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 in 6 days, 19 hours $40.00 - 500.00
$40.00 - 500.00

During the month of July, Black Lawrence Press author Abayomi Animashaun is offering consultations on essays and full-length creative nonfiction manuscripts.

Full-length manuscripts may be up to 300 pages in length. Individual essays should be between 5 and 20 pages in length.  Manuscripts should formatted in 12 point font and double spaced. The fees as $500 for manuscripts and $40 for essays.

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

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

___________

Abayomi's Statement of Purpose:

Creative nonfiction, for me, provides a place where I can hold myself accountable - a place where I can unabashedly return to, map out, and almost systematically study my own biography and the landscape of my own understanding. It is a genre that allows me to question myself and my writing and allows me to approach elements that make up my imagination, hold them to the ground, and tease open their jackets to better learn the “how” and “why”, the “where from”, and the “how long” of their make-up.

Given its fluid form, I approach creative nonfiction with the same inclusive sensitivity I bring to poetry. I understand that approaches to it are infinite and the themes explored within it are myriad. Because of this, I try to listen and understand by entering a dialogue with the author. I ask myself “what is the author trying to do?”, “what issue is he/she addressing?”, and “with whom is he/she in conversation?” I pay attention to subject matter and movement of prose, narrative intent and the possibilities available to shape the piece in question to the author’s patent and/or inchoate goals.

__________

Feedback From Previous Participants

"...I want to express my deepest gratitude for [Abayo's] lovely and insightful comments on my essay...[his] careful reading, [his] gentle inquiries and suggestions, allowed me to make the essay stronger in all the right ways." --Joey G.

"...I found [Abayo's] advice very useful. [He] provided clear and concise ideas about what is working well in pieces and gave me lots of wonderful ideas for areas of improvement. I look forward to jumping into some revision and writing more..." --Colleen W.

"[I] thank [Abayo] for the helpful and inspiring comments. It’s such a help to have fresh, insightful eyes look critically but kindly at a long piece and comment in a way that makes the writer want to get back to wrestling in the weeds with it. [His] broad feedback was very useful, especially when backed with examples." --Frank L.

Ends in 6 days, 19 hours $150.00 - 250.00
$150.00 - 250.00

During the month of July, Black Lawrence Press poet Amelia Martens is offering consultations on full-length poetry collections and poetry chapbooks.

Full-length manuscripts may be up to 75 pages in length. Chapbooks should be between 16 and 38 pages in length.  Manuscripts should formatted in 12 point font. The fees as $250 for manuscripts and $150 for chapbooks.

The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is July 31. Amelia will complete her work and respond to all program 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.

__________

Feedback From Previous Participants

“Thank you so much, Amelia! I very much appreciate your feedback and suggestions for reading! I’m thrilled to have been able to benefit from your expertise and will look for opportunities like this from Black Lawrence Press in the future!” –Wendy O.

“I find the consultation program quite helpful…Good stuff. It keeps the light burning.” –Frank L.

“THANK YOU. Amelia, your reading of the manuscript shows a deft understanding of how my poetry book could work. Your comments are both inspiring and clarifying. Gosh, I am excited about revising in light of your sensitive read. Money well spent!” –Daniela B.

“Amelia was wonderful; she read the manuscript carefully and offered perceptive comments that were very helpful. What was most helpful was her positive and encouraging spirit; it gave me hope and for that I am deeply grateful!” –Chris B.

Ends on August 31, 2017$25.00
$25.00

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.

Past winners:

2004: Marcel Jolley
2005: Stefi Weisburd
2006: Jason Tandon
2007: Fred McGavran
2008: Yelizaveta P. Renfro
2009: Brad Ricca
2010: Katie Umans
2011: Adrian Van Young
2012: Craig Bernier
2013: KMA Sullivan
2014: Thomas Cotsonas
2015: Alexandra Lytton Regalado
2016: Vedran Husic





Ends on August 31, 2017$25.00
$25.00

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.

Past winners:

2004: Marcel Jolley
2005: Stefi Weisburd
2006: Jason Tandon
2007: Fred McGavran
2008: Yelizaveta P. Renfro
2009: Brad Ricca
2010: Katie Umans
2011: Adrian Van Young
2012: Craig Bernier
2013: KMA Sullivan
2014: Thomas Cotsonas
2015: Alexandra Lytton Regalado
2016: Vedran Husic

Abstract

Poetry manuals, at their most essential, are aimed at demystifying aspects of poetry (especially for beginner poets) in order to make poets’ journeys easier and less daunting. Such manuals are also reminders that poetry itself is a discipline with a landscape and a history.

With this anthology, we aim to build on the long body of work in this tradition by bringing a number of established and emerging poets together in a single volume to welcome new and beginner poets to the art. Multiple voices, we believe, are essential to the poet’s journey.

Call for Submissions

Black Lawrence Press is now accepting submissions for a new anthology of essays.

Poets in the United States and abroad are encouraged to submit essays aimed at welcoming new and beginner poets to the discipline of poetry.

Contributors are encouraged to provide anecdotes and advice, instructions and suggestions, fun exercises and crazy ideas, or individual failures and encouraging words, in order to better prepare new poets for the long journey through poetry.

Essays should be between 700-5000 words on any of the following broad themes (other themes will be considered):

  1. First Words

  2. Poetry Workshop

  3. The Poet’s Journey

  4. Family & Work

  5. The Poet in the World

Essays can be creative or academic. However, they have to be accessible since they are also for a general audience.

Abayomi Animashaun will serve as editor. Please contact him at abayo.animashaun@gmail.com with questions.

Submissions will be accepted via Submittable. The deadline for submissions is November 30, 2017.

About the Editor

Abayomi Animashaun is the author of two poetry collections, Sailing for Ithaca and The Giving of Pears, and editor of two anthologies, Walking the Tightrope: Poetry and Prose by LGBTQ Writers from Africa and Others Will Enter the Gates: Immigrant Poets on Poetry, Influences, and Writing in America. He teaches writing and literature at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh and lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin with his wife and two children. 

Note: Should contributors be interested in familiarizing themselves with Abayomi's work, we are offering his Black Lawrence Press titles at a discounted rate. The option to purchase one or more of his titles appears near the end of the submission form. Please note that these purchases are optional.

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.