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At Writer’s Relief, we know how challenging it is for poets to get  their poetry manuscripts published. So we’re very happy to sponsor the  WaterSedge Poetry Chapbook Contest and support the work of a talented  poet.

Since 1994, the Writer’s Relief office has been located a mere  stone’s throw from the New Jersey Meadowlands: a large ecosystem of  vital wetlands in the metropolitan region. Home to many species of plant  life, fish, mollusks, and crustaceans, the Meadowlands are an important  bird habitat. However, located so close to urban development, the  conservation of the Meadowlands is imperative. In this fragile  environment that is home to numerous endangered and threatened species,  the water sedge is an endangered plant struggling to survive.

The efforts of water sedge to flourish despite difficult odds seems  kindred in spirit to poets hoping to successfully publish their poetry  books and chapbooks in an uncooperative publishing environment. With the  WaterSedge Poetry Chapbook Contest, we can help our winning poets get  published and thrive. The winning poet’s chapbook will receive both  print and e-book publication through our Self-Publishing Relief  division. All royalties belong to the winner.

Contest Judge: Maryfrances Wagner, Missouri Poet Laureate 2021-2023. She co-edits I-70 Review and was 2020 Missouri Individual Artist of the Year. Maryfrances serves on The Writers Place Board of Directors.

Maryfrances Wagner’s newest books are The Silence of Red Glass and The Immigrants’ New Camera. Her poems have appeared in New Letters, Midwest Quarterly, Laurel Review, American Journal of Poetry, Poetry East, Rattle, Main Street Rag, Voices in Italian Americana, and Unsettling America: An Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry, and others. For more information, check her website: http://maryfranceswagnerwriter.fieldinfoserv.com/.


  • CONCEALED SUBMISSION: DO NOT include your name or contact info  anywhere on the manuscript; include your name and contact information on  the entry form
  • File Name: PoetryChapbookManuscript.doc (or .docx or .rtf)
  • Submit the manuscript as one file
  • 12-point Times New Roman
  • Single-spaced, typed 1 poem per page (Note: Though poems can be more than 1 page long, each poem must start on a new page regardless of length.)
  • Include table of contents
  • Include cover/title page
  • Include acknowledgements page (any previous publications of the poems in the manuscript)
  • Include page numbers
  • Do NOT include any images or illustrations in manuscript
  • 24-48 pages
  • Each entry must include the $20 entry fee
  • U.S. residents only are permitted to submit (Because the winning manuscript will be published using Amazon/CreateSpace, their rules prohibit us from choosing a winner for this contest if they live outside the U.S.)
  • Only poets over 18 years of age are eligible to submit
  • Current  or former clients and employees and their family members, or anyone  otherwise affiliated with Writer's Relief and its subsidiaries, are not  eligible to enter the WaterSedge Poetry Chapbook Contest
We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.