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 October 31, 2018$10.00 - 250.00
$10.00 - 250.00

During the month of October, Black Lawrence Press author David Rigsbee is on board to poetry manuscripts, and he is accepting everything from individual poems to full-length collections. The fees and parameters for each of these categories are as follows:

  •     Single poems, up to 2 pages in length, $15
  •     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 October 31. David will complete his work and respond to all participants by November 30. Space in this program is limited, so please be sure to submit your work soon!

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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.

You're in the submission form for poetry. If you're intending to submit fiction, please return to the main page and select the fiction category instead.

Twice each year Black Lawrence Press will run the Black River Chapbook Competition for an unpublished chapbook of poems or short fiction between 16-36 pages in length. The contest is open to new, emerging, and established writers. The winner will receive book publication, a $500 cash award, and ten copies of the book. Prizes are 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 16-36 pages in length (double-spaced for 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, 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.

A note regarding previously published work: Chapbooks containing individual stories or poems that have been previously published online or in print are absolutely eligible for the BRCC–please simply note previously published work on an acknowledgments page. On the other hand, if your chapbook has been previously published as a collection (including publication with a press, self-publication, online/digital publication, and publication in a small, limited-edition print run), then the manuscript is not eligible for the BRCC.

  • Simultaneous submissions are acceptable and encouraged, but please notify us by withdrawing your manuscript on Submittable immediately if it is accepted for publication elsewhere.
  • Multiple submissions (the submission of more than one manuscript to the contest) are permitted.
  • Collaborative collections are welcome.
  • Hybrid/multi-genre submissions are also welcome; please enter under the submission category that best fits your work.
  • We cannot accept translations for the BRCC.

  The annual deadlines for the prize are May 31 and October 31.

Optional book bundle: Interested in reading a few of our chapbooks while we read yours? Below you will have the option to purchase a bundle of five of our chapbooks, which includes Retribution Binary by Ruth Baumann; The Branches, The Axe, The Missing by Charlotte Pence; The Missing Girl by Jacqueline Doyle; The Muddy Season by Matthew Raymond; and Atlas of the Body by Nicole Cuffy. The discounted price of $37.95 for this chap bundle includes the cost of shipping. Purchase not required for submission to the BRCC!

You're in the submission form for fiction. If you're intending to submit poetry, please return to the main page and select the poetry category instead.

Twice each year Black Lawrence Press will run the Black River Chapbook Competition for an unpublished chapbook of poems or short fiction between 16-36 pages in length. The contest is open to new, emerging, and established writers. The winner will receive book publication, a $500 cash award, and ten copies of the book. Prizes are 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 16-36 pages in length (double-spaced for 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, 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.

A note regarding previously published work: Chapbooks containing individual stories or poems that have been previously published online or in print are absolutely eligible for the BRCC–please simply note previously published work on an acknowledgments page. On the other hand, if your chapbook has been previously published as a collection (including publication with a press, self-publication, online/digital publication, and publication in a small, limited-edition print run), then the manuscript is not eligible for the BRCC.

  • Simultaneous submissions are acceptable and encouraged, but please notify us by withdrawing your manuscript on Submittable immediately if it is accepted for publication elsewhere.
  • Multiple submissions (the submission of more than one manuscript to the contest) are permitted.
  • Collaborative collections are welcome.
  • Hybrid/multi-genre submissions are also welcome; please enter under the submission category that best fits your work.
  • We cannot accept translations for the BRCC.

The annual deadlines for the prize are May 31 and October 31.

Optional book bundle: Interested in reading a few of our chapbooks while we read yours? Below you will have the option to purchase a bundle of five of our chapbooks, which includes Retribution Binary by Ruth Baumann; The Branches, The Axe, The Missing by Charlotte Pence; The Missing Girl by Jacqueline Doyle; The Muddy Season by Matthew Raymond; and Atlas of the Body by Nicole Cuffy. The discounted price of $37.95 for this chap bundle includes the cost of shipping. Purchase not required for submission to the BRCC!

Ends on November 30, 2018$12.00
$12.00

Black Lawrence Press publishes translations from German and French. Submit translations to our open reading period here.

All manuscripts should include a title page (including your name and contact info), 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. Please include a brief bio or something about yourself in your cover note on Submittable.

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

Black Lawrence Press is happy to select many of our titles through our twice-annual Open Reading Periods in June and November. We ask all submitters to select one Black Lawrence Press publication at a discounted price ($12, including shipping for print editions). Proceeds from the open reading period will go directly back into supporting the activities of the press.

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