Latest Award-Winning Poetry, Fiction, and Nonfiction

Snake Dreaming: Speculations on Human and Reptile Consciousness | M. Garrett Bauman

Poetry Writing Contest 24 (2009)
First Place

I began this piece by narrating my encounters with snakes. But it remained flat until I accepted that something deeper was going on. Time for research. Reptile science proved to be as poetic as myth and symbols; I grudgingly came to realize that snake “dream” consciousness painfully exposes humans’ failure to evolve beyond our primitive, violent origins. At the same time I felt a comic detachment from the reptile “philosophy,” much as we regard our own dream state. You cannot simply write what you already know. Writing must change your ideas or it is merely report writing. — M. Garrett Bauman

Cracking Open | Patricia Brieschke

Nonfiction Writing Contest XXIII (2008)
First Place

Listen to your work as you read it aloud. Ears don’t lie. Rewrite, then rewrite again. Put it aside for a while, then return and rewrite again. Read it to someone whose ear you trust and embrace the feedback, If they say “get rid of a phrase, a sentence, a section, a character,” take however long you need to stew, then open yourself to the critique. If you cut material, stash it in your own slush pile to be used somewhere else. The slash and burn part of writing is exhilarating. And, yes, less is more.. — Patricia Brieschke

Survival | Susan Cohen

Poetry Writing Contest 22 (2008)
First Place

When digging in the ashes, sometimes you find a poem. I worked on this one over several years, paring the language while the idea enlarged itself. — Susan Cohen

The Wedding Dress | Cynthia Reeves

Flash Fiction Writing Contest 22 (2008)
First Place

Above my office desk is the following quote from Ortega y Gasset: “The man with the clear head…looks life in the face, realizes everything is problematic and feels himself lost, as this is the simple truth that to be alive is to feel oneself lost. He who accepts it has already begun to find himself, to be on firm ground.” These words inspire me to continue whether I’m lost confronting the blank page or lost deep in the throes of revision. — Cynthia Reeves

Why I Work | Jeff Walt

Poetry Writing Contest XIII, First Place (2002)
I find poetry under every rock, in all the nooks and crannies of life- search for the dark and light of who we are, in what we assume to be terrestrial and mundane. When I feel at a loss for subject matter I simply look to the moment: where I am and what I am doing always has a poem in it. — Jeff Walt

Lobsters in a Tank | Kiyash Monsef

New Millennium Award for ?
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Requiem for a Dream | Laura S. Distelheim

Poetry Writing Contest XIII (2002)
First Place

Soon after the incident conveyed in “Requiem” occurred, I realized that, in coming to know this man and in witnessing the injustice done to him, I had been privy to both the heroism and the evil which lie, often unsuspected, beneath the surface of ordinary lives. My hope in writing this piece was to draw both of them into the light. — Laura S. Distelheim


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