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Award-Winning Poems: Spring 2016

Jendi Reiter

Welcome to my Spring 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: "When You Are Old" by W. B. Yeats, illustrated in manga style by Julian Peters.
—Jendi Reiter, Editor

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Deadlines Next Month!
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 Ben Jackson
Winner of the 2015 Robinson Jeffers Tor House Prize for Poetry
Postmark Deadline: March 15
This $2,000 prize for unpublished poems commemorates an important 20th-century American poet. The narrator of this gritty, moving poem reflects on his mother's lessons, losses, and imperfections as she is dying from a cancer that could be related to industrial pollution.

by Kevin Young
Winner of the 2015 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize
Postmark Deadline: May 15
The Academy of American Poets awards this prestigious $25,000 prize for the best book of poetry published in the US during the previous calendar year. In this excerpt from the title poem of Young's winning collection, long-drawn-out sentences in short lines convey how the passage of time feels to impatient or grief-heavy human beings, compared with the patient wisdom of mountains and weather.

by Dave Nielsen
Winner of the 2015 Blue Lynx Prize for Poetry
Entries must be received by May 15
Lynx House Press awards $2,000 and publication for a poetry collection by a US author, which includes foreign nationals living and writing in the US and US citizens living abroad. Nielsen's Unfinished Figures won the most recent contest. This timely poem envisions adult authority confounded by a child's sacred, risky innocence.

by Elizabeth Astrid Powell
Winner of the 2015 Robert Dana–Anhinga Prize for Poetry
Entries must be received by May 20
This long-running contest gives $2,000 and publication by Anhinga Press for a poetry manuscript. Powell's collection Willy Loman's Reckless Daughter won the most recent award. In this poem from her first book, The Republic of Self, she playfully imagines the Pledge of Allegiance as a wedding vow, to depict a child's way of bringing peculiar adult ideas down to a personal level.

by Susan Azar Porterfield
Winner of the 2015 Cider Press Review Editors' Prize Book Award
Postmark Deadline: June 30 (don't enter before April 1)
This award from a well-regarded literary journal gives $1,000 and publication for a poetry manuscript. Porterfield's Dirt, Root, Silk won the most recent contest. A Kaddish is a Jewish prayer of praise for God, traditionally recited to honor the dead. In this poem, the speaker communes with her friend's memory by being fully present to observe a bird on a branch, entering a reality where no one is separate.

Read more award-winning poems.

Fish Publishing International Poetry Contest

FISH is an open door inviting writers to walk through.
—Roddy Doyle

Deadline: March 31. Top prize: 1,000 euros. Second prize: a week at the Anam Cara Writer's & Artist's Retreat. Poems should be 300 words or less. Submission fee: 14 euros.

The Fish Poetry Prize was established in 2006. Previous judges include Billy Collins, Brian Turner, Leanne O'Sullivan, Michael McCarthy, Peter Fallon, Matthew Sweeney, Paul Durcan, Ruth Padel and Nick Laird.

This year's judge, poet Dave Lordan, will be selecting the 10 poems to be published in the 2016 Fish Anthology. The contest results will be announced on May 15. The anthology will be launched during the West Cork Literary Festival in July.

Learn more about the contest and enter here.

Dave Lourdan

Elk River Writers Workshop - Apply Now

Elk River Workshops

The 2016 Elk River Writers Workshop is accepting applications for its August 8-11 summer workshop at Chico Hot Springs in Montana's Paradise Valley. This second annual event brings prominent writers together with advanced writing students in a small group environment. This year's faculty includes 2016 Henry David Thoreau Prize winner Linda Hogan, Pulitzer Prize nominee Craig Lesley, and New York Times bestselling fiction authors Nina McConigley and Jamie Ford.

Students will work with the faculty member of their choice in a traditional workshop, a generative seminar, or a master class. Classes are capped at ten students. Additional events include craft talks by each faculty member, evening lectures by award-winning authors, opportunities for student readings, and a trail ride or raft trip adventure. The workshop will culminate with a gala faculty reading.

Rolling admissions will close when full or on June 1, whichever comes first. Three scholarships are available (one general, one Native American, and one for a Park County high school writer in residence). To learn more and apply, visit ElkRiverWriters.org or email ElkRiverWriters@gmail.com.

The Frugal Editor, Just $9 at Amazon

The Frugal Editor

There are gremlins out there determined to keep your work from being published, your book from being promoted. Resolved to embarrass you in front of the gatekeepers who can turn the key of success, they lurk in your subconscious and the depths of your computer programs.

Whether you are a new or experienced author, The Frugal Editor, 2nd edition—from Carolyn Howard-Johnson's multiple award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers—will help you present whistle-clean copy (from a one-page cover letter to your entire manuscript) to those who have the power to say "yea" or "nay". Buy it now for $9 at Amazon.

"The Frugal Editor: Do-It-Yourself Editing Secrets for Authors is a complete course of instruction under one cover." ~ Midwest Book Review

"Absolutely essential for beginning writers and a necessary reminder for the more advanced. The mentor you've been looking for. This book won't collect dust!" ~ Christina Francine, review for Fjords Review

"Using the basic computer and editing tricks from The Frugal Editor, authors can prevent headaches and save themselves time—and even money—during the editing process. It's well worth your effort to learn them." ~ Barbara McNichol, Barbara McNichol Editorial

"Writers and editors have a true friend in Carolyn Howard-Johnson. Her word smarts, her publishing savvy, and her sincere commitment to authors and editors make The Frugal Editor a must-have resource." ~ June Casagrande, author of The Best Punctuation Book, Period and Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies (Penguin) and syndicated grammar columnist

Pre-order Your Signed Copy of Salve by Soma Mei Sheng Frazier


Harsh and beautiful, yearning and deadly, the stories of Soma Mei Sheng Frazier will remind you of nothing less than the whole wide world.
—Daniel Handler, AKA Lemony Snicket

Through Frazier's seamless prose, Salve examines the myriad ways in which we soothe ourselves in an attempt to treat what ails us—for better or for worse. Ms. Frazier is the final judge of this year's Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest.

Pre-order your signed copy today from Nomadic Press.

Please enjoy this excerpt from "She Must Remember", appearing in Salve.

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!

"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 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

On Sale Now: Edisto Jinx by C. Hope Clark

Edisto Jinx

The latest mystery thriller in The Edisto Island Mysteries from C. Hope Clark

"A sparkling Edisto Island setting, a flawed heroine, a riveting mystery, and the hint of a paranormal twist makes Edisto Jinx THE book for your beach bag. Author C. Hope Clark brings to life the uniqueness that is Edisto, peppering the island with endearing and strong-minded characters that linger in your mind long after the last page is turned. Can't wait to revisit them in the next book in the Edisto Island Mystery series!"
–Karen White, New York Times Bestselling Author, www.karen-white.com

Buy Edisto Jinx at Amazon.

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.

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 from Bullies in Love, "Lost Cat".

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.

Big Fiction
Journal of long-form literary fiction 

Flamingo Rampant
Small press publishes racially diverse, LGBTQ-positive picture books 

Internet Writing Workshop
Free online critique groups for various literary genres 

Michigan Review of Prisoner Creative Writing
The University of Michigan publishes this journal of writing by prisoners in the state 

Northern Public Radio Book Series
Book reviews and interviews on a public radio affiliate 

Online literary journal by and for teens 

The Write Life
Resources for freelancing, book marketing, blogging, and literary craft 

Big Fiction

Favorite New Books

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

Alexander Chee
In this poetic debut novel, a sexually abusive choir director forever alters the lives of a gay Korean-American youth and the friends he loves. The protagonist finds healing through artistic imagination, the survival stories of his refugee family, and taking responsibility for the dark side of his own desires.

Don Mitchell
Humorous, poignant, and enlightening, these linked short stories are set among the Nagovisi people of Bougainville Island in the Southwestern Pacific. The young American anthropologist in their midst learns as much about himself as about the villagers who have indulgently accepted him as an oddball member of their community. He mourns the collateral damage wrought on this small but culturally rich island by international wars and mining companies.

Selections from Our Contest Archives

by Lucille Bellucci
2011 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest
Third Prize

"One Man's Legacy"
by Ina L. Jones
2011 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest
Fourth Prize

"A Walk"
by Joseph Gorman
2009 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest
Most Highly Commended

"Sestina: All the Broken Toys"
by Christine Hemp
2009 Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for Traditional Verse
Honorable Mention

"A Tale of Two Cutleries"
by Lauren Dunlop
2010 Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest
Honorable Mention

"It's a Sign"
by Jon E. Seaman
2010 Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest
Honorable Mention

See the complete archive of winning entries from our contests.

Lucille Bellucci

PSA: Literacy for Social Change

Literacy for Social Change

Literacy for Social Change is a model of instruction that incorporates literacy lessons into community action projects. As residents work on projects to improve their communities— everything from digging clean water wells, overseeing reforestation projects, and disease prevention to promoting human rights, starting health clinics, and forming business ventures—program staff incorporate lessons on reading, writing, and basic math into the projects. Learn more and access resources at the ProLiteracy Education Network.

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"When You Are Old" by W.B. Yeats, illustrated by Julian Peters

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

Read this poem and see more about W.B. Yeats at Poetry Foundation. See more comics by Julian Peters.

Writer's Digest: 101 Best Websites for Writers