Winning Writers - best resources for poets and writers

Having trouble viewing this email? View the web version.

Follow us on TwitterLike us on FacebookFind us on Google Plus

Award-Winning Poems: Summer 2014

Welcome to my Summer 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 June 15.

We note with sadness the passing of Ned Condini, winner of our first War Poetry Contest in 2002. Please see the memorial that concludes this newsletter.

~Jendi Reiter, editor

Follow us on Twitter at @WinningWriters

Jendi Reiter

Featured Sponsor: The Ordinary Guru Contest (no fee)

Deadline: August 31. The Ordinary Guru Project, founded by Rob White, President of Mind Adventure, Inc., is now soliciting submissions for its Spring 2014 contest. Entrants are asked to submit an original work about an "ordinary guru". Cash prizes include: First place, $5,000; Second place, $2,500; Third place, $1,500. There's no fee to enter. Submit online.

We're looking for short stories, essays, memoirs, photo essays, graphic stories, cartoons, and poems about ordinary gurus. Ordinary gurus teach us what we need to know in order to expand our view of ourselves and the world. These gurus aren't just people— they can also be anything in nature that offers you an insight or life lesson, perhaps a pet, a wild animal, or even a tree that helps you see yourself or life differently.

Read more about Rob White and what he's learned from ordinary gurus...

The Ordinary Guru Contest

Award-Winning Poems Selected by Jendi Reiter

by Susan Maeder
Winner of the Winter 2013 New Millennium Writings Awards
Postmark Deadline: June 17, typically extended to July 31
This long-running award from a prominent literary journal gives prizes of $1,000 apiece for poetry, fiction, flash fiction, and essays. Maeder's love poem to Joan of Arc suggests that the body of one young woman is more holy than any military glory.

by Melissa Tuckey
Winner of the 2012 ABZ Press First Book Prize
Postmark Deadline: June 30
This prize for a first poetry collection, from an independent press in West Virginia, gives $1,000 and 50 copies. Tuckey's Tenuous Chapel won the 2012 award. These fierce poems depict the "ecocide" of Louisiana's people and wildlife by industrial toxins.

CHANTEPLEURE and other poems
by Nils Michals
Winner of the 2012 May Sarton New Hampshire Poetry Prize
Postmark Deadline: June 30
Bauhan Publishing, a small press in New Hampshire, sponsors this open poetry manuscript contest with a $1,000 prize. (The contest has no geographic restrictions; "New Hampshire" is in the contest name to distinguish it from other unaffiliated contests named after Sarton.) Michals won the 2012 award for Come Down to Earth. "Chantepleure" means "to sing and cry at the same time". These poems chronicle the dissolving and transcendence of the self through a journey into blurred and snowy landscapes.

by Noel Crook
Winner of the 2013 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award
Entries must be received by July 8
This long-running, prestigious contest gives $4,000 and publication by Southern Illinois University Press for a first poetry collection by a US resident. Crook's prizewinning book Salt Moon will be published in 2015. In this poem, which won second prize in the 2012 Beullah Rose Poetry Prize from Smartish Pace, the beauty of the island where the characters labor only sharpens the edge of their torment.

by Travis Mossotti
Winner of the 2013 Melissa Lanitis Gregory Poetry Prize
Postmark Deadline: August 31
This open poetry manuscript prize gives $500 and publication by Bona Fide Books. Mossotti's prizewinning Field Study will be published in 2014. This blue-collar love poem praises the simple moments of intimacy that feel stronger than death.

ALMOST EKPHRASTIC and other poems
by KMA Sullivan
Winner of the 2013 St. Lawrence Book Award
Entries must be received by August 31 (don't enter before July 1)
Black Lawrence Press sponsors this $1,000 prize for an unpublished first collection of poems or short stories (both genres compete together). Sullivan's poetry collection Necessary Fire won the 2013 award. The speaker of these stream-of-consciousness poems asks unsettling questions about great works of art that reflect her anxiety as both subject and object of the gaze.

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

Need assistance? Let us help.



Coffee House Confessions by Ellaraine Lockie

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...

Coffee House Confessions - 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...

Are You in the Market for a Website That Rocks or a Book Cover That Sizzles?

Being an award-winning author herself, Shaila Abdullah understands the industry, and will provide you with designs that reflect your unique style, genre, and personality. Services include websites, book covers/book interior design, mobile sites, social media pages, email marketing, logo and branding, as well as other marketing materials such as ads, banners, stationery, sell sheets, posters and postcards.

Email Shaila:
View portfolio and services for authors
Mention code WW2014 to get 10% off any service

"Superb work, excellent customer service. Just marvelous overall."
C. Hope Clark, author, founder of FundsforWriters

"Thank you for the gift of your creativity, insight, and problem-solving as I threw you question after question. The site captures my spirit and passion, and it honors my dream since childhood."
Lyn Fairchild Hawks, author

House of Design

Register Now for The Visionary: A Writing Workshop with Joy Harjo and Pam Uschuk

Come to Tucson, Arizona during September 26-28 for a three-day intensive workshop to explore visionary writing. Award-winning writers Joy Harjo and Pam Uschuk will guide participants in on-site writing explorations in a desert garden setting. Special techniques will nurture insight and vision, including astrology, cards, and energy work.

The workshop price is $600. We will help find local hotel arrangements. Daily lunch and transportation to and from the workshop site will be provided. Space is limited to 15 people. Email to learn more. Registration closes on August 1.

See the full-size workshop poster.

The Visionary: A Writing Workshop

The Shy Writer Reborn

The Shy Writer Reborn, by award-winning author C. Hope Clark, brings hope and guidance to the introverted writer struggling in a noisy publishing world. An introverted writer's wake-up call from a seasoned lady who collected tricks and put them to practice in order to sell her words, not her soul.

From Amazon reviews:

"What stands out about this book for me is that Hope has a true and abiding empathy for other writers and helping other writers is a profound mission for her."

The Shy Writer Reborn is full of optimistic, friendly, and eminently practical advice on how to balance the introvert's need for seclusion with the need to market and promote oneself and one's work."

"C. Hope Clark is the first person in my experience to not only address this personality trait as a writer, but to tell me that I am okay just as I am."

The Shy Writer Reborn

The MacGuffin's 19th Annual National Poet Hunt Contest

The MacGuffin's 19th Annual National Poet Hunt Contest

Deadline: June 3. The MacGuffin will award a first prize of $500 in its 19th annual National Poet Hunt Contest. Pulitzer Prize Winner Carl Dennis will judge. Please submit up to 3 poems, an index card with author and poem info, and a $15 check/cash entry fee (checks payable to Schoolcraft College). See our complete guidelines and our full-size contest flyer.

Mail your entry to:

The MacGuffin
Attn: Poet Hunt Contest
Schoolcraft College
18600 Haggerty Road
Livonia, MI 48152-2696

New Millennium Writings 38th Competition

Deadline: June 17. Our 38th competition will award $4,000. Newcomers are published alongside famous writers, in our anthology and online. Prizes include $1,000 each for the Best Poem, Best Fiction, Best Nonfiction, and Best Short-Short Fiction.

Submit online at Previously published pieces welcome if under 5,000 in circulation or online only.

"I found this to be one of the most powerful literary experiences I've ever had. For anyone who gives a whit about writing or the human condition, New Millennium Writings should be required reading."
                                                      —Kane S. LaTranz, Alibi

Please enjoy the winning poem from our 36th competition, "Barking, Pt. Reyes," by Rafaella Del Bourgo.

New Millennium Writings

The 2014 Autumn House Poetry, Fiction, and Nonfiction Contests

Postmark deadline: June 30. The winner in each genre will receive book publication, a $1,000 advance against royalties, and a $1,500 travel/publicity grant to promote his or her book.

For our 2014 poetry contest, the preliminary judge is Michael Simms, and the final judge is Alicia Ostriker. For fiction, the preliminary judge is Heather Cazad, and the final judge is Sharon Dilworth. For nonfiction, the preliminary judges are Michael Simms and Heather Cazad, and the final judge is Dinty W. Moore.

Congratulations to our 2013 winners:

  • Poetry: Danusha Laméris, The Moons of August
  • Fiction: Tom Noyes, Come by Here
  • Nonfiction: Adam Patric Miller, A Greater Monster

See our contest poster and our complete contest guidelines.

Autumn House Press

$4,800 Top Prize for Your Short Story in the Writers' Village Contest

Writers' Village Contest

Deadline: June 30. $4,800 is the top prize in the Summer 2014 Writers' Village International Short Fiction Competition. The second prize is $800, third prize $400, and there are 15 runner up prizes of $80. Winners will see their work showcased online, and the top 50 contestants will receive a free critique of their stories.

Writers' Village is one of the world's largest short story contests in the range and size of its prizes. Judges include Larry Block, a Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America, and Jill Dawson, Orange- and Whitbread-shortlisted author of eight novels.

We welcome all genres of prose fiction up to 3,000 words. The fee per entry is $24. Submit online and read past winning entries at

As a special bonus for Winning Writers newsletter readers, please enjoy " do you win a writing contest?", authored by Writers' Village founder Dr. John Yeoman.

The 2014 Rattle Poetry Prize

Postmark deadline: July 15. The annual Rattle Poetry Prize offers $5,000 for a single poem to be published in the winter issue of the magazine. Ten finalists will also receive $100 each and publication, and be eligible for the $1,000 Readers' Choice Award, to be selected by subscriber and entrant vote.

With the winners judged in a blind review by the editors to ensure a fair and consistent selection, an entry fee that is simply a one-year subscription to the magazine—and now a large Readers' Choice Award to be chosen by the writers themselves—we've designed the Rattle Poetry Prize to be one of the most writer-friendly contests around.

We accept entries online and by mail. See for the complete guidelines and past winners, and enjoy "Beginner's Lesson" by Malcolm Alexander, a 2006 Honorable Mention.

The 2014 Rattle Poetry Prize

Favorite New Resources

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

Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
Invented words for subtle emotions

Historica Canada
Multimedia educational materials on Canadian history

Open Minds Quarterly
Poetry and literature of mental health recovery

Podcaster Academy
Classes and coaching to create better podcasts

The Revelator
Multimedia online journal with unusual history

Tattooed Poets Project
Poets' tattoos and the work they inspired

Favorite New Books

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

Heather Christle, The Difficult Farm
The haunted-looking one-eared rabbit on the cover is an apt mascot for these poems, whose randomness can be both sinister and humorous. The title carries echoes of "the funny farm", slang for an asylum, the place where persons deemed "difficult" are shut away, laughed at for the nonsense they speak. But is it nonsense? Christle's poems are held together by tone rather than logic. They have the cadence and momentum of building an argument, but are composed of non sequiturs. But the individual observations within that stream of consciousness often ring so true that you may find yourself nodding along. The speakers of these poems are eager for connection through talk, while recognizing that we mostly use language for social glue rather than sincere information exchange. So why not serve up a "radiant salad" of words?

Helen Leslie Sokolsky, Two Sides of a Ticket
This distinctive poetry chapbook from Finishing Line Press contains a portrait gallery of urban characters. Their alienation is healed, momentarily, by the author's mature and compassionate re-imagining of the lives she glimpses in passing. These narratives show us recognizable scenes made fresh by Sokolsky's original metaphors.

Open Now: Our Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest

Our annual open-theme poetry contest welcomes published and unpublished work. New 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

"The Dark Room" by Elaine Winer
First Prize
2004 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest

"Remembrance" by Susan Keith
First Prize
2006 Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for Traditional Verse

"Twinkie" by Sarahrae Hill
Honorable Mention
2004 Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest

"Annabel Lee; Revised" by Jennifer Biggs
Honorable Mention
2005 Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest

"If Only Your Golf Clubs Could Speak" by David Margolis
Honorable Mention
2013 Sports Fiction & Essay Contest (fiction)

"Bladed Lady" by Marilyn Moriarty
Honorable Mention
2012 Sports Poetry & Prose Contest (nonfiction)

Advertise in This Newsletter

Advertisers: We send this newsletter to over 50,000 subscribers. Ads are just $150 each. On a tight budget? Pressed for time? Advertise to our 26,000 Twitter followers for just $30 per tweet or less. Get the details.

Ned Condini, 1940-2014

Ned Condini

We extend our condolences to the family and friends of Ned Condini, award-winning poet and translator, who passed away on May 12, 2014 after a brief illness. Mr. Condini won our inaugural War Poetry Contest in 2002 with "1960-2002, A Testimony". His most recent book was Heading for Valparaíso: Selected Poems 1980-1996 (Chelsea Editions, 2013), featuring his Italian-language poems with English translations by the author. Please enjoy "The Barricade" by Mr. Condini and this tribute poem from his friend, D. Elaine Calderin.