Author: Lisa McNeilley

The Michigan Poet GLCL Benefit Contest

Submit here:


Ends on December 1, 2017

Multiple price options

Proceeds go to support The Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters, a literary non-profit in Grand Rapids, MI. The winning poem will be featured on a special edition Michigan Poet broadside. The winning poet will be invited as the guest of honor at a benefit reading at Schuler Books in Grand Rapids, MI with guest judge Robert Fanning, and take home a cash prize of $500.


Entry fees are set in intervals of $10. Submit poems no longer than 25 lines. No previously published work or simultaneous submissions. Submit all poems in a single document. This contest is being judged blind. Do not include your name in the file you upload for your submission. Poets are encouraged to consider the broadside medium when submitting their work. Poets will be expected to pay their own travel expenses to attend the reading in their honor (Grand Rapids, MI) Poets who do not wish to attend the reading may still submit work. If a poet chooses not to attend, the winning poem will be read by the guest judge Robert Fanning.

Normally, The Michigan Poet only considers work from poets living at least half the year in Michigan. However, as this contest is a fund raiser, we *will* accept submissions from poets living anywhere in the world for this contest. Submit carefully – no refunds will be issued.

About our guest judge:

Robert Fanning is the author of six poetry collections, including four full-length collections: Severance(Salmon Poetry, Ireland. Forthcoming, 2019), Our Sudden Museum (Salmon Poetry, Ireland. 2017),American Prophet (Marick Press, 2009), and The Seed Thieves (Marick Press, 2006), as well as two chapbooks: Sheet Music (Three Bee Press. 2016), and Old Bright Wheel (Ledge Press Poetry Award, 2001). His poems have appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, Shenandoah, The Atlanta Review, and other journals. Recent work has also appeared on The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor on NPR, and Fanning was interviewed at the Library of Congress for the nationally-syndicated radio program “The Poet and the Poem.” A graduate of the University of Michigan and Sarah Lawrence College, he is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Central Michigan University. He is also the founder and facilitator of theWellspring Literary Series in Mt. Pleasant, MI., where he lives with his wife, sculptor Denise Whitebread Fanning, and their two children.

Additionally, we’ve had the pleasure of previously collaborating with Robert. His warmth and energy embody both the power of poetry as well as the heart of community. The Michigan Poet believes his voice and actions are exemplary and rings true with our mission.

“I, Too, Am Michigan” Voices of the Immigrant Experience

Join us on Friday, June 16, 6:30 p.m. at the Koning Micro-Cinema at Wealthy Theater (1130 Wealthy St SE, Grand Rapids) for the next installment of the Writers Squared series: “I, Too, Am Michigan: Voices of the Immigrant Experience.”

Speakers include:

Dunya Mikhail was born in Iraq and came to the United States in 1996. Recipent of a Kresge Fellowship, the Arab American Book Award, and the UN Human Rights Award for Freedom of Writing, Mikhail is the co-founder of Mesopotamian Forum for Art and Culture in Michigan. She currently works as an Arabic special lecturer at Oakland University. Her books include The Iraqi Nights, Diary of A Wave Outside the Sea, and The War Works Hard.

Jennifer Clark is co-editor of Immigration & Justice For Our Neighbors (Celery City Books), an anthology of multicultural writing published in collaboration with Justice For Our Neighbors-Kalamazoo, and the author of Necessary Clearings (Shabda Press). Her second poetry collection, Johnny Appleseed: The Slice and Times of John Chapman, is forthcoming from Shabda Press.

Hedy Habra was born in Egypt and is of Lebanese origin. She is the author of two poetry collections, Under Brushstrokes and Tea in Heliopolis (winner of the USA Best Book Award and finalist for the International Poetry Book Award) and a collection of short fiction, Flying Carpets (finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award). A recipient of the Nazim Hikmet Poetry Awards, she has a passion for painting and teaches Spanish at Western Michigan University.

This event is free and open to the public. Writers Squared is a reading/discussion series presented by Great Lake Commonwealth of Letters, a literary non-profit in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Writers Squared 2017 is funded in part by the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Replacement for Hub hours

We are partnering with Caffeinated Press to offer an alternative place for quiet writing. GLCL members may use free writing space at Caffeinated Press offices at 3167 Kalamazoo Ave SE, Suite 104, GR 49508.  Their telephone is 888-809-1686.  Please check their Facebook page at or the online calendar for available hours at