Third Wednesday One Sentence Poetry Contest:

Our Fist Ever One Sentence Poetry Contest has ended.  From 70 entries of nearly 200 poems our judges chose 3 winning poems and another 30 poems were chosen for publication in our Summer 2018 issue.  Congratulations to winning poets  Mark Madigan, Mark Hinton and Brook Sadler.  Scroll down to read the winning poems.

The contest proved to be such a popular event that we've decided to do it again - twice per year in fact.  For this next round we'll be accepting submissions from August 15 to November 30, 2018.


Whether it's an American Sentence, Haiku(ish) or just a great poetic sentence, we want to see what you can pack into the basic building block of literature, the sentence.

The Simple Rules:

Each poem should have a title and should consist of a single English sentence with conventional punctuation. There is no limit on length.

You may include up to 3 one sentence poems in your entry, which must be a single spaced .doc or .docx file. Do not include any identifying information within the body of the document. Multiple entries are allowed.

Entries will be accepted from Septeber 1 to November 30, 2018 though our Submittable account. No email or paper submissions will be considered.

The Money:

$50 will be awarded to three winning poems. Our editors will also choose at least 20 additional entries for publication. Winners and all entries selected for publication will receive a print copy of the issue (an $11 value).

The entry fee of $5 must be paid via credit card or Pay Pal through Submittable. All entries will receive a PDF copy of the contest issue (a $5 value) in January of 2019, so the net cost of your first entry is ZERO. There is also an option for new subscribers to enter for free.

The Selection:

The contest will be judged by the editorial staff of Third Wednesday Magazine who will read submissions blindly, following the process we use with our regular submissions.

Legaleeze:By submitting work to Third Wednesday, the author grants us First Right to publish the work in print and electronically (on our blog or website).  Works that are accepted will be published in one issue of Third Wednesday and a very few will also appear on our blog to serve as examples of what we publish.  All copyrights revert to the author upon publication.

Winners from the previous contest:

PERCY (Winning Poem)

The Chamberlin Hotel

Ft. Monroe, VA

Though he took

no notice of me

since I was young

and perhaps only saw him

three or four times

the week he attended

to our table

I’ve never forgotten

the delicate art

of that old man,

how with his right hand

trembling a bit

he’d spear with a miniature

silver fork

a cold pat of butter

from the white china plate

carried in his left

and oh how gently

he’d lift it up

then set it beside

the crescent roll steaming

on my bread plate.

Mark Madigan

Springfield, Virginia


Looking at Charlie Russell paintings

at a gallery in Helena, Montana,

I realize what I think

poetry should always be:

a cowboy and horse

forever hanging

in mid-air,

a tumbling hat

stuck there,

a rattlesnake

always just about

to strike.

Mark Hinton

Bloomington, Minnesota

Upward Mobility (Winning Poem)

It appears a comical fumble,

the rough & tumble clacking of claws

as a dozen hermit crabs scramble

toward an empty shell,

newly washed ashore

on a sandy spit off the coast of Belize,

where a scarcity of shells

makes its arrival a rare opportunity

to upgrade to much-needed bigger digs,

for which each stalk-eyed creature

must vie, circling first the vacant property,

to see whether it is sized appropriately

(a shell made to fit—just enough spare room

to grow a bit), and finding that

none of these dozen mobile denizens

is big enough to take occupancy

of the new shell, circling next

each of their competitors,

tapping claws to shells, smaller claws

batting larger, sizing each other

up, until they’ve got it figured,

at which point, they perform

an extraordinary ordering,

quickly resolving themselves

into a queue, smallest to largest,

with the largest positioned strategically

next to the big, empty shell, but

since even it can’t fill that shoe,

they all sit and wait for the arrival

of an even bigger crab, who

soon enough ambles over,

and seems to know straight away

that it belongs at the front of the line,

and once there, quickly exits its own shell,

its soft, bare body coming out like a nude bather

who, surprised to discover the presence of an onlooker,

shyly scurries to cover her body,

and climbs into the new spiraled chalet,

an act which initiates a domino effect, as each

crab in the queue likewise

executes a swift exit, bashful dash,

and quick clamber to take hold

of the empty spot next door—

but it’s not a maneuver without risk

since a same-sized latecomer

might arrive at any moment, attempt to cut

in line and usurp a shell, leaving,

as in a game of musical chairs,

one crab out, naked and vulnerable

to hot sun or hungry gull, making it,

strategically, a good idea to go for the collective

scramble, which despite the clutching &

crawling and awkward claw-footed

social climbing, tends to the benefit of all.

Brook Sadler
Temple Terrace, Florida