Fall Contests

The editors of Mid-American Review would like to congratulate the winners of the 2012-2013 literary competitions.

The Fineline Competition

We extend our congratulations to Jennifer S. Cheng, winner of the 2013 Fineline Competition, for her piece, "from Letters to Mao." Richard Garcia, this year’s final judge and author of Rancho Notorious, The Persistence of Objects, and Chickenhead: Prose Poems, writes of Cheng’s prose poem: “I like the American and very contemporary mix of place, time and culture in this piece—Texas/China, Greek myth/Shanghainese opera. It has an intriguing epistolary conceit: could Mao be the actual intended recipient, and if so, why? It adheres to its own inner logic of free association, and is also rather odd. I go for the musical flow of the prose and the way it doesn’t really make any sense. There is an old definition of poetry one never sees any more, that a poem cannot be completely paraphrased. This definition is no longer used because so many poems paraphrase themselves, or they can be reduced to a thematic truism. “Letters to Mao” not only takes me to a place I’ve never been, but it leaves me confused and intrigued at the same time. That is where I like to be after reading a poem. And I can’t quite paraphrase it."

Ms. Cheng will be awarded the $1,000 prize and her poem will be published in issue 34.1 of Mid-American Review, due in November 2013.

We are happy to announce these additional stories and authors, also submitted as finalists:

Danielle Lea Buchanan, “The Widest of Wanting”
Kendra Chapman, “Transliteration”
Lisa Cihlar, “Irruption”
Jerry Dennis, “If You List Your Fears You Will Vanquish Them”
Anika Eide, “Some Parents”
Jen Fawkes, “Burro”
Matthew Minicucci, “Lemma”
Nate Pillman, “The Rest of Us”
Robert Thomas, “Songbird”

The Sherwood Anderson Fiction Award

We extend our congratulations to Woody Skinner, winner of this year’s Sherwood Anderson Fiction Award, for his story “Things in Slow Motion.” Alan Heathcock, this year’s judge and author of Volt, writes, that Skinner’s story, “was a bit of a miracle in that it told a story in a collective voice while making the story feel completely intimate, a story of class and privilege, of love and infidelity, of everything we see and think we see, about hope and fear, about rumor and truth. So much is made of how we’re separate as a people, and yet this story, revolving around a surgeon and his family, proves that all of us are alike if only in our separation. What a sad, true, and beautiful sentiment. The voice of the story says of the surgeon, ‘We are lifeless figures splayed in front of you... You see parts of us we've never seen.’ Like a surgeon, such is the work of this author, and ‘Things in Slow Motion’ allows us to glimpse ourselves, though in a way that's bearable, and, as is written in its last line, lends us, ‘...a lonesome kind of comfort.’ Beautifully written, deeply moving: BRAVO!”
Mr. Skinner was awarded the $1,000 prize and his story was published in issue 33.2 of Mid-American Review.

We are happy to announce four additional stories and authors, also submitted as finalists:

“The Exhibit” by B. Boyer-White
“On Brian’s Dreams of Submarines” by Robert Long Foreman
“How Will It Smash” by Becky Kaiser
“Severance” by Bailey Lewis

The James Wright Poetry Award

We extend our congratulations to Mark Wagenaar, winner of this year’s James Wright Poetry Award, for his poem “The Body Distances (Still Life with Everything in the World).” Traci Brimhall, this year’s judge and author of Our Lady of the Ruins, writes that the winning poem, “tackles the miraculous, the relationship of one body to another, the vagaries of faith, and language’s ability to communicate the revelation of the moon on water. I admire its imagistic leaps, its shifting rhetoric, and its subtle music—how ‘borne’ slides into ‘bone,’ ‘scribes’ swings into ‘times.’ Its absences and unbridgeable distances stayed with me—the body, the moon, a heart’s extra vessel, an anomalous groove in the brain. It made me think, it made me feel, it made me want the miraculous all to myself. I love its mixture of beauty and agony, tenderness and awe, its crowning yes.”

Mr. Wagenaar was awarded the $1,000 prize and his poem was published in issue 33.2 of Mid-American Review.

We are happy to announce five additional poems and their authors, also submitted to the judge as finalists:

“One Story” by Sara Gelston
“Patriotics” and “Family History (I)” by Jennifer Luebbers
“Tennessee State Prison, 1977" by Marie Thurmer
“In the Second Half of Life” by Leslie Williams

All queries regarding the contests can be directed to the MAR Staff.

Information regarding the 2013-2014 competitions can be found here.

For full results and information on our 2011-2012 competitions, click here.