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$22.00 USD

Manuscripts are judged anonymously and all finalists will be considered for publication.  Please read the complete guidelines before submitting your manuscript.

Please submit your 12-page folio of poetry written on topics related to the coronavirus pandemic: wellness and illness; contagion; isolation; sheltering at home; caregiving; bereavement; philosophical or spiritual ways of processing; science; public health; etc. 

Please note that this submission opportunity is not limited to newly drafted work, although it would be lovely to see what you’re writing now. Yet, it’s entirely likely that work written before the pandemic is taking on new relevance in the light of this phenomenon, inspiring return and revision. We want to see what you’re learning about yourself and your art at this momentous time. 

We will select four folios of poetry—to be read blind—from among the manuscripts submitted during this open call. Selections will be made by Jeffrey Levine, Publisher, Kristina Marie Darling, Editor-in-Chief, and Cassandra Cleghorn, Poetry Editor.

We are open to submissions from poets writing in English anywhere in the world.

The four selected poets, comprising a “quartet,” will be published alongside three other quartets already in preparation by such literary luminaries as Mary Jo Bang, Yusef Komunyakaa, Khadijah Queen, Shane McCrae, A Van Jordan, Jimmy Santiago Baca, and six other noted poets who have each kindly committed to participating in this project.

We expect to select the four open-call folios by the end of July. We offer an honorarium to the poets selected for inclusion in this unique volume in the amount of $250 each.

On a practical note, we are unable to include work previously published in book form, but prior literary magazine publications are perfectly fine, as long as those journals took first publication rights only. 

The copyright to your work will remain in your name, and all publication rights to your poems will revert to you six months from the date of publication.

Manuscript Requirements & Ethical Guidelines

Submit 12 pages of poetry, poems of any length, written on topics related in some way or ways to the coronavirus pandemic: wellness and illness; contagion; isolation; sheltering at home; caregiving; bereavement; philosophical or spiritual ways of processing; science; public health; the political landscape in which the pandemic is unfolding; etc. Margins, font size, number of lines, whatever, is entirely up to you. You’re the artist. Your canvas is 12 pages.  

If you are submitting a manuscript online, within the document include a single cover page with the title of the manuscript only, so that your manuscript document remains anonymous. Submittable provides fields to fill in your contact information: name, address, telephone number, and email address.

If you are submitting a paper manuscript, include two cover pages: one with the title of the manuscript only, the other with title of manuscript, name, address, telephone number, and email address. Cover letters or biography notes are optional; if included, these will not be read until the conclusion of the contest.

Individual poems in a contest manuscript may have been previously published in magazines, journals, or anthologies, or chapbooks, but the work as a whole must be unpublished. If applicable, include with your manuscript an acknowledgments page for prior publications.

Simultaneous submissions to other publishers or contests are permitted, as long as you notify Tupelo Press promptly if a manuscript is accepted elsewhere.

Before you submit a manuscript to a Tupelo Press competition, please consider exploring the work of the poets we have published. We’re drawn to technical virtuosity combined with abundant imagination; memorable, vivid imagery and strikingly musical approaches to language; willingness to take risks; and an ability to convey penetrating insights into human experience.

Tupelo Press endorses and abides by the Ethical Guidelines of the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP), which can be reviewed here, along with more about Tupelo Press’s ethical considerations for literary contests.

Notification of Receipt

To confirm receipt of your paper manuscript, include a self-addressed stamped postcard. The online Submittable system automatically confirms receipt. Beyond these notifications, kindly refrain from requesting an individual response to confirm receipt of your manuscript and/or payment. We receive thousands of manuscripts each year and cannot offer individual acknowledgments. Thank you for your understanding.

Please do not enclose a SASE for return of manuscript. All paper manuscripts will be recycled at the conclusion of the competition, except those under consideration for future publication.

Notification of Results

To receive mailed notification of the winner and finalists, send a self-addressed stamped envelope.

Results will be announced in August, 2020. We notify all entrants in three ways:

  • Via postal mail to those who included a SASE with their manuscript.
  • Via email to those who included an email address with their contact information.
  • We post the results on our website.

Deadline;  All entries must be postmarked or certified by Submittable by midnight (EST) of June 30, 2020.

Reading Fee

A reading fee of $22 (U.S.) must accompany each submission. Multiple submissions are accepted, so long as each submission is accompanied by a separate reading fee.

Why a reading fee? We are an independent, nonprofit literary press. Reading fees help defray, but do not entirely cover, the cost of reviewing manuscripts and publishing the many books we select outside of our competitions.

Submit Your Manuscript Now     Via Submittable: Submit Beginning on September 1  Be sure that your document is complete and formatted correctly before uploading.     Thank you for your participation and your support of Tupelo Press. We look forward to reading your work!

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.