After Hours, a literary journal of Chicago writing and art

After Hours Press

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© After Hours Press 2021, Elmwood Park, IL

Mary Blinn

     After Hours launched the inaugural Mary Blinn Annual Poetry Prize in 2019.  Commemorating the outstanding work of Mary Blinn as a poet, visual artist and musician, the prize is awarded annually for outstanding works of poetry by writers who, like Mary Blinn, are deeply dedicated and passionate about their art and the crafting of fine poetry.


     One $200 Winner and three $50 Finalists will be selected in an anonymous review by After Hours editors with the final winning decisions made at the discretion of our 2022 judge(TBD).  Winning entries will be published annually in the Summer Issue of After Hours.  Deadline for entries is February 28, 2022.


     Unlike our standard submission guidelines which require contributors to have a connection to metro Chicago, the Mary Blinn Poetry Prize is open to all poets writing in English.  The competition is open to all themes, styles and forms of poetry.  We simply ask poets to submit their best unpublished work, because we want our prize winning poems to be high quality, eclectic and emotionally charged.


     After Hours has published two-issues per year consistently since June of 2000.  We are wholly independent without any outside source of funding.  We value our independence and want to continue without influence or oversight.  As is common with many literary journals who sponsor prizes and competitions, we will require an entry fee for this competition.  Your $15 entry fee will primarily fund our prizes but will also help to support the cost of publishing, postage and the overall long-term future of After Hours


     We do hope you will enter the Mary Blinn Poetry Prize competition and/or recommend us to your favorite poets. There's nothing more exciting, as an editor, than clicking on the next poem, which might be the winner.

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About Mary Blinn and The Poetry Prize



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     Mary Blinn wrote poetry throughout her life, but took up the craft in earnest in the 1990s, winning a prize with one of her earliest efforts, “His Treasure” in 1993.  More than a poet, however, Mary was also a singer/songwriter and visual artist.  Her CD of children’s songs, “A Handful of Sunshine,” which she wrote and performed, earned a Grammy nomination in 2002. She had numerous art exhibits and installations at galleries around Chicago, including a one-woman show at the Old Town Triangle gallery in 2013, and an open-air multimedia installation called “I See Faces” in Oak Park, IL.


     Mary was highly regarded within the Chicago poetry scene. She was a regular contributor to After Hours and frequently read her works at various area Open Mics and invitational readings, including the Printer’s Row Literary Fest.  She also received an Illinois State Poetry Award and a Pushcart Prize nomination.


     When Mary was suddenly faced with a devastating illness, her reaction was to start a project to make a multimedia book about her hospitalization -- something to help other people who might share the same situation.  Taking a bad experience and turning it into something creative to help other people is quintessential Mary.  Unfortunately she wasn’t able to complete that project; but in recognition of her talent and many other contributions to the poetry community, After Hours has published her selected poems titled when word and image run away.