they arrived, and kept arriving, story after story, one better than the next. We were amazed and cheered at the riches at
our door. Our first annual short story contest brought us stories from all points of the globe: all corners of the United States,
as well as Italy, France,
and many more. One author was 16 years old, yet his writing certainly did not bespeak his young years. If not quite a prize-winning
story, the potential was certainly there. Other authors had years of achievement pinned like medals to their chests—published
novels, awards and prizes, publishing histories that blushed with authority. That was not our criteria of judgment, however.
There was only one criterion: literary quality.
you didn’t make it easy. Four of us read through stacks of stories—myself; TSP co-founder and cigar editor, J. Conrad Guest; three time novelist, our fiction editor,
Russell Rowland; and Dominic Smith, novelist and winner of a laundry list of
literary awards. Each of us read quietly in our corner, no discussion, and only when done with all the submissions did we
exchange our personal lists of favorites. Suddenly, it was easy. All four of us had chosen the same three finalists in a list
of five top choices. Two of us matched on four of five choices. Great minds think alike? But not entirely alike, because each
of us also carried a torch for at least one other story we championed. Perhaps you will see some of these treasures in our
for now, we heartily congratulate the winners of The Smoking Poet’s First Annual Short Story Contest! Our unanimous
first prize winner is Grace Delobel; second prize went to Martha Clarkson; third to Phil Haddock; and a very honorable mention to Paul Bowers. Enjoy! Great talents, every one. And to
those who didn’t, this time, receive a nod—know yourselves worthy. Truly, you brought us great pleasure in reading
and discussing your work.
you’ve read our winning stories, join in the conversation with our line-up of literary and visual artists. Lynn Stegner (yes, that’s the William Stegner family,
but Lynn’s a great talent in her own right) is our feature
author. Kate Buckley is a courageous young adult author writing
about the topics no one else will touch. Ed Rode is our artist-photographer; his stunning
photography and paintings complete our pages.
on the cake: our usual fine array of literary voices in poetry, fiction and non-fiction. The Cigar Lounge lights up with cigar reviews and smoky poetry—and
an essay on sexism in the cigar industry that will make you think twice about the cigar you choose. Don’t miss our book
reviews! We will be adding more reviews throughout the summer season, so come back often.
now... lose yourself in literary pleasure.
a good word,
(posted throughout the summer)
Choices by Kate Buckley
Inside Out Girl by
Tish Cohen (forthcoming)
Belly of the Whale
by Linda Merlino (forthcoming)
Bird's Horn & Other Poems by Kevin Rabas
Child 44 by Tom Smith
The Beautiful Cigar Girl by Daniel Stashower
Because a Fire Was in My Head by Lynn Stegner
Notes from Refuge
by Lana Maht Wiggins (forthcoming)
Notes from the Waiting Room: Managing a Loved One's End-of-Life Hospitalization by Bart Windrum (forthcoming)
Apples of Arcadia by Jeffrey Woolf (forthcoming)
J. Conrad Guest
Jason Mashak (poetry)
David Haegens (cigar review)
Laura Sobbott Ross (poetry)
Fuente Hemingway Short Story
Pepin Garcia Series JJ