Monday, April 1, 2013

2014 Poetry Prize Contest is OPEN for submission through June 30

We are pleased to announce that the 2014 Mary Ballard Poetry Chapbook Prize is open for submissions April 1 through June 30, 2013. There is NO fee to enter this contest and international entries are welcome.

Please realize that this is a chapbook competition for 20-40 pages of poetry. Entries with fewer than 20 pages will simply be discarded.

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 that by encouraging poets to send their work out into the world, we can help keep others 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 or computer.

The winner of the Mary Ballard Poetry Chapbook Prize will receive $500 and 25 printed copies of the chapbook. The chapbook will be sold in both physical and electronic versions via a publishing contract with Casey Shay Press.

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

Rule for Entries:

Deadline: June 30, 2013

  • The Mary Ballard Poetry Chapbook Prize is open to all poets, published or unpublished.
  • The prize is open to international entries, although the poetry should be in English.
  • 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).
  • 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 the poet's own blog or web site previously, and print and digital rights to any published poems should have reverted to the author to be eligible.
  • 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, you may list that as well and we will use it on public contest results.
  • 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 2013 competition begins on April 1, 2013. Entries must be submitted by June 30, 2013. Submissions will only be considered if received between those dates.
  • The quarter-finalists will be announced July 31, 2013. Semi finalists Aug. 30. Finalists Sept. 15. The winner will be chosen by a celebrity poet judge, and we can't always be sure when the judging will be completed, but hopefully by Nov. 1.
  • We are all-electronic. How to submit: [Edited -- our submission process will change in 2014. Watch the blog for details.]

Take a look at our previous winners:

Uncommon Clay by Darlene Franklin-Campbell, judged by Jay Parini, author of The Last Station, Robert Frost: A Life, and numerous poetry collections.

You can read free samples of her work at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Seven Times to Leave by Jeannette Angell, judged by Fred Marchant, Director of the Creative Writing Program at Suffolk University and author of The Looking House.

Read her work at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.


  1. How old do you have to be to take part in this? Is there an age restriction?

  2. Is this contest open internationally? I don't live in U.S.. Thank you. =)

  3. I second the question by Deelicious. Though American, I live overseas. Am I still eligible or is it just for U.S. residents?

  4. There is no age restriction, but the publishing contract would be signed by your legal guardian.

    Yes, it is open to international entries. We'll add this to the rules since it is a common question.

  5. You say that the entry must be at least 20 pages long, but this does not specify whether it should be set out with a new page started for each poem, or just a line-break or such between them... Would it be possible for you to clear that up for me?
    Thank you

  6. Six of the 23 poems have been published in one of my books, though not in the exact same form. Can they be included in my submission?

  7. Shorttail -- don't worry about page breaks. 20-40 pages works out just fine either way.

    Rosalind -- if the book is out of print, it is fine. If it is still for sale, then no, they are not eligible as the book they are currently in owns the rights to them.

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  9. When will be the quarter finalists be announced? your sitesays Jul 31, but I didn't recieve any info abt it.

  10. Hello. Will the deadline be the same for next year?

  11. There is "submit botton or link"

  12. I have a couple of technical questions about the Mary Ballard Poetry Contest. Will the winner of the contest retain the rights to his/her work (other than the first publication rights, which I presume will go to Casey Shay Press)? Also, will the winner receive royalties from Casey Shay Press for the books that they sell (and if so, what percentage)? Just curious. Thank you very much.