Hey Poets, Garrison Keillor is giving away $2K for your love poems

I’m just gonna post the press release Common Good Books sent about this nifty poetry contest. I haven’t had coffee yet.

Common Good Books is pleased to announce “Love Letters”: The Second Annual Common Good Books Poetry Contest.

Garrison Keillor, proprietor of Common Good Books in St Paul, Minnesota, is sponsoring a poetry contest, and he’s putting up some serious money in support of good verse. First prize in “Love Letters”: The Second Annual Common Good Books Poetry Contest is $1000.00; four $250.00 runner-up prizes will be awarded at the discretion of the judges.

This year’s judges are Garrison Keillor, Tom Hennen (author of Darkness Sticks to Everything: New and Collected Poems), and Patricia Hampl (author of Woman before an Aquarium and Resort and Other Poems).

To enter, just craft a paean to your favorite person, place, or thing. Pour your love onto the page, shape it well, and mail your love letter to Common Good Books before April 15. Fame and fortune could be yours.

Don’t think you can’t write poetry. Common Good Books has the encouragement you need. Visit http://commongoodbooks.tumblr.com/advice from now till April 15th for tips on how to win at (writing) love from some of our country’s best poets, including Tony Hoagland, Kristin Naca, and Henri Cole as well as Graywolf Press poetry editor Jeff Shotts. Stay tuned!

And we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that you can see what sort of poems touch our proprietor’s heart by checking out his collection of poetry O, What a Luxury: Verses Lyrical, Vulgar, Pathetic & Profound or by listening to The Writer’s Almanac.

The rules at a glance

  • The contest is open to anyone living within the United States
  • Entries must be a single poem
  • The poem must be a declaration of love for a specific person, or being, or object, or place–i.e. something tangible
  • The entries must be unpublished anywhere, and the author must have full rights to the material
  • Only one entry per person
  • Entries must be mailed to Common Good Books (38 S Snelling Ave, St Paul MN 55105), postmarked no later than April 15, 2014
  • Entries must include a signed release, available at http://commongoodbooks.tumblr.com/advice

Finalists will be announced April 20. The winners will be announced at a celebration of poetry in St Paul, Minnesota, on April 27.

Join us at 1:30pm, Sunday, April 27, 2014, in the chapel at Macalester College for a celebration of poetry hosted by Garrison Keillor. We’ll share good poems and announce the winner of “Love Letters.” This event is free and open to the public.

About the judges

One of America’s most beloved radio hosts and acclaimed humorists, Garrison Keillor was born in 1942 in Anoka, Minnesota, and began his radio career as a freshman at the University of Minnesota, from which he graduated in 1966. He went to work for Minnesota Public Radio in 1969, and on July 6, 1974, he hosted the first broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion in St. Paul. Today, some 4.3 million listeners on close to 600 public radio stations coast to coast and beyond tune in to the show each week. Keillor has been honored with Grammy, ACE, and George Foster Peabody awards, the National Humanities Medal, and election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His many books include Lake Wobegon Days, The Book of Guys, Pilgrims: A Wobegon Romance, and Guy Noir and the Straight Skinny (Viking). He is the host of the daily program The Writer’s Almanac and the editor of several anthologies of poetry, most recently, Good Poems: American Places (Viking). In 2006, Keillor played himself in the movie adaptation of his show, a film directed by Robert Altman.

Tom Hennen is the author of Darkness Sticks to Everything: Collected and New Poems. Born into a big Dutch-Irish family in 1942 in Morris, Minnesota, Hennen grew up on farms. In 1972 he helped found the Minnesota Writer’s Publishing House, printing with a press stashed in his garage work that included his first chapbook The Heron With No Business Sense. He then worked for the Department of Natural Resources wildlife section in the 1970s and later as a wildlife technician at the Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge in South Dakota. Now retired, he lives in St. Paul near his children and grandchildren.

Patricia Hampl is the author of two collections of poetry, Woman before an Aquarium and Resort and Other Poems. Her other books include first A Romantic Education, a memoir about her Czech heritage; The Florist’s Daughter, winner of numerous “best” and “year end” awards, including the New York Times “100 Notable Books of the Year” and the 2008 Minnesota Book Award for Memoir and Creative Nonfiction; Blue Arabesque: A Search for the Sublime, also a Times Notable Book; Spillville, a meditation on Antonin Dvorak’s 1893 summer in Iowa, with engravings by Steven Sorman; and Virgin Time, about her Catholic upbringing and an inquiry into contemplative life.

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  1. barbara schutz 17.Mar.14 at 8:04 am

    I couldn’t find a release form to include with my love poem,??????

    1. Jodi Chromey 17.Mar.14 at 9:57 am

      Hello Barbara, you can find the release form here. It’s a PDF.

  2. Adrian Fillion 09.Jul.15 at 2:48 pm

    A friend told me about what she called the “Garrison Keillor Poetry Challenge.” I assume that this is what she was talking about. Where can I find the rules for the next contest? Thanks.


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