May/June 2014

Our annual Writing Contests Issue offers a complete guide to nearly 100 literary competitions that charge no entry fees, a close reading of a poem by 2014 Yale Series of Younger Poets winner Ansel Elkins, profiles of novelist and essayist Roxane Gay and poet Willie Perdomo, a first look at David Tomas Martinez's debut poetry collection, an in-depth interview with agent Susan Golomb, and more.


Agents & Editors: Susan Golomb

by Michael Szczerban

Susan Golomb, whose clients include Jonathan Franzen, Rachel Kushner, and William T. Vollmann, talks about the ebb and flow of submission season, the art of the preemptive offer, and the gems she finds in her slush pile.

A Profile of Roxane Gay

by Kevin Nance
Print Only

In her new novel, An Untamed State; her essay collection, Bad Feminist, forthcoming in August; and her memoir, Hunger, slated for publication in 2016, Roxane Gay offers a joyous, complicated, even radically nuanced view of women.

A Q&A With Willie Perdomo

by Tyehimba Jess
Print Only

With his new collection of poems, The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon, Willie Perdomo offers a soulful melody that is as deep and vital and dynamic as the poet’s roots in New York City’s Nuyorican poetry scene.

Special Section

96 Free Contests: Big Prizes, Zero Cost

by Staff
Print Only

More than 475 awards worth over $4,544,505 are available with no entry fees to poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers this year.

Opportunities Overseas: Considering Contests in Other Countries

by Maya C. Popa
Print Only

A poet seeks out the plentiful—and often profitable—foreign prizes open to American writers.

Winners on Winning (and Losing)

by Staff
Print Only

Six winners of recent writing contests in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction share the ways that winning has changed their lives and work, and how previous losses have paved the way to success.  

The Aha! Moment: Carl Phillips, Judge for the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize

by Michael Bourne
Print Only

The current judge for America’s oldest and most prestigious first-book prize for poets discusses his encounter with the poems from Blue Yodel, Ansel Elkins’s 2014 prize-winning collection, which will be published next year by Yale...

News and Trends

Literary MagNet

by Travis Kurowski

Literary MagNet chronicles the start-ups and closures, successes and failures, anniversaries and accolades, changes of editorship, and special issues—in short, the news and trends—of literary magazines in America. This issue’s MagNet features Glimmer Train, A Public Space, American Short Fiction, NOON, One Story, and One Teen Story.


Page One: Where New and Noteworthy Books Begin

by Staff

With so many good books being published every month, some literary titles worth exploring can get lost in the stacks. Page One offers the first lines of a dozen recently released books, including Lydia Davis’s Can’t and Won’t and Porochista Khakpour’s The Last Illusion, as the starting point for a closer look at these new and noteworthy titles.

The Written Image: A Bintel Brief

by Staff

A new graphic memoir by Liana Finck illustrates real letters sent to Abraham Cahan, the late editor of the Yiddish-language newspaper the Forward.    

The Practical Writer

First: David Tomas Martinez's Hustle

by Rigoberto Gonzalez
Print Only

A debut poet’s first collection examines ethnic identity, gang life, and masculinity. 

Labor of Love: The Anthology from Conception to Publication

by Eleanor Henderson and Anna Solomon
Print Only

Two novelists discuss the excitement and challenges of editing an anthology of essays.

The Literary Life

Ghost in the Machine: A Typewriter, a Postcard, and the Objects of Memory

by Maria Mutch
Print Only

A writer’s search for a typewriter brings her face to face with both present and past, and helps her understand ideas of friendship, memory, connection, and loss.  

Where We Write: Kansas

by Julene Bair
Print Only

Years after leaving her family farm in Kansas, a memoirist discovers meaning in her work while revisiting the past, and exploring her family’s relationship to the land.