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Questions about Judging for the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award and Open Competition

How are the competitions screened?

The series editor screens every entry. The entries are read over and over again until the series editor arrives at a group of finalist manuscripts to send an outside judge for the selection of the winning collection or collections. There is no artificial number of finalists set before the entries arrive—the finalist manuscripts are all of the entries the series editor feels are ready to be published and would make fine additions to the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry.

How are author information, cover letters, biographical notes, and acknowledgments handled?

All of the above materials are removed from the manuscripts when the entries are processed. The finalist manuscripts are sent to the final judge free of all such materials.

The Crab Orchard Series in Poetry competitions DO NOT claim to be screened or judged blind since the manuscripts entered may include some or all previously published poems. We want the persons screening and judging our competitions to be avid readers of contemporary poetry and expect their experience as readers to be an integral part of their knowledge of poetry.

How is the final judge selected?

Final judges for the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry competitions are accomplished poets. Our past judges include Brian Barker, Michelle Boisseau, Ralph Burns, Cyrus Cassells, Richard Cecil, Chad Davidson, James Harms, Cynthia Huntington, Rodney Jones, Judy Jordan, Allison Joseph, Julia Kasdorf, Yusef Komunyakaa, Dorianne Laux, Leslie Adrienne Miller, Ricardo Pau-Llosa, Lucia Perillo, Jennifer Richter, Lee Ann Roripaugh, Tim Seibles, Jason Sommer, Cathy Song, Maura Stanton, Natasha Trethewey, Michael Waters, David Wojahn, and Jake Adam York.

Beginning with the 2009 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry competitions, the final judge will be selected and announced before the submission period opens for each competition. Current or former students, colleagues, and close friends of the final judge, and current and former students and employees of Southern Illinois University Carbondale and authors who have published a book with Southern Illinois University Press or have a book under contract with Southern Illinois University Press are not eligible to enter either competition.

Since people often wonder if they are too close to the final judge to submit a manuscript I would offer this advice from Four Way Books:

"Please do not submit to this contest if you are close enough to the judge that [the judge's] integrity, your integrity, and the integrity of the press would be called into question should you be selected as the winner."

This seems a very good rule of thumb to me.

Finally, entrants are not to contact the final judge under any circumstances. All questions should be directed to Jon Tribble, Series Editor of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry.

What happens if the judge decides not to select a winner or winners?

If for any reason a final judge is unable to select a winner or winners from the finalist manuscripts, the series editor will make the selection or selections.

The Crab Orchard Series in Poetry (through Southern Illinois University Press) will ALWAYS PUBLISH the winner or winners of our competitions and award the promised prizes OR ALL ENTRY FEES WILL BE REFUNDED.

Please contact Jon Tribble, Series Editor of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry, with any other questions.



The Crab Orchard Series in Poetry

published by Southern Illinois University Press

copublished by Crab Orchard Review

Jon Tribble, Series Editor




Year Author Title
2017 First Book Award see guidelines Submit 05/15 - 07/10/2017
2017 Open Competition Award see guidelines Submit 10/01 - 11/19/2016
2017 Open Competition Award see guidelines Submit 10/01 - 11/19/2016
2016 Editor's Selection To be announced To be announced
2016 First Book Award Kara van de Graaf Spitting Image
2016 Open Competition Award Jehanne Dubrow Dots & Dashes
2016 Open Competition Award Brendan Galvin Egg Island Almanac
2015 Editor's Selection Julianna Baggott Instructions (Abject & Fuming)
2015 Editor's Selection Cynthia Huntington Terra Nova
2015 First Book Award Charif Shanahan Into Each Room We Enter Without Knowing
2015 Open Competition Award Hala Alyan Hijra
2015 Open Competition Award Bruce Bond Gold Bee
2014 Editor's Selection Jennifer Richter No Acute Distress
2014 First Book Award Gregory Kimbrell The Primitive Observatory
2014 Open Competition Award Sass Brown USA–1000
2014 Open Competition Award Lisa Fay Coutley Errata
2013 Editor's Selection Moira Linehan Incarnate Grace
2013 First Book Award Noel Crook Salt Moon
2013 Open Competition Award Dan Albergotti Millennial Teeth
2013 Open Competition Award TJ Jarrett Zion
2013 COSP Special Selection Jake Adam York Abide
2012 Editor's Selection Chad Davidson From the Fire Hills
2012 First Book Award Tarfia Faizullah Seam
2012 Open Competition Award Jeffrey Skinner Glaciology
2012 Open Competition Award Jason Sommer The Laughter of Adam and Eve
2011 Editor's Selection Amy Fleury Sympathetic Magic
2011 First Book Award Tyler Mills Tongue Lyre
2011 Open Competition Award Jacob Shores-Arguello In the Absence of Clocks
2011 Open Competition Award Wally Swist Huang Po and the Dimensions of Love
2010 Editor's Selection Cynthia Huntington Heavenly Bodies
2010 First Book Award Claire McQuerry Lacemakers
2010 Open Competition Award Brian Barker The Black Ocean
2010 Open Competition Award Camille Dungy Smith Blue
2009 Editor's Selection Jake Adam York Persons Unknown
2009 First Book Award Traci Brimhall Rookery
2009 Open Competition Award Todd Hearon Strange Land
2009 Open Competition Award Jennifer Richter Threshold
2008 Editor's Selection Lee Ann Roripaugh On the Cusp of a Dangerous Year
2008 First Book Award William Notter Holding Everything Down
2008 Open Competition Award Alison Townsend Persephone in America
2008 Open Competition Award Jesse Lee Kercheval Cinema Muto
2007 Editor's Selection Chad Davidson The Last Predicta
2007 First Book Award Sean Nevin Oblivio Gate
2007 Open Competition Award Ciaran Berry The Sphere of Birds
2007 Open Competition Award Jake Adam York A Murmuration of Starlings
2006 Editor's Selection Oliver de la Paz Furious Lullaby
2006 First Book Award Mary Jo Firth Gillett Soluble Fish
2006 Open Competition Award Moira Linehan If No Moon
2006 Open Competition Award Honorée Fanonne Jeffers Red Clay Suite
2005 Editor's Selection Julianna Baggott Lizzie Borden in Love
2005 First Book Award Jennifer Maier Dark Alphabet
2005 Open Competition Award David Hernandez Always Danger
2005 Open Competition Award Susan B.A. Somers-Willett Roam
2004 Editor's Selection Timothy Liu For Dust Thou Art
2004 First Book Award A. Loudermilk Strange Valentine
2004 Open Competition Award Victoria Chang Circle
2004 Open Competition Award Greg Pape American Flamingo
2003 Editor's Selection Richard Cecil Twenty First Century Blues
2003 First Book Award Amy Fleury Beautiful Trouble
2003 Open Competition Award Jon Pineda Birthmark
2003 Open Competition Award Lee Ann Roripaugh Year of the Snake
2002 First Book Award Chad Davidson Consolation Miracle
2002 Open Competition Award Elton Glaser Pelican Tracks
2002 Open Competition Award Patricia Jabbeh Wesley Becoming Ebony
2001 First Book Award Joelle Biele White Summer
2001 Open Competition Award Joy Katz Fabulae
2001 Open Competition Award Susan Aizenberg Muse
2000 First Book Award Vandana Khanna Train to Agra
2000 Open Competition Award J. Allyn Rosser Misery Prefigured
2000 Open Competition Award Julianna Baggott This Country of Mothers
2000 Open Competition Award Oliver de la Paz Names Above Houses
1999 Open Competition Award Marilene Phipps Crossroads and Unholy Water
1999 Open Competition Award Elton Glaser Winter Amnesties
1998 Open Competition Award Denise Duhamel Star-Spangled Banner
1998 Open Competition Award Richard Cecil In Search of the Great Dead

The Crab Orchard Award Series in Poetry began in 1998 as a co-publishing venture of CRAB ORCHARD REVIEW and Southern Illinois University Press. In 2004, the Crab Orchard Award Series in Poetry changed its name to the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry to reflect a new area in our ongoing project to publish some of the best new work by established and new voices in American poetry. In addition to continuing to publish our First Book Award and our Open Competition Award winners each year, the series began in 2004 to publish Editor’s Selections chosen by the series editor to build upon and expand the strengths of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry. Editor's Selections are selected from manuscripts submitted to the series editor from authors who are currently published in the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry (who are no longer eligible to enter the Open Competition) or from poets who have already published one or more books who are invited by the series editor to submit a manuscript. There is no open reading period for Editor's Selections and first books are not considered.

We want to thank all the readers and writers who have made the Crab Orchard Award Series in Poetry such a success and we look forward to bringing you more new titles in the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry. Open Competition of manuscripts submitted each Fall (October 1 through December 5; see guidelines for details). In addition to the Open Competition Award, the series will publish the winner of the annual First Book Award selected from poetry manuscripts submitted in the Spring (May 15 through July 10; see guidelines for details).

Questions about the Editor's Selections or either competition should be directed to:

Jon Tribble, Series Editor.

Please read the guidelines before sending any query.

The Crab Orchard Series in Poetry now accepts online submissions through Submittable.




PHONE: 618-453-6833
FAX: 618-453-8224

Comments: Jon Tribble, Managing Editor, Site Design by Mark Brewin, Copyright © 2009, Board of Trustees, Southern Illinois University
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