CHAPBOOK CONTEST

Submission Period: 2/15 - 5/1 

The South Dakota State Poetry Society holds an annual Chapbook Contest, open to all South Dakota residents. The winner of the chapbook contest receives publication and author copies, and the chapbook is typically debuted at the annual South Dakota Festival of Books. Copies are sent to SDSPS members as part of their membership benefits, and additional copies are available for purchase.

Information, Rules, & Guidelines

Fee: $15 for SDSPS Members; $20 for non-members. PLEASE FOLLOW THESE GUIDELINES CAREFULLY; ENTRIES THAT DO NOT ADHERE TO GUIDELINES WILL BE DISQULIFIED.

  • Contest open to South Dakota residents only.
  • Only ONE submission per person.
  • Submit up to 30 pages of poetry. No more than one poem to a page, but a poem may be longer than one page.
  • Individual poems may have been published elsewhere, but the chapbook as a whole must not have been published anywhere else. Poems may be on any subject and in any form other than prose.
  • Chapbooks must be submitted electronically through Submittable.
  • Manuscripts will be judged blind. Each manuscript should include:
    - Table of Contents with no personal information.
    - Title Page with just the chapbook title and no personal identification.
    - Manuscript with no personal information (only the poem title, page number, and the poem on each page).
    - An acknowledgments page listing poems that have been published previously, as well as the periodical, anthology or book, and date of publication.

Please also include a cover letter that includes a brief bio and the title of your chapbook entry.

Only one winning manuscript will be accepted for publication. Should the contest be canceled, all entrants will be refunded their reading fee. Rights return to the poet after publication.

Thanks, and happy submitting!

2024 Contest Winner:

Judge Heidi Czerwiec selected "Seed" by Julie Gonnering Lein: "Seed explores the fertility of language, using words in a way both playful and provocative, reminding me simultaneously of Hailey Leithauser and Lucie Brock-Broido. These poems incant within feminine spaces, whether casting domestic fabulist spells, or singing the psalms of a mystic. I am enraptured."   —Heidi Czerwiec, lyric essayist and poet, author of Fluid States.

Julie Gonnering Lein earned her PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Utah. Her work has won the Larry Levis Memorial Poetry Prize (Academy of American Poets), the Hal Prize, and the Winter Anthology Annual Contest among other honors. Poems have appeared in such journals as Bellingham ReviewTerrain.org, Colorado Review, Best New Poets, Bateau, and Phoebe. She is the author of the chapbook Glacier, Perfect Tense (Dancing Girl Press). Gonnering Lein lives in South Dakota’s Black Hills with her family.

Past winners include:
  • Pen Pearson, "One Wing Should Float" (2023, judged by Ryan Clark)
  • Erika Saunders, "Hit or Miss Yields" (2022, judged by Sara Henning)
  • Todd Williams, "Objects in the Mirror are Closer Than They Appear" (2021, judged by Avery M. Guess)
  • Dana R. Yost, "In Your Head" (2020, judged by Stephanie Marcellus)
  • John S. Nelson, “West River”  (2019, judged by Nathaniel Hansen)
  • Daniel G. Snethen, “Bird”  (2018, judged by  Valerie Wetlaufer)
  • Whitnee Thorp, “Cicurate” (2017, judged by Fred Yannantuono)
  • Barbara Duffey, “The Verge of Thirst” (2016, judged by Gary Dop)
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