2019 Yemassee Journal Chapbook Contest


Guest Judge

Justin Phillip Reed


Justin Phillip Reed is an American poet, essayist, flâneur, and the author of Indecency (Coffee House Press), a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award in Poetry. His work appears in African American ReviewBest American EssaysCallalooThe Kenyon ReviewThe New York Times MagazineObsidian, and elsewhere. He earned his BA in creative writing at Tusculum College and his MFA in poetry at Washington University in St. Louis, where he served as Junior Writer-in-Residence. Justin has received fellowships from the Cave Canem Foundation, the Conversation Literary Festival, and the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis. Born and raised in South Carolina, he lives in St. Louis, Missouri. Come see about him at justinphillipreed.com.

 Yemassee is accepting entries for its 2019 Writing Prizes, including the 2019 Chapbook Contest. The author of the winning poetry chapbook will receive $1000 and 25 copies of their chapbook. Author input on cover art will be considered. The editors will select ten finalists and pass those submissions on to the guest judge. The ten finalists will receive acknowledgment.

Timeline: Submissions open November 9, 2018 and close January 31, 2019.

Entry Instructions: To enter, submit one chapbook with 20-26 pages of poetry (title page, dedication, etc. does not count). An entry fee of $22 must accompany each entry.

Discounted Subscription: Entries accompanied by $25 also qualify the submitter for a one-year subscription to Yemassee. Please select the appropriate fee category.

Formatting and Other Guidelines: Submissions that do not conform to these guidelines may be disqualified at the editors’ discretion. Entries must be submitted online using Submittable; paper submissions will not be accepted. The author’s name must not appear anywhere in the submission or in the file name. We welcome multiple entries. However, each entry must be submitted separately and accompanied by an additional entry fee. While we do allow simultaneous submissions, please inform us immediately if the submission is accepted elsewhere by withdrawing in Submittable. Note that no refunds will be issued for submissions that are withdrawn or disqualified. All entries must be submitted by the deadline.

Eligibility: Current or previous Yemassee staff, close personal friends or family of the Yemassee staff, and writers who have been published in Yemassee within the past two years are ineligible for entry.

Applicants may enter here on Submittable.


Winner of the 2nd Poetry Chapbook Prize

chronicle the body  by Martina “Mick” Powell

“Urgent music and breathtaking self-reflection spill from chronicle the body. These poems remind me of the way strength, insight, and vulnerability converge in Lucille Clifton’s lines: “born in babylon/both nonwhite and woman/what did i see to be except myself?” I’m also reminded of all the ways we must work to remember the simple miracle of our bodies, their wounds and healing, in a world that so often refuses to see the body’s – in particular: black women’s bodies’ – trials and complexities. But chronicle the body lives and sings in the midst of our American mess, crafting its own rituals and music.”

—-Aaron Coleman, 2018 Chapbook Poetry Judge