The Cathy Smith Bowers Chapbook Contest

Congratulations to Don Colburn, Portland, OR!
His collection, Mortality, with Pronoun Shifts,
was chosen by Cathy Smith Bowers as the WINNER
of the 2018 Cathy Smith Bowers Chapbook Contest

FINALISTS (Alphabetical by title):

The Dead Letter Box by Terri Niccum of Buena Park, CA
by George T. Wilkerson of Raleigh, NC
A Net to Hold the Wind by Memye Curtis Tucker of Decatur, GA
November Weather Spell by Robert Fillman of Macungie, PA
Only So Far by Eleanor Berry of Lyons, OR
Pink Water by Rainie Oet of Solon, OH
Riding the Swells by Kyle Norwood of Panorama City, CA
Wild Things by Elizabeth Johnston of Rochester, NY

All finalists will be offered publication as well

Deadline Alert:  June 22, 2019 postmark or midnight time stamp (EXTENDED due to vacation)

We did not realize we would be closed June 7-17 at the time we set the deadline and posted ads for this contest, so we are extending the deadline in case last-minuters have questions)

***Last-minute entries (electronic)***  Very important!!!

The guidelines say to wait for permission to send manuscript. This was designed to help ensure files were created properly and is sent out manually. Since no one will be in the office Friday, June 7-Monday, June 17, we won’t be sending out permisions during this time. Electronic entries should NOT wait to submit. Once you’ve received a note from PayPal approving payment, you are free to email your entry to the address mentioned below.

Open for submissions May 1, 2019

Deadline: June 15, 2018 (postmark deadline–for those mailing their entries)
Prize: $1000 + 50 copies of published book
Reading Fee: $15 ($17 for email entry)
Length: 28-40 pages of poetry (page count does not include title pages, table of contents or notes)

Cathy Smith Bowers is a professor in the MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte and former Poet Laureate of North Carolina. Bowers’ poetry has appeared in various magazines and journals including The Atlantic Monthly, The Georgia Review, Poetry, The Southern Review, and The Kenyon Review. Her collections of poetry include The Love That Ended Yesterday in Texas (Texas Tech University Press, 1992), Traveling in Time of Danger (Iris Press, 1999), A Book of Minutes (Iris Press, 2004), The Candle I Hold Up To See You (Iris Press, 2009), Like Shining from Shook Foil (Press 53, 2010), and most recently, The Collected Poems of Cathy Smith Bowers (Press 53, 2013).

Cathy will serve as final judge.

Hard copy entries should be mailed to:

Main Street Rag
PO BOX 690100
Charlotte, NC 28227-7001

Detailed Guidelines:

  • Manuscript should begin with a cover sheet including title of manuscript, author’s name and complete contact information (including email address and phone number).
  • Second page should be the title only and the author’s name should not appear anywhere in the actual manuscript.
  • NO PUBLISHING CREDITS (Acknowledgments) or BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS should appear anywhere in the manuscript. We judge blind on the basis of the quality of the collection not the author or number of times and/or places the contents have been published.
  • Please use letter size paper (8.5 X 11) and do not include images.
  • Notes of explanation for contents, quotes or source material are acceptable at the back of the collection.
  • We do not return manuscripts under any circumstances, so please save the postage and do not include a return envelope.
  • We also prefer to report by email, so please be sure the any email address you use is long term and reliable. We will send results to the contest by US Postal Service if preferred and if a BUSINESS-SIZE (#10–4 X 10) SASE is supplied. We will also acknowledge receipt of the manuscript if a self addressed stamped postcard is provided.
  • No need for clips or binding of any kind.
  • Page numbering is helpful, appreciated, but not necessary.
  • Table of Contents is also not necessary, but appreciated.

Winner will be announced by the end of August along with finalists who will also be offered publication.

All finalists receive a free one year subscription to The Main Street Rag.

Any questions and all emailed submissions should be directed to:

Previous Winners:

2016 — Good Housekeeping by Jason Gebhardt, Washington, DC

2017 — Summer Job by John Stupp, Sewickley, PA

Contest Recommendations

Email Submission Instructions

Main Street Rag does allow for email submissions, but the guidelines for file preparation are specific. They are designed to level the playing field for those who are not as adept in file preparation and unfamiliar with unintended changes in formatting that can occur when a WORD file is moved from one computer to another. They are for author benefit since we will not adjust the files we receive. So, please read them carefully before choosing this option and give yourself enough time to prepare the file as close to instructions as possible.

Guidelines for email submissions

Reading Fee for Cathy Smith Bowers Chapbook Contest: