Contests

All prose submissions received during the general submission period (September 15, 2016 to February 14, 2017) will be considered for the 2017 prose writing competition. Submit up to 2 prose pieces of 5,000 words each (essays, short stories, memoirs), typed and double-spaced as a Word attachment to brs@isu.edu. Please see the “Submit” page for detailed submission guidelines. There is no entry fee.

The winning author will receive a $100 cash prize, publication in the 2017 issue of Black Rock & Sage, and a complimentary contributor’s copy of the 2017 issue.

All submissions will be judged anonymously, and judges’ decisions will be final. Judges reserve the right to withhold prizes in the case that no entries meet their standards.

Submissions Invited for the
2017 Ford Swetnam Poetry Prize

All undergraduate students enrolled for at least nine credit hours at Idaho State University are eligible to submit TWO poems for judging in the 2017 Ford Swetnam Poetry Prize competition. You may enter by sending your poetry to brs@isu.edu during the general submission period (September 15, 2016 to February 14, 2017). Please include “Ford Swetnam Poetry Prize” in the subject line of your submission email. If submitting more than two poems to the journal, please indicate in the body of your email which two poems you would like to have entered in the contest. Please see the “Submit” page for detailed submission guidelines. There is no entry fee.

The winning author will receive a $150 scholarship, publication in the 2017 issue of Black Rock & Sage, and a complimentary contributor’s copy of the 2017 issue.

ford-swetnam-1

The late Professor Ford Swetnam

The scholarship was endowed in 2002 by Professor Ford Swetnam, an ISU Distinguished Teacher, a dedicated mentor to student writers, and a fine poet. In his poem “Elegy for Ford,” Michael Sowder, a former Utah poet laureate, writes of Ford, “He, the older, better poet and guide / was leading me and I saw him like Virgil.” On Ford’s death in April 2002, many friends contributed funds to the endowment in his memory. 

Writers submitting entries should keep in mind Ford’s stipulation that “the winning poem will show some intellection/reflection about its subject, and will employ some formal device which will discriminate it from prose, rant, howl, or cookie-cutter workshop poetry.”

Please note that the BR&S staff does not screen the poems submitted for this award. Instead, all poetry submissions are forwarded directly to the judge. The judge for the 2017 contest will be announced after final selections are made. Past judges for this contest have included Mike White (University of Utah), Ben Gunsberg (Utah State University), and Idaho State University’s own Susan Swetnam (Ford’s wife and professor emeritus, Idaho State University).

If you are a high school student with an interest in creative writing, please see details for our second annual 1B – 4B – 8B High School Creative Writing Contest.