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

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Award-Winning Poems: Winter 2015-2016

Jendi Reiter

Welcome to my Winter 2015-2016 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: The conclusion of "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", illustrated by Julian Peters.
—Jendi Reiter, Editor

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Open Now at Winning Writers
Deadline: April 1. 15th year. $2,250 in prizes, including a top award of $1,000. Final judge: Jendi Reiter. Previously published work accepted. See last year's winners and enter here.

Deadline: April 30. 24th year. $4,000 in prizes, including two top awards of $1,500 each. Fee: $18 per entry. Arthur Powers will judge. Previously published work accepted. See last year's winners and enter here.

Award-Winning Poems Selected by Jendi Reiter

by Anders Carlson-Wee
Winner of the 2015 Frost Place Chapbook Competition
Entries must be received by January 5
The Frost Place, a literary foundation housed at Robert Frost's New Hampshire homestead, sponsors this $250 award for a poetry chapbook manuscript. Winner is published by Bull City Press and invited to read at the Frost Place Poetry Seminar. In the title poem from Carlson-Wee's winning collection, two young brothers' rough-housing skirts the edge between playfulness and violence.

by Stephanie Lenox
Winner of the 2015 Colorado Prize for Poetry
Postmark Deadline: January 14
This open poetry manuscript prize from Colorado State University gives $2,000 and publication by the Center for Literary Publishing. This brutally honest poem from Lenox's prizewinning collection The Business shows how we are alienated by our common struggle for survival.

by Bonnie Bolling
Winner of the 2015 John Ciardi Prize for Poetry
Postmark Deadline: January 15
This open poetry manuscript prize gives $1,000 and publication by BkMk Press at the University of Missouri–Kansas City. Bolling's The Red Hijab was the most recent winner. In this witty but serious poem, a pregnant woman reflects that scarcity and competition attend every miracle of birth.

by Kevin Holden
Winner of the 2015 Fence Modern Poets Series
Entries must be received by February 29 (don't enter before February 1)
This open poetry manuscript prize gives $1,000 and publication by Fence Books, a press known for experimental and cross-genre work. Holden's Solar won the most recent contest. This sensual and sinister poem free-associates on a color that connects memories of pleasure and of death.

by Rajiv Mohabir
Winner of the 2015 Kundiman Poetry Prize
Entries must be received by March 15 (don't enter before February 1)
Kundiman, an arts organization for Asian Americans, offers this $1,000 award in conjunction with Tupelo Press, which publishes the winning poetry manuscript. Contest is open to Asian-American writers at any stage of their career. Mohabir's The Cowherd's Son was the most recent winner. This suite of found poems reshuffles text from a taxidermy manual to explore the chase and capture, no longer of birds, but of lovers in a perilous environment.

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

Lori by Charlene Wexler - Just $2.99 at Amazon

Lori by Charlene Wexler

WritingCareer.com - 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, WritingCareer.com 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 WritingCareer.com now

A Hero for the People by Arthur Powers

Arthur Powers is judging this year's Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest. His award-winning collection of short stories, A Hero for the People, is available on Amazon Kindle. Click to buy—just $0.99 at Amazon!

"Set in the vast and sometimes violent landscape of contemporary Brazil, this is a gorgeous collection of stories—wise, hopeful, and forgiving, but clear-eyed in its exploration of the toll taken on the human heart by greed, malice, and the lust for land." —Debra Murphy, Publisher, Idylls Press
​"Arthur Powers is more than a totally captivating, adventurous storyteller. He is a wonderfully accomplished writer who enriches the reader's experience of life, and is a mighty skillful reporter who knows the ins and outs of people and places. While his locations are often fascinatingly exotic, more importantly his people are always engagingly real! In short, Powers is in that rare company of authors who are impossible to put down!" —​John Reid, founder of the Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest


A Hero for the People by Arthur Powers

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 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.

Beatrice by Ellen LaFleche

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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. Chosen by Writer’s Digest for its 101 Best Websites for Writers for 15 years. www.fundsforwriters.com

COG Poetry Awards

Deadline January 15, 2016. Sponsored by Cogswell Polytechnical College. The winner will receive:

  • Publication online and in the print issue of COG, as well as a $250 prize
  • A blurb about your poetry by A. Van Jordan
  • 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 program.

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


The W.B. Yeats Poetry Prize 2016

W.B. Yeats Society of New York

Deadline: February 1, 2016. The W.B. Yeats Society of New York poetry competition is open to members and nonmembers of any age, from any locality. Alfred Corn will judge. Submit unpublished poems in English on any subject. Length limit: 60 lines. First prize $500, second prize $250. Winners and honorable mentions receive two-year memberships in the Society and are honored at an event in New York on April 4.

Submit each poem (judged separately) typed on an 8.5 x 11-inch sheet without author's name. Attach a 3x5 card with name, address, phone, and email. Entry fee is $10 for first poem, $8 each additional. Mail to 2016 Poetry Competition, W.B. Yeats Society of N.Y., National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South, New York, NY 10003. Include SASE to receive the report. List of winners is posted on YeatsSociety.org around March 31.

Authors retain copyright, but grant us the right to publish winning entries. These are the complete rules. No entry form necessary. We reserve the right to hold late submissions to the following year. For information on our other programs, or on membership, visit YeatsSociety.org or write to us.

Please enjoy the winning entries from our 2015 competition with the judge's comments.

COG Page to Screen Awards

Deadline March 31, 2016. Sponsored by Cogswell Polytechnical College. The winner will receive:

  • Publication online and in the print issue of COG, as well as a $250 prize
  • A blurb about your short story by Daniel Handler (AKA Lemony Snicket)
  • Your story adapted as an animated short film, 2D animation, graphic novel, or series of interpretive illustrations by students in Cogswell's celebrated Digital Art & Animation program.

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


Love Me Tender in Midlife by Ellaraine Lockie


Ellaraine Lockie's new chapbook and twelfth collection, Love Me Tender in Midlife, has just been released in the chapbook collection IDES from Silver Birch Press. Love Me Tender in Midlife is her third chapbook in a series of three about women's midlife years. IDES is a 288-page book consisting of fifteen chapbooks, all fifteen pages in length and illustrated with paintings by Amedeo Modigliani.

Silver Birch Press decided to celebrate the year 2015 by asking 15 poets to each contribute 15 pages of poetry to a chapbook collection and title it IDES (released on the ides of October 2015). The result is a diverse mix of poetry by authors from coast to coast. Contributing poets hail from California, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, the Carolinas, and Texas—with one from Canada.

Featured poets include Jeffrey C. Alfier, Tobi Alfier, Carol Berg, Ana Maria Caballero, Jennifer Finstrom, Joanie Hieger Fritz Zosike, Robin Dawn Hudechek, Sonja Johanson, Ellaraine Lockie, Daniel McGinn, Robert Okaji, Glenis Redmond, Daniel Romo, Thomas R. Thomas, and A. Garnett Weiss.

A wonderful holiday gift, order IDES for $15 at Amazon.

Please enjoy this sample poem, "In Bed with Edgar Allan at the Sylvia Beach Hotel".

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 littleredtree.com.

"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

Please enjoy this sample poem, "Trigger Warning Pour Homme".

Bullies in Love by Jendi Reiter

Favorite New Resources

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

Maple Tree Literary Supplement
Online journal of Canadian literature and culture

Marketing Stack's Tools for Writers
Curated directory of marketing resources and tools 

Mongrel Coalition Against Gringpo
Writers' collective challenges racist appropriation by the poetry establishment

NEA Military Healing Arts Partnership
Art therapy for wounded and traumatized US veterans 

Tu Books
Publisher of diverse middle-grade and YA novels 

Worker Writers Institute
Workshop series nurtures working-class and unionized writers 

Writers of the World
Novelist Warren Adler hosts this forum for inspirational stories about the writing life

Maple Tree Literary Supplement

Favorite New Books

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

Gabrielle Calvocoressi
The jazzy, tough, delicious poems in this collection swing through highs and lows of sexual awakening, boxing, and religious devotion. Resilience sings through these anecdotes of bombed black churches and synagogues, down-and-out factory towns and risky love affairs, with characters who know that "all you gotta do is get up/one more time than the other guy thinks you can."

Wendy Waters
Fans of Anne Rice and "The Phantom of the Opera" will enjoy this paranormal romance/horror novel that asks creative questions about God, love, and power. The angel Gabriel has tried so long to enlighten humanity that he has become bitter and violent. He has lost faith in love, and believes that humanity must be redeemed by force. He rescues an abused girl who is a musical prodigy, in exchange for a claim on her talent—but her love and innocent wisdom make him question whether the end justifies the means.

Leah Horlick
This breathtaking lesbian-feminist poetry collection breaks the silence around intimate partner violence in same-sex relationships. Jewish tradition, nature spirituality, and archetypes from Tarot cards build a framework for healing. This book is valuable for its specificity about the dynamics of abusive lesbian partnerships, which may not fit our popular culture's image of domestic violence. Horlick shows how the closet and the invisibility of non-physical abuse make it difficult for these victims to name what is happening to them. The book's narrative arc is hopeful and empowering.

Margaret Atwood
This mature poetry collection considers history and warfare from women's perspectives. A father's death prompts a more personal turn to poems exploring memory and loss. The style is straightforward, declarative, assured. Yet the multi-layered meanings of these poems complicate our conventional wisdom and lead us into mysteries that can only be experienced, not mastered, through language.

Jee Leong Koh
The design of this illustrated Japanese-English edition has a studied casualness that suits these subtle, charming poems. Koh writes of male-male eroticism without the gritty explicitness or florid imagery that often prevail in this genre. Everything is enjoyed in moderation yet savored to the fullest. Literary sketches of his native Singapore combine the sensory immediacy of childhood memories with an expatriate's wry detachment.

Claudia Rankine, Beth Loffreda, & Max King Cap, eds.
An essential anthology of poetics and politics in the 21st century, this essay collection from Fence Books grew out of Rankine's "Open Letter" blog that solicited personal meditations on race and the creative imagination. Contributors include poets Francisco Aragón, Dan Beachy-Quick, Jericho Brown, Dawn Lundy Martin, Danielle Pafunda, Evie Shockley, Ronaldo V. Wilson, and many more, plus contemporary artwork selected by Max King Cap. The writers span a variety of ethnic backgrounds, points of view, and aesthetics, united by honest self-examination and political insightfulness.

Jessamyn Hope
This many-layered debut novel, set on a kibbutz (Israeli commune) in 1994, brings together an unlikely community of troubled souls whose fates intersect in surprising ways. At the heart of the story is a priceless brooch crafted by a medieval Jewish goldsmith, preserved by his descendants through centuries of anti-Semitic massacres and international migration. Adam, a drug addict from Manhattan, seeks to atone for the damage he has done to his family, by bringing the brooch to the mysterious woman his late grandfather loved when he was a Holocaust refugee on the kibbutz. His arrival stirs up painful memories for the kibbutz founder, who sacrificed her personal happiness to a utopian project that is now in danger of being disbanded. Meanwhile, his fellow volunteers are on their own desperate quests for redemption and freedom, which sometimes help and sometimes hinder Adam's mission. The novel raises profound questions about the trade-offs between individual fulfillment and collective survival.

Selections from Our Contest Archives

"The Balcon"
by Mari Grana
2010 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest
Fourth Prize

"8 Missed Birthdays"
by Arielle Kaden
2010 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest
Most Highly Commended

"What I Did in the 20th Century"
by Tony Peyser
2009 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest
Third Prize

"The Bewick's Wren"
by Judith Goldhaber
2009 Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for Traditional Verse
First Prize

"Score: Kipling 1, Keats 0"
by James K. Zimmerman
2009 Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest
Honorable Mention

"Salvation Drive-Thru"
by Susan White
2010 Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest
Honorable Mention

Mari Grana

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

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

See the previous installment in our November 15 newsletter. See the text of the poem at Poetry magazine. See more comics by Julian Peters. Coming in our December 15 newsletter: The first installment of "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" by John Keats.