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Award-Winning Poems: Fall 2012

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Welcome to our Fall 2012 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 20th annual Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest.


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Upcoming Contest Deadlines
Write About This
Write a story based on the image pictured in this announcement. What is happening here? What will happen here? What has happened here? View the announcement to see the image. This writing contest rewards a cash prize to the winner.
Deadline: Thursday, September 6

5-7-5 Poetry
For this contest you are to write a short poem. It should only have three lines. But the structure is that of a Haiku. The first line has 5 syllables. The second line has 7 syllables. The third line has 5 syllables again. Write about anything. Cash prize for the winner of this contest for poets.
Deadline: September 13

Horror Story Writing Contest
Put your readers on edge or terrorize them for this horror writing contest. The winner of this contest will take away a cash prize.
Deadline: September 19

Write a pantoum poem for this contest. This is a poem with a specific format. A pantoum is a poem that is made up of quatrains. See an example in the announcement. Cash prize to the winner.
Deadline: September 26

A new neighbor in your apartment appears to be a vampire. Is he or she really a creature of the night? What does your character do, and what happens next? This contest also has a cash prize.
Deadline: October 1

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.

Success Stories
"At the first of this year (2012) the site sponsored a contest to write a novel in two months. I completed it February 29 of this year.

"Last night I signed a contract with a publisher.

"Thanks so much to the people who read
Melinda Heads West and helped me by reviewing and sending tips my way. I'm over the moon! I've said this before, I'm saying it again...I LOVE FANSTORY! Thanks for all you do!"

—Robyn Corum

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Congratulations to Natalie Diaz. Her first poetry collection, When My Brother Was an Aztec, was released this summer by Copper Canyon Press. From the review in Publishers Weekly: "This debut collection is a fast-paced tour of Mojave life. In darkly humorous poems, Diaz illuminates far corners of the heart." The closing poem in this book, "A Wild Life Zoo", won an honorable mention in the 2009 Winning Writers War Poetry Contest.

Congratulations to Grace Growing Medicine (Grace E. Reed). Her book Negotiating Shadows was recently published by GR Publications of Oxford, England. The book is an overview of her method as a mediator and therapist who helps clients negotiate the "shadows" they create in their lives from choices driven by conflict, stress, and confusion.

Congratulations to Kriss Erickson. Her book Before There Were Words: Energetic Meanings of Runes was published in May by Synclectic Media and is available in print and Amazon Kindle editions. The book seeks to help people connect the messages of ancient Runic divination tools to the patterns in their daily lives. Mrs. Erickson is a Reiki master teacher, freelance writer, and herbalist. Visit her website to learn more.

Congratulations to Valerie Nieman. Her novel Blood Clay (Press 53, 2011), a thought-provoking novel about the New South, won the General Fiction category of the 2012 Eric Hoffer Award for Independent Books. The judges said, "Touching on themes of loneliness, belonging, and racism, this book will haunt the reader." The American Book Review called it "a great short American novel". Visit her website for more information and tour dates. The Hoffer award series gives a grand prize of $2,000, plus medals in various categories, for poetry and prose books published or self-published in the past two years. The most recent deadline was January 21.

Congratulations to Kristina Jensen. Her poem "Teach Me How to Be" won the Spirit of Adventure Competition from Forward Poetry. Read it here. This British writing website sponsors a variety of free contests with small prizes. See the competitions page for themes and deadlines. The prize for Spirit of Adventure was 25 pounds and the deadline was December 30.

Congratulations to George Korolog. His poem "Soul Stone" was a runner-up for the 2012 Contemporary American Poetry Prize from The most recent deadline for this $100 award was March 1. In other news, George's poem "Phillies vs. Cardinals" was published in the July issue of the online journal Forge.

Congratulations to Desmond Kon. He won first prize in the 2011 Little Red Tree International Poetry Prize for "If Jeffrey Smart Painted James Joyce". He kindly shares it with us below. Other Winning Writers subscribers who placed in this contest were Ellen LaFleche, who won second prize for "Forgiveness", and honorable mentions Meagan Waff, Mia Farinelli, and John Anderson. The most recent deadline for this contest, with prizes up to $1,000 and anthology publication, was December 31.

Congratulations to Beverly Siegel. Her poem "Creation" was a finalist in the 2012 Crucible Poetry and Fiction Competition, a free contest sponsored by Barton College. The most recent deadline for this $150 prize was May 1.

Shirani Rajapakse's poems "Hope", "My Gift to You", and "Sahel, Sahel" were accepted for the Song of Sahel anthology, which will be launched on September 15 at 10:00 AM GMT. Published by Plum Tree Books, Song of Sahel will be available as a multimedia Kindle e-book on Amazon. The anthology brings together poets, writers, musicians, painters and photographers from the US, UK, Italy, Spain, Australia, Sri Lanka and India to raise awareness about the plight of the people living in the Sahel region of Africa. Visit their Facebook page or the Plum Tree Books website to meet some of the artists involved in the project, listen to music composed especially for the event, and hear live recordings of some of the poems submitted. You can also listen to a radio broadcast. The online book launch begins at 10:00 AM GMT on September 15 and will continue round the clock until 10:00 AM the following day.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson's poem "Big Screen Snack" was selected for the anthology A Taste of Literary Elegance: Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate. This full-color, glossy-paged collection will be published by Manzanita Press in a print run of 8,000 for distribution to wineries and restaurants across the US. The deadline for this anthology project, which awarded $200 to the top entry, was December 31. This was a one-time event but the press may produce other themed collections in future. In other news, her poem "This Grave at Ypres" was published in the August issue of the Israeli online journal Cyclamens and Swords. This issue's theme was "Unforgettable".

Elizabeth Hufford's essay "Gone Accourting" was published in the anthology Tales from the Courtroom (Blue Cubicle Press, 2012), She also placed four poems in Poets Among Us: Aquillrelle Poetry Three, and had a short-short story accepted for publication in The Binnacle, the literary journal of the University of Maine at Machias. She writes, "As one who lives far from the publishing world, I may not have known about these opportunities if not for your site."

F.G. Mulkey's poem "Shore Leave" was published in the inaugural issue (Summer 2012) of Clockhouse Review, the literary journal of Goddard College. In addition, his poem "Borderland" was accepted for the anthology 200 New Mexico Poems, celebrating the state's centennial. He kindly shares it with us below.

Benus Adu Poku's novel Sacrifice in the Sahara (Book One) is now available from Smashwords. The first book of a planned trilogy, this novel tells the story of an impoverished African man who seeks to flee to Europe via an illegal and dangerous route through the Sahara Desert, where he falls in love with an American woman.

Trina Porte will be reading from Lifeblood, the anthology she edited for the Woodstock Poetry Society, on September 12 at 6 PM at the Cornelia Street Cafe, 29 Cornelia Street, New York, NY. $8.00 cover charge includes drink.


Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest

All entries that win cash prizes in these contests will be published on (over one million page views per year) and announced in the Winning Writers Newsletter, with over 40,000 subscribers.

Closing This Month
Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest
Postmark Deadline: September 30
Now in its tenth year, this contest seeks poems in any style, theme or genre. Prizes of $3,000, $1,000, $400 and $250 will be awarded, plus six Most Highly Commended Awards of $150 each. New this year, there will also be a special $250 bonus prize for humorous verse. You may submit work that has been published or won prizes elsewhere, as long as you own the online publication rights. The entry fee is $8 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.

Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest (no fee)
Online Submission Deadline: April 1, 2013
Winning Writers invites you to enter the 12th annual Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest. We'll award $2,000, including a top prize of $1,000. Submit one humor 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.

Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest
Postmark Deadline: April 30, 2013
Now in its 21st 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. $16 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.



STATUARY and other poems
by Katherine Larson
Winner of the 2012 Kate Tufts Discovery Award
Postmark Deadline: September 15
This free contest from Claremont Graduate University awards $10,000 for a first published book of poetry by a US citizen or current resident. Larson's prizewinning Radial Symmetry was previously also a Yale Series of Younger Poets winner. This poem situates the human condition "somewhere between/ the crane & the worm", the mind able to imagine infinity yet anxious about death.

by Jazzy Danziger
Winner of the 2012 Brittingham Poetry Prize
Postmark Deadline: September 30
The University of Wisconsin Press sponsors the annual Brittingham and Pollak Poetry Prizes for poetry manuscripts by authors at any stage of their career, with awards of $2,500 and publication. Danziger's Darkroom was the 2012 winner. This poem addresses Caravaggio's painting of the Bible story, challenging our tendency to dwell on the appearance of violence but still look away from its implications.

by Carmen Giménez Smith
Winner of the 2011 Juniper Prize for Poetry
Postmark Deadline: September 30
This competitive poetry manuscript prize of $1,500 from the University of Massachusetts Press alternates annually between a first-book and a subsequent-book contest. The 2013 award (2012 deadline) is for poets who have already published at least one full-length collection. Smith's Goodbye, Flicker won the most recent subsequent-book prize. In this philosophical poem from her previous collection, Odalisque in Pieces (University of Arizona Press, 2009), the speaker finds that time and winter erase her attempts to make a profound public statement; perhaps that is the statement.

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 and prose contests that are free to enter. With your Poetry Contest Insider subscription, you'll get access to all of our 1,250+ active poetry and prose contest profiles. Search and sort contests by deadline, prize, fee, recommendation level and more. We don't just list contests, we point you to the ones that will gain the most attention for your work, whether you are just starting out or are well-established. Exclusive interviews with contest judges and editors help you understand how your submissions are evaluated.

We update Poetry Contest Insider nearly every day. Be among the first to learn about new contests and late deadline changes. 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. Learn more about Poetry Contest Insider.
"I wasn't on top of the contest circuit until I subscribed to Winning Writers. Since I joined the site a year ago, I have won the top prize or placed in poetry contests 24 times and have had 11 publications. In the five years I wrote poetry prior to joining this site, I had only one publication. Clearly, Winning Writers has had a huge impact on my career. Thank you!"
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by Starkey Flythe

naked, puts his digit up your stern,
jiggles your jigglies, says, Cough.
No matter what he finds, or doesn't,
you're going. He turns you into nobody
from somebody, from nobody
into everybody, feeds you what
once passed through you, bellows, "Kill!"
same time killing you. Does anybody think
giving teen age—they are—boys weapons—
"This is my rifle, this is my gun,
This is for killing, this is for fun,"—makes men?
A box of rubbers by the sign out sheet reminds.
Never ask a witness a question, lawyers say,
you don't know the answer. Don't go into a world,
third world, any world you don't know
how long, how much, how many
it'll take to make them love us. Jesus says,
chocolate candy, fill a brand new Mercedes
with Hershey's kisses, give each, every.
Cheaper than bombing, burying, occupying.
The After—oh, the After—remember
the Crusades? They do. Pentagon, five footed
sloth, stamp on them, grind them down,
make them weep, die, cry, "Uncle."

Copyright 2010 Starkey Flythe

This poem won an Honorable Mention in the 2010 War Poetry Contest sponsored by Winning Writers. Author Starkey Flythe received a $100 award. See the judge's comments on the winning poems from this contest.



Swallow by Jendi ReiterSwallow by Jendi Reiter Reviewed at Ampersand Books
Winner of the 2008 Flip Kelly Poetry Prize from Amsterdam Press, Jendi Reiter's poetry chapbook Swallow was favorably reviewed on the Ampersand Books blog in December 2010. Critic Martha Rzadkowolsky-Raoli says, "Jendi Reiter created a tidy poetry book in which swallow means everything you can expect swallow to mean. She exhausts the word; its mashed remains a mix of cow meat, desire, intestines, bird. If you read the book, and you should, you'll experience the beating of the word... The relationship between premises in these poems gets downright eucharistic on logic's ass."

To order, email Jendi Reiter or send a check for $8.00 to Jendi at 351 Pleasant Street, PMB 222, Northampton, MA 01060-3961.

Enjoy this sample poem from Swallow:
The Fear of Puppets and the Fear of Beautiful Women
by Jendi Reiter

have in common that your tongue is not your own,
is a hand reaching up through your throat,

making your plastic eyes roll a hard eight.
You have to look at whatever the hand wants,

and it wants to make them laugh, the beautiful women,
but not the way they'd laugh at a dog,

which is what you are. You are covered in fur,
the cheap kind, someone decided you should be orange

like a rug from the decade when everyone was blind,
even the beautiful women, who bred with men
   in sideburns

and embroidered vests, and one of their offspring
   was you.
You know the word venustraphobia.

It is not a tropical spider with delicate green legs.
The fear of beautiful women is different

from the number thirteen or crossing bridges,
though the fear of being bald is sometimes compared
   to it.

Beautiful women have not confided in you
about dentists, or the dark, or getting on a plane.

The fear of puppets stays in their heads.
You can still tremble unstrung. Open your mouth.

It might be your own words coming through this time.
Pupaphobia: having a fist for a windpipe,

the fist of the one who holds you on his lap.

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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. The judge is Jeff Mock. All poets are welcome. You do not need to reside in Connecticut or belong to the Connecticut Poetry Society.

We offer prizes of $400, $100, and $50. Winning poems will be published in the Connecticut River Review. Honorable Mentions may also receive 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 this poem, published in Connecticut River Review:
          The Matrushka Maker
          by L.N. Allen
Tradition is an

, he used to tell

his Sasha, break it, even

crack it and it's gone
. First he

carves the seed that doesn't come

apart, and puts its silhouette upon

a second block of wood,

then cuts like

making shadows.

He does the same to

another and another. Each

fits inside the one who came before

but is not the one who came before, as a glove

in winter air is not the storm. When twelve are carved,

he starts to paint dark eyelashes so long they reach to circle

cheeks so pink they're almost setting suns. As size goes down,

some things will be left outóbits of lace, curlicues, the high

points of a smile, eventually the smile itself. One will be a

ghost of what she was, a seed. Then skin, flesh, muscle,

— he'll peel back layers of himself to find the

man he might have been—the men he might

have been, if not for the cold, the drink

and this damn small talent.

The Missouri Review Editors' Prize The Missouri Review
Closing Next Month
The Missouri Review Editors' Prize: Over $15,000 in Prizes
Postmark Deadline: 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. Click for the complete guidelines.

We are proud to present "The General's Report", a runner-up for our Editors' Prize in poetry.
The General's Report
by Cynthia Marie Hoffman

Over many months on the fields, I had come to know
intimately the sound the air made passing through
my horse's nostrils, heavy air, air sprinkled with musket
powder, tang of blood that carried on the breeze
like a pollen and touched all men's shoulders and multiplied
and was jostled between the feathers of the birds who'd found
the maggots they were looking for beneath the men's
stiff collars and was shaken from the skies in their flight
so that everywhere we marched, the grasses had already
conceived of our deaths. The air was no good anymore
for breathing. I sat on my horse and looked out upon
the bodies as they struck the ground, arms free to indulge
in fits of undignified waving at the hills which were blind
to their farewells, legs stumbling like cowards
running from the bullet already in the chest.
And their limbs flailed above the skirmish
and the whole battle moved like a mythic creature
inching across the ocean floor, waving its hooks
and tendrils. And on this day, my eye wandered
to the edge of the trees where my men had dipped
their canteens in the cool creek the night before. Where
my horse had slept standing and unafraid. Where
as if my tongue had been a heart bursting open, the sweet juice
of chewing tobacco rushed my mouth. And on this day,
when I looked, there was a woman among the trees, white
skirt like a spirit, long as her body was long. She lowered
her bucket into the stream and though I was far away
I heard the crinkle of water folding into the small
dark place. There was a ruffle in her dress just beneath
her breasts, lacey like a chain of leaves in the fall eaten away
of all but its veins, its strongest delicate parts. I must have
gone deaf to the battle then for I heard the stirrup's
squeak of protest as my eager ankle turned. It is not like
a man to notice such things, but when he is starved by war.
Her belly protruded with life, so sweet to see her
there, so swollen and hopeful, plentiful bucket. I simply
watched her stand, with perfectly balanced stillness. I may
have even made her from the bark of a pale tree, drawn
her lips from a leaf, except the grace with which she lifted
her hand and set it upon her belly I could not have conjured.
She looked out upon the fields where my army was
leaping and turning its ill-conceived ballet, and I wanted to
drop the curtain on us all, I was not entirely not a gentleman.
It is possible to be deafened by the sound of a cannon-
ball, not to hear its whistle between the trees, no man
able to report its landing call. I can tell
only what I saw. One minute, as I have thusly described,
a woman. And the next, I will refrain from describing
in too exact a measure, two women. One
with only the top of her body, her hair spilled
across her mouth. The other with only the bottom,
which collapsed at the knee and spilled
her belly into the water. Then I heard the splash
clear as day, even from a distance. My calves
squeezed the horse between my legs and the forest
approached me bounding, unsteady. We stood
above her and her eyes looked straight at us, no bashfulness.
The bucket sat on the ground unmolested, its water sloshing
about. Her skirts were tugged by the creek which wanted
to carry her body with it, which did not understand
stilled things. There was something in the water in a red sack.
I thought she had dropped something, some soft part of her
belongings. I reached in and the water rushed past my hand crisp
and stinging, a swift script of blood whorled at my wrist.
The thing moved like a fish tangled in a net. I pulled it
from the water and the blood dripped all over my uniform
I raised it and I looked and there I saw a human face,
so dimly lit as if it looked out at me from the window
of a small room on the second floor. I set it in the grass
and tore the sack with my knife water gushed across my knees
there was a baby's cry. My horse raised his head.

CUTTHROAT, A JOURNAL OF THE ARTS, announces the 2012 Joy Harjo Poetry Prize and the Rick Demarinis Short Story Prize
Postmark Deadline: October 10

Each contest will award a $1,250 FIRST PRIZE and $250 SECOND PRIZE plus Publication
Honorable Mentions are also published

    LINDA GREGERSON, Joy Harjo Poetry Prize
    CHARLES BAXTER, Rick DeMarinis Short Fiction Prize

For those who enter by regular mail: SASE REQUIRED! Enter as often as you wish. For each submission, send up to three poems (100-line limit/one poem per page) or one short story (5,000-word limit/double-spaced) in 12-point font, a cover sheet with name, address, phone & email, title(s) of submission, SASE for announcement of winners (we recycle all manuscripts) and a $15 entry fee per submission made to CUTTHROAT, A JOURNAL OF THE ARTS, P.O. Box 2414, Durango, CO 81302.

For those who enter online: Click the link at the bottom of the Contest page on our website, Fill out our online form. There are separate forms for each genre. You will be charged $17 for each submission. A submission consists of three poems (100-line limit/one poem per page) or one short story (5,000-word limit/double-spaced) in 12-point font. Contest deadline is Midnight, October 10.

For all entries: UNPUBLISHED WORK ONLY! No author name may appear anywhere on the manuscript. Multiple submissions are OK, but we must be informed immediately of acceptances elsewhere. All finalists are considered for publication. All winners published in CUTTHROAT and announced on our website, in POETS & WRITERS and AWP WRITER'S CHRONICLE. No relative, student or staff member of CUTTHROAT is eligible to enter our contests.

Congratulations to our 2011 winners:

1st Place Joy Harjo Poetry Prize: David Maduli of Oakland, CA for "Ghost Dance"
2nd Place: Rebecca Dunham of Bayside, WI for "Elegy For The Eleven"
Honorable Mention: Jennifer Sweeney of Redlands, CA for "Cabinet of Curiosities"

1st Place Rick DeMarinis Short Fiction Prize: Kathy Conde of Superior, CO for "Georgia Nights"
2nd Place: Justine Siener of Fairhope, AL for "Journals of Coteau Ridge"
Honorable Mentions: Dwight Holing for "Longboard" and Dee Hubbard for "The Dutchess Run"

We are proud to present this excerpt from Women of the House, a novel by Stephen Minot, part of a larger excerpt published in Cutthroat 11.
For two years the Bates Farm has been locked, shuttered, and untended. This is the first lapse in a long continuity. Since the 1780s the house has held a succession of families, sheltering them and in turn nurtured by them. It has heard singing, crying, shouting, lovemaking, prayers, sawing, and laughter. It has witnessed births, first steps, illnesses, final steps, deaths in sequences overlapping sequences, generations replacing generations. Now, after 200 years, it has gone silent. Dying but not dead.

A wooden house is alive. Any carpenter will confirm this. It breathes. It moves. It whispers. Mortise and tenon heave, timbers flex and give with the winds. But like any living thing it is subject to illness, rot, decay. It is mortal. Abandoned, it will slowly die of neglect. The Bates Farm is dying. Residents of Farthington Neck consider it shameful, but what can they do? The place isn't even up for sale.

It is not easy for a wooden house to survive two centuries under any circumstances. More difficult still if it is placed high on a ridge, exposed to the Atlantic storms summer and winter. It takes luck and a bond between residents and structure. It requires regular attention—painting, patching, repairing. In return it protects its benefactors against the elements. The dependence is mutual.

Click for more

Literary Contests @

  New Contest!
  2012 Anderbo Self-Published Book Award
  Postmark Deadline: October 15
  7th Year!
  2012 Anderbo Poetry Prize
  Postmark Deadline: December 15
  • For up to six unpublished poems
  • Winner receives: $500 cash and publication on
  • Judged by Sidney Wade
  • 2012 Contest Assistant: Anderbo Poetry Editor Charity Burns
  • Reading fee: $10
  • Guidelines @
  9th Year!
  2012 RRofihe Trophy Short Story Contest – No Fee
  Postmark Deadline: December 31

Dana Awards 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 17 years, since 1996, we've been offering writers encouragement with the Dana Awards in the Novel, Short Fiction, Poetry, and the Essay.


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

What We Are Seeking

All work must be original and compelling, written in a style that exhibits love of language and mastery of craft.

Whether poetry, fiction, or nonfiction, 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.


In 17 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

Saranac Review Writing Contest

The Writers Place The Writers Place Screenwriting Competition
Early Bird Online Submission Deadline: October 31 (late submissions accepted through November 15) leverages the connections of entertainment business executives and award-winning writers to aid aspiring writers by eliminating barriers within the industry. The Writers Place takes outstanding scripts under its wing, and allocates its talent, resources, and expertise to attach scripts to the right representation and/or production company. Register today for membership! We also accept shorts and teleplays.

The Writers Place cofounders have jointly raised over $50 million for film and entertainment projects. Winning screenwriters receive awards, cash prizes, in-kind prizes, and public relations services worth $2,000. Honored scripts will be presented to the competition's 6,500+ industry participants, including managers, agents and producers, and distributors from around the globe. Go to for complete details, and $50 off a Writers Place Script Consultation.

One of Our Success Stories
Parker Briscoe, 3rd place winner in TWP's teleplay/short competition for his short script, "Folklore", not only went on to put his script on film but won best mini short fantasy at Shockerfest in California. Folklore was also nominated for a best short fantasy film award at the Bare Bones film festival in Muskogee, Oklahoma. It won recognition in Canada and was chosen to play the first Fantasy/SciFi International short film festival in Athens, Greece.

Parker says, "Getting the 3rd place award from TWP was everything to get 'Folklore' off the ground. This certificate has turned into a badge for me. I've been flashing it around at the right times and it has got me through some doors to talk with people. I keep the original on my wall. I have a copy of it in my wallet."
Paula Brancato Dr. James E. Fischer
More About The Writers Place
Alumni include Skin Meade whose script "Hope Now" was picked up by SONY. Student Matt Lutz, runner-up, sold "Fat Camp" with the help of Writers Place management. Robert Heske published his horror anthology, Cold Blooded Chillers, through introductions made by TWP. Writers Place cofounders are active members of Harvardwood, HCNY, IFP, and teach at Georgia State, StonyBrook Southampton, Southern Methodist University and USC. Go to and plug into the network and support system that is The Writers Place. Submit your screenplay today!

After Urgency, winner of the Tupelo Press Dorset Prize Tupelo Press Dorset Prize
Postmark Deadline: December 31

The Dorset Prize includes a cash award of $3,000, publication by Tupelo Press, a book launch, and national distribution with energetic publicity and promotion. The final judge for this year's contest is Kimiko Hahn. All finalists will be considered for publication. Results announced in April 2013.

The Dorset Prize is open to anyone writing in English, whether living in the United States or abroad. We welcome published or unpublished authors. Translations are not eligible. The contest is competitive. Simultaneous submissions to other publishers or contests are permitted; notify Tupelo Press promptly if your manuscript is accepted elsewhere.

Submit a previously unpublished, full-length poetry manuscript of between 48 and 88 pages (of poems). Include two cover pages: one with title only, the other with title, your name, address, phone, and email. Include a table of contents and, if applicable, an acknowledgments page for poems previously published in periodicals. For notification of receipt of manuscript, include a SASP. For notification of the winner, enclose a SASE. Manuscripts will not be returned.

A reading fee of $28 by check (payable to Tupelo Press) or via PayPal must accompany each submission. Multiple submissions are accepted, each accompanied by a $28 reading fee.

Read the complete guidelines before submitting your manuscript:

Submit your manuscript online at:

or send via postal mail to:

Tupelo Press Dorset Prize
P.O. Box 1767
North Adams, MA 01247

Read about past winners and more information about all Tupelo contests at:

Here is a poem by Rusty Morrison, author of After Urgency (Tupelo Press, 2012), winner of the 2009 Dorset Prize:

A wind rose suddenly and seamed shut the believable present.
New hands on the clock face. Prehensile. Opposable.
Hairpins in a jar.
Only a child could pour them onto the counter,
cover some with white paper.
Rub with crayon.
And not know what the tracing exposed.
How to enter each evening differently, deciphering one lamp at a
Kept an old house, dragged it through every feeling
I didn't want to have.
To realize acute ticking is the most inaccurate kind.

Robert Frost Foundation 16th Annual Robert Frost Foundation Annual Poetry Award
Postmark/Email Submission Deadline: January 1, 2013

The Robert Frost Foundation welcomes poems in the spirit of Robert Frost for its 16th Annual Award. The winner will receive $1,000 and the opportunity to read at a Frost Foundation event.

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 recent winners.

Please enjoy "Tilt" by Robert Carter, which placed on the short list in our 15th contest.
by Robert Carter

I was cutting fence posts when it first struck,
cracking the bark from each log by whacking
with the back of an axe until a surrendered seam
opened up and bled a sticky sap that clung
to what it could before drying.

I remember the sun so heated my cotton shirt
that each time I leaned forward to strike,
it patted my back with a hot encouragement
to stomp and shudder the heel of my boot
into the broken bark, peeling it away
like green banana skin.

There was no wind that day and I was proud
to lift the post-to-be towards its final hole.
At first I thought it was the luscious hunger
that only the stretch and strain of body
can create, as it rose from belly to chest
as I wavered with the weight.

In the small paddock, through the salt blur
of sweat, I could see a week-old goat
who, without any awareness of his magic,
had scrambled and scaled to the top of a pile of old posts,
to poise impossibly on a teetering plank,
testing the world for balance.

Each time the timber scale steadied to still,
something stirred the kid to tempt the world
to tip again—to bring back another kind of parity.
Was it the list or the balance he loved?
He'd found a risky rhythm that was neither
rest nor fall, but grace itself.

In that moment, teetering with a log too heavy,
a hundred parts of my life came into balance—
the life of thoughts in which I mostly lived,
the sensual strain of ligaments, wild words
I stalked—the sexual smell of earth,
the love with others, alive, being alive—
such an impossible thing.

For fifty heartbeats I felt the ease
of some perfect balance—
a bliss that I knew would too soon tilt.



Our New Literary Resources and Recommended Books features appear in our quarterly special issues, which are published on March 1, June 1, September 1, and December 1. Contest announcements and calls for submissions appear in our regular monthly newsletters.

Baseball Bard
Baseball Bard is an organization that connects poets and writers who follow baseball with baseball fans who enjoy poetry and literature. The aim is to intensify the enjoyment of baseball by presenting it in a new and exciting way. Baseball fans will enjoy writing that captures the essence of the game in elevated, but easily accessible language. Poets will get new opportunities for publication and special recognition. Baseball Bard's two primary tasks are the maintenance of the Baseball Bard Website and the publication of Baseball Bard, an annual book (printed and digital) featuring the year's best poetry and verse on the subject of baseball.

Book Marketing Buzz Blog
Experienced editor and publicist Brian Feinblum shares tips about turning media exposure into sales, creating your author brand, using multimedia tools to market your book, and much more. Read his June 2012 interview with Winning Writers Editor Jendi Reiter here.

Broad! (a gentlelady's magazine)
This semi-annual online journal launched in 2011 is a feminist literary magazine that accepts poetry, fiction, essays, photography, and artwork from female-identified persons. Broad! exists "because stories by women are printed in other magazines less often than men's, because in the past women have had to publish under male pseudonyms or under no name at all and from what we're seeing, literary less equitable than we'd hoped. Because we write about ghosts, or families, or love, or other implausible things. Because our art is considered 'domestic fiction' instead of 'the Great American Novel.'" Submissions may be on any topic.

Dora McQuaid
Poet, spoken-word artist, and activist Dora McQuaid raises awareness about domestic violence, child abuse, prisoners' rights, and other social justice issues.

Fiction Fast-Track at Apostrophe Books
British publisher Apostrophe Books Ltd. will publish a new fiction e-book every month, chosen by popular vote. Authors should submit the complete manuscript of an unpublished novel or story collection. The first 2,500 words will be posted on the website. The entry that receives the most votes from Apostrophe's website visitors and Facebook and Twitter followers will be published as an e-book and distributed through major digital retailers.

Jeff Goins, Writer
This literary blog features profound reflections on creativity and spirituality, along with more practical advice about good writing habits and marketing your work.
This website promotes writing for children and adults about Jewish religion, traditions, culture, and the state of Israel. They feature several themed contests a year with prizes of $250-$500. Contributing editors include National Jewish Book Award winner Sherri Mandell, PEN New England Discovery Award winner Risa Miller, and professors from Tel Aviv University and other Israeli institutions. A good site for emerging writers and those with a more conservative religious orientation.

Kin Poetry Journal
This online journal launched in 2012 publishes the work of international poets writing in English. Editors say, "Kin is a part of a vibrant, interactive literary community with links around the world. Constantly moving, constantly innovating, constantly reaching out across the globe for new poets and new readers, Kin strives to bring your work to the widest possible audience. We are not only an online literary magazine. We take full advantage of the multimedia possibilities offered by the Web to showcase your writing." They will accept work previously published in print, but not online. They will also consider excerpts from your new or forthcoming poetry collection. See website for email submission guidelines.

Scheduled for release in August 2012, LitRagger is an app that literary journals and small presses can use to convert their content to iPad-readable format. "Like" them on Facebook to receive updates on their progress.

NPR Poetry Games
In honor of the 2012 Olympics, National Public Radio features contemporary poems that honor the ancient connection between the arts and athletics. The website includes the text of the poems plus audio of the authors reading them. Contributors from around the world include Kazim Ali, Monica de la Torre, and Mbali Vilakazi.

Poets on Adoption
Curated by poet and adoptive parent Eileen R. Tabios, this site is a community for poets to share their experiences as birthparents, adoptive parents, or adoptees. Notable contributors include Jim Bennett, Nick Carbo, Jennifer Kwon Dobbs, Karen G. Johnston, and Carol Moldaw.

Red Booth Review
This online journal of poetry, photography, and artwork publishes several issues a year. Check website for themed calls for submissions. Launched in 1998, RBR closed down in 2006, after 18 online issues, 5 yearly print issues, and 4 chapbooks, but re-emerged in 2011. It is currently edited by W.T. Pfefferle. Entries should be previously unpublished. Simultaneous submissions accepted.

Stymie: A Journal of Sport & Literature
Stymie is a nonprofit online literary magazine, founded in 2008 on the outskirts of Saint Louis, focused on sport (and games) in literature, be it through fiction, poetry, or nonfiction. Contributors have included Sean Lovelace, Fred Venturini, and Jeanie Chung.

The Feathered Flounder
This literary journal publishes creative writing and essays by authors aged 60+. Editor Martin Bayne, a journalist and Buddhist monk, has written for the Washington Post and other publications about being stricken with early-onset Parkinson's at age 53 and his subsequent experience of the dehumanizing culture of nursing homes. The journal gives a voice to elders who may be marginalized elsewhere.

Thumbnail Magazine
Thumbnail Magazine is a print and online journal of flash prose. They publish short-short fiction and essays, and craft pieces about writing in these genres. The online edition accepts submissions year-round, while the print edition, guest-edited by prominent writers, has a limited submission period. Visit their Facebook page for free themed contests. Editor Michael Dean Anthony says, "We're looking for original imagery and clear meaning in a short compass; precision craft that conveys its essence, in brief, with impact and resonance."

Wilde Oats
Online journal of gay and bisexual fiction, book reviews, essays, and artwork "embraces the joys and agonies of life for gay and bisexual men, from hard gritty realism to wild flights of romantic fantasy." See website for themed calls for submissions.

Writers Online Directory of Competitions
Writers Online, a British writing site, posts listings of writing competitions, workshops, and book publishing services in the UK. Their directories are searchable by keyword and by geographic region within the UK and Ireland.

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.



Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit
By Jeanette Winterson. This darkly comical autobiographical novel is narrated with deadpan wit but also a certain tenderness toward her own and her family's eccentricities. Raised by a fervent Pentecostal mother in a provincial British town, the protagonist finds her world shaken to its core when she discovers her attraction to other girls.

The Chosen One
By Carol Lynch Williams. This chilling and all-too-real story takes place inside a fundamentalist polygamist cult in the Utah desert. Thirteen-year-old Kyra loves her extended family and tries not to question the elders' tightening grip on their lives, but when they command her to marry her 60-year-old uncle, she plans a desperate escape that could put her life at risk. Billed as a young adult novel, this book may be too disturbing for some readers in that age group.



If Jeffrey Smart Painted James Joyce
by Desmond Kon

    I must have looked like a fellow throwing a handful of peas into the air.
    People began to look at us. She shook hands a moment after
    and, in going away, said she hoped I would do what I said.

              ~ James Joyce

It would have been in Rathgar, outside a steel mill.

The building seated in its shadow, top row of windows
now shattered glass—a boy facing east, hurling balls of coal.
There was an ice climber's cord hanging from his outpost,
knotted with caster wheels. It looked like a rope ladder.

Smart used a disegno, measured every angle, each inch
of scaffolding another space for a softer bit of street yellow.

The brick orange was added for Joyce's cheekbones.

I saw Keats returning from the rose garden with a sonnet.
The garden belonged to an old miner, its bushes brittle and dry.
It looked strange, a small cottage surrounded by a picket fence,
and beside it, a landfill that ran a mile into Naul Hills.

Yet free of it. Keats had fallen asleep, the way Severn sketched him.
Fanny Brawne in relief, standing a few yards from him.
Near another window, a barn swallow eating from her hand.

The painting looked like a pastoral. Idyllic. Distant.
Crepe roses behind Joyce. Stadium lights. The freeway of no cars.

Living in the city is deafening. Jacksonville teaches you
to ignore the immediate moment, the overturned crate in the alley.
Bags of beans split open. Sprawling lentils. Lima beans, pinto beans.

Your eyes turn lazy, the stoplight to tell you when to stall or go.

The bin to throw your brown bag into. Jacksonville forcing you
to locate particularity—things, relevance, connection, longing as love.
Something to be done. The route to the library where you'll sit
in the far right corner, on the big chair riveted to the ground.

It was closing time at the mill, black mask of figures in contrapposto.

The disegno looked like an origami pattern for a rose,
its mosaic tiling of mountain folds, ridge folds and valley folds.

The boy took it in his hand, placed the coal neatly within it.
Wrapping it in, he handed it to Smart and asked for a drawing.

* This poem was written on January 13, 2011, to mark the 70th death anniversary of James Joyce. The epigraph is an excerpt from Portrait of the Artist. Jeffrey Smart is one of Australia's most renowned painters, now residing in Tuscany.

Copyright 2012 by Desmond Kon

This poem won first prize in the 2011 Little Red Tree International Poetry Prize.


by F.G. Mulkey

(on the first anniversary of my death)

Sister moon,
enlighten hunter trails, guiding
pathways that challenge throughout night,
defending medicine on wings of prey,
if I go, let my fighting pony roam to
where legends cross the start of time
and travel the end of empires, searching skin
past those swollen rivers from mountain
storm, vision song,

if I go, wash the mud from my pony
and bake it in the sun, adobe bricks for
your doorway to enter each direction.

Copyright 2012 by F.G. Mulkey

This poem was accepted for the anthology 200 New Mexico Poems.



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Advertise to 40,000 Poets and Writers
Promote your contests, websites, events, and publications in this newsletter. Reach over 40,000 poets and writers for $125. Ads may contain up to 250 words, a headline, and a graphic image. Find out more and make your reservation here:

"The results were great for the money—a good value."
David Dodd Lee, judge of the 42 Miles Poetry Prize sponsored by 42 Miles Press

See more testimonials



ProLiteracy's Program Partners in Colombia

ProLiteracy's international partners are nongovernmental human service organizations that help adults meet basic needs, solve daily-life problems, take advantage of local resources, and change their communities. These partners may, or may not, have offered literacy lessons. ProLiteracy provides these organizations in 1,179 communities with training, direct grants, and technical assistance to create or improve a literacy component as part of their services. Here are our partners in Colombia.

Alfabetización Pueblorrico
In this coffee-growing region of Colombia, literacy learners are primarily the wives and children of plantation workers. Through Alfabetización Pueblorrico and ProLiteracy's efforts, women understand and influence the economic and political realities of the coffee industry and increase their participation in other local economic activities.

Centro Laubach de la Educatión Popular Básica de Adultos (CLEBA)
CLEBA, ProLiteracy's partner program in Medellín, sponsors multi-community initiatives that target individuals and families displaced from urban and rural neighborhoods. Literacy is taught in the context of peace and conflict resolution. CLEBA developed an innovative literacy teaching methodology called Pedagogy of the Text and regularly trains literacy facilitators.

Fundación Bienestar Humano
Fundación Bienestar Humano works with displaced populations in Medellín as well as rural populations throughout Colombia. Its main program, "We are a Family", is a post-literacy course directed towards adults, teenagers, and children that reinforces literacy skills as it promotes healthy family relationships.

Fundación Juan Tama
A project sponsored by Fundación Juan Tama is helping members of southern Colombia's indigenous Paez tribe restore their language and heritage, almost entirely lost during centuries of Spanish domination. Through native-language and bilingual literacy instruction, the Paez people regain pride in their ancient culture and gain skills to deal more effectively with the Spanish-speaking majority.
ProLiteracy Worldwide
ProLiteracy 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 Amoja Sumler

After long and hard deliberation
I have finally decided who it is
I am gonna vote for

And my friends

Come November 4th.

To write in the name of the most fiery
the most powerful
the most experienced leader
the world has ever known.

November 4th. I want you to vote...
for Sauron the great!

Now. Now. I know what you are thinking

Sauron? Like Sauron from those stupid ass hobbit films.

Yes friends. The very same.

The truth is Sauron gets a bad rap.

Think about it.

In Mordor there are goblins,
undead zombie politicians,
trolls, and dark elves.

YES people.

In the land of Mordor even minorities are able to live proud and free together
in glorious harmony.

I challenge you to show me any other place
in middle earth that can make such boasts.
Diversity...that's what the boss is all about!

OK so yeah he doesn't have a body...

Yeah! Yeah! I get it. He is really just a big flaming eyeball
in the skies of Mordor.
But nowhere in the constitution of Middle Earth
does it say the handicapped are barred from political office.
So keep your prejudices away from me! Cripple hater!

Besides all of our other candidates are just as flawed:
Barack was a vacuous void of never materializing organic gas
McCain has been reconstructed more times than the 6 million dollar man
and the president before that didn't even have a brain.

No I tell you Sauron would be perfect.

So perfect in fact that once news was made of his official candidacy

The honorable Karl Rove himself offered his immeasurable political wisdom to further the candidacy.

Those of you who feel compelled to slander Sauron

and call him silly names
like Demon
or the enemy
and other such nonsense
are simply racists who need to come to terms
with why they are filled with such hate.
I mean really. Grow up!
Balrogs need love too, ask Capcom.

We need proven military experience.

Through careful budget management and diplomatic treaties all over our great realm
Sauron was able to build defenses for Mordor that would have even impressed the Gipper.

Through use of cutting edge palintir technology,
and aggressive interrogation tactics
(that prove that when it comes down to it our boss can act downright patriotic),
he has crafted an intelligence gathering operation that is second to none in this realm.

His daring and vision was directly responsible
in crafting the international Ring of Power nonproliferation legislation
and efforts to secure the worlds lone loose ring has already begun.

This, my friends, is leadership at its finest.

OK OK I admit it. He's evil.

But, my friends, this is an EVIL world! When it comes to a ticking time bomb situation...
who do you really trust to make Bin Ladin or his cronies talk?
Jack Bauer...or a Balrog personally crafted by the dark lord Melkor (also known as Prescott to his friends)?

Who has a track record as expansive and storied as our glorious candidate?

Huh? Tell me. Who?


I'm waiting...

Yeah that's what I thought.

Sauron 2012

Copyright 2011 Amoja Sumler

This poem won an honorable mention in the 2011 Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest sponsored by Winning Writers. Author Amoja Sumler received a cash prize of $75. See the judge's comments on the winning poems from this contest.


Winners Announced for the 20th Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest
The Best Free Poetry Contests for September 16-October 31