Our favorite poems, resources, and books from the quarter |

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Award-Winning Poems: Winter 2016-2017

Jendi Reiter

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: "Least Appealing Summer Residencies", a comic by Ali Shapiro.
—Jendi Reiter, Editor

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Open Now at Winning Writers
Deadline: April 1. 16th year. $2,250 in prizes, including a top award of $1,000. No entry fee. Final judge: Jendi Reiter. Previously published work accepted. See last year's winners and enter here.

Deadline: April 30. 25th year. $4,000 in prizes, including two top awards of $1,500 each. Fee: $18 per entry. Final judge: Judy Juanita. Previously published work accepted. See last year's winners and enter here.

Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers 2016 Last Call for Nominations at Writer's Digest
Today is the last day to nominate us for the Writer's Digest 2017 list of the "101 Best Websites for Writers". Send an email to writers.digest@fwcommunity.com with "101 Websites" in the subject line. Include some brief comments on how Winning Writers helps you, and copy us at adam@winningwriters.com if you feel like it. Thanks!

Award-Winning Poems Selected by Jendi Reiter

by Linwood D. Rumney
Winner of the 2015 Gival Press Poetry Award
Postmark Deadline: December 15
This long-running contest from a LGBTQ-friendly press awards $1,000 and publication. In this hard-edged pastoral from Rumney's prizewinning debut collection, Abandoned Earth, humans' neglect of an old orchard contrasts with the animals' desperation for food in winter.

by Mark Maire
Winner of the 2015 Codhill Press Poetry Award
Entries must be received by December 20
This open poetry manuscript prize offers $1,000, 25 copies, and distribution by SUNY Press. In this brief, unsettling poem from Maire's prizewinning first book, Meridian, the indecisive season between summer and fall gives the first hint of more dangerous times ahead.

by Tiana Clark
Winner of the 2016 Frost Place Chapbook Competition
Entries must be received by January 5
This poetry chapbook prize includes $250, publication by Bull City Press, and a free workshop and one-week residency at the Frost Place, a poetry and arts center at Robert Frost's historic homestead in New Hampshire. Clark's Equilibrium was the most recent winner. This poem, inspired by a photo series by artist Carrie Mae Weems, voices an African-American woman's search for a liberating self-image.

MOTHER'S DAY and other poems
by Lauren Clark
Winner of the 2016 Donald Hall Prize for Poetry
Entries must be received between January 1-February 28
The Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) sponsors this prestigious open poetry manuscript prize, which includes $5,500 and publication by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Clark's Music for a Wedding was the most recent winner. This suite of poems, first published in Entropy magazine, takes a shovel to our sentimental tableaux of marriage, to dig for what is raw, real, and complicated.

FILM SCHOOL and other poems
by Peter Mishler
Winner of the 2016 Kathryn A. Morton Prize for Poetry
Entries must be received between January 1-February 15
Sarabande Books offers this well-regarded open poetry manuscript prize of $2,000 and publication. Mishler's collection Fludde was the most recent winner. This philosophical suite of poems from the journal Sixfold notices the multiple perspectives at work in every moment: the field of external reality that "cries...to let itself be known", the remembered child-self, the present speaker, and the one who will replay and revise these memories later, to name just a few. "I am alone,/ so there are three of us."

Read more award-winning poems.

Creative Nonfiction Seeks Essays on "The Dialogue Between Science & Religion"

Deadline: December 12. Science and religion, despite their rich, interwoven history, are too often portrayed as opposites in nearly every way. As part of a larger effort to facilitate dialogue between these two ways of knowing the world, Creative Nonfiction and Issues in Science & Technology magazines are seeking original narratives illustrating and exploring the relationships, tensions, and harmonies between science and religion—the ways these two forces productively challenge each other as well as the ways in which they can work together and strengthen one another.

We welcome personal stories of scientists, religious figures, or (just as important) everyday people seeking to explore or reconcile their own spiritual and scientific beliefs. We also welcome research-based narratives about historical moments in scientific and/or religious discovery; stories by or about contemporary scientists wrestling with the ethical quandaries their work entails; or essays by religious, legal, humanistic, or other experts who have encountered interesting and revealing instances of science-religion dialogue and harmonies.

Above all, we are looking for narratives—true stories, rich with scene, character, detail, and a distinctive voice—that provide a nuanced, thoughtful consideration of the complex interplay and unexplored interdependencies and synergies between science and religion.

Submissions must be 5,000 words or fewer.

$10,000 for best essay; $5,000 for runner-up.

Guidelines at creativenonfiction.org/science-religion.

Creative Nonfiction

Poetry and Short Story Prizes from BkMk Press

Deadline: January 15, 2017. $1,000 and book publication for each winner.

The annual John Ciardi Prize for Poetry and the G. S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction are awarded to collections of poetry and short fiction in English by a living author. Guidelines available here.

Prize-winning books have received reviews or features in: Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, ForeWord Reviews, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Kansas City Star, Slate, Garrison Keillor's Writers Almanac, etc., and won or placed in the Poets' Prize, Eric Hoffer, IPPY, ForeWord, Chautauqua, Balcones Fiction, Devil's Kitchen, etc.

Founded in 1971 and part of the University of Missouri-Kansas City since 1983, BkMk Press publishes collections of poetry, short fiction, and creative essays. Publishing roughly six titles a year, the press has over 140 titles in print.

BkMk Press, University of Missouri-Kansas City, 5101 Rockhill Road, Kansas City, MO 64110 www.umkc.edu/bkmk

COG Poetry Awards

COG Poetry Awards

Deadline January 31, 2017. Sponsored by Cogswell College. The winner will receive:

  • Publication online and in the print issue of COG, as well as a $1,000 prize
  • A blurb about your poetry by US Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera
  • Your poetry adapted as an animated short film, 2D animation, graphic novel, or series of interpretive illustrations by students in Cogswell's celebrated Digital Art & Animation and Digital Audio Technology programs.

Check out the details—including a link to the full submission guidelines—at www.cogzine.com.

Please enjoy this animation made from "The Last Gun" by Anne Harding Woodworth, a 2015-2016 COG Poetry Award winner:

The Last Gun

New! De Facto Feminism: Essays Straight Outta Oakland

Judy Juanita wrote the essays at the heart of De Facto Feminism: Essays Straight Outta Oakland while a contributing editor to The Weeklings. In total, all fifteen essays form a portrait of the artist as a black woman moving from youthful activism to maturity.

Of the 60s, Juanita says, "Many dogmas were being destroyed. There were books that you were being told to read. It was an eye-opening time. The fundamental theories of blackness, color, and race were being challenged. I was very mouthy. And I got into a lot of arguments with people, including my father. I remember a lot of debate. There were so many cultural events where people read from novels or journals. People were arguing, informed arguing, not violent arguing like we have today."

Born in Berkeley and raised in Oakland, 16-year-old Judie Hart enrolled at Oakland City College where she first met fellow students Huey Newton and Bobby Seale. As a junior at San Francisco State, she joined the Black Student Union and met up with Huey and Bobby again. She joined and began working full-time for the Black Panther Party (BPP). When Eldridge Cleaver was jailed after the 1968 shootout in West Oakland, Huey appointed her editor-in-chief of the BPP Intercommunal News Service. She worked on the newspaper and the BPP Breakfast for Children program while finishing her BA at SF State. With fellow Black Student Union and Third World Liberation Front activists, she participated in the nation's longest student strike, 4-1/2 months—that established open enrollment and ethnic studies, thereby changing the face of American higher education.

Buy De Facto Feminism at Amazon

The infamous "Dinner Party" scene from Two Natures

Two Natures

Just in time for the holidays, please enjoy this excerpt from Two Natures by Jendi Reiter (Saddle Road Press). Order the book today at Amazon for yourself or a friend.

Two Natures was just named one of QSpirit's top 35 LGBTQ Christian books of 2016! See the list.

"Two Natures is an exquisite work of art, beautiful literary writing that enriches the LGBT section of any bookstore and Kindle..." —Hans M. Hirschi

Two Natures - "The Dinner Party"

Beatrice by Ellen LaFleche

Beatrice by Ellen LaFleche

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.

C. Hope Clark: Murder on Edisto

Book One in the Edisto Island Mystery Series by C. Hope Clark

Her husband murdered by the Russian mob, Boston detective Callie Jean Morgan relinquishes her badge to return to the family vacation home in South Carolina. But the day they arrive on Edisto Beach, Callie finds her childhood mentor murdered. Her fragile sanity is threatened when the murderer taunts her and repeatedly violates what was to be her sanctuary home. Callie loses her fight to walk away from law enforcement as she becomes the only person able to pursue the culprit who's turned the coastal paradise into a paranoid patch of sand where nobody's safe. But what will it cost her?

"Undeniably addictive, this is a book you won't want to put down. Replete with well-drawn characters, this is a read that won't disappoint as Clark's penchant for rapid-fire prose grabs you by the scruff of the neck and refuses to let go."Rachel Gladstone, Dish Magazine

Buy Murder on Edisto now at Amazon

Favorite New Resources

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

Parsha Poetry Project
Poet David Silverman's weekly responses to Torah portions

Speak Up: Responding to Everyday Bigotry
SPLC's guide to skillful interventions to stop prejudice

Submission Strategies: Advice from The Masters Review
Crafting a submissions strategy to meet your goals and pace of writing

Top 100 Book Review Blogs for Readers and Authors
Feedspot's curated list of top-ranked review sites in various genres

Yellow Chair Review
Online quarterly that welcomes writing by people of color and the LGBTQ community

David Silverman

Favorite New Books

Fire Shut Up in My Bones See our Books page for all of our recommended poetry, fiction, and nonfiction books.

Charles M. Blow

The New York Times op-ed columnist's gorgeously written and introspective memoir is a case study in overcoming patriarchy and healing from abuse. Brought up in rural Louisiana by a devoted but stern and overworked single mother and their extended family, young Charles yearned for more tenderness and attention than a boy was supposed to need. An older male cousin preyed on his isolation, giving him a new secret to add to his fears of being not-quite-straight in a culture where this was taboo. Channeling his need for connection into school achievement and community leadership, Blow found himself on both the giving and the receiving end of violent hyper-masculinity as a fraternity brother. In the end, he recognized that self-acceptance, not repression, was the best way to become an honorable man. Blow writes like a poet, in witty, image-rich, sensitive lines that flow like a mighty river.

Bracha Nechama Bomze

This debut poetry book from 3Ring Press is simultaneously a book-length love poem, a family memoir, and an epic of social change. The title's multiple meanings encompass generations of Jewish labor activism, winning the right to marry her lesbian partner, and the heartbreak of a closed adoption system that stigmatized her birthmother. Through all these personal and political traumas, the poet continues to praise the natural world that feeds her soul, and the life partnership that comes as a fairy-tale happy ending to a lonely childhood. The book is an inspiration and a delight.

Robert Olen Butler

Through brilliant use of flashbacks and alternating perspectives, this intimate novel tells the story of Michael and Kelly Hays, a Southern professional couple who are divorcing after two decades of marriage, though it becomes apparent that they are both still painfully in love with each other. As soon as the reader starts to side with one character, a new twist reveals the other character's vulnerability and the dysfunctional family pattern that he or she is struggling to break. The novel winds toward a suspenseful climax as we wait to discover whether they will tell each other the truth before it's too late.

Kaitlyn Greenidge

This ambitious, unsettling debut novel delves into the secret history of primate research and race relations in America. The Freemans, a high-achieving middle-class black family, accept a live-in position at the (fictitious) Toneybee Institute in rural Massachusetts to teach sign language to a chimpanzee. Their narrative is braided with that of Nymphadora, a maverick black schoolteacher in the 1920s who was seduced into taking part in the Toneybee's questionable experiments. In both timelines, the black protagonists' lives unravel because they underestimated how the white scientists saw them, too, as animal test subjects.

Laila Ibrahim

In this timely, heartwarming novel, a conservative Christian mother is forced to question her beliefs about homosexuality when her son attempts suicide. Their journey to acceptance includes a realistic depiction of so-called conversion therapy and how it can tear apart a loving family with a witch-hunt for nonexistent trauma. Sympathetic to faith, this book shows the diversity of views even within evangelical families, as well as the social pressure to keep silent about one's doubts.

Selections from Our Contest Archives

"After Wounded Knee"
by David Hill

Honorable Mention, 2015 Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest

"Elegy for Bobby Kennedy"
by Glenn Morazzini

Honorable Mention, 2014 Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest

by Deb Elkink

Honorable Mention, 2014 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest

"Growing Pains"
by Atossa Shafaie

Honorable Mention, 2014 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest

"What Will You Say When Your Child Asks: 'Why Didn't You Invest in Eastern Poland?'"
by Simon Hendrie

First Prize, 2014 Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest

"I Like Your Profile"
by Scott Benner

Honorable Mention, 2013 Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest

See the complete archive of winning entries from our contests.

David Hill

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"Least Appealing Summer Residencies" by Ali Shapiro

Reprinted by kind permission of Ali Shapiro. See more comics.

Writer's Digest: 101 Best Websites for Writers