Unclassifiable Contest – Submissions Open!

Our 10th annual Unclassifiable Contest is open May 1 to July 31, 11:59 P.M. EST.

Unclassifiable Contest

Challenged by Diaghilev to astonish him (“Etonnez-moi!”), Cocteau responded with an “unclassifiable” ballet: music by Satie, sets and costumes by Picasso, book by himself. The year: 1910. In this age of branding and marketing, can such “unclassifiable” works survive? What is gained—or lost—when boundaries are blurred?

Our Unclassifiable contest is for works that blur, bend, blend, erase, or obliterate genre and other labels. We consider works of up to 5,000 words. Michael Martone judges our Unclassifiable contest.

All submissions must be sent through Submittable (link below) and will be read blind, so please do not include your name or identifying material anywhere on the manuscript. The entry fee is $10, and the winner will receive $500. Only send us work that has not been previously published elsewhere.


2023 Winner

Christy Sheffield Sanford, “Wreck Tangles of Désirée Acking,” which appears in Issue 47 of Arts & Letters.


2023 Finalists

Kelly Houle, “Alphabet Shell and Other Poems”
Tom Laichas, “Four Pieces”
Ayesha Raees, “CYCLE”
Julie Marie Wade, “Healthcare Hopscotch: 2001-2011”


Unclassifiable Judge

Michael Martone’s newest book is Table Talk & Second Thoughts: A Memoir in Prose Poems. Plain Air: Sketches from Winesburg, Indiana (Baobab Press) and The Complete Writings of Art Smith, the Bird Boy of Fort Wayne, Edited by Michael Martone (BOA Editions) appeared recently. Retired after forty years of teaching at Iowa State, Harvard, Syracuse, and the University of Alabama, he lives in Tuscaloosa next to the abandoned gothic country club featured in Walker Percy’s novel Love in the Ruins.

The Unclassifiable Contest is now

open for submissions

until July 31!

Michael Martone