We at Button Poetry envision a world where it no longer makes sense to call an author a “page poet” or a “spoken word poet”—we see the beginnings of a new kind of poetry, one that lives in books and bars, magazines and theaters, the mind and the mouth.
The current generation has seen an unprecedented cross-pollination between the stage and the page. We have begun to recognize that we are all writers who are deeply invested in the growth and evolution of the literary arts. American poets are increasingly creating work that collapses the old boundaries between performance and print.
In order to do our small part to contribute to this revolution, Button Poetry is proud to sponsor the Button Poetry Prize, a chapbook contest operated by Exploding Pinecone Press. Our first contest was won by Aziza Barnes and her manuscript, me Aunt Jemima and the nailgun. Submissions for the second competition will be open from June 15th to July 31st, and the winner will receive: publication of their chapbook, 50 free author copies, a $250 honorarium, and an expenses-paid trip to Minneapolis* for a book release show to be filmed by Button’s video crew. All finalists will be considered for publication in the Exploding Pinecone Chapbook Series.
*trip to Minneapolis** includes a round-trip plane ticket from any location in the United States, free lodging if you don’t mind a guest room or couch, and a show organized and promoted by us.
**By “Minneapolis,” we actually mean “Minneapolis and/or St. Paul.”
Prize: The winner will receive publication, 50 free author copies, a $250 honorarium, and an expenses-paid trip to Minneapolis for a book release show to be filmed by Button’s video crew.
Guidelines: Submit a previously unpublished, chapbook-length (20-30 pages or so, we’re flexible) manuscript of poetry using our online submission manager. The manuscript, in one PDF file, should include: a title page with the title of the book only (no contact or identifying information), an acknowledgments page indicating where individual poems have been published (if applicable), a table of contents page, and the text itself.
Include, in the Cover Letter section of our submission manager only, a brief letter with the title of your work and your contact info, as well as a brief bio. Your name and contact information SHOULD NOT appear anywhere in the manuscript–we only want your name in the Cover Letter section itself.
No more than one poem per page; use a legible, 12-point font like Times New Roman or Garamond.
Multiple submissions by the same poet are fine, but you must pay a $15 entry fee for each submission.
Simultaneous submissions are also fine, but please let us know immediately if your manuscript is accepted elsewhere.
Co-authored manuscripts are fine, too. Fine, fine, fine.
Process: The Editors of the Exploding Pinecone Chapbook Series will read all submissions blindly to ensure the maximum level of fairness and select about ten finalists. The finalists will then be forwarded to the Final Judge, Rachel McKibbens, who will select the winner. All finalists will be considered by the Editors for publication in the Exploding Pinecone Chapbook Series.
The winner will be given opportunities to revise their manuscript before publication.
Poet, activist, playwright and essayist Rachel McKibbens is a New York Foundation for the Arts poetry fellow and author of the critically acclaimed volume of poetry, Pink Elephant (Cypher Books, 2009.) Regarded as one of the most dynamic speakers in the country, McKibbens is a legend within the poetry slam community, noted for her accomplishments both on and off the stage: she is a nine-time National Poetry Slam team member, has appeared on eight NPS final stages, coached the New York louderARTS poetry slam team to three consecutive final stage appearances, is the 2009 Women of the World Poetry Slam champion and the 2011 National Underground Poetry Slam individual champion. For four years, McKibbens taught poetry through the Healing Arts Program at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan and continues to teach poetry and creative writing and give lectures across the country as an advocate for mental illness, gender-equality and victims of violence and domestic abuse.