submitted their work online.

10/1: Jack Micheline Memorial Book Contest +
Entries must be received by this date
Neutral free contest for poetry manuscripts of 35-65 pages offers publication by Tainted Coffee Press in an edition with cover art by Jack Micheline. Co-sponsored by the Guild of Outsider Writers. Tainted Coffee Press publishes the alternative poetry 'zine Zygote In My Coffee.

10/15: Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship +++
Entries must be received by this date
Highly recommended free contest offers a fellowship of about $49,000 for US poets, to fund a year of travel outside North America. Entrants must be US citizens by virtue of birth in the US, or birth outside the US to an American citizen parent. While contest is open to all, poets with significant publishing credits have the best chance. Application should include 40 pages of poetry, or copy of published book and 20 pages of additional poetry. See website for other materials required.

10/15: Fernando Rielo World Prize for Mystical Poetry +
Neutral free contest offers 7,000 euros for unpublished "poetry expressing the spiritual values of humanity in their profound religious significance", written in Spanish or English or translated into one of these languages. Open to all nationalities, but most winners have been from Spain and South America. Entries should be 600-1,300 lines. No simultaneous submissions.

10/31: Eric Gregory Awards +++
Entries must be received by this date
Highly recommended free contest offers prizes totaling 24,000 pounds for a collection of up to 30 poems, drama-poems or belles-lettres, by a writer who will be under age 30 as of March 31 of the following year. The author must be a British subject by birth but not a national of Eire or any of the British Dominions or Colonies, and must ordinarily be resident in the United Kingdom or Northern Ireland. Previously published work accepted.

10/31: Lucidity Poetry Journal Awards +
Neutral free contest offers top prize of $100 (doubled this year) for poems about the human experience. Editor Ted Badger says: "Seeking poetry that deals with people, relationships, life issues and events, written in clear and concise English. Form of the poem is open but it must have something to say without resorting to vulgarity. Clarity is crucial. We publish poetry that everyday people can relate to, understand and enjoy." Submit 1-5 poems, maximum 38 lines each (including stanza breaks). Address entries to "Lucidity Poetry Journal 2007 Contest".

10/31: Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award +++
Entries must be received by this date
Highly recommended contest from UK-based Society of Authors offers 5,000 pounds for the best book of poetry, fiction or creative nonfiction by a UK author who will be under 35 as of December 31. Entries in all genres compete for one prize. The author must be a British citizen ordinarily resident in Britain. The work submitted must have been first published in Britain in the year in which the deadline falls.

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.



TJMF Publishing—Call for Submissions TJMF Publishing
TJMF Publishing is beginning a new chapter in its short three-year history. We are now offering two publishing programs, Traditional and Cooperative publishing, and we've established three new affiliations with Google Books, and Baker and Taylor. We're looking for great manuscripts in all genres. Visit us at or at

Now through October 1, we're looking for your best PET poem. Just something you've written; serious or funny, cute or cunning, whatever it be, email us your poem. There's no fee to submit. We'll be publishing all the selected poems in a special TJMF book to be released at the Kentucky Expo Christmas Show this December 7-9. TJMF is an exhibitor at the show that annually draws over 50,000 people. All published submissions will receive a FREE copy of the book, first prize gets a $50 gift certificate to our bookstore and three copies of the new book, second and third prizes receive $20 gift certificates and two free copies. Questions? Please email us.

Rachel Basch
Just One Month Away!
Announcing the 2nd Annual Litchfield Review Writers' Conference at Chase Collegiate School
Saturday, October 20, 2007, 9am-5pm
St. Margaret's Hall, 565 Chase Parkway, Waterbury, CT (see map)

Keynote Speaker: Novelist Rachel Basch, author of Degrees of Love and The Passion of Reverend Nash

Workshops with novelist Kay Abella, novelist Chantel Acevedo, nonfiction magazine writer Chris Dannen, publisher/author Patricia D'Ascoli, composer/researcher Janet Marlow, editor Laura Hazard Owen, magazine writer Colleen Plimpton, children's author Nan Rossiter, editor Keneisha Sinclair and poet/author Theresa C. Vara

To reserve a place, please register online at or make your $100 check payable to The Litchfield Review Writers' Conference and mail to:

     Mary Donnarumma Sharnick, Editor
     The Litchfield Review
     7 Bonna Street
     Beacon Falls, CT 06403

Questions? Please contact Mary at 203-723-9321 or at

CUTTHROAT Literary Awards
Last Call!
CUTTHROAT's Joy Harjo Poetry/Rick DeMarinis Short Fiction Awards
Postmark Deadline: October 10
First Prize in each genre: $1,250 and publication in CUTTHROAT. Second Prize in each genre: $250 and publication in CUTTHROAT. All subjects and styles welcome. Send three unpublished poems (100 line limit for each) or one unpublished short story (5,000 word limit), a cover sheet with the titles of your submission, author name, address, phone and email address, and a $15 reading fee payable to Raven's Word Writers Center.

All manuscripts must be in 12-point font. Fiction submissions must be double-spaced. Manuscripts will not be returned. Enclose a stamped self-addressed envelope (SASE) to receive an announcement of the winners. Enclose a stamped postcard if you wish to be notified of receipt of your entry. Author name must not appear on any manuscript page.

Mail your entry to:
Genre: [Poetry or Short Story]
P.O. Box 2414
Durango, CO 81302

Winners announced in December 2007. All finalists will be acknowledged in CUTTHROAT and considered for publication. Winners are announced in POETS & WRITERS and the AWP Chronicle. Judges: Rebecca Seiferle and John McNally. Enter as often as you wish. For more information, please go to, email, or call 970-903-7914. Pamela Uschuk, Editor In Chief.

The Litchfield Review
The Litchfield Review Writing Contest
Postmark Deadline: December 31
We seek poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction for our semi-annual magazine competition. Prose entries should be 3,000 words or less. Poetry entries may be of any length.

To be considered for both publication and a cash prize, please enclose $10 with each essay, short story, or set of 1-3 poems. Enclose $15 and you may submit an unlimited number of entries. Mail your manuscripts to:

     The Litchfield Review
     7 Bonna Street
     Beacon Falls, CT 06403

For more information and news about our ongoing writing contests, please check our website,, or contact Theresa C. Vara at

The Litchfield Review proudly congratulates Bobbi Dykema Katsanis as the First Prize winner of The Litchfield Review Spring 2007 Writing Contest. Her poem "Brother August: A Psalm" appears in the Spring issue.

The Litchfield Review proudly announces Marshall Leroy Smith as the Second Prize winner of The Litchfield Review Spring 2007 Writing Contest. His piece "The Mountains Divide" appears in the Spring issue.



These free prose contests with deadlines between September 16 and October 31 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.

9/17: Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest for College Students +++
Formerly September 15
Highly recommended free contest for full-time college students offers $10,000 top prize, other large prizes, for essays on Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged. Essays should be based on one of the three questions on the website, and be 1,000-1,200 words long. Enter by mail or online. Contest is looking for entries that are sympathetic to Rand's rationalist, libertarian philosophy. See website for other student contests.

9/21: Glass Woman Prize +
Entries must be received by this date; late submissions held for the next contest
Neutral free contest offers $380 and online publication for the best short fiction or creative nonfiction by women. Both published and unpublished work welcome. Entries should be 1-25 double-spaced pages. Contest sponsor Beate Sigriddaughter says, "Subject is open, but must be of significance to women. My criterion is passion, excellence, and authenticity in the woman’s writing voice."

9/30: Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize +++
Entries must be received by this date
Highly recommended free contest from major literary publisher offers $12,000 for the best full-length manuscript of creative nonfiction by a US resident with no more than two published books in that genre. Entries should be 175-400 double-spaced pages.

9/30: Iowa Short Fiction Prize ++
Recommended contest from the prestigious Iowa Writers' Workshop seeks a manuscript of short fiction (150 pages minimum) by an author who has not previously published a book of prose fiction in English. (Books in other genres or languages, and self-published books, do not disqualify you.) Prize is publication under a standard royalty contract.

9/30: Jerry Jazz Musician Fiction Contest +
Entries must be received by this date
Thrice-yearly free neutral contest offers $100 and web publication for short fiction. The Jerry Jazz Musician reader has interests in music, social history, literature, politics, art, film and theatre, 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.

9/30: L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future Contest +++
Highly 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. Entrants may not have professionally published a novel or short novel, or more than one novelette, or more than three short stories, in any medium.

9/30: LILITH Magazine Fiction Competition +
Neutral free contest offers $250 for unpublished stories touching on the experience of Jewish women. Send one story, maximum 3,000 words (shorter stories preferred). Sponsored by LILITH, a Jewish feminist magazine.

9/30: Metcalf-Rooke Award ++
Recommended free contest offers C$1,500 and publication for the best unpublished novel or short story collection by a Canadian writer. No length limit specified (200-400 pages is typical). Biblioasis is a small independent press in Ontario that publishes literary prose and poetry, and the critical journal CNQ: Canadian Notes & Queries.

10/1: Chapter One Fiction Competition +
Neutral free contest for novel excerpts by New York City residents aged 18+ offers up to four prizes of $1,000 and a public reading. Send the first chapter of your unpublished novel or work-in-progress, maximum 20 double-spaced pages, plus 250-word synopsis.

10/1: Enlisted Essay Contest ++
Recommended free contest from the U.S. Naval Institute offers top prize of $1,500 for essays on any subject relevant to military service. Maximum 2,500 words. One entry per person; no simultaneous submissions. Contest is open to active, reserve, retired, and former enlisted personnel of all service branches and countries.

10/5: Jerwood Awards for Non-Fiction +++
Entries must be received by this date; formerly August 31
Highly recommended free contest offers top prize of 10,000 pounds to UK or Irish citizens, or residents of the UK for at least 3 years, who are working on their first major commissioned works of non-fiction. Applications should include a cover letter with project description, a copy of the publishing contract, a synopsis or draft chapter, and a supporting letter from the editor.

10/15: Bronwen Wallace Memorial Award ++
Entries must be received by this date; formerly October 13
Recommended free contest offers C$1,000 for poetry or fiction by Canadian authors under 35 with no published books. Genre alternates by year. 2007 contest is for short fiction, 2,500 words maximum.

10/15: Wild Blue Yonder Short Fiction Contest ++
Recommended free bimonthly contest for stories on selected themes includes $250, publication in Frontier Airlines' in-flight magazine, and free online or in-person writing workshop from Lighthouse Writers, a Denver-based literary group. Stories should be 2,500 words maximum. See website for other thematic restrictions. Enter by mail or email. The theme for the October contest is "Renewal".

10/22: Brenda L. Smart Fiction Prizes +
Neutral free contest for North Carolina authors with no published books offers $500 for short fiction (up to 5,000 words), $250 for flash fiction (up to 1,200 words).

10/25: Kiriyama Prize +++
Entries must be received by this date; formerly October 26
Highly recommended free contest for published books about the Pacific Rim and South Asia that encourage greater understanding of this culturally diverse region. Two prizes of $15,000, one for a book of nonfiction and the other for a book of fiction. The first English-language edition of the book from a US or Canadian publisher must have been published in the calendar year in which the deadline falls. Publishers must mail their books directly to the judges; contact the sponsor for an application packet with their addresses.

10/29: RTE Radio 1 Short Story Competition ++
Entries must be received by this date; formerly October 30
Recommended free contest for authors born or normally resident in Ireland offers top prize of 3,000 euros for unpublished short fiction of 1,800-2,000 words that is suitable for radio performance.

10/31: FundsforWriters Essay Contest +
Entries must be received by this date
Neutral free contest for short essays (750 words maximum) on topics of interest to the professional writer offers $200 in fee-charging category, $50 in free category. FFW is an excellent resource for both literary and commercial freelance writers, offering useful e-books and newsletters that list paying markets for different types of writing. Fee is $5 per essay. Themes change annually. Email entries preferred (no attachments).

10/31: Lee & Low New Voices Award +
Neutral free contest offers top prize of $1,000 and publication for a picture book story (1,500 words maximum) by a US writer of color who has no prior published books in this genre. No simultaneous submissions. Lee & Low Books is an award-winning publisher of multicultural books for children.

10/31: PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction +++
Entries must be received by this date
Highly recommended free contest for published books of fiction by US citizens offers top prize of $15,000, four runners-up of $5,000. Send 4 copies of book to the Foundation office. Recent winners have been well-established writers such as Philip Roth, Ha Jin and John Updike.

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.



Entries must be received by September 24; early submissions encouraged
British literary journal Manifold seeks submissions of poems (12-50 lines) on the theme of "Dreams" for a Manifold Voices presentation at St. Saviour's Knightsbridge in London on National Poetry Day, October 4. Editor Vera Rich says, "In particular, we are interested in poems relating to some of the famous dreams/visions in the Bible... (but, please, do remember there ARE other Biblical dreamers than Joseph!) though we would be prepared to consider including other 'dreams' if they fit the context... As usual for this occasion, poems must be suitable for use in a live presentation as part of an ecumenical service in an Anglican church." Send your submission to as a single attachment in MS Word or RTF format (NOT one attachment per poem!), formatted to print out one poem per A4 page (similar to letter-size), with your full contact details (name, address, telephone number and email address) on each page (preferably in the top-left-hand corner). Please call the attachment "Dreams-" followed by your name or initials, e.g. "dreams-jsmith" or "dreams-jms", and put DREAMS in the subject box. Please state whether or not the poems have been previously published. Unpublished submissions used in the performance will be considered for publication in Manifold.

GirlChild Press Anthology
Postmark Deadline: September 30
GirlChild Press seeks poems, stories and essays up to 3,000 words for their upcoming anthology Just Like a Girl: A Manifesta. Maximum 3 pieces per contributor. Sci-fi welcome. Email your entries to as MS Word attachments titled with your name, with "Just Like a Girl" in the subject line. You may also mail entries to Michelle Sewell, GirlChild Press, P.O. Box 93, Hyattsville, MD 20781.

Editors say: "The latest offering from GirlChild Press is intended to be a rough and tumble, sassy, wickedly clever, kick-ass anthology. Where Growing Up Girl: An Anthology of Voices from Marginalized Spaces was a meditation on the state of girlhood, Just Like a Girl is meant to highlight the clever girls, the funny girls, the girls who don’t ask for permission and take up as much room as they damn well like. She is the girl who knows there is no sin in being born one; and that in spite of all evidence and current belief systems girl/woman does not equal weak. Said girl doesn't have to be a super hero, but she has hit a few balls out of the park, cursed out a couple trash talking construction workers, and took a few racist, homophobic, misogynistic folks to task.

"Ultimately, she knows how to pick herself up and brush herself off. She's a feminist. 2nd Wave. 3rd Wave. No Wave. She's high maintenance. She has read the Patriot Act. She understands it. She recognizes that people's lives fall apart, but with time and some Elmer's glue it all works itself out. She's an urban girl. A country girl. She lives in a square state. A blue state. A red state. She seriously ponders what are the SAT scores of those girls grinding in the music videos. She is the girl in the music video. She has the perfect plan on how to break up with a boyfriend and how not to lose her cool when her 38 triple D bra snaps in the middle of a cocktail party. She's a 25th century girl. She knows the words to Roberta Flack's Killing Me Softly. She secretly pinches her best friend's bratty three year old. She is a cashier at WALMART. She's the second chair flute in her 8th grade band. She marches on Washington; she makes fun of vegans; she has 6,000 friends on She still hides the tattoo that she got at senior beach week from her mother—she's 42. She writes for herself. She writes for her sister. She writes for the girls still not born."

Sarabande Books
Postmark Deadline: September 30
This well-regarded literary press from Kentucky is accepting queries from poetry and prose authors with a manuscript to sell. Send a sample of 10 poems, a single story, or a section of a novella or short novel, with SASE. Response time is under 3 months, at which point they may invite you to submit the entire manuscript. Sarabande Books publishes full-length poetry collections (48+ pages), and shorter books of literary prose (150-250 pages): collections of short stories, novellas, short novels, literary nonfiction or essay collections. They do not consider longer novels, mysteries, westerns, children's books, adventure, or science fiction. Sarabande also sponsors two prestigious contests, the Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry and the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction, with a reading period of January 1-February 15.

Sicilian Writers' Anthology
Postmark Deadline: November 30
More Sweet Lemons co-editors Delia De Santis and Venera Fazio are accepting submissions of poetry, short stories, book chapters, essays, memoirs, brief dramas, folklore, and English translations of writings by Sicilian writers, for a sequel to the anthology Sweet Lemons: Writings with a Sicilian Accent (Legas, 2004). This second anthology, to be published by Legas, will also celebrate Sicilian culture, writers and immigrant experiences. Send 1-5 poems and/or one prose piece up to 5,000 words. Entries may be emailed as MS Word attachments to Venera Fazio or mailed to 2377 Schafer Court, Bright's Grove, ON, Canada N0N 1C0. Include cover letter with contact information and SASE. Writers of Sicilian origin need not necessarily write about their heritage. Non-Sicilian authors may submit if the content of their work pertains to the objective of the anthology.

Hayden's Ferry Review: "Grotesque" Issue
Postmark Deadline: January 15, 2008
Hayden's Ferry Review, the literary journal of Arizona State University, is looking for prose, poetry, and visual art that explore the humanity, beauty, and reality of the literary grotesque: the monstrous, the unusual, the abnormal. Send 1-6 poems, one story or essay, or 2"x2" slide of your artwork submission. Send poetry and prose separately, with genre indicated on outer envelope. Please send one manuscript per genre at a time, and wait for response before you submit additional work.



Edgy, energetic literary journal publishes poetry and prose that juxtapose serious art and pop culture in creative and unsettling ways. Published in print and online editions. See website for essay contest.

Dee Rimbaud's Resources for Writers
Editor of the AA Independent Press Guide maintains pages of links to hundreds of literary journals, archives of work by contemporary and classic poets, and advice for novice writers.

Ewuare X. Osayande
Black activist, poet and social critic applies his rhetorical powers to fighting oppression in all its forms. Hard-hitting essays on his website include "Spittin' Acid at the Sistahs: Rap(e) and the Assault of Black Women" and "Bling Bling into Oblivion: Hip Hop, Globalization and Third World Oppression". Capitalists and gangsta rappers, beware.

Literary news, creative writing and discussion forums, and announcements of upcoming poetry slams are just some of the resources available at this poetry portal with an edgy, urban vibe.

The Raintown Review
Semiannual journal of formal poetry, literary criticism and translations. Founded by Harvey Stanbrough, The Raintown Review has published such authors as William Baer, Annie Finch, Joseph Salemi and Jennifer Reeser. Submit 3-5 poems, pasted into the body of an email message, to publisher John Oelfke. Previously published poems accepted. For prose submissions, query first.

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



A Working Man's Apocrypha
By William Luvaas. In this short story collection, tornados real and metaphorical rip through the lives of not-so-ordinary people, flinging them into unexpected intimacies and tearing away identities once thought airtight. Luvaas' poetic prose is powerful as the Santa Ana winds yet delicate enough to limn the silences that speak louder than words, as in the title story, where the bond between a widow and her dying handyman is too profound to risk actual words of love.



Last Call!
Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest
Postmark Deadline: September 30
Now in its fifth year, this contest seeks poems in any style, theme or genre. Both published and unpublished poems are welcome. 30 cash prizes totaling $3,500 will be awarded, including a top prize of $1,000. The entry fee is $6 for every 25 lines you submit. Submit online or by mail. This contest is sponsored by Tom Howard Books and assisted by Winning Writers. Judges: John H. Reid and Dee C. Konrad. See the complete guidelines and past winners.

Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest
Postmark Deadline: March 31, 2008
Now in its 16th year. Prizes of $2,000, $1,000, $500 and $250 will be awarded, plus five High Distinction awards of $200 each and five Most Highly Commended Awards of $100 each. Submit any type of short story, essay or other work of prose, up to 5,000 words. You may submit work that has been published or won prizes elsewhere, as long as you own the online publication rights. $12 entry fee. Submit online or by mail. Early submission encouraged. Winning Writers is assisting with entry handling for this contest. Judges: John H. Reid and Dee C. Konrad. See the complete guidelines and past winners.

Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest - No Fee
Online Submission Deadline: April 1, 2008
Winning Writers invites you to enter the seventh annual Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest, called "infamous" by Writer's Digest. Fifteen cash prizes totaling $3,336.40 will be awarded, including a top prize of $1,359. There is no fee to enter. Judge: Jendi Reiter. See the complete guidelines and past winners.

Want to freelance for magazines but don't know how? Need a little motivation to get started? Learn how to develop ideas, research markets, write your query letter, and make your pitch to editors! In only eight lessons, veteran freelancer Linda Formichelli will show you the ropes. She's written for more than 120 publications, including USA Weekend, Family Circle, Men's Fitness, and Woman's Day. Let Linda show you how you can, too!

2008 Poet's Market - NEW
The 2008 edition of Poet's Market has just arrived. It's on sale for $17.81 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 - New Yearly 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.
Office Depot's Yearly Coupon - Save $30 off $150



The Fibonacci Series
by Judith Goldhaber

The leaves of a plant when seen from above grow in a spiral pattern. The angles between one leaf and the next follow a strict mathematical series known as the Fibonacci Series, related to Euclid's "Golden Section," or phi. This ensures that each individual leaf on the plant stem receives the maximum amount of sunlight available. First created by Leonardo Fibonacci (fi-bo-na-chee) in 1202, it is a deceptively simple series, but its ramifications and applications are nearly limitless. (WNW, p. 115)

The wild rose clambers up a trellis
unseen except to Euclid's eye,
the chambers of the nautilus
grow strictly by the rule of phi.
Trees and turtles owe their shape
to arcane algebraic theories,
no fish or flower can escape
the grip of Fibonacci's series.

What do Mozart's late sonatas,
new leaves jostling for the sun,
Bach’s Italianate cantatas
have in common? One plus one
equals two, and next must come
three, and five, but never four;
each new number is the sum
of the two that came before.

Rabbits plan their families
in line with Fibonacci's rules;
the lineage of honeybees,
the patterns made by molecules
in crystals, and the heavy heads
of sunflowers, with their overlying
spirals, show the golden threads
of an ordered lattice tying
multitudinous forms together.

All of the preceding lives
add up to the integer
that is I, and I derive
my life from those who came before;
one plus one, and one plus two,
three, and five, though never four;
and each of us becomes the sum
of all of those who came before
who turned aside to let the sun
shine on a life that's just begun.

Copyright 2007 by Judith Goldhaber

This poem won a Third Prize in the Dancing Poetry Contest from Artists Embassy International.


The Bird Girl of Savannah
by Noble Collins

A statue in Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Ga. became famous as a result of a book and movie: In the Garden of Good and Evil. It was later moved to a museum in a neighbor county.

"Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of silence and slow time"

John Keats, Ode on a Grecian Urn

For years, among the ancient oaks,
you danced your chaste ballet

to silent music—
your lithe Glissade unseen
beyond the reach of Bonaventure.

With each demure Plié,
gray ringlet curtains of old moss

made way
in glad anticipation of your entrance on the stage.

A place of long forgotten life briefly heartened,
stirred for a moment

thrilled to Terpsichore
as your unfettered dance

breathed sweet warm youth to old earth.

A gentle curtsy, then, you made
to faint applause of Live Oak leaves,
as Tybee's breezes rustled through the wood.

But on a day when you were resting,
hushing secret longings from dark vaults,
they captured you and gave you to the crowd—

bound those dainty feet,
and placed you on the cover of a book,

an icon for a sordid tale.

Soon, came leering groups
to gawk and whisper, trespass sacred grounds,
so you were moved,
no longer Chatham's ward but Telfair's,
behind museum walls

And here, in cold beauty,
poised in First Position
you wait for new music.

Copyright 2007 by Noble Collins

This poem won a Third Prize in the Dancing Poetry Contest from Artists Embassy International.


Advertise to 20,000 Poets and Writers
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"We advertised elsewhere but I know it was a startling jump from a few acceptable submissions in weeks to a few everyday. We went from perhaps less than a hundred hits in a month to over 3500 each month."

See more testimonials.



ProLiteracy Worldwide Annual Conference
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This month, Critique Corner is pleased to present "Silence" by Jessica Keeslar.

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 Jessica Keeslar

The Eskimos had it right
With all their words for snow—

As if one word,
One small combination of letters,
Could describe
That experience
Which bakes its schizophrenic soul
Into so many dishes,
A veritable many-course meal
For those with stomachs large enough to partake
Each different offering,
Savor the flavor
Of each soundless course
Cooked with care for them alone.

Steamed, sautéed,
Grilled and garnished
By different occurrences;

The champagne-bubbly silence of anticipation,
A soufflé baked with precision,
Apple pie-steam and coffee brewing,
The aroma impatiently unbearable;

The crunchy, loud silence of awkwardness,
Carrot bits flying everywhere
Orange and unforgiving,
Spinach stuck between buck teeth;

The hot silence between lovers not yet tasted,
Fajitas sizzling on the grill, their many trimmings
Displayed carefully side by side,
Waiting to be liberally thrown on a tortilla
Spread open and inviting;

The revolting silence of disbelief,
Leftovers left too long in the fridge,
Crammed behind the mustard, forgotten
Until the rancid smell pervades everything around;

The bitter silence of jilted lovers,
Burned chocolate, milk gone sour,
Food eaten unknowing,
Its salmonella-poison masked
By other tastes;

The cold silence of grudge,
A brainfreeze—
Icy daggers borne of too much introspection—
That punctures logic
And shatters compassion,
Leaving taste buds numb;

The smooth, creamy silence
Of meditation,
Swirls of custard and meringue,
Key lime pie and fruity sherbet,
Bathing the soul in being;

The spicy cinnamon taste of accomplishment,
Warm, dry silence
That momentarily satisfies the palate
But leaves the soul thirsting for more
In just a few hours;

The blubbery aspic of loneliness,
Gelatin wiggling on the tongue,
Silence swilled
Like too much water
Until the stomach distends of its own accord,
Bloated from unwanted gluttony;

The sweet silence of years of acquaintance,
A familiar, lovely taste—
Comfort food—
Calorie-rich with love and memory;

The tasteless silence of death,
Cottonmouth on the tongue,
Unwanted heartburn
Stuck in the throat,
Which will not go away.

Copyright 2007 by Jessica Keeslar

Critique by Jendi Reiter

Jessica Keeslar's poem "Silence" is full of surprises. Leading off with an observation so familiar as to have become clichéd, she reclaims it by force of will, applying all her inventiveness and exuberance to the conceit around which she has built the poem, until she has established her authority as someone with fresh insights to offer. Her zesty, unexpected, yet always apt metaphors disclose the true character of both silence and food, in the same way as the proverbial Eskimo's vocabulary is meant to reveal fine gradations among weather conditions whose individuality we formerly ignored.

Snow is snow, we might say, to justify our lack of attention. Like snow, silence at first appears simple, empty, easily understood. By pairing this austere and seemingly featureless phenomenon with something as varied and abundant as food, almost its opposite, Keeslar makes us notice both the richness of silence and the loss that is the flip side of food's nurturing.

The opening stanzas, which in my opinion are the weakest, have a cute, chatty tone that led me to expect light verse. The poem's playful spirit is one reason it works: the Eskimo-language factoid has been cited so often in a sentimental, didactic "stop and smell the roses" context that Keeslar's over-the-top descriptions strike a refreshingly self-aware note of parodic humor....

critique continues here

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

See all of our poetry critiques.


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The Best Free Poetry Contests for October 16-November 30