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"Casualty Days" by Linda LeGarde Grover, Honorable Mention in the 2006 War Poetry Contest

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Featured Poem:
"Poem for Two Dogs, Hanged in Salem, 1692" by Lesléa Newman

Featured Poem:
"Admitting It to the Doctor" by Maureen Sherbondy

Featured Poem:
"My Upper Is Soft Brown Leather" by Paula Brancato

Featured Poem:
"Combing Out" by Elaine Zimmerman

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"The Day Before Chemo" by Ellen LaFleche

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"Can One Recover...?" by Martin Steele

Featured Poem:
"Retrospect" by John Alexanderson

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"Oh My Thingies" by Rick Lupert, Honorable Mention in the 2008 Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest

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Award-Winning Poems: Fall 2010

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Welcome to our Fall 2010 selection of award-winning poems. These quarterly specials are included with your free Winning Writers Newsletter subscription. We'll release our next regular newsletter on September 15, with news about the winners of the 18th annual Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest.

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FEATURED SPONSOR'S MESSAGE Share your writing, get feedback, and have fun on At you get:
  • Helpful Feedback. Get detailed feedback for every poem, short story and book chapter that you write.

  • Contests. Over 50 new contests every month. Always free to paid members. Participate for cash prizes.

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Upcoming Contest Deadlines

Tetractys Poetry Contest
Write a Tetractys poem. This is a poem with only five lines. Each line adds one syllable until the last stanza which has ten syllables. See an example and details in the announcement. Cash prize to the winner.
Deadline: Tomorrow! - September 2

Strong Character Story
A strong character can make a story. Write a story based on the scene pictured in this announcement. $100 Prize to the winner!
Deadline: September 12

Cinquain Poetry
Write a "Cinquain" poem for this contest. A cinquain poem is a poem that follows a specific format. Read the announcement for a sample poem. A $100 prize to the winner of this contest.
Deadline: September 22

Flash Fiction
In this flash fiction contest we are challenging writers to write a flash fiction piece that is between 500 and 800 words on the topic provided. The topic is "Lost". This writing contest awards a $100 prize to the winner.
Deadline: September 28

Summertime Poetry
Write a poem about the summer. To the winner goes a $100 prize. Check out our Summertime Poetry contest to share a poem.
Deadline: September 30

Enter all contests for free with your upgraded membership. Upgraded membership is only $6.95 per month. These are only a few of our contests. View our full listing here.

Without FanStory I simply would not be a writer at all. The feedback and friendships I have made here have changed my entire life. Honest feedback helped prepare me for the real world. The contests have also helped me, and continue to help me. Writing to a topic, and writing to a deadline, is key. There isn't a more valuable skill than to sit down and write about a subject by a specific date. That's the real world.

- Jen Horton (Nominated as the best feature writer in the state of Florida)
- More Testimonials


Winning Writers editor Jendi Reiter was a finalist for the 2010 Antivenom Poetry Award from Elixir Press. This prize from a well-regarded small press in Colorado offers $1,000 and publication for a first or second poetry collection. The most recent deadline was March 31.

Congratulations to Lesléa Newman. Her poem "Poem for Two Dogs, Hanged in Salem, 1692" won second runner-up for poetry in the 2010 Solstice Literary Contest. She kindly shares it with us below. This online journal offers prizes up to $500 for poetry and $1,000 for fiction and essays. The most recent deadline was March 23.

Congratulations to Maureen Sherbondy. Her third book of poems, Weary Blues, was released this summer by Big Table Publishing, an independent press in Massachusetts. She kindly shares a sample poem below. Maureen writes, "I love getting your newsletter—have entered many of the free contests."

Congratulations to Paula Brancato. Her poetry collection Painting Cities was released in July by Finishing Line Press. She kindly shares a sample poem below. Novelist and book critic Anne Whitehouse says of this collection, "Bloody, hot, organic, Paula Brancato's poems take us to the heart of destruction, whether she is writing about New York City in the unreconstructed 1970s, New Orleans after Katrina, war-torn Baghdad, or El Salvador. Here is a poetry of direct statement ignited by violent passions, blazing with a fierce light." Visit Brancato's website for information on her other books and film productions.

Congratulations to Elaine Zimmerman. Her poem "Combing Out" won first prize in the 2010 Friends of Acadia Poetry Competition, and her poem "Jackdaws Turning" won an honorable mention. She kindly shares "Combing Out" with us below. This biennial contest sponsored by the Friends of Acadia, a group founded to preserve Acadia National Park in Maine, offers prizes up to $350 for distinctive nature poetry. The most recent deadline was April 30. Elaine writes, "Never would have known about it without Winning Writers. Thank you."

Congratulations to Ellen LaFleche. Her poem "The Day Before Chemo" won first prize in the Spring 2010 Lucidity Poetry Journal Clarity Awards. She kindly shares it with us below. This twice-yearly free contest awards prizes up to $100, plus publication for many runners-up, for poems in any form dealing with people and interpersonal relationships. The next deadline is October 31.

Congratulations to Martin Steele. His poem "Can One Recover...?" won a third prize in the 2010 Dancing Poetry Contest from Artists Embassy International. He kindly shares it with us below. This contest offers three grand prizes of $100 and the opportunity to have your poem presented as an interpretive dance at the Dancing Poetry Festival in San Francisco, as well as several runner-up prizes. The most recent deadline was May 15.

Congratulations to John Alexanderson. His poem "Retrospect" won an honorable mention in the 2010 Alabama Writers' Conclave Writing Contest. He kindly shares it with us below. This contest offers prizes up to $100 in each genre for poems, stories, essays, and first chapters of unpublished novels. The most recent deadline was April 20. In other news, his poems "Life's Divide, Freshman Year" and "Apologia" won honorable mentions in the Heart Poetry Award and will appear in the fall 2010 issue of Heart, a literary journal published by Nostalgia Press. This twice-yearly contest with deadlines of June 30 and December 31 offers a $500 prize for "insightful, immersing" free-verse poems.

Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé has recently been published in Lantern Review ("craquelure at the interiors", "first falling, to get here, ferric by foot"), deadpaper ("an impossible affirmation, mot juste", "three tailors and daylight harvesting"), and the Canadian journal Metazen ("black-box theatre in the round", "Antediluvian Birdsong on Twitter", "Two Questions Between the Kitchen Sink and Simple Variations"), with an accompanying interview. Thanks to Andrew Borgstrom and J.A. Tyler, an excerpt from Desmond's story "In Memoriam to a Marionette" has been included in MLP's Stamp Stories Project, with 100 copies printed and shipped with orders from Publishing Genius and Mud Luscious Press.

Joan Gelfand has several publications to report. Stories: "Fault Lines" will appear in Volume 8 of the Jewish Women's Literary Annual; and "Girl's Night Out" will appear in the October issue of Zeek Magazine. Poems: "The Ferlinghetti School of Poetics" will appear in the fall issue of DuPage Valley Review; "Good Morning America, Where Are You?" will appear in the anthology More Candles In the Dark, forthcoming in fall 2010; "Go-Kart" was published in the summer issue of Song of the San Joaquin; and "Monet" and "Tassa Hanalei" will appear in the first issue of Ambush.



Closing This Month
Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest
Postmark Deadline: September 30
Now in its eighth year, this contest seeks poems in any style, theme or genre. Both published and unpublished poems are welcome. Prizes of $3,000, $1,000, $400 and $250 will be awarded, plus six Most Highly Commended Awards of $150 each. Submit poems of any length. The entry fee is $7 for every 25 lines you submit. Submit online or by mail. Early submission encouraged. 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, 2011
Now in its 19th year. Prizes of $3,000, $1,000, $400 and $250 will be awarded, plus six Most Highly Commended Awards of $150 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. $15 entry fee. Submit online or by mail. Early submission encouraged. 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. (The winners of the 18th contest will be announced on September 15, 2010.)

Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest - No Fee
Online Submission Deadline: April 1, 2011
Winning Writers invites you to enter the tenth annual Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest. We'll award $3,600, including a top prize of $1,500. Submit one poem online. No length limit. Both published and unpublished poems are welcome. No fee to enter. Final judge: Jendi Reiter. See the complete guidelines and past winners.



by Nick Lantz
Winner of the 2010 Felix Pollak Poetry Prize
Postmark Deadline: September 30
This prestigious open manuscript contest offers $1,000 and publication by the University of Wisconsin Press. In this poem from his prizewinning collection The Lighting That Strikes the Neighbors' House, Lantz satirizes our culture's glib overproduction of consumer goods and the trendy neologisms used to sell them. Like George Orwell, he draws a connection between our jumbled, decontextualized language and our willful ignorance of political dangers.

by Dorine Jennette
Winner of the 2008 National Poetry Review Book Prize Series
Postmark Deadline: September 30
This open poetry manuscript prize offers $500 and publication for work that exhibits "memorability, innovation, and joie de vivre". Jennette's collection Urchin to Follow won the 2008 award. An epithalamium is a poem written in honor of a wedding. Here, Jennette's quiet focus on the lakeside setting, rather than the bride and groom, creates a sense of the reverence and mystery of marriage vows.

by Shannon Amidon
Co-winner of the 2009 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Annual Poetry Prizes
Entries must be received by October 16
The Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Memorial Fund offers large prizes, including several top awards of $5,000, and web publication for short lyric poems based on personal experience that "celebrate the spirit of life". Entrants must be under 40. In Amidon's poems, the beauty of Hawaii and the love of her husband and son merge into an experience of luxurious joy.

We are gathering a growing library of award-winning poems in Poetry Contest Insider, over 125 to date. Enjoy a wide range of today's best work. Sign up for a free trial. Learn more 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 300 of the best prose contests. Contest rules, addresses and deadlines change constantly. We update Poetry Contest Insider nearly every day to stay on top of them. Search and sort contests by deadline, prize, fee, recommendation level and more. Access to Poetry Contest Insider is just $9.95 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 entries help you refine your craft. Learn more about Poetry Contest Insider.
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by Linda LeGarde Grover

Back here in the world as summer passed
through bright and gritty dog days, anchored girls
whose time was not their own, having been bought
and paid for by Northwestern Bell
linked and braided coiled color snakes
red white grey white across the continent,
     Sharon to Missoula, Pam to New York
their sad and tender fingers glittering
in the absence of their men, who slept, it seemed
to the girls of the dark third shift, it almost seemed
they slept in jungles near the China Sea.

I passed them, on the sidewalk outside Bell,
some college kids home on their summer break,
girls in hippie dress and peasant chic
boys in blue chambray work shirts and jeans
too old for innocence, sitting cross-legged
(Indian-style, they thought) on the sidewalk
singing and chanting "Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh!
NLF is going to win!"
A white girl,
costumed ersatz Indian princess
who wore a beaded headband from Japan
looked right through me, a Native working girl
in a shirtwaist dress, carrying a vinyl purse.

Upstairs, we plaited spiderwebs of calls.
"Solidarity forever; our union makes us free"
floated up on humid summer hair
to our window, and over the switchboard
weighting the hands and hearts of anchored girls,
unseen sisters of the working class.

And sleepless girls we sang through the night,
songs I remember as I remember our fright

     Your number please?
     Please deposit ten cents more.
     Your number please?
     I'm sorry, ma'am, your time is up.

Remember, Bev, how very young we were?
I remember, and remember how he'd kissed your pretty face.

I remember your blue eyes and waiting face.

And Bev, remember those "Casual Wear Days"
when operators who met their quotas
were rewarded with pot luck lunches,
and freed from polyester working clothes
for a day of being someone not ourselves?
In jeans, we almost looked like college girls.

That summer casual wear day was so hot
a girl fainted at the keyboard; you were cold,
though, fragile and sweatered. You talked
recipes with the older operators,
kind ladies, their spreading flesh fading and
Tussy-scented within their casual wear,
picnic "wash" dresses soft with wear and age.
Polite and frightened we spooned and swallowed
uneasy noodle salads, their intended comforts
our reward for being such good and grownup girls.

Remembering themselves in other wars,
they knew; they knew how young we really were.

Summer passed; days shortened and grew cold:
migratory birds and college kids
soared and disappeared into the sky.

Here in the world, we hurried to work
in thin-soled flats light on the frosty sidewalk
to punch in and anchor to the switchboard,
bound and faceless girls weaving America
red white grey white across the continent,
Duluth to Detroit, to the fire department,
to the Busy Bee Market. Business. Births. Deaths.

Bev, that January casual wear day
you maintained, pale and thin in winter white.
Below the bowl you balanced on your hand
your diamond ring, loose, spun and caught the light.
That day, white marble balanced on an egg
as flatly jazzed bridal lasagna sweat
uneasy beads through wedding gift Pyrex,
gold roosters flaunting avocado plumes
while shivering girls tiptoed through their bloom.

     Pammy's cave rat trapped deep in the jungle,
     and Sharon's sniper in that twelve-foot boat,
     in sleep, those absent boys, what did they dream
     while their feet softened and yellowed, damp
     in heavy laced boots, near the South China Sea?
     And your own soldier, Bev, lost there in the fog
     beyond the South China Sea, woke dreaming of you.

Remember, Bev, how very young we were?
I remember, and remember how he'd kissed your pretty face.

Copyright 2006 Linda LeGarde Grover

This poem won an Honorable Mention in the 2006 War Poetry Contest sponsored by Winning Writers. Author Linda LeGarde Grover received a $75 award. See the judge's comments on the winning poems from this contest.



Swallow by Jendi ReiterSwallow by Jendi Reiter Reviewed in The Pedestal Magazine
Winner of the 2008 Flip Kelly Poetry Prize from Amsterdam Press, Jendi Reiter's poetry chapbook Swallow was favorably reviewed at length in the February-April 2010 issue of The Pedestal Magazine. Critic JoSelle Vanderhooft writes, "The first thing that strikes the reader about Jendi Reiter's Swallow is, naturally, the unusual cover illustration, which appears at once to be a multi-eyed cherub (the proper Old Testament kind), a brace of clothespins, a flock of nightmare birds, sewing needles, bent nails, and a heart-shaped crown of thorns. While one may have a difficult time explaining all of this, one need only know that this image by Richard C. Jackson is the best visual realization of the horror, madness, blood, and beauty that infuse Reiter's work: Like something out of a fever dream, it just makes perfect sense." Vanderhooft calls this book "wonderfully inventive, unsettling, and deeply funny". Read the whole review here.

To order, visit the Amsterdam Press online store or send a check for $8.00 to Amsterdam Press, 6199 Steubenville Road SE, Amsterdam, Ohio 43903.

Enjoy this sample poem from Swallow:
Save the Trees
by Jendi Reiter

          ...We know that the whole creation has been
          groaning as in the pains of childbirth
          right up to the present time...

          Romans 8:22

Pluming in brief white petals, it too
intends—slim green-patched trunk, roots veining
under bricks underfoot. City props,
round beds of welcome pansies—no,
not stage, backdrop of our rush;
see but once the upward spreading
molecular praise of wood.

When those famous apes nibbled and fell
wood fell, crone-face dried in the fruit,
man's foot on mouse's tail,
baby ants in the torn gut of the dog.
Along the sunset trail birches groan
in winter wind, doors of an empty house
swept clean to wait for—
                                   not alone
our black traces, mud lines of wheels
like erased forbidden words.

Who the owl who in the trees
his only sermon. Now the bull speaks
in lowered horn, the sea's
dumb ardor licks the breath from our lips.
Wood is for the axe, the pen
to set aglow. Drawn round our book,
we recognize each other.
Language is our lost wood.
A headlong squirrel chitters
outside the summer heat of pews—
will the maple and the flea
be saved, but not unbelievers?


Robert Frost Foundation

Last Call!
14th Annual Robert Frost Foundation Annual Poetry Award
Postmark/Email Submission Deadline: September 15
The Robert Frost Foundation welcomes poems in the spirit of Robert Frost for its 14th Annual Award. The winner will receive $1,000 and an invitation to present the winning poem this fall at the Frost Festival located at the Lawrence Public Library in Lawrence, Massachusetts, the library in which Frost first explored the traditions of English and Irish poetry.

Please submit two copies of each poem, one copy with contact information (name, address, phone number, email address) and one copy free of all identifying information. Reading fees are $10 per poem (send fees via regular mail, please). Make your check payable to The Robert Frost Foundation. Mail your entry to: The Robert Frost Foundation, Attn: Poetry Award, Lawrence Public Library - 3rd Floor, 51 Lawrence Street, Lawrence, MA 01841. Include a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) or an email address if you'd like to receive the contest results. Email submissions are accepted at if you send your entry fee by regular mail.

You may submit up to three poems of no more than three pages each. Both published and unpublished works are accepted. See the complete contest guidelines at and more on last year's winners at

Please enjoy "To Do to Beans" by Megan Grumbling, winner of our 2004 competition. Ms. Grumbling is the judge of this year's award. The Frost Foundation is proud to be publishing a new edition of her first chapbook, To and From Deepening. Available exclusively from the famous Grolier Poetry Book Shop in Cambridge, Massachusetts, To and From Deepening
To Do to Beans
by Megan Grumbling

These green beans are a palpable relief
to fingers weary of tweezering
tiny leaden letters, molded smaller even
than bean seeds, between too-thick tips
of thumb and pointer. Such sweet
rough gifts, the pods' forgiving girth
and bodacious imprecision, freeing me
to gratefully paw, crush and grasp
at curved forms hanging vine-heavy,
velvet-fuzzed and swollen at seams with seed.

My beans are bound to float with dill blossoms
and homegrown garlic in white vinegar
within the glassy, convex exhibition
of Ball jars: good to look at and eat both.
I'll give each bottle three shakes of cayenne
before cutting to the chase of rubber bands
and steam-swum vacuums, securing by seal
the spice of the stylized, granting my legumes
a fancier, banquet taste, the tang of technique
set for travel, age, display on cut-class plates.

Picklings are interventions in creation,
the fruits of a practiced act, a preservation
steeped in savor for process as well
as for product, for spectacle. These beans,
cropped from vines, start to surrender
their composition as soon as severance,
and I bless this by the bottle's emblem,
heeding the instinct to seal some insignia
against the law that nothing raw can stay
fresh long, a reality of picking.

When these beans are set I'll leave
the kitchen, just as I will leave the press
once I've finished with the seed-sized letters
and rendered words cured by their impressions.
Printing won't improve what my unwieldy
hand wrote, exactly, but will help it keep
wider company, a longer passage, suspended,
not unlike what I am about to do to beans
despite crude delight in raw first forms,
the source, after all, of feed and feast alike.

Carpe Articulum Literary Review

Carpe Articulum Literary Review Welcome to Carpe Articulum Literary Review, a full-colour, international, quarterly journal of resplendent literature! Once again we bring you a wonderful selection of cross-genre literature as well as spectacular interviews from famous industry greats. Genres include: Poetry, Short Fiction, Novellas, Screenwriting & Non-Fiction. We also include full-colour photography, informative articles and insightful interviews. Come to and see a free sample online.

SPECIAL THANKS TO SCREEN ACTOR JEFF GOLDBLUM AND FORMER HEAD OF MGM STUDIOS, PARAMOUNT AND DESILU PRODUCTIONS, MR. HERBERT F. SOLOW FOR THE LOVELY INTERVIEWS THIS ROTATION. This quarter, Mr. Solow speaks about what screenwriters should know about the industry, the true stories behind his mega-hits Star Trek and Mission: Impossible, and how things really work in Hollywood. Stay in touch to see the exciting new interviews in upcoming issues! $10,000 per year in cash awards provided to exceptional writers and photographers! Available in print in Barnes & Noble, Borders and other fine bookstores worldwide. Online editions available as well.

Current call for submissions: Short Fiction, Screenwriting (Best opening scene only) and Non-Fiction & Poetry. NO PAGE LIMITS! Multiple submissions permitted; submit online via the website! Previously published work is permitted only if the print run did not exceed 2,000 copies.


FIRST PRIZE: Deborah DeNicola, for The Tree At Casa Cara
SECOND PRIZE: Mara Buck for Charmeuse
THIRD PRIZE: Krista Kurth for Over The Wall

FIRST PRIZE: Aashish Kaul & Harsh V. Parihar
THIRD PRIZE: Rosmarie Epaminondas
HONOURABLE MENTIONS: Tom Sterner, Charles Patton

CONGRATULATIONS to Carol Howell who received an offer for a book deal AND nomination for the Pushcart Prize due to her novella, which won the Carpe Articulum Prize for short fiction. We are proud to have been a part of this opportunity and wish her the very best in her writing career!

Connecticut River Review Closing This Month
Connecticut River Review Poetry Contest
Postmark Deadline: September 30
The Connecticut Poetry Society is pleased to announce that the Connecticut River Review Poetry Contest is accepting submissions. Please note that the deadline for submissions is now September 30 (this is a change from previous years).

We offer prizes of $400, $200, and $100. Winning poems will be published in the Connecticut River Review. Other submissions will also be considered for possible publication. For your $15 entry fee (make check out to CPS) you may enter three unpublished poems, up to 80 lines each. Multiple and simultaneous submissions are acceptable if you notify us immediately upon acceptance elsewhere. Last year's winners are not eligible for this year's contest.

Please submit two copies of each poem, one with contact info and one completely anonymous. Include a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) for contest results. No poems will be returned—please keep a copy. Mail your work to CRR Contest, CPS, P.O. Box 270554, West Hartford, CT 06127.

The Connecticut Poetry Society is a state-wide community of poets dedicated to the promotion and enjoyment of poetry. CPS has a 35-year tradition of excellence in publishing work of national and Connecticut poets. Our mission is to support poetry with chapter meetings, contests, and events for CPS members throughout the state. More information on this contest and on our organization can be found at

Please enjoy Rosanna Young Oh's "Landscape with Monk and Sea", the winning poem from our most recent contest.
Landscape with Monk and Sea
by Rosanna Young Oh

Though it is unclear whether the single figure in the painting
stands upon a high rock or a grassy dune,
a man is facing the sea.

We know that his robes are as dark as the black waters,
we know that the clouds are white,
full and beyond the reach of the monk
who rests his head pensively in the palm of his hand,
which we know to be a significant posture in art.

Let us say that the whitecaps of the waves could look like seagulls
or symbols for the Crucifixion —
either will do, as long as we connect one to the man,
the only vertical in an endless expanse of sky
bereft of a storm to console us.

Creekwalker Poetry Prize Closing This Month
2010 Creekwalker Poetry Prize
Postmark Deadline: September 30

"Welcome to the 4th annual Creekwalker Poetry Prize. For our 2010 contest, we anticipate entries from poets, veterans and novices alike, whose work carries the capacity to startle us with glimpses into the relationship between profound truths and the minutiae of everyday life."
— Tom Mark Gilbert, Founder/Editor

Submit five poems of 25 lines or less via typed hardcopy (no electronic submissions). All themes welcome. Both published and unpublished poems are eligible. Winner receives a $400 prize. Entry fee: $15 payable to Creekwalker. Please mail your entry and fee to:

     Creekwalker Poetry Prize
     5620 Paseo Del Norte #127-240
     Carlsbad, CA 92008

Questions? Please see our complete guidelines at or email

Please enjoy "The wind laughed" by Faye Williams Jones, our 2009 Creekwalker Poetry Prize Winner:
                                               The wind laughed

snatched my words
pirouetted over azalea bushes
                      whirled through wisteria

soared above treetops

dove from the crabapple
                      billowed in the forsythia
veered around a tulip magnolia


whispered my secrets
caressed blossoms
scattered fragrance

flew with mockingbirds

circled the camellia
fluttered through irises
kissed the lavender
                                         danced a cadence I tried to follow

Note: A parallel poem is read line by line (horizontally, left-to-right) and vertically as two parallel columns. The meaning may be the same, or it may be different.

Garrison Keillor

Closing This Month
May Swenson Poetry Award
Postmark Deadline: September 30
The May Swenson Award competition seeks 50- to 100-page collections of original poetry in English for its 15th annual award. Judge this year will be GARRISON KEILLOR. No restrictions on form or subject. Winner receives $1,000 and publication by the Utah State University Press in the prestigious Swenson Award Series.

Include a separate cover sheet with poet's name and address; no name on the manuscript itself. Include self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) for results; manuscripts will not be returned. Entry fee of $25 includes copy of winning book. Further guidelines available on website:

2010 winner was Elisabeth Murawski for Zorba's Daughter, chosen by Grace Schulman. See website for other recent winners and more information. Utah State University Press, 3078 Old Main Hill, Logan UT 84322-3078.

Closing Next Month
The Missouri Review Editors' Prize: Over $15,000 in Prizes
Postmark Deadline: October 1
Now through October 1, submit your best poetry, fiction, and essays. Winners in each genre receive $5,000, a featured publication in our spring issue, and a trip to Columbia, MO for a gala reading and reception. Three finalists in each genre receive cash prizes and will also be considered for publication. $20 contest fee includes a one-year subscription to The Missouri Review.

Entries must be previously unpublished and will not be returned. Please include no more than 25 typed, double-spaced pages for fiction and nonfiction. Poetry entries can include any number of poems up to 10 pages in total. Each story, essay, or group of poems constitutes one entry. Submit online or by mail.

The Missouri Review For more information, please see

Please enjoy "A Marriage Poem" by Sarah Blackman, a finalist in our most recent competition.
A Marriage Poem
by Sarah Blackman

I am unmarried and do not know
how life is simplified by cruelties.

     —Beckian Fritz Goldberg

It is the year
I have bartered away all my teeth.

My mouth is a lush place,
full of black usury and in return

I have a pair of new shoes,
a wheel of soft sheep's cheese,

five of the world's ten hottest peppers.
Where will I go, my mouth

so many wounds, that they
won't know me by my absent bite?

How will I succor you, or the cat
we kept, or the one whose fleas

I am popping flat on my thumbnail
even as I reject her winsomeness?

Still, I don't regret.
I am not a wife,

but maybe a window. Look
through me is the house,

is the water boiling,
a pepper slipped beneath the skin of the pie.

Look through me is the carefully arranged plate,
an eye for beauty, a terrible smile

all the worse because I mean it
so sincerely, am so happy

in these beaten hours
tapping back and forth across the boards.

'Voices' The Israel English Poetry Association

Closing Next Month
The 21st Annual Reuben Rose Poetry Competition 2010
Entries must be received by October 7 (rolling deadline)

"Voices" The Israel English Poetry Association


Entry fee
NIS15; US$5; 4 euros; or 3 pounds sterling per poem (these currencies only, payment by cash or check, made payable to Voices Israel). Receipt of submission acknowledged if accompanied by a self-addressed envelope with three International Reply Coupons (available from your post office). Please see our website for more information.

Poem Format & Content
All styles of challenging, humorous and/or curious poetry are welcome. The competition is general and not necessarily on Jewish or Israeli subjects. Poems should be 40 lines or less, submitted in duplicate (one copy should NOT have any identifying information) and be accompanied by a cover letter giving the titles of the poem(s) submitted, with your full name and address. You may enter as many poems as you wish at $5 etc. per poem. Entries received after the deadline will be automatically entered into the following year's contest. Mail your entries to:

     Voices Israel (Reuben Rose Competition)
     J. Dicks
     P.O. Box 236
     Kiryat Ata 28101

Package Deal
Four of your submissions may be considered by the "Voices" editorial board for publication in the upcoming poetry anthology. Please send four entries of your choice to our anthology editors, Sheryl Abbey & Michael Dickel, for consideration in the Voices Israel Anthology, Volume 37, by email to See website for separate submission guidelines, which must be followed. Please note the postal mail address above is for the Reuben Rose Poetry Contest entries only.

About the Judging
Judging anonymously by Professor Seymour Mayne (University of Ottawa). Professor Mayne is the author, editor or translator of more than fifty books and monographs. His work is represented in eighty anthologies and his own writings have been translated into numerous languages. He will be conducting a creative writing workshop in Israel in early 2011.

Winners will be notified personally. The results will be published online in January in the monthly Voices newsletter. There will be a public reading.

Below we present "Crows" by Michael Dickel of Israel, the winning poem in our 2009 competition.
by Michael Dickel

Resisting rising from bed this gray morning.
A cow lowing lulls me. A crow's short bark
disturbs my rest
                              At dusk one crow comes,
then another, then a flock gathers in the poplars.
They have eaten frogs. They tasted
duck eggs. They savor carrion, laughing.

Send the crows to Bosnia, Somalia, Rwanda!
Refugee camps in Zaire overflow with cholera.
A young girl rolls her brother's body in a reed mat.
A once dignified man cannot hide his shit-stained pants.
The young woman every young man desired dies in the night.
The young man who turned heads when he walked down the street
averts his eyes as he lays desiccated at your feet
The man who cut the throat of his neighbor's
daughter rattles his own bones.

An old couple hear. They peer at the rock covered
with skeletons living and dead, tattered flesh barely
clinging to bone in this killing field.
                                                  Their arms
braised with small calligraphy. They turn away.
They climb the mountain.
On the radio they call for help.
They seek solace in burning brush
from the smell of ammonia poured over dead bodies
and the too familiar sound of bulldozers.
They try but cannot cry enough tears
for the thirsty millions.

With the muffler gone from my old Ford tractor
I drive up to where the crows call.
It's open season. I could shoot them,
had I brought my shotgun.
The beast under me roars as its wheels dig
into the raw earth. The tractor submerges;
I hang onto its seat with everything. It takes
me down, down into the gravel left by glaciers,
down through the rock, through the hot mantel,
the liquid core–
                        out the scabbed crust.
I am on a mountain
covered with skeletons,
rotten flesh. I stop breathing
to stop the stink.
I have arrived
too late.

Mudfish Poetry Prize Closing Next Month
10th Annual Mudfish Poetry Prize
Postmark Deadline Extended to October 30

Judge: Mark Doty

First place award for best unpublished poem:
$1,000 + publication in Mudfish 17.

Publication for honorable mentions.
Every poem entered is considered for publication in Mudfish.

Include a cover letter with name, address, and titles of your poems.
Do not allow your name to appear on the pages of your poems.
Enclose $15 for three poems and $3 for each additional poem.
Include a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) for contest results.
Manuscripts will not be returned.

Make checks payable to Box Turtle Press and mail your entry to Mudfish Poetry Prize, 184 Franklin Street, New York, NY 10013.

Mudfish, a journal of art and poetry, takes its title from the storyteller's stool in Nigerian art. It has featured the best established and emerging artists and poets—including John Ashbery, Charles Simic, and Frank Stella—since it burst onto the poetry scene in 1984. World-famous, with a cult following, it is the passionate, edgy, intimate voice of the 21st century. Poems have appeared in Best American Poetry and the Pushcart Prize Anthology. Jill Hoffman is the founding editor. Visit them on the web at

Please enjoy "False Witness" by Susan Berlin. This poem was selected for third-place honors by Deborah Landau in our recent contest.
False Witness
by Susan Berlin

There must have been some good in him,
but all I remember is our father calling every
now and then to say he's getting married
again and would Bobby and I care to come.
True, there was that one time he spent the entire
day with us, those pictures he took:
the front of the bus with its grimy promise
of Coney Island; the green mildewed boats
that moved slow enough to go around
only once; Bobby and me in pea-coats, collars up
against the off-season gusts, back-dropped by various
games of chance. There's that shot with our heads
cocked at the same strained angle, our lips
puckered as fish, pulling at the cotton candy's
sticky mass. And then
all the exposures he took — the remainder
of the roll — of rides we didn't get to go on,
restaurants where we didn't eat.

Closing Next Month
Postmark Deadline: October 31


Writing is a profession for talented, imaginative, sensitive Gila monsters (legend claims that when a Gila monster clamps its jaws on something it won't let go).

For 15 years, since 1996, we've been offering writers encouragement with the Dana Awards in the Novel, Short Fiction, and Poetry categories. $1,000 will be awarded in each category. Dana Awards

See our guidelines at, email or, or send a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) to Dana Awards, 200 Fosseway Drive, Greensboro, NC 27455.

Our purpose is monetary encouragement. All work should be unpublished (except to family and friends), un-awarded (honorable mention or finalist recognition okay, but no monetary awards), and not under promise of award or publication at the time it's submitted to us.

We're not affiliated with a university or press, so we don't publish. But the good news is that because we don't publish, you may market the same work simultaneously elsewhere and still win Dana Awards.
What We Are Seeking

Whether fiction or poetry, the work must be original yet not sensational merely for the sake of sensation, with well-developed themes, and written in a style that exhibits love of language and mastery of craft.

If fiction, whether literary, mainstream, or genre fiction, the characters must be fully drawn, not stereotypes, and must be engaged in conflicts (either internal or external) that are compelling and show forward momentum.

Whether poetry or fiction, if it's a universal story (love, death, loss, coming of age, moral responsiveness or failure to respond), it must be told in a fresh way.

Poems, whether formal or free-verse, must exhibit music and rhythm in the use of language, syntax, line breaks, and structure. A group of words thoughtlessly slung lengthwise down a page is not a free-verse poem; it's a group of words that needs to be made into a poem. A group of words that plays with language, without attempting meaning, is an exercise, not a poem.

In 15 years of managing the Dana Awards, I've learned there are thousands of excellent writers out there, which is a heartening but frightening thing: heartening for the sake of literature, but frightening because of the sheer numbers of us writers looking for recognition.

If you're a Gila monster for writing, send us your work.

—Mary Elizabeth Parker, Chair, Dana Awards

Coal Hill Review Poetry Chapbook Contest Coal Hill Review Poetry Chapbook Contest: $1,000 and Publication
Postmark Deadline: November 1
The winning chapbook will be published electronically as part of our Spring issue of Coal Hill Review, and an attractive paper edition will also be available through Autumn House Press. In addition, the poet will receive $1,000.

We ask that all poetry submissions to Coal Hill Review come through our annual contest.

Manuscripts, submitted through our website or through the US Mail, will be accepted August 1 to November 1, and the competition is open to all poets writing in English.

The submission fee of $20 may be paid through our PayPal account or by check or money order made out to Autumn House Press.

Submission should consist of 10-15 pages, either a long poem or a group of poems.

If poems have been previously published, acknowledgments should be included with the submission.

All finalists will be considered for publication in Coal Hill Review and Kestrel Magazine.

Manuscripts may be submitted electronically through our website, or sent by US mail to this address: Autumn House Press, P.O. 60100, Pittsburgh, PA 15211.

Please enjoy this poem by Gailmarie Pahmeier, part of her winning chapbook entry from 2009, Shake It and It Snows:
Home Cooking
by Gailmarie Pahmeier

What I'm about to tell you is true.
It was in the paper some few years back,
but I'd forgotten until you asked
about my sister, asked if I thought
she was a pretty baby, asked if I'd
taken good care of her. The answers are yes.
She's the one with the rich red hair, my father's
clear grey eyes that can be blue, can be
startled into green. But that's not the story
I wanted to tell you. Here's what happened:
Somewhere in Florida a young woman worked
the counter at Bubba's Bodacious Bar-B-Q,
worked hard because she had a pretty
baby, a daughter she hoped would one day
ease into beautiful. People said, that sure
is a pretty baby, and she believed
them, too much a mother to own that that's
just what polite people say. She heard
talk about a children's beauty pageant
coming to town, and this could be her child's
ticket, but entry was fifty bucks
and how's she to get that when all she did
was wrangle ribs apart for customers
who never heard of ten percent. Now Bubba's
doing good, she figured, kept an extra
cash box. So late one night after all were gone,
she carried the big knife, the one Bubba
sharpened while he chewed and spit,
she carried this knife into the back dark
and jimmied open that box for fifty bucks.
I'll bet all that money shined with promise,
with the pure beauty of opportunity.
She can't remember hearing Bubba's footsteps,
how he came up behind her, how she turned,
and the knife, the big knife, sunk right into him.
What she'll always remember is how she
stood there in his blood and clutched twenty
dollar bills into nests, how she knew then
her daughter would never be beautiful,
would always hunger for the wrong things:
a boy to bring her a bag of blueberries,
his long, hard kiss, her heart wrapped in his hand.
Does this answer your questions? Yes, my
sister is both lovely and dangerous,
and yes, yes, we did the best we could.

Ralph Nading Hill Writing Contest
Green Mountain Power and Vermont Life are proud to announce that Jane C. Graiko of Essex Junction, Vermont, is the winner of the 2010 Ralph Nading Hill, Jr. literary prize awarded annually.

Ms. Graiko's winning story, titled "Heart Sounds", is a first-person account of a woman in a coma, struggling to understand her situation through brief periods of perception. "My head throbs, neck aches, toes tingle. My fingers feel solid and unbending like lower branches on a 60-year-old oak. Bits and pieces of conversations float around me and I discern that I—builder of rock walls, planter of vegetable gardens, and gatherer of winter's wood—have for days or weeks been considered touch and go. But what did I touch and where did I go?"

The reader slowly learns what has happened through her confused memories of a car, a deer and walking in the woods, with a disastrous result.

Mary Hegarty Nowlan, one of the judges and editor of Vermont Life, commented, "Ms. Graiko's submission was selected as the winner because it was a very moving tale not only of a woman's struggle to emerge from a coma, but ultimately of the love between a grandmother and granddaughter. Ms. Graiko's creative approach to telling her story caught the attention of all the judges."

"Heart Sounds" appears in the fall issue of Vermont Life, which is now available in bookstores and on newsstands.

Ms. Graiko will receive a $1,500 prize for the short story. The literary prize is named for the late Ralph Nading Hill, Jr., a Vermont historian and writer and long-time member of Green Mountain Power's Board of Directors.

This is the 21st year that the Ralph Nading Hill Literary Prize has encouraged writers in Vermont and it is now considered by Vermont writers to be one of the state's premier literary prizes. Entries may include essays, short stories, plays, and poetry.

Read the complete press release.

Writer's Digest Poetry Awards Competition6th Annual Writer's Digest Poetry Awards Competition
Postmark Deadline: December 15

We're pleased to announce the only Writer's Digest competition exclusively for poets! Regardless of style—rhyming, free verse, haiku and more—if your poems are 32 lines or fewer, we want them all.

First Place: $500 and a trip to the Writer's Digest Conference in New York City
Second Place: $250
Third Place: $100
Fourth Through Tenth Place: $25
Eleventh Through Twenty-Fifth Place: $50 gift certificate for Writer's Digest Books.

The names and poem titles of the First through Tenth-Place winners will be printed in the August 2011 Writer's Digest, and afterwards their names will appear on All winners will receive the 2011 Poet's Market.

Click for more information and to enter online or by mail



As previously noted, our New Literary Resources and Recommended Books features now appear in our quarterly supplements, which are published on March 1, June 1, September 1, and December 1. Contest announcements and calls for submissions appear in the regular monthly newsletters.

ASCAP Resource Guide to Songwriting Competitions
ASCAP, the rights management agency for songwriters and recording artists, maintains this link directory. (Although we assume that contests listed here are more likely to be reputable, writers should still research each contest online before entering.)

Cabinet is an award-winning quarterly magazine of art and culture that confounds expectations of what is typically meant by the words "art", "culture", and sometimes even "magazine". Like the 17th-century cabinet of curiosities to which its name alludes, Cabinet is as interested in the margins of culture as its center. Articles have included the history of failure in American culture; recipes for cooking imaginary animals; the fear of eating (and being eaten by) octopus; philosopher Slavoj Zizek's analysis of capitalism's current fascination with Buddhism; and the invention and artistic uses of the balloon. Cabinet is a print journal but sample articles are available online. Sold-out issues can also be downloaded from their website as a PDF (free for subscribers).

Consequence Magazine
Consequence is a Massachusetts-based literary magazine, published annually, focusing on the culture of war in America. They accept short fiction, poetry, nonfiction, interviews, and artwork, and offer an annual poetry prize.

DailyLit was created for people who are so busy reading their email that they never manage to pick up a book. Subscribers can read books of their choice in serialized installments sent daily by email or RSS feed. They currently offer over 1,000 classic and contemporary books available entirely for free or on a pay-per-read basis (with sample installments available for free). The site also includes a discussion forum to share reviews and book lists.

Dream Voices: Siegfried Sassoon, Memory and War
Online slideshow of the World War I poet's correspondence, drawings, and poems from the front, selected from the Cambridge University Library exhibit of his personal papers (open through December 23, 2010). The 5-minute video narrated by curator John Wells includes a discussion of how Sassoon's anti-war views evolved.

Duotrope's Digest: Editor Interviews
Duotrope's Digest, a directory of literary magazine submission guidelines, includes this extensive archive of brief and informative interviews with magazine editors about the unique characteristics of their publication. Featured journals range from heavy hitters (American Poetry Journal, Bellingham Review) to the quirky and obscure (Untied Shoelaces of the Mind).

Holy Cow! Press
Founded in 1977, Holy Cow! Press is an independent small press whose mission is to publish the very best collections of Midwest writings and develop an audience for those books regionally and nationally. They have published books of poetry, short fiction, memoirs, novels, plays, children's and young adult titles, biographies and anthologies centered around important themes. Authors in their catalog include Natalie Goldberg, Brenda Ueland, Meridel Le Sueur, Diane Glancy, and Ray A. Young Bear.

John Clare Literary Festival
John Clare was a prominent 19th-century poet of the English countryside. The John Clare Cottage Trust now hosts an annual literary festival each fall in his onetime home in the village of Helpston. Events include the Bard of the Fens Competition, a storytelling and performance poetry contest for authors who live or work within an hour's distance of the Fens region.

Kingdom Poets
Canadian poet D.S. Martin edits this blog showcasing classic and contemporary Christian poets.

Poetry Northwest: Quarterly Poetry Competitions
Poetry Northwest, the literary journal of Everett Community College in Washington, offers the quarterly poetry competition "The Pitch". Each round features a writing prompt drawn up by a notable writer and work submitted must adhere to the specifications outlined in the prompt. Work can be submitted via email as a Word.doc or pdf attachment to (only these formats can be accepted) and include in the email message your name, address, phone number, and month/year of birth. One entry per person. Please include your legal name in the email address, even if you wish to be represented on our site by a pseudonym. See website for complete rules. Two finalists will be selected by the editorial staff for a public vote. The finalists will appear on at the end of the quarter for which their pitch submission is received: for spring and summer, September 15; for fall, December 15; for winter, March 15. Voting will last three weeks. The winner will be published on the site in perpetuity, and will receive a one-year subscription to Poetry Northwest.

Poets for Living Waters
Poets for Living Waters is a poetry action in response to the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico begun on April 20, 2010, one of the most profound human-made ecological catastrophes in history. See website for instructions for submitting your poems by email. Previously published work accepted.

The Quarterly Conversation
This intelligent online journal publishes critical essays, reviews, and interviews, with a focus on world literature.

Sampsonia Way
Sampsonia Way is an online magazine sponsored by City of Asylum/Pittsburgh celebrating literary free expression and supporting persecuted poets and novelists worldwide. Each issue contains author interviews, critical essays, and excerpts from literature from many countries. Featured authors have included Toi Derricotte, Lynn Emmanuel, Horacio Castellanos Moya, and Nancy Krygowski.

Twice-yearly online journal of creative nonfiction in all its forms, launched in 2010 by award-winning author Harrison Fletcher. Each issue will include new writing, interviews, book reviews, and artwork.

St. Sebastian Review: A Queer Christian Literary Magazine
The St. Sebastian Review is an LGBTQ Christian literary magazine, founded to give voice to a community often disenfranchised and unheard. Editors say, "We exist as a forum within and from which LGBTQ Christians of any denomination can engage both critically and compassionately the culture in which they find themselves. We are purveyors of fine poetry, fiction, nonfiction essays, and visual art from among the LGBTQ Christian community and its allies."

Survivor Chronicles
Launched in 2010, this online journal publishes poetry, prose, and artwork on themes of trauma release, healing and survival.

With Words
With Words is a UK-based nonprofit that offers writing workshops and literary events for adults and youth, as well as an international haiku competition. Visit their website for basic advice on writing haiku poetry, with examples.

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.



By John Laue. This chapbook from FutureCycle Press is named for a necropolis outside San Francisco, a city of cemeteries where the dead outnumber the living by 800 to 1. Yet Laue's poems are anything but morbid. Like the Biblical writer Ecclesiastes, this poet cannot erase his awareness of mortality by means of religious rituals or hopeful platitudes, but finally finds a precarious peace in appreciation of the present moment, and a substitute for immortality in the cycles of nature.

If a Tree Falls: A Family's Quest to Hear and Be Heard
By Jennifer Rosner. When her first daughter was born deaf, memories of feeling unheard by her own mother led Rosner to trace the history of deafness in her family and imagine how love might bridge the communications gap between parents and children. This beautifully constructed memoir from Feminist Press touches on themes of assimilation, identity formation, and healing. Interwoven with Rosner's tender and humorous memories of her children's early years are vivid fictionalized scenes of her Jewish immigrant ancestors, whom she imagines wrestling with the same challenges in a very different cultural setting. The technology and politics of deafness may keep changing, this book suggests, but the need to connect with the ones we love is universal.

Lily's Odyssey
By Carol Smallwood. In this novel, a retired scholar in a working-class Midwestern town struggles to process her memories of childhood incest and unravel its effects on her psyche. This book's strengths are its sharp characterization of people and cultural settings, and the connections it draws between domestic abuse and sexist institutions that conspire to keep it secret. On her long journey to claim her truth, the narrator must rethink not only her family's official storyline of virtue and vice, but the messages from religious authorities and psychologists who dismiss a woman's perspective. Metaphors from her scientific research give her a creative way to resist. This book shows how trauma can give birth to an artist's intellect that notices and questions human behavior.



Poem for Two Dogs, Hanged in Salem, 1692
by Lesléa Newman

Did they hang
their heads
as good dogs do
when someone
slips beside them
to loop
a collar
or a rope
around their furry necks

Did they prance
along proudly
as happy dogs do
when trotting
alongside a friend
or stranger
who's taking them
for a nice long walk

Did they give
sloppy kisses
as loving dogs do
when a kind man
or gruff man
down beside them
and says sit
and stay

Did they shake
all over
as frightened dogs do
when startled by thunder
or lightning
or black hoods
placed over their heads
making everything too quiet
and dark

Did they swing
their tails
as innocent dogs do
when they're puzzled
or confused
but still
trusting those near
will bring them
no harm

Or did they bare
their teeth
growl and leap
snapping at the Hangman
before he strung them up
and they rose
to Heaven
leaving bodies behind
to be buried like bones

Copyright 2010 by Lesléa Newman

This poem won second runner-up for poetry in the 2010 Solstice Literary Contest.


"Admitting It to the Doctor" by Maureen Sherbondy

Copyright 2010 by Maureen Sherbondy

This poem is reprinted from her collection Weary Blues, which was released this summer by Big Table Publishing.


My Upper Is Soft Brown Leather
by Paula Brancato

variegated as a fig leaf
and drawn from a pampered bull,
the kind that would not risk its hide running the Pamplona
in Spain or facing the toreador.
The name Cappuccino
comes to mind. For this bull
was clearly Italian. When alive, after mating, rutting, fornicating
every morning and sometimes twice, Cappuccino slept
away his lazy afternoons, aiming
for bull Nirvana, the becoming of vero cuoio

and filet mignon. Adverse to
this philosophy, my lower
is severely understated. My toe sports a simple
decoration, embroidery in the shape
of a sea daisy, woven thick
like the rope of the toreador's epaulets,
but black, not gold. Black
embroidery splays over an eighth of an inch
of metatarsal when I am worn,
so as to cover toe lines discreetly. There is big disagreement

among designers here.
Some feel a high heel, and my heel is exactly 3
inches, should show a little
That is sexy, the tops
of the toe lines peeking out.
I am worn, in effect, like a low cut blouse.
Other design mavens, Prada
and Prada owners, mine included, believe
such showiness is déclassé,

to be avoided at all costs. I am
a size 37 ½ European, 7 ½ US, numbers
imprinted on my sole, just where my owner's foot flexes,
where the arch begin its languid climb
up into the cup of my heel.
One can purchase me in Prada, of course, in New York or London, but I
was bought in Italy,
the third leg of the triangle on the map—it is so, if you
trace it—and where I was made,
in fact.

Copyright 2010 by Paula Brancato

This poem is reprinted from her new collection Painting Cities, which was released in July by Finishing Line Press.


Combing Out
by Elaine Zimmerman

Someone is raking outside in the moonlight.
Combing out one season, before the next.

It is probably too late though.
The snow coming in fast.

The sound rhythmic and haunting.
A familiar sensation. Missing

the plot. The third act opens
while she's in the first scene.

Brushing her hair on the calico pillow.
Tea by the bedside. He is gone.

Winter just around the corner.
The geese have flown away.

Replaced so easily by another.
Hush now. Someone's outside

clearing the leaves and flower beds
before frost claims the harvest.

Copyright 2010 by Elaine Zimmerman

This poem won first prize in the 2010 Friends of Acadia Poetry Competition. Originally published in Friends of Acadia Journal, Summer 2010 (Volume 15, No. 2). Reprinted with the permission of Friends of Acadia.


The Day Before Chemo
by Ellen LaFleche

Julia washed her hair.

She took her time,
brown strands floating in the sink
like sea-kelp, the baby
shampoo fragrant in her palm
as amber being burned.

For the rinse: seven bottles of sparkling
spring-water. Julia's head fizzled
and popped, the Perrier bubbles
pleasuring the delicate palate of her scalp.

A slow blow-dry,
Julia's herbal conditioner scenting the room
with night-garden spice.

She used her grandmother's silver brush,
one hundred strokes,
one hundred more.

Her hair sang like a waterfall.

Her lover kissed it, root to end.
He took strands in his teeth,
savoring the grassy taste in his mouth.

Then she cut it off,
sickling it off her nape
like a fistful of wheat.

Copyright 2010 by Ellen LaFleche

This poem won first prize in the Spring 2010 Lucidity Poetry Journal Clarity Awards.


Can One Recover...?
by Martin Steele

It was already deep into 1920
when the Unknown Soldier Search Committee
came upon a petrified body in a blown up tunnel in France
bearing lipstick marks on a lady's kerchief.
The perfume had long faded
and the corpse's stench long gone faded too.
Initials in a bloody corner
led searchers for an unknown warrior's lover to the scene.
He had no rank—a mere poilu in Mangin's Sixth Army,
eaten up at Verdun like army ants relishing fresh dying flesh.
Her premonition was that she pictured him gassed,
vomiting, coughing, crying, pleading
for one more glimpse of her.
She felt close to him and wanted closer.
Her body now lies interred in silk in a lone cemetery
near where she felt he lay.

Copyright 2010 by Martin Steele

This poem won a third prize in the 2010 Dancing Poetry Contest from Artists Embassy International.


by John Alexanderson

Sometimes I nub my doubts, peer
through decades where the murk
has settled in past perfect truths.

Your angularities were as peaks
in a western desert, or verse
so punchy it perturbs its readers.
They'd wag heads and walk away.

Even now, your slants surround me.
Some evenings, you sat beside the bed,
words like warm washcloths, my hair
and forehead stroked. You brought
sodapop flat as syrup, bouillon broth
balanced in a tablespoon to parched lips.
I would regain tendril roots,
revive as a sprout on a desert.

When the mountain lake surrounded me
and showed that I could swim at last,
your affirmation gleamed from legs
and arms, dripped off ears and fingers.
At last, I can see it was you.

Copyright 2010 by John Alexanderson

This poem won an honorable mention in the 2010 Alabama Writers' Conclave Writing Contest.



2011 Poet's Market - New!
Published each August by Writer's Digest, this is the best annual directory of journals, magazines, book publishers, chapbook publishers, websites, grants, conferences, workshops and contests. Helps you find publishers who are looking for your kind of work.

2011 Writer's Market - New!
Annual directory for prose writers from Writer's Digest offers over 3,500 listings of book publishers, magazines, trade publications and literary agents. Helpful articles cover topics such as using social media and how much to charge for your work. "The most valuable of tools for the writer new to the marketplace," says Stephen King in On Writing, "If you're really poor, ask someone to give it to you for Christmas."

2011 Novel & Short Story Writer's Market - New!
Annual directory for fiction writers from Writer's Digest includes over 1,100 listings of magazines, book publishers, literary agents and contests, plus interviews with authors, agents, and other publishing professionals.

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Promote your contests, websites, events, and publications in this newsletter. Reach over 30,000 poets and writers for $80. Ads may contain up to 250 words, a headline, and a graphic image. Find out more and make your reservation here:

"We can tell by our data readings that Winning Writers is an economical and efficient way to advertise both the Anderbo Poetry Prize and The RRofihe Trophy/Open City Short Story Contest."
Rick Rofihe, Publisher & Editor-In-Chief, anderbo

"...I'd like to share that our web site received a very good amount of clicks from your web site after we ran the ad. In fact, the clicks we received after Dec. 15 were comparable to the average number of clicks received per month during 2009 from our second highest referring web site for the whole year. We were very pleased, and that's why we want to advertise four times this year. Thanks again for the work that you do..."
Steve Petty, New Millennium Writings

"Thanks again for the ad. Poems have been pouring in."
Frances Flynn, Sidney Lanier Award



Grants Available to Adult Literacy Organizations to Help Them Reduce Student Waiting Lists

ProLiteracy is pleased to announce that the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has grants available to adult literacy organizations to help them reduce student waiting lists. These Waiting List Reduction Grants are available to nonprofit adult literacy organizations who provide service in adult basic education, General Educational Development (GED) diploma preparation, or English as a second language. The maximum grant is $10,000. Applications are due by September 30. More information is available here.

In January 2007, the National Council of State Directors of Adult Education reported that 93,840 potential students were waiting for services from programs receiving federal and state funds. More than half of ProLiteracy's group affiliates also reported they had waiting lists during the same time period, both for basic literacy and for English-as-a-second-language services.

It's important that literacy programs find ways to immediately engage these potential students in learning activities or risk losing them. With a grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, ProLiteracy initiated a project to identify and disseminate promising practices that programs can use to help reduce the number of students on waiting lists. The experiences and lessons learned from ProLiteracy's work with 23 programs are documented in these materials.

ProLiteracy WorldwideProLiteracy supports adults and young people in the U.S. and internationally who are learning to read, write, and do basic math by training instructors, publishing instructional materials, and advocating for resources and public policies that support them.

Support ProLiteracy's vital mission. Click here to learn more. Click to contribute.

Send this newsletter to a friend and we'll donate 15 cents to ProLiteracy for each friend you refer.




by Rick Lupert

Oh my kitty
oh my doggy
oh my fishy
oh my Bushy
oh my Iraqy
oh my Osama Bin Soup ladel
oh my boobonic plague
oh my Spanish Inquisition
oh my coco puff
oh my chocolate porcupine
oh my snotty hairy baby
oh my hit me in the face with a skillet
oh my drink wawa or dehydrate
oh my panoply
oh my fleet of windshorn dinghies
oh my free cheese
oh my autistic vision
oh my poppa ooh poppo ooh
oh my map to the stars home
oh my CALIGULA!!!!!!!!!!
oh my Pavel Checkhov
oh my-pod
oh my extra spleen
I like kitty best

Copyright 2008 Rick Lupert

Sent as a joke to the (now defunct) International Library of Poetry, this poem won an honorable mention in the 2008 Wergle Flomp humor poetry contest sponsored by Winning Writers. Author Rick Lupert received a cash prize of $72.95. See the judge's comments on the winning poems from this contest.


Winners Announced for the 18th Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest
The Best Free Poetry Contests for September 16-October 31