chapbook party

July 15, 2021

illustration of a cup of coffee above the words The Poetry Cafe

We’re always happy to discover and share new poetry stuff happening in Cascadia. Meet The Poetry Cafe. Though there is no About page with details, we gather that The Poetry Cafe is an online “meeting place where poetry chapbooks are celebrated and reviewed.” Worldwide in scope, it is curated by poet Risa Denenberg out of Sequim, Washington.

The Poetry Cafe invites the submission of chapbooks for review (without any guarantees) and in December posted a request for guest chapbook reviewers and feature writers to profile the small presses that publish chapbooks.

Visit The Poetry Cafe and subscribe for updates on the world of chapbooks. The Poetry Cafe is also on Facebook.

Poets House

November 20, 2020

We try to keep things somewhat upbeat here at The Poetry Department, but were saddened to read that Poets House, the nation’s premier poetry library, at Battery Park City in New York, has announced that it will suspend operations indefinitely, effective immediately, due to budgetary issues caused by the Coronavirus. It is hoped that the library may be able reopen late in 2021 once the pandemic is under control and Poets House has reconfigured its operations.

Though events have been suspended, online resources continue to be available, at least for the moment, including audio, video, and digital materials, such as a wonderful collection of chapbooks from the “Mimeo Revolution.”

your next chapbook

October 29, 2018

November, which is right around the corner, is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Some poets apply NaNoWriMo discipline to their poetry and crank out 50,000 words in 30 days.

If you’d like another option, Writer’s Digest is again offering their annual November PAD (Poem A Day) Chapbook Challenge. Robert Lee Brewer posts a prompt on his Poetic Asides blog. Write a poem each day using the prompts and then, in the month of December, pare your poems down to a manuscript of 10-20 pages in length with no more than one poem per page and submit the chapbook to Brewer for an opportunity to win fame if not fortune. At the very least you’ll have a chapbook to submit somewhere else. You don’t have to register and you don’t have to submit your poems day by day.

Read the guidelines and get ready to write.

When Washington State Poet Laureate Tod Marshall invited poets statewide to submit work for an anthology, he may not have anticipated receiving some 2400 poems in response. Selecting the first 129 for the original volume wasn’t easy. As Marshall explains, “I received so many fine poems from so many talented poets that I knew I’d be making decisions between many poems that I admired equally, and I’d have to leave out many works that were quite good — and so I decided to set aside another several dozen poems to share with readers via a digital format.”

With the help of students from Jeff Dodd’s literary editing and design class at Gonzaga University, those poems have now been turned into four digital chapbooks, which can be viewed and downloaded here, free.

Our continuing gratitude to Tod Marshall for all he has contributed to poetry in Washington State during his two-year tenure.

The Poem Booth, located on the Forest Street side of the downtown Community Food Co-op, has become a regular feature of Bellingham’s evolving poetry landscape. Since March 2017, when a small team refurbished a beaten-up old phone box, the Poem Booth has been home to poems submitted and selected each quarter along with a series of readings to welcome each new poem.

To support the modest costs of maintaining the booth (and keeping it graffiti free), the Poem Booth has launched a Kickstarter campaign — Poem Booth 2018! You can show your support for community poetry and celebrate the Poem Booth’s success so far by pitching in. (Also, if you have ideas for the future of the Poem Booth, see the “Help Wanted” note at the bottom of the Kickstarter page.)

You can also celebrate with the Poem Booth by attending the Poem Booth chapbook launch on Saturday, January 13, 2018, at 6pm. The sixteen 2017 quarterly winners and honorable mention poets will read from the 2017 Poem Booth chapbook, which will be available for purchase ($5/or donation). Gather on the mezzanine level of the downtown Community Food Co-op, 1220 N. Forest Street.

(The next submission deadline for the Poem Booth is Saturday, February 17, 2018.)


June 10, 2017

Floating Bridge Press has announced the winners of their annual Poetry Chapbook Competition. More than a hundred Washington state poets submitted chapbooks for consideration. The judges selected 13 semifinalists, and from these chose this year’s winner, “Night Watch,” by Katy E. Ellis of Seattle, and two finalists, “The Meanest Things Pick Clean,” by Benjamin Cartwright of Spokane Falls, and “The Myth of Man,” by Alex Vigue of Ridgefield.

Here is the list of the semifinalists:

Scott Ferry “Book of 24 Streets”
Catherine Bull “Braless in the Apocalypse”
Lauren Gilmore “Common Teenage Mythology”
Ben Read “Count Each Body Twice”
Thomas Walton “How Can I Say the Lovely Rodents Blinding Me”
Demi Wetzel “Life of the Party”
Julianna Buckmiller “Neurotransmitters”
Judith Skillman “Once Upon a Yellow Sky”
Armin Tolentino “The Hard Hand of Cataclysm”
Elizabeth Vignali & Kami Westhoff “Your Body a Bullet”

Congratulations, one and all!
See more on Facebook.

Two Sylvias chapbook prizeYou have until June 15, 2015, to submit your manuscript for the Two Sylvias Press Chapbook Prize. Judged by poet Keetje Kuipers, the winner will receive $300, 20 author copies of the print chapbook, plus eBook publication and a 1930s depression glass trophy.

Two Sylvias Press chapbooks are perfect-bound with a high-quality matte finish. The winner will be announced by September 2015. For more information and submission guidelines, visit Two Sylvias Press Chapbook Prize. (Note: on their Facebook page, Two Sylvias Press says, “Submissions have been lower this year, so it’s a good year to try us out.”) Go for it!

writing peace

October 15, 2014

World Peace Poets

World Peace Poets invites “Poets and Writers of the Northwest” to submit up to three poems (maximum two 8-1/2″ x 11″ pages) or a short essay (maximum 200 words) for a Peace Chapbook.

Volunteer editors from Chuckanut Sandstone Writers Theater will select materials for inclusion and writers whose work is chosen will be asked to make a contribution toward the first printing of 200 books ($4 to $40 based on ability to pay and the cost of the book).

Send submissions to by the deadline, November 15, 2014.

  A Project of the Poetry Center, San Francisco State University

When it comes to chapbooks, the definition seems as variable as the poetry they contain. Here’s what Brian A. Klems at Writer’s Digest has to say about chapbooks. (The term chapbook apparently comes from chap(man) book, because such publications were once peddled by an itinerant tradesman known as a chapman, with word origins related to cheap.)

However you describe them, chapbooks offer a window into a poet’s most recent, and sometimes most experimental, work. The challenge, unless you live in a city large enough to support a bookstore that stocks a wide selection of poetry chapbooks, such as City Lights in San Francisco or Open Books in Seattle, is to see chapbooks outside the context of poetry readings.

Melissa Eleftherion Carr, a Mendocino County (CA) librarian, and Elise Ficarra, associate director of the Poetry Center, San Francisco State University, are starting to meet that challenge with the Poetry Center Chapbook Exchange. A digital repository for “emerging print poetry chapbook collections,” the Exchange is, according to Melissa, “community-curated, which essentially means that contributors are invited to each invite another poet to join. We are always open to new contributors, and strive for a diverse collection.”

The Exchange is growing slowly, with about 40 chapbooks currently listed. Each publication is carefully documented and reproduced in PDF, viewable online.

To learn more, visit the Poetry Center Chapbook Exchange
and see Melissa Eleftherion Carr’s description of the Exchange and a transcript of her presentation on the Exchange from AWP 2014.

catching up…

May 20, 2014

Floating Bridge

In case you missed last week’s news, Floating Bridge Press has announced the winners of their 2014 Chapbook Competition. From submissions numbering close to 130 manuscripts, “many of exceptional quality,” the judges selected the 2014 winner, John Whalen of Spokane, for his manuscript, “Above the Pear Trees.” The other finalists were Maya Jewell Zeller of Spokane for “The Earth, That Other Sky,” Jennifer Bullis of Bellingham for “Amanda Bubble Is Nearly On Fire,” Dennis Caswell of Woodinville for “O.” and Michael Schmeltzer for “Elegy/Elk River.”

John Whalen’s chapbook will be published this fall and a reading in Seattle will include the winner and finalists. For additional details, visiting Floating Bridge Press online and on Facebook. Visit the Boynton Blog CALENDAR page for upcoming readings from Floating Bridge and many, many others.

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