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Monday, April 02, 2007

Chapbook Contests

I'm thinking of entering a few chapbook contests. I've done some online research (look at her!) and I've come up with a handful of contests that seem promising:

Elixir Press
Camber Press

I've never put together a chapbook mss together. I can't just yank out a section from my collection. Hmm. But I could pull out (the rhythm method?) the ekphrastic pieces and the persona poems and organize a chapbook mss. That might work.

We'll see.

I just found this interview on Blackbird with three chapbook authors. Here's some choice tidbits from the interview:

Cecily Parks: ...I think the chapbook length is ideal in terms of being able to work on maybe one set of themes or maybe on one narrative thread in a concise way without exhausting any of those themes or threads. I found that I was able to really narrow my focus without getting redundant. So in that way I felt like the chapbook was ideal.

Dan Albergotti: ...in my latest revision of the full-length manuscript, the poem that leads the chapbook concludes the full length. It wasn’t by design, really, and I wasn’t really thinking about it. I stepped away and said, “Oh, that’s my lead off poem in the other.” And yet, I think it’s telling that that poem is not buried in the middle or something, that it is an ender, it maybe is some kind of, I don’t know, psychic endorsement of placement; it needs to be either the first or the last. The structure of the full length is kind of liturgical. I have these repeating patterns of things where you might see scripture readings and hymns in a Protestant ceremony or something and that’s not, that’s absolutely not, playing any role in the chapbook’s organization, so naturally there are changes.


Diana Marie Delgado said...

It's really funny, the chapbook pubs pay the same or more for the chaps, versus a 50-70 page manuscript, that gets about the same.

C. Parks is a great writer and Columbia friend...

Sandra said...

That's a good interview at Blackbird; the full length MS that Dan refers to just won the Poulin Prize from BOA.

poet with a day job said...

I also want to push the Sow's Ear Review Chapbook Competition - I won that one a few years back and they were absolutely terrific to work with. Their favorite part was writing me the check!No joke, I had it in a week.

Another one I think is totally awesome is the Center for the Book Chapbook Contest (CFB New York).

jeannine said...

I'm excited you're working on a chapbook. They would be fools to not publish you. Fools, I say!

Justin Evans said...

This is all strange.

I may come off as a bit clunky, but when I read these interviews a while back, I got the distinct feeling the interviewer was treating the poets' decision to write a chapbook as semi or sub-heroic--- as if these particular writers were sacrificing something of themselves to stoop to the level of a chapbook.

I just can't see the chapbook like that. I have written three of them and two have been published. Maybe I am just being a bit sensitive or defensive, but I can't see what the big deal is. I wrote my chapbooks because that's how i invisioned the poems after I discovered I was writing poems with a similar theme.

I have ended up with chapbook manuscripts from a totally organic process and having set out to write a chapbook. Neither has any superiority over the other, and neither path has me feeling as if I should be praised for my decision to write chapbooks.

I know I am all over the place with this response, but I just don't sit well with people looking at the chapbook as a courageous decision---it is simply a medium which should be at the disposal of the poet.

Sorry for sounding like an idiot, not being able to make myself totally clear.