We’re thrilled to announce the winner and finalists for the 2021 Cowles Poetry Prize. Our dedicated readers and interns spent countless hours reading many (so many!) fantastic manuscripts. The competition was fierce, and we passed along twenty manuscripts to our final judge, Luiza Flynn-Goodlett, who narrowed down the list to a top five, from which she selected this year’s winner. We are so incredibly grateful you all trust us with your vital, magnificent work. And of course, we’re already accepting submissions for the 2022 contest. Without further ado, then, our winner, shortlist, and longlist:
Winner: Gold Hill Family Audio by Corrie Lynn White
Corrie Lynn White’s poetry has appeared in Oxford American, New Ohio Review, Best New Poets, Mid American Review, and Mississippi Review, among other places. Originally from Gold Hill, North Carolina, she holds a BA from UNC Chapel Hill and an MFA from UNC Greensboro. She currently lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where she works as a journalist and was named the 2021 Tennessee Arts Commission Fellow in Poetry. Gold Hill Family Audio will be published in fall, 2022!
bad prayer by Katie Berta BLACK METAMORPHOSIS by Shanta Lee Gander Dear Daughter, by Ellen Kombiyil Eveningful by Jennifer Whalen
Out of Nowhere: Poems by Susan Comninos star vehicle (the year i moved to st. louis) by Charlotte Covey Happy Everything by Caitlin Cowan A Suit of Paper Feathers by Nate Duke Cry Perfume by Sadie Dupuis Whipsaw by Suzanne Frischkorn Swan Hammer: An Instructor’s Guide to Mirrors by Maggie Graber No Spare People by Erin Hoover This Smile is Starting to Hurt by Dylan Loring History Lesson by Todd Osborne Steady, Girl by Leona Sevick Black Don’t Crack by Valerie Smith On Main Street by Alex Turissini Notes on Silence and Noise by Suzanne Wise pH of Au by Vanessa Couto Johnson
Once again, thank you all for trusting us with your work! It’s truly an honor.
We are excited to announce the winner and finalists of the 2020 Nilsen Prize for a First Novel. The winning manuscript will be published, and the author will receive $2,000. Thank you to everyone who entered! It was an honor and a pleasure to read your words. The 2021 contest is open at: https://smsupress.submittable.com/submit/179432/dorothy-and-wedel-nilsen-literary-prize-for-a-first-novel-2021
Winner: Juan Eugenio Ramirez – The Man with Wolves for Hands
Though born in Washington state, Juan Eugenio Ramirez spent most of his formative years in Florida. Having taught both middle school and high school these past fifteen years, Juan holds an MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College and a BA from Florida State University. His work has appeared in The Carolina Quarterly, Armchair/Shotgun, and Madcap Review. He currently teaches high school English at St. Francis School, an independent, progressive education school in Louisville, Kentucky.
Michael Chaney – The Cartoonal and You Kevin Clouther – Maximum Speed Diane Josefowicz – Easy Journeys to Other Planets Ben Miller – Meanwhile in the Dronx Thomas Pyun – The Beginning of Our End Jessica Savitz – Television in the Mountains Evelyn Somers – Katybomb, Katybomb Derek Updegraff – Whole Rebecca Wurtz – The Mapmaker’s Body
We are excited to announce the winner and finalists of our 2020 Cowles Poetry Book Prize. The winning book will be published, and the winning poet will receive $2,000. We saw so many amazing manuscripts this year, and it was difficult to narrow down a list to send to our final judge, Emma Bolden. Thank you all for your interest in this contest! Without further ado, then, here is the winner, and then the finalists:
Winner: Hospice Plastics by Rachel Hinton
Originally from Vermont, Rachel Hinton holds an MFA in poetry from the University of California, Irvine, and a BA from Kenyon College. Her poems have appeared in The Boiler, Cimarron Review, the Denver Quarterly, SOFTBLOW, the Tahoma Literary Review, and other journals. She has previously taught courses at DePaul University, and currently works as an editor and content development manager in Chicago. Of Hinton’s manuscript, final judge Emma Bolden writes “This book absolutely hums and it’s so powerful, every line of it, and the way the author uses language astounds and amazes me.”
Thief by Jennifer Miller Thunderhead by Emily Cole Eveningful by Jennifer Whalen Tell This to the Universe by Katie Prince
Bad Prayer by Katie Berta Hands Pull You Apart by Emily Jaeger Ode to the Earth in Translation by George Looney This Smile Is Starting to Hurt by Dylan Loring “Every Slow Thing” by Daniel Lusk Eject City by Jason Morphew Night Swimming by Liz Robbins Sentence by Rebecca Schumejda The Water Bear by Margaret Young Portrait Miniatures by James K. Zimmerman
Polly Buckingham – Long White Robe Kevin Frey – A Walking Tour of Antananarivo with the Ghost of Jean-Joseph Rabearivelo Jeremy Griffin – Odessa Kate McIntyre – Mad Prairie Matthew Pitt – The Be–Everything! Brothers
Just a quick note to let you know that, while campus is slowly reopening, we’ll still be slower to ship orders than usual over the summer. You’re welcome to continue ordering from us, and please know that we’ll be fulfilling them as quickly as we can, but we won’t be on campus quite as much for the time being.
We appreciate your understanding at this time and we’ll see you on the flipside. Until then, be safe and keep social distancing.
We are excited to announce the winner and finalists for the Wilda
Hearne Flash Fiction Contest. The winner will be published in the upcoming
issue of Big Muddy, and will receive $500. Picking a winner this year was quite
difficult due to the many, many, many excellent stories we received.
This year’s winner is:
“I Haven’t Forgotten You” by Leslie Blanco
And this year’s finalists were:
“Shades of Tippi Hedren Headed For a Phone Booth” by Pamela
“Eli” by Elizabeth Enochs
“Bitten” by Barney Haney
“On the Fly” by Daryl Scroggins
Now, this is usually the part where I’d encourage everyone
to submit again for this year’s contest. Unfortunately, we won’t be running the
contest in 2020. Reading contest submissions on top of non-contest submissions,
and keeping up with other work for Big Muddy and Southeast Missouri State
University Press is…a lot. This isn’t a financial decision at all, as these
contests pay for themselves. Once we’ve had a bit of a breather, the contest
will likely come back, but for the time being, we need a break! Thank you all
for sharing your wonderful words with us, and I hope to read more from you all
in the future.
We are excited to announce the winner and finalists for the Mighty River Short Story Contest. The winner will be published in the upcoming issue of Big Muddy, and will receive $1,000. Picking a winner this year was quite difficult due to the many, many, many excellent stories we received.
This year’s winner is: “Payback for Mongoose Charlie” by Bryce Berkowitz
This year’s finalists were:
“No Matter Her Leaving” by Noley Reid “Where the False Have a Merry Time” by Basmah Sakrani “Geraniums for Autumn” by Sarah Elizabeth Schantz “The River and the Change it Brings” by Rebecca Wurtz
Now, this is usually the part where I’d encourage everyone to submit again for this year’s contest. Unfortunately, we won’t be running the contest in 2020. Reading contest submissions on top of non-contest submissions, and keeping up with other work for Big Muddy and Southeast Missouri State University Press is…a lot. This isn’t a financial decision at all, as these contests pay for themselves. Once we’ve had a bit of a breather, the contest will likely come back, but for the time being, we need a break! Thank you all for sharing your wonderful words with us, and I hope to read more from you all in the future.
We are excited to announce the winner of the 2019 Cowles Poetry Book Prize. The winning manuscript, selected by judge Brad Aaron Modlin, will be published in October, 2020, and the poet will be awarded $2000. We received more manuscripts this year than we ever have before, so the competition was fierce.
Look Alive by Luiza Flynn-Goodlett
Naming the Lifeboat by Justin Gardiner Terra Incognita by Sara Henning After by Emily Jaeger The Right Blue Dream House by Claire McQuerry Soft Palate by Anna Sutton
Eat the Marrow by Mara Adamitz Scrupe Bluebird by James CrewsBluebird by James Crews The Amateur Scientist’s Notebook by Jesse Delong The Likes of Us by R.M. Kinder Revoke by Joy Manesiotis Dawn’s Early by Gloria Muñoz Easy Victims to the Charitable Deceptions of Nostalgia by Emily Schulten What Falls Away Is Always by Richard Terrill House of Broken Tables by Allison Wilkins
The 2020 Cowles Poetry Prize is currently open for submissions. You can learn more, here.
We’re excited to announce the winner and finalists of our 2018 Mighty River Short Story Prize and Wilda Hearne Flash Fiction Prizes. We had a ton of great selections this year. Thank you all for sharing your work with us! The winners will appear on the website later this year, and will both be included in our upcoming 2019 print issue. And of course, the contest is already open for next year—details are below!
Mighty River Short Story Prize:
Shrine by Keith Eisner
Blue Trailer by Susan Isaak Lolis Bone Fire by Gabrielle Pastorek Swirled in Sunlight by Brandy Reinke Flight by Lones Sieber
Wilda Hearne Flash Fiction Prize
Gaping Hole by Kate Felix
NSFW by Elise Burke Wheat Country Weddings by Susan Lowell Bones by Gabe Oppenheim Son by Jesse Sensibar Two by Courtney Youngongrats to winners and finalists, and thanks to everyone for entering. We appreciate the opportunity to read your work.
Southeast Missouri State University Press is pleased to announce that Robert Long Foreman’s manuscript Weird Pig is the winner of the 2018 Nilsen Literary Prize. The prize includes $2,000 and publication of the winning manuscript by the University Press. Weird Pig will be published in October 2020.
Weird Pig is about Weird Pig, a pig who wants to do right. But doing right isn’t always easy. He drinks. He eats pork chops. He rides a skateboard. He gets his fellow farm animals murdered, and fathers an illegitimate son who has a messiah complex. When Weird Pig leaves the farm he calls home, he inspires a series of children’s books that help bring on the end of his little world—a farm where human and beast alike toil in the shadow of an ever-growing factory livestock complex. From farm to table and beyond, follow the misadventures of Weird Pig in this kaleidoscopic portrait of America, seen through the eyes of a crazed animal who insists on making himself at home there.
Excerpts from Weird Pig, and stories featuring him, have appeared in ten magazines, including Barrelhouse, The Collagist, and Copper Nickel, where three of them won the magazine’s Editor’s Prize. One Weird Pig story was selected by Aimee Bender for inclusion in Best Small Fictions 2018.
Robert Long Foreman is the author of Among Other Things, a collection of essays, which was published in 2017 by Pleiades Press after winning the inaugural Robert C. Jones Prize for Short Prose. He has won a Pushcart Prize for fiction, and has published short stories and essays in such magazines as Agni, Crazyhorse, Electric Literature, and Kenyon Review Online. He has won contests at The Cincinnati Review,Willow Springs, American Literary Review, and The Journal.
Otherwise, the competition was fierce this year. We read a lot of great manuscripts, many not even represented on the list below. Here is a full list of finalists:
Weird Pig by Robert Long Foreman
Girl in the Moon by JJ Henderson Mistakes by the Lake by Brian Petkash Songs of Gold and Shadow: A Novel by Elizabeth Dalton Solve for N by Leah McCormach
Four Dead Horses by KT Sparks She Never Told Me About the Ocean by Elizabeth McKetta Water, A Novel by Naguetalti Warren Each of Us Angels by Shaylin Montgomery The Lighting Artist: Or, The Unfortunate History of an Information Girl by Nicola Waldron
Once again, we had a ton of great work to choose from, but our staff came together and decided we’d be nominating the following to send off to Pushcart this year:
“The Leisure Class” by Maureen Aitken (Fiction) (18.2)
“Nobody Promised Milk and Honey” by Ron A. Austin (Fiction) (18.2)
“The Saddest Man in the World” by Brandon Hobson (Fiction) (18.2)
“According to the OED, ‘Anima’ Is the Opposite of ‘Persona’” by Dylan Loring (Poem) (18.2)
“Building a New Chicago” by Michael VanCalbergh (Poem) (18.2)
“When I Walk” by Victoria Walls (Poem) (18.2)
SOUTHEAST MISSOURI STATE UNIVERSITY PRESS is pleased to announce that Haesong Kwon’s manuscript The People’s Field has been selected by our final judge, Jenny Yang Cropp, as the winner of the 2018 Cowles Poetry Prize. Kwon’s book will be published in fall 2019. A full list of finalists and semi-finalists is below.
With attention to the Japanese occupation, the Korean War and its aftermath, The People’s Field reflects on the sounds, ideas and histories of the Korean peninsula. Of her selection, Cropp writes, “Kwon’s manuscript contains a paradoxical experience of both movement and stillness, history and the eternal present. These poems, short and spare, carry the intensity of distillation but resist the epigrammatic as they show us a rich and complex landscape that asks for and earns reading after reading.”
Haesong Kwon is the author of the chapbook Many Have Fallen (Cutbank Books). His poems have appeared in New Orleans Review, Quarterly West, Mid-American Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Columbia Poetry Review, Yalobusha Review, Louisville Review, Redivider and others. He lives in Shiprock, New Mexico and teaches at Diné College.
The Cowles Poetry Book Prize takes place annually, with submissions closing on April 1 each year. Southeast Missouri State University Press, founded in 2001, serves both as a publisher and as a working laboratory for students interested in learning the art and skills of literary publishing.
Inside Ball Lightning by Rainie Oet Notes on Vanishing by Cammy Pedroja Out of the Cosmos Factory by Tony Trigilio
Rare, Wondrous Things by Alyse Bensel Thanksgiving Dinner in a Rich Zip Code by Stephanie Brown Ten Thousand Volts by Richard Cecil
An Expectation of Broken Things by Reese Conner
The Dreams of Weapons by Melissa Ginsburg Gadfly Apocrypha by Brad Johnson A More Country by Claire McQuerry Sharks vs. Selfies by Martin Ott I Will Tell All Myself by Todd Osborne Compass for Hands by Bret Shepard Shorless by Enid Shomer You Are Still Alive by William Stobb Playing House on the Bones by Anna Sutton The Inscrutable World by M. A. Vizsolyi Guilt Ledger by Ross White Local Talent by Jacob Wright
Southeast Missouri State University Press is thrilled to announce the winner and finalists of our Nilsen Prize for a First Novel. This was the first year that the contest was held through Submittable, and we found that it really sped up the process. If it seems like we’re announcing the winner earlier than usual, that has a lot to do with it, but much of the credit for that goes to our fantastic interns and Graduate Assistants who worked hard all fall and the first month and a half of spring semester to read through the many, many wonderful manuscripts we received, to help pick our finalists and winner. Without further ado, then, here are the results:
Avery Colt is a Snake, A Thief, A Liar by Ron Austin
Austin’s semi-autobiographical, linked story collection follows the misadventures of Avery Colt as he struggles to survive in North St. Louis alongside his family. Learning the best way to slaughter a goat, rebuilding his family’s corner market, and reckoning the weight of a revolver are a few of the challenges Avery faces. As he matures through each page, Avery takes control of his circumstances and attempts dangerous feats of alchemy. By confronting his own fears and limitations, he seeks to transform cruelty into compassion, rind into fruit, despair into hope. Charged with urgency and emotion, Austin’s prose faithfully renders a community determined to overcome crisis with strength, dark humor, and plenty of heart. The book will be published in Fall 2019.
Stories from the collection have been published in Black Warrior Review,Natural Bridge, Draft Horse, Gulf Stream Literary Magazine, december, The Masters Review,Ninth Letter, Cog, Tahoma Literary Review, and Story Quarterly.
Ron A. Austin holds a MFA from the University of Missouri–St. Louis, has served as an editor for december and River Styx, and is a 2016 Regional Arts Commission Fellow. He has taught creative writing at the Pierre Laclede Honors College. He, his partner Jennie, and son Elijah live in St. Louis with a whippet named Carmen.
We Eat This Gold by Chris Drew
Weird Pig by Robert Long Foreman A Sensual Guide to Housekeeping by Jeff Hayden The Last Innocent Year: Stories by Kerry Jones Someday Everything Will All Make Sense by Carol LaHines Boys and Girls by Jane McDermott
Thank you all for your entries. Next year’s contest is open as of now. We can’t wait to read what you send!
We are excited to announce the winners of Big Muddy’s annual Mighty River Short Story Contest and the Wilda Hearne Flash Fiction Contest. See the winners and finalists below!
Mighty River Short Story Contest
“Halloween, 2001” by Giovanna Varela
Giovanna Varela’s work is severely influenced by her hometown of Central Florida. She is pursuing an MFA in creative writing at The New School, and an MFA in film production at Emerson College. Her pilot script, “Flamingo City,” won 2nd place in Nevada International Film Festival’s 2017 TV screenplay competition. Her flash fiction has been published in Folio, Literary Juice, Rock & Sling, and the Owen Wister Review, and is forthcoming in Southern Indiana Review and Moon City Review.
“Nature Programs” by Richard Bartel
“Lunar Hymns” by Ryan Boyle
“Love Me Through a Hurricane” by Amina Gautier
“Many Other Ways to Die” by Lisa McKenzie
Wilda Hearne Flash Fiction Contest
“Story, Baby” by Kate Simonian
Kate Osana Simonian is an Armenian-Australian writer of fiction and essays. She attends the English PhD program at Texas Tech as a Presidential Fellow. In 2017, she received the Nelson Algren Award and a Tennessee Williams Scholarship to the Sewanee Writers Conference. Her work has been published by, or is forthcoming in, Ninth Letter, The Kenyon Review Online, The Chicago Tribune, and The Best Australian Stories.
“Lies” by Andi Boyd
“Hearts & Spades” by Ryan Boyle
“What a Drag it is Getting Old (M. Jagger) by Yvonne Fein
“El Pobrecito on Catolico Street” by Mario Padilla
Big Muddy would like to congratulate our Pushcart Prize nominees for 2017, chosen from issues 17.1 and 17.2 (the latter of which will be back from the printers any day now!)
Here are the nominees:
“Hangman’s Game” by Sam Martone (17.2)
“One Trick Pony” by J. Bowers (17.2)
“Missouri is a Ghost Shaped Thing” by John Dorsey (17.2)
“Speaking in Rivers” by Keith Donnell Jr. (17.1)
“Midway” by Jessica Fokken (17.1)
“older” by Charlotte Covey (17.1)
Best of luck to all of you!
Also, sheesh, was it hard to narrow the list down to just six! Thanks for all the great reading you keep sending our way. We look forward to all of the submissions to come!
Southeast Missouri State University Press is pleased to announce that Emma Bolden’s manuscript House is an Enigma is the winner of the 2017 Cowles Poetry Prize, judged by Susan Swartwout. The prize includes $2,000 and publication of the winning manuscript by the University Press. Ms. Bolden’s book will be published in October 2018.
House is an Enigma is an investigation of the language used to house descriptions of the body, which so often seek to define and determine the boundaries and behaviors of the spirit that lives within. Written after Bolden’s radical hysterectomy, during which she noted her doctors’ use of house metaphors to describe her body and discuss her inability to have children, these stunning poems set out to expose the fissures in the foundations of the language we use to define human bodies and their behaviors, using these cracks as a lens through which she can see her own body, at last, as her own flawed but beautiful home.
Emma Bolden is the author of two books, Malificae and medi(t)ations, and several chapbooks. Her poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in Colorado Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Salamander, National Poetry Review, Nimrod, Triquarterly, Fairy Tale Review, Prairie Schooner, Cimarron Review, StoryQuarterly, Bellingham Review, DIAGRAM, Monkeybicycle, and Gulf Coast among other venues. Bolden received a 2017 Creative Writing Fellowship in Poetry from the National Endowment of the Arts.
House is an Enigma by Emma Bolden
Reverse Migration by Leah Angstman Days Since a Lost Time Accident by Steve Bellin-Oka Rare, Wondrous Things by Alyse Bensel You, Them, Her by Allison Blevins If Not This Then What by J.L. Conrad Cut Words and Other Trimmings by Kathryn Gessner Calkins Glass is Glass Water is Water by Rae Gouirand Temple of Bureaucratic Kindness by Brad Johnson Inside Ball Lightning by Jacob Oet Repeater by Michael C. Peterson History of Gone by Lynn Schmeidler
Tom Cushman was born in St. Louis in 1934. He received his BA from Southeast Missouri State University and graduated from University of Missouri’s School of Journalism. For over 40 years, he worked as a reporter for the Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph (1959–1966), as reporter and eventually staff columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News (1966–1982), as Sports Editor and columnist for the San Diego Tribune (1982–1992), and as Sports Editor and columnist for the San Diego Union-Tribune (1992–2002).
In his years as a sportswriter, he covered 10 Olympic Games, 25 World Series, 26 Super Bowls, 30 NCAA Final Fours, 21 Masters Golf Tournaments, 18 U.S. Open Golf Tournaments, and major professional boxing matches on four continents. He was the first writer outside New York City to receive the Nat Fleischer Award for Excellence in Boxing Journalism.
Tom is survived by his wife, Lois, son, Scott, daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren.
Congratulations to the winner and finalists for the 2016 Nilsen Literary Prize for a First Novel.
Winner The Patron Saint of Lost Girls
Maureen Aitken, Minneapolis, MN
Born and raised in Detroit, Maureen Aitken teaches writing at the University of Minnesota, where she received her MFA degree. The recipient of two Pushcart Prize nominations, her stories have appeared in venues including Prairie Schooner, The Journal, Night Train, and Puerto del Sol.
The Patron Saint of Lost Girls is about Mary, a Detroit native who must transcend violence in her urban environment by facing her fears of exploitation, abuse, and death. An ode to the creative spirit’s ability to transcend hardship, The Patron Saint of Lost Girls paints an unflinching portrait of the violence and injustice inflicted on women in America, while also exploring the depth of familial connections and what it meant to live in Detroit in the 70s and 80s.
The Essential Nature of Water; Or, The Everard File
Heather N. Martin, Englewood, CO
The Last Innocent Years: Stories Kerry Jones, Wichita, KS
Or Wanting to Be Known
Miranda Schmidt, Portland,OR
Pioneer Camp Christian Felt, Ogden, UT
The Visibility of Things Long Submerged
George Looney, Erie, PA
Pulitzer Prize-Winning New York Poet Vijay Seshadri will perform a public reading at Southeast on Wednesday, September 28, 7:00 – 8:00 pm in the Glenn Auditorium, Dempster Hall. A booksigning will follow the reading. The event is free and open to the public, and is funded by the Dorothy and Wedel Nilsen Visiting Writers Series and Southeast Missouri State University Press.
Poet Erik Campbell will be reading Wednesday, September 14 at 7 PM in the University Center Ball Room B as part of the Missouri Arts Council Visiting Writer Series. A book signing will follow. The event is free and open to the public.
Congratulations to the following poets, whose poems published in The Cape Rock won awards in the St. Louis Poetry Center’s Stanley Hanks Poetry Award competition.
“The Copyist,” by Jane O. Wayne, from The Cape Rock: 2nd place
“Troy, Missouri 2001,” by Mallory Bochantin, from The Cape Rock: Honorable Mention
The poems will be printed in The Poetry Awards Concert chapbook. The Poetry Awards Concert, with readings by all winners, will be held on Sunday, May 15th, at 1:30 at the Focal Point in Maplewood, Missouri.
Fiction writer and professor Beth Lordan will read at the Southeast Missouri State University English Graduate Student Conference on April 14 at 7 P.M, in the University Center Ballroom A. The reading is free and open to the public.
Pulitzer Prize Winning poet Stephen Dunn performed a reading at Southeast Missouri State University on April 16 at Rose Theatre as part of the Nilsen Visiting Writer Series. Click here to watch the video of his reading and click here to listen to his interview on KRCU.
Dr. James Brubaker - Publisher, Editor
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Southeast Missouri State University Press
One University Plaza, MS 2650
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Dr. James Brubaker - Publisher, Editor
(573) 651-2136 - Phone
(573) 651-5188 - Fax firstname.lastname@example.org- Email
Southeast Missouri State University Press
One University Plaza, MS 2650
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701
Est. 2001 by Dr. Susan Swartwout