“Pro Forma” contest, Grist: The Journal for Writers, Spring 2015
Grist: The Journal for Writers is thrilled to announce our first annual contest: “Pro Forma.” We welcome submissions of unpublished creative work: fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and/or hybrids that explore the relationship between content and form, whether the approach is experimental or conventional. As always, we want to celebrate writing that reveals knowledge of and respect for the formal elements and traditions with which it plays, and that shows an awareness of how text and reader interact.
What is “pro forma”? For most, it is something static or an established way of doing things. For us, however, it is our celebration of form, our praising form and its professional mastery. This could mean a break from traditional forms or an homage to them; genre blending or bending; the hybrid text or the genre-less; the conventional-in-appearance text that utilizes avant-garde techniques; or the unconventional-in-appearance text that still can appear in print, in a black and white literary magazine.
Reading will be blind, so please remove your name or any other identifying information from from both the file name and the manuscript itself. Otherwise, we will be unable to consider it. Simultaneous submissions are fine, but please notify us if the submission is accepted elsewhere. Multiple submissions are also fine, but you will be charged the full reading fee per submission. We cannot refund the fee if the submission is withdrawn. No one currently or recently affiliated with the University of Tennessee or with the Creative Writing Program at the University of Utah is eligible to enter. Additionally, former students of our final judge are also ineligible. All submissions will also be considered for publication outside of the contest feature.
Entry fee: $18 (includes one-year subscription to Grist)
Multiple submissions have the option of gifting the subscription or extending an existing subscription.
For longer works: no more than 5000 words
For shorter works: no more than 3-5 pieces
**Please indicate in the comments section on Submittable if your manuscript should be considered in a certain way (if three flash pieces or poems should be grouped together rather than read as separate pieces, for example).
First Prize: $750 plus publication in the print journal, two contributors’ copies, and a feature on our website
Second and Third Prizes: publication in the print journal, two contributors’ copies, and features on our website
Reading period: March 1 – May 31
Please submit your manuscript to Grist via our Submittable site.
Katharine Coles is a poet and prose writer best known for her lyric meditations on science, art, history, and perception. She is the author of two novels and five collections of poems, including The Earth Is Not Flat (Red Hen Press, 2013), written under the auspices of the NSF’s Antarctic Artists and Writers Program; The One Right Touch; A History of the Garden; The Golden Years of the Fourth Dimension; and Fault. Her sixth collection, Flight, is forthcoming from Red Hen Press in 2016. She is also the author of two novels, The Measurable World and Fire Season. Her poems and stories have appeared in such journals as The Paris Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Gettysburg Review, Poetry, Seneca Review, North American Review, Crazyhorse, Southwest Review, DIAGRAM, The New Republic, The Georgia Review, and Ascent; ten poems from The Earth Is Not Flat, translated into German by Klaus Martens, appeared in the June 2014 issue of Matrix and are the subject of a current exhibit at the Saar-Lor-Lux archive in Saarbrücken. She has published numerous personal essays, literary essays, and reviews in The Kenyon Review and Crazyhorse, among other journals.
Coles’ poems have also appeared in a variety of settings and commissions. She has engaged in ongoing collaboration with visual artist Maureen O’Hara Ure that has produced two installations and an artist’s book, Swoon. The Red Butte Press, which has recently commissioned a book from Coles and Ure, in 2013 produced Problems of Description, an artist’s book illustrated by visual artist and printmaker Mary Toscano and featuring one of Coles’ Antarctica poems. Her poem “Numbers” was commissioned by visual artist Anna Campbell Bliss and appears as part of Bliss’s Numbers and Measures, a permanent installation in the Leroy Cowles Mathematics Building at the University of Utah; “Four Rooms” was commissioned by the Craft and Folk Art Museum of Los Angeles in response to its exhibit, This Is Not a Silent Movie: Four Contemporary Alaska Native Artists. Another series, Passages, appears as a permanent installation in Salt Lake City’s Passages Park, for which Coles served as a member of the design team. And her poems have been set to music by a number of composers.
Her awards for her work include a 2012-13 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, both an Individual Writers Fellowship and a New Forms Project Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and awards from the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
During 2009 and 2010, Coles served as the inaugural director of the Poetry Foundation’s Harriet Monroe Poetry Institute, conceived as “an independent forum created to provide a space in which fresh thinking about poetry, in both its intellectual and its practical needs, can flourish free of any allegiance other than to the best ideas.” In late 2010, Coles traveled to Antarctica for a month to write poems under the auspices of the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Artists and Writers Program, which enabled her to continue to pursue her central, ongoing interest in exploring the intersections of poetry with other intellectual endeavors, especially scientific but also artistic, philosophical, and historical. This interest led her to found the Utah Symposium in Science and Literature, which she now co-directs with Mathematician/biologist Fred Adler (www.scienceandliterature.org) at the University of Utah, where she teaches creative writing and literature.