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The Adrift Chapbook Contest



​We are excited to announce the winner of our 2019 Adrift Chapbook Contest is Helli Fang's Village of Knives. Here's what our guest judge, Chen Chen, had to say:

Train-sounds, dew-sounds, sounds from the hair, prayerful sounds and python sounds, fish market then mooncake sounds, sounds of falling into water, sounds of rising from fire—these are the sounds of Village of Knives, a collection that speaks through how much, how closely and imaginatively it listens. The poems here listen to immigrant life and dream, to gendered expectation and subversion, to desire, to the body’s surging, briny rhythms. This is a poet who understands the power of paring away the noise to zero in on the music: “How we turned off all the lights in the house / & fell to our knees / just to hear the sound of bone.”

Village of Knives will be available in early 2020. We would also like to thank our other finalists whose work stood out to us:

  • Jiwon Choi, When I Used To Be Korean

  • Kathleen Radigan, The Frustrated Ones

  • Sam Stokley, Dystrophies

  • Daniel Aristi, Familya

  • Harriet Heydemann, What I Do After You Die

  • Michele Randall, A Future Unmappable

  • Jacob Griffin Hall, In Knots

Lastly, we want to extend our warmest gratitude to everyone who submitted to the contest. There were hundreds of wonderful manuscripts sent in, and narrowing these chapbooks down to a few finalists remains one of the toughest jobs we have ever had at Driftwood Press. We are ecstatic to be publishing chapbooks on a yearly basis, and your support is continually cherished and appreciated. 


  • Submissions will be open from February 1st 2019 until June 15th 2019.

  • Finalists and winner will be announced by Driftwood editors in September 2019.

  • The winning chapbook will be published in early or mid 2020.



  • Poetry only. Prose poetry, experimental poetry, and poetry with a visual component (color images accepted) are all welcome.

  • 15-40 pages of poetry (this does not include title, section break, or acknowledgement pages). We won't turn you away if you are a few pages over or under, but please stay within that limit.

  • A standard, 12-point font is preferred. 

  • Poems may have been published individually, but never as a collection.

  • Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please let us know immediately if the collection has been accepted elsewhere.

  • Submit works written in English only, no translations.

  • Please submit your manuscript in a .doc, .docx, or PDF format.

  • We read submissions blindly, so please do not include your name, email, or any identifying characteristics on the manuscript itself.

  • Base submission cost is $12. Additionally, we are offering a $20 dollar submission option that will include a print copy of the winning chapbook (US shipping only). We will ship once the winning submission is published.



  • The winner will receive $300 dollars and 20 copies of their chapbook.

  • A print run of the winning chapbook will be sold on our website, through affiliate bookstores, and will be nationally and internationally distributed by IngramSpark. 

  • The winner will also have the opportunity to be interviewed about their work; the interview will be published in the chapbook following the poems.

  • The managing poetry editor may offer a runner-up full publication in book form or partial publication within our bi-annual magazine. All finalists will be considered for publication.

Past Contest Winners

[2018 Contest]

Guest Judge

  • ​Chen Chen is the author of When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities, which was longlisted for the National Book Award and won the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry, among other honors. Bloodaxe Books will be publishing a UK Edition in June 2019. A Kundiman fellow, Chen’s work has appeared in many publications, including Poem-a-Day, The Best American Poetry, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, and Bettering American Poetry. He holds an MFA from Syracuse University and a PhD from Texas Tech University. Currently he teaches as the Jacob Ziskind Poet-in-Residence at Brandeis University. With the poet Sam Herschel Wein, he co-runs the journal, Underblong. He lives in Waltham, MA with his partner, Jeff Gilbert and their pug dog, Mr. Rupert Giles.

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