Enjoy the winning essays from our fall writing contest.
Our annual fall essay contest invites nonfiction submissions of up to 1,500 words in the form of autobiographical essay, reportage, profile, memoir, or narrative nonfiction. We seek essays that express a moment of significance — personal transformation, awakening, adventure, exploration, reward, accomplishment, revelation — that is inspired by or set within a park space or public land. Essays need not be about a U.S. national park—national forests, municipal and state parks, BLM lands, beaches, lakeshores, campgrounds, designated woodlands—and more—are great subjects.
We are delighted to host our second annual poetry series, in honor of National Poetry Month. Poetry presents an extraordinary lens through which to explore public lands, the outdoors, and our instincts for adventure and self-reflection.
Our annual fall essay contest invites nonfiction submissions of up to 1,500 words in the form of autobiographical essay, reportage, profile, memoir, or narrative nonfiction. We seek essays that express a moment of significance — personal transformation, awakening, adventure, exploration, reward, accomplishment, revelation — that is inspired by or set within a park space or public land.
In April, we are celebrating the awe we so often feel in nature, on public lands, through a month-long poetry series to coincide with National Poetry Month. Click here to read along throughout the month; we will share the poems, featuring work by twenty-four poets whose work celebrates parks and other public lands.
Our series is edited by Celeste Hackenberg, and features poems by:
- Phillip Bannowsky
- Karen Berry
- Joe Betz
- Gary Bloom
- Jeff Burt
- Gabriella Brand
- Ann DeVilbiss
- Iris Jamahl Dunkle
- Andy Fogle
- J.M. Green
- Mary Christine Kane
- Richard Kempa
- Joshua Lefkowitz
- Jennifer Moore
- Julie Moore
- Kevin Oberlin
- Kristin Rajan
- Thom Schramm
- Marjorie Thomsen
- Kerry Trautman
- Brendan Walsh
- BJ Ward
- Kory Wells
- Tom Zimmerman
We wish to acknowledge our finalists:
- KB Ballentine “Comfort of Solitude”
- George Campbell, “I Walked All Day Upstream”
- Jan Chronister, “Door County”
- Anne E. Johnson “Dead and Alive in Turkey Run”
- Jennifer Lagier “Moonstone Morning”
- Leah Mueller “Glacier”
- Ken Pobo “Climbing a Tithonia”
- Lara Poulton, “Going to the Sun”
- Alexandra Renwick “particles of your mud still flush my veins”
- Elizabeth Spragins “Eventide”
- Mary Ellen Talley “Whistler Campground at Jasper National Park” and “Lake Melakwa, 1973”
- Paul Thiel, “Split Rock”
- Tyson West, “Solstice Skateboarders Around the Salmon Fountain”
We have been thrilled, in our first Parks & Points & Poetry series, to receive so many entries which express the natural beauty and profound impact parks and designated natural spaces have on visitors. We are doubly thrilled to welcome P&P contributor Celeste Hackenberg as our Poetry Editor.
Celeste Hackenberg earned her MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College in December 2016. As a graduate student, she assisted in planning the Sarah Lawrence College Poetry Festival, and co-created an annual Alumni Festival to showcase the talent of previous students. She also served as Art Director and reader for LUMINA, Sarah Lawrence’s student-run literary magazine, for two years. Currently, she is based in Westchester county, with her three cats and one person. She works as an academic advisor at CUNY Start and writes mostly prose poems and haiku.