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              video literature

the competition



Iron Horse Literary Review is proud to host an annual filmfest, featuring works we've commissioned as well as the winners of our yearly Video Lit Competition. We're looking for digital essays, stories, and poems—videos that combine visual art and sound with original written texts in artistically beautiful ways.
The winner of the Editor's Prize receives $300, and the winner of the Audience Award receives $200. And we publish the winners in a biannual DVD issue and screen them at the Iron Horse Film Fest every May.

what is video literature?



If you're wondering what constitutes a cinematic poem, story, or essay, look no further than the terrific commercials, many of them public service announce- ments, that have run during the Super Bowl since 2012. We're thinking about the Ram Truck commercial, Like a Farmer, narrated by Paul Harvey, or the spot on domestic violence in the 2015 game.
Better yet, purchase the 2015 IHLR DVD, or check out the great video compositions published in Rattapallax, Blackbird, and TriQuarterly (click the links below). You don't need any better guidelines than these examples.
ruin by Kristen Radtke
forgetfulness by Billy Collins (film by Julian Gray)
history by Dinty W. Moore
mangoes by John Bresland
when at a certain party in ny by Erin Belieu

how to submit 


  1. Submissions must be in one of the following formats: M4V, MOV, or Quick-​Time.​

  2. Submissions must be between 2 and 12 minutes long.​

  3. Submission fee is $10 per entry. The entry fee includes a year’s subscription to​ Iron Horse (that’s six issues!).​

  4. You can submit MOV files to us through Submittable, or you can email us ( and request that we set up a Dropbox delivery for you. Either way, you must pay for the submission fee of $10 through Submittable.

  5. Entries accepted beginning February 1 thru March 15 each year.​




only between Feb 1 and Mar 15 each year

previous winners



suite: billy gutz by Joe Johnston

mangoes by John Bresland

surnames by Mark Keats

a moment's pause by Sarah Viren

muscle, memory by Lauren Marostica

kids these days by Paul Hunton

fragments by Joe Johnson

story about snow and people by Jacob Cutler


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