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Award-Winning Poems: Fall 2015

Jendi Reiter

Welcome to my Fall 2015 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.
—Jendi Reiter, Editor

Deadline September 30:

We will award $4,000 in prizes. The entry fee is $10 per poem. Ellaraine Lockie will judge. Submit poems in modern and traditional styles, up to 250 lines each. Previously published work accepted. See the contest guidelines and last year's winners.

In this issue:
Julian Peters illustrates "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot, part four.

Want to view past newsletters? Go to Need assistance? Let us help. Follow us on Twitter at @WinningWriters.

Award-Winning Poems Selected by Jendi Reiter

by David Kutz-Marks
Winner of the 2014 Juniper Prize for Poetry
Postmark Deadline: September 30
This prestigious contest gives two awards of $1,000 and publication by University of Massachusetts Press: one for a first book of poems, and one for a collection by an author at any stage of their career. Kutz-Marks won the most recent prize for Violin Playing Herself in a Mirror. In these poems, reminiscent of Kafka's fables, the speaker is shocked into self-examination by impossible events, such as living through his own beheading.

by Ilyse Kusnetz
Winner of the 2014 T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry
Postmark Deadline: October 31
This long-running award from Truman State University Press gives $2,000 and publication for a poetry manuscript. This incisive poem from Kusnetz's prizewinning Small Hours compares victims of mercury poisoning, from factory girls to Chinese royalty, suggesting that their common fate is not quite enough to level the inequality even after death.

by Christina Davis
Winner of the 2012 Nightboat Poetry Prize
Entries must be received by November 15
Nightboat Books awards $1,000 and publication for a full-length poetry manuscript. Davis's collection An Ethic was the 2012 winner. This minimalist poem plays with grammar and word resemblances to investigate intimacy between lovers and family members—so close, yet so prone to slip past understanding one another.

SATELLITE and other poems
by Clifton Gachagua
Winner of the 2013 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets
Entries must be received by December 1 (don't enter before September 15)
Co-sponsored by the African Poetry Book Fund and the prestigious literary journal Prairie Schooner, this free contest gives $1,000 and publication in the US and Senegal for a first full-length poetry collection by an African writer (defined as someone who was born in Africa, who is a national or resident of an African country, or whose parents are African). Gachagua's Madman at Kilifi won the inaugural award. This gorgeous yet sinister poem depicts a desperately dreaming populace being observed by another group who could be tourists or conquerors, and perhaps the difference is slight.

by Sonia Greenfield
Winner of the 2014 Codhill Press Poetry Award
Postmark Deadline: December 10
This open poetry manuscript prize gives $1,000 and publication by SUNY Press. Greenfield's Boy with a Halo at the Farmer's Market was the most recent winner. This poignant poem is dedicated to James Foley, an American journalist beheaded by Islamic radicals in Syria.

Want more? We've been selecting award-winning poems since 2005. Read them here. - Calls for Submissions

We are a free online resource to help you find paying markets for your poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Updated daily, we report on editors and publishers who are actively seeking submissions, pay standard or competitive rates, and do not charge reading fees. Founded in 2001, is edited by freelance writer Brian Scott (@busyguru).

A few of our special features include:

  1. Sci-fi/fantasy markets that are soliciting stories
  2. Anthologists who are seeking submissions for special themed anthologies
  3. Magazine editors who are accepting fiction and nonfiction articles for upcoming issues
  4. Literary agents who are seeking new authors to represent
  5. New book imprints that are seeking new authors for debut titles
  6. Literary journals with time-sensitive reading periods that are accepting limited submissions of poetry and prose
  7. Announcements of new editors at high-paying magazines and what they are currently seeking from freelance writers

Visit now

Call for Submissions: SolarNation

SolarNation is a Benefit Corporation dedicated to raising widespread consciousness and concrete local actions that can collectively help prevent catastrophic climate change. Our hope is to accelerate an environmental movement that is already emerging.

To help build this movement, support local communities, and drive traffic and interest to local actions, SolarNation is launching a web-based multimedia portal featuring writing, music, art, and video that not only highlights our looming planetary climate crisis but more importantly celebrates our collective power to take action to create a sustainable future.

Please send original submissions of poetry, essays, artwork, photography, music, and video, along with a headshot and brief tweet answering the question "why am I becoming involved in this cause" (less than 250 characters) to Submissions may be previously published, but must be related to the environment, climate change, or sustainability.


FRAMESHIFTS by Richard Rose

Handle the day if you can't seize it

All of us are artful beings reaching out to express and explain our experience—visually, musically, and verbally. You work in your own medium and learn from others working in theirs. We don't "seize the day" by watching the News; we do it by slowly mastering our primary medium: ourselves.

FRAMESHIFTS is the website based on my book. You'll find stories, poems, songs, operas, book reviews, and commentary. It is how I reach out, handle experience, and try to make something of it. It is free for you to read and use. Subscribe for free updates via email, comment on the website, and receive news about new work and performances.

Sign up for FRAMESHIFTS updates.

Richard Rose: Frameshifts

Lori by Charlene Wexler - Just $2.99 at Amazon

Lori by Charlene Wexler

On Sale: Bullies in Love by Jendi Reiter

Winning Writers editor Jendi Reiter and Little Red Tree Publishing are pleased to offer Bullies in Love, Reiter's fourth poetry book and second full-length collection, with illustrations by fine art photographer and Massachusetts Cultural Council award winner Toni Pepe. Bullies in Love is on sale at Little Red Tree and Amazon.

Based in New London, CT, Little Red Tree publishes books of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and art that "delight, entertain, and educate". Visit their website at

"An outstanding, impressive collection from a multiple award winner...The writing dazzles, surprises, and beguiles the reader with its unexpected vistas."
—Carol Smallwood, author, Divining the Prime Meridian (Wordtech Editions, 2015)

"Bitter, tender, contained, full of pain and hilarity, this fiercely intelligent collection begins with one of the most beautiful poems I have ever read. 'Inconsolable joy,' Reiter writes to her newborn son. 'Motherless, I mother.' Within this grace all questions resolve: 'Each glinting wavelet a day of my history,/washing my hands as I lose it.' The history to be known and released includes childhood abuse, and cruelties both familial and social...In these poems, theology becomes concrete and passionate."
—Ruth Thompson, author of Woman with Crows (Saddle Road Press, 2013), A Room of Her Own Foundation "To the Lighthouse" Prize Finalist

Read a sample poem, "Poem with Nothing Before 1972".

Bullies in Love by Jendi Reiter

On Sale: 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 new 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

"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 "Mirror, Mirror", a sample poem from the chapbook. This poem was chosen by Dorianne Laux to win Hunger Mountain's Ruth Stone Poetry Prize.

Beatrice by Ellen LaFleche

On Sale: Where the Meadowlark Sings by Ellaraine Lockie

Winner of the 2014 Encircle Publications Chapbook Contest. On sale now!

"Ellaraine Lockie's poems emerge from her Montana homeland...Lockie captures the elegance of the landscape in its 'ripened wheat, cheatgrass and wildflowers', but steers clear of romanticism as she addresses the racism, sexism, and loss of young life in the rural West. In these poems, the history of one-room schoolhouses, vigilantes, cattle rustlers, and depression-era thrift run close to the surface, only a few generations removed from the headlines and newscasts of a disconnected world."
—Tami Haaland, Montana State Poet Laureate; winner of the Nicholas Roerich Prize for Breath in Every Room; author of When We Wake in the Night.

Ellaraine Lockie is a widely published and awarded poet, nonfiction book author, essayist, and judge of the Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest. Her recent work has been awarded the Women's National Book Association's Poetry Prize, Best Individual Collection from Purple Patch magazine in England for Stroking David's Leg, and first prize in the San Gabriel Poetry Festival Chapbook Contest for Red for the Funeral. Ellaraine teaches poetry workshops and serves as Poetry Editor for the lifestyles magazine, Lilipoh. Where the Meadowlark Sings is her eleventh collection of poems.


Please enjoy "Brotherhood of the Midnight Snack" from Where the Meadowlark Sings. This poem won the San Mateo County Fair Poetry Contest and was published in Caesura.

Where the Meadowlark Sings by Ellaraine Lockie

FundsforWriters - Subscribe Free


Under the hand of C. Hope Clark, FundsforWriters is a motivational and informational Friday newsletter devoured by over 30,000 readers. From markets to grants, crowdfunding to publishing, FFW leads writers to success.

"A local bookstore in Paris, Tennessee is carrying my poetry books! You told me that poetry was a slow and hard sell but to keep at it since that was where my heart was. You were so right!"

Favorite New Resources

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

Badilisha Poetry X-Change
World's largest online archive of African poetry

Short fiction website with monthly contests

Jane Friedman's Writing Advice Links
Archive of articles by publishing expert

Tethered by Letters
Literary publisher and writers' resource with poetry and prose contests

Unbridled Books
Independent press for literary fiction with commercial appeal

Genre and genre-bending writing with queer protagonists

Badilisha Poetry

Favorite New Book

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

Jericho Brown, editor
This essential anthology brings together a new generation of black gay poets: Darrel Alejandro Holnes, Saeed Jones, Rickey Laurentiis, Phillip B. Williams, and L. Lamar Wilson. The book begins with a selection of poems from each author, after which they interview one another about poetic mentoring, influences, and identities. Publisher Sibling Rivalry Press is known for supporting LGBT literature.

Prime, edited by Jericho Brown

Selections from Our Contest Archives

by Sally Hermsdorfer
Highly Commended
2009 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest

by Suzanne Covich
Special Award
2010 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest

by Dixon Hearne
Highly Commended
2008 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest

by Tim Napier
Most Highly Commended
2008 Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for Traditional Verse

by Tammy Tillotson
Honorable Mention
2009 Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest

by Lamar Hedgepeth
2009 Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest

Sally Hermsdorfer

PSA: September 8 Is International Literacy Day - Free Toolkit


ProLiteracy offers a free toolkit to help activists, educators, students, and citizens promote literacy in their area. The kit includes over two dozen activities including projects for schools, plus a sample letter, proclamation, and press release. Download it now.

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Julian Peters: "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot (part four)

Julian Peters: "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot (part four)

Julian Peters: "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot (part four)

Julian Peters: "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot (part four)

To be continued in our September 15 newsletter. See the previous installment in our August 15 newsletter. See the text of the poem at Poetry magazine. See more comics by Julian Peters.