Winning Writers awards poets in annual contest

Staff Writer
Published: 4/17/2020 12:11:32 PM
Modified: 4/17/2020 12:11:19 PM

Winning Writers, a local group that offers a number of resources for writers, has announced the winners of its annual poetry contest who collectively have won $5,000.

Melissa Studdard, of Cypress, Texas, and Chelsea Dingman, of Edmonton, Alberta, have both been awarded $2,000 as co-winners of the 17th annual Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest. Ten other poets won honorable mention for their work, which comes with a $100 prize.

Winning Writers was started in the Pioneer Valley in 2001 by Jendi Reiter, a Northampton poet and writer, and Adam Cohen, who has worked with The Atlantic Monthly. The group hosts three other yearly writing contests, and it also offers a wealth of online resources for writers, from information on free literary contests to advice on how to navigate the publishing industry.

Winning Writers also aims to be “a welcoming place for diverse authors and stories, with a culture of listening to people of all genders, backgrounds, and abilities,” according to its website, and a repository for good writing “that portrays under-represented perspectives with sensitivity, accuracy, and passion.”

For instance, Studdard, the author of five books, writes in her winning poem, “Migration Patterns,” about the refuge crisis on America’s southern border: “Sometimes the mind // mistakes itself for a hoarded piece of land / and little campfires spring up everywhere. Smoke // slinks through chain link. Small hands and shoulders / capsize beneath a dehydrated, salt-sick // sun.”

Steve Pfarrer can be reached at

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