Back to Book Contests/Open Reading Periods for Full-Length Manuscripts Opportunities

Quarter After Eight’s 2023 Poetry Chapbook Contest, judged by Kaveh Akbar

Welcome to our inaugural, annual poetry chapbook contest! This contest is open to poetry (though if you have hybrid work, we like that too, especially work that makes us ask what even is a poem? ). We want chapbook manuscripts that make us upset we didn’t write them ourselves. Give us your weirdos, your wrong ways, and your wild ones. Experimental is good, strange auras are even better. Baffle us, make us laugh, make us feel a complicated feeling we have to talk to somebody about. Surprising language is a given, envy-inducing language is required, as is the entry fee of $15. Submit here.

We especially encourage submissions by writers from underrepresented groups. 

The contest is open to new, emerging, and established writers. The winner will receive a $500 cash award and 25 beautifully designed printed copies of their chapbook. Five finalists will be chosen by the editorial team at Quarter After Eight, and judge Kaveh Akbar will select a winner, as well as first and second runners up. 

Kaveh Akbar is the author of two poetry collections, Pilgrim Bell (Graywolf 2021) and Calling a Wolf a Wolf (Alice James 2017), and editor of The Penguin Book of Spiritual Verse (Penguin 2022). In January 2024, Knopf will publish Akbar’s debut novel, Martyr!. He lives in Iowa City and serves as poetry editor for The Nation.

Important Details 

All entries are read without identifying information by QAE editors. Please do not include any identifying information on the manuscript itself, including in the name of your file, in the “title” field in Submittable, or in the margins. Please include a title page (listing only the title of the work) and table of contents (if applicable). Manuscripts should be paginated and in a legible font that doesn’t burn our eyes. Manuscripts should be 20-30 pages in length, not including front and back matter (table of contents, title page, etc.). You are welcome to include a brief bio or something about yourself in your cover note on Submittable. If any of your included poems have been published in other journals, please include that information (title, journal, publication date) in the form of a list in the cover letter field.

Submissions will be open from June 1, 2023 to August 15, 2023. A $15 entry fee is required upon submission. 

About the Journal

Quarter After Eight is an annual literary journal devoted to the exploration of innovative writing. We celebrate work that directly challenges the conventions of language, style, voice, or idea in literary forms.

The publication of this journal is made possible in part by a grant from the Ohio Arts Council(opens in a new window).

The editors also wish to thank the following people and institutions: Robert DeMott, Barbara Grueser, Nancy Vandeman, Connie Pollard, and Dinty W. Moore. Special thanks to the Creative Writing Program(opens in a new window) and English Department(opens in a new window) at Ohio University for their extraordinary support in recent years.