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The Best Free Literary Contests: Free Newsletter

Subscribe to the free Winning Writers email newsletter and receive monthly news about the best free literary contests, edited by Jendi Reiter. Join the 50,000+ people who subscribe today. When you do, you’ll get immediate online access to our contest database. Browse our detailed profiles of over 200 free poetry and prose contests. We won’t share your email address with anyone. Unsubscribe at any time.

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Call for Entries!

THE DREAMQUESTONE POETRY & WRITING CONTEST - WINTER 2020 - 2020 is open to anyone who enjoys expressing innermost thoughts and feelings into the beautiful literary art of poetry and/or writing a story that is worth telling everyone. Guidelines: (1) Write a poem, thirty lines or fewer on any subject, form or style. And/or (2) Write a short story, five pages maximum length, single or double line spacing, on any subject or theme. Genres include fiction, nonfiction or creative nonfiction (including essay compositions, diary, journal entries, stage plays and screenwriting). Multiple and simultaneous entries are accepted. Prizes: Writing First Prize is $500; Second: $250; Third: $100. Poetry First Prize: $250; Second: $125; Third: $50. Entry fees: $5 per poem/$10 per story. Postmark deadline: February 28, 2021. How to enter, visit

Falling into the River by Debbie Hall

Falling into the River, 3rd Place Winner of The Poetry Box Chapbook Prize, 2019:  "Debbie Hall's newest collection, is a graceful and unflinching telling of the perilous medical journey of the poet's longtime love. These poems portray a shared life lived with gusto, through times of ecstatic contentment, despair and renewal.  This collection is a celebration of life and love--a testament to treasure. " Lin Nelson Benedek

Coronary Truth by Diane Elayne Dees

The poems in Diane Elayne Dees’s chapbook, Coronary Truth, examine our shared experience of fragility through such diverse subjects as the lifespan of a dragonfly, the shock of a friend’s heart attack, the navigation of blind fish, and the mystical waters of baptism. “Water and breath inform Dees’ lyrical language throughout, as does a conviction that poetry’s own infused spirituality can create ‘inexplicable channels of patterned light’…a belief amply and beautifully demonstrated in this selection.”—Sarah Law, poet and editor of Amethyst Review

Available from Kelsay Books

The Night Goes on All Night – Noir Inspired Poems edited by Rick Lupert

The Night Goes On All Night - Noir Inspired Poems Turn out the light, then turn it back on, then do it again...someone outside is watching and this is the code they need to see. Read this book and enter a world where the night goes on all night. Conceived as part of the Los Angeles Poetry Festival's "Night and the City", 2011 Noir Festival, this collection was released as part of the "Valley Noir" event at the Cobalt Cafe in Canoga Park. It includes noir-inspired new and selected poems from E. Amato, Michael C. Ford, Michael Cluff, Brendan Constantine, Mike Daily, Gloria Derge, Peggy Dobreer, Jerry Garcia, Joelle Hannah, Kris Huelgas, Elizabeth Iannaci, Jack Bowman, Ruth Nolan, Marc Olmsted, Kevin Patrick Sullivan, Angela Penaredondo, Douglas Richardson, Anthony Seidman, Eric Steineger, Eric Tuazon, Mehnaz Turner, Wyatt Underwood, Wanda VanHoy Smith and Florence Weinberger. Edited by Los Angeles poet and Cobalt Cafe series curator Rick Lupert. Click here for more and to order

Unreliable Narratives by Magdalena Ball

In Unreliable Narratives, Magdalena Ball invites us to open a Pandora’s box of memories. Like smoke rising from a candle and casting shadows and lights that shift and evade, the poems morph and twist with the dexterity of a master poet. They will draw you in from the first to the last like peering through a telescope, reminding us of the infinite multi-verses that can exist within a single narrative. Visit here.

The Tokyo-Van Nuys Express by Rick Lupert

Rick Lupert’s 25th collection of poems and latest travelogue, written in Japan while visiting Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hiroshima, follows in the footsteps of Richard Brautigan and is loosely inspired by his title The Tokyo-Montana Express. Follow Lupert through Japan with his signature wit and poet’s eye as your guide, as he stands in the mysterious “stick line”, as indescribable food is put in his mouth (and described anyway), as a monkey crawls on his head, as Hiroshima looms at the end of it all.

“His poems are funny, moving, insightful, and full of a traveler’s wonder and bemusement.” –Ianthe Brautigan

Click here to read poems from The Tokyo-Van Nuys Express

TheBookDoc – Development Editing and Writing Coach

TheBookDoc is a development editing and writer's coaching service run by Richard Lynch since 1992. He personally works with writers on all types of manuscripts (fiction and non-fiction and other prose) to help improve your writing and chances of traditional publication. Author of nine traditionally published titles, former Senior Editor and Production Manager of a publishing house, and former reader and development editor for a literary agency, Richard has eyes on the business of publishing from every vantage. Let him help you make your writing a success. Contact Richard at:

Three New Books by Rick Lupert

Professor Clown on Parade by Rick Lupert. Professor Clown on Parade poetry written in Vermont, Maine and Connecticut “A brilliant, beer-fogged take on America by one of the funniest, smartest poets around.” Alexis Rhone Fancher poetry editor, Cultural Weekly, seven-time Pushcart nomineeDonut Famine by Rick Lupert. Romancing the Blarney Stone poetry written in Ireland “Funny, observant and comforting, “Romancing the Blarney Stone” is a fine read from one of my favorite poets.” Amber Tamblyn author and ActressDonut Famine by Rick Lupert. Donut Famine poetry written in New Orleans “...a delicate balance of reportage, recollection, and lyric introspection. More than an anthology of latest work...a complete experience. All aboard.” Brendan Constantine author of ‘Dementia, My Darling’
$19.95, Paberback, 296 pages Read Poems | Buy on Amazon$19.95, Paberback, 258 pages Read Poems | Buy on Amazon$19.95, Paberback, 232 pages Read Poems | Buy on Amazon

Rick Lupert Live and Dead – Spoken Word Album

Rick Lupert’s first (and possibly last) spoken word album features 23 tracks – 15 studio and 8 live recordings – It captures his unique humor and poetic sensibility and is available now digitally and as an actual physical CD. (We’re all old enough to remember physical media, right?)

Check out clips from the entire album and get your own physical or digital copy here.

Hunka Hunka Howdee! by Rick Lupert – New Poems from Memphis, Nashville, and Louisville


Buy Hunka Hunka Howdee! at Amazon

Ain’t Got No Press
May 2019
276 Pages

Hunka Hunka Howdee! Poems written in Memphis, Nashville and Louisville

Rick Lupert’s 23rd collection of poems and latest travelogue written on the go in Memphis, Nashville, and Louisville. Two music cities, the birthplace of rock and Roll, Martin Luther King’s final steps and barrels full of bourbon are no escape from Lupert’s keen poetic eye and wit.”The best of these poems come close enough to being both seductive satire and genuinely sentimental encounters that you will want to linger with their wit…Lupert’s deftly sketched poems will help you keep “one foot each on and off / the beaten path” of skeptical wonder at the world’s on-going peculiarities.”

–Bill Mohr, author of The Headwaters of Nirvana,
and HOLDOUTS: The Los Angeles Poetry Renaissance 1948-1992

“Being a Memphian I was particularly enthralled by how much of my city he captures in his short, beguiling lines. This delightful collection is a trip with such a charming guide you’ll want to take it over and over.”

–Corey Mesler, author of Madstones and Memphis Movie

Click here to read poems from Hunka Hunka Howdee!

Ekphrastia Gone Wild: poems inspired by art edited by Rick Lupert

Ekphrastia Gone Wild (Ain’t Got No Press, July, 2013) is an anthology of ekphrastic poetry – poetry inspired by other works of art (including painting, film, literature, photography and more) including work by Nobel Prize winning poet Wislawa Szymborska along with a roster of 87 poets from all over the world including Suzanne Lummis, Laurel Ann Bogen, Jerry Quickly, Brendan Constantine, Gerald Locklin, Robert Wynne and many more, edited by Los Angeles poet Rick Lupert

Click here for more and to order

Making Love to the 50 Ft. Woman, Poems 1998-2015, Rick Luperts 17th Book

Making Love to the 50 Ft. Woman, Poems 1998-2015, Rick Luperts 17th BookWith a foreword by Brendan Constantine Rick Lupert’s seventeenth poetry collection, Making Love to the 50 Ft. Woman (Rothco Press, May 2015), is the long awaited follow up to, and first collection of Lupert’s selected works since, 1997’s I am My Own Orange County. Lupert’s poetry exists at the intersections of the wise and the ridiculous, the spectacular and the mundane. The humor and deeper themes throughout his work will win over the generations of people who’ve come to regard poetry as an inaccessible literary art. These poems, written over the last two decades, have been widely published in dozens of journals, zines, and anthologies from all over the world. They’re rooted in the every day Los Angeles experience and take you through fatherhood, traffic, love, death, and the inevitable experience of finding a wrapped sausage on the sidewalk. You’ll learn how to kiss, you’ll meet the cutest leaf in the world, you’ll say goodbye to Pete Seeger and Robin Williams, you may even relive your own childhood. Get ready to Make Love to the Fifty Ft. Woman. Don’t wear anything complicated. Click here to read poetry from Making Love to the 50 Ft. Woman and get your copy.

L.A. SLEEPERS: A Hollywood Ghostwriter Mystery by Dakota Donovan

L.A. SLEEPERS: A Hollywood Ghostwriter Mystery by Dakota Donovan -- Light quarantine reading! When elderly Hollywood producer Milton Kingman says he's dying and needs someone to write his memoir, Dakota Donovan takes the job. The pay is lousy and the hours are worse, but the ghostwriter has no other options at the moment. What starts out as a standard "as told to" assignment soon becomes a long, strange trip as Dakota is threatened, accused, arrested, hunted, and haunted -- while she tries to separate truth from lies and fact from fiction about one of Tinseltown's most enigmatic characters. Find it at

The Sharp Edges of Water by Angélique Jamail

THE SHARP EDGES OF WATER by Angélique Jamail is a book of stories as much as a collection of poems. In it, the characters swerve between the rain-drenched, tree-lined, concrete plains of Houston and the voluptuous, dynamic terrain of Los Angeles. They face multiple realities, and though they’re earnestly grounded, they sometimes swim in the waters of magic realism. Their story is both relatable and a little bit surreal. Find it online at Odeon Press ( or order it from your local bookstore.

Welcome to the Barbecue, poems by Ron Kolm

Welcome to the Barbecue, poems by Ron Kolm, is available from Autonomedia ( Andrei Codrescu had this to say about the book: “Ron Kolm’s language, stripped of ornament, speaks his  life and times to the crystal clear lake of its reflection. Kolm’s stories could have been told by a Chinese poet in the 13th century, a Zen monk in the 16th or the New Yorker who inhabits them. These poems sound bells of love, familiarity, regret, surprise and, above all, wonder at their own ringing.

Hurricanes never apologize (Luchador Press) by Carrie Magness Radna

“…Dive into this book and experience great ventures of the cosmos and the human heart— quarried in equal measure from the momentous and the small, revealed in chance glimpses of the sacred, savored in the rare moments of reflective calm with any roof overhead. At their best, these poems are pure vision, assembled, dispersed, reassembled from the eternal existential dust.”   --George Wallace, Writer in residence, Walt Whitman Birthplace. Now available on Amazon.
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