Second Annual Poetry Chapbook Contest

UPDATE (July 1, 2010): And we have winners!

UPDATE (April 16): Submissions are closed. Thanks to everyone who submitted or who helped spread the word. We received 66 manuscripts in all.

Why a chapbook? Regardless of what you call it, the fact is that a pamphlet-sized collection of poetry can be an astonishingly beautiful thing. Whether they’re handmade at home with a laser printer, or designed and published like books, chapbooks are a staple of poetry publishing and have historically showcased not only the collections of poetry they contain, but creative design, and fine typography and printing.

Perhaps better known in North America than in other parts of the world, chapbooks are often the first published collection by a poet, but they’re not just for emerging poets anymore; a poet at any stage of her career might find she has a collection of work too long for a featured section in a journal and too short for a full-length book. And a chapbook designed to be read in a single sitting offers a nourishing alternative to a magazine or newspaper. With roots in the 16th century, it’s the original sleek and sexy mobile device.


Here at qarrtsiluni we’ve never shared the poetry establishment’s assumption that the primary audience for poetry is other poets, and we’ve labored to make the magazine appealing to anyone with an interest in literature and the arts. In keeping with that philosophy, we’ve again asked a non-poet to judge our first chapbook contest, and are delighted to have him with us. Ken Lamberton‘s first book, Wilderness and Razor Wire (Mercury House, 2000), won the 2002 John Burroughs Medal for outstanding nature writing. He has published four books and more than a hundred articles and essays in places like the Los Angeles Times, Arizona Highways, the Gettysburg Review, and The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2000. In 2007, he won a Soros Justice Fellowship for his fourth book, Time of Grace: Thoughts on Nature, Family, and the Politics of Crime and Punishment (University of Arizona Press, 2007). Ken’s fifth book, Dry River: Stories of Life, Death, and Redemption on the Rio de Santa Cruz, will be published by the University of Arizona Press early next year. We’re happy to note that Dry River will contain some stories first published in qarrtsiluni! Ken holds degrees in biology and creative writing from the University of Arizona and lives with his wife in a 1890s stone cottage near Bisbee.



Your submissions are invited for qarrtsiluni’s first Poetry Chapbook Contest. The winner will be announced on July 1, and receive both online and print publication. All the details follow:


  • Written poetry in all forms will be considered, including prose poems, but it will be up to the judge to decide if a submission qualifies as “poetry.” Non-fictional and fictional prose will not be considered, nor will multi-media submissions.
  • Chapbook manuscripts should include 20-26 pages** of poetry, but the number of poems submitted may vary from, for example, 20 to 26 single-page poems to one long poem or poem series comprising 20-26 pages in length. (**One page=no more than 40 lines of poetry, not including title.) Internal section heads (on otherwise blank pages) must be included in the 26-page count. If you are uncertain about the length or form of your manuscript, please inquire first to to Beth Adams at qarrtsiluni.chapbook.2010 [at]
  • Anyone other than qarrtsiluni staff or close friends and family of the judge are eligible to enter, including former guest editors of the journal.
  • The contest is open to all nationalities, but the poems must be submitted in English.
  • Poems in the manuscript may have appeared in periodicals or anthologies, but should not have appeared in previous chapbooks or full-length works by the author.
  • Submissions of collaboratively written poetry will also be accepted; multi-author anthologies will not. (Again, feel free to inquire if you’re uncertain.)


There is no theme for the chapbook contest. Judging of the manuscripts will be strictly on the merit of the individual poems and the collection as an integrated whole. It will be the sole responsibility of the judge to decide which manuscript, in his opinion, is most deserving.


Managing Editor Beth Adams will receive and process all submissions, assigning each a number, and removing any references to the author’s identity; judging will be blind. A shortlist of ten will be determined by teams of two readers each, and the chosen manuscripts turned over to Ken for his decision.


From this shortlist of ten, the names of seven finalists, two runners-up, and the contest winner will be announced online on July 1.

Online publication of the winning chapbook in its entirety, and one poem from each of the other shortlisted manuscripts, will follow in the late summer/early fall of 2010.

The winning manuscript will also be printed as a professionally designed, typeset and printed chapbook with a color cover, and catalogued with an ISBN number and copyright information. We will work with the winning poet to produce an audio podcast of the chapbook, read aloud. The winner will receive 20 copies, and may purchase additional copies at a wholesale price.  We cannot offer monetary prizes at this time, but hope to in the future.

Unless the volume of submissions makes it impossible, all contest entrants will receive a copy of the winning chapbook. The chapbooks will be available for sale through the qarrtsiluni site and on, and we will solicit online reviews.

The poems will be copyrighted by their original author, but qarrtsiluni retains the right to reprint the chapbook in whole or in part, online or in future print works or anthologies, and to submit it or any of the poems within for various awards.


  • The reading period will begin immediately after this announcement, and continue over the next two months, with a final manuscript deadline of April 15.
  • The winner will be announced on July 1, with publication to follow in the fall.


  • All submissions must be made by e-mail to this account: qarrtsiluni.chapbook.2010 [at] Manuscripts should be in DOC or RTF form, sent as attachments to your email. Please remove all identifying references other than an accompanying email indicating your name and the title of your manuscript, as the judging process will be blind.
  • Please do not include acknowledgments either with the manuscript or in your accompanying email. The manuscripts will be judged on their own merit.
  • There is a reading and handling fee of $11 per chapbook manuscript submitted, and this must be received before the manuscript will be entered for judging. Click on the button below to pay online. The transaction will be handled by PayPal but you will be given a choice of payment methods.

paypal button

  • The reading fee helps defray the printing, binding, and shipping costs of the chapbooks and the honoraria for our judge and cover artist.
  • All queries about the contest should be directed to Beth Adams at qarrtsiluni.chapbook.2010 [at]

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