Thursday, March 31, 2011

Crazyhorse Cross-off Contest

The literary journal Crazyhorse, founded in 1960 to publish "the entire spectrum of today’s fiction, essays, and poetry—from the mainstream to the avant-garde, from the established to the undiscovered writer," has an interesting contest! E-mail your entry of no more than 40 words to by next Thursday, April 7, by 5 p.m.  The ten winning entries will receive a free one-year subscription.
Take the below paragraph of writing as your start. From it, cross off or delete words, crafting the remaining words into either a poem or a very short story of no more than 40 words. If you love an extra challenge, retain the original paragraph's word order as the word order of your own poem or story; otherwise, feel free to re-arrange the 40 or fewer words as you wish.

Here is the paragraph to start with, from Andrew Sean Greer's fantastic essay "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines" (originally published in San Francisco Panorama and reprinted in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2010) about camping at a NASCAR race for the first time:
"I want to make it clear that I have been camping before, and I'm not just talking about Burning Man. I'm trying to say that I've lived in Montana and backpacked for hours into the wilderness, just me and a friend, where we set up our camp beside a little-known hot spring, and while my friend napped I got in au naturel and was promptly joined by an enormous female moose. There we sat, me and the moose, enjoying the steaming water, looking out blissfully at the sunset together like a honeymooning couple, while I summoned the courage to call in a wee voice: "Help me!" If I had been wearing pants I would have peed them. But I survived my wildlife encounter, and made a fire, and bear-proofed our foodstuffs, and did all the things one does when one is camping. This is not a story of gay San Franciscans setting up a Moroccan hideaway among all the army-surplus tents, complete with mirrored pillows and a Porta-John covered in veils. I am proud to say it is quite the opposite."

April 15, 2011:
I received by email the top 10 winners' entries. Here are a few I liked most:

Agnieszka Stachura

The Burning

This is not a story
about the Man, enormous,
and the wee female
--one in pants, one in veils--
setting out
au naturel
into the wilderness.

Michael Mace

It is
not about
burning man
into the
but the
The hideaway
the foodstuffs,
and all
the things
one would
have among
an army
of wildlife;
like fire
with water.

Dee Martin

murky weather
washing winter
gray clears
wilderness yearning
nights steamy
dreamy journeys
neath enormous star skies
sunset glory
flowered story
dawn fire rises
scorching cloudless
veiled oak glade days
grass blades
tea glass
how I welcome thee

Allen Braden


Burns when I pee, Man.
My honey's can, my gay john--
All natural? All clear?

Help me out, Man!
To make water's like fire
ants in my pants.

No mo' wild bliss for this
Quite the opposite, Little Friend.


rosaria said...

What the C? It's too funny to take seriously. I have not, as yet, entered any contests, but then, who knows, I might be convinced. Thanks for the info.

david elzey said...

This looks like a lot of fun, but why isn't this contest listed on their web page? For subscribers only?

Nicole R. Zimmerman said...

I hope you try it, Rosaria. Maybe I'll post what I come up with and encourage others to do so. David, I found out about the contest because I submitted something to them (and received a very nice rejection--"The manuscript was one of the best we've read recently. It was difficult to say no."--is that for real?) Anyway, I'm not a subscriber but I am on their email list since then. Strange they don't put it on their website.

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