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Award-Winning Poems: Fall 2014

Jendi Reiter

Welcome to my Fall 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 September 15, where we'll announce the winners of our 22nd annual Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest.

Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest
Deadline: September 30
Our 12th annual open-theme poetry contest will award $3,000 in prizes. The Tom Howard Prize of $1,000 will go to the best poem in any style or genre. The Margaret Reid Prize of $1,000 will go to the best poem that rhymes or has a traditional style. Ellaraine Lockie will judge. You may submit 1-2 poems of any length for a flat $16 fee. Published and unpublished work welcome. Submit online.

In this issue:
"Apps for Poets"


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Featured Sponsor: Coal Hill Chapbook Prize

Coal Hill Review 2014 Chapbook Prize

Award-Winning Poems Selected by Jendi Reiter

THE JUNEBUGS and other poems
by Steve Scafidi Jr.
Co-winner of the 2014 Miller Williams Arkansas Poetry Prize
Entries must be received by September 30
This open poetry manuscript prize gives $5,000 and publication by the University of Arkansas Press. Scafidi's To the Bramble and the Briar, a collection of poems about Abraham Lincoln, shared the most recent award with Vandana Khanna's Afternoon Masala. The poems in this excerpt are both plain-spoken and visionary, like the legendary president.

by Corey Van Landingham
Winner of the 2012 Ohio State University Press/The Journal Award in Poetry
Entries must be received by September 30
This long-running award from a prestigious literary publisher gives $2,500 for a full-length poetry manuscript. This selection from Van Landingham's prizewinning debut collection, Antidote, projects a girl's awakening desires onto an uncanny landscape where everything is growing uncontrollably.

by Hideko Sueoka
Winner of the 2013 Troubadour International Poetry Prize
Entries must be received by October 20
British literary society Coffee-House Poetry awards a top prize of 5,000 pounds for unpublished poems in English. This innovative reworking of the sonnet form pays tribute to the Oulipo group of experimental poets.

by Connie Jordan Green
Winner of the 2013 Brick Road Poetry Book Contest
Entries must be received by November 1
This open poetry manuscript prize gives $1,000 and publication by Brick Road Poetry Press, a publisher whose mission is "to publish and promote poetry that entertains, amuses, edifies, and surprises a wide audience of appreciative readers." Green's Household Inventory was the most recent winner. This narrative poem creates a fully realized character with one simple, nostalgic anecdote.

by Gail Martin
Winner of the 2013 Perugia Press Prize
Postmark Deadline: November 15
This well-regarded small press awards $1,000 and publication for a manuscript by a woman poet with no more than one previously published full-length collection. In this selection from Martin's prizewinning Begin Empty-Handed, the narrator counsels a bereaved mother while inwardly free-associating through memories of her own family.

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

Coffee House Confessions by Ellaraine Lockie

Coffee House Confessions

Great Reviews for Coffee House Confessions
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 "Man About Town" from Coffee House Confessions... – we'll put you in front of a global audience

Scriggler—the first content platform focused on helping authors maximize their outreach—is now live in public beta 

Scriggler is a hub for writers, poets, thinkers, scientists, activists—anyone looking to share their writing on any topic, in any genre, in any level of detail.

Join our friendly and supportive community today and as an early adopter enjoy all the perks of premium membership free, for life.

Contributors keep the rights to their work. The content placed on the platform is easily sharable, authors get access to analytics on audience engagement and there are a number of tools and algorithms for readers to discover content relevant to them.

We run a monthly writing contest to further highlight our talent pool—curated by our audience. 

Scriggler aims to democratize the information flow and make it easy to connect authors with the right audience and readers with the right content. Visit us now. - 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). Learn more...


FundsforWriters touches 45,000 readers with its calls for submissions from contests, grants, markets, publishers, and agents. Writer's Digest Magazine chose the website for its 101 Best Websites for Writers for the past 14 years. Award-winning editor and author C. Hope Clark brings opportunity to you, so you have more time to write.
"C. Hope Clark searches the net for contests and submission calls and every paying gig for writers there is, so you don't have to...her newsletters are right to the point, without a lot of pointless crap you don't need to read...this is one girl who realizes a writer's time is valuable and she fully respects that...her site truly lives up to its name...I really have nothing but good things to say about both her and her site...really, I hate to use the word "perfect" when describing anything...but sometimes no other word will do...thanks C. Hope Clark...on behalf of writers everywhere."


The Frugal Book Promoter

Give your book the best possible start in life with The Frugal Book Promoter, available as an ebook for $9.95. It's full of nitty-gritty how-tos for getting nearly free publicity. Carolyn Howard-Johnson, an instructor for UCLA's Writers' Program and former publicist and journalist, shares her professional experience and practical tips gleaned from the successes of her own book campaigns. She tells authors how to do what their publishers can't or won't and why authors can often do their own promotion better than a PR professional. The first edition was a multi-award winner. The second edition, updated and expanded by more than 100 pages, is a USA Book News winner.

"This book is like the Energizer just keeps going and going and going..."
—Kristie Leigh Maguire, CEO of Star Publish

"The Frugal Book Promoter is excellent...It has given me ideas that would never have occurred to me before and has changed the way I think about book promotion."
—Mark Logie, poet and short-story writer, winner of the "most promising author" prize from

Learn more about The Frugal Book Promoter on Carolyn Howard-Johnson's website, or buy it now at Amazon.

The Frugal Book Promoter

Brick Road Poetry Book Contest

Brick Road Poetry Press

Deadline: November 1. The first place winner receives a publication contract with Brick Road Poetry Press and a $1,000 prize, publication in both print and ebook formats, and 25 copies of the printed book. We may also offer publication contracts to the top finalists.

Adhere to all the "general submission" manuscript guidelines. Entry fee $25, payable through the online submission manager. If sending hard copy, please include a check or money order payable to "Brick Road Poetry Press, Inc." See the complete guidelines for details.

The poetry we publish is best characterized as entertaining, amusing, edifying, and/or surprising. Some of our favorite poets are Kim Addonizio, Billy Collins, Jane Hirshfield, Jane Kenyon, Ted Kooser, Thomas Lux, and Mark Strand.

Qualities we admire: coherent human voice, sense of humor, narrative mode, playful use of words, surprise twists, personas, spiritual or philosophical ideas illustrated concretely (in imagery or narrative), and intense depictions of a dramatic scene, setting, or experience.

Dislikes: overemphasis on rhyme, obscurity or riddling, highfalutin vocabulary, didactic expressions of religion, hazy themes or topics, and excessive abstractions.

Please enjoy "Later That Night" by Gary Leising, winner of our 2013 contest.

Favorite New Resources

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

How to Discover and Make Art That Matters
Creativity lesson plan by artist Tom Taylor a/k/a The Poet Spiel

Keeping It Legal
Guide to legal issues of self-publishing

Kórima Press
Queer Chicana/o literary press

Necessary Fiction
Online journal publishes original fiction, book reviews, essays on writing

New York Shakespeare Exchange: The Sonnet Project
Short films pairing a Shakespeare sonnet with a NYC vignette

The Passive Voice
Lawyer's perspective on the publishing industry

Valancourt Books
Publisher of rediscovered classics with gay and horror themes

Favorite New Books

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

Stuart Kestenbaum, Prayers & Run-On Sentences
This affable, Buddhist-inflected poetry collection invites gratitude for the daily rhythms of life. As if through the imaginative, unbiased eyes of a child, Kestenbaum's poems find wonder in ordinary things like clotheslines, oil slicks, and even a plastic trash bag left in the woods.

Ruth Thompson, Woman with Crows
This poetry collection, earthy yet mythical, celebrates the spiritual wisdom of the Crone, the woman with crows (and crows' feet). Because of her conscious kinship with nature, the speaker of these poems embraces the changes that our artificial culture has taught us to dread. Fatness recurs as a revolutionary symbol of joy: a woman's body is not her enemy, and scarcity is not the deepest truth. For her, the unraveling of memory and the shedding of possessions are not a story of decline but a fairy tale of transformation.

Prayers & Run-on Sentences

Final Month: Our Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest

Our annual open-theme poetry contest welcomes published and unpublished work. Have a long poem? This year the entry fee is a flat $16 for each submission of 1-2 poems, regardless of length.

Ellaraine Lockie

Selections from Our Contest Archives

"Night in the North" by Helen Bar-Lev
Honorable Mention
2007 Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for Traditional Verse

"Stillborn" by Lynn Veach Sadler
Third Prize
2005 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest

"An Ode to Taste" by E.V. Noechel
Honorable Mention
2006 Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest

"The Crack Epidemic" by Gayle L. Porter
2006 Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest

"The Wizard" by Gordon Phipps
Second Prize
2004 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest

"Phantom Feelings" by Lissa Byers
Third Prize
2006 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest

PSA: International Literacy Day is September 8


ProLiteracy provides a toolkit to help you make the most of International Literacy Day and related events in September. See suggested activities and publicity material. More than 36 million American adults struggle to read, write, do math, and use technology above a third-grade level. Download the toolkit at no charge.

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Comics by Ali Shapiro

Ali Shapiro: Apps for Poets