money-falling-from-sky-150x200This year Rhubarb’s writing contests are unique to each judge and genre, as our judges  make up the kind of contest they would like to judge (and do so for free). Entries can be submitted anytime until our March 31st, 2014 deadline.We’ll bring our PayPal shopping cart function up to speed to include on-line payment for contest entries. Ted Dyck’s non-fiction writing contest is based on the form of the essay employing “the open palm of rhetoric,” while Di Brandt takes a thematic approach with The Psyche, The Cocoon, and the Butterfly looking for “poems that envision wide scale transformation of our domestically abusive community Gestalt, through large and small negotiations in the love direction, as Miriam Toews’s Nomi Nickel would say. ” The fiction competition will be announced by the end of the month.


Entry fee: $ 30.00 for one essay, $50.00 for two, prize $500.

essay : an attempt or a try to explain, understand, or explore in prose or verse almost any subject with reference to its personal, objective, and/or universal aspects.

The essay’s radical feature derives from its original definition – it is anattempt or a try to come to a resolution about its subject – it is not an irrefutable argument  with a final Q.E.D. [as-was-to-be-proved].

This feature of the essay – its tolerance of uncertainties, ofundecidability – marks its aptness for our age, whose discourse, Christy Wampole argues, desperately needs what she calls, somewhat regrettably, essayification:

I believe that the essay owes its longevity today mainly to this fact: the genre and its spirit provide an alternative to the dogmatic thinking that dominates much of social and political life in contemporary [times]. In fact, I would advocate a conscious and more reflective deployment of the essay’s spirit in all aspects of life as a resistance against the zealous closed-endedness of the rigid mind. I’ll call this deployment “the essayification of everything.”


Purists may rue the term – which ruefulness is perhaps another instance of precisely the kind of mind-set that essayism counters – but it is indisputable that the most humble of persons, as well as the most ethereal of logicians, live with uncertainties. As does the essay.

Not that the essay “rides off in all directions at once” [Leacock]: it has “the ability to hold … opposed ideas … at the same time” and still be coherent [Emerson]; it employs “the open palm of rhetoric” rather than “the closed fist of logic” [Cicero].Send me your best!

-Ted Dyck, WorDoctor


Enty fee: $30.00 for two poems, $50.00 for four.


We are looking for poems written in the visionary spirit of Anabaptist Moravian modernist poet H.D. (Hilda Doolittle)’s portrait of the divine Lady in White, who comes to inspire the people, in her prophetic long poem Trilogy:

“…she wasn’t hieratic, she wasn’t frozen,
she wasn’t very tall…

she carries a book but it is not
the tome of the ancient wisdom,

the pages, I imagine, are the blank pages
of the unwritten volume of the new

….she is Psyche, the butterfly,
out of the cocoon.”

(“The Walls Do Not Fall”)

God knows we need the divine Lady in White to inspire us these days, when we are reeling from the very bad press recently given to the Mennonite community in Canada and in Bolivia, particularly with regard to recently exposed pervasive patterns of sexual and punitive violence against women and children, and publicly expressed attitudes of homophobia and misogyny.    Please send poems that envision wide scale transformation of our domestically abusive community Gestalt, through large and small negotiations in the love direction, as Miriam Toews’s Nomi Nickel would say.


PRIZE $500.00 paid on publication. Judge may chose honourable mention(s) for publication in the print magazine or on the website at the usual rates of $50.00 and $25.00 respectively.

 (includes one-year three issue subscription) by PayPal atwww.rhubarbmag.com, or send cheque made out to Mennonite Literary Society to :
Rhubarb Essay Contest, 606-100 Arthur Street Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3B 1H3.

Entry fees; $30 for one essay $50.00 for two, $30 for two poems, $50.00 for four.
Deadline: March 31, 2014
. Decision by June 16, 2014. Publication: Fall 2014.

JudgeS reserve the right not to choose a winner if no submissions  meet Rhubarb’s publishing standards.

Format: Word, RTF, or OpenOffice [no MacApple, please] attachments to email preferred. Submit to: [email protected].  Author’s name withheld on submitted poems. Original, unpublished, and  not submitted elsewhere.

Send with a cover sheet identifying it as Rhubarb Essay Contest Entry, including name, email address, mailing address, and a short biography. These will not be forwarded to the judge. Decision will be announced on www.rhubarbmag.com in July 2014.

Eligibility: Anyone writing in English on any subject having paid the entry fee.

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