***Submissions are closed for the 2018 contest. Please check back in April 2019 for the next round!***

2018 Judge: Ron Houchin

Contest submission window: April 1 – June 1, 2018

A writing practice requires us to slow down, reflect, attend. HeartWood Literary Magazine & West Virginia Wesleyan’s MFA Program seek to honor this practice with an annual broadside series and contest. Partnering with West Virginia letterpress company Base Camp Printing, we print the winning entry (poetry or flash prose) on a limited-edition letterpress broadside featuring an original image inspired by the text. The annual broadside serves as artifact companion to the fall issue of the digital magazine. Both the handmade and the electronic HeartWood venues aim to showcase work that gets to the heart of the matter.

Contest Judge: Ron Houchin was born in San Diego, California and raised from the age of three in Huntington, West Virginia.  He comes from a family of factory workers, coal miners, and farmers who have always lived in Appalachia.  For thirty years, he taught English, composition, and literature in a secondary school in the southernmost Appalachian region of Ohio.  His poems have appeared in Poetry Ireland Review, The Southwest Review, Sycamore, Puerto Del Sol, Five Points, Birmingham Poetry Review, The New Orleans Review, Willow Springs, Courtland Review, Valparaiso, Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and a variety of others.  Salmon Poetry of Ireland published his first book in 1997.  Wind Publications of Nicholasville, Kentucky published his first American book in 2004.  To date, he has eight books of poetry, one of short stories, and a novella, The Devil's Trill. His book, The Man Who Saws Us in Half, published October of 2013 by Louisiana State University Press's Southern Messenger Series, was awarded the 2013 Weatherford Award for poetry by Berea College.  His latest book, Planet of the Best Love Songs, was published by Salmon Publishing of Ireland in 2017.  He lives in a haunted house on the banks of the Ohio River across from Huntington, WV.


  • $15 entry fee (includes a mailed copy of the winning broadside)

  • Contest opens April 1, 2018. The submission deadline for the prize is midnight June 1, 2018

  • Submit one poem (of any form) or flash prose piece (fiction or nonfiction) per entry; regardless of genre, the entry must be 200 words or less. There is no limit on the number of entries per person.

  • $500 cash prize + 25 copies of limited-edition letterpress broadside will be awarded to the winner.

  • All entries will also be considered for publication in HeartWood

  • All submissions must be anonymous: no name or contact information should appear on the poem or prose piece.  Entries must be submitted via our online submission form manager, Submittable, at: http://www.heartwoodlitmag.com/submit/. We will not accept mail or email submissions, but please do include a mailing address in the Submittable contact fields. We do not accept previously published entries. You may enter simultaneously submitted work as long as you notify us if the work is accepted elsewhere before our contest closes on June 1.

  • 1st round of judging will be performed by HeartWood Editors. Finalists (approximately 20 poems and/or flash prose) will then be forwarded to the Contest Judge for the final round of judging.

  • Winner will be selected by August 1, 2018, along with honorable mentions at the judge's discretion.

  • Entrants not selected for winning broadside or honorable mention will be notified of contest results and of the editors' decision about publication of their entries by August 1, 2018.

  • Winner (and honorable mentions) will be publicly announced in the October 2018 issue of HeartWood.

  • Broadside will be printed/mailed October 2018.