Welcome to my winter selection of award-winning poems, highlights from our contest archives, and the best new resources we’ve found for writers. These quarterly specials are included with your free Winning Writers Newsletter subscription.
In this issue: “Soir d’hiver” by Émile Nelligan, illustrated and translated by Julian Peters.
—Jendi Reiter, Editor
Did you receive this newsletter from a friend?
Subscribe here. It’s free.
Would you like daily updates on contests and resources for writers?
Join our 99,000 followers on Twitter
Open at Winning Writers
WERGLE FLOMP HUMOR POETRY CONTEST – NO FEE
Free to enter, $2,250 in prizes, including a top award of $1,000.
TOM HOWARD/JOHN H. REID FICTION & ESSAY CONTEST
$20 entry fee, $5,000 in prizes, including two top awards of $2,000 each.
EXCERPT FROM ME DRAWING A PICTURE OF ME(N)
by Rachelle Escamilla
Winner of the 2014 Willow Books Literature Award for Poetry
Entries must be received by December 15
This biennial award series gives $1,000 and publication for poetry and prose manuscripts by writers of color. Escamilla describes her winning collection, Imaginary Animal, as being “about race, labor and assimilation filtered through found text and re-appropriation of language generated from specific Google searches.” This playful erotic poem, at times Whitman-esque in its mode of address, is a collage of moments with men from Craigslist and reminiscences of Pittsburgh streets that the narrator will soon leave far behind.
by Nancy Chen Long
Winner of the 2016 Tampa Review Prize for Poetry
Postmark Deadline: December 31
This notable competition gives $2,000 and publication by the University of Tampa Press for a full-length poetry manuscript. Long’s prizewinning collection was Light into Bodies. Using the metaphor of a rock collector, this measured poem cautions that hardness and perfection are no guarantees of security.
SELECTIONS FROM INSTEAD OF DYING
by Lauren Haldeman
Winner of the 2017 Colorado Prize for Poetry
Postmark Deadline: January 14
The Center for Literary Publishing at the University of Colorado offers this prestigious award of $2,000 and publication. In this excerpt from Haldeman’s prizewinning collection Instead of Dying, efforts to heal the “you” addressed by the poem take on a surreal cast, suggesting a wish-fulfillment dream rather than an actual possibility of remission.
GOAT HOUR GOSPEL (SUCH SALVAGE)
by Mark Wagenaar
Winner of the 2016 Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award
Entries must be received by January 31
This long-running award for a full-length collection gives $3,000 and publication by Red Hen Press, a well-regarded independent publisher. Wagenaar’s winning collection, Southern Tongues Leave Us Shining, will be published in 2018. In this meditative poem, first published in The New Yorker, the goats’ indiscriminate appetite appears as a kind of mercy that salvages the debris of our imperfect lives.
by Peter Mishler
Winner of the 2016 Kathryn A. Morton Poetry Award
Postmark Deadline: March 15 (don’t enter before January 1)
Sarabande Books, a prestigious literary press in Kentucky, gives $2,000 and publication for a full-length poetry collection. Mishler’s Fludde was the 2016 prizewinner. The mood of this poem is anything but bucolic, though its setting is the stuff of American heartland nostalgia. The speaker seems about to undergo a fatal transformation into an alien mechanical thing, not unlike the agribusiness machinery that has crushed his way of life.
Read more award-winning poems.
You won’t be able to quit work and write, but you might find a grant to make your writing goals easier. Or a crowdfunding opportunity to fund your project. Find serious contests, too. Only those that pay in cold hard cash. No pay-per-click, $1 per blog or exposure markets either. Hope Clark writes for a living. If she wouldn’t try these opportunities, she doesn’t post them. Our newsletters are our world. Free or paid subscription.
Our most popular free newsletter. FundsforWriters provides markets that pay $200 or 10 cents/word and up. Expect 15 or more paying opportunities in the form of contests, grants, freelance markets, jobs, and publishers/agents. Delivered each weekend via Aweber.com. The newsletter also provides an editorial from editor Hope Clark and a freelance piece from a guest author. FundsforWriters is also a paying market. If you would like to pitch a 600-word piece to Hope, see the guidelines. Subscribe. View archive.
70+ paying opportunities per issue, which means 2,000+ paying opportunities per year. TOTAL is delivered biweekly to your email box and contains grants, competitions, freelance markets, jobs, publishers, agents. Markets and contests all pay $200 or 10 cents/word and up in payment. The same high quality as our regular FundsforWriters newsletter—and five times more of it! Delivered via Aweber. Only $18.75 per year. Subscribe. View sample.
December Special – A Free Gift for Yourself or a Friend!
Buy a new or renewal subscription to Total FundsforWriters in December, and receive a free book by Hope Clark. Visit Hope’s website to browse the selection: The Shy Writer Reborn, The Best of FundsforWriters, Vol 1., the Carolina Slade Mysteries, and the Edisto Island Mysteries. After you subscribe to Total, email Hope with how you’d like her to autograph your book (if it’s print) and where she should send it.
Deadline: January 15, 2018
The annual Rattle Chapbook Prize gives poets something truly special. Every year, at least one winner will receive: $2,000 cash, 500 contributor copies, and distribution to Rattle‘s 7,000+ subscribers. In a world where a successful full-length poetry book might sell 1,000 copies, the winning book will reach an audience seven times as large on its release day alone—an audience that includes many other literary magazines, presses, and well-known poets. This will be a chapbook to launch a career.
And maybe the best part is this: The $20 entry fee is just a standard subscription to Rattle, which includes four issues of the magazine and the winning chapbook, even if it isn’t yours. Rattle is one of the most-read literary journals in the world—find out why just by entering! For more information and to read portions of last year’s winning entry, The Whetting Stone by Taylor Mali, visit our website.
Please enjoy a sample poem from Mr. Mali’s book, “The Second Pass”.
Deadline: January 31, 2018
Sponsored by Cogswell College. Submit a set of 1-6 poems. The winner will receive:
- Publication online and in the print issue of COG, as well as a $1,000 prize
- A blurb about your poem(s) by luminary poet Major Jackson
- Your poem(s) adapted as an animated short film, 2D animation, graphic book/ebook, or series of interpretive illustrations by students in Cogswell’s celebrated Digital Art & Animation Program and Digital Audio Technology Program
Check out Cogzine and enter the contest at COG’s Submittable site.
The adaptation of 2016-17’s winning poem by Megan Merchant will be published online shortly. Meanwhile, please enjoy this animation made from “The Last Gun” by Anne Harding Woodworth, 2015-2016 COG Poetry Awards winner:
Postmark Deadline: January 31, 2018
Prize: $500, publication of chapbook and 50 gorgeous copies
Reading fee: $20
Submit: 16-32 pages of poetry
Electronic submissions only. Submit here via Submittable.
Simultaneous submissions are permissible if we are notified immediately upon acceptance elsewhere. Multiple submissions are also permitted; a fee must accompany each entry. Including acknowledgments of previously published poems is acceptable but not required. When a manuscript is chosen for publication, we will request acknowledgments.
Daniel Donaghy, this year’s judge, is the author of Streetfighting, a Paterson Poetry Prize finalist. He is assistant professor of English at Eastern Connecticut State University.
Please enjoy the title poem from Halfway-Heaven by James Crews, our 2017 chapbook winner.
Before he died, my father tried to teach me
the only language of manhood he knew—
Phillips-head, needle-nose, catalytic converter—
but I left him hunched under hoods
or sprawled on cardboard pallets beneath
stalled cars, thinking the dust of books
and blue glow of computer screens
could keep me from work like that. I hated
his oil-stink, the orange goop he used
to clean grease-black hands, and those
homemade tattoos of lightning on his biceps.
I hated the cigarette dangling from his lips,
his eyes squinting against smoke snaking up
as he scraped a deer skull clean of meat
for mounting. But now, I want it all back.
I replay every scene in my mind as if
seeing my father again could keep him alive
and tinkering in some other realm, some
halfway-heaven he’d love because everything
needs fixing there. I think of the greenstriped
tube socks pulled to his knees when he
mowed the yard, the scratch of sandpaperstubble
against my cheek each time he
kissed me goodnight. I still hear the way
he’d say sorta speak when he meant so to speak,
while explaining, for instance, why tomatoes
taste better with a kiss of salt: Brings out
the sweetness, sorta speak.
Tupelo Press is eager to celebrate a more complete version of the story we tell—about ourselves, our past, and what is possible in language.
In this anthology of Indigenous poetry, the first of its kind, we are proud to feature new work by Natalie Diaz, Linda Hogan, Santee Frazier, Luci Tapahonso, Layli Long Soldier, Ray Young Bear, Ishmael Hope, and more. Every poet will present new poems, as well as an original essay, and a selection of resonant work chosen from previous generations of Native artists. Pledge your support today!
As Layli Long Soldier tells us, “Everything is in the language we use.” Among peoples whose stories have been forcibly withheld, each poem contains a trace of that erasure, a record of what is lost as well as made more whole.
Our anthology is intended to embody the dynamic and ongoing conversations that take place in Indigenous poetry through writerly craft across generational, geographic, and stylistic divides. This anthology will showcase a broad range of Indigenous writers working today and will offer an invitation to enter the richness of their explorations as these continue to unfold around us.
How You Can Help
Join Tupelo Press in publishing this necessary anthology of contemporary Indigenous writing. Your contributions will be applied directly to the production costs for what promises to be a stunningly made volume, one that celebrates the work that appears in its pages through the beauty of its design, and even more importantly, the care with which it is brought to life as a printed book.
Donate any amount by December 13, 2017 and we will proudly post a public thank you via social media. Other rewards include: letterpress broadsides and bookmarks, Tupelo Press t-shirts, 2018 gift subscriptions, poetry manuscript reviews from our editors, writer’s retreat weekends for two, and of course, copies of our beautiful anthology!
Click here to read more & support this project.
From the author of Uncle Otto, winner of the 2016 North Street Book Prize for literary fiction, comes a story of perilous love during the conflagration of the Civil War. Kirkus Reviews writes:
“Jerry Hawthorne and Daniel Cook are an unlikely pair of lovers. They are both men, and in 19th-century America, theirs is a dangerous union. They share intense memories of growing up together on the Hawthorne plantation, with Daniel a slave and Jerry the scion of the family that owned him. When they are still boys, Jerry’s father dies, throwing the future of the plantation in doubt…
“…the leads are compelling, and the investigation of interracial and homosexual relationships in the Civil War period should keep audiences invested in their struggles. The book is well-crafted and will likely please readers beyond those who are fans of gay fiction.”
An affecting story of two souls separated by slavery and war.
Read a sample and buy it now on Amazon.
Ellen LaFleche, a judge of the North Street Book Prize, explores the emotional life of a semi-cloistered nun in this chapbook from Tiger’s Eye Press. Sister Beatrice serves on a jury, bakes bread in the convent kitchen, scatters her mother’s ashes in the ocean, and reflects on her friendship with another nun. Order directly from Ms. LaFleche for $10 at ElLaFleche@aol.com.
“The tides of the sacred feminine seek an outlet in the cloistered body of Sister Beatrice, a working-class mystic. The convent offers both refuge and confinement—the paradox of a women-ruled society where women must de-sexualize themselves. The ascetic environment cannot quench the vitality of Beatrice’s imagination, which finds golden-faced gods in copper pans and lust’s soft satisfaction in a raw quahog.”
—Jendi Reiter, editor, Winning Writers, and author of Bullies in Love
Please enjoy “Bliss” and “Forbidden Fruit”, sample poems from the chapbook.
Set in New York City in the early 1990s, Two Natures (Saddle Road Press) is the coming-of-age story of Julian Selkirk, a fashion photographer who struggles to reconcile his Southern Baptist upbringing with his love for other men.
Two Natures was recently named a finalist for the American Book Fest Best Book Awards.
In a review for A&U: America’s AIDS Magazine, T.J. Banks writes: “Julian Selkirk gets under our skin. Immediately… Reiter has created a funny, astute, self-deprecating hero, and we care tremendously about what happens to him.”
Julian would like to tell our newsletter subscribers: “December 1 is World AIDS Day. Please support GMHC, the world’s first and leading provider of HIV/AIDS prevention, care and advocacy!”
Buy Two Natures on Amazon.