Men’s Women’s Poetry Competition

We here at Hoochie don’t subscribe to the principle of gender-exclusive art experience. Accordingly, we do not support gender-exclusive art competitions which are organized for any reason other than to remedy differential access to art awards. Such unfairness is not uncommon, but it is not universal. The competition held by MsLexia magazine seems to fall outside of this category. In mildly satirical but nonetheless authentic terms we hereby announce the first-ever Hoochie Woman ‘zine Men’s Women’s Poetry Competition.

WHEREAS literary imagination is an ungendered realm;

WHEREAS a person’s status as a human being accounts for greater differences in their respective experience than their status as a person of gender;

WHEREAS Mslexia magazine’s competition implicitly endorses the notion that men are incapable of writing certain kinds of poetry, and by extension the general principle that some kinds of art are exclusive to some kinds of people;

the editors of Hoochie announce their intent to award a $100 prize to the male poet who submits the poem that best represents a woman’s experience from a woman’s point of view.

Please make sure you have read the rules before submitting.


  • Entries may be submitted online, by email to hoochiewomanzine@gmail.com. Payment for your entry may be submitted via PayPal; if you do not have a PayPal account, you will find that you are able to submit a credit card payment to hoochiewomanzine@gmail.com using PayPal without signing up. Please add a $1 processing charge to cover administration. If the email account you use for the electronic payment is different from that you use to submit your poems, please make this known to us.
  • Poems may be in any style, of any length, on any subject which addresses woman’s experience or on any subject addressed through a perspective constructed so as to seem like a woman’s. Sequences will be judged as separate poems.
  • Each poem should be typed, on A4 paper, single sided and with pages numbered.
  • Please do not write your name on the same sheet as your poems. The author’s identity will not be known by those judging the poems.
  • Enclose a separate sheet with your name, address, telephone number, email address, plus the title/s of your poem/s.
  • Mark your envelope ‘Men’s Women’s Poetry Competition,’ and mail to 95 Melville Avenue, Boston MA 02124, attn. Zachary Bos.
  • The entry fee of $5 allows you to enter up to three poems. You may enter as many as many times as you like, provided each set of poems is accompanied by the $5 entry fee.
  • Entry fees are payable in dollars American.
  • Entries sent by post can be paid for using PayPal; please include notice of your payment confirmation with your poems. Checks should be made payable to the Boston Poetry Union.
  • Overseas entries may be submitted by post or online.
  • Entries will not be returned; please retain your own copy. If you require acknowledgment of receipt of your entries please list an email address through which we can use to contact you.
  • No alterations may be made to a poem once it has been submitted.
  • Winners will be contacted in September 2010 and winning poems will be published in the Winter 2010 issue of Hoochie, as well as on the Hoochie blog.
  • Copyright of each poem remains with the author, but Hoochie has the unrestricted right to publish the winning poems in print and online, as well as retaining unrestricted rights to use the winning poems and any related material for PR purposes.


  • Poems must concern themselves with the female experience, either indirectly through consideration of some subject related to the female (an ode to pregnancy, for example), or directly through creative imagining of some subject or scenario as if by a woman (for example, a female character considers her own pregnancy).
  • Poems should be in English (or English dialect) and should not have been published, self-published or accepted for publication elsewhere, including in online publications.
  • Poems that have won or are under consideration in other poetry competitions are not eligible.
  • Poems should not be a translation of another author’s work.
  • We will accept poems from men of any nationality from any country.
  • You do not have to subscribe to notions of gender difference to be eligible, but you do have to be a man. This competition, while not a hoax, is a direct and nearly-satirical challenge to gender-exclusive writing competitions.
  • Paid associates of the Boston Poetry Union are not eligible to compete.

For more information or clarification, contact us at hoochiewomanzine@gmail.com. Closing date: 15 August 2010.

7 thoughts on “Men’s Women’s Poetry Competition

  1. Are you serious? All this effort, simply because a publication explicitly devoted to women has a competition that’s women-only?? Are y’all absolutely, completely and _totally_ sure you’re not sexists in disguise? Methinks Hoochie doth protest too much!

  2. At the very least, folks, have the contest be judged by a woman! (!!!!!!) If you do not, then you betray what seemed to be behind this contest all along: a true discomfort with women in power.

  3. Wha–, you write that this response is motivated by discomfort by women in power. I don’t know how women are empowered by having their work judged in a limited category. In principle, I dispute the notion that there are gender-exclusive art experiences. A man can write as good a poem about being a woman as a woman can, because art is a product of imagination, not just experience. Crucially, this is the corollary of the principle that a woman can write any kind of poem as well as a man can. Art-in-potential is never gendered — that is, never limited by the artist’s gender — though, indisputably, the artifact might be gendered. The aim of this contest is to celebrate art objects (in this case, poems) whose gender is different from that of the author.

    The contest will be judged by a male, incidentally, myself. Do you think my editorial judgment is impaired by my gender?

    • Neither ability to write nor editorial judgment is impaired by gender. Gender empathy, however, is affected by filtering perspectives through testosterone- or estrogen- based bodies. Evolution, instinct, a longer history of traditional roles than non-traditional, motivations, and goals can be different for each gender. Equal in dignity, evolved for different purposes, it IS a challenge to see how close a male could get to empathy for the oppposite gender. It is a desirable exercise, because it could lead to better inter-gender relationships, which are badly needed. If it’s just a joke or a protest, then it’s just a joke or a protest.

  4. I sympathize with your point of view, as a woman writing a novel from the perspective of a man. It seems to me that entering into new viewpoints and personas, such as a different gender, is part of what makes art both fun and subversive.

  5. Of course, your contest begs the question “what IS a female topic or point of view, anyway?” i.e. if you reject gender-essentialism (as I do), how would you determine whether a poem is female enough?

    Just to make this more confusing 🙂

  6. No, editorial judgment should not be impaired by gender, but probably the concept of this contest (and the MsLexia contest) certainly is/was.

    How about allowing entries from women poets writing as men writing as women/perspective of women characters?



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