Middle West Press

There are presently no open calls for submissions.


Middle West Press is a Johnston, Iowa-based editor and publisher of non-fiction, fiction, and poetry. Our projects are often inspired by the people, places, and history of the American Midwest.

"One Heart, Four Paws" 2016 Haiku Contest 

Central Iowa non-profit Paws & Effect, in conjunction with publishers Middle West Press LLC, is conducting a Second Annual writing and art contest celebrating bonds among humans and animals. Winners and finalists will be selected in youth (up to age 16) and adult categories. Deadline is Sat., Jan. 9, 2016. There is no entry fee.

Finalists will be recognized with a special print publication of their work, which will be presented at Paws & Effect's annual "One Heart, Four Paws" Valentine's Day reception.

"We chose the haiku because of the form's familiarity and accessibility, whether you're a grade-schooler or graduate student," says Middle West Press editor Randy Brown. "We also want people to focus on moments, interactions with animals in the home, in nature, and at work."

Established in 2006 and based in Des Moines, Paws & Effect is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that raises, trains, and places service dogs with military veterans and children diagnosed with medical needs. The group also registers therapy animals through Pet Partners, and regularly hosts NADAC-sanctioned dog-agility events for fun and fund-raising. Its Beaverdale neighborhood storefront also serves as a training center, as well as home base to Troop 232 of the Dog Scouts of America.

"Through our training and just-for-fun activities, community outreach projects, book club meetings, and even writing and art contests, we are always looking for ways to engage each other in conversations—about how we relate to animals, and how we relate to each other in society, says Paws & Effect Executive Director Nicole Shumate."

Only one submission per entrant. Send up to five (5) haiku in a single word-processing file via Submittable, or by postal mail to:

Paws & Effect Haiku Contest 
c/o Middle West Press
P.O. Box 31099
Johnston, Iowa 50131-9428

All hardcopy entries become the property of Paws & Effect and will not be returned.

Entrants aged 15 and younger may choose to submit short poetry that varies from the haiku form, and/or visual artwork.

For the purposes of the contest, a haiku poem will:

  • Consist of three lines; each respectively comprising 5, 7, and 5 syllables each, for a total of 17.
  • Ideally incorporate a reference to one of the four seasons, or to nature.

Entries will be judged on factors such as: originality, creativity, humor, and adherence to the specified haiku format.