Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Mary Ballard Poetry Chapbook Prize is open!

In honor of National Poetry Month, Casey Shay Press announces its first Mary Ballard Poetry Chapbook Prize.

Mary Ballard Wright wrote poetry, but almost no one knew it. She raised three children through two marriages, kept a home, and scribbled verses in those moments when she dared to think of something other than daily life.

In 1979, a tornado swept through her town of Wichita Falls, taking her home and everything she owned. Among the things she lost were her life's work, handwritten poems kept in a closet.

Mary died in 2010, and here at Casey Shay Press, we have decided, in her memory, to publish one poet each year. It is our hope to keep others' work from sudden loss, be it a natural disaster, a technical failure that destroys a hard drive, or a personal loss in the theft of the laptop where we kept our work.

The winner of the Mary Ballard Poetry Chapbook Prize will receive $500, 25 printed copies of the chapbook, and a book contract for the sale of physical and electronic versions of the chapbook.

There is NO fee to enter this contest, but each entrant may submit only one manuscript.

Rule for Entries:

Deadline: August 31, 2011

  • The Mary Ballard Poetry Chapbook Prize is open to all poets, published or unpublished.
  • Poems should adhere to a theme, however loosely.
  • We consider themes for adults as well as collections for children.
  • Individual poems may be previously published, but poems should not have been published as a group in any form, including self-published collections.
  • No more than 10% of the poetry should have been posted to blogs or web sites previously, and print and digital rights to any published poems should have reverted to the author to be eligible.
  • Manuscripts may be either a collection of poems or one long poem and should be a minimum of 20 pages and a maximum of 40 pages (not including the title page).
  • All poems should be single spaced and typed in size 12 Times New Roman or similar font.
  • Each manuscript should include a title page. This page should include the title, a one-sentence explanation of the chapbook's theme, and contact information on the poet. Please use your real name for your submission. If you prefer to use a pseudonym on your chapbook, that will be arranged later.
  • If any poems have been previously published, please indicate their titles and where they were published.
  • If the poet already participates in readings, poetry groups, or writers' organizations, we would love to hear about that, but it is optional.
  • The reading period for the 2012 competition begins on April 13, 2011. Entries must be submitted by August 31, 2011. Submissions will only be considered if received between those dates.
  • The semi-finalists will be announced October 2011.
  • We are all-electronic. How to submit: [Edited -- our submission process will change in 2014. Watch the blog for details.]


  1. What a noble contest. I'd be happy to mention it in FundsforWriters newsletters.

    C. Hope Clark
    Chosen Writer's Digest's 101 Best Websites for Writers - 2001-2011

  2. My girlfriend writes brilliant poems, I'm gonna try and inspire her to give this a go :)

  3. I am so excited about this contest! Hearing about Mary Ballard Wright makes me think of myself and so many mother poets just trying to make it through the needs of each day. I'd like to know more about her.

  4. Contest sounds wonderful. Thank you for making it free to enter. I have a question though: What does this mean? "book contract for the sale of physical and electronic versions of the chapbook." If we want more than 25 copies of our chapbook, how would that happen?

  5. Karen--in the publishing contract, it will specify that authors may purchase direct from us additional copies of their chapbook at 50% off. You will also earn royalties on those purchases--as we want to encourage our authors to take them to readings and poetry conferences and make additional money on them if they can! If the bookstores and distributors are going to make extra money--so should you when you do it yourself!

  6. Winning the contest means that we will publish your chapbook both as a physical book and as an electronic version and place it in the distribution system so that it can be bought anywhere. You will earn royalities on it as any author would.

  7. We also provide considerable assistance in promotion. We almost always do book trailers for our authors. We have a publicist who is happy to send out copies to reviewers or blogs that might interview you. And we will book a launch or a signing for you if you want one. This is all standard procedure for our authors, and the advantage of being at a small press.

  8. Like others have said, her story makes me recall when I became brave enough, to submit my poetry. I was 49 years-old and terrified...

  9. Entry sent, but mail with doc keeps coming back an unable to be delivered. I am sending to poetry prize Please advise, as I want to get doc to you. Thanks. Annette Armellino