The Greatest Writer Alive, The Book. Plus, A Special Giveaway

By now you’ve seen and read Dallas Clayton’s recurring column The Greatest Writer Alive on our website. Building upon it, we’re happy to announce that Dallas has just released a new collection of poetry and illustration work in print. Boasting over 100 pages, it’s a great book to pick up at any time of the day. To celebrate the release of the book, we’ve put together a fun giveaway with Dallas that will net you a signed copy of The Greatest Writer Alive, plus an original drawing. The scoop is below:

To become eligible to win the signed book and original drawing by Dallas Clayton, go into the comments section and write some words (a short poem, perhaps?) about an awkward moment in your teenage years. On December 22nd, we’ll pick our favorite and to top it off Dallas will make a drawing to accompany your words. Simple, and awesome. You have until Wednesday 11:59pm to enter, so go for it!

For those who are shy, or lazy, or indifferent The Greatest Writer Alive is available here

71 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. The change of adolescence
    From a carefree young girl to an awkward, self-concious lass
    Paint chips on the edge of the cup
    Brushes waiting to be cleaned
    Approval waiting to be earned
    Drip, drip, drip in the sink like stones over a pond
    Finally release, warmth rushing down between my legs
    pure embarassment
    my fathers suspicious eye but closed mouth

  2. Coby Gerstner


    You cannot have my memories.

    They are tied to the strings in my mind, like twine.
    You cannot have them.

  3. Rebecca

    your voice has this habit of coaxing from my vocal chords
    the most hybrid sounds. 

    yes, i have dreams that i speak in lovely sultry vibrato
    that the notes in each word flow in harmonic tune

    and yet, 
    our voices clash in the most obscene manner, your smooth baritone
    caressing, not my practiced practical i’m-in-control humming tone

    but this array of half-notes all jumbled an octave too high. 

    an example for the books:
    we pass and you are all eyes and from your throat emits this perfect tune
    of hello
    and here i am, a savage
    responding to your mozart concerto of greetings with a few native
    clicks and grunts. 

    ahem, i’d like to take the time now, just moments too late to say to you

  4. “You’re beautiful, I swear!”
    His bad breath permeated through the air
    Still it wasn’t enough
    His lies and false love
    I knew what I was

    “I don’t need you to tell me”
    I knew what he could see
    The handles of love
    Even with my clothes on
    I knew what I was

    I didn’t give him what he did want
    And now the “beauty” is all gone
    Now since i’m not holding his hand
    I knew what I was
    Now I know who I am.

  5. Shhhh

    Close Your eyes now

    It’s time to dream.

    Forget the day

    and don’t worry about tomorrow.

    Just close your eyes and dream away.

    Shhhhh It’s time to dream.

  6. it rained that day but it had stopped
    we stood outside on the hill
    where we always did
    it was a little more slippery that day tho.
    we should have known a casualty would happen.
    little did i know it would be me.
    i moved to the right and down i went
    “down goes frasier!”
    everyone turns and laughs as im slidding down the small hill
    mud all over my pants.
    i got up and smiled and tried to laugh it off…
    i felt like crap until my buddy..
    well the hill got him too.
    he wasnt as graceful
    as he jumped up and yelled
    “fuck you!!!” to everyone around
    as he flipped them off
    it only made them laugh more
    but it made them forget about me
    and i felt a little less bad.
    2 friends taken down by one soggy hill
    but they’ll remember him and his fuck you’s
    and not me.
    thank god not me…

  7. laura

    a little bit below my left shoulder
    there are two small moles
    half an inch apart like eyes

    i would let anyone draw a face
    around those two moles
    with a goofy smile,
    or pretty lashes,
    or angry eyebrows,
    or crazy hair,
    the possibilities were endless…

    just seeing that person laugh and smile
    at their own little creation
    (and would sometimes drag me around to show it off to others)
    made me feel awesome
    knowing that i’d at least made someone’s day
    even for a short while

  8. Kate

    I’m a teenager now
    And all I can hope for is that it gets clearer
    Why all this exhaustion and extensive AP knowledge on the
    Entire history of the world

    Because really, most of the time,
    I just want to write essays out of music
    Write love letters to the moon about her beautiful curves
    (or his beautiful curves. we never will know will we)
    And draw on the backs of doors.

  9. jenQ

    The word
    I stole from Ms Le Guin
    For that time
    Like wearing
    A baseball cap
    With no bill
    When you’re supposed to
    Start wearing bras.
    Don’t like me
    Coming in fresh?
    Why don’t you
    Kick out my friend again
    For her Rainbow hair.
    I crushed hard
    On boys back then.
    Are we talking
    About now
    Or then?

  10. My hiding place is a house made of glass:
    A bright house. A clear house.
    A fragile house. A glass house.

    In my hiding place They mutter
    The Don’ts and Mustn’ts,
    The Wouldn’ts and Couldn’ts.
    Ah, they say it with such
    Confidence and Imprudence!

    One bright night, when the glass house
    Reflected the moon’s mighty light,
    I walked on my toes and took flight—
    Away, away from my house of glass.

    Wearing my Mama’s hat
    I walked far, I walked tall
    Waved “Hi!” to folks big and small.
    “It’s so good to be out tonight!”

    But then trouble ensues
    When I see myself in another dress,
    In another’s shoes. She looks like me,
    But she isn’t me:
    Awkward. Lost. Confused.

    I ran, I ran, I ran ’til my feet no longer
    Touched the soil and rushed to
    My hiding place of glass…

    Only to find my head won’t fit on my door
    Anymore. For I chose to grow up.

  11. I went to a party and didn’t know anyone.
    Then the person I fancied came in and
    fancied someone else.
    I went home and wrote in my diary:
    My life is a Smith’s song.

  12. In high school I had my first crush
    We took the same bus for 3 years
    and every day he got on I would blush.

    We talked almost every night.

    After 2 years, I told him I liked him.
    He dated another girl a month later.


  13. Nick

    it was odd, being put on the spot
    like that, so odd that i
    had to take a moment
    to consider all the
    side effects, the front
    and back effects, the every
    which way
    effects of finally

    having to face up to the
    reality of loving you,
    and i was so busy thinking
    and so busy loving

    that i think you got bored
    and went one of the
    ways i had dreaded.

  14. Carlie

    Dear friend,
    Haven’t seen you around in a while
    Just wondering what’s new with you
    Did a new color of grass grow in your yard
    Have you mapped an alternate route to the work
    Do you still cut your sandwiches to look like kites
    I ride my bike, still
    like I did when we lived in the same town
    where do you live now?

  15. heath

    I sat with my legs spread
    The light falling on my thighs
    Revealing two marks
    Marks that my body will own
    For the moment
    Or most likely forever
    Marks that are separate
    But form as one by the light’s shadow
    With me
    Not forgotten

  16. Annika


    something breaks somewhere inside you
    when he makes it up the hill to your old house,
    the boy who has driven that same indiana jones yellow yellow jeep for as long as you have loved him.
    you are home from college for the first time this year,
    and he says to you, leaning over some giggling girl in the passenger seat,
    congrats. you’re really
    really going places
    done more already
    than I’ll do
    in my whole life.
    hey, man, you want to say, you were gonna be an imagineer!
    what happened out here
    while I was trying to find myself
    in central new jersey?
    instead you shrug. I Was Lucky,
    that’s about
    all you can offer
    to someone who you used to work so hard to impress.

    step back from the jeep as it pulls away and realize, jesus, you ran out to see him in bare feet
    on the first day of winter

    and the days will only get longer from here.

  17. Vicky

    To my Grandma’s we came, each car bringing more kids.
    We threw down our coats and removed hats just like lids;
    Then ran to the radiator and warmed up our toes,
    Each used a clean sleeve for a quick wipe of his nose!
    The difference in ages divided us all,
    The old ones, the teens, and the boisterously small!
    The aunts fixed the table, the uncles lit up their smokes.
    The teenagers played cards and told off color jokes.
    Though we were the youngest, we had the best time of all
    As we raced to the stairs at the end of the hall!
    Our bottoms became sore as we bounced down each stair;
    And all was quite fine until we heard my dress tear
    When caught by a shoe as I began my descent,
    In my slip and panties down the staircase I went!
    Tears welled in my eyes, my lips started to quiver!
    Then I saw Grandma as she came to deliver
    A gift wrapped in bright paper and tied with a bow.
    So I grabbed at my slip, to my nose gave a blow,
    And the snuffles departed to where sniffles live.
    Then I found in my heart it was time to forgive
    The cousin whose shoe had been put in the wrong place
    And just nearly caused Christmas to end in disgrace.
    The present that year was my favorite, by far,
    A magnificent snow globe made from a glass jar!
    Now I am the grandma remembering the night
    When the love from my Grandma made everything right.

  18. Dave

    Thanks All. Submissions are now over.

  19. Kameron

    frizzy hair
    awkward stares,
    nervous hands
    all night crams.
    Metal teeth
    cologne that reeks,
    this is what teenagers are made of.

    But please dont be discouraged
    When your older you will see,
    with some confident courage
    just how un-awkward you can be.

  20. Hi, when will you announce the winner?

    Happy Holidays!

  21. Just curious, have you already chosen a winner? 🙂

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