COPPER NICKEL AND BLACK DIAMOND: It's not too late to enter Copper Nickel's Literary Contest!

OKAY, so the connection is a stretch.  But when COPPER NICKEL (the journal of art and literature published by the University of Colorado Denver) announced their first fiction and poetry CONTEST, I had to check it out.  The term copper nickel was originally applied to the Indian Head cent coin.  From 1913-1938, U.S. mints began producing the Indian Head nickel. The front side of the coin features the profile of an iconic Native American man, said to be a compilation of features from 4 prominent Native American men: Iron Tail, an Oglala Sioux chief; Two Moons, a Cheyenne chief; Big Tree, a Kiowa chief; and possibly John Big Tree, a member of the Seneca Nation.
The model for the bison on the back side of the coin is believed to have been BLACK DIAMOND, a bull from NY's Central Park Zoo.  He lived a long life but died a rather humbling death.

Now, let's talk about the literary Copper Nickel.  This impressive journal isn't just a publication for student writing.  It also features the poetry and prose of professional authors, like Pattiann Rogers and Lee Ann Roripaugh, or Alyson Hagy and Mary Clearman Blew.  "Weaving the Web," a short fiction piece of mine written while I was sequestered for a month in a mountain cabin, appears in Copper Nickel 10.  If you'd like a PDF of the story, send me a note.

Here's the low-down on the competition:  DEADLINE EXTENDED TO MAY 31!  Ten days away!  It's a two-part competition: poetry, and fiction.  Fiction submissions will be judged by RON CARLSON, author of one of my favorite writing books, Ron Carlson Writes A Story, published by Greywolf Press.  The winner will receive $1000 and publication in Copper Nickel 15 in Spring 2011.

The poetry contest will be judged by NATASHA TRETHEWAY, Pulitzer-Prize Winning author of Native Guard.  Her first poetry collection, Domestic Work was also published by Graywolf Press.

So don't wait.  Check out Copper Nickel's first literary competition now.  SUBMIT YOUR WORK.  When you do, think about what inspired your story or your poem and take a moment to honor the history of your words. 

And the next time you see an old Indian Nickel with a bison on the back, think of Black Diamond and the four nations that Iron Tail, and Two Moons, and Big Tree, and John Big Tree represent. Unlike Black Diamond, these nations, and OVER 500 OTHERS, are still alive and well.


Anonymous said…
Hi Page ~ As always, thanks for your attention to detail and the nudge to keep writing and putting ourselves out there. We all need the linked hands of committed presence. Write on! Julie
I love your phrase "linked hands of committed presence" - nice! And thank you for the comment. Hope you'll check out Copper Nickel.
It sounds like a wonderful contest and your research on the name was so interesting. (I collected coins with my brother at a young age, too young to know the stories).

Thank you.
I always wondered about the history of the Indian nickel so it was fun to do a little research!

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