Main Street Rag's
Annual Chapbook Contest


Guidelines / Previous Winners

Mailing Instructions / Results of Most Recent Contest


Due to a lack of participation, the 2012 Main Street Rag Chapbook Contest

will be the last for the foreseeable future.

We will list it as SUSPENDED and (possibly) revive it in the future.




Winner: Fantasies of Men by William Lusk Coppage, Carolina Beach, NC.

Runners up:

New Refrains from a Dead Horn, Robert Morris, Clinton, LA.
Scrap Metal Mantra Poems by Ken Meisel, Dearborn, MI.
Recombinant Loves by Lisa Haag Kang, Washington, MO.
River of Saris by Lavinia Kumar, Plainsboro, NJ.
Working the Line by Jodi Barnes, Cary, NC.

Honorable Mentions/Judges' Selections:

Acme Book of Love by Amy Ash, Lawrence, KS.
Portrait From the Interior of a Disintegrating Mind by Flower Conroy, Key West, FL.
Unwelcomed Guest by Nancy B. Richardson, South Burlington, VT.



Reading Fee:

* * * We prefer that entries for this contest arrive NO SOONER than March 1 since this contest comes right on the heels of the MSR Poetry Book Award. * * *

PRIZE: Winner receives $500 and 50 copies of chapbook and a one year subscription to The Main Street Rag. All entries receive a copy of the winning manuscript and are considered for publication.

Runners-up will be offered publication as well as a one year subscription to The Main Street Rag.

Every manuscript entered will be considered for publication .

Send between 24 and 32 pages of poetry, any style/form, no more than one poem per page. Please use 12pt type using Arial or Times New Roman.

Do Not Include Dedication and/or Credits/Acknowledgements Pages in entry.
For the purpose of fairness, it is important that judges know as little about the author as possible and these pages are not relevant to the judging process. If they should accidentally slip through the registration area, the author will not be eligible to win.

Include cover sheet with author’s contact information--name, address, phone number, and email address. The author's name should not appear anywhere else in the manuscript.

No manuscripts will be returned, so please do not send oversized SASEs. We prefer to notify by email, but if an author wants to use an envelope, please use a business-size (#10) envelope.

For notification of receipt of manuscript, entries can include a post card, but if they include an email address, we will send a verification of receipt via email.

Do not send anything USPS Return Receipt or Signature Receipt--we won't stand in line for these items and they will eventually be returned to you (when the US Postal Service gets tired of putting cards in our box). If you need confirmation that we received it, include a reliable email address or a stamped return post card.

Although MSR frowns on simultaneous submissions for our magazine, it is acceptable for our book contests. Upon notification, however, winner must immediately withdraw his/her mss from consideration elsewhere (or from the MSR Chapbook Contest--if the manuscript has been chosen winner in another contest).

All checks should be made payable to Main Street Rag, PO BOX 690100, Charlotte, NC 28227-7001.

Since our goal with our contest is to select manuscripts for publication, we no longer disqualify manuscripts that do not follow guidelines exactly. They will still be considered for publication; however, they will not be eligible to WIN the contest.

The most common reason for disqualification (in the past) has been the inclusion of acknowledgments and author's credits. We try to catch these pages and discard them before the manuscripts get to readers since we prefer to have a blind reading. Unfortunately, they sometimes get missed. Rather than lose out on an opportunity to publish a good manuscript, we've decided to continue the judging, but eliminate the possibility of a cash prize for those who do not follow the guidelines.

Email Submission Instructions

Main Street Rag does allow for email submissions, but the guidelines are even more specific, so please read them carefully before choosing this method and give yourself enough time to prepare the manuscript file properly.

Guidelines for email submissions

Mailing Instructions:

All checks should be made payable to Main Street Rag, PO BOX 690100, Charlotte, NC 28227-7001.

We recommend using US Postal Service Media Mail (within the US), but that takes longer to arrive, so DO NOT send it Media Mail if you are mailing it on or near the deadline. Why? because we distribute the LAST manuscripts to first round readers on June 8. Anything that has not arrived by the day before (June 7) will be excluded and the check returned in the SASE (if one has been provided--otherwise, it will be shredded).

DO NOT use clips or binding of any kind. We have THOUSANDS of clips here from years of submissions and we remove anything that comes in a binder and throw away the binder. If you want to pay for a binder and the shipping to get it here only to have it thrown away, that's your choice. It will not go to any readers in a binder of any kind.

DO NOT send anything that must be signed for (Signature Receipt or Express Mail) since it means having to stand in line to receive it (and we won't). And please don't use FED EX to send anything to our physical location since their local drivers are literacy challenged (they don't read instructions and we may not receive what you send as a result).

Contest Recommendations




Winner: Wearing Heels in the Rust Belt by Karen J. Weyant, Warren, PA.

Runners up:

That Hair and That Beard and That Look in Your Eye by Joseph Green, Longview, WA.
In the Valley of the Birdcage by Josiah Bancroft, Wilmington, DE.
Isn't It Romantic, John Popielaski, Portland, CT.
If I am Burning by Rachel Marie Patterson, Columbia, MO.
Note at Heart Rock by Todd Robinson, Omaha, NE.

Honorable Mentions/Judges' Selections:

The Spaces Around Them by Kara J. Searcy, Forest City, IA.
The Hudson Line by Margo Taft Stever, Sleepy Hollow, NY.



Winner: God Puts on the Body of a Deer by Rebecca Baggett, Athens, GA..

Runners up:

Little Mouse by Bill Griffin, Elkin, NC.
Song from the Deep Middle Brain by Barbara Ellen Sorensen, Lyons, CO.
Spared by Angele Ellis, Pittsburgh, PA.

Topless a collaborative collection by Eileen McCluskey, Watertown, MA,
Kara Provost, Barrington, RI and Deborah Mead, Needham, MA.

Turns Out by Lisa Allen Ortiz, Santa Cruz, CA.
Yesterday's Daybreak by Carolyn M. Bardos, Lyme, NH.



Winner: Trina and the Sky by Kenneth Pobo, Media, PA.

Runners up:

To Part is to Die by Claudia Serea, Rutherford, NJ.
Pilgrims by Ken Autrey, Columbia, SC.
Eros Among the Americans by Christopher Cessac,  New Braunfels, TX.
Looking Glass Moon by Stephen Lautermilch, Kill Devil Hills, NC.
There is a Naked Man by Robert Tremmel, Ankeny, IA.
Dengue Fever by Craig Fishbane, Brooklyn, NY.
Life in Two Parts by Hari Bhajan Khalsa, Los Angeles, CA.
Night Duty by Dave Seter, Petaluma, CA.


Winner: Bathe in it or Sleep by Kim Triedman, Arlington, MA.

Runners up:

Between Home and Abroad by John N. Miller, Lexington, VA.
Allegheny Mountain Bowl by Rebecca Foust, Ross, CA.
The Salavador-Dalai-Lama Express by Mark Terrill, Germany.
The Serial Killer's Daughter by Pat Riviere-Seel, Asheville, NC.
Theories of Rain by Lynn Pederson, Kennesaw, GA.
How to Teach Grammar by Chella Courington, Santa Barbara, CA.

Honorable Mentions:

Returning From Mars by Eric Weil, Elizabeth City, NC.
A Story Also Grows by Charlotte Muse, Menlo Park, CA.
With the Memory, Which is Enormous by Tony Trigilio, Chicago, IL.


Winner: Waiting for Pentecost by Nancy Zarzar, Raleigh, NC.

Runners up:

Black Crow in Flight by Ann Howells, Carrollton, TX.
Flash Flood by Janelle Masters, Hastings, NE.
In Transit by Ellen Wright, Brooklyn, NY.
The Professor Poems by Katharine Howd Machan, Ithaca, NY.
Sotto Voce by Darius A. Stewart, Austin, TX.
Stratus Opacus by Jeff P. Jones, Moscow, ID.
Weekend Update by Mark DeFoe, Buchanan, WV.


Winner: Love Poem to Androgyny by Stacey Waite, Pittsburgh, PA.

Runners up:

1st Runner-up: Earth's Milk by Elizabeth Harrington, Sleepy Hollow, NY.
2nd Runner-up: Ragged Point Road by Joe Wilkins, Moscow, ID.

Finalists/Honorable Mentions:

The Baker's Daughter by Robert Thomas, South San Francisco, CA
Beat Surrender by Dan Memmolo, Barrington, RI
The Blue Pacific by John Stupp, Sewickley, PA
Changing Woman by Bill Griffin, Elkin, NC
Daughter of the Ardennes Forest by Carol Bachofner, Victorville, CA
Gacela of Narcissus City by Dancing Bear, Felton, CA
How to be a Maquiladora by Sheila Black, Las Cruces, NM
Lucid Bodies and other poems by Okla Elliott, Greensboro, NC
On the Saturday After Rapture by Jesse Millner, Hollywood, FL
Sailing with the Pleiades by Norbert Hirschhorn, London, England
Trailing it Home by Brad Clompus, Medford, MA
The XX Guide to Facial Profiling (Mudflap Girl), by Nicole Hardy, Seattle, WA


Winner: Platform of an Unacknowledged World Legislator by Fred Kirchner, Columbus, OH.

Runners up:

1st Runner-up: Bubbles Speaks by Ryan Van Cleave, Clemson, SC.
2nd Runner-up: Anthropologist in Ohio by Susan H. Case, New York, NY

Finalists/Honorable Mentions:

Hip Hop Warrior by Romella Kitchens, Pittsburgh, PA
In My Dreams, Neruda by Katie Kingston, Trinidad, CO
In the Shape of Thorns by DeAnna Stephens Vaughn, Clarkrange, TN
Intersections by Gaynell Gavin, Lincoln NE
Knock Wood by Kathy Ackerman, Charlotte, NC
Laurel by John Crutchfield, Boone, NC
Mustang Sally Pays Her Debt to Wilson Pickett by Marta Ferguson, Columbia, MO
Placement Test by Ann Curran, Pittsburgh, PA
Possessed by Christopher Locke, Middleton, NH
Reverse Kiss by Ellen, Malibu, CA
String Quilt by Suzanne B. Leitner, Cornelius, NC
The Burial of Anyce Shepherd by J. S. Absher, Durham, NC
The Language of Exile by Melissa Jones Fiori, Nederland, CO
The Last Good Kiss by Lynn Shrum, Charlotte, NC
Sweetest Little Head Case by Tripp Howell, Shelby, NC
The Terribly Beautiful by D. Antwan Stewart, Austin, TX
Twice Removed by William Greenway, Youngstown, OH


2004 MSR Chapbook Contest Winners list

Winner: Silvia Curbelo of Tampa FL for Ambush.

Runners-up: Spikenard by Jennette Barnes, Montgomery, AL, Significant Others by Phillip Sterling, Big Rapids, MI, Laundry by Don Narkevic, Weston, WV.

Honorable Mentions, 2004 MSR Chapbook Contest:

These Metallic Days, Sally Ashton, Los Gatos, CA
The Vanishing Point, Carol Hamilton, Midwest City, OK
Occam's Razor, Jennifer Molnar, Fairfax, VA
Birds on Discovery Island, Marjorie Power, Olympia, WA
Certain Losses, Renee Ruderman, Denver, CO
Rooster, Mike Schneider, Pittsburgh, PA
Hieronymous Bosch's Illustrated Alphabet, Sue Silverman, Grand Haven, MI
No Angels But These, Dana Sonnenshein, Bethany, CT
Something to Read on the Plane, Richard Taylor, Charlotte, NC
The Burning House, Elizabeth Weber, Indianapolis, IN
Chinese Landscapes, Paul Worley, Chapel Hill, NC

All of the above entries into the 2004 Main Street Rag Chapbook Contest were published and are available in The Main Street Rag Bookstore

2003 WINNER:  Karla Huston, Appleton, WI

2002 WINNER:  Nancy Kenney Connolly, Austin, TX

2001:  Dede Wilson, Charlotte, NC

2000:  Alan Catlin, Schenectady, NY

1999: David Chorlton, Phoenix, AZ 




Main Street Rag, PO BOX 690100, Charlotte, NC 28227-7001
704-573-2516, contact us