Thursday, November 4, 2021

17th Annual Scissortail: The Poster


Scissortail Submission Guidelines 2021-2022

17th Annual Scissortail Festival, March 31-April 2, 2022

We intend to hold an in-person festival. We invite submissions to be considered for the program. Please send your best work, while considering the following guidelines. Please follow exactly.

COVID DISCLAIMER:  By submitting your work to be included as a participant and/or audience member of the 2022 Scissortail Festival, you voluntarily acknowledge that you have been vaccinated for COVID and/or you fully accept all responsibility for any potential health risk when gathering in these public events. By submitting work to be included on the festival program, applicants further agree to hold harmless the Scissortail Creative Writing Festival and East Central University. You also recognize that plans to hold an in-person festival, could be changed at the last minute, as necessary, due to unforeseen circumstances associated with Covid, and/or the festival could be canceled at the discretion of East Central University.

* We anticipate that authors will have up to 20 minutes to present their material – this is the total time at the mic, including any comments you make in addition to the presented material.

* Scissortail is a reading festival. No workshops, how-to, propaganda or pre-arranged panels are acceptable. Reading sessions feature a mixture of authors and genre.

* Fiction and creative nonfiction writers are encouraged to Excerpt their submission to fit into the time restraints (The appeal of a narrative may, in fact, be heightened by presenting a carefully selected excerpt, rather than speed-reading).

* Due to the number of participants, it is not possible to accommodate scheduling requests.

* Please understand that Ada, Oklahoma is a small town with very limited public transportation and has a limited number of hotel rooms. Ada is a two-hour drive from the Oklahoma City airport, three hours from DFW (in good traffic) and two and half hours from Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Scissortail Festival is unable to provide shuttle service to and from these airports, so please consider these factors before submitting.

* Sessions usually consist of 3 or 4 readers per session. Authors may plan for up to 20 minutes total time at the mic – including prose, including commentary. Please respect your audience and fellow readers by diligently adhering to time restraints.

Submit by email: 1) complete contact information 2) the title of your program and the work to be considered – please consider the time restraints per reader. 3) a paragraph-length biographical narrative summarizing publications and significant accomplishments (please write bios in 3rd person).

Deadline for submission is December 20, 2021. The schedule will be announced as early as possible, in January, and certainly by early February at the latest.

Send email submissions to: Identify “Scissortail Submission” in the subject line.

Please check your calendar before submitting. Participants are not charged registration fees, nor are authors compensated. Please subscribe by providing your email on this website in order to receive notice of information regarding the festival and related events. Updates are posted here. 

Hotel Arrangements

Call 1 (580) 436-5000
As for Scissortail Festival Rate (beginning at $85)

17th Annual Scissortail: Featured Authors


Lou Berney is the author of November Road (winner of the Dagger, Hammett, Anthony, Barry, Lefty, and Macavity, and a Washington Post Best Book of 2018), The Long and Faraway Gone (winner of the Edgar, Anthony, Barry, Macavity, and ALA awards), Whiplash River, and Gutshot Straight, all from William Morrow. He’s also written a collection of stories, The Road to Bobby Joe, and his short fiction has appeared in publications such as The New Yorker, Ploughshares, and the Pushcart Prize anthology. He teaches in the MFA program at Oklahoma City University.


Jennifer Givhan is a Mexican-American and indigenous poet and novelist (author of Trinity Sight and Jubilee), who grew up in the Imperial Valley, a small, border community in the Southern California desert. Her family has ancestral ties to the indigenous peoples of New Mexico and Texas, including Ysleta del Sur and the Tigua Indian peoples of the Ysleta region of El Paso.

Givhan earned her Master’s degree in Fine Arts in Poetry from Warren Wilson College in North Carolina and a Master’s degree in English Literature and Creative Writing at California State University Fullerton. She has been awarded a 2015 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a PEN/Rosenthal Emerging Voices Fellowship, The Frost Place Latinx Scholarship, a 2020 Southwest Book Award, an Honorable Mention for 2021 The Rudolfo Anaya Best Latino Focused Fiction Book Award category from the International Latino Book Awards Foundation, The 2019 New Ohio Review Poetry Prize chosen by Tyehimba Jess, Cutthroat Journal’s 2018 Joy Harjo Poetry Prize chosen by Patricia Spears Jones, The 2017 Greg Grummer Poetry Prize chosen by Monica Youn, The 2015 Lascaux Review Editors’ Choice Poetry Prize, and The Pinch Poetry Prize chosen by Ada Limón.

Givhan’s poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction has appeared in The New Republic, The Nation, Best of the Net, Best New Poets, AGNI, TriQuarterly, Ploughshares, POETRY, Boston Review, Crazyhorse, Blackbird, The Kenyon Review, New England Review, Salon, The Rumpus, and Prairie Schooner, among many others.


Arthur Sze is a poet, translator, and editor. He is the author of eleven books of poetry, including The Glass Constellation: New and Collected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2021); Sight Lines (Copper Canyon, 2019), which won the 2019 National Book Award for Poetry; Compass Rose (Copper Canyon, 2014), a Pulitzer Prize finalist; The Ginkgo Light (Copper Canyon, 2009), selected for the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association Book Award in Poetry and a PEN Southwest Book Award; Quipu (Copper Canyon, 2005); The Redshifting Web: Poems 1970-1998 (Copper Canyon, 1998), selected for the Balcones Poetry Prize and an Asian-American Literary Award; and Archipelago (Copper Canyon, 1995), selected for an American Book Award.

His other books include River River (1987), Dazzled (1982), Two Ravens (1976; revised edition, 1984), and The Willow Wind (1972; revised edition, 1981). He has also published The Silk Dragon: Translations from the Chinese (Copper Canyon, 2001), selected for a Western States Book Award, and edited Chinese Writers on Writing (Trinity University Press, 2010). Pig's Heaven Inn, a bilingual, Chinese/English selected poems, was published in Beijing (Intellectual Property Publishing House, 2014).

His poems have appeared internationally in such publications as American Poet; The American Poetry Review; Boston Review; Chicago Review; Conjunctions; Field; The Georgia Review; Harvard Review; The Kenyon Review; Manoa; The Massachusetts Review; Michigan Quarterly Review; Narrative; The Nation; New England Review; The New Republic; The New York Times; The New Yorker; Orion; The Paris Review; Ploughshares; Poetry; Tin House; Triquarterly; The Virginia Quarterly Review; The Washington Post; Hotel Parnassus: Poetry International 2007 (Rotterdam); Kyoto Journal (Kyoto); Pamirs Poetry Journey: The First Chinese-English Poetry Festival, 2007 (Huang Shan, China); Promoteo (XIX Festival Internacional de Poesía de Medellín, 2009); American Alphabets; The Best American Poetry (2004, 2019, 2020); Language for a New Century; The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses (1996, 2010, 2020) and Verse and Universe. His poems have been translated into thirteen languages: Albanian, Brazilian Portuguese, Burmese, Chinese, Dutch, German, Italian, Korean, Lithuanian, Romanian, Spanish, Turkish, and Uzbek.

He is the recipient of many awards and fellowships, including the 8th Annual ‘T’ Space Poetry Award (2020), The Jackson Poetry Prize from Poets & Writers (2013), a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award (1998-2000), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1997), a Lannan Literary Award for Poetry (1995), two National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships (1982, 1993), a George A. and Eliza Gardner Howard Foundation Fellowship, Brown University (1991), five Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry grants (1980, 1983, 1994, 1997, 2012), and the Eisner Prize, University of California at Berkeley (1971). Sze was a Helen Zell Visiting Writer at the University of Michigan (2019), a Humana Visiting Scholar at Centre College (2012), a Visiting Hurst Professor at Washington University (2005), a Doenges Visiting Artist at Mary Baldwin College (2004-2005), and has conducted residencies at Brown University, Bard College, Naropa University, and the University of Utah. He served as Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2012 to 2017 and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017. He is a professor emeritus at the Institute of American Indian Arts and was the first Poet Laureate of Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he lives.

Scissortail Creative Writing Festival 2022 Undergraduate Creative Writing Contest

Prizes: * 1st - $100 * 2nd - $75 * 3rd - $50
(Plus Books & Honorable Mentions)

  • Contest is open only to currently enrolled undergraduate students.
  • Eligible students are expected to attend the Festival. Recognition will occur Friday evening, April 1, 2022. (Please do not submit if you cannot attend the festival).
  • Submissions must be confirmed by a sponsoring faculty member.
  • Each institution is allowed a maximum of 5 (five entries); This includes ECU.
  • Each institution is responsible for selecting its contestants
  • Submissions are limited to one of three categories: 1) one piece of short fiction (up to 7500 words), or one piece of creative nonfiction (up to 7500 words), or up to three poems (150 lines total).
  • Prizes will not be designated by genre, but will be awarded for best writing.
  • All entries must be the original work of the student.
  • All entries must be neatly typed; please double-space prose entries.
  • Entries will not be returned, so keep your originals.
  • No identifying marks should be on the manuscript itself, except for the title.
  • Provide separate Cover page with contact information: 1) Student’s Name; 2) Student’s email address AND mailing address 3) Faculty Member’s Name & Email address 3) Institution4) Classification 5) Phone number 6) Title of original work submitted
  • Submit work by email to Dr. Jennifer Dorsey at In the subject line of your email submission, type “Scissortail Undergraduate Contest.”
  • Professor Dorsey will screen initial entries, then an outside judge will judge all entries that meet minimum guidelines.
DEADLINE: Email entries to must be received by Midnight February 20, 2022. There will be no exceptions. Recognition of writers will occur Friday April 1 as part of the Scissortail Creative Writing Festival held at East Central University (March 31 - April 2, 2022). Please visit (and subscribe via email) to receive festival updates. Contact: Ken Hada, (580) 559-5557 for information regarding the Festival

Judge: Dr. Joey Brown, Professor in English at Missouri Southern State University. Joey holds an interdisciplinary PhD from the University of Oklahoma and a Masters of Arts in Creative Writing and American Literature from the University of Oklahoma. She teaches creative writing (and other writing courses) at MSSU. Joey writes poetry and prose. Her work has appeared in several literary journals including Concho River Review, Langdon Review of the Arts in Texas, Quiddity, storySouth, and San Pedro River Review. She is the author of two poetry collections: Oklahomaography (Mongrel Empire Press), and The Feral Love Poems (Hungry Buzzard Press). Joey lives in Missouri with her husband, prose writer Michael Howarth, and their rescue dogs in their somewhat renovated house.

Sponsors: The Undergraduate Writing Contest is sponsored by The East Central University Foundation, Inc, in partnership with THE RED EARTH MFA program from Oklahoma City University, directed by Rob Roensch. Information:

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

18th Annual R. Darryl Fisher Creative Writing Contest

East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma presents

Oklahoma’s Most Prestigious High School Writing Competition

Prizes to be awarded at ECU, Scissortail Festival, April 2, 2022
Fiction: 1st Place $250; 2nd Place $150; 3rd Place $100
Poetry: 1st Place $250; 2nd Place $150; 3rd Place $100
20 Honorable Mention Awards of $25 each

* All Oklahoma high school students (9th - 12th grade) are eligible.
* Poetry (up to 100 lines) or Short Fiction (up to 6,000 words) is acceptable.
* Limit 5 poems and 1 short fiction piece per student.
* All entries must be the original work of the student.
* All entries must be neatly typed; please double-space fiction entries.
* Entries will not be returned, so keep your originals.
* No identifying marks should be on the manuscript itself, except for the title.
* Provide cover page with contact information: 1) Student’s name; 2) High School and Teacher’s name 3) Classification (senior, junior, etc.) 4) Phone number, Email and student’s mailing address (work submitted without a mailing address will not be judged).

* Work may be submitted through conventional mail or email.

DEADLINE: Conventional mail must be postmarked on or before Friday, February 11, 2022. Email entries must be sent by 11:59 p.m. on February 11, 2021. There will be no exceptions. Winners will be notified and awards will be presented to students during the annual Scissortail Festival at ECU, April 2, 2022. The names of winning writers will be posted on this website..

Poetry Submissions: send work electronically as attached files to or mail to Dr. Joshua Grasso, East Central University, Dept. of English and Languages, 1100 E. 14th St., Ada, OK 74820

Fiction Submissions: send work electronically as attached files to or mail to Dr. Mark Walling, East Central University, Dept. of English and Languages, 1100 E. 14th St., Ada, OK 74820

Contest Information: Dr. Joshua Grasso (580-235-3197); Dr. Mark Walling (580-559-5440). Scissortail Creative Writing Festival Information: Dr. Ken Hada (580-559-5557)

Thursday, March 11, 2021

16th Annual Scissortail: The Poster

Schedule of Live-stream Readings (all times are Central Time Zone)

Scissortail Creative Writing Festival: April 1, 2 & 3, 2021

The Festival live stream will appear on Tiger Media*'s YouTube page:

When we are live, the stream should be the most recent video option to click on.

Thursday, April 1
4:00pm - Welcome to Scissortail 2021 with Moderator / Kai Coggin
6:00pm – Andrew Geyer

Friday, April 2
4:00pm - Tiffany Midge
6:00pm - Quraysh Ali Lansana

Saturday, April 3
2:00pm - Students
4:00pm – Barbara Crooker
6:00pm - Author 6 / Closing out Scissortail 2021 with Moderator / Octavio Quintanilla

*Tiger Media is a student production group at East Central University under the Art + Design : Media + Communication department in the School of Fine Arts.

2021 Scissortail Biographies

Kai Coggin is the author of three full-length poetry collections PERISCOPE HEART (Swimming with Elephants 2014), WINGSPAN (Golden Dragonfly Press 2016), and INCANDESCENT (Sibling Rivalry Press 2019), as well as a spoken word album SILHOUETTE (2017). She is a queer woman of color who thinks Black lives matter, a teaching artist in poetry with the Arkansas Arts Council, and the host of the longest running consecutive weekly open mic series in the country—Wednesday Night Poetry. Recently named “Best Poet in Arkansas” by the Arkansas Times, her fierce and powerful poetry has been nominated three times for The Pushcart Prize, as well as Bettering American Poetry 2015, and Best of the Net 2016 and 2018. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Cultural Weekly, Entropy, NELLE, Sinister Wisdom, Calamus Journal, Lavender Review, Luna Luna, Blue Heron Review, Yes, Poetry and elsewhere. Coggin is Associate Editor at The Rise Up Review. She lives with her wife and their two adorable dogs in the valley of a small mountain in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas.

Barbara Crooker is a poetry editor for Italian-Americana, and author of nine full-length books of poetry, with Some Glad Morning coming out in the Pitt Poetry Series in 2019. Her awards include the WB Yeats Society of New York Award, the Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Award, and three Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships. Her work appears in a variety of literary journals and anthologies, including The Valparaiso Poetry Review, The Chariton Poetry Review, Green Mountains Review, Tar River Poetry Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal, The Hollins Critic, The Denver Quarterly, Smartish Pace, Gargoyle, Christianity and Literature, The American Poetry Journal, Dogwood, Zone 3, Passages North, Nimrod, Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania, The Bedford Introduction to Literature Nasty Women: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse, and has been read on the ABC, the BBC, The Writer’s Almanac, and featured on Ted Kooser's American Life in Poetry.

Andrew Geyer’s ninth book, the story cycle Lesser Mountains (Lamar University Press, 2019), won a 2020 Independent Publisher Book Award (IPPY) for U.S. South - Best Regional Fiction. His other individually authored books are Dixie Fish, a novel; Siren Songs from the Heart of Austin, a story cycle; Meeting the Dead, a novel; and Whispers in Dust and Bone, a story cycle that won the silver medal for short fiction in the Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Awards and a Spur Award for short fiction from the Western Writers of America. He is the co-author, with Jerry Craven and Terry Dalrymple, of the hybrid story cycle Dancing on Barbed Wire. Geyer also co-authored Parallel Hours, an alternative history/sci fi novel; and Texas 5X5, another hybrid story cycle from which one of his stories won a second Spur Award for short fiction. He co-edited the composite anthology A Shared Voice with Tom Mack. A member of the Texas Institute of Letters and the South Carolina Academy of Authors Literary Hall of Fame, Geyer currently serves as English Department Chair at the University of South Carolina Aiken and Fiction Editor for Concho River Review.

Quraysh Ali Lansana is author of nine poetry books, three textbooks, three children's books, editor of eight anthologies, and coauthor of a book of pedagogy. He is a Fellow with the Tulsa Artist Fellowship, an adjunct professor for Oklahoma State University – Tulsa, and Curriculum Auditor for Tulsa Public Schools. He is a former faculty member of both the Writing Program of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Drama Division of The Juilliard School. Lansana served as Director of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing at Chicago State University from 2002-2011, where he was also Associate Professor of English/Creative Writing until 2014. Lansana is currently a Contributing Editor for Oklahoma Today magazine, and served as the Poetry Section Editor for Black Issues Book Review, as well as a Reading/Language Arts Editor for three of the largest educational publishing companies in the nation. He also worked as a Special Program Editor for Chicago Public Radio’s Every Other Hour series InVerse. Lansana was also an Assignment Desk Assistant for KWTV-9 in Oklahoma City and a News Director for KGOU Radio in Norman. Our Difficult Sunlight: A Guide to Poetry, Literacy & Social Justice in Classroom & Community (with Georgia A. Popoff) was published in March 2011 by Teachers & Writers Collaborative and was a 2012 NAACP Image Award nominee. His most recent books include the skin of dreams: new & collected poems, 1995-2018 (The Calliope Group, LLC); The Whiskey of Our Discontent: Gwendolyn Brooks as Conscience & Change Agent, w/Georgia A. Popoff (Haymarket Books, 2017); Revise the Psalm: Work Celebrating the Writings of Gwendolyn Brooks w/Sandra Jackson-Opoku (Curbside Splendor, 2017); A Gift from Greensboro (Penny Candy Books, 2016); The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip Hop w/Kevin Coval and Nate Marshall (Haymarket Books, 2015) and The Walmart Republic w/ Christopher Stewart (Mongrel Empire Press, 2014).

Poet Tiffany Midge is the author of Bury My Heart at Chuck E. Cheese’s, (Nebraska UP, 2019), a collection of life, politics, and identity as a Native woman in today’s America. Other books include Guiding the Stars to Their Campfire, Driving the Salmon to Their Beds (Gazoobi Tales); the full-length poetry collection Outlaws, Renegades and Saints: Diary of a Mixed-Up Halfbreed (Greenfield Review Press, 1996), winner of the Diane Decorah Memorial Poetry Award; the collection, The Woman Who Married a Bear (The University of New Mexico Press, 2016), winner of the Kenyon Review Earthworks Prize for Indigenous Poetry; and the children's book Animal Lore and Legend: Buffalo (Scholastic, 1995). Midge's work has appeared in North American Review, World Literature Today, The Raven Chronicles, Florida Review, South Dakota Review, Shenandoah, Poetry Northwest and the online journals No Tell Motel and Drunken Boat. She earned an MFA from the University of Idaho, and an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. She is of Hunkpapa Sioux and German ancestry, and grew up in the Pacific Northwest, where she lives now.

Octavio Quintanilla is the author of the poetry collection, If I Go Missing (Slough Press, 2014) and the 2018-2020 Poet Laureate of San Antonio, TX. His poetry, fiction, translations, and photography have appeared, or are forthcoming, in journals such as Salamander, RHINO, Alaska Quarterly Review, Pilgrimage, Green Mountains Review, Southwestern American Literature, The Texas Observer, Existere: A Journal of Art & Literature, and elsewhere. Reviews of his work can be found at CutBank Literary Journal, Concho River Review, San Antonio Express-News, American Microreviews & Interviews, Southwestern American Literature, Pleiades, and others. You can check out his Frontextos (visual poems) in Gold Wake Live, Newfound, Chachalaca Review, Chair Poetry Evenings, Red Wedge, The Museum of Americana, About Place Journal, The American Journal of Poetry, The Windward Review, Tapestry, and Twisted Vine Literary Arts Journal. His visual work has been exhibited at Presa House Gallery, AllState Almaguer art space in Mission, TX, the Weslaco Museum, Our Lady of the Lake University, El Centro Cultural Hispano de San Marcos, and at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center / Black Box Theater. An exhibit of work is forthcoming at The Southwest School of Art in San Antonio, TX. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Texas and is the regional editor for Texas Books in Review and poetry editor for The Journal of Latina Critical Feminism. Octavio teaches Literature and Creative Writing in the M.A./M.F.A. program at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas. Check out his website: or find him on Instagram @writeroctavioquintanilla & Twitter @OctQuintanilla

Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, 2010 to the Present

Click on the following links to see reading schedules, author bios, and posters from previous festivals.
2010: Schedule, Bios
2020: Schedule, Bios, (canceled due to Covid-19)

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Winners of the 17th Annual R. Darryl Fisher Creative Writing Contest

Poetry Winners:
First place: Cora Bosse, “The Weightless Coat of Regret” (Norman/Instructor: Sara Doolittle)
Second place: Elaine Gao, “The Impossible Life,” (Jenks/Emily Stewart)
Third place: Jordan Six, “Man” (Washington/Haley Price)

Honorable Mentions:
Nathaniel Bowman, “The Child’s Truth” (Lawton/Dr. Freeman)
Emily Spotts, “Deadalus” (Lawton/Dr. Freeman)
Natalie Schubert, “Old Man Mountain” (Claremore/Jill Andrews)
Isabelle Clement, “The Arts” (Norman/Sara Doolittle)
Catherine Thai, “Victory or Defeat” (Norman/Sara Doolittle)
Carter Marshall, “Knight Takes Rook” (Edmond/Ms. Kelly Bristow)
Journey Bennett, “Last Line Poem” (Marlow/Mrs. Field)
Jenna Watson, “Evergreen Conversations” (Noble/Mrs. Alger)
Kira Berkey, “We are the good guys” (Hydro/Lia Hillman)
Danielle Pador, “In a Perfect World” (Durant/Mrs. Hogan)

Fiction Winners:
First place: Ashleigh Ross, “Consequences” (Collinsville/Melissa Brown)
Second place: Cassandra Diehl, “We Always Leave” (Norman/Sara Doolittle)
Third place: Lillian Phillips, “The Intricate Ritual” (Cascia Hall/Sarah Kennedy)

Honorable Mentions:
Gracie Kinnaman, “Delilah’s Letters” (Cascia Hall/Mary Suliburk)
Carter Marshall, “The Last Dream” (Edmond Memorial/Kelly Bristow)
Tayah Darks, “Flower of Death” (Edmond Memorial/Kelly Bristow)
Elissa Marks, “You, Too, Are Something of a Star” (Edmond Memorial/Kelly Bristow)
Liberty Rogers, “When the Animals Began to Speak” (Dale/Taylor Chesser)
Sarah Peters, “The Shadow Plague” (Shawnee/Linsey Mastin)
Natalie Schubert, “The Land Beyond the Trenches” (Claremore/Jill Andrews)
Helen Sanders, “Weighed Down” (Noble/Manuela Alger)
Marshall Stubblefield, “At My Fault” (Shattuck/Gina Huenergardt
Evan Boothe, “Captain Nemo and the Esoteric Order of Dagon” (Washington/Haley Price)