Poets & Writers Blogs

At Home in Our Own Language: A Q&A With Claudia Prado

Claudia Prado is an Argentinean poet and documentary filmmaker. She is the author of three poetry collections: El interior de la ballena (Nusud, 2000), which won the third Fondo Nacional de las Artes Poetry Prize in 1999, Aprendemos de los padres (Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, 2002), and Viajar de Noche (Limón, 2007). She has codirected the documentaries Oro Nestas Piedras, about the poet Jorge Leonidas Escudero, and El Jardin Secreto, about Diana Bellessi. Prado is the recipient of grants from the Fondo Nacional de las Artes in Buenos Aires, Argentina and the Queens Council on the Arts in New York, as well as a participant at the NYFA 2018 Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program for Social Practice. She facilitates creative writing workshops in Spanish in New York and New Jersey, some with the support of Poets & Writers.

How did your work with the National Domestic Workers Alliance begin? What drew you there?
I’ve been running writing workshops for fifteen years. When I lived in Argentina, as part of an organization called Yo no fui, I ran a writing workshop in a women’s prison where I learned that, in very difficult situations, writing can be an especially valuable and meaningful practice. After arriving in this country, I kept organizing workshops independently, always in Spanish. I wanted to offer workshops that would be accessible to the entire Spanish-speaking community, most of all to those who felt an urgency to express themselves and to share their experience but who couldn’t afford to pay for a workshop. I believe that the opportunity to write in our own language and revisit the possibilities and beauty of it makes us feel at home.

I began organizing free workshops at Word Up Community Bookshop, a beautiful bookshop run by a collective of volunteers. It was through Word Up that I learned about Poets & Writers’ Reading & Workshops program supporting workshops like the one I was running. At the same time, an artist friend of mine, Sol Aramendi, contacted me about the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA). I worked with them for the first time in 2016. It was a very good experience, which we decided to repeat in the years that followed. This year, we’d like to print a bilingual anthology of the writing produced throughout the last three years of the workshop.

Are there any techniques or exercises you use to encourage shy or reluctant writers to open up?
I choose the readings for my workshops very carefully. I try to bring texts that I myself enjoy very much, and that can speak to a wide range of people, including those who aren’t in the habit of reading literature. During the workshop session itself, I dedicate whatever time is needed to the reading and discussion of the texts. For example, if we read a poem, we tend to do so several times. This way of reading tends to bring us to a shared place, separate somehow from everyday life. I also spend time thinking about prompts that invite writing about what is closest to us: what one did that morning, one’s own childhood, one’s language. Often, in the first few sessions, I think of exercises separated into parts: first, simply note your perceptions, memories, possible interlocutors, etc., and second, create a text from those notes.

We talk about how the ability to create with words isn’t something alien to us—something that belongs only to those who had the privilege of studying and spending time reading—but rather something that we all do when we speak to each other in everyday life. We also talk about how writing is generated starting with a draft and then through multiple rewritings, not in one shot and then set in stone. These conversations also help us get writing.

In addition to working with NDWA, you’ve recently begun working with the Hour Children/Hour Working Women Reentry Program. How did that collaboration begin? Have there been differences between programs?
Ever since I moved to New York, I’ve thought about the possibility of continuing to work with women who are in prison or have recently been released. This year I was able to do this work thanks to the collaboration with HC/HWWRP and the support of Poets & Writers. The women I worked with were dedicated readers and had writing experience. One particularity of this group was that, even though Spanish was the language they spoke as children and with their families, currently they live their lives primarily in English. As a result, they experienced the workshop as a return to something familiar and very personal, which they had set aside. On the other hand, the moment when a woman is released from prison and is trying to rebuild her life is extremely difficult. These circumstances also made for a different working dynamic and meant that the texts created and shared in this group would be unique to their experiences.

What has been your most rewarding experience as a teacher and as an artist?
One of the happiest moments I have experienced is seeing how a person discovers that she enjoys reading and writing, how she begins to see it as something of her own and to dedicate time to it. Seeing how her expressive possibilities grow and how the texts become a way for her to think about herself and to relate to others—it’s very moving. When the workshop becomes a space that allows for such writing that can only come from a particular reality and a particular experience, we can all feel and see how it is so valuable.

Support for the Readings & Workshops Program in New York City is provided, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, with additional support from the Frances Abbey Endowment, the Cowles Charitable Trust, and the Friends of Poets & Writers.

Photos: (top) Claudia Prado (Credit: Eduardo Piovano). (middle) NDWA reading (Credit: Neshi Galindo). (bottom) NDWA workshop members (Credit: Adriana Mora).

Upcoming Fiction Deadlines

Fiction writers, consider submitting your short stories, novellas, and novels to the following contests, each of which offers a prize of at least $1,000 and publication. The deadline is June 30.

Glimmer Train Press Short Story Award for New Writers: A prize of $2,500 and publication in Glimmer Train Stories is given three times yearly for a short story by a writer whose fiction has not appeared in a print publication with a circulation over 5,000. Entry fee: $18

Hidden River Arts William Van Wert Fiction Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Hidden River Review of Arts & Letters is given annually for a short story or a novel excerpt. Entry fee: $17

The Moth International Short Story Prize: A prize of €3,000 (approximately $3,690) and publication in the Moth is given annually for a short story. A second-place prize of publication, a weeklong retreat at the Circle of Missé in Missé, France, and a €250 (approximately $308) travel stipend; and a third-place prize of €1,000 (approximately $1,230) and publication are also given. Kevin Barry will judge. Entry fee: $15

Engine Books Fiction Prize: A prize of $2,000 and publication by Engine Books is given annually for a short story collection, a novella, a novella collection, or a novel. Entry fee: $30

Winning Writers North Street Book Prize: A grand prize of $3,000 and five prizes of $1,000 each are given annually for self-published books of poetry, fiction, genre fiction, creative nonfiction, and children's picture books. The winners will all also receive publication of an excerpt on the Winning Writers website; a marketing consultation with author and publishing consultant Carolyn Howard-Johnson; $300 in credit at BookBaby, a distributor for self-published authors; and free advertising in the Winning Writers e-mail newsletter. Ellen LaFleche and Jendi Reiter will judge. 

Visit the contest websites for complete guidelines, and check out the Grants & Awards database and Submission Calendar for more contests in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.

First Book Prize for Women and Nonbinary Writers of Color

Submissions are currently open for the 2019 Louise Meriwether First Book Prize. An award of $5,000 and publication by the Feminist Press is given annually for a debut book of fiction or nonfiction by a woman or nonbinary writer of color. 

Submit a story collection, novel, memoir, biography, or manifesto of 30,000 to 80,000 words via e-mail by June 30. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for complete guidelines. The winner will be announced in February 2019, and the winning collection will be published in Spring 2020.

Established in 2016, the prize honors author Louise Meriwether, whose 1970 novel, Daddy Was a Number Runner, was one of the first contemporary American novels to feature a young black girl as its protagonist.

The inaugural prize was awarded to writer YZ Chin in 2017 for her story collection, Though I Get Home. The 2018 prize was awarded to Claudia D. Hernández for her nonfiction fusion of poetry and narrative essay, Knitting The Fog (April 2019).

Sankofa Sisterhood Writers: A Journey Into the Woods

Alicia Anabel Santos is author of the memoir, Finding Your Force: A Journey to Love, which was listed in the Advocate’s “21 LGBT Biographies and Memoirs You Should Read Right Now.” Most recently she is the recipient of the 2018 Bronx Recognizes Its Own (BRIO) Award in fiction for her novel in progress. Santos is the founder and curator of the NYC Latina Writers Group, which has met monthly since 2006 offering writing workshops, events, and readings across genres. Her work has appeared in several anthologies, magazines, and online publications. When not organizing and facilitating writing workshops, she is a writing coach, aka The Writing Midwife, a filmmaker, playwright, teaching artist, and priestess. She has spent the last ten years working on the documentary Afrolatinos: The Untaught Story, which screened at the United Nations in 2017.

For almost twelve years, the NYC Latina Writers Group (NYCLWG) has been meeting monthly for writing workshops and literary events. Our writers have gone on to have successful writing careers, developing one-woman shows, and writing plays. They have published and self-published memoirs and chapbooks and have started their own blogs. While many of us are publishing, some of our writers have lost hope. This was when our director of programs Wendy Angulo and I decided to look at the needs of the writers within our collective. What we discovered was that most of us needed more time to write and more workshops that would help us hone our craft.

During a conversation one evening with my partner, educator and poet Yoseli Castillo Fuertes, we talked about the lack of representation of Latinx writers in literature, as well as the absence of writing opportunities for Latinx/WWOC writers. That evening the Sankofa Sisterhood Writers Retreat was born. Now in our fourth year we realized that in order to have some of our favorite authors and writers facilitate workshops we needed funding. This is where the generous support of Poets & Writers comes in. We are so grateful that this year, the NYC Latina Writers Group and the Sankofa Sisterhood have received funding for our writing workshops.

This past Memorial Day weekend, sixteen writers of color met at a cabin in the woods for a weekend of writing workshops and an open mic, where each writer got to share their work. As many writers know, writing can be isolating and lonely. Oftentimes, we crave an audience to help bounce ideas off of, or inspire new ones. One of the challenges many writers are faced with is carving out time for writing, and this is particularly challenging for women of color writers. Working with writers over the years, I have witnessed and heard countless stories about how hard it is to come to the page. This is why creating a safe space for writers of color is important to me. We lift one another. We remind each other that we are capable. We encourage one another to submit despite the fear of rejection.

This year’s theme at Sankofa was “Strengthening the Writer’s Core.” Our workshops were centered on writing the story from the inside out. Each facilitator took the writers through prompts and activities to help get inside the stories we are writing and to feel everything that must be felt in order to find and show the truth in the story, poem, or essay.

With the sponsorship of Poets & Writers, we were able to receive grants for two of our workshop facilitators, Vanessa Mártir and Mariposa Fernandez, for which we are so grateful. In the “Writing and the Body” workshop, Vanessa took us through a series of writing activities and prompts designed to help us explore the story behind the story, dig for the truth, and not fear what wants to rise. She showed us how we can access these stories in our bodies. Mariposa facilitated the workshops “Feeling & Healing” and “Sense & Sound,” as well as a performance workshop. In Mariposa’ s “Feeling & Healing” workshop, she used reiki to help us connect to the writing, which allowed for an opening of our creativity.

There is often guilt around taking time to write, for fear of being seen as selfish. And this is precisely what the Sankofa Sisterhood is all about: It is a weekend designed for writers to be selfish and get the writing done. We understand that in order for the writing to happen, we need to create the space to make it happen.

During our closing Sankofa ceremony, every writer sat in a circle and each one shared what they would take from the weekend and all that they gained from the four workshops and keynote speech. One of the writers shared that for the past three years Sankofa has been her new year, where she is able to reboot, recharge, and set intentions for what she wants to create during the year. This is why the Sankofa Sisterhood was created and what is the very heartbeat of the NYC Latina Writers Group. We have become a place of refuge, a place where writers of color can find their voice and know that in “this place” our stories matter, we matter.

NYCLWG workshops are open to all Latinx women and women of color, women identified and nonbinary. We have workshops coming in June at the Bronx Academy of Art and Dance (BAAD), the NYCLWG Writers Conference, and we will be celebrating our twelth anniversary of the NYCLWG this October. For more information, find us on Facebook or e-mail us.

Support for the Readings & Workshops Program in New York is provided, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, with additional support from the Friends of Poets & Writers.

Photos: (top) Alicia Anabel Santos ( Credit: Alicia Anabel Santos). (bottom) (front, left to right) Yoseli Castillo Fuertes, Liza Morales, Alicia Anabel Santos, Mariposa Fernandez (back, left to right) Azúcar Simone, Nichole Perry, Rebeca Lois, Danielle Stelluto, Maribelle, Vanessa Mártir, Ysanet Batista, Fanny Castillo, Nia Ita Sanchez (Credit: Sarahi Almonte).

Upcoming Poetry Book Deadlines

Poets, if you have a manuscript ready to submit, consider the following book contests with upcoming deadlines, each of which offers an award of at least $1,000 and publication.

Paz Prize for Poetry: An award of $2,000 and publication by Akashic Books is given biennially for a poetry collection originally written in Spanish by a U.S. resident. The winning manuscript will be translated into English and published in a bilingual edition. Rigoberto González will judge. No entry fee. Deadline: June 15.

University of Akron Press Akron Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,500 and publication by University of Akron Press is given annually for a poetry collection. Diane Seuss will judge. Entry fee: $25. Deadline: June 15.

Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Bitter Oleander Press is given annually for a poetry collection. Entry fee: $28. Deadline: June 15.

Omnidawn Publishing First/Second Poetry Book Prize: A prize of $3,000, publication by Omnidawn Publishing, and 100 author copies is given annually for a first or second poetry collection. Srikanth Reddy will judge. Entry fee: $27. Deadline: June 18.

Barrow Street Press Book Prize: A prize of $1,500 and publication by Barrow Street Press is given annually for a poetry collection. Ada Limón will judge. Entry fee: $25. Deadline: June 30.

Bauhan Publishing May Sarton New Hampshire Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,000, publication by Bauhan Publishing, and 100 author copies is given annually for a poetry collection. David Blair will judge. Entry fee: $25. Deadline: June 30.

Parlor Press New Measure Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Parlor Press in the Free Verse Editions series is given annually for a poetry collection. Jon Thompson will judge. Entry fee: $28. Deadline: June 30.

Visit the contest websites for complete guidelines, and check out the Grants & Awards database and Submission Calendar for more contests in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.

Poets & Writers’ Ninth Annual Connecting Cultures Reading in New York City

McCrindle Foundation Readings & Workshops fellow Sreshtha Sen writes about Poets & Writers’ ninth annual Connecting Cultures Reading held at the Center for Book Arts in New York City.

Now in its ninth year, the Connecting Cultures Reading, sponsored and organized by Poets & Writers, celebrates the diversity of our literary community by bringing together several groups who’ve been funded by the Readings & Workshops program. This year’s reading took place at the Center for Book Arts, and featured writers representing National Domestic Workers Alliance, the Newtown Literary Alliance, Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, Voices From War, and the What Would an HIV Doula Do? collective.

Each group was represented by two readers who were introduced by the organizer or workshop facilitator they’d worked with. During their introductions, the organizers and facilitators all spoke about the motives behind their reading or workshop series and the shared themes that begin to emerge when writers find the community they’re craving. Claudia Prado, the facilitator for a workshop series with the National Domestic Workers Alliance, spoke about the powerful lessons that emerged out of their workshop theme: Things I have learned. “To have a workshop in Spanish,” she added, “is a great opportunity for us immigrants living in New York City to have a space to write, and hear about the process of writing and others’ voices in the languages of our native country.” Timothy DuWhite, the workshop facilitator from the What Would an HIV Doula Do? collective elaborated on the solidarity, success, and safety that new and returning workshop participants felt as their program was supported and able to continue running.

As a nonprofit dedicated to both the contemporary and traditional practices of book making, the Center for Book Arts seemed a perfect fit for a cross-cultural reading that tackled struggles and victories from the past and the present. In a room surrounded by historically significant chapbooks, presses, and modern exhibits, the ten readers covered a range of themes from loss, violence, and power or the absence of it, to happiness as resistance, shared histories and love—familial or otherwise. Jack York, a writer representing the Queer Resistance Workshop at the Leslie-Lohman Museum, observed this when noting the range of each group and that having two readers from each group ensured that one story is not representative of everyone from a community or group, a struggle felt by almost everyone in the room.

The reading and the reception that followed allowed all the writers involved to connect and create new communities of their own. Nina Semczuk, the workshop facilitator for Voices From War, commented on how the opportunity to speak with other writers added to their workshop experience: “One of our readers left the evening newly inspired by how different readers expressed themselves. He had never encountered a reading like that and told me that he couldn’t wait to get to work on his writing and go deeper than he had allowed himself before.”

These five groups and their diverse, generous stories showcased the richness of artistic endeavors present throughout this city and served as a strong reminder of the reasons I applied to be a fellow for the Readings & Workshops program; it gave me a chance to see how programs like ours foster conversations amongst writers occupying different spaces, amplify voices we haven’t had a chance to hear yet, and work on making literature and art accessible to anyone who chooses to look for it. I’m grateful to all the featured readers and organizations, and the Center for Book Arts, especially Alex, Paul, and Emilie, for generously donating their space and time.

Support for the Readings & Workshops Program in New York City is provided, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, with additional support from the Frances Abbey Endowment, the Cowles Charitable Trust, and the Friends of Poets & Writers.

Photos: (top) Silvina Reyes (Credit: Margarita Corporan). (bottom) Participants of the ninth annual Connecting Cultures reading (Credit: Margarita Corporan).

Deadline Approaches for JuxtaProse Nonfiction Prize

Submissions are currently open for the 2018 JuxtaProse Nonfiction Prize. An award of $1,000 and publication in JuxtaProse is given annually for an essay. The editors will judge.

 

Using the online submission system, submit an essay of 500 to 7,000 words with a $15 entry fee by June 18. Multiple entries are accepted. The winner will be announced on June 30.

Established in 2015, JuxtaProse is an Idaho-based literary magazine that publishes poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction by emerging and established writers from around the world. Recent contributors include poets Rae Armantrout and Molly McCully Brown; fiction writer Christian A. Winn; and creative nonfiction writers Lance Larson and Steven Faulkner. Regular submissions are accepted year-round. Visit the website for more information.

Paz Prize for Poetry

Submissions are currently open for the Paz Prize for Poetry, sponsored by the Miami Book Fair and the National Poetry Series. An award of $2,000 and publication by Akashic Books is given biennially for a poetry collection originally written in Spanish by a U.S. resident. The winning manuscript will be translated into English and published in a bilingual edition. Rigoberto González, a contributing editor of Poets & Writers Magazine, will judge.

Using the online submission system, submit a manuscript of at least 48 pages by June 15. There is no entry fee. The finalists will be announced at the end of July, and the winner will be announced in September.

Established in 2012, the Paz Prize for Poetry is named for late Nobel Prize–winning poet, essayist, and diplomat Octavio Paz. Past winners include Miami Century Fox by Legna Rodríguez Iglesias and translated by Eduardo Aparicio; Nine Coins / Nueve Monedas by Carlos Pintado and translated by Hilary Vaughn Dobel; and Colaterales / Collateral by Dinapiera Di Donato and translated by Ricardo Alberto Maldonado.

Upcoming Writing Contest Deadlines

As we head into the holiday weekend, consider submitting to these writing contests, all of which are given for stories, groups of poems, and essays. Each contest offers an award of at least $1,000 and publication and has a deadline of June 1.

American Short Fiction Halifax Ranch Fiction Prize: A prize of $2,500 and publication in American Short Fiction will be given annually for a short story. ZZ Packer will judge. Entry fee: $20.

Boston Review Poetry Contest: A prize of $1,500 and publication on the Boston Review website is given annually for a poem or group of poems. Mary Jo Bang will judge. Entry fee: $20.

Boulevard Emerging Poets Contest: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Boulevard is given annually for a group of poems by a poet who has not published a poetry collection with a nationally distributed press. The editors will judge. Entry fee: $16.

Southern Humanities Review Auburn Witness Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Southern Humanities Review is given annually for a poem of witness in honor of the late poet Jake Adam York. The winner also receives travel expenses to give a reading at Auburn University in Alabama in October with the contest judge; this year's judge is Camille T. Dungy. Entry fee: $15. 

Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition: A prize of $5,000, publication in the 87th annual Writer's Digest Competition Collection, and an all-expenses-paid trip to the Writer's Digest Conference in New York City to meet one-on-one with four agents or editors is given annually for a poem, a short story, or an essay. Four prizes of $1,000 each and publication in the Writer's Digest Competition Collection will also be given for a rhyming poem, a non-rhyming poem, a short story, and an essay. Entry fee: $25–$35.

Visit the contest websites for complete guidelines, and check out the Grants & Awards database and Submission Calendar for more contests in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.

Deadline Approaches for Gaudy Boy Poetry Book Prize

Submissions are currently open for the Gaudy Boy Poetry Book Prize. A prize of $1,000 and publication by Gaudy Boy, an imprint of the literary nonprofit Singapore Unbound, will be given annually for a poetry collection by an Asian writer. Poet and artist Wong May will judge.

The contest is open to emerging and established Asian poets residing anywhere in the world. Submit a manuscript written in English of 50 to 100 pages with a $10 entry fee by May 31. Visit the website for complete guidelines. Five finalists will be announced in August, and the winner will be announced in September.

Established in 2017, Gaudy Boy publishes “poetry, fiction, and literary nonfiction of extraordinary merit by Asian voices.” The inaugural title is Alfian Sa’at’s story collection Malay Sketches.

To learn more about Singapore Unbound, read Melynda Fuller’s article on the organization from the March/April 2017 issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

Mental Health Awareness Through the Literary Arts

Cristiana Baik is the director of Development at Richmond Area Multi-Services, Inc., a community-based mental health agency in San Francisco. She is committed to her work and in helping to create healthier communities and a more equitable society. Baik received a BA in Gender Studies/Cultural Anthropology from the University of Chicago, and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa. Her poems and reviews have been published in various journals, including the Boston Review, American Letters & Commentary, Drunken Boat, and Conjunctions. Her chapbook, The Stars Went Out and So Did the Moon, was published by Finishing Line Press in the fall of 2017.

There are various facts we know related to mental health and stigma within the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. According to the Centers for Disease Control, Asian Americans tend to be disproportionately impacted by mental health issues, but are less inclined to seek help for a multitude of reasons: in order to “save face”; because language barriers and the lack of culturally and linguistically responsive services effectively deny services to many first-generation AAPI residents; and due to ongoing social and cultural stigmas surrounding accessing mental health supports. Because of this, many young Asian Americans choose to keep their mental health issues within their family and/or seek religious advice, rather than professional help.

To explore the complex terrain of mental health issues impacting our diverse AAPI community, Richmond Area Multi-Services, Inc. (RAMS), a Bay Area mental health agency committed to providing community-based, culturally and linguistically responsive services, held an event called “Open in Emergency: A Discussion on Mental Health Issues in Our Communities” on March 31, 2018. The event, which took place at San Francisco’s Arc Gallery & Studios, was a collaborative endeavor with the Kearny Street Workshop and the Asian American Literary Review (AALR).

“Open in Emergency,” curated as a dynamic and interactive night market, integrated readings by P&W–supported poet Brandon Som and scholar Simi Kang, and interactive tables, which included tarot card readings using AALR’s beautiful Asian American Tarot deck and “Corner of Heart-to-Hearts” conversations catalyzed by cards created by Chad Shomura and illustrated by Yumi Sakugawa. This open space allowed the audience and contributors to interact in a way that was more relational and conversational. Audience members listened to the readings, but were also able to walk around the gallery and interact with the different stations.

RAMS is grateful for the support from Poets & Writers, which provided funding for Brandon—who was also a contributor to the “Open In Emergency” issue released by AALR in January. For the evening, Brandon read a moving prose piece he created for “The Shopkeeper” profile card in the Asian American Tarot deck. The prose was loosely based on his own experience of growing up in a corner store and working there with his father and grandparents. He also read a poem called “Raspadas.” Of the event, Brandon said, “I was excited to contribute to the project, because I think it is important to underscore the mental health issues that arise due to experiencing and processing racism and racial trauma.”

RAMS hopes to continue this event each year, in order to raise awareness of mental health stigmas, provide resources and referrals, and bring together different communities, including clinicians, mental health workers, scholars, poets, artists, and a broader audience-at-large.

Support for this event and Readings & Workshops in California is provided by the California Arts Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Additional support comes from the Friends of Poets & Writers.

Photos: (top) Cristiana Baik (Credit: Crystal Baik). (bottom) Brandon Som (Credit: Andrew Taw).

Indiana Review Launches Fiction Book Prize

Submissions are currently open for the Don Belton Fiction Reading Period. Sponsored by Indiana Review and Indiana University Press, a prize of $1,000 and publication in the Blue Lights Books series will be given for a story collection, novel, or novella. The editors and Michael Martone will judge.

The editors seek “literary fiction that has an intelligent sense of language, assumes a degree of risk, and has consequence beyond the world of its narrators.” Using the online submission manager, submit an unpublished manuscript of up to 80,000 words with a $25 entry fee, which includes a one-year subscription to Indiana Review, by May 31. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Established this year, the prize honors award-winning fiction writer and teacher Don Belton, who died in 2009. Belton wrote the novel Almost Midnight (Beech Tree Books, 1986) and edited the anthology Speak My Name: Black Men on Masculinity and the American Dream (Beacon Press, 1995). Listen to poet Ross Gay read his elegy for Belton, “Spoon.”

(Photo: Don Belton)

Upcoming Poetry Deadlines

Poets, consider submitting your poems, chapbooks, and full-length collections to the contests below, which offer prizes ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 and publication. The deadline is May 31.

Anhinga Press Anhinga–Robert Dana Prize for Poetry: A prize of $2,000, publication by Anhinga Press, and 25 author copies is given annually for a poetry collection. The winner is also invited to participate in a reading tour at select colleges in Florida. Entry fee: $25

Munster Literature Center Fool for Poetry Chapbook Competition: A prize of €1,000 (approximately $1,230) and publication by the Munster Literature Center is given annually for a poetry chapbook. The winner receives accommodations and some travel expenses to give a reading at the Cork International Poetry Festival in February 2019. Entry fee: €25 (approximately $30)

Backwaters Press Backwaters Prize: A prize of $2,500, publication by Backwaters Press, and 30 author copies is given annually for a poetry collection. Kwame Dawes will judge. Entry fee: $30

Bridport Arts Centre Bridport Prize: A prize of £5,000 (approximately $7,000) and publication in the Bridport Prize anthology is given annually for a poem. A second-place prize of £1,000 (approximately $1,400) and publication is also given. Daljit Nagra will judge. Entry fee: £9 (approximately $13) 

Southern Poetry Review Guy Owen Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Southern Poetry Review is given annually for a poem. Entry fee: $20 

Milkweed Editions Max Ritvo Poetry Prize: A prize of $10,000 and publication by Milkweed Editions is given annually to a U.S. poet for a debut poetry collection. Entry fee: $25

Visit the contest websites for complete guidelines, and check out the Grants & Awards database and Submission Calendar for more contests in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.

The Winding Roads of Poetry and Art

Mong-Lan, a Fulbright scholar and recipient of a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University, has published seven books of poetry, most recently, Dusk Aflame: poems & art (Valiant Press, 2018), and three chapbooks. Her poetry has been awarded the Juniper Prize and the Pushcart Prize, and has been included in anthologies such as the Best American Poetry series. Mong-Lan is also a visual artist, musician, Argentine tango dancer, performer, and educator. She left her native Vietnam one day before the last evacuation of Saigon.

I’m grateful that Poets & Writers has cosponsored me for three events: The Poets in Play poetry reading at the Soup Full Café in Corning, New York; a poetry writing workshop a day later at the ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes; and a convivial reading at Wheeler Hill hosted by poet Michael Czarnecki of FootHills Publishing, which published my most recent chapbook, Tone of Water in a Half-Filled Glass. Finally, I taught a workshop for the Watkins Glen Writers Group, and later gave a reading. Through the generosity of Poets & Writers, I was able to promote my seventh book, Dusk Aflame: poems & art, and new chapbook.

This was my first time participating in programs, readings, and workshops in upstate New York. I found everyone to be kind, curious, and inquisitive. My events in Corning, Wheeler Hill, and Watkins Glen have gone remarkably well with lively, attentive audiences. In each of the readings, in addition to reading and performing my poetry, I also performed several tangos and sang, accompanying myself on the guitar. My multimedia performances included recordings of my jazz piano arrangements which played in the background while I recited my poems. Workshop participants were refreshingly open with a willingness to read and experience diverse writers, and a desire to talk about and discuss new ideas and strategies. Some audience members joined me from one event to the other, driving the long, winding roads from town to town.

Without Poets & Writers’ cosponsorship, I would not have been able to make this tour to upstate New York. Thankfully, Michael and Carolyn Czarnecki of FootHills Publishing hosted me in their rustic off-the-grid home on Wheeler Hill during most of my time there. Michael, with his indefatigable energy and generosity, drove me to and from readings and workshops, and introduced me to his friends and colleagues. I’ve met wonderful poets and writers such as Steve Coffman, Mary A. Hood, and Martha Treichler, who studied with Charles Olson all those years ago. I’ve enjoyed sharing my writing, books, art, knowledge, and teaching with this community, and am deeply grateful.

Support for the Readings & Workshops Program in New York is provided, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, with additional support from the Friends of Poets & Writers.

Photo: Mong-Lan with her book covers (Credit: Mong-Lan).

Fiction and Nonfiction Contests With May 31 Deadlines

Prose writers, polish up your stories, essays, and full-length manuscripts by May 31! The following contests offer prizes of at least $1,000 and publication.

Bridport Arts Centre Bridport Prize: A prize of £5,000 (approximately $7,000) and publication in the Bridport Prize anthology is given annually for a short story. A second-place prize of £1,000 (approximately $1,400) and an additional prize of £1,000 (approximately $1,400) for a work of flash fiction are also given. Monica Ali will judge. Entry fee: £10 (approximately $14) for fiction and £8 (approximately $11) for flash fiction.

Elixir Press Fiction Award: A prize of $2,000, publication by Elixir Press, and 25 author copies is given annually for a short story collection or a novel. Amina Gautier will judge. Entry fee: $40

University of Georgia Press Flannery O’Connor Short Fiction Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication by University of Georgia Press is given annually for a collection of short fiction. Lee K. Abbott will judge. Entry fee: $30

Nowhere Magazine Travel Writing Contest: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Nowhere Magazine is given twice yearly for a short story or essay that “possesses a powerful sense of place.” Porter Fox will judge. Entry fee: $20

BOA Editions Short Fiction Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication by BOA Editions is given annually for a short story collection. Peter Conners will judge. Entry fee: $25

Visit the contest websites for complete guidelines, and check out the Grants & Awards database and Submission Calendar for more contests in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.