2019 Sensations Magazine Best Newcomer Contest

IMPORTANT NOTE!   THE 2019 SENSATIONS MAGAZINE BEST NEWCOMER CONTEST IS OPEN ONLY TO U.S.-BASED POETS WHO HAVE NEVER BEEN PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED IN SENSATIONS MAGAZINE - If you, at any point, have been published in Sensations Magazine, these are NOT your submission requirements.  Use the Contact button to contact the Publisher for details on renewing your subscription for 2019.  Upon receipt of your subscription renewal, your 2019 submission requirements will be hard copy mailed with the first items we send.

If you have never been previously published in Sensations Magazine, here is your 2019 invitation:




Sensations Magazine Supplement 8, "Westward Expansion, 1784-1959," will sweep through 175 years of American history, divided into the following five categories:

Category 1:  Starting Westward, 1784-1830 (e.g., Land Ordinance, Louisiana Purchase, Erie Canal) Category 2:  The Systematic Purge of Native Americans From Their Homelands, 1830-1890
Category 3:  "From Sea to Shining Sea""  Westward Expansion to the "Continental 48," 1830-1912
  (e.g., Homestead Acts, "Manifest Destiny," Slave vs. Free States, the Intercontinental Railroad, the
  Pony Express, Wagon Trains and Westward Trails, "The Wild West," Immigrant Experiences, the
  Roads to Statehood)
Category 4:  The Dust Bowl and Subsequent Migration, 1930-1940
Category 5:  Alaska and Hawaii, to 1959 Statehood


First Place - $50, publication of all 3 poems, receipt of one copy of Supplement 8
Second Place - $25, publication of 2 poems, receipt of one copy of Supplement 8
Third Place - Publication of 2 poems and receipt of one copy of Supplement 8
Fourth Place - Publication of 1 poem and receipt of one copy of Supplement 8

Regardless of the total number of contest entrants, First to Fourth Place Awards will be issued.  The number of total awards will be determined by the quality of entries and number of entrants. 


1.  Do your research.  Make the results sensational.  Give us craft, creativity, and surprise.  Leave out any and all profanity.

2.  Choose a separate Category for each poem, from the above list of Category 1 to Category 5.

3.  Submit up to 3 poems in total:  50 lines or fewer (Poem 1), and 24 lines or fewer (Poems 2 & 3).  All poems submitted must be previously unpublished in any magazine, anthology, or poetry book.
4.  Submitted poems may be in free verse or form.  We like and have frequently published poetry in form.  While not required, submission of at least 1 poem in form - within the line and characters per line restrictions below - is welcomed.

5.  Do not exceed 45 characters per line.  For each M-dash used in a line, reduce that total by 5 characters per M-dash. 

6.  Put each poem on a separate paged, without any self-identifying information.  (No electronic submissions, whether in email text or attachments, will be opened or considered.)

7.  Include a cover sheet with ALL of the following:

- Your name (as you'd like it to appear in print, if your work is selected)
- Mailing address and ZIP code
- Email (will use for notification and any issues/will not be sold nor shared)
- Titles of poems, and associated Categories
- 50-word bio, plus your website link (if applicable)

8.  You may include a cover letter if you wish, including additional background, and some of your sources of research for your poetry submissions. 

9.  No SASE needed.  Poems will not be returned.  (Do not send originals.)

10.  Make entry fee check of $10 payable to "David Messineo" ONLY.  Put "2019 Contest" in MEMO section.  The $10 entry fee total applies whether you choose to submit 1, 2, or 3 poems in total.

11.  Submissions that do not adhere to all Contest Rules above will not be considered, and the entry fee will not be returned.  Poems will not be considered if your check bounces, until the $35 bank fee for a bounced check is paid.

12.  Mail cover sheet, poems, and payment, on or before the June 1, 2019 postmark deadline, to:

David Messineo, Publisher/Poetry Editor
Sensations Magazine
P.O. Box 132
Lafayette, NJ 07848-0132


1.  Upon receipt of your submissions and payment, we will mail you one "Poetry Sampler" - an envelope containing 3 previously published poems/tear sheets - which (along with your cancelled check) will be your confirmation that we have received your contest entries.

2.  The judging of all entries will begin on the postmark deadline of June 1.  All poetry selections will be made by Publisher/Poetry Editor David Messineo, whose decisions will be final.

3.  Email notification of contest winners will be sent by June 15.

4.  Supplement 8 will be published sometime in July 2019.  Those published in Supplement 8 will be invited to attend its debut in New Jersey (date/location TBD), at their own travel/lodging expense.

5.  Supplement 8 will be mailed after July 4, 2019.


1.  For the Westward Expansion theme, we are especially interested in lesser-known true stories, relayed via poetry, that are backed by personal research, as well as ones that take interesting and unusual creative spins on past realities.

2.  For those of you who relate to identity politics, we would welcome perspectives that bring insight into the experiences of all groups as they relate to Westward Expansion.  While we have a full category set aside for Native American experiences, we would like to see poetry that explores these experiences from the standpoint of women, African-Americans - slave and free, settlers from China and the Far East, lesbian and gay individuals and couples from these years, and others.

3.  Judging will consider both subject and craft.  In light of that, we will be looking for such craft elements as alliteration, assonance, internal rhyme, etc.

4.  If sending any poetry in form, note we prefer traditional form.  Show us you know how to write a good poem in form, whether sestina, sonnet, pantoum, villanelle, or something else.  Be sure to keep within the characters-per-line limit outlined in Contest Rule 5 above.

5.  Make sure everything is spelled correctly.  Sloppiness and/or not caring will not get you published.