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Award-Winning Poems: Spring 2014

Welcome to my Spring 2014 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. We'll release our next regular newsletter on March 15. ~Jendi Reiter, editor

by David Bartone
Winner of the 2013 Sawtooth Poetry Prize
Entries must be received by March 10
This established award series gives $1,500 and publication by Ahsahta Press. This selection from Bartone's prizewinning collection Practice on Mountains is both a love poem and a meditation on the insufficiency of love poems.

by R.A. Villanueva
Winner of the 2013 Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry
Postmark Deadline: March 15
The prestigious Prairie Schooner Book Prizes award $3,000 and publication by the University of Nebraska Press for poetry and short story collections. Villanueva's Reliquaria was the most recent poetry winner. These lyric poems depict journeys across water as a movement from one risk to another.

by F. Douglas Brown
Winner of the 2013 Cave Canem Poetry Prize
Entries must be received by March 17
This prominent first-book contest for African-American poets gives $1,000 and publication by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Brown's Zero to Three was the latest winner. In this lush poem, the narrator goes from helpless intoxication to ownership of his desires.

by Kendra DeColo
Winner of the 2013 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize
Entries must be postmarked by March 20 or entered online by April 1
This avant-garde press gives $2,000 and publication for a poetry manuscript. DeColo's Thieves in the Afterlife was the latest winner. Sex and death intertwine in this poem of reckless ecstasy.

THE SLAVE'S NOTEBOOK and other poems
by Ruth Ellen Kocher
Winner of the 2013 Noemi Book Award for Poetry
Entries must be received by April 30
This well-regarded small press gives awards of $1,000 and publication for books of poetry and fiction. Kocher's Ending in Planes was the most recent poetry winner. The speakers of these disquieting, sharply beautiful poems wrestle with language to inscribe a place for themselves in a tradition that has dehumanized them.

by John W. Evans
Winner of the 2013 Trio House Press First/Second Book Award
Entries must be received by April 30
This up-and-coming independent press awards $1,000 and publication for a first or second collection. The winner is also asked to serve as a part-time volunteer for Trio House Press for two years after publication. Evans's The Consolations was the latest winner. These poignant, detail-rich poems are selected from a series memorializing his wife who died young.

See our entire collection of award-winning poems, a bonus feature of our Best Free Literary Contests database.

Need assistance? Need a password? Let us help. Follow us on Twitter at @WinningWriters.

Contests at Winning Writers Open Now

Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest - No Fee
Deadline: April 1
Our 13th annual humor contest is free to enter. Judged by Jendi Reiter and Lauren Singer. $2,000 in prizes. Submit one poem of any length online.

Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest
Deadline: April 30
In its 22nd year, now sponsored by Winning Writers. Accepts all styles and genres, published and unpublished. Arthur Powers will judge. $16 fee for each entry of up to 6,000 words. $3,000 in prizes. Submit online.

Also open now, our Sports Fiction & Essay Contest, with $3,000 in prizes.



Promoting your book on Twitter: a sane strategy for busy writers

Twitter for Authors by BookBaby

Between updating your website and your Facebook, Tumblr, and Pinterest pages—not to mention writing your next book—the idea of spending time and creative energy on another endeavor may be daunting for writers. But, as this handy guide shows, you can do your book and your brand a world of good in just 10 minutes a day on Twitter.

"Twitter for Authors in 10 Minutes a Day" is a free guide that will help you use Twitter to connect with readers, book reviewers, fellow writers, and your literary heroes all over the world—without spending your entire life online. Ready to own Twitter? Download your free guide.

Coffee House Confessions

Great Reviews for Coffee House Confessions by Ellaraine Lockie
Ellaraine Lockie is a widely published and awarded poet, nonfiction book author, essayist, and judge of the Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest. Coffee House Confessions is her tenth poetry chapbook. Her recent books have received the Best Individual Collection Award from Purple Patch magazine in England, the San Gabriel Poetry Festival Chapbook Prize, and The Aurorean's Chapbook Pick. She teaches poetry workshops and serves as Poetry Editor for the lifestyles magazine, Lilipoh. Ellaraine writes every morning in a coffee shop no matter where she is in the world.

Read "Blessings" from Coffee House Confessions...

Coffee House Confessions

Hope Clark Announces Release of Book Three: Palmetto Poison

Palmetto Poison

Politics turns poisonous in Palmetto Poison, the latest release in the Carolina Slade Mystery Series from award-winning author and editor C. Hope Clark and Bell Bridge Books. Set in rural South Carolina, the series follows the adventures of Carolina Slade, a smart, focused, sometimes over-thinking woman who's learned she's more than a Federal bureaucrat. She likes justice, just her own way.
"Carolina Slade is the real deal—Southern charm, a steely determination, and a vulnerability she'll never admit to. Slade is at her absolute best in C. Hope Clark's Palmetto Poison!"
~Lynn Chandler-Willis, best selling author and winner of the 2013 Minotaur Books/PWA Best First Private Eye Novel Competition

Dancing Poetry Festival Contest

Deadline: May 15. Three Grand Prizes will receive $100 each plus their poems will be danced and filmed. All winners will be invited to read at our 21st Festival at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, September 20, 2014. Each Grand Prize winner will be invited onstage for photo ops with the dancers and a bow in the limelight.

Learn more and enjoy "Seamstress Masters Her Craft" by Joanne M. Clarkson, a 2013 Grand Prize winner...

Dancing Poetry Festival Contest

Tiferet Journal Writing Contest

Tiferet Journal

Deadline June 1. $1,200 will be awarded in prizes.

  • $400 for the best poetry submission
  • $400 for the best short story (fiction)
  • $400 for the best essay or interview (non-fiction)

Tiferet is a non-sectarian, non-dogmatic publication and community at the nexus of literature and spirituality.

We publish high-quality poetry, prose, and art that further meaningful dialogue about what it is to be humane and conscious in today's often divisive world.

Learn more and read about our contest judges...

Favorite New Resources

Here are some of our favorite newly added resources at Winning Writers. For a full list, see our Resources pages.

Barking Sycamores
Journal for poets on the autism spectrum

Open Culture
Free e-book downloads of over 500 literary classics

The Lit Pub
Brief positive reviews of literary prose, plus book publication opportunities

Favorite New Books

See our Books page for all of our recommended poetry, fiction, and nonfiction books.

All the Heat We Could Carry
By Charlie Bondhus

This masterful, heart-wrenching collection, winner of the 2013 Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award, brings the poetry of gay male love and the poetry of war together with unprecedented candor, but the story this book tells is more elegiac than celebratory of civil rights victories. The alternating narrators, a veteran of the Afghanistan war and his homefront lover, seem free from their forerunners' self-conscious anguish about sexual orientation. They can admit openly how sex between men is like martial arts grappling, how killing can be orgasmic and the camaraderie of soldiers more intimate than lovers. However, the unbridgeable rift of combat trauma still forces them apart.

The Wishing Tomb
By Amanda Auchter

Winner of the 2013 PEN Center USA Award in Poetry, this exquisite collection surveys the cultural history of New Orleans over three centuries, in poems that quiver and shake with music and surge with the violence of floods. End-notes provide background on the incidents that inspired each poem.



Tina Blevins

"Ron Truman" by Tina Blevins

Second prize in our 2004 Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest.

Tabatha Bagatha

"A Frivolous Social Event in the USA" by Tabitha Bagatha

Winner of our 2010 Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest.

Scott Latta

"In Which I Feign Injury to Get Out of Wrestling Tristan Reed" by Scott Latta

Honorable Mention, Nonfiction, 2013 Sports Fiction & Essay Contest.

Darren Powers

"The Missing Fields" by Darren Powers

Honorable Mention, Fiction, 2013 Sports Fiction & Essay Contest.

"The King of Wales" by Stephen Reilly

Winner of the 2003 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest.

"Keep Watching the Skies" by Amy Dunkleberger

Third Prize in the 2003 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest.

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