Announcing our 2018 POETRY & SHORT STORY contest winners!
Short story: “Flight,” by David Borofka
David Borofka’s collection Hints of His Mortality was selected by Oscar Hijuielos as winner of the 1996 Iowa Award for short fiction, and his novel The Island was published by MacMurray & Beck. His work has appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Missouri Review, Black Warrior Review, and Glimmer Train, among other journals, and he has taught at Reedley College for the past thirty years.
Judge SIEL JU: “Flight” is a quirky and anxiety-provoking psychological investigation: What really kills us? Illness or the fear of illness? Love or the vicissitudes of love? Old age or the lusting after youth? “Flight” will rouse your existential dread — and leave you thoughtfully disconcerted.
Poetry: “Promise to Recede,” by Jessica Morey-Collins
Jessica Morey-Collins is a Pushcart and Best of the Net nominated poet and educator. She received her MFA from the University of New Orleans, where she won an Academy of American Poets award, and worked as associate poetry editor for Bayou Magazine. Her poems and essays can be found in Pleiades, The Pinch, Juked, Animal Literary Journal and elsewhere. She is currently working on a Masters of Community and Regional Planning at the University of Oregon.
Judge JARED STANLEY: “Promise to Recede” starts powerfully, and gains in power through fearful twists and developments. The pain at the poem’s center is contrasted with images of commercial goods in Whole Foods and catastrophic floods, aware the whole time of the difficulty of using disaster imagery while implicated in privilege. The poem’s nomadic movements, its desire to find a home within the body, and its jarring tensions add up to a whole which revealed more each time I read it.
Fiction: “Lake Junaluska,” by Matthew Everett
Matthew Everett is a veterinary student and Kentucky native whose work has appeared in Slate magazine, Fringe, and The Toasted Cheese Literary Journal. His current projects include Bone Window, a novella about veterinary school and life in the American South. His unpublished writing can be found here.
Judge SEAN BERNARD: “Lake Junaluska” seems, at first glance, like a familiar summer camp story. But slowly, the author weaves in deeper and more complex issues – of socioeconomics, the struggle of coming of age, and bereavement – until its final, deeply affecting ending.
Poetry: Jonathan Greenhause, “Mt. Everest is”
Jonathan Greenhause has won awards from Kind of a Hurricane Press, Prism Review, and Willow Review, plus he was a finalist in 2016 for the Green Mountains Review Book Prize, Soundings East’s Claire Keyes Award in Poetry, the Iowa Review Poetry Award, the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award, Oberon Poetry Magazine’s Annual Contest, and New Millennium Writings’ 41st and 42nd Poetry Awards. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Believer, December, The Malahat Review, Notre Dame Review, Rattle, RHINO, The Southeast Review, and Subtropics, among others. His 2nd chapbook, “Secret Traits of Everyday Things,” was a finalist in last year’s Annual Chapbook Contest from Encircle Publications and will be published in September 2017.
Judge STEPHANIE ELLIS SCHLAIFER: I found much to admire in these submissions, but “Mt. Everest is” stood out for its imaginative achievement. It committed itself to its conceit and ran wild with it. I delighted in its surreality, its voice-y humor, and the terror, under-shadowing it all.
2016 POETRY AND SHORT STORY CONTEST winners
Poetry: “Slow Motion Landscape,” by Sam Gilpin
chosen by Victoria Chang, who writes of the poem, “In “Slow Motion Landscape,” grass is “guillotines,” speech “wrens us in its folding,” and sunsets “thrum.” The language is fresh and new in this sequence poem, but even more interesting is the mind behind the poem–one that both thinks and sees–“do you think we’ll ever see/the relentless disguised as stillness”–this sequence poem is filled with short abstract questions and paradoxes, ones that make the reader read and re-read, think and re-think, see and see again.”
Fiction: “Messiah Complex,” by Michael Olin-Hitt
Bio: Michael Olin-Hitt’s novel The Homegoing won first place in the Somerset Awards for Literary Mixed-Genre, sponsored by Chanticleer Reviews. In addition to his novel, he has published 13 stories in literary journals and two books of nonfiction on spirituality. He received his B.A. from Otterbein University and his Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. He is Professor of English at the University of Mount Union, where he teaches creative writing, American Literature and Native American Literature. He lives in Clinton, Ohio with his wife, Jennifer, and two children, Sam and Lydia.
chosen by Bryan Hurt, who writes of the story, “I was drawn into the story by Josh’s kinetic voice and hooked by his spirited and smart digressions. But what really engaged me was the emotional complexity and the way the author carefully and subtly added so many layers. There’s sadness and loss but it’s met with optimism and empathy. And that’s what ultimately won me over: it’s bighearted and optimistic without being naive. “Struggle and beauty,” says Miriam. “You don’t get one without the other.” That’s what this story offers. Struggle and beauty and grace.”
Each author receives $250 and publication in Prism Review #18
Poetry: JLSchneider, “Your Place, Now”
Bio: JLSchneider is a carpenter and an adjunct professor of English at a small community college in upstate New York. His poetry has appeared in Crazy River, The Taos Review, The Rhode Island Review, and Rolling Stone, among others. You can visit him on the web at schneiderjl.com
Fiction: Matthew Di Paoli, “Sweeping Glass”
Bio: Matthew Di Paoli received his BA at Boston College where he won the Dever Fellowship and the Cardinal Cushing Award for Creative Writing. He also earned his MFA in Fiction at Columbia University. He has been published in Neon, Carte Blanche, Black Denim Lit, Blue Penny Quarterly, Poydras Review, Pithead Chapel, Gigantic, FictionWeek Literary Review, Ascent Aspirations, Newport Review, and Post Road. Currently he’s teaching Writing and Literature at Monroe College.
poetry: Anna Soteria Morrison, “[Flight Fable]”
Bio: Anna Soteria Morrison is a writer and editor, and a member of Kelsey Street Press, a longstanding publisher of innovative writing by women. She has worked in an art museum, a microbiologist’s lab, and as a peer counselor for a GLBT hotline. She and her partner live in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California.
fiction: Rob Schultz, “The Evaluation of Echoes”
Bio: Rob Schultz taught American literature and composition at Western Michigan University and Virginia Commonwealth University before drifting into radio and voice work. He is the author of a novel, Styll in Love (Van Neste Books), with another, “On-Air” near completion. His stories and poems have appeared in a wide range of publications, including Rattapallax and West Branch and, most recently, Blue Lake Review, Bluestem, New Plains Review and Northwind.
2013, judged by Sandra Ramos O’Briant (fiction) and Karen An-hwei Lee (poetry)
Twice nominated for the Pushcart, JONATHAN GREENHAUSE was a runner-up in the 2012 Georgetown Review Prize and is the author of a chapbook, Sebastian’s Relativity (Anobium Books). His poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Hawai‘i Pacific Review, JAAM (NZ), Midwest Quarterly Review, Popshot (UK), and Regime (AUS), among others.
Fiction: Lucian Childs’ “Carbon Copies”
LUCIAN CHILDS lives in Anchorage, Alaska where he works as a graphic designer. He received bachelor’s degrees in English literature from Southern Methodist University and in architecture from the University of Texas. His short stories have appeared in a number of literary journals, including The Puritan, Quiddity, Rougarou, and Sanskrit.
2012, judged by Amy Newlove Schroeder, author of The Sleep Hotel, the 2009 winner of the Field Prize in Poetry.
Poetry: Nancy Hewitt, “Pressed”
(Our fiction contest was hiatus)
Poetry: Mary Ann Davis, “From The Sublunary Year”
Mary Ann Davis is a PhD Candidate in the Department of English and the Program in Gender Studies at the University of Southern California, where she’s been the recipient of a Moses Poetry Award and the James Prize for Best Critical Essay. Prior to USC, she earned an MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan, where she received an Avery Hopwood Award in poetry.
Fiction: “Weatherization,” by Becky Margolis
Becky Margolis is a writer and teacher living in Missoula, Montana. She is an MFA candidate in the Fiction program at the University of Montana.