Award-Winning Poems: Spring 2018
Welcome to my spring 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: “Sous mon lit de métal” by Cato Fortin, illustrated by Julian Peters.
—Jendi Reiter, Editor
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Deadlines Next Month 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.
by Donald Levering
Winner of the 2017 Robinson Jeffers Tor House Prize for Poetry
Postmark Deadline: March 15
This long-running, competitive $1,000 prize for unpublished poems is sponsored by a foundation preserving the legacy of American poet Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962). In Levering’s tribute to the prison writings of Hungarian poet Miklós Radnóti, a Hungarian Jewish poet killed in the Holocaust, the details that are left out are as important as what is included.
UNDERNEATH THERE IS A WOUND
by Natalie J. Graham
Winner of the 2016 Cave Canem Poetry Prize
Entries must be received by March 16
Cave Canem’s prestigious awards for African-American poets include this first-book prize with $1,000 and publication by Graywolf Press. In this incisive poem from Graham’s winning collection Begin with a Failed Body, she contrasts her son’s wholesome compassion for dead creatures with a writer’s professional consumption and dissemination of trauma stories that are not his to tell.
STILL LIFE WITH IVORY
by Brad Aaron Modlin
Winner of the 2015 Cowles Poetry Book Prize
Entries must be received by April 1
Southeast Missouri State University Press offers this open poetry book prize of $2,000 and publication. Modlin’s Everyone at This Party Has Two Names was the 2015 winner. In this remorseful litany, a deceased uncle’s tall tales stand in for all the questions that children don’t think to ask their elders until it’s too late. Read more excerpts on his website.
THE SECRET OF WHITE
by Nancy Hewitt
Winner of the 2016 Spoon River Poetry Review Editors’ Prize
Postmark Deadline: April 15
This long-running contest with prizes up to $1,000 is judged by prominent poets and includes a reading in Bloomington, IL. Inspired by a Pierre Bonnard painting, Hewitt’s poem invites us to interrogate vision itself—the multiple layers of technique, emotion, and narrative that make up our response to the physical act of seeing a color.
PSYCHE INCITES A RIOT
by Bradford Tice
Winner of the 2014 Trio Award for a First or Second Book
Entries must be received by April 30
Trio House Press gives two annual prizes of $1,000 and publication for poetry collections: the Trio Award for a First or Second Book, and the Louise Bogan Award for a book of poems contributing in an innovative and distinct way to American poetry. In this taut poem from Tice’s prizewinning second collection, What the Night Numbered, the myth of Psyche pulling off Cupid’s veil is recast as a queer uprising akin to Stonewall.
Read more award-winning poems.
LATE DEADLINE MARCH 12TH!
CineStory’s Feature Retreat is dedicated to the advancement of fresh voices in screenwriting by selecting 25 screenwriters for a 4-day retreat held in the Fall. One writer will receive $10,000 and a 12-month mentorship from Industry Mentors.
Attendees are selected through our submission process, which you can start here: SUBMIT.
Use discount code WW2018 for $5 off the submission fee!
The Mentors — Attending writers sit down with 3 industry professionals and receive feedback, along with general advice on how to navigate their career.
The Writers — Writers attend the CineStory Retreat from all over the world (Japan, Australia, the UK, among others) and leave with lifelong friendships.
Idyllwild — Just 2 hours from Los Angeles, Idyllwild is the perfect writer’s getaway. It is surrounded by the beauty of the San Jacinto mountains and has a rustic charm that allows creatives to be creative!
Please click here for more information about this year’s retreat, which will be held on October 20th – 23rd.
Don’t forget to use your discount code (WW2018) for $5 off!
CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT YOUR SCRIPT!
“I like to listen. I’m much more interested in listening than speaking, for sure.”
—Final Judge Gish Jen, whom Junot Diaz calls “the Great American Novelist we’re always hearing about…”
Deadline: March 31. Submit unpublished short stories and creative nonfiction pieces no longer than 7,000 words. Entry fee: $17.
- $1,000 prize
- Publication online and in the print issue of COG
- A blurb about your short story by Gish Jen
- Your story adapted as an animated short film, 2D animation, graphic novel, or series of interpretive illustrations by students in Cogswell College’s celebrated Digital Art & Animation and Digital Audio Technology programs.
Learn more and enter here.
Deadline: April 15
Now in its 25th year, all Dancing Poetry Festival prize winners will receive a prize certificate suitable for framing, a ticket to the 2018 Dancing Poetry Festival in the Florence Gould Theater at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, and an invitation to read their prizewinning poem at the festival.
Three Grand Prizes will receive $100 each plus their poems will be danced and filmed. Many smaller prizes. Each Grand Prize winner will be invited onstage for photo ops with the dancers and a bow in the limelight.
Please look at photos of our Dancing Poetry Festivals to see the vast diversity of poetry and dance we present each year. For poetry, we look for something new and different including new twists to old themes, different looks at common situations, and innovative concepts for dynamic, thought-provoking entertainment. We look forward to reading your submissions. See the complete contest rules and please enjoy “The God Who Dances” by Constantina Clark, a 2017 Grand Prize winner.
Give your book the best possible start in life with The Frugal Book Promoter,available as an ebook for $5.99. It’s full of nitty-gritty how-tos for getting nearly free publicity. Carolyn Howard-Johnson, former publicist, journalist, and instructor for UCLA’s Writers’ Program for nearly a decade, shares her professional experience and practical tips gleaned from the successes of her own book campaigns. She tells authors how to do what their publishers can’t or won’t and why authors can often do their own promotion better than a PR professional. The first edition was a multi-award winner. The second edition, updated and expanded by more than 100 pages, is a USA Book News winner.
“The Frugal Book Promoter is excellent…It has given me ideas that would never have occurred to me before and has changed the way I think about book promotion.”
—Mark Logie, poet and short-story writer, winner of the “most promising author” prize from CanYouWrite.com
Learn more about The Frugal Book Promoter on Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s website, or buy it now at Amazon.
“Set against the backdrop of a powerful political landscape, The Kurdish Bikeoffers a stunning social, political, and cultural commentary of what it is like to live in a third world country torn apart by war. A single mom, the newly recruited teacher on a bike, makes friends with native women and her contact and relationship with them lead her to get glimpses of the not-so-obvious conflicts that threaten life in the country. Bezma’s family stands out as a symbol of the oppressed. The prose is polished and rings through the ears like music. The author has the rare gift of weaving national conflict into the lives of individuals. And then there is the biting sense of humor, the ability to portray hope through simple relationships, to find meaning in the will to survive each day at a time. The characters are well grounded, sculpted to reflect the social landscapes from which they sprang. In spite of the powerful conflict that permeates every layer of this book, the unspoken words and the silent cries, there is a current of positive energy communicated through laughter, love, and friendship. The novel is beautiful in a haunting sort of way. Fans of The Kite Runnerby Khaled Hosseini will adore Alesa Lightbourne’s evocative writing, the reminiscences of war images, and the general malaise felt by millions of people, plus the pain of belonging to their own country.” (Five stars, San Francisco Book Review)
“The story is admirable for its characters, for they are not only well-thought out, but also reflective of a country whose people are torn by a decade-long war. The characters are well-developed and are a mirror to the courage and strength shown by women in times of distress. Alesa Lightbourne has shown excellent penmanship writing this novel based on her personal experience and shows how involved she was in the lives of the people she taught and met in Iraq. If you are interested in knowing about the lives, cultures, and hardships faced by people in the Middle East, this book is a must-read.” (Five stars, Manhattan Book Review)
“Lightbourne writes in a cinematic prose and easily folds in background about the Kurdish people’s suffering under Saddam Hussein. This story of sisterhood, motherhood, and nationhood should have wide appeal.” (BookLife)
Available at Amazon.com and through Ingram. Read the Winning Writers critique and a free excerpt.
Winner, 2017 North Street Book Prize, Creative Nonfiction & Memoir
Paul Thornton rose from the streets of Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy neighborhood to become a Fortune 500 executive. But a catastrophic event threatened his marriage, his career, and his self-respect. Thornton’s remarkable resurrection is a gripping, inspirational story of hope, resilience, and the essential American Dream of realizing one’s full potential. Poignant, sad, tragic, funny, and compelling, White Man’s Disease is a redemption story for the ages.
Available at Amazon, Kindle, Kobo, Nook, iBooks, and the author’s website. Read an excerpt and the Winning Writers critique.
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.
From long-time poet Jim DuBois comes a volume called “relentlessly dramatic” by one reader and “perfectly put together” by another.
“A short poem doesn’t leave room for error. You must condense everything down to one point, and economically yet dramatically aim for it. You either make it, or you miss it.” —Jim DuBois
all it takes
the cool air
Buy 40 Short Poems now from Lulu.
Get a signed, limited edition of Swallow by Jendi Reiter
“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.”
–JoSelle Vanderhooft, The Pedestal Magazine
This chapbook is a limited edition. Request your signed copy from firstname.lastname@example.org. Available now for $8 plus postage.
Please enjoy this sample poem:
The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (Abridged)
I know who is responsible for all my problems.
I would rather bake a pie than repair a latch.
I don’t always tell the truth.
I think that I would like to be a florist.
I am not afraid of snakes.
My father was not a good man.
More than once a week I feel hot all over.
I do not believe that my sins are unforgivable.
I like surprise parties.
Ghosts and angels influence the events of our lives.
I try to be polite when interrupted at work.
I would rather buy shoes than take apart an engine.
Most people will cheat if given the chance.
I do not seek out fistfights.
Sometimes I feel happy for no good reason.
My sex life is satisfactory.
I am afraid of water.
I would not like to relive my childhood.
I know the source of the voices I hear.
It is not true that I do not like everyone.
I would rather dance than play baseball.
No one is following me.
I admire good manners more than intelligence.
I was not beaten repeatedly as a child.
I have never been so drunk that I fell down.
I trust myself around knives.
I am not afraid of lightning.
I think more often now about death and the afterlife.
My style of dress is flamboyant.
I cannot say that I have never had a vision.