Straw Dog Writers Guild is pleased to announce a new, online project featuring poetry and literary prose. In an attempt to keep our community connected during these isolating times, we hope to give writers a platform to express their personal responses to life inside the Coronavirus pandemic. This is not to say that your work must specifically use the words pandemic, Corona virus or COVID-19. We seek writing that reflects this unique time for you and your community, from Straw Dog members and residents of Hampshire, Hampden, Franklin, and Berkshire counties. 

Submissions will be published each week. Preference is given to unpublished, original work. Previously published work will be considered with acknowledgements.

Submissions open until August 31, 2020


  1. There is no submission fee.
  2. Open to poets and literary prose writers who are Straw Dog members and to residents of Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, and Berkshire counties. 
  3. Submissions must relate to life during the Covid-19 pandemic. This does not mean that your work must specifically use the words pandemic, Corona virus, or Covid-19. What we care most about is writing that reflects this unique time. 
  4. Writers retain all rights to their work.
  5. Simultaneous submissions are fine. Please notify us right away if your work is accepted elsewhere. 
  6. Writers whose work appears in the Straw Dog Writers Guild newsletter, website, or the SDWG Facebook page understand that their work may be considered “previously published” by future magazines or organizations.  


  1. You may submit up to three pieces which must be received as one paginated, doc, or .docx document. 
  2. Your name and email should appear at the top of each page. 
  3. Use 12pt type in either Times New Roman or Garamond. Prose should be double-spaced.  
  4. Include bio of 50 words (which includes county of residence and whether or not you are a Straw Dog Writers Guild member).  
  5. No more than three poems or prose pieces per submission.
  6. Submissions may include a mix of poetry and literary prose. 
  7. Maximum length for poetry is three pages per poem.
  8. Literary prose should not exceed 500 words. Literary prose includes first-person perspective, flash fiction, creative non-fiction, speculative fiction, fiction-fiction, epistolary writing, etc.   
  9. Send your submissions to
  10. Please put “Pandemic Project” and your last name in the subject line. 
  11. At the time of submission, you should receive an automatic reply that we have received your document. If you do not receive an automatic reply, please contact us by email at
  12. We are unable to provide critique of your work. 
  13. If we accept your work for publication, subsequent submissions may be considered, but preference will go to writers not yet published by the Pandemic Poetry and Prose project of Straw Dog Writers Guild. 

Please consider becoming a member.


Jacqueline Sheehan, is a New York Times Bestselling author and has published six novels. Jacqueline has been awarded fellowships in Scotland, Wyoming, and Martha’s Vineyard. She is one of the founders and former president of The Straw Dog Writers Guild in Western Massachusetts.

Lesléa Newman has created 75 books including the poetry collections, October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard, I Carry My Mother,  and the forthcoming I Wish My Father. She is a past poet laureate of Northampton, and recipient of a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Patricia Lee Lewis offers writing workshops at Patchwork Farm Retreat, western MA, and writing & yoga retreats internationally and on line. MFA in Creative Writing, Vermont College of Fine Arts; BA, Smith College, PBK. Founding member, Straw Dog Writers Guild.  Award-winning poet. Books: A Kind of Yellow, and High Lonesome.

Becky Jones is treasurer and a founding member of Straw Dog Writers, currently working as Details Wrangler for the Pandemic Project, logging your submissions and collating proofread pieces, bios, and photos to be transformed into beautiful blog postings [done by Laura Stone]. She leads bereavement writing groups and sometimes finds time to write poetry.

Mary Ann Scognamiglio retired from the corporate world and pursues creative energies through reading, writing, and the occasional theater production. She was assistant editor to Jane Yolen for “Compass Roads”, Straw Dogs Writers Guild poetry anthology, released 2018, and is enjoying working on the Pandemic Project supporting, cajoling, and kicking as needed.

Stephanie Shafran recently published her chapbook, Awakening. Her poetry has appeared in journals, including Earth’s Daughters, Slant and Silkworm, and in anthologies such as Compass Roads: Poems About the Pioneer Valley, Jewish Mothers Tell Their Stories, and Ophelia’s Mom. Stephanie currently enjoys serving as proofreader on this project.

Beth Filson is a writer and self-taught artist. Formerly one of the project editors, Beth now serves as official gopher. She won the 2015 Wild Light Poetry contest from Red Hen Press and The Los Angeles Review; her art appears on the cover of Richard Horton’s, Artists in the Underworld, and The Florida Review.

Laura Stone is admin. director of Straw Dog Writers Guild, currently working as the blog poster for the Pandemic Project. It has been a joy for her to read all the poems and prose coming through this project, and she feels grateful to be a part of such an amazing team.