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Poets & Writers Magazine

    Submissions are currently open for the Chicago Tribune’s Nelson Algren Literary Awards. The annual prize is given for a short story written by a U.S. writer. The winner will receive $3,500 and possible publication in the Chicago Tribune’s weekly literary supplement, Printers Row Journal. Four finalists will each receive $1,000, and five runners-up will each receive $500.

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Your trusted source for information on writing contests, grants for writers, and more.


"It can be warm and cold here at once." Poet Josh Lefkowitz recites a poem about New York City in a short film by Chris Follmer, which was a winner at the 2014 Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival.

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    “I will try anything to break through my own perfectionism and dull literal-mindedness, my need to explain everything, my need to defend. I can be a very slow writer, prone to fidgetiness and second-guesses. What I’ve found helpful..."


    “When in doubt, channel your inner Fran Lebowitz. Obviously there’s a certain irony in suggesting that the cure for writer’s block is to channel the person who’s known for being among the most famously blocked writers of our time. But for me, Fran Lebowitz is not just..."

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    by Jen Michalski

    Author Jen Michalski takes us on a tour of the many literary sites writers should visit while strolling the gritty streets of Baltimore.

    by Edie Rhoads

    Join indie author Edie Rhoads as she showcases the local literary treasures of one of America’s most picturesque cities.

    by Adam Ross

    Adam Ross, author of the New York Times Notable Book Mr. Peanut, takes us on a tour of his beloved Nashville, "a great secret, cool as all get-out but never self-consciously hip or competitive," with a literary life as vibrant as its musical one.

    by Michelle Wildgen

    Author and Tin House Magazine editor Michelle Wildgen serves as our guide to the literary locales of Madison, Wisconsin, a city whose lofty earnestness in everything from food to literature inspired her two novels.

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Our annual Inspiration Issue features a special section exploring the engine of ideas that drives our writing, including tips for generating more ideas faster, a quarrel over art versus life, our tenth annual look at debut poets, and fresh writing prompts for the new year; as well as a new column, Reviewers & Critics, featuring Dwight Garner of the New York Times; the art of reading John Berryman; and much more.

Jan/Feb 2015

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Listen to "Too Young to Marry but Not Too Young to Die," an answer song by Ben Arthur, written and recorded in response to the poem by Joyce Carol Oates.

Launch the Podcast

Launching a Best-Seller Without Selling Your Soul: The Rewards of Self-Promotion

Through blogging, social media, newsletters, and book giveaways, a novelist teams up with the founder of WeGrowMedia to market her book—and show how making a personal connection with readers can go a long way towards making a book a best-seller.

Reviewers & Critics: Dwight Garner of the New York Times

In the inaugural installment of our new feature, Reviewers & Critics, New York Times book reviewer Dwight Garner talks about his experience as a critic—the required credentials (or lack thereof), how to cut through the hype, the role of negative reviews, and more.

Breaking Into the Silence: Our Tenth Annual Look at Debut Poets

In our tenth annual look at debut poets, we’ve asked the more than one hundred poets previously included in this feature to nominate their favorite debut collections of 2014. From that longlist of outstanding work, we’ve selected ten poets to feature here, who share their inspirations and influences, how their books began, and advice to those hoping to get their own books out into the world.

Muradov's Accidental Inspiration

“My work is a lifelong celebration of futility.” Artist Roman Muradov, designer of this issue’s cover, discusses his various wells of inspiration, his relationship to the written word, and the importance of doing nothing.

Answer Songs: Music as Muse

A songwriter responds to literature—such as stories by Jonathan Lethem and George Saunders—with music, carrying the creative conversation across art forms.


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Stories That Sing: A Profile of Michael Williams


It’s still early morning as I make my way by taxi across Cape Town, traveling from our ship in the harbor to the Artscape Theatre Center on the Foreshore. It’s a sharp, blue-sky day in late March.

Ten Years of Debut Poets


Since appearing in our annual Debut Poets roundup, a number of the one hundred and twelve poets we’ve highlighted have gone on to create a wealth of interesting and important work. The following list includes each poet we’ve featured in the past ten years, his or her debut collection, and the many full-length books that followed. 

Writers Recommend: Music and Movies


Culled from our Writers Recommend series, the music and movies that inspire authors to keep writing, with recommendations from Sandra Beasley, Chloe Caldwell, Scott Cheshire, Joshua Henkin, and others.

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Debut Poets Gallery
Credit: Eugene Smith

Our tenth annual Debut Poets roundup features ten poets whose urgent, powerful, and important work is highlighted in first books published in 2014.

Ben Arthur Gallery
Credit: Matthew Hendershot

Singer and songwriter Ben Arthur writes about being inspired by other artists' work and and responding in "answer songs," collected in his new album, Call and Response.

Little Sparta Gallery
Credit: Steven Ross Smith

Steven Ross Smith visits Little Sparta, a work of art and a garden near Dunsyre, Scotland, that is an all-natural, awe-inspiring experiential poem.

Art Vs. Life Gallery
Credit: Rabbit Bandini Productions

David Shields and Caleb Powell attempt to disturb preconceived divisions between reality and fiction, life and art, in a new book that was made into a film by James Franco.