Creative Contests

Our creative contests, which you can enter by paying the appropriate fee for each contest (see our Submissions Guidelines for details), are named after people who have influenced our ideas regarding each creative genre.

Derick Burleson Poetry Prize

Derick served as one of James' best men at our wedding. He was a fellow poet and graduate student we met at Kansas State University, who went on to write poetry about his experiences in Rwanda just before that nation's horrific genocidal attacks, which killed people Derick knew. Derick captured these experiences in Ejo: Poems, Rwanda, 1991-1994. For more details, refer to the following link: 

Ben Nyberg Short Fiction Award

We both took Prof. Nyberg's short fiction creative writing classes while at Kansas State University, where Prof. Nyberg taught creative writing for thirty-two years and edited the Kansas Quarterly for twenty-six years. Ben was the epitome of respect during workshops, never allowing his creative writing workshops to devolve into personality wars between writers, which was often the case in other creative writing workshops we experienced. We both value Ben's insights into writing short fiction, and have personal copies of his book, One Great Way to Write Short Fiction. He reminds us that "no formulaic method [of writing] could ever be used to craft respectable stories" (2), so that "once you have written your 'formula' story, use your imagination to expand the concepts."

Phil Heldrich NonFiction Award

Phil was a good friend we met while working on our doctorates at Oklahoma State University. A prolific writer by most standards, Phil wrote short fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction, going on to edit the Flint Hills Review and Bluestem Press at Emporia State University before moving west to the Seattle area. His collection of nonfiction is titled Out Here in the Out There: Essays in a Region of Superlatives. See the following link for more details: 

Susan Hansell Drama Prize

Susan is also someone we were fortunate to meet and make friends with at Oklahoma State University. Her list of plays and awards is impressive. She went on to found the online journal, Spot Lit(erary) Magazine.

Mary Cassatt Art Award

Mary was one of the first Americans to work with and to paint in Impressionist style. While we both greatly admire most of the Impressionist painters, Cassatt has long been a favorite. Her insights into art guide our choices because she believed: "everyone may be as honest and as true to nature from their convictions; [even Cezanne] doesn't believe that everyone should see alike."

You can help support (and possibly increase) the creative contests sponsored by Choeofpleirn Press by donating money to our press through our Donate webpage.

Thank you for having an interest in our small Kansas press! With your continued support, we can create a press that could rival the coastal publication houses.