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.
Ends on January 31, 2018$10.00 - 250.00
$10.00 - 250.00

During the month of January, Black Lawrence Press authors Amelia Martens, Brandi George, and David Rigsbee are on board to critique poetry manuscripts; and they are accepting everything from single poems to full-length manuscripts. The fees and parameters for each of these categories is as follows:

  • Single poems, up to 2 pages in length, $10
  • Folios of up to 5 poems, not to exceed 7 pages in length, $30
  • Chapbooks, up to 40 pages in length, $150
  • Full-length collections, up to 80 pages in length, $250

All manuscripts should be formatted in 12-point font.

The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is January 31. The consultants will complete their work and respond to all participants by February 28.

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

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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 January 31, 2018$10.00 - 250.00
$10.00 - 250.00

During the month of January, Black Lawrence Press authors Amelia MartensBrandi George, and David Rigsbee are on board to critique poetry manuscripts; and they are accepting everything from single poems to full-length manuscripts. The fees and parameters for each of these categories is as follows:

  • Single poems, up to 2 pages in length, $10
  • Folios of up to 5 poems, not to exceed 7 pages in length, $30
  • Chapbooks, up to 40 pages in length, $150
  • Full-length collections, up to 80 pages in length, $250

All manuscripts should be formatted in 12-point font.

The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is January 31. The consultants will complete their work and respond to all participants by February 28.

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

----------

Brandi's Statement of Purpose

I approach each manuscript I read with humility, an open mind, and a willingness to be swept into another’s vision. I consider it my job to hone that vision, eliminating any clutter that prevents the reader from connecting to the text. Connection is at the heart of my aesthetics, and I believe that all writing is a conversation between text and reader, past and present, living and dead, self and abyss, human and habitat. The more ways the writer is able to connect with other art forms, disciplines, poetic traditions, narratives, myths, political/environmental concerns, and nonhuman life, the more powerful the work becomes. To me, the best poetry balances on the edge of what the writer is capable of, ever reaching beyond. This struggle will maximize the tension in the work.

I also believe that form is a vehicle for the transformation and transmission of ideas. I not only celebrate free verse, but poetic forms, including rhyme royal, terza rima, blank verse, lyric sequences, sonnets, ballads, villanelles, sestinas, ghazals, odes, erasures, golden shovels, bops, and other more recently invented forms. Experimental, hybrid-genre and medium work, and conceptual writing is welcome in addition to prose poems, narrative poems, persona poems, novels in verse, plays in verse, language-driven prose, and lyric essays. My comments will include line edits (line length and cohesion, efficiency of language, sentence structure), and large-order concerns (structure, format, narrative if applicable, image sets, and conceptual/theoretical framework), as well as suggestions for further reading. Be sure to include any particular questions or concerns in your cover letter.

Some of the questions I ask of a text:

VISION: What are the rules to this universe? Once I identify this, I am usually able to discover ways to help the text teach the reader how to read it, by means of reorganizing, reformatting, cutting, or expanding the text to make the writer’s vision more perceptible.

CONNECTION: How does the text contribute to a larger conversation (literary, political, social, cultural, religious)? If there are texts that would help the writer connect more strongly to these larger conversations, I will provide you with a list of reading suggestions.

TENSION: Does the writer achieve a balance between chaos and order, wildness and form? Are there places where the writer could increase the amount of tension (between line and sentence, form and content, everyday language and lyricism)?

WILL: Is the work alive? Does it have fire? Does it have its own will and life-force? If not, you have not pushed yourself hard enough, and I will suggest some methods for radical revision.


Ends on January 31, 2018$10.00 - 250.00
$10.00 - 250.00

During the month of January, Black Lawrence Press authors Amelia MartensBrandi George, and David Rigsbee are on board to critique poetry manuscripts; and they are accepting everything from single poems to full-length manuscripts. The fees and parameters for each of these categories is as follows:

  • Single poems, up to 2 pages in length, $10
  • Folios of up to 5 poems, not to exceed 7 pages in length, $30
  • Chapbooks, up to 40 pages in length, $150
  • Full-length collections, up to 80 pages in length, $250

All manuscripts should be formatted in 12-point font.

The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is January 31. The consultants will complete their work and respond to all participants by February 28.

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

----------

David's Statement of Purpose

Poems begin in subjectivity, in what Yeats memorably called “the foul rag-and-bone shop of the heart.”  But they can’t remain there and be poems.  Because their origin is in the poet’s particular experience—imaginative, emotional, expressive—they have to be transformed into speech acts, or better still, into song. The transformation can be daunting.  This is where the poet’s work comes in, and I believe that work benefits considerably from collaborative thinking that involves ways to use and enhance poetic intelligence, from word-choice and image, to acoustic and metrical composition, to architectural development and closure.  I also believe the specific skills to accomplish that work can be passed on from poet to poet.

In my consultations, I try to help poets identify and take advantage of the opportunities—rhetorical, stylistic, musical, metaphorical—inherent in early drafts.  I like to encourage thinking about poems as rhetorical performances intended to invite readers into the suggestive spaces a poem provides.  At the same time I’m interested in understanding the difference between poems that work toward a resonant simplicity and those that, in Linda Gregg’s phrase, “tap-dance” and so often skirt the deeper commitments good work requires.

I want to make sure that structure and detail are crafted, sturdy, precise, and aesthetically compelling.  Russell Edson once said that “of all the things that could have happened, this is the very thing that happens.”  An unfinished poem can go in many directions, but in the end it only goes in one—one that turns both inwardlly, acknowledging its origins (the rag-and-bones) and outwardly, as it hooks up with the larger world.  Contemporary poets whose work I follow, read, and reread include Gerald Stern, Jorie Graham, Terence Hayes, Robert Pinsky, and Robert Hass, to name just a few.

Ends on January 31, 2018$25.00
$25.00

Each year Black Lawrence Press will award The Big Moose Prize for an unpublished novel. The prize is open to new, emerging, and established writers. 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. 

All entries are read blind by our panel of editors. All 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 90-1,000 pages in length, 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, including in the name of your file or in the "title" field in Submittable. 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 is January 31.

The previous winners of The Big Moose Prize are Tracy DeBrincat, Jen Michalski, Betsy Robinson, Genanne Walsh, Megan McNamer, Robley Wilson, and Shena McAuliffe. Below, you will have the option to purchase their novels for a discounted fee, which includes the cost of shipping.

Ends on January 31, 2018$20.00
$20.00

Each year Black Lawrence Press will award The Hudson Prize for an unpublished collection of poems or short stories. The winner of this contest will receive book publication, a $1,000 cash award, and ten copies of the book. Prizes awarded on publication. 

All entries 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, 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 immediately if it is accepted for publication elsewhere.

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

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL: Submit your manuscript by January 31 and enjoy a $5 discount on the entry fee!

The past winners of The Hudson Prize are Jo Neace Krause, Daniel Chacón, Abayomi Animashaun, Patrick Michael Finn, Sarah Suzor, B. C. Edwards, Jacob M. Appel, Bettina Judd, Matthew Cheney, Gillian Cummings, Caroline Cabrera, and Beth Mayer. Below, you will have the option to purchase a selection of their titles for a discounted fee, which includes the cost of shipping.

Ends on January 31, 2018$20.00
$20.00

Each year Black Lawrence Press will award The Hudson Prize for an unpublished collection of poems or short stories. The winner of this contest will receive book publication, a $1,000 cash award, and ten copies of the book. Prizes awarded on publication. 

All entries 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, 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 immediately if it is accepted for publication elsewhere.

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

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL: Submit your manuscript by January 31 and enjoy a $5 discount on the entry fee!

The past winners of The Hudson Prize are Jo Neace Krause, Daniel Chacón, Abayomi Animashaun, Patrick Michael Finn, Sarah Suzor, B. C. Edwards, Jacob M. Appel, Bettina Judd, Matthew Cheney, Gillian Cummings, Caroline Cabrera, and Beth Mayer. 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.