Submissions and Contests

Open for submissions Contests and One                    

Submissions open February 1, 2017 – May 1, 2017
Chapbook and Full-Length Contests – last year we published two books in each category.  We never make our authors pre-sell, and we send out review copies and pay contest fees for our authors.

Guidelines for the 2017 Competitions.

Email all submissions to  –

Full-Length Poetry Book Contest

Full length manuscripts must be 40 – 80 pages of poems, not including table of contents, acknowledgments page, biography, etc. Simultaneous submissions are fine.

The entry fee of $15 will go towards publishing the book. Finalists will also be considered for publication.

Final Judge will be a nationally recognized poet.  Past judges have been Chana Bloch, Dorianne Laux, Toi Derricotte, Denise Duhamel, Lola Haskins, Stuart Dischell, Betty Adcock, Jamaal May, Rickey Laurentiis, Joseph Millar, John Hoppenthaler and Julie Suk. The judges for 2017 will be released after the competition has closed.

You may submit more than one manuscript, but there is a separate fee for each manuscript submitted, and each manuscript must be submitted separately.

In the subject line of the email put your last name and 2017 Full-Length Book Contest (example – Krawiec 2017 Full-Length Book Contest). In the body of the email list the manuscript title, your name, address, email and all acknowledgements for where individual poems have been published.  Submit the poetry manuscript  as a Word attachments, single-spaced, 12 point type. The attached manuscript should contain only your poems and a table of content.  Nothing more. Do not put your name or publication acknowledgements anywhere in the body of the manuscript. Please feel free to simultaneously submit this manuscript to other publishers and contests. Just let us know if you win.

Winning manuscripts will receive publication and a contract that pays them 10% of all sales, after publishing expenses are covered, from the first 200 books sold. This royalty escalates to 40% of all sales, after expenses, from copies 201-400 sold. Once the 400 sales figure is reached, writers will receive 50% of all sales, after expenses. Finalists will be considered for publication at the discretion of Jacar Press.

Poetry Chapbook Competition

Chapbook manuscripts must be between 20-32 pages of poems, not including table of contents,  acknowledgment page, and a page for your biography. Simultaneous submissions are fine.

The submission process for the Chapbook Competition is identical to the process listed above for the Full Length Manuscript, with these exceptions. In the subject line of the email put your last name and 2017 Chapbook Contest(Krawiec  2016 Chapbook Contest). Entry fee for the Chapbook Contest is only $10.

Winning Chapbooks will receive publication and a contract that pays them 30% of all sales after the first 200 books are sold. Finalists will be considered for publication at the discretion of Jacar Press.  


Entry fee can be paid via Paypal. Applicants may use the button below for either or both contests; specify which contest you are entering via the drop-down menu.  If you don’t have a Paypal account, go to our Contact page and click on the Donate button. Follow the instructions for paying via credit card. You can also pay by check sent to the address on that page.
Email submissions to    –

Contest Fees


 One – an online magazine.

Our online magazine  One, is open for submissions year-round, except for brief periods when we are putting together an issue. Poets may submit one poem for consideration per issue. There is no fee to submit. We have published work by poets who have won a Pulitzer Prize, MacArthur Foundation Genius Grants, Yale Younger Poets Award, and National Book Award finalists as well as new writers.

For more details go to

Closed for Submissions – 2016 Julie Suk Award  

Best Book published in 2016 by an independent press.

Any book published by a small, literary, or university press that holds a 2016 copyright is eligible. This contest is not open to commercial presses.  Entries will be accepted from now until January 7, 2017.  Final decisions won’t be made until February 2017, so be patient.

To enter, mail 2 copies of your book(must have a 2016 copyright date) and $10 to Jacar Press, 6617 Deerview Trail, Durham, NC 27712.   You can pay online by using the Donate button on our Contact page.  

2015 winners –
Noel Crook, Salt Moon – SIU Press.

Rickey Laurentiis, Boy With Thorns – Univeristy of Pittsburgh Press.

2014 winner – David Roderick – The Americans – University of Pittsburgh Press.

2014 Runner ups –
Kelli Russell AgodonHourglass Museum – White Pine Press
Zeina Hashem BeckTo Live in Autumn – Backwaters Press
Chloe HonumThe Tulip-Flame – Cleveland State University Press
Garth MartensPrologue for the Age of Consequence – Anansi 
Susan Rich – Cloud Pharmacy – White Pine Press

2013 winner –  Susan Elbe, The Map of What Happened, Backwaters Press 


Winner of the 2013 Julie Suk Award for Best Poetry Book by an Independent Press

Susan Elbe, The Map of What Happened, Backwaters Press is the winner of the $500 Julie Suk Award for Best Poetry Book published by an Independent Press.  This year’s judge was Julie Suk herself, who had this to say about the winner, runner-up and two finalists…

“Jacar Press must be thrilled with the high quality of their entrants. Well, I must tell you I’ve been impressed with those you sent me. Not a dull read among them. I finally narrowed down to four–Alexander, Shapero, Fragnoli and Elbe.”

Meena Alexander -” I can appreciate the dichotomy of a world of beauty versus violence, namely in Meena Alexander’s book. “This world is a muddy garden,” she writes,
“. . .our bodies filled with bones terribly displaced”, ” a world where everything is broken and numinous.”

Natalie Shapero -“And the cheeky Shapero. I’d love to see her work say in five or so years. From the poem, “Close Space”–“I know well the story of the noble/dispatched for life to terrorize/an island. He asked of his king/only to guarantee there would be/women. Would I were there/ to answer:”

Patricia Fargnoli and Susan Elbe –
“Finally down to two, I chose Fragnoli and Elbe. I think it is true to say there are two winners, and here I am having to make a judgement call on these two polar opposites fine writers. I can’t tell you how many times I have read these books and admire them so.

From the book WINTER how could I not resist Fargnoli’s poem “Hunger.”
“It is the gnawing within the silence/of the deep body which is like the pool a waterfall replenishes but can never fill,” or the lines, “If you have seen the snow/…slowly falling into the brook/ to be swallowed by water/ then you have seen beauty/ and know it for its transience.”

“Ultimately I turn to Susan Elbe. Her book, THE MAP OF WHAT HAPPENED, my final choice for winner. Why? The elasticity and freshness of her language in this sensual, resonant love letter to her city, Chicago.

“I came into a house of things that needed fixing ” she writes, “. . . . . I came into a house of things that couldn’t be fixed. A whiskey-warm kitchen corner,/cancer growing in the alcove bedroom,/ the fridge’s lonely hum./The ungraceful way we understood.”

THE MAP OF WHAT HAPPENED is one we all traverse. Would that we could with such resilience and wisdom.
“. . .all night by seed-light/you search in dream, knowing nothing/tells you how far from here to there,/from one love to the next: Drifter,/your heavy pollen-dusted wings/the sweet cello of your body–too freighted to go deep enough.”

In her fraught landscape there is a hidden room where she accepts “the heart is neither fragile/nor indifferent, but street fighter to its core,” like boys in the neighborhood, “street-smart and tender all at once. They were not for me./Still, when they cupped their hands around a match against the wind, bending to its tribal fire,/ those soft fans of eyelashes against their cheeks,/ Lord,/Lord I believed they were.”

Revitalizing the past, she reminds us,”. . . the hinged heart,/trap door to every treasure,/only opens with the word.”

How could I have chosen otherwise. I am so happy with these competition poems–all that you sent. Onward and upward. Julie

Finalists for the 2013 Julie Suk Award for Best Poetry Book

Meena Alexander – Birthplace With Buried Stones – Triquarterly Books
Mark Jay Brewin Jr – Scrap Iron –University of Utah Press
Helene Cardona – Dreaming My Animal Selves – Salmon Poetry
Kelly Davio – Burn This House – Red Hen Press
Susan Elbe – The Map of What Happened – The Backwaters Press
Patricia Fargnoli – Winter – Hobblebush Books
Tina Kelley – Precise – Word Press
Tony Medina – Broke Baroque – 2leaf Press
Stacy R. Nigliazzo – Scissored Moon – Press 53
Jane Satterfield – Her Familiars – Elixir Press
Natalie Shapero – No Object – Saturnalia Books
Rachel Jamison Webster – September – Triquarterly Books