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  · a quality home for new poets

2020 Frontier Digital Chapbook Contest

Chapbooks are a huge milestone for emerging poets, and we’re always looking forward to the Frontier Digital Chapbook Contest—where we get to find that one electric bundle of poems that rocks our world in less than 30 pages.

The winner of the FDCC will receive $2000 and publication of the free, downloadable chapbook on Frontier. Most exciting of all: the chapbook will also be distributed to tens of thousands of readers, influencers, editors, agents, and magazines through our newsletter. Don’t underestimate the power of this reach to empower your career as a poet.

Our guest judge Carl Phillips will select the winner. He is professor of English at Washington University in St. Louis and has served as judge of the Yale Series of Younger Poets since 2010. His own books of poetry include Wild Is the Wind and and the recently released, Pale Colors in a Tall Field.

Guidelines for submission:

  • Contest is open for international poets, but the poems must be in English.
  • Manuscript should be 10-30 pages.
  • Manuscript should be on the whole unpublished, although individual poems can be previously published.
  • Simultaneous submissions are welcome, but please notify us if the chapbook is accepted elsewhere.
  • Multiple submissions are allowed, but each chapbook must be submitted individually.
  • Do not include bio information in the manuscript itself.
  • We will announce the winners in early August 2020.
  • To view a list of the most commonly asked questions about submitting to us, please see our FAQ page.

We are also selling a limited run of physical copies of our 2019 winner, Shadow Black, by Naima Tokunow and selected by Jericho Brown—we only have the 90 copies that we printed for this year's AWP. If you'd love to read the stunning chap in its limited physical edition (while also sending the author some money and helping us recoup losses from our AWP cancellation)—please consider purchasing her wonderful little book of poems!

"The poems in Shadow Black move from startling moments of subtlety to satisfying passages of rant. Naima Tokunow is also a poet of the body, and in that tradition she calls for the liberation of the black body in particular: “It refuses. It declines. It makes its own.” I’m so glad to have these poems in my life." — Jericho Brown, author of The New Testament

In addition, two options for feedback are available—the Editorial Letter and the Manuscript Consultation. For convenient and practical feedback on a poem from the collection, the Editorial Letter will be your best choice (1-2 pages of professional and developmental feedback). The Manuscript Consultation will provide an in-depth and extensive editorial service on the manuscript as a whole (15-20 pages + phone consultation). 

Submissions for our New Voices poetry category are open year round to any new and emerging poet who has not published more than one full-length collection of poetry. New Voices are published online only and will feature a number of poems from new authors each month.

We are thrilled to offer significant payment to our partner poets: $50 per poem, up to $150. We are proud to be paying for  published pieces but will be highly selective in our choices for  publication.

We also warmly invite under-represented and marginalized voices to submit. Our aim is to be an accurate representation of the diversity of our beautiful community. Your voice is valued here.

  • Submissions are open to new and emerging poets only  (no more than one full-length published work forthcoming at the time of submission—email us about self-published works)
  • Show excellence  in your craft. Bend language, experiment with  visuality and form—lay your heart bare on the page. Our aim is to showcase writers who we believe will continue to produce  great work. Send us only your best.
  • We accept simultaneous submissions—just please send us a note if your work is picked up elsewhere (We want to say congrats!)
  • All submissions must be no more than 10 pages and no more than 5 poems.
  • We do not accept multiple submissions. Please submit all your poems in ONE document.
  • Please include a cover letter with your publication history
  • Expect 8-12 weeks for a response
  • Please review our FAQ page for more information. Almost all other questions are answered here:


The Editors

Each month, Luther will select one of your poems based on this prompt to include in the next post of his Cute Little Syllabus series on Frontier Poetry.


The art of telling: The old saying: “Show, don’t tell.” But, sometimes we fall into the beauty of poetry, of language, so much that what is meant to be said gets lost. We get caught up in showing. However, there is something beautiful, too, in saying, “I am sad today,” instead of illustrating the act of sadness. Or sometimes, straightforward revelations like, “You must change your life,” in “Archaic Torso of Apollo,” by Rilke, makes use of all the showing. So, how does one “just fucking say it?”


  1. Write a paragraph of 10 sentences about the closest object to you. Make it as poetic as possible.
    1. Must have at least 3 metaphors or similes
    2. Must have at least 3 images
    3. Must end with 1 revelation
  2. Type paragraph
  3. Make 3 copies



Revise your paragraph so that it addresses the audience.



In your paragraph, change at least 3 of the sentences to questions.



Rewrite all the metaphors or similes out of your paragraph.



  1. Rewrite your paragraph to have 9 sentences with images.
    1. Must leave the revelation sentence as is.
  2. Play with the placement of the revelation sentence.
Frontier Poetry