We get mighty excited here at Segullah as the new year approaches. Why? Because December 31st is the deadline for entering our annual contests and beginning January 1st, we get to dig in to your submitted entries, searching for that winning gem. It is always a treat for us to read your work and we have long and often intense online discussions about our favorite contest entries. We honor you writers who submit work for evaluation and take the task of judging quite seriously. There is always more great writing than available awards, which is why we have a policy of publishing all the best contest entries that we possibly can throughout the year. Thus, entering our contests is the best way to break into print in Segullah.
We have three contests–one for personal essays, one for poetry, and one for short fiction. You can find all the submission guidelines here: http://journal.segullah.org/contests/
We are firm about that deadline, so don’t delay! And don’t forget, winners receive $100, so it’s worth the small effort to put your best writing out there. You could be a published writer! But not unless you submit your work!
For your inspiration, here is the winning poem from last year’s contest, by Dawn Baker Brimley. We loved the evocative language here, and the clean, clear narrative. Enjoy!
COUSINS TAKING CHANCES
My grandmother wore the coal oil lamp
high and close to her head like a tribal
ornament when she lasered us out and down
to the cellar mounding up in the brown land
near the garden, all the way down to air
like a splash of lake water, and the thud
of blackness when she planked the door
behind us and the light shuddered out
for a moment in the cold. We all went
uninvited and our imaginations were our own.
There might be a black widow webbed and barely
cornered somewhere, or salamanders splayed
on the walls getting their fill of roots
and dankness; but if the potato sacks were full
enough to lift us one by one to the high places,
we saw blue enamel rimmed with yellow cream
and peaches rising like ripe suns in an orchard
of green glass jars. Or the darkness would yield
peas to crack and roll in the palm, and apples
carried in the curve of the arm to a kitchen
laid with squares of red and white linoleum
like flags waving us home to a cookstove
hotter than August and ready to bake, if we
made it back after the flinging of the door
on earth again, the arrowing of full light
like waking up, the epiphany of silver hair
bobbing ahead, and the bolting of brown faces
and legs, the growing up like summer’s crop
of all of us from the deep loam of a mostly safe life.
Dawn Baker Brimley