Through our annual contests and open reading periods, we seek innovative, electrifying, and thoroughly intoxicating manuscripts that ensnare themselves in our hearts and minds and won’t let go.

During our June and November open reading periods, we accept submissions in the following categories: novel, novella, short story collection (full-length and chapbook), poetry (full-length and chapbook), biography & cultural studies, translation (from the German), and creative nonfiction. 


We also hold several annual contests. Here is our reading schedule:

The Big Moose Prize: December 1 – January 31
(Open competition, novels)

The Hudson Prize: February 1 – March 31
(Open competition, poetry and short story collections)

The Spring Black River Chapbook Competition: April 1 – May 31
(Open competition, poetry and fiction chaps)

Open Reading Period 1: June 1 – June 30

The St. Lawrence Book Award: July 1- August 31
(First book competition, poetry and short story collections)

The Fall Black River Chapbook Competition: September 1 – October 31
(Open competition, poetry and fiction chaps)

Open Reading Period 2: November 1 – November 30

(Please note that we occasionally offer early bird specials on our contests. These specials allow authors to submit their manuscripts ahead of time at a discounted rate.) 

Please submit your work to the appropriate category below.

Update: Lisa Fay Coutley's queues for chapbooks and full-length manuscripts are now full. She is still accepting individual poems and folios. If you would like to submit a chapbook or full-length manuscript, please consider sending your work to Marc McKee. 

During the month of July, Black Lawrence Press authors Lisa Fay Coutley, Amelia Martens, and Marc McKee are on board to critique poetry manuscripts; and they are accepting everything from individual poems to full-length manuscripts. The fees and parameters for each of these categories are as follows:

  • Individual Poems, up to 2 pages in length, $10
  • Folios, up to 7 pages in length, not to include more than 5 poems, $30
  • Chapbooks, 16-40 pages in length, $150
  • Full-length collections, 45-80 pages in length $250

All manuscripts should be formatted in 12-point font.

The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is July 31. The consultants will complete their work and respond to all participants by August 31.

Space in this program is limited, so please be sure to submit your work soon! 

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Lisa's Statement of Purpose

In an ideal workshop, an editor would meet a poem or collection nowhere but on its own terms, though if we’re honest with ourselves we must admit that we each bring our own aesthetics and experiences into any reading. When I read your work, I will attempt not to mold the manuscript to my aesthetic but to react with a thoughtful and well-articulated gut response, giving an exegesis of the rhetoric, language, syntax, form and content, and the tensions and patterns in the body of work.

Upon an initial read, I will respond first by typing how I experience the manuscript (noting its obsessions, form, style, technique, as well as its images, line breaks, sonic qualities, etc.) and then compose a more careful critique with subsequent readings. I will read your poems as individual entities while also noting commonalities in form and subject among the whole. I will give a fair amount of feedback, but if you’d prefer that I give more pointed comments, I can do that as well. 

It’s not always the most trained reader who gives the best feedback but the one who learns to listen to the poems and sit with the collection. Outside eyes often notice obsessions we aren’t even aware of—themes and images we can’t seem to stop circling—and I will do my best to sit with your poems and listen to them—to understand their gestures and rhetoric, to find their sturdiest and softest spots, to learn them on their own terms, and to consider how they build a larger rhetorical structure.

All of that I say as an editor. As a reader, my aesthetic calls me toward poems that are willing to make the best use of their form in order to enact their content. I am intrigued by lyrical, raw poems that demonstrate a willingness to observe subject matter without flinching. I am likely to nudge your poems in a direction in which they do their best to be their bravest yet most vulnerable selves.

I look forward to reading to your work. 

All Best,

Lisa Fay

Update: Amelia Martens' queues for chapbooks and full-length manuscripts are now full. She is still accepting individual poems and folios. If you would like to submit a chapbook or full-length manuscript, please consider sending your work to Marc McKee. 

During the month of July, Black Lawrence Press authors Lisa Fay Coutley, Amelia Martens, and Marc McKee are on board to critique poetry manuscripts; and they are accepting everything from individual poems to full-length manuscripts. The fees and parameters for each of these categories are as follows:

  • Individual Poems, up to 2 pages in length, $10
  • Folios, up to 7 pages in length, not to include more than 5 poems, $30
  • Chapbooks, 16-40 pages in length, $150
  • Full-length collections, 45-80 pages in length $250

All manuscripts should be formatted in 12-point font.The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is July 31. The consultants will complete their work and respond to all participants by August 31. Space in this program is limited, so please be sure to submit your work soon! 

__________

Amelia's Statement of Purpose

In poetry (and life) I am interested in the relationships between form and function. I will read your work and ask how form and function blend, what each lends, or what the created frictions promote regarding the goals of the poem. Are your choices serving each other as well as they might? I’m also curious about the poem’s method of approach—on what does it depend—image, sound, syntax, line, voice—and whether this keystone is well formed. I want to know if the poem is doing what it emphasizes well. If the poem provides a decoder ring, does it work consistently with this code?

In my own work, and in much of what I read, sound-play continues to be significant. I will read your poems aloud to better understand the unit of rhythm (line, stanza, sentence, white space) utilized. Diction choices and attention to connotative meaning will also be examined—are you getting the most out of each word in terms of emotional impact, potential meaning, and precise image? Is the world of the poem well developed by whatever means you have put to the task? Is the voice authentic to itself and coherent (or if not, is that intentional)? Of importance too—is there a space for the reader in the poem? I often fear being too clear and find out frequently the opposite is taking place in my poems. I am interested in the reader’s access into psychological space, and into the partnership of meaning-making.  Does the poem open to, or fight, the reader? For what purpose?

In my recent work what I’m calling the “little world” and the “big world” tend to both be present; I am concerned with how the personal can be universal and how the universal can be personally significant. Thinking about the interactions of poems when put together, I like to use the analogy of paint colors; hues change depending on surrounding color context.  A poem’s reading also depends upon what comes before and after it in the sequence.  I want the most out of each poem, so I will also focus on the relationships created, or potentially created, by the architecture of the manuscript. What information must the reader have first? What voices, worlds, keys, are offered in the opening poems? Is the reader taught how to read—taught the superstructures of the realm in the first few poems? Likewise, does the manuscript end or drain out? I will look for intent and how to facilitate what I perceive as your intentions for these poems. I read widely across genres (fiction, memoir, essay, news bites, children’s books, graphic novels, and poetry), but lately have focused more on voices less frequently included in popular anthologies—who else is out there and what are they doing? I want to know.

Ends on July 30, 2018$10.00 - 250.00
$10.00 - 250.00

During the month of July, Black Lawrence Press authors Lisa Fay Coutley, Amelia Martens, and Marc McKee are on board to critique poetry manuscripts; and they are accepting everything from individual poems to full-length manuscripts. The fees and parameters for each of these categories are as follows:

  • Individual Poems, up to 2 pages in length, $10
  • Folios, up to 7 pages in length, not to include more than 5 poems, $30
  • Chapbooks, 16-40 pages in length, $150
  • Full-length collections, 45-80 pages in length $250

All manuscripts should be formatted in 12-point font.The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is July 31. The consultants will complete their work and respond to all participants by August 31. Space in this program is limited, so please be sure to submit your work soon! 

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Marc's Statement of Purpose

It is a curious thing to say I love poetry. It is absolutely true, but it’s also increasingly difficult to prove. Let’s try, though. Here is what I know, maybe all I know, about my relation to poems: the longer I look at any—and I do mean any—given poem, the closer I come to seeing something so interior in it as to almost be visible to the naked eye, the initial spark, the beating heart, the flush of oxygen turning blue blood red red red, the shadow darkening then darkening further. Once I have that sense as a careful, critical but encouraging reader, as I progress through the rest of the poem I will try to assess how close the poem comes to honoring or deliciously resisting its driving reason for being in the first place. How do the surfaces of the language amp the poem’s deepest impulses? How close can it come to earning its reason for being in the world and its demand to fill our eyes and ears? That’s how I begin reading poems.  That’s how I’ll start with yours.

My work with poets, whether they are aspiring, peers, or far beyond my ken and station, is derived from wanting to honor what makes them make the poems they craft in the first place. To that end, my discussion of people’s poems will read them first and foremost as worthy of consideration, and further and more importantly, worthy of being made better. I will get to the heart of what you are doing, and I will in all my best lead you to ways of doing it with increasing meaning, value, and power. This goes for whether you’re writing poems about flowers keeping curt diaries, the prospect of a Palestinian state, or love and death, which, after all, all poems are about. I’ll help you sharpen your knives and bring your roses along.

I am also interested in helping writers place their aesthetics and their creations in the context of the longer poetic tradition itself. In addition to my own suggestions, I will call upon the books, manifestoes, poems, YouTube videos, and playlists that I believe can help improve the richness of your poem and also give it a cultural context that gives you the opportunity to see yourself and your work not just as an isolated, Romantic quest for expression, but part of an ever-burgeoning community of writers, living and dead, whose work seeks to enlarge human experience on this earth. I’m serious about that. Of course, sometimes just eating a chocolate chip cookie enlarges human experience on this earth, so keep that in mind.

My own work I’m terrible at describing without going on for a very long time. Let it suffice to say this: I come from a particular line of American poetry that can be traced from Walt Whitman to Wallace Stevens to Frank O’Hara and Kenneth Koch to more recent contemporaries from Dean Young and Mary Ruefle to Tomaž Šalamun to Mark Doty and Marie Howe. Yusef Komunyakaa, Jericho Brown, Adrian Matejka, Gabrielle Calvocoressi. I don’t know what joins all these except a regard for the world that is larger than their own personal experience and a dedication to challenging, exciting language. To this day I sometimes start a poem of one of this expanding group and hopelessly can’t finish it because I have to jump up and write the poem they inspired in me. Love and death. Food and weather. Satire and terror. I also can’t stop putting helicopters everywhere. I have lots to say about where I would like to see them as something totally different is going on. I have lots to say about the elements you can’t love any more, that you can’t keep out of your poems. I can’t wait to see them.


Each year Black Lawrence Press will award the St. Lawrence Book Award for an unpublished collection of poems or short stories. The St. Lawrence Book Award is open to any writer who has not yet published a full-length collection of short stories or poems. The winner of this contest will receive book publication, a $1,000 cash award, and ten copies of the book. Prizes will be awarded on publication. 

Beginning with the 2014 St. Lawrence Book Award competition, all entries will be read blind by our panel of editors. Manuscripts should include a title page (listing only the title of the work), table of contents, and when appropriate, an acknowledgments page. Manuscripts should be paginated and formatted in an easy-to-read font such as Garamond or Times New Roman. Manuscripts should be 45-95 pages in length (poetry) or 120-280 pages in length (fiction), not including front and back matter (table of contents, title page, etc.). Identifying information for the author should not be included anywhere on the manuscript itself. You are welcome to include a brief bio or something about yourself in your cover note on Submittable, which will only be made accessible to the editorial panel after the group of Semi-Finalist and Finalist manuscripts has been chosen.

Simultaneous submissions are acceptable and encouraged, but please notify us by withdrawing your manuscript on Submittable immediately if it is accepted for publication elsewhere.

The annual deadline for the prize is August 31. Please enter fiction submissions here.

The past winners of The St. Lawrence Book Award are Marcel Jolley, Stefi Weisburd, Jason Tandon, Fred McGavran, Yelizaveta P. Renfro, Brad Ricca, Katie Umans, Adrian Van Young, Craig Bernier, KMA Sullivan, Thomas Cotsonas, Alexandra Lytton Regalado, Vedran Husic, and Leigh Camacho Rourks. Below, you will have the option to purchase a selection of their titles for a discounted fee, which includes the cost of shipping.

Each year Black Lawrence Press will award the St. Lawrence Book Award for an unpublished collection of poems or short stories. The St. Lawrence Book Award is open to any writer who has not yet published a full-length collection of short stories or poems. The winner of this contest will receive book publication, a $1,000 cash award, and ten copies of the book. Prizes will be awarded on publication. 

Beginning with the 2014 St. Lawrence Book Award competition, all entries will be read blind by our panel of editors. Manuscripts should include a title page (listing only the title of the work), table of contents, and when appropriate, an acknowledgments page. Manuscripts should be paginated and formatted in an easy-to-read font such as Garamond or Times New Roman. Manuscripts should be 45-95 pages in length (poetry) or 120-280 pages in length (fiction), not including front and back matter (table of contents, title page, etc.). Identifying information for the author should not be included anywhere on the manuscript itself. You are welcome to include a brief bio or something about yourself in your cover note on Submittable, which will only be made accessible to the editorial panel after the group of Semi-Finalist and Finalist manuscripts has been chosen.

Simultaneous submissions are acceptable and encouraged, but please notify us by withdrawing your manuscript on Submittable immediately if it is accepted for publication elsewhere.

The annual deadline for the prize is August 31. Please enter poetry submissions here.

The past winners of The St. Lawrence Book Award are Marcel Jolley, Stefi Weisburd, Jason Tandon, Fred McGavran, Yelizaveta P. Renfro, Brad Ricca, Katie Umans, Adrian Van Young, Craig Bernier, KMA Sullivan, Thomas Cotsonas, Alexandra Lytton Regalado, Vedran Husic, and Leigh Camacho Rourks. Below, you will have the option to purchase a selection of their titles for a discounted fee, which includes the cost of shipping.

Please note: this category is open only to our current BLP authors (those with forthcoming or previously published titles). Submissions entered via this category from writers who are not currently published by BLP will not be considered. If you are not a current BLP author, please exit out of this category and submit through the relevant open category or contest. Our full reading schedule appears on our Submittable page. Thank you!

Current BLP authors: We're so happy that you'd like us to consider another manuscript from you. Please submit it here.
Black Lawrence Press