The 2017 Susan K. Collins/Mississippi Valley Chapbook Contest

The Susan K. Collins/Mississippi Valley Poetry Chapbook Contest annually invites submissions for a chapbook collection of poetry to be published by MWC Press.

Submissions must be postmarked between April 1 and September 30, 2017

Guest Judge for 2017: TBA

2017 Contest Rules 

~Submit between 16 and 32 pages of poetry; manuscripts should be paginated and secured with a binder clip (no staples) or saved in a single document (.doc, .docx, .rtf, .pdf file types only, please).

~No names should appear on the poems. Enclose two cover pages: first includes chapbook title, author’s name, address, phone, and email address; the second includes only the chapbook title to allow for blind review. No cover letter is required; however, if poems have been previously published, an acknowledgment page should be included. Poems may be more than one page in length, but only one poem per page.

~If you are submitting via email, please include chapbook title, author’s name, address, phone number, email address and PayPal transaction number (if applicable) in the body of the email.

~Winner and finalists will be posted online in winter/spring 2017. MWC Press will publish and make the winning chapbook available for sale.  No manuscripts will be returned—do not send your only copy. Submissions that are delivered ‘postage due’ will be returned unopened.

Submission Fee – Chapbook Contest

Contact/Submission Information Submissions should be sent directly to Midwest Writing Center. If you wish to receive written notification of the contest results please include a self-addressed , stamped envelope. All entries that also include (optional) a 6×9 self- addressed envelope with $2.50 in postage will receive a complimentary copy of the winning chapbook. Contact the contest administrators with any questions by emailing with the word “chapbook” in the subject line.

Prizes The winners of the Mississippi Valley Poetry Chapbook Contest will receive $200 prize money, have their manuscripts published by Midwest Writing Center, and receive 15 free copies of the finished chapbook.

Reading Fee There is a $15 reading fee per chapbook entry (multiple submissions accepted). If paying reading fee by check, make check payable to MWC and include payment with the manuscript submission to:

Midwest Writing Center
Susan K. Collins/Mississippi Valley
Poetry Chapbook Contest
c/o RIPL
401 19th St.
Rock Island, IL 62101

Pay via PayPal above; MasterCard and Visa are also accepted. Please send your name as it appears on the card, the card number, expiration date, and v-code along with your manuscript.

Restrictions As a member of the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses and CLMP’s community of independent literary publishers, Midwest Writing Center believes that intent to act ethically, clarity of guidelines, and transparency of process form the foundation of an ethical contest. To that end, friends, relatives, and/or past or current students of judges have been deemed ineligible to enter this contest, as have past and current board members and employees of the Midwest Writing Center.


Guest Judge for 2016: jamie j. mortara

jamie-mortara-april-2016jamie j. mortara is winner of the 1992 Kindergarten Foot Race at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Pearl River, New York and a proud recipient of mail. jamie mortara is originally from New Jersey. sorry. jamie mortara was built out of bikes and bagels and anxiety and punk rock and too many episodes of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos. jamie currently operates and believes karate should never be used in anger. they are author of the full length poetry collection some planet (YesYes Books), a choose-your-own-adventure chapbook small creatures / wide field (tNY Press), and chapbooks shit i said on the internet while taking prozac: or side effects include every side effect ever and congratulations you are prequalified for the darkness that consumes us all (impossible wings). In 2015, they represented Northampton Poetry at the National Poetry Slam in Oakland, CA. jamie mortara is poet laureate of FEELING VERY UNCOMFORTABLE.


2015 Susan K. Collins/Mississippi Valley Poetry Chapbook Contest Winner

MWC congratulates Cherise A. Pollard, winner of the 2015 Susan K. Collins/Mississippi Valley Poetry Chapbook Contest on the publication of his chapbook, Outsiders, selected by guest judge CM Burroughs. Outsiders will be published late summer/early fall 2016. Copies will be for sale through Midwest Writing Center for $10 plus shipping.


CPOllard_use this photoCherise A. Pollard, PhD, is Professor of English at West Chester University of Pennsylvania where she teaches African American Literature, Composition, and Creative Writing and is the Director of the African and African American Literature Minor. She earned her PhD in Cultural Studies from the University of Pittsburgh where she also participated in poetry workshops.  A Cave Canem Fellow, Pollard attended the workshop/retreat for African American poets from 1997-1999. She also attended the Callaloo Poetry Workshop in 2004. Her work has appeared in  several journals including 5 AM, Affilia: The Journal of Women in Social Work, African American Review, Connotations Press, The Healing Muse, The Mom Egg, The Pittsburgh Poetry Review, PoemMemoirStory, and Rattle. Her poem, “Sugar Babe” was a Finalist for the 2015 Rattle Poetry Prize.  In 2006, Pollard was awarded a grant from the Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund. Cherise A. Pollard currently serves on the Advisory Board of Poetry by the Sea: A Global Conference held annually in Madison, CT.

Finalists of the 2015 Susan K. Collins /
Mississippi Valley Poetry Contest

Kelli Allen – Some Animals

Law Alsobrook – Among the Curious Animals

Rachel Bennett – The Great Underground Empire

Brian Burmeister – The Things We Did, All the Things that We Do

Lee Chilcote – The Shape of Home

Trish Lindsey Jaggers – Holonym

Allison Joseph – Corporal Muse

Kristen Renzi – Saudade for a Breaking Heart

Beth Torres – Where I’m From

David Wright – In the Vernacular Gallery