Write with an aim, I tell myself nearly every day. I am mostly past the point of needing prompts, because I have so many projects on deck. (However, I think prompts are a great idea to generate new work, and even to plumb the depths of what genius ideas might be lurking back there in the semiconscious mind.)
Above: The cover of my first chapbook, Bird Talk (Wild Dove, 1998)
Today, though, I’d like to recommend a different idea: Write for a project. Let me show you what I mean.
Chapbooks are, of course, small books or “booklets,” traditionally put together to showcase a portion of a poets work, sometimes while we’re on the way to amass enough work for a longer volume. However, these days chapbooks have branched out to include “hybrid” forms that may include poetry, but also short or micro fiction pieces. This is a great way to put together many short pieces and get them into print, extending your published work, and giving new circulation to short pieces or poetry already in print. Also, there are many chapbook contests now that might give you an in at a press that otherwise may be difficult to break into, or a first book that moves you up the writing ladder toward a full collection or volume.
So, today, here’s a thought: Do you have a small body of work, say, 30-50 pages, that might go well together in a chapbook, perhaps with a common theme or genre or point of view? Maybe you have that little cache of horror or fantasy or “space” items that hovers in the back of your mind. Or perhaps you write often about your garden and could easily pull together a collection based on season turnings and work based on garden observations. Or maybe you live baseball and have been writing about it for a time. All could work well in a chapbook. Maybe you need to add one or two new pieces to an otherwise stellar collection?
There are many chapbook publishers and contests. You can find them on Submittable.com. Here’s one that’s open now. Got anything to send?
New Delta Review is thrilled to announce our eleventh annual chapbook competition. For this contest, we’re looking for manuscripts of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, or hybrid work. We’re particularly interested in works that challenge traditional understandings of genre and form, though exceptional work of any aesthetic tilt are absolutely of interest.
Entry fee: $8
Final Judge: Dorothy Chan
About the judge: Dorothy Chan (she/they) is the author of most recently, BABE (Diode Editions 2021), in addition to Revenge of the Asian Woman (Diode Editions, 2019), Attack of the Fifty-Foot Centerfold (Spork Press, 2018), and the chapbook Chinatown Sonnets(New Delta Review, 2017). They were a 2020 and 2014 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship finalist, a 2020 finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in Bisexual Poetry for Revenge of the Asian Woman, and a 2019 recipient of the Philip Freund Prize in Creative Writing from Cornell University. Their work has appeared in POETRY, The American Poetry Review, Academy of American Poets, and elsewhere. Chan is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Editor Emeritus of Hobart, Book Reviews Co-Editor of Pleiades, and Co-Founder and Editor in Chief of Honey Literary Inc., a 501(c)(3) literary arts organization. They are this year’s Resident Artist for Toward One Wisconsin. Visit their website at dorothypoetry.com.
- Publication of chapbook, 25 author copies, and feature in New Delta Review issue
- All manuscripts must be received by March 3, 2022.
- All submissions require an $8 entry fee and must be entered as .pdf, .doc., or .docx, through Submittable.
- Manuscripts should be 20-35 pages in length and should include a title page with contact information. While individual pieces within the manuscript may be published elsewhere, the manuscript must be unpublished as a whole. If individual pieces have been published, writers can include an acknowledgments page at the end of the manuscript.
- Multiple submissions are allowed but require separate entry fees. Simultaneous submissions are welcome on the condition that writers notify NDR of another acceptance as soon as possible.
- Current students and faculty of LSU are ineligible.