Archives For Poetry

decatur book festival 2015

I’ll be reading from my chapbook, Tiktaalik, Adieu, between 3 pm and 4 pm this Saturday the 5th in Decatur, Georgia, at Java Monkey along with Christine Swint, Diana Anhalt, Rupert Fike, and Amy Pence. This is one of 18 stages at the Decatur Book Festival. More information can be found on the festival page. A complete schedule of the local authors reading Saturday and Sunday is here. Java Monkey is at 425 Church Street, Decatur.

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collin book list

Thanks to Collin Kelley of Atlanta INtown news for featuring Tiktaalik, Adieu as part of his Summer Reading: Books by Local Authors series. The article is here and includes work from many genres. Each book is pictured with a short description of the contents.

poetry atlanta presents

I’ll be reading from Tiktaalik, Adieu along with fellow featured reader Brent Calderwood at Poetry Atlanta Presents on July 29, 7:15 p.m. at the Decatur Library, 215 Sycamore Street in Decatur, Georgia. More information at this link.

More information about Brent Calderwood and his writing is online at www.brentcalderwood.com.

This is his poetry book cover for The God of Longing (Sibling Rivalry Press). I’m looking forward to hearing him read these poems in person!

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Chapbook Publishing

August 18, 2013 — 4 Comments

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I’ve been working on a chapbook manuscript this month, since fall submission deadlines are approaching. I’ve found some online resources that are helpful and others that are confusing or out-of-date. Entry fees seem to run between $15 and $20, and length between 16 and 38 pages. It’s common for chapbooks to be published through contests, though there are publishers that will consider manuscripts outside of contests, such as Finishing Line Press. Check back each year because chapbook publishing seems to vary based on demand, the finances and staffing of the presses, etc. The publisher of my first chapbook, Main Street Rag, for example, is not currently holding chapbook contests.

There are three approaches to publishing a chapbook: contests, approaching a publisher on your own, or self-publishing. I don’t have experience with self-publishing, so these resources cover the first two options.

The most up-to-date sources for current contests are Poets & Writers Magazine and Newpages.com listings. Newpages has a scrollable listing, and for the Poets & Writers online site, I went to the grants and contests section and then entered “Chapbook” in the search box.

There are two main lists that show up in Google results for chapbook contests and publishers: Poetry Society of America chapbook contests and everywritersresource.com. These two lists formed the basis for my research. These lists are not arranged by submission deadlines, and they have many links to sites that are not current. I added new information relevant to each list as I found it. It is worth checking back frequently to see if updates are available.

Poetry Society of America list of chapbook contests

  • Main Street Rag, suspended chapbook contest
  • Susan Blalock Chapbook Contest/Permafrost renamed Midnight Sun Contest
  • Slapering Hol Contest only accepts manuscripts if you have never published a book or a chapbook
  • Wick Poetry Center Contest is open to residents or writers associated with Ohio

Everywritersresource.com list of chapbook publishers*

  • Moon Pie Press is currently not considering submissions
  • Main Street Rag, suspended chapbook contest
  • Floating Bridge contest is open to residents or writers associated with Washington state
  • Slapering Hol Contest only accepts manuscripts if you have never published a book or a chapbook
  • Wild Honey Press is located in Ireland and isn’t currently considering manuscripts

*Several names on the everywritersresource.com list are not contests but publishers that you would have to approach yourself.

Finishing Line Press will let you submit manuscripts any time during the year, though they are not listed in either of these two resources.

New contests that have started:

  • Arcadia (August deadline just passed)
  • Tupelo Press Sunken Garden Chapbook Contest

Don’t forget the Poet’s Market book (from Writer’s Digest) as a resource. It also helps to attend bookfairs, such as at the AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) conference to see the types of chapbooks being made by publishers.

Things to keep in mind about chapbooks:

  • It isn’t necessary to have all of the poems published before submitting a manuscript, though it really helps to have at least a few listed on the acknowledgments page. My first chapbook had roughly 30% published poems.
  • Poems can be ordered in a variety of ways. Often in a short chapbook there is a unifying theme.
  • Length can vary. Put your strongest work in and don’t feel obligated to go to the maximum page length.
  • Read and follow the guidelines for each press. Some chapbooks are printed in a specific size and font that limit how long a line can be, and how many lines can fit on a page. Some manuscripts are read blind with no identifying information, and others are not.
  • Most contests allow electronic submissions, and almost all will have a reading fee. The reading fee supports the press, and often there is a perk in exchange for the fee such as a subscription to the literary journal or a copy of the winning chapbook.

An earlier blog post on putting together a manuscript references Jeffrey Levine’s (editor of Tupelo Press) page of tips, including ordering poems, proofreading, and submitting. Mr. Levine’s tips are available here. My blog post is below as well.

The chapbook publishing market is experiencing a resurgence, and some of the contests (The Diagram/New Michigan Press) had 500 entries last year. In many of the contests, you may be competing with poets who have already published a chapbook or book.

Poets & Writers has an article on how to make and bind your own chapbook here.

If, like me, the idea of being invited into the homes of remarkable poets thousands of miles apart to hear them read their best work is an exciting prospect then you, my friend, are living in the right era. That time is now. – Robert Peake

Technology is creating so many opportunities for poets. The chance to connect in new ways through social media allows poets in very distant communities to share their voices. The Transatlantic Poetry Community is just forming with an inaugural reading and live Q & A featuring Jane Hirshfield and George Szirtes on August 14th, 2013. The time is currently 8 PM BST / 3 PM EDT / Noon PDT through Google Hangout On Air. Robert Peake, an American poet living in England, is the founder of this community, which can be joined through Google+. Any poet writing in (or translating to) English from the US, UK, and Europe is welcome. Future readings will be announced through the Google+ community.

Virtual poetry meetups are also taking place on Twitter. I’ll forward news about these meetups as I hear of them through my Facebook and Twitter. These meetups are a great way to have a quick introduction to other poets and to share tips, calls for submissions, news items, and links to your latest project and website.

The opportunity to attend virtual poetry readings is a huge relief for me. One of my biggest frustrations as a writer and parent is the feeling of being geolocked. It isn’t always possible to attend every writing conference or reading that might be of interest to me, which limits my chances to meet other poets and to hear what is going on in the larger poetry world. The main reason for creating this blog is to move out of the comfort zone of my immediate geographic area and to participate in poetry in a broader way.