Submission Guidelines

The 2020 Frontier Digital Chapbook Contest // $2000 // Judged by Carl Phillips

Closes 5/15/2020

Add to Calendar


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.

Our 2019 winner, Shadow Black, by Naima Tokunow and selected by Jericho Brown, will be released on May 3rd, 2020—stay tuned!

View our 2018 winner, How Often I Have Chosen Loveby Xiao Yue Shan.

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    • Manuscript should be on the whole unpublished, although individual poems can be previously published.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). The Manuscript Consultation will provide an in-depth and extensive editorial service on the manuscript as a whole (15-20 pages + phone consultation).




New Voices

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. For information about self-published works and pieces published via personal or social media pages, please see our FAQ page below).
    • 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.
    • To view a list of our most commonly asked questions regarding submitting to us, please see our FAQ page.


Submission Options

  • New Voices Free – Always a free way to submit and we always pay for the work. We pay new poets $50/poem selected up to $150. Response time is 8-12 weeks.
  • Editorial Letter – If you’re interested in knowing a little bit more about what we thought of your poem, utilize this option. When we’ve reviewed your piece we will include 1-2 pages of feedback on your poem including suggestions for revision, where it might be a good fit for publication, and other comments about ways it can be improved. It’s our way of helping you to understand your work better and improve. There is a reading fee for this category.
  • Fast Response – It can be hard to wait to hear back, so we've developed a quicker turnaround time for writers who want to hear back within two weeks. There is a reading fee for this category.

Author’s Rights

Frontier Poetry holds first publication rights for three months after publication. Authors agree not to publish, nor authorize or permit the publication of, any part of the material for three months following first publication. For reprints we ask for acknowledgement of its publication in Frontier Poetry first.


Frontier New Voices Fellowship

The Frontier Fellowship exists to give opportunity and access to poets in the margins of our community. We’re seeking emerging writers traditionally under represented by mainstream magazines and presses, in order to make that “breaking in” a little easier.

This category will always be free.

We will award a poet with the Frontier Fellowship: free access and enrollment in our editorial services (feedback, webinars & mentorship), multiple publications (original poetry and prose) in Frontier, participation in our editorial community, and introductions to agents and presses. We customize our fellowships to meet the needs of our chosen fellow: hours per month, number of publications, and publication involvement will vary based on our fellow's availability.

For the Fellow of 2018, we accepted applications from poets who are 50 or older and who do not have a full-length collection published or forthcoming at the time of submission. Susan Yanos was our 2018 Fellow.

For the Fellow of 2019, we accepted applications from poets who are from native nations and/or identify as an indigenous writer. Moira J. is our 2019 Fellow.

For the Fellow of 2020, we are making our selections from undocumented poets.

For the Fellow of 2021, submissions open in March!


Close Menu