Wells College Press Chapbook Contest

Wells College Press invites submissions to its Poetry Chapbook Contest. The submissions window is from October 16, 2023 to January 15, 2024, and the winner will be announced in April 2024. The author of the chosen manuscript will receive 10 copies of the artist-designed, hand-sewn chapbook, plus a digital version, and will be invited to read from their new chapbook at Wells College in the fall of 2024. The poet will receive a $1,000 honorarium plus room and board for the reading.

The Wells College Press will print a special edition of 50 signed and numbered copies. The design of the winning chapbook will respond directly to the poems of the manuscript, and we will also create a digital edition available for download. Prior chapbooks have included type and ornaments cast in metal at the Bixler Letterfoundry in Skaneateles, commissioned engravings, and tactile cover materials enclosing the hand-sewn bindings, and we will continue our tradition of crafting each chapbook individually and obsessively.

Past winners include:
2019 – James D’Agostino – This Much
2018 – Bret Sheppard – Negative Compass
2017 – Annie Lighthart’s – Lantern
2016 – J.R. Tappenden – Independent City
2015 – Michael Jennings –River Time
2014 – Janis Esch – What Longing Is

Submission Guidelines:

  • Individual poems may have been published in periodicals, but the collection as a whole must be unpublished. An acknowledgments page is optional for the contest submission, though it will be included in the final chapbook.
  • Co-authored manuscripts and translated manuscripts are welcome as long as the author has all relevant permissions.
  • Close personal friends of the judge, as well as current or former students of the judge, are ineligible.
  • Multiple submissions are welcome, but each submission must be accompanied by a separate entry fee.
  • Please do not include your name or other identifying information in the manuscript; the manuscript itself must be anonymous, as the judging will be blind.

How to submit:

Entries can be submitted between October 16, 2023 and January 15, 2024 at https://wellscollegepress.submittable.com/submit or by mail to: Chapbook Contest, Wells Book Arts Center, Wells College, 170 Main Street, Aurora, New York 13026. Make checks for $25 payable to Wells College Press, with “WCPress entry fee” on the memo line. Include an SASE for notification of the results. Optional: Include a self-addressed, stamped postcard for acknowledgment of receipt. A limited number of fee waivers are available for submitters who may be experiencing financial hardship; please email bookartscenter@wells.edu with the subject line “Chapbook Fee Waiver” for details.


Early readers for our contest are all award-winning poets. The final judge of the WCP Poetry Chapbook Contest is Dan Rosenberg.

Dan Rosenberg‘s most recent book of poetry is Bassinet (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2022). His work has won the American Poetry Journal Book Prize and the Omnidawn Poetry Chapbook Contest, and recent poems have appeared in PloughsharesKenyon Review, and Poem-a-Day from the Academy of American Poets. Rosenberg holds an M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a Ph.D. from The University of Georgia, where he was a Presidential Fellow. He is the chair of the English department at Wells College, where he  teaches literature, creative writing, and translation theory.

E-mail with questions: bookartscenter@wells.edu