Poem or Page Contest

Need a nudge to jump-start your writing?
Enter the “Poem or Page Contest”

You provide the creativity and craft; we’ll provide the accolades and prizes


Poem or Page Contest—deadline March 13, 2018


As a contest winner, there’s an extra added benefit:

All First-Place winning Poem or Page submissions will be included within the 2019 issue of the Midwest Review. Not only will you receive accolades and prizes for this contest, you will also be published in our journal. So, do not hesitate to submit your work!


What are we looking for?

What are our criteria for a winning poem or page? Hook us! We’re looking for the same thing agents and editors look for when you submit material to them—that instant good impression showing attention to craft. But any agent or editor is also looking for that “something extra” and so are we. It might be a wondrous word choice or line of words, a great “voice” on the page, a piece of action that’s riveting, a fact that wows the reader, a piece of imagery, or any number of things of your choosing. Give us something credible, yet original. Make us worry or wonder. Startle us…and in turn, you’ll startle our Midwest Review readers also.


Who may enter

Contest open ONLY to those attending the Writers’ Institute, April 12-15th, 2018.


Submission categories

  1. Poetry: 1 poem, single-spaced. 12-point Times New Roman or Courier.
  2. Mainstream/literary fiction (submit 1st page of your work).
  3. Genre fiction (mystery, romance, horror, etc.) (submit 1st page of your work).
  4. Young adult fiction (submit 1st page of your work).
  5. Nonfiction books or articles (submit 1st page of your work).
  6. Flash Fiction – 1 page (using format rules outlined below).

For categories 2-5, if you have a prologue, submit the prologue’s first page because that’s the first page of your work.


Format rules for fiction/nonfiction categories

Please use 12-point Courier or Times New Roman typeface, with 1-inch margins on all 4 sides. Please double-space; 1.5 spacing will be disqualified. Please list your category on the entry, front or back. Put your name and address on the back side of the page; do not put your name on the front. You may fill up the page, though please keep 1-inch margins on all 4 sides.


Entry fee

$15 per entry, all categories. Please pay through our Registration Office, 608-262-2451.


Deadline and where to send entries

Entries must be postmarked by March 13, 2018. Send your entries labeled as POEM OR PAGE CONTEST ENTRY to Writers’ Institute Contest, 21 N. Park St. Rm. 7312, Madison, WI 53715. If you wish to be notified that we’ve received your entry, enclose a Self-Addressed Stamped POSTCARD (SASP). We regret that we are unable to return any of your material.



Enter as many categories and as many times as you wish. Prizes will be awarded. Winners and runners-up will be announced at the conference and celebrated this year at our Poem or Page Luncheon, and we will have their material displayed at the conference. You will also be asked to sign a release form for publication within the Midwest Review for the 2019 issue. After publication of the 2019 issue the rights to your material revert back to you for any future publication.