June 10, 2017

For the IHLR annual PhotoFinish, we seek well-crafted and very brief ekphrastic work that pushes beyond the absolute literal details of a photo prompt; we're looking for work that recognizes what's hidden in the world we see.

We've mounted this year's photo prompt, right here on our website and below. Submissions accepted now through July 15. Prose no longer than 500 words; poetry no longer than 15...

September 11, 2015

We are thrilled to announce that Margie Kivel has won our inaugural PhotoFinish Contest, with her stunning prose poem "Jailhouse Rock." Kivel packs so much strange, grimy beauty into just three lyric sentences. Phrases like "that hungry wait of the imprisoned" and "the pipe of forgetfulness" burrow their way into the ear. Clearly inspired by the image from our contest (displayed here), but imagina...

February 5, 2015

Tucked into the foothills of New York State’s Adirondack Mountains is Saratoga Springs, the home of Skidmore College, a cluster of brick buildings surrounding rolling greens, a small pond, and a healthy canopy of firs and oaks that keep the campus self-contained, tight-knit, and set off from the rest of the world: basically, the quintessential writer’s retreat. Writers hoping to hole up here from...

January 15, 2015

Writing conferences come in all shapes and sizes, but rarely does one come along with the history, faculty, community, and general reputation of the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Gearing up for its 26th session, this Conference takes place on the campus of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, and will run this year from July 21st through August 2nd, 2015. While some conferences focus...

November 25, 2014

Picture a sprawling farmhouse tucked into a green slope halfway up the side of Mount Subasio National Park, a sparsely populated hiker’s paradise overlooking the ancient fortified town and UNESCO site of Assisi, Italy. Nearby, a remade open barn that once housed animals and farming equipment now bursts with paint-studded wooden tables, collapsed easels, Bunsen burners, outdoor sinks, and any numbe...

November 21, 2014

We admit to being excitable at IHLR, but it’s hard to blame us when there’s news of this caliber to announce. Prose writers, brace for impact: Roxane Gay has generously agreed to judge our 2015 Single-Author Competition! That’s right, the author of the essay collection Bad Feminist, the novel An Untamed State, and Ayiti, a collection of stories about, as Ethel Rohan puts it, “Haiti, its people, an...

November 17, 2014


Writers everywhere are always looking for the means to hunker down and sit themselves at their desks and get to work. To help motivate our readers and submitters, we’ll be spreading the word about competitions hosted by other journals, contests right here at Iron Horse, as well as some terrific residencies.


To kick it off the series of blog posts, let's start with the Time and Place Prize, in Gou...

November 4, 2014

For many writers, November is a productive month. First there are the NaNoWriMo enthusiasts, fingers flying to meet the lofty goal of 50,000 words toward a new novel by the month’s end. Then there are those inspired by fall’s firm grip on the weather to hunker over the gentle glow of a laptop, spinning verse and prose while the wind whistles in the eaves. It’s the month when we gear up for holiday...

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