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Submissions for the 2017 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award will open through Submittable on May 15, 2017 through July 8, 2017. Because of staffing and university auditing concerns, we can no longer accept postal submissions on contests.



2014 Banner for Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award with covers of Rookery and Lacemakers


2017 First Book Award
$2500 and publication
final judge: Chad Davidson

Online submissions only through Submittable

Below are the guidelines for the 2016 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award, which will be open for entries on May 15, 2017 and close on July 8, 2017:

A first book of poems will be selected for publication from an open competition of manuscripts, in English, by a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or person who has DACA/TPS status who has neither published, nor committed to publish, a volume of poetry 48 pages or more in length in an edition of over 500 copies or available as a print-on-demand title or e-book* (*individual poems may have been previously published; for the purposes of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry, a manuscript which was in whole or in part submitted as a thesis or dissertation as a requirement for the completion of a degree is considered unpublished and is eligible). 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. For questions about judging, please visit

The winner will receive a publication contract with Southern Illinois University Press, and will be awarded a $2500 prize. The winner will also receive $1500 as an honorarium for a reading at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

SUBMISSION PERIOD / DEADLINE: All entries must submitted online between May 15, 2017 and the end of July 8, 2017 (online entries will be accepted until 11:59:59 PM (PDT) on July 8, 2017). While the submission window is open on Submittable, it is possible to make corrections or revisions to your manuscript if necessary. Simply request that we open your manuscript for editing and we will be glad to do that. It is never necessary to withdraw and resubmit a manuscript because of a submission error with this editing feature on Submittable. Please do not make revisions once the submission period has closed since we will have begun reading; the winner will be given an opportunity to work with the series editor before the manuscript is delivered to SIU Press.

ENTRY FEE: $20.00 per entry (online submissions only through Submittable). Entry fees will not be refunded for manuscripts withdrawn by the author.

PAGE LENGTH: Manuscripts are recommended to be a minimum of 50 pages to a recommended maximum of 80 pages of original poetry.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR SUBMISSIONS: All entries should be made online through Submittable. The entry fee for each entry is $20.00. Payment for submissions must be made online.

Please submit your file in .doc, .docx, .rtf, .txt, .pdf, .odt, or .wpf. 12-point font, Times New Roman or Times preferred. Manuscripts should be single-spaced. Include a Table of Contents. No more than one poem should appear on a page.

Submit a single title page with only the manuscript title in your file.

The author's name should appear nowhere in your file or in the file name. Your Submittable profile will include your name, address, phone, and e-mail so it should not appear in either your file name or your manuscript.

In the place of the cover letter or biographical note in the submission process, an acknowledgments page listing poems previously published in magazines, journals, or anthologies can be submitted as your cover letter in Submittable. THIS SHOULD NOT BE INCLUDED IN THE MANUSCRIPT FILE.

Please name your file the manuscript title. If your manuscript title is long, name your file the first four words.

All entrants will be notified of the results via e-mail by October 1, 2017.


SIMULTANEOUS SUBMISSION: Manuscripts may be under consideration elsewhere, but the series editor must be informed immediately if a collection is accepted for publication. Entry fees will not be refunded for manuscripts withdrawn by the author.

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.

E-MAIL: (e-mail preferred)
PHONE: 618-453-6833




Final Judge
2017 Enter through Submittable

05/15/17 - 07/08/17

Chad Davidson

2016 Kara van de Graaf Spitting Image selected by Jennifer Richter
2015 Charif Shanahan Into Each Room We Enter Without Knowing selected by Allison Joseph
2014 Gregory Kimbrell The Primitive Observatory selected by Brian Barker
2013 Noel Crook Salt Moon selected by Amy Fleury
2012 Tarfia Faizullah Seam selected by Chad Davidson
2011 Tyler Mills Tongue Lyre selected by Lee Ann Roripaugh
2010 Claire McQuerry Lacemakers selected by Jake Adam York
2009 Traci Brimhall Rookery selected by Michelle Boisseau
2008 winner
William Notter Holding Everything Down selected by Ricardo Pau-Llosa
2007 winner
Sean Nevin Oblivio Gate selected by Lynne McMahon
2006 winner
Mary Jo Firth Gillett Soluble Fish selected by James Harms
2005 winner Jennifer Maier Dark Alphabet selected by Jason Sommer
2004 winner A. Loudermilk Strange Valentine selected by Julia Kasdorf
2003 winner Amy Fleury Beautiful Trouble selected by Judy Jordan
2002 winner Chad Davidson Consolation Miracle selected by Rodney Jones
2001 winner Joelle Biele White Summer selected by Allison Joseph
2000 winner Vandana Khanna Train to Agra selected by Allison Joseph








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