Seize the back-to-school spirit—whether or not you have returned to a classroom this fall—and apply to literary grants and awards. Three of the opportunities below require no entry fee. All offer a cash prize of $1,000 or more and close on September 15 or September 17.
Cave Canem Foundation Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Jai-Alai Books is given annually for a poetry chapbook by a Black poet. The winner will also give a reading at the O, Miami Poetry Festival in April 2022. Lillian-Yvonne Bertram will judge. Deadline: September 15. Entry fee: None.
John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Writing Fellowships: Fellowships of approximately $50,000 each are awarded annually to poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers on the basis of exceptional creative ability. Citizens and permanent residents of the United States and Canada with a significant and appropriate record of publication are eligible. Deadline: September 17. Entry fee: None.
Literary Arts Oregon Literary Fellowships: Fellowships of $3,500 each are given annually to Oregon writers to initiate, develop, or complete literary projects in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. A Writer of Color Fellowship of $3,500 is also given. Deadline: September 17. Entry fee: None.
The Moth Nature Writing Prize: A prize of €1,000 (approximately $1,191) and publication in the Moth will be given annually for a poem, story, or essay that features “an exploration of the writer’s relationship with the natural world.” The winner also receives a weeklong stay at the Circle of Misse artist’s retreat in Misse, France. Helen Macdonald will judge. Deadline: September 15. Entry fee: €15 (approximately $18).
University of Wisconsin Press Brittingham and Felix and Pollak Prizes: Two prizes of $1,500 each and publication by University of Wisconsin Press are given annually for poetry collections. Additional finalists will be published in the press’s Wisconsin Poetry series. Carmen Giménez Smith will judge. Deadline: September 15. Entry fee: $28.
“My father was reading War and Peace when he gave me my name. / I was born near Easter, 1966, in Mississippi,” writes Natasha Trethewey in her poem “Miscegenation,” which begins with the story of her parents traveling to Ohio to marry in 1965 when interracial marriage was still illegal in Mississippi. The poem is a ghazal, a form that consists of couplets ending on the same word or phrase. Write a ghazal with your city of origin as the repeating word. Try, as Trethewey does, to weave together various subjects that speak to the time and place of your homeland.
“The moment you walk away from the conversation with a poem, you lose it, and it will never return.” —CAConrad, author of AMANDA PARADISE
The Renaissance House Residency Program, sponsored by the Helene Johnson and Dorothy West Foundation for Artists in Need, offered residencies of one to two weeks in July and August to poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. The residencies included workshops, lectures, and time to write. Participating writers included nonfiction writers Nancy Slonim Aronie, Jessica B. Harris, Susan Klein, and Moira Silver.
Renaissance House Residency Program, Helene and Dorothy West Foundation for Artists in Need, 484 West 43rd Street, Suite 37E, New York, NY 10036. (917) 747-0367. Abigail McGrath, Contact.
In her poem “Bestiary of Bad Kisses,” Ashley M. Jones compares bad kisses in the form of a catalog of animals with three sections titled: “The Frog,” “The Anteater,” and “The Bulldog.” The bestiary is a textual compendium of beasts, both real and imaginary, dating back to the Middle Ages that has seen a resurgence in contemporary literature. From Julio Cortázar to Donika Kelly, writers have sought ways to explore the metaphorical and literal resonances of cataloging animals. Write a poem in the form of a bestiary. How can you glean inspiration from myths and real-life stories? What is the relationship between your chosen animals?