The winner of each of the three Omnidawn poetry book competitions wins an immediate cash prize as indicated above for each poetry contest, publication of the book with a full color cover by Omnidawn, 100 free copies of the winning book, and extensive display advertising and publicity, including ads in American Poetry Review, Poets & Writers Magazine, Rain Taxi Review of Books and other publications. Winning books have been reviewed in Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Colorado Review, The Huffington Post, American Book Review, and other publications, and all winning books that have been published for at least one year have been adopted as texts for college classes. We encourage, but do not require, prize winners to submit their subsequent manuscripts to Omnidawn for publication, and several of our fourteen prize winning poets have done so. Prize winners with current or upcoming full-length second Omnidawn books include Michelle Taransky (2008 1st/2nd Book Prize), Zach Savich (2010 Poetry Chapbook Prize), Kelli Anne Noftle (2010 1st/2nd Book Prize), kate pringle (2011 1st/2nd Book Prize), and Angela Hume (2012 Poetry Chapbook Prize).
Guidelines That Are the Same for All Three Contests. All three Omnidawn poetry book contests have very similar guidelines and submission procedures. The guidelines and requirements that are the same for all contests are as follows: Omnidawn poetry editors seek a wide range of styles, approaches, forms, diversities, and aesthetics to send to the judge (for example: lyric, prose poems, experimental, etc). Postal and online poetry contest submissions are accepted from around the world with no citizenship limitations. Simultaneous submissions and multiple submissions are acceptable. Revisions are not allowed during the contests. Manuscript submissions for all contests must be original. (If you include quotes from other works in your manuscript, please be sure they are clearly attributed to the author either on the same page or in a “Notes” section at the back of the manuscript.) Manuscripts must be in English, although it is perfectly acceptable to include some text in other languages. Manuscripts must be previously unpublished, although individual poems in a manuscript are still eligible for this contest if they have been previously published in print or web magazines, journals, anthologies, or on a personal web site. (If you are including photographs or other graphic images in your manuscript, please contact us for guidelines.) NOT ELIGIBLE are translations; collaborations by more than one author; students, colleagues, or close friends of the judge; Omnidawn past and present staff and interns; and authors of books Omnidawn has published. All Omnidawn poetry competitions are blind, so you can submit manuscripts that contain identifying information, but please be aware that such information will be removed from manuscripts before they are passed on to our editors who select manuscripts to be sent to the judge. (If you use your name in your poetry please contact us for guidelines for substituting a pseudonym.)
Errors in Your Submission. If our staff find a serious error in your entry we will contact you to obtain a correction at no cost to you, so your error will not disqualify you. Nor will a few smaller errors in your manuscript, including spelling, punctuation, formatting, or typographic errors, reduce your chances of winning. (We fully understand that such errors sometimes occur for everyone, and that these can be easily corrected later.)
Differences Between the Three Contests. The only differences between the three Omnidawn poetry competitions are the contest dates, the judge, the dollar amount of the prize, the reading fee, the manuscript page limit, an optional Omnidawn book offer, and for one contest only, the First/Second Poetry Book Contest, a limit on the number of previously published full-size poetry books by a submitting poet. These differences are described immediately below, under the "Current Poetry Competition" and "Upcoming Poetry Competitions" headings.
Open poetry book competition for all writers with no limitations on the amount of poetry a writer has published. The manuscript page limit is 120 pages for this poetry book contest. (Most manuscripts we receive are 40-80 pages long.) Colleagues, students, and close friends of the judge, Mary Jo Bang, are not eligible. Postal and online poetry contest submissions accepted. Online entries must be received and postal entries must be postmarked between November 1, 2014 and January 20, 2015 at midnight Pacific Standard Time. Reading fee is $27. For $3 extra to cover shipping cost, entrants who provide a U.S. mailing address may choose to receive this contest's winning book or any Omnidawn book (including 4 PEN USA winning books). A complete list of all current Omnidawn poetry books is available at www.omnidawn.com/products-page/current. The winner will be announced to our Email list and on this web page in June 2015, and we expect to publish the winning book in December of 2015. To view details below about previous winners, click here.
All the essential information for the current Omnidawn 1st/2nd Poetry Book Contest is contained in the above paragraphs. You can now enter a manuscript, or if you are not ready to enter, you can choose to receive alerts about upcoming poetry contest deadlines immediately below.
IF YOU ARE READY TO ENTER you have three options:
OR, IF YOU ARE NOT READY TO ENTER but would like to receive alerts about upcoming contest deadlines (and, if you choose, other Omnidawn emails), you can: Click here to add yourself to our mailing list. (Your email address will not be shared with anyone, and you can easily remove yourself from the mailing list at any time.)
Open to all writers with no limitations on the amount of poetry a writer has published. Submissions should be 20–40 pages of poetry, not including front and back matter. (Keep in mind that this is intended to fit in a 5.5 x 7 inch published chapbook of approximately 60 pages or less, although you can submit on standard 8.5 x 11 inch pages, and we will format to fit the smaller size.) Colleagues, students, and close friends of the judge, Brian Teare, are not eligible. Postal and online poetry contest submissions accepted. Online entries must be received and postal entries must be postmarked between February 1 and March 31, 2015 at midnight Pacific Standard Time. Reading fee is $18 for the poetry chapbook contest. For $2 extra to cover shipping cost, entrants who provide a U.S. mailing address may choose to receive this contest's winning chapbook or any Omnidawn chapbook. A complete list of all Omnidawn chapbook publishing titles is available at http://www.omnidawn.com/products-page/chapbooks/. The poetry chapbook contests winner will be announced to our Email list and on this web page in September 2015, and we expect to publish the winning chapbook in March of 2016. If you would like to receive information about upcoming poetry contest deadlines (and, if you choose, other Omnidawn emails), you can click here to add yourself to our mailing list. (Your email address will not be shared with anyone, and you can easily remove yourself from the mailing list at any time.) OR, click here for helpful additional details and submission procedures below that are virtually identical for all Omnidawn Contests.
First/Second Book poetry contest open to writers who have either never published a full-length book of poetry, or who have published only one full-length book of poetry, so that the winning book would become a poet's first or second published full-length book of poetry. Writers who have published two or more full-length books of poetry are NOT eligible. (Chapbooks do not count.) Therefore, first book contests and first/second book contests are easier for newer poets to win because they don't face competition from more experienced poets with two or more published books. The manuscript page limit is 120 pages for this poetry book contest. (Most manuscripts we receive are 40-70 pages long.) Colleagues, students, and close friends of the judge, Claudia Rankine, are not eligible. Postal and online poetry contests submissions accepted. Online entries must be received and postal entries must be postmarked between May 1 and June 30, 2015 at midnight Pacific Daylight Time. Reading fee is $27. For $3 extra to cover shipping cost, entrants who provide a U.S. mailing address may choose to receive this contest's winning book or any Omnidawn book (including 4 PEN USA winning books). A complete list of all current Omnidawn poetry books is available at www.omnidawn.com/products-page/current. (Established in 2008, this was Omnidawn's first book contest.) The winner will be announced to our Email list and on this web page in December 2015, and we expect to publish the winning book in the June of 2016. If you would like to receive information about upcoming poetry contest deadlines (and, if you choose, other Omnidawn emails), you can click here to add yourself to our mailing list. (Your email address will not be shared with anyone, and you can easily remove yourself from the mailing list at any time.) OR, click here for helpful additional details and submission procedures below that are virtually identical for all Omnidawn Contests.
C. Violet Eaton is the editor of Bestoned (a handmade journal of poetry) and RuralHarmonics (a ‘zine), as well as the author of a chapbook, No Outside Force Can Harm the Coyote (Free Poetry, 2014). His work has appeared in Aufgabe, BafterC, Cannibal, Colorado Review, Fence, and the Yalobusha Review, among others. He lives in Arkansas with his wife, the poet Sara Nicholson, on the eastern bluff of the White River. He sells used and rare books.
The five finalists selected by Forrest Gander (in alphabetical order by last name) are: Julia Bloch, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Jean Donnelly, Exeter, New Hampshire; Jill Magi, New York City, New York; Daniel Poppick, Iowa City, Iowa; and Simone White, Brooklyn, New York.
“As Hartigan's muscular poems wrestle with interchangeability, so too do their innovative structures challenge its boundaries. Acrobatic and playful, the poems turn back and reflect on themselves, daring readers to consider intention and arbitrariness at once. And yet, the book is wary of the total annihilation of individual meaning: "The slippage that we must avoid is a certain blanketing in which/ the delicacy of perception is lost." Hartigan's poems take simultaneity and expose it: "The news is on, the news is on at the same time as the game, sorry, it's on at the same time, I'm sorry." Individual moments are individual for having been chosen—lifted out of the noise—and Hartigan's poems make the claim that the act of choosing, no matter how choral the result, is of the greatest importance.”—Publishers Weekly, May 19, 2014
Endi Bogue Hartigan's first book, One Sun Storm (Center for Literary Publishing, 2008) was selected for the Colorado Prize for Poetry and was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. She published the chapbook out of the flowering ribs in 2012 in collaboration with artist Linda Hutchins, and has recently created work as part of an artist-writer collective, as well as helping curate the Spare Room poetry series. Her poems haves appeared in Verse, Chicago Review, Pleiades, VOLT, Free Verse, Peep/Show, Yew, Jack London is Dead, The Oregonian, and other publications. Endi works for the state university system, and lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband Patrick and their son Jackson.
The five finalists selected by Cole Swensen (in alphabetical order by last name) are: Emily Abendroth, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Jenny Drai, Oxnard, California; Craig Dworkin, Salt Lake City, Utah; Brandon Lussier, Hartford, Connecticut; and Stephanie Ellis Schlaifer, Saint Louis, Missouri.
“Gridley’s evocative, romantic, three-part collection weaves its own myths and phrases loosely around Tennyson’s poem ‘The Lady of Shalott.’…For Gridley the lady is a poet, a muse, a spirit of history, a symbol of mind itself.…Gridley places short units of spell-like verse, featuring forests and mirrors, tidal spaces…and white space where ‘the imaginary world seems promised here.’”—Publishers Weekly, January 21, 2013
“Gridley's third book of poems (after Green Is the Orator) brims with intelligent, moving poems. The title is apt, as the author weaves delightful facts and observations into a counterpane of beautiful language and ideas.…Throughout, Gridley pays close attention to the natural world and has a unique way of recording it. VERDICT: Turning on unexpected facts so that they frequently surprise and delight the reader, the poems here are full of intelligence and wonder that connect the reader to the natural world.”—Doris Lynch, Library Journal, February 15, 2013
“Gridley’s is a fully breathing poetry that is intimately involved with its allusion. It is quiet and voluminous. It is settled and concise. If you were to consider the Arthurian folktale-ish element of “The Lady of Shallot,” Loom immerses itself in the mystery of the folk. It almost feels lost in this immersion. But because of the tragic figure of Tennyson’s poem, Loom remains poignant and immediate.”—Kent Shaw, The Rumpus, November 1, 2013
“Loom has a magnificent sense of rhythm, one that resonates throughout. Using the Tennyson poem as a stepping-off point, the poems seek out weave and unfurl, carefully working to explore the smallest moments around and between such a well-known Victorian ballad. Despite the occasional urgency, there is a meditative stillness that emerges through Gridley’s lines, quietly demanding an increased attention. Even more than usual, the reader is forced to listen.”—Rob McLennan, Jacket2, March 4, 2014
Sarah Gridley is the author of two previous books of poetry: Weather Eye Open (2005) and Green is the Orator (2010), both from the University of California Press. She is an assistant professor of English at Case Western Reserve University.
The five finalists selected by Carl Phillips (in alphabetical order by last name) are: Anne Cecelia Holmes, Northampton, Massachusetts; Jill Darling, Mt. Clemens, Michigan; Matt Reeck, Brooklyn, New York; Nik De Dominic, New Orleans, Louisiana; Trey Moody, Lincoln, Nebraska.
Dan Rosenberg is the author of two books, cadabra (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2015) and The Crushing Organ (Dream Horse Press, 2012), and the co-translator of Miklavž Komelj's Hippodrome (Zephyr Press, 2015). He hold an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a PhD from the University of Georgia. A co-editor of Transom, he teaches at Wells College in Aurora, New York.
The Finalists of the 2014 Poetry Chapbook Competition chosen by Kazim Ali (in alphabetical order by last name) are: Erin J. Mullikin, Syracuse, New York; Sho Sugita, Yokote, Japan; Grant Souders, Golden, Colorado; Jasmine Dreame Wagner, Brooklyn, New York; and Ken White, San Diego, California
Sara Deniz Akant received a BA in English from Wesleyan University and an MFA in Poetry from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she was the recipient of a Truman Capote fellowship, a Teaching-Writing fellowship, and named the Provosts' Postgraduate Visiting Writer to the English department. Her work has appeared in Lana Turner, Wag's Revue, Super Arrow, petri press, and The Claudius App, among other journals. Recipient of the John Logan Prize for Poetry and awards from the Academy of American Poets, the James Merrill House, and Yaddo, she grew up in New York City.
The Finalists of the 2013 Poetry Chapbook Competition chosen by Gillian Conoley (in alphabetical order by last name) are: Elizabeth Cross, Falls Church, Virginia; Sarah Heady, San Francisco, California; Pattie McCarthy, Ardmore, Pennsylvania; Mary Molinary, Tucson, Arizona; and Benjamin Sutton, Dublin, Ohio.
"The Middle is beautiful and powerful—Angela Hume’s line breaks are beautiful and powerful—her pages are beautiful and powerful—and all that grace animates calm outrage, ghostlier awareness ('private like a thought / for a wrist of a thigh'), keener sounds ('try looking away try looking away try looking away try looking away try looking away try')—keener ethics, too ('first / demarcate // an aesthetics of / injury')—the body is ghost—polis is eyes but police is eyes too—and polis is police ('state of pacifi / cation state of // damage state / of destroy all / ex // cess body / state of little / to no // speech // ill / state // police / state')—we have to have political poetry—we can’t be human otherwise—and what holds here is a new Objectivism—a clarity made actual in a construct of words ('inhabit that / incision // in such a way that can’t be used')—this clarity holds against and in the violence that surrounds us (Benjamin: 'something rotten in law is revealed')—Angela Hume is a necessary poet—Joseph Lease, Judge
Angela Hume lives in Oakland. She is the author of the chapbook Second Story of Your Body (Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, 2011). Her poems appear in such journals as Mrs. Maybe, Little Red Leaves, RealPoetik, eccolinguistics, Zoland Poetry, and Spinning Jenny. Her first full-length poetry book is being published by Omnidawn in spring 2015.
The Finalists of the 2012 Chapbook Competition chosen by Joseph Lease (in alphabetical order by last name) are: John Cross, Pasadena, California; C. Violet Eaton, Fayetteville, Arkansas; HL Hazuka, San Francisco, California; Sara Peck, Charleston, South Carolina, and Matthias Regan, Chicago, Illinois.
"Banishing poets from the well-ordered city did not prevent the creation of fictions: 'Sham City' is the capitol of fictitious capital, a no place of evaporating value where things sue for 'damages resulting from sundown' and where 'the night is good for it,' able to pay us back. 'I began to sweat amid the cheering,' Harrison writes, maybe because, in a country where an entire village drowns 'in the sweet contents / of its privatized wells,' it’s hard work to keep it real. And beautiful work. And weird."—Ben Lerner, Judge
Evan Harrison lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. In 2011, he received an MA in creative writing from The Center for Writers at The University of Southern Mississippi. His poems have appeared in alice blue, Bat City Review, CutBank, DIAGRAM, Hayden's Ferry Review and otoliths.
The Finalists of the 2011 Chapbook Competition chosen by Ben Lerner (in alphabetical order by last name) are: Brian Foley, Northampton, Massachusetts; Hugo Garcia Manriquez, Oakland, California; Nicholas Gulig, Eau Claire, Wisconsin; Megan Pruiett, San Francisco, California; and M. A. Vizsolyi, Brooklyn, New York.
“Zach Savich’s The Man Who Lost His Head wrestles with the irrational rationality of life as we dimly perceive it. Yet these poems elicit, like the ambiguity of life itself, our most fervent and strange fidelities. There’s such a thing as a willed poetic ignorance: it forms its own epistemological haven, and these poems live in that locale. Thus the poet can ask ‘Does dark mean blank?’ and, in the very asking, expand the horizon of possibility (that is, knowing) by which we recognize the interchangeability of absence and desire. In that dark, we grope into and through the rudiments of our own longing, ‘melted to its presences.’ When Savich writes ‘I suppose I do believe in nothing,’ his words resound as a positive statement of belief.”-Elizabeth Robinson, Judge
Zach Savich is the author of Full Catastrophe Living, winner of the 2008 Iowa Poetry Prize, Annulments, winner of the 2010 Colorado Prize for Poetry, and The Firestorm, from the Cleveland State University Poetry Center. His full-length poetry book The Orchard Green and Every Color will be published by Omnidawn in 2016.
The Finalists of the 2010 Chapbook Competition chosen by Elizabeth Robinson (in alphabetical order by last name) are: Jackie Clark, Jersey City, New Jersey; Robin Powlesland, Taos, New Mexico; Kate Schapira, Providence, Rhode Island; Shannon Tharp, Seattle, Washington; Erin Wilson, Berkeley, California
Eric Ekstrand was awarded his MFA from University of Houston in May of 2010. He is a former poetry editor at Gulf Coast and his poems have appeared in Bat City, Black Warrior Review, Indiana Review, jubilat, Poetry, and elsewhere. He is a recipient of a 2009 Ruth Lilly Fellowship awarded by the Poetry Foundation. He currently teaches writing at Wake Forest University in North Carolina where he lives with his husband Danny.
The Finalists of the 2013 First/Second Book Competition chosen by Donald Revell are (in alphabetical order by last name): Julia Drescher, Austin, Texas; Daniel Poppick, Iowa City, Iowa; Margaret Ross, New York, New York; Steven Toussaint, Auckland, New Zealand; Caroline Young, Athens, Georgia.
Robin Clarke is a poet, activist and teacher in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she has lived most of her life. She is a non-tenure-track faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Conduit, Counterpunch, Fence, In Posse Review, A Joint Called Pauline, LABOR, Lafovea, Sentence, Whiskey and Fox, and word for/word. With the poet Sten Carlson, she has co-authored a chapbook entitled Lives of the Czars.
The Finalists of the 2012 First/Second Book Competition chosen by Brenda Hillman are (in alphabetical order by last name): Jaime Brunton, Lincoln, Nebraska; Meg Day, Salt Lake City, Utah; Endi Bogue Hartigan, Portland, Oregon; Brandon Kreitler, Brooklyn, New York; and Daniel Poppick, Iowa City, Iowa
“a wholly original voice. There is nothing quite like it in all of contemporary poetry. fault tree represents a new kind of political poetry. A Catch-22 illogic runs through this poem; in fact it permeates the entire narrative”—Dean Rader, Huffington Post, January 17, 2013
“As the winner of the 2011 Omnidawn First/Second Book Contest, Kathryn L. Pringle follows her 2009 release, Right New Biology (Factory School), with a haunting collection of poems that examines relationship and memory through the interrupted voice of a vulnerable soldier while evaluating science and applying logic and illogic to the passage of time. Pringle begins the collection by introducing theories of Einstein and defining fault tree analysis (FTA), in which Boolean logic is used to analyze engineering, safety, and—in Pringle's case—the scientific ticking of the clock….By examining the mechanics of time and our lack of manipulation over its passage, Pringle reveals the mental struggle of losing one's self in the moment, in the inability to freeze-frame the here and now….Despite their seemingly esoteric philosophies of science, space, and time, these poems are inviting and accessible for their simple diction, precise imagery, and equal weight of words to space—each line's half-breath allows a simple pause before evaporating into the next moment….Because she has arranged most of her poems in a series of quick single lines, Pringle's occasional use of more expected forms catches both the reader's and the speaker's attention….Pringle examines what we all want to know: what is time and where does it go.”—Lori A. May, Colorado Review, Issue 40.1, Spring 2013
Poet kathryn l. pringle lives in Durham, North Carolina. She received her MFA in Poetry from San Francisco State University. She is the author of one previous book of poetry, RIGHT NEW BIOLOGY (Factory School) and two chapbooks, The Stills (Duration Press) and Temper and Felicity are lovers (TAXT). Her work can also be found in the anthology Conversations at the Wartime Cafe: A Decade of War (Conversations at the Wartime Cafe Press/WODV Press) and in the forthcoming anthology I’ll Drown My Book: Conceptual Writing by Women (Les Figues). She is currently writing a novel about place. Her third full-length poetry book, Obsenity for the Advancement of Poetry will be published by Omnidawn in the spring of 2017.
The Finalists of the 2011 First/Second Book Competition chosen by C.D. Wright (in alphabetical order by last name) are: Jill Darling, Mount Clemens, Michigan; Leora Fridman, Florence, Massachusetts; Eryn Green, Denver, Colorado; Jane Gregory, Berkeley, California; and Soham Patel, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
“Noftle’s first book of poems…launches with a slimy sequence about sea slugs....Her surreal, luscious language evokes the sexy ooze and play of underwater invertebrates....Throughout, parasomnia (disruptive sleep behaviors) and somniloquy (sleep talking) are used as metaphors for consciousness and perhaps to shroud disturbing autobiographic details. Attempting to invoke a sleep/wake state known as hypnagogia, the poet simultaneously remembers and forgets the trauma of the primal scene....lovers of contemporary poetry may want to investigate.” —Ellen Kaufman, Library Journal, May 1, 2012
Kelli Anne Noftle is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at the University of Southern California. Her work has appeared in Colorado Review, The Journal, VERSE, Blackbird, and Harvard Summer Review, among others. Her second full-length poetry book, Adam Cannot Be Adam, will be published by Omnidawn in the fall of 2017. She lives in Los Angeles and is the singer/songwriter for her band, Miniature Soap.
The Finalists of the 2010 First/Second Book Competition chosen by Rae Armantrout (in alphabetical order by last name) are: Jane Gregory, Berkeley, California; Lily Ladewig, Brooklyn, New York; Juliana Leslie, Santa Cruz, California; John Myers, Missoula, Montana; and Rob Schlegel, Iowa City, Iowa.
“It’s hard to think about the Madeleine of Paul Legault’s The Madeleine Poems without thinking about Proust’s madeleine cookie in Swan’s Way. Proust’s madeleine serves as a type of wormhole that propels the narrator through time and space to an otherwise irretrievable memory. Legault’s Madeline, however, is more of a vortex, a presence that presides over the collection, which simultaneously gathers and vaporizes the poem’s subject matter, leaving essences, memories, shadows....One finds that many of the poems and or their constituent parts serve as markers or beacons afloat on a tumultuous sea of time....Though the cookie’s presence is wormhole-like (it collapses the time and space between two disparate points into a singularity) and Legault’s Madeleine vortex, panoptic in the manner it enables one to view a cross-section of a continuous present (albeit in a manner which reorganizes and or obliterates the experience from which the poem came), the two share a similar resultant effect: to recreate a 'vast structure of recollection'....While the comparison between Proust and Legault may be, at best, an intellectual exercise, it sheds light on the overall aim of The Madeleine Poems: to recreate an architecture in which mercurial experience can be reconstituted and preserved and in some cases amplified, an aim that is full of pathos, heroism, and beauty.” —Ben Mirov, Jacket2, October 20, 2011
Paul Legault was born in Ontario and raised in Tennessee. When he won the Omnidawn First/Second Book Prize in 2011 for The Madeleine Poems he worked at the Academy of American Poets. Since then he has won the 2011 Fence Modern Poets Series for his book the other poems. In 2012 his book, The Emily Dickinson Reader, a terse English-to-English translation of her poetry, was published by McSweeney’s. He is also a co-founder of the translation press Telephone Books. He received a BFA in screenwriting from the University of Southern California and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Virginia. He is currently the writer-in-residence at Washington University in St. Louis.
The Finalists of the 2009 First/Second Book Competition chosen by Ann Lauterbach (in alphabetical order by last name) are: James Belflower, Albany, New York; Nik DeDominic, New Orleans, Louisiana; Dot Devota, who lived abroad this summer in Beirut, Lebanon; Jean-Paul Pequeur, New York; and Zach Savich, Northampton, Massachusetts.
“Taransky reinvigorates the tradition of the avant-garde with this fragmentary and ingenious celebration of immanence, immediacy, and materiality over transcendence, literality, and sentimental reductivism. Barn Burned, Then isn't, by any means, an easy read; nevertheless, one can't fully understand the metaphysical contours of human speech and emotion without reading a superlative work like this one, so gird yourself for the challenge and dive courageously into the fire.” —Seth Abramson, The Huffington Post, April 1, 2012
“Taking up her cudgel and adz against conventional uses of language in poetry, she achieves a perfect splintering that generates multi-factorial images and levels of meaning and the kind of com- pound-eye truth that can be achieved only through the concentrated focus of a thousand perspective…In Barn Burned, Then, images like these are repeated and expanded in later poems into multiple permutations, with the extreme heterogeneity of materials and consequent foregrounding of language being precisely the point. Words like “mother,” “safe,” “weeds,” “frame,” “tender,” “teller,” “fold,” “bank,” “branch,” “burn,” “barn,” and “burglars” repeat in the book like talismans. Subsequent readings morph a “teller” from a person behind a bank window into one who witnesses or “tells” (or “untells”) truths and a “safe” from a noun meaning a bank vault to an ironic adjective in a world where the vagaries of a capitalist economy level bulldoze entire cultures along with their historical structures....But Barn Burned, Then is more than an elegy to the Midwestern farm- ing way of life or even an objectivist treatise on the fallibility of language. It is in the most fundamental sense also an eclogue, poetry that focuses on what is constituent and continuous in nature, on what existed before and will continue to exist after all the barns have been raised and razed....And sometimes, as Taransky shows in this remarkable and sometimes infuriating first book, it becomes possible to fathom a universe from an unflinching examination of its constellations and of each constituent star.” —Rebecca Foust, American Book Review, September—October, 2010
When Michelle Taransky won the 2010 Omnidawn First/Second Book Prize in 2010 for Barn Burned, Then she was the Assistant Director at Kelly Writer’s House and taught at Temple University. She now teaches critical and creative writing at the University of Pennsylvania and continues to teach poetry workshops at Temple University. In 2013 Omnidawn published her second full-length book of poetry, Sorry Was In The Woods. She received a BA from the University of Chicago and an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. With her father, architect Richard Taransky, she is the coauthor of the chapbook The Plans Caution (QUEUE 2007). Her poems have appeared in Denver Quarterly, VOLT, How2, New American Writing, and other publications. She lives in Philadelphia.
The Finalists of the 2008 First/Second Book Competition chosen by Marjorie Welish (in alphabetical order by last name) are: Ethan Saul Bull, Portland, Oregon; Michael Todd Edgerton, Athens, Georgia; Carol Hembree, New Orleans, Louisiana; Brandon Shimoda, Seattle, Washington; and Jordan Windholz, Bronx, New York.
(First book contests and first/second book contests are easier for new poets because competition from poets with more published books is not allowed.)
We suggest you read at least the bold type in the directions below. Reading the non-bold type is optional.
The additional details below apply to the current Omnidawn Open (Poetry Book Contest) and the upcoming Omnidawn First/Second Book Contest so if you are only interested in these contests you do not need to read the remainder of this paragraph. If you are interested in the upcoming Poetry Chapbook Contest there will be a difference in the reading fees and optional book offer as follows: For the current Omnidawn Open (Poetry Book Contest) and the Omnidawn First/Second Book Contest the reading fee is $27, and if you have or can provide a U.S. mailing address, for an additional $3 for shipping cost (a total of $30) you can choose to receive the winning book or any Omnidawn book of your choice. For the upcoming Omnidawn Poetry Chapbook Contest the reading fee will be $18, and if you have or can provide a U.S. mailing address, for an additional $2 for shipping cost (a total of $20) you can choose to receive the winning CHAPBOOK or any Omnidawn CHAPBOOK of your choice. All other details below are identical for all three Omnidawn poetry contests.
Note that if we find any significant problem with your manuscript (your manuscript file is incomplete or won’t open, important information is missing, or any other significant problem) we will contact you so that you have every opportunity to correct the issue at no charge to you. Smaller errors or deficiencies in your manuscript, including spelling, punctuation, formatting, typographical errors, or coffee stains will not disqualify you from the competition, nor will a few small errors reduce your chances of winning. (We fully understand that such errors sometimes occur for everyone, and that these can be easily corrected later.) The only really critical requirements are to:
Omnidawn abides by The CLMP Code of Ethics. The Council of Literary Magazines and Presses’ community of independent literary publishers believes that ethical contests serve our shared goal: to connect writers and readers by publishing exceptional writing. We believe that intent to act ethically, clarity of guidelines, and transparency of process form the foundation of an ethical contest. To that end, we agree to 1) conduct our contests as ethically as possible and to address any unethical behavior on the part of our staff, editors, or judges; 2) to provide clear and specific contest guidelines — defining conflict of interest for all parties involved; and 3) to make the mechanics of our selection process available to the public. This Code recognizes that different contest models produce different results, but that each model can be run ethically. We have adopted this Code to reinforce our integrity and dedication as a publishing community and to ensure that our contests contribute to a vibrant literary heritage.
Any identifying information, including acknowledgements, will be removed from all manuscripts before they are sent to the editors who choose the semi-finalists to be sent to the judge. (If your name is an integral part of your poetry, please contact us for guidelines on replacing it with a pseudonym.) All manuscripts will be given a number to associate them with the contact information of their submitters. Any Omnidawn staff members who make contact with the entrants or who remove the identifying information from manuscripts are NOT involved in the reading or selection of manuscripts.
All manuscripts will then be read by at least two different editors. Only Omnidawn's Senior Poetry Editor, Managing Poetry Editor, and Poetry Editors will read submissions, and these editors will not have access to the identities of the submitters. For the sake of avoiding any conflict of interest, if an editor believes that he/she recognizes the work of a colleague, student, or friend, then that manuscript is given to another editor. The editors then meet as a group to select the semi-finalists to be sent to the judge. If the judge wishes to see additional manuscripts, she or he may request them; the judge is not, however, permitted to request specific manuscripts. Colleagues, students, and close friends of the judge are not eligible to compete. Past or present Omnidawn staff and interns are also not eligible to compete. The judge is not allowed to choose manuscripts that present a conflict of interest.
Approximately five months after the contest ends, the judge selects the winner and five finalists (with no ranking of the finalists) and informs the Omnidawn staff, who then verify that the judge does not know the winner or finalists. Omnidawn then notifies the winner and verifies that the requirements of the contest have been met. If so, a standard book contract is immediately mailed to the winner, and the finalists are also notified. When Omnidawn receives the signed contract back from the winner, a check for the full prize money is immediately mailed to the winner. At that point the winner and finalists are publicly announced in emails to all entrants who provided an email address, on the omnidawn.com web site, on social media, and large display ads are purchased announcing the winner and finalists in upcoming issues of Poets & Writers Magazine, American Poetry Review, and Rain Taxi Review of Books. The process of designing and producing the winning book, which usually takes about six months, starts immediately.
Option 1: Submit on our secure web site. (Most submissions are via our online poetry competition web site. This is usually the easiest way to submit.)
Option 2: Submit via postal mail.
Procedures for each of these options are listed in detail below.
We suggest you read at least the bold type in the directions below. Reading the non-bold type is optional.
About one to two percent of our online entrants experience a problem with their online submission. Below are the two problems of which we are aware and the ways to resolve them. (I you discover a new problem, please let us know so we can post it here, hopefully with a solution.)
To go to the ONLINE poetry contest submission web page and its concise procedures click here, or paste the following link into your browser: www.omnidawn.net
We suggest you read at least the bold type in the directions below. Reading the non-bold type is optional.
If you have any questions send an Email to firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone our toll free number (800) 792-4957. Normally, if we can’t take your call immediately, we can usually call you back within 30 minutes.
Please DO NOT send Fed Ex, UPS, or signature required US Post Office envelopes. The post office often has difficulty obtaining a signature at our offices, and there is a high likelihood such envelopes will be returned to you.
Note that if you send a cover letter, acknowledgements, or bio these will be removed before your manuscript is read.
Please enclose the following:
1. One title page with your name, contact information, and if this is your first Omnidawn contest, please also tell us where you learned about our contest (to the best of your recollection). Please include your mailing address, phone number, and Email address if you have one. (Alternate contact info, such as additional phone numbers, Email addresses, or mailing addresses can also be added here if you like.) This title page with contact info can be at the front or, so you don’t have to repaginate, at the back of your manuscript
2. One title page with manuscript title only and nothing else.
3. Your poetry manuscript.
4. For this book contest, include a check or money order made out to Omnidawn for the reading fee of either $27 or $30.
Enclose $27 if you choose to receive NO book
if you have a U.S mailing address (or can provide a U.S. mailing address), you can enclose $30 ($3 extra for shipping cost) to receive your choice of any currently available Omnidawn book. If you choose to pay $30 to receive a book, please use the title page that has your contact info to write your choice of book or to write “send this contests winning book.” A complete list of all current Omnidawn books is available at www.omnidawn.com/products-page/current. If you choose a book from our catalog, you should receive it within two weeks after your entry is received at Omnidawn. If you pay the extra $3 and forget to specify your choice of book we will send you an Email to ask your choice of book, or you can also send an Email to email@example.com to let us know your choice.
5. All manuscripts will be deleted or recycled at the end of the contest. For entries sent by postal mail, please do NOT send an SASE for return of the manuscript.
6. If you provide an Email address with your contact info, within ten days of receiving your entry we will send you an Email to confirm we have received it, so if you mailed your entry via either United States First Class mail or Priority Mail you should receive this verification Email within two weeks of mailing your manuscript. If you have provided us with an Email address and you do not receive this confirmation Email within two weeks, something may be wrong, and we strongly suggest you contact us by sending an Email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephoning our toll free number, (800) 792-4957. (Note that if you choose to submit online our turnaround time is much faster, and we will send you two Email notifications of receipt, one automatic Email sent immediately after you submit online, and a second Email from a member of our staff within 3 days after you submit, with the last lines of your manuscript so you know your manuscript has been received completely, and so you can fix the problem at no cost to you if it has not.)
7. (Optional) A self-addressed stamped postcard and/or a standard sized SASE. You may, if you choose, include a self-addressed stamped postcard, and we will mail this back to you to verify that your manuscript has been received. You may also enclose a standard size SASE and we will use this to send you information on the winner and finalists when these are determined. If you include an Email address a postcard and/or SASE is usually unnecessary, since you will receive an Email notification of the receipt of your entry and an Email notification of the winners and finalists when they are chosen.
Send postal submissions via First Class or Priority Mail to:
Omnidawn Open (Poetry Book Contest)
1632 Elm Avenue
Richmond, CA 94805-1614
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