The mission of Deep Wild: Writing from the Backcountry is to provide a home for creative work inspired by journeys to places where there are no roads. The editors of Deep Wild are committed to supporting education and encouraging student writers to find their own words for the wild. Thus, we are pleased to offer educational discounts, to sponsor an annual student writing contest, and to invite adoption of Deep Wild Journal as a classroom text.

Announcing our 2022 Graduate Student Essay Contest

For the 2022 issue, we invite students currently engaged in graduate studies to to submit a creative non-fiction essay of up to 3,000 words that is backcountry infused and inspired. The contest submission window will be open until March 1. Up to three essays will be chosen for publication in the June 2022 volume of Deep Wild Journal, and the authors will receive cash awards and five copies of the journal. There is no fee to submit. Click here for complete Contest Guidelines.

Our 2021 Undergraduate Student Poetry Contest was won by Lauren Young, a freshman at the University of Connecticut, for her poem “Tonight, in the Northeast.” Sam Sharp, a senior at Kent State University, earned second place for his poem “Blankets.”

The winner of our 2020 Undergraduate Student Essay Contest was Brandon Losier of Ball State University, for his essay “How to Run Away.”

Student and Faculty Discounts 

Special Educational Discount for Deep Wild 2021: $5 for Students and Teachers!

For a limited time only, we are able to offer a Special Educational Discount of $5.00 for Deep Wild 2021, a price that covers postage and handling. A shipping problem from the printer resulted in imperfections in many copies—typically, a smudge or crease or bent corner that makes them unsuitable for sale—and All-American Printing has made these copies available for educational use. Anyone who teaches or studies at a high school or college is welcome to claim one of these copies.

To get your individual copy at the Special Educational Discount of $5.00, click on the following link to be taken to our secure PayPal site (which accepts credit cards). Alternatively, you may send an order request with a check for $5.00 to Deep Wild Journal, c/o Rick Kempa, 2309 Broadway, Grand Junction, CO 81507

This discount is for current students and faculty only. Please place your order using your school email address. If your PayPal is linked to a different email account, simply send a short, separate email to in which you give the name of your school and your status, and that will work for us. Thanks!

Using Deep Wild in the Classroom 

With 148 pages of essays, poems, stories, and artwork on a wide range of wilderness themes, both personal and political, Deep Wild 2021  is a stimulating text for students in creative writing, environmental studies, and other classes. The issue is currently being used by students in Western Colorado University’s MFA in Nature Writing program. A Study Guide for the issue, which traces some of the thematic threads, is available here. This guide also contains references to some select work from Deep Wild 2020, now available in our archive as well as in hard copy. You can read the Foreword to both issues by scrolling down on our homepage. Contact editor Rick Kempa to discuss possibilities for classroom use.

Multiple Copies for Classroom Use Available at Special Educational Discount!

Teachers, if you decide, after reviewing the journal and our study guide, that you would like to use Deep Wild 2021 in your classroom, please email us at with the exact amount you need.  If copies are still available at the Special Educational Discount rate, we will send them all to you with a bill for postage. Please include your mailing address for USPS packages, the name of the institution where you teach, and the name of the class.  

Once these Special Discount copies have all been claimed, copies for classroom use will revert to $8 each, plus shipping. Prices for single copies will revert to standard educational discount rates of $10 for students and $12 for faculty, a cost that includes postage.

For all Educational Discount orders, please place your order using your school email address. Alternatively, if your PayPal is linked to a different email account, send a short, separate email to in which you give the name of your school and your status, and we will believe you. Thanks!

Contest Support: We can always use additional financial support to provide cash awards for our contest winners. If you’re interested in helping us with this endeavor, please click here to donate or contact