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The prestigious Narrative Winter 2016 Story Contest is currently accepting fiction and nonfiction submissions through the deadline of March 31.  For this award, the journal is seeking short shorts, short stories, essays, memoirs, photo essays, graphic stories, all forms of literary nonfiction, and excerpts from longer works of both fiction and nonfiction.  Entries must be unpublished, not exceed 15,000 words, and not have been chosen previously as a winner, finalist, or honorable mention in another contest.

A prize of $2,500 will be awarded to the winner, with prizes of $1,000 and $500 awarded to the second and third place winners, respectively.  An additional ten finalists will receive $100 each, and all entries will be considered for publication.  All entries are also eligible for the $4,000 Narrative Prize and acceptance as a Story of the Week.

Prior winners and finalists in Narrative contests have gone on to be recognized in prize collections, including The Pushcart Prize – Best of the Small Presses series, The Best American Short Stories and Nonrequired Reading anthologies, the Atlantic Book Awards, and others.

For more information and to submit online, visit the website at http://www.narrativemagazine.com/winter-2016-story-contest.

 

Winter-258A

February

The cold grows colder, even as the days

grow longer, February’s mercury vapor light

buffing but not defrosting the bone-white

ground, crusty and treacherous underfoot.

This is the time of year that’s apt to put

a hammerlock on a healthy appetite,

old anxieties back into the night,

insomnia and nightmares into play;

when things in need of doing go undone

and things that can’t be undone come to call,

muttering recriminations at the door,

and buried ambitions rise up through the floor

and pin your wriggling shoulders to the wall;

and hope’s a reptile waiting for the sun.

 

                      ~ Bill Christophersen

 

"A Woman in Bed" by Rembrandt, 1645

“A Woman in Bed” by Rembrandt, 1645

 

 

Winter: A Dirge

The wintry west extends his blast,

And hail and rain does blaw;

Or, the stormy north sends driving forth

The blinding sleet and snaw:

While tumbling brown, the burn comes down,

And roars frae bank to brae;

And bird and beast in covert rest,

And pass the heartless day.

 

The sweeping blast, the sky o’ercast,

The joyless winter-day,

Let others fear, to me more dear

Than all the pride of May:

The tempest’s howl, it soothes my soul,

My griefs it seems to join;

The leafless trees my fancy please,

Their fate resembles mine!

 

Thou Pow’r Supreme, whose mighty scheme

These woes of mine fulfil,

Here, firm, I rest, they must be best,

Because they are Thy will!

Then all I want (O, do thou grant

This one request of mine!)

Since to enjoy Thou dost deny,

Assist me to resign.

 

                    ~ Robert Burns

 

"A Rainy Day in New York City" by Paul Cornoyer, circa 1905

“A Rainy Day in New York City” by Paul Cornoyer, circa 1905

I wonder if I’ve been changed in the night?  Let me think.  Was I the same when I got up this morning?  I almost think I can remember feeling a little different.  But if I’m not the same, the next question is “Who in the world am I?”  Ah, that’s the great puzzle!

~ Lewis Carroll, born on this day in 1832

 

 

"Alice in Wonderland" by John Tenniel, 1865

“Alice in Wonderland” by John Tenniel, 1865

 

 

 

The Snow-Storm

Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,

Arrives the snow, and, driving o’er the fields,

Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air

Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven,

And veils the farm-house at the garden’s end.

The sled and traveller stopped, the courier’s feet

Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit

Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed

In a tumultuous privacy of storm.

 

Come see the north wind’s masonry.

Out of an unseen quarry evermore

Furnished with tile, the fierce artificer

Curves his white bastions with projected roof

Round every windward stake, or tree, or door.

Speeding, the myriad-handed, his wild work

So fanciful, so savage, nought cares he

For number or proportion. Mockingly,

On coop or kennel he hangs Parian wreaths;

A swan-like form invests the hidden thorn;

Fills up the farmer’s lane from wall to wall,

Maugre the farmer’s sighs; and, at the gate,

A tapering turret overtops the work.

And when his hours are numbered, and the world

Is all his own, retiring, as he were not,

Leaves, when the sun appears, astonished Art

To mimic in slow structures, stone by stone,

Built in an age, the mad wind’s night-work,

The frolic architecture of the snow.

 

                             ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Posted with warm thoughts to all my friends and colleagues on the East Coast.

 

"Snow Storm" by John La Farge, 1865

“Snow Storm” by John La Farge, 1865

Take this kiss upon the brow!

And, in parting from you now,

Thus much let me avow –

You are not wrong, who deem

That my days have been a dream;

Yet if hope has flown away

In a night, or in a day,

In a vision, or in none,

Is it therefore the less gone?

All that we see or seem

Is but a dream within a dream.

 

I stand amid the roar

Of a surf-tormented shore,

And I hold within my hand

Grains of the golden sand –

How few! yet how they creep

Through my fingers to the deep,

While I weep – while I weep!

O God! Can I not grasp

Them with a tighter clasp?

O God! can I not save

One from the pitiless wave?

Is all that we see or seem

But a dream within a dream?

 

                ~ Edgar Allan Poe, born on this day in 1809

 

Thomas Pollock Anshutz, circa 1900

Thomas Pollock Anshutz, circa 1900

Winter Love

I would like to decorate this silence,

but my house grows only cleaner

and more plain.  The glass chimes I hung

over the register ring a little

when the heat goes on.

I waited too long to drink my tea.

It was not hot.  It was only warm.

 

~ Linda Gregg

 

"Reading Woman" by Poul Friis Nybo, 1929

“Reading Woman” by Poul Friis Nybo, 1929

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