Friends, peers, writers, artists, rabble-rousers, hooligans, good folk, and everyone else: the deadline for the 4th Annual Contest in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry is Sunday, September 1. Get your submissions in now! Here are the details: 4th Annual Contest

Theme: Elemental

We accept contest submissions year-round. The deadline for our 4th Annual Contests in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry is September 1, 2013, for publication October 15, 2013. All notifications will be made by October 1, 2013.

Any submissions received after September 1 will be considered for the following year’s contest. is pleased to announce our fourth annual contests in:

Contest Details

Theme and Submission Period

The contest theme is “Elemental”, to match our 34th issue, which launches on October 15, 2013. Though the contest and issue have a theme, we have a very liberal interpretation of the theme and encourage you first and foremost to submit your best work.

The contest submission period is today through September 1, 2013. Winners will be announced on or before October 1, 2013.


A prize of $250 plus publication for the first-place winner will be awarded in each genre. Runners up in each genre may also receive publication.

Note that we reserve the right to reduce or cancel the contest if we do not receive enough submissions, though we haven’t had to do that so far.

Selection Process

All submissions are considered for publication.’s editors will read all entries, passing the top entries in each genre to the judges, who will choose the first-place winners. Decisions of the judges are final. Judges and editors do not know the identity of the contestants.


All contestants will be notified of the judges’ decisions on or before October 1, 2013.

How to Submit

You are not eligible to enter this contest if you are family or close friends of, or have studied under any of’s primary genre editors — Derek Sheffield, Patrick Burns, and Joshua Foster — or the contest judges.

Simultaneous submissions are acceptable, but previously published material in any format, including blogs, will not be considered. Submissions can be withdrawn through the submission system, though in that case contest entry fees will not be refunded.


The cost to submit is $10 per story, essay or article, or set of 3-5 poems.

What to Submit

You may submit up to three entries (at $10/entry) in any or all genres:

Submit 3-5 poems, or one long poem (5+ pages), per entry. Combine all poems into a single document. For poetry, we are seeking not just the best poem, but the best set of 3-5 poems or the best long poem, with the hopes of awarding our prizes to poetry sets rather than individual, shorter poems, when possible. No maximum lines per poem. Poems must contain only the poem title(s) and poem(s) without the author name or contact information.

Submit one story, up to 6,000 words total, per entry. Stories must contain only the story title and story itself without the author name or contact information.

Submit one essay or article, up to 6,000 words total, per entry. Essays must contain only the essay title and essay itself without the author name or contact information. We will consider all nonfiction, but are most interested in creative nonfiction, including personal essays, lyric essays, memoir, and other literary forms.

Cover Letter Required

Each submission must include a cover letter with the author’s name and contact information — including email, telephone, and mailing address — and the name(s) of the poems, story, and/or essay.

The Submission Process

  1. The submission period runs today through September 1, 2013.
  2. Please save your cover letter and submission for each entry as a single document — .doc, .docx, .rtf, .txt, or .pdf only.
  3. Submit online at If you have submitted to before, log in to submit. If you have not submitted before, you must register.
  4. Choose the “Contest” genre category and in the Comments area, type the genre of your submission: Poetry, Fiction, or Nonfiction. Double-check that you have selected the “Contest” genre; it is the last option.
  5. Once you confirm your submission, you will be directed to a page with payment instructions (via Paypal). Instructions for mailing a check in lieu of paying online are also provided.
  6. No submission will be considered until payment has been received.
  7. You will receive submission and payment confirmation via email.

Submit Now!

Ready to submit? Submit online now:

Thanks very much, and we look forward to reviewing your contest submission!

Contest Winners

3rd Annual Contest Winners
Issue No. 31 : Ruin and Renewal

Genevieve Leet
For her poem set “[when I died they found a nest of snakes in my intestines, their backs]” and “Somewhere beyond the curve of the earth, there is a ceremonial bamboo boat”
Judged by Suzanne Frischkorn

Sonya Huber
For her essay “Love and Industry: A Midwestern Workbook”
Judged by Christopher Cokinos

Courtney Amber Kilian
For her story “Color Has History”
Judged by Skip Horack

2nd Annual Contest Winners
Issue No. 28 : Image

Rebecca Dunham : “Morning: Joplin, MO” with Audio
Judged by Alison Hawthorne Deming

Julian Hoffman : “Faith in a Forgotten Place” with Audio and Image Gallery
Judged by Elizabeth Dodd

GE Tallant : “Song of the Turkey Vulture” with Audio
Judged by Andrew Wingfield

Inaugural Contest Winners
Issue No. 26 : The Signal in the Noise

Laura-Gray Street : “Goya’s Dog” with Audio
Judged by Jessie Lendennie

Elizabeth Dodd : “Sinuous”
Judged by David Rothenberg

Andrew Wingfield : “Right of Way”
Judged by Aurelie Sheehan

Note that we reserve the right to reduce or cancel the contest if we do not receive enough submissions, though that hasn’t happened so far.

For further information or assistance, please contact us.


Winter landscape with mountains photo by Val Shevchenko, courtesy Shutterstock.

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